The might of the sea made him tremble. The thought of what was about to happen to the schooner—a fate that naught could avert—sickened him. Yet he walked on to join the nearest group of anxious watchers, the spray beating into that face which was strangely marred.
WHEN THE STRONG TIDES LIFT
It was the tag-end of the season for the summer colony at The Beaches. Mrs. Conroth expected to leave the Perritons that evening—was leaving lingeringly, for she had desired to bear her niece off to New York with her. But on that point Louise had been firm.
“No, Aunt Euphemia,” she had said. “I shall wait for daddy-prof and the Curlew to arrive at Boston. Then I shall either go there to meet him, or he will come here. I want him to meet Lawford just as quickly as possible, for we are not going to wait all our lives to be married.”
“Louise!” gasped Mrs. Conroth with horror. “How can you say such a thing!”
“I mean it,” said the girl, nodding with pursed lips.
“You are behaving in a most selfish way,” the Lady from Poughkeepsie declared. “Everybody here has remarked how you have neglected me for those Tapps. They have taken full advantage of your patronage to push themselves into the society of their betters.”
“Perhaps,” sighed Louise. “But consider, auntie. This is a free and more or less independent republic. After all, money is the only recognized mark of aristocracy.”
“Yes. How far would the Perritons’ blue blood get them—or the Standishes’—or the Graylings’—without money? And consider our own small beginnings. Your great, great, great grandfather was a knight of the yardstick and sold molasses by the quart.”
“You are incorrigible, Louise,” cried Aunt Euphemia, her fingers in her ears. “I will not listen to you. It is sacrilegious.”
“It’s not a far cry,” her niece pursued, “from molasses to taffy. And it seems to me one is quite as aristocratic as the other.”
So she left Mrs. Conroth in a horrified state of mind and stepped out to face the gale. Seeing others streaming down upon the sands, Louise, too, sought the nearest flight of steps and descended to the foot of the bluff.
This was Saturday and she hoped that Lawford would come for the week-end. It was not Lawford, however, but his father into whose arms she almost stumbled as she came out from under the shelter of the bank into the full sweep of the gale.
“Oh, Mr. Tapp! Why is everybody running so? What has happened?”
The Taffy King had a most puzzling expression upon his face. He glared at her as though he did not hear what she said. In his hand he clutched an envelope.
“Ha! That you, Miss Grayling?” he growled. “Seen Ford?”
“No. Is he at home?”