“What’s the matter?” said the captain. “What’s the matter?
Their looks and tears were too much for him, and he could not finish the song, short as it was.
“Mistress Margaret, you have borne ill fortune well. Could you bear good fortune equally well, if it was to come?”
“I hope so. I thankfully and humbly and earnestly hope so!”
“Wa’al, my dear,” said the captain, “p’rhaps it has come. He’s—don’t be frightened—shall I say the word—”
The thanks they fervently addressed to Heaven were again too much for the captain, who openly took out his handkerchief and dried his eyes.
“He’s no further off,” resumed the captain, “than my country. Indeed, he’s no further off than his own native country. To tell you the truth, he’s no further off than Falmouth. Indeed, I doubt if he’s quite so fur. Indeed, if you was sure you could bear it nicely, and I was to do no more than whistle for him—”
The captain’s trust was discharged. A rush came, and they were all together again.
This was a fine opportunity for Tom Pettifer to appear with a tumbler of cold water, and he presently appeared with it, and administered it to the ladies; at the same time soothing them, and composing their dresses, exactly as if they had been passengers crossing the Channel. The extent to which the captain slapped his legs, when Mr. Pettifer acquitted himself of this act of stewardship, could have been thoroughly appreciated by no one but himself; inasmuch as he must have slapped them black and blue, and they must have smarted tremendously.
He couldn’t stay for the wedding, having a few appointments to keep at the irreconcilable distance of about four thousand miles. So next morning all the village cheered him up to the level ground above, and there he shook hands with a complete Census of its population, and invited the whole, without exception, to come and stay several months with him at Salem, Mass., U.S. And there as he stood on the spot where he had seen that little golden picture of love and parting, and from which he could that morning contemplate another golden picture with a vista of golden years in it, little Kitty put her arms around his neck, and kissed him on both his bronzed cheeks, and laid her pretty face upon his storm-beaten breast, in sight of all,—ashamed to have called such a noble captain names. And there the captain waved his hat over his head three final times; and there he was last seen, going away accompanied by Tom Pettifer Ho, and carrying his hands in his pockets. And there, before that ground was softened with the fallen leaves of three more summers, a rosy little boy took his first unsteady run to a fair young mother’s breast, and the name of that infant fisherman was Jorgan Raybrock.