“Why, what an idea, little wife!” he exclaimed in surprise. “I really hate to say no to any request of yours, but I do not think it would be entirely safe for you. We are not going on the comparatively quiet waters of the harbor, but out into the ocean itself, and that in a whaleboat, and we may have very rough sailing; besides, it is not at all impossible that a man-eating shark might get into the boat alive, and, as I heard an old fisherman say yesterday, ‘make ugly work.’”
“Then I don’t want to go,” Zoe said, “and I’d rather you wouldn’t; just suppose you should get a bite?”
“Oh, no danger!” laughed Edward; “a man is better able to take care of himself than a woman is of herself.”
“Pooh!” exclaimed Betty; “I don’t believe any such thing, and I want to go; I want to be able to say I’ve done and seen everything other summer visitors do and see on this island.”
“Only a foolish reason, is it not, Betty?” mildly remonstrated her Cousin Elsie. “But you will have to ask my father’s consent, as he is your guardian.”
“No use whatever,” remarked Bob, who had joined them a moment before; “I know uncle well enough to be able to tell you that beforehand. Aren’t you equally sure of the result of such an application, Ned?”
“Besides,” pursued Bob, teasingly, “there wouldn’t be room in the boat for a fine lady like my sister Betty, with her flounces and furbelows; also you’d likely get awfully sick with the rolling and pitching of the boat, and leaning over the side for the purpose of depositing your breakfast in the sea, tumble in among the sharks and give them one.”
“Oh, you horrid fellow!” she exclaimed, half angrily; “I shouldn’t do anything of the kind; I should wear no furbelows, be no more likely to an attack of sea-sickness than yourself, and could get out of the way of a shark quite as nimbly as any one else.”
“Well, go and ask uncle,” he laughed.
Betty made no move to go; she knew as well as he how Mr. Dinsmore would treat such a request.
The weather the next morning was all that could be desired for sharking, and the gentlemen set off in due time, all in fine spirits.
They were absent all day, returning early in the evening quite elated with their success.
Max had a wonderful tale to tell Lulu and Grace of “papa’s” skill, the number of sand-sharks and the tremendous “blue dog” or man-eater he had taken. The captain was not half so proud of his success as was his admiring son.
“I thought all the sharks were man-eaters,” said Lulu.
“No, the sand-sharks are not.”
“Did everybody catch a man-eater?”
“No; nobody but papa took a full-grown one. Grandpa Dinsmore and Uncle Edward each caught a baby one, and all of them took big fellows of the other kind. I suppose they are the most common, and it’s a good thing, because of course they are not nearly so dangerous.”