“Oh, you can’t tell me! That old pirate’s handled a crew without no tongs, you may lay to that! And what he’s done to poor old Cap’n Abe——”
She went away shaking a sorrowful head and without finishing her sentence. Louise was unable to shake off the burden of doubt of Cap’n Amazon’s character and good intentions. She felt that she could not spend the long evening in his company, and bidding him good-night through the open store door she retired to the upper floor.
She felt that sleep was far from her eyelids on this night; therefore she lit a candle and went into the storeroom to get something to read. She selected a much battered volume, printed in an early year of the nineteenth century, its title being:
Seafaring Yarns of a Lubber.
Louise became enthralled by the narratives of perilous adventure and odd happenings on shipboard which the author claimed to have himself observed. She read for an hour or more, while the sounds in the store below gradually ceased and she heard Cap’n Amazon close and lock the front door for the night.
Silence below. Outside the lap, lap, lap of the waves on the strand and the rising moan of the surf over Gulf Rocks.
Louise turned a page. She plunged into another yarn. Breathlessly and, almost fearfully she read it to the end—the very story of the murdered albatross and the sailors’ superstitious belief in the bird’s bad influence, as she had heard Cap’n Amazon relate it to Aunt Euphemia Conroth.
She laid down the book at last in amazement and confusion. There was no doubt now of Cap’n Amazon’s mendacity. This book of nautical tales had been written and printed long before Amazon Silt was born!
And if the falseness of his wild narratives was established, was it a far cry to Betty Gallup’s suspicions and accusations? What and who was this man, who called himself Amazon Silt who had taken Cap’n Abe’s place in the store on the Shell Road?
Louise lay with wide-open eyes for a long time. Then she crept out of bed and turned the key in the lock of her door—the first time she had thought to do such a thing since her arrival at Cardhaven.
THE SUN WORSHIPERS
“Them movin’ picture people are hoppin’ about The Beaches like sandpipers,” observed Cap’n Amazon at the breakfast table. “And I opine they air pretty average useless, too. They were hurrahin’ around all day yest’day while you was out fishin’. Want to take a picture of Abe’s old store here. Dunno what to do about it.”
Louise was too much disturbed by her discoveries of overnight to give much attention to this subject.
“It’s Abe’s store, you see,” went on Cap’n Amazon. “Dunno how he’d feel ‘bout havin’ it took in a picture and showed all over the country. It needs a coat o’ paint hi-mighty bad. Ought to be fixed up some ‘fore havin’ its picture took—don’t ye think so, Niece Louise?”