“I am very sorry, Captain, that I am causing you so much worry,” she remarked. “But for me you would soon be home with your wife and daughter.”
“Tut, tut, Miss, don’t ye bother about that,” the old man replied, as he gave the wheel a vigorous yank to the right. “This boat was headin’ straight fer the shore. She’s run in thar so often that she does it of her own accord. She’s almost human, this boat is. My! won’t Martha git the surprise of her life when she sees us go by. She’s wavin’ now, blamed if she ain’t! an’ runnin’ down to the shore. An’ that’s Flo behind her! Mebbe Flo’ll try to swim out to us, fer she’s great in the water, almost like a fish.”
The “Eb and Flo” was now almost abreast of the captain’s home, and scudding so fast that in a few minutes she would be by. It was possible for Jess to see the two women standing upon the shore, frantically waving their arms and shouting across the water. What they said she could not distinguish, though she guessed the purport of the words they were uttering. She pitied the captain, for she was well aware that when he did go home his reception would be far from pleasant. She kept her eyes riveted upon the women until they became mere specks in the distance. Then she turned to the captain. He was mopping his face with a big red handkerchief, and his hands were trembling.
“Dam it!” he growled. “I’m all het up. It must be ninety in the shade. Git me a drink of water, will ye?”
WHAT THE COW DID
“If she won’t take ye in, yer welcome to stay here all night.”
The “Eb and Flo” was lying securely fastened to the wharf at the Spoon Island stone quarry. She had made a good run up the river, and had reached her destination late in the afternoon. Captain Tobin was standing upon deck looking upon Jess and Eben as they started up the track toward the quarry.
“Eben’ll show ye Mrs. Ricksteen’s house,” he told the girl. “I guess she needs extry help with the crowd of men she allus has. But she might want a recommendation, fer she’s mighty pertic’ler, Mrs. Ricksteen is. Anyway, if she won’t take ye in, yer welcome to come back here.”
Jess thanked the captain, and told him that she was sure she could make out all right. She would return in the morning to tell him of her success, and get her belongings.
“See that Eben behaves himself,” the captain reminded. “An’ don’t let him stay too long. Thar’s a lot of work to do on board to-night.”
“You needn’t worry,” was the girl’s smiling reply. “Eben can return just as soon as he shows me the way. I won’t run off with him.”
The captain stood and watched them as they walked slowly up the track. “My, my, she’s a fine gal, an’ no mistake,” he mused. “I never saw Eben so taken up with anyone as he is with her. Why, his face brightens the instant she speaks to him. Seems to me he’s head over heels in love with her. It’s only nat’ral, I s’pose. If I was young meself I’d lose me head an’ heart over a gal like that. It’d be great to have her fer a daughter-in-law. Wonder what Martha an’ Flo ’d say.”