“How many did you catch, Maxie?” asked Grace.
“I? Oh, I helped catch the perch for bait; but I didn’t try for sharks, for of course a boy wouldn’t be strong enough to haul such big fellows in. I tell you the men had a hard tug, especially with the blue-dog.
“The sand-sharks they killed when they’d got ’em close up to the gunwale by pounding them on the nose with a club—a good many hard whacks it took, too; but the blue-dog had to be stabbed with a lance; and I should think it took considerable courage and skill to do it, with such a big, strong, wicked-looking fellow. You just ought to have seen how he rolled over and over in the water and lashed it into a foam with his tail, how angry his eyes looked, and how he showed his sharp white teeth. I thought once he’d be right in among us the next minute, but he didn’t; they got the lance down his throat just in time to put a stop to that.”
“Oh, I’m so glad he didn’t!” Grace said, drawing a long breath. “Do they eat sharks, Maxie?”
“No, indeed; who’d want to eat a fish that maybe had grown fat on human flesh?”
“What do they kill them for, then?”
“Oh, to rid the seas of them, I suppose, and because there is a valuable oil in their livers. We saw our fellows towed ashore and cut open and their livers taken out.”
“There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”—Acts 4: 12.
It was down on the beach Max had been telling his story; the evening was beautiful, warm enough to make the breeze from the sea extremely enjoyable, and the whole family party were gathered there, some sitting upon the benches or camp-chairs, others on rugs and shawls spread upon the sand.
Max seemed to have finished what he had to say about the day’s exploits, and Gracie rose and went to her father’s side.
He drew her to his knee with a slight caress. “What has my little girl been doing all day?”
“Playing in the sand most of the time, papa. I’m so glad those horrid sharks didn’t get a chance to bite you or anybody to-day. Such big, dreadful-looking creatures Maxie says they were.”
“Not half so large as some I have seen in other parts of the world.”
“Oh, papa, will you tell us about them? Shall I call Max and Lulu to hear it?”
“Yes; if they wish to come, they may.”
There was scarcely anything the children liked better than to hear the captain tell of his experiences at sea, and in another moment his own three. Rosie, Walter, and several of the older people were gathered around him, expecting quite a treat.
“Quite an audience,” he remarked, “and I’m afraid I shall disappoint you all, for I have no yarn to spin, only a few items of information to give in regard to other varieties of sharks than are to be found on this coast.