“Why, he had his plans all laid to go away, if Uncle Amazon came.”
“Ya-as. That’s so. You are his niece, too, I s’pose.”
“Whose niece? Uncle Amazon’s? I suppose I am,” Louise gayly replied, “though when I came I had no idea there was a second uncle down here on the Cape.”
“What’s that?” demanded Betty Gallup, her speech crackling like a rifle shot.
“I had not heard before of Cap’n Amazon,” the girl explained. “You see, for several reasons, I have known very little about my mother’s kinfolk. She died when I was a baby. We have traveled a good deal, father and I.”
“I see. I been told you worked for them movin’ pictures. Mandy Card was over to my house last night. Well! what do you think of your Uncle Am’zon?”
“I can express no opinion until I have met him,” Louise returned, again dimpling.
“Haven’t ye seen him?” gasped Betty in astonishment.
“Ye didn’t see him when he came last night?”
“I was in bed.”
“Then how—how d’ye know Cap’n
Abe’s gone? Or that this man is Am’zon
Silt? Nobody ever seen this critter ’round Cardhaven before,” Betty
Gallup declared with strong conviction.
“Oh, no; Uncle Amazon has never been here to visit Cap’n Abe before. Cap’n Abe told me all about it,” the girl explained, fearing that scandal was to take root here and now if she did not discourage it. “Of course Uncle Abe went away. He came to my door and bade me good-bye.”
Louise was puzzled. She saw an expression in Betty Gallup’s face that she could not interpret.
“Ye heard Cap’n Abe say he was goin’,” muttered Betty. “His voice sounds mighty like Cap’n Abe’s. But mebbe Abe Silt didn’t go after all—not rightly.”
“What do you mean, Mrs. Gallup?” demanded Louise in bewilderment.
“Well, if you ask me, I should say we’d been boarded by pirates. Go take a look at that Uncle Am’zon of yourn. He’s in the store.”
“Uncle Amazon?” burst out Louise. “A pirate?”
“That’s what he looks like,” repeated Betty Gallup, nodding her head on which the man’s hat still perched. “I never saw the beat! Why, that man give me the shock of my life when I came in here just now!”
“What do you mean?” the amazed girl asked,
“Why, as I come in—I was a lettle early, knowin’ you was here—I heard as I s’posed Cap’n Abe in the sittin’-room. I saw this letter, sealed and directed to me, on the dresser there. ‘Humph!’ says I, ’Who’s writin’ billy-doos to me, I’d admire to know?’ And I up and opened it and see it’s in Cap’n Abe’s hand. Just then I heard him behind me——”
“Heard who? Not Cap’n Abe?”
“No, no! This other feller—this Cap’n Am’zon Silt, as he calls himself. But I thought ’twas Cap’n Abe’s step I heard. He says: ‘Oh! you’ve found the letter?’ I declare I thought ’twas your uncle’s voice!”