“Will you get a few things for me?” the girl asked. “I will make out a list at once.”
“I was expectin’ something like that, Miss. I knew ye wouldn’t be satisfied with what this cabin contains, but would want many things extry. I s’pose ye’ll order a hull outfit of table linen, a set of chiny dishes, a new coffee pot, an’ dear knows what all. I’d have to go to the city fer them things.”
“No, not at all,” the girl laughingly replied. “I can get along nicely with what you have here. I only need something for myself, as I came away without anything, not even a comb. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Oh, I don’t mind, as fer as I’m consarned. But I’m wonderin’ what Martha an’ Flo’ll think if they ever hear of it.”
“I am sure they will be pleased, Captain, when they know how kind you have been to an unfortunate girl. When I see them I shall explain, so everything will be all right.”
“I hope so, Miss. But if ye knew Martha as well as I do mebbe ye wouldn’t feel so sure. Anyway, I s’pose it can’t be helped now. Jist have yer list ready when I come back from feedin’ Eben, an’ I’ll do the best I kin.”
CAPTAIN SAMUEL GOES SHOPPING
Captain Tobin rowed toward the shore with long steady strokes. He was in no hurry as he had all the morning on his hands. He did not expect the wind to rise until the turn of the tide, which would be about noon. He was thinking of Eben, and wondering what had come over the boy to make him so docile in such a short time. He had seemed more animated than usual, and had eaten his breakfast without making any embarrassing enquiries. He had not even referred to the men searching the river for the missing girl, neither did he speak of the conversation that had taken place between his father and the man in the small boat. All this was puzzling to the captain, for it was very unlike Eben’s usual manner. Was it possible that the boy knew anything about the matter, or had a hand in the affair himself? he wondered. He banished the idea, however, as too absurd to be entertained even for a moment.
Reaching the wharf, he tied the boat, and was making his way to the store when he was suddenly hailed.
“Hi, there,” someone called, “let me have your boat, will you?”
Looking around, he saw the immaculately-dressed young man coming toward him from the lower side of the wharf. He knew that this must be the missing girl’s lover, and he had no desire to meet him. There seemed to be no escape, however, so he was forced to stop and wait until the man sauntered up to where he was standing.
“Was ye callin’ me?” the captain asked.
“I was,” the man replied. “I want your boat.”
“Ye do, eh? Well, I guess I want it meself more’n you do, by the look of things.”
“But I want to help with the search.”