“Shouldn’t be surprised none, Miss Lou, if we had a spell of weather. Mebbe we’ll have an airly equinoctooral. We sometimes do.
“Then ye’ll hear the sea sing psalms, as the feller said, an’ no mistake. Them there picture folks’ll mebbe git a show at a re’l storm. That’s what they been wishin’ for—an’ a wreck off shore. Land sakes! if they’d ever seed a ship go to pieces afore their very eyes they wouldn’t ask for a second helpin’—no, ma’am!”
That evening threatening clouds rolled up from seaward and mantled the arch of the sky. The fishing boats ran to cover in the harbor before dark. The surf rumbled louder and louder along the shore.
And all night the sea mourned its dead over Gull Rocks.
Another fishfly (or was it the same that had droned accompaniment to Cap’n’ Abe’s story-telling upon a former occasion?) boomed against the dusty panes of the window while the fretful, sand-laden wind swept searchingly about the store on the Shell Road.
It was early afternoon; but a green and dreary light lay upon sea and land as dim as though the hour was that of sunset. In the silence punctuating the desultory conversation, the sharp swish, swish of the sand upon the panes almost drowned the complaint of the fishfly.
“We’re going to have a humdinger of a gale,” announced Milt Baker, the last to enter and bang the store door. “She’s pullin’ ’round into the no’th-east right now, and I tell Mandy she might’s well make up her mind to my lyin’ up tight an’ dry for a while. Won’t be no clams shipped from these flats to-morrow.”
“High you’ll likely be,” agreed the storekeeper. “How dry ye’ll be, Milt, remains to be seen.”
“In-side, or aout?” chuckled Cap’n Joab, for
Milt Baker’s failing was not hidden under a bushel.
Amiel hastened to toll attention away from his side partner. “This wind’s driv’ them picture folks to cover,” he said. “They was makin’ some fillums over there on the wreck of the Goldrock, that’s laid out four year or so in Ham Cove------”
“Nearer five year,” put in Cap’n Joab, a stickler for facts.
“You air right, cap’n,” agreed Washy Gallup.
“Well,” said Amiel, “four or five. The heave of her made ha’f of ’em sick, and that big actor man, Bane, got knocked off into the water an’ ’twas more by good luck than good management he warn’t drowned. I cal’late he’s got enough.”
“The gale that brought the Goldrock ashore had just such another beginning as this,” Cap’n Joab said reflectively. “But she’d never been wrecked on a lee shore if her crew had acted right. They mutineed, you know.”
“The sculpins!” ejaculated the storekeeper briskly. “Can’t excuse that. Anything but a crew that’ll turn on the afterguard that they’ve signed on for to obey!”