I am sure, Amy, that you will be longing to know why, and for this reason I will not for a moment leave you a victim to the most terrible ailment that can attack our sex—unsatisfied feminine curiosity.
Two days ago we were still at Southampton, and it was proposed that after lunch we should take a little trip down the river Hamble—a river which runs into Southampton Water. Well, we started—Jack, and a friend of his, Captain Cleland, Mrs. Vivian, Mrs. Tenterden, and myself. All went well for about an hour, when a breeze sprang up which soon developed into half a gale. At least I understood the captain of the yacht to say so. I didn’t mind it in the least, but Mrs. Vivian, poor old lady, was dreadfully ill and nervous, and though I did all I could to comfort and reassure her, it was not of much use. As for Mrs. Tenterden, she absolutely collapsed. In abject terror she uttered incoherent cries, and no one could make out what she wished to be done. Jack seemed very upset and tried to soothe her as well as he could, but it was all to no effect, and indeed she once turned on him just like a virago, saying,
“I never wanted to come on your horrid yacht, but you would make me, and see what has happened to me now.”
Poor Jack—I call him “Poor Jack” although he has behaved like a very naughty boy—seemed to wince, but made no reply.
Eventually we arrived opposite the village of Hamble, and there the anchor was weighed—if that is the right expression. Jack suggested that the three ladies, including myself, should go ashore in the dingey and stay at the hotel. Mrs. Vivian said that she did not want to do this, and Mrs. Tenterden positively refused.
“Do you think that I am going to risk my life that jim-crack boat?” she asked. “I am not quite an imbecile. Though I think I must be after all, otherwise I should not have come on this idiotic cruise.”
Jack again made no reply, but there was something in his face that told me that he was becoming disillusioned.
Shortly after that he sent the skipper and a boy ashore, who returned with some marvellous looking lobsters and a huge crab. It seems that this place is famous for its shell-fish, and I can only say that I never tasted anything more delicious than the crab in question.
Mrs. Vivian managed to eat a little dinner, but Mrs. Tenterden retired to her cabin and contented herself with some soup.
I for my part, ate a most capital dinner, and I fancied that Jack seemed sorry for the way he has been treating me lately; treatment which I should never have put up with, except from a man whom I love so devotedly—a man whom I meant to rescue (selfishly, I admit) from that siren’s clutches. In all I have done I have been guided by your advice, and therefore to you remains all the credit, coupled with the life-long devotion of your little friend.
Well, we slept on board the yacht, and the morning brought its revelations.