“Sam’l an’ Eben, of course. They sailed right by, and never stopped. What do you think of that?”
“That’s nothing to worry about, Mrs. Tobin. They must have some good reason which they will no doubt explain later.”
“You think so, do you?” the visitor demanded. “What makes you think there is a reason why they should go by without stopping?”
“I have no idea at all,” the young man replied. “I only said that perhaps they had a reason.”
“H’m, is that all you know about it? But I tell you there is a reason, and I’m going to find out. If it wasn’t for leaving Flo alone I’d foot it every step of the way to the quarry this blessed night; that’s what I’d do.”
“Come, come, Mrs. Tobin, there is nothing to worry about,” Mrs. Hampton comforted. “Surely you can trust your husband. Don’t get so excited. Think of those poor people who lost their only daughter last night; drowned herself at Benton’s wharf. What is your trouble compared to theirs?”
“Drowned herself, did you say?” and Mrs. Tobin held up her hands in horror. “Who was she? and why did she drown herself?”
“She was Mr. Henry Randall’s daughter, who was greatly worried over some love affair, so I understand.”
“Is that so? My lands! What’s going to happen next? A girl drowned, and my husband and only son running away from me. It is terrible!”
With considerable effort John kept from smiling as he listened to Mrs. Tobin. What to her was a very serious matter, was to him cause for amusement. He was quite sure why the captain had sailed by Beech Cove without stopping as was his custom. Neither could he blame him. Any man would do the same who might have the misfortune to be united to such a woman as Mrs. Tobin. The captain was only acting in self-defence in his dash by his home and the wife he had chosen. John pictured to himself the state of affairs on the “Eb and Flo” had Mrs. Tobin gone aboard and there found the runaway girl. Explanation, he knew, would be useless, and it would be a very serious matter for the captain and his fair passenger. In fact, he felt quite proud of the captain’s action, and considered him in the light of a hero. He pitied him as well, for he knew that he would have to face his wife’s sharp tongue and searching questions upon his next visit home.
While the young man was thinking of these things, Mrs. Hampton was talking with her visitor. The latter was sipping a cup of tea, and nibbling at a piece of cake. She was becoming calmer under Mrs. Hampton’s soothing influence, and inclined to take a brighter view of the situation.
“Keep up courage, Mrs. Tobin,” John told her as he turned to leave the room. “I must hurry away now. If I happen to see the captain I shall tell him of your anxiety. You might, indeed, worry if your husband had the habit of running off with some other woman. But he is too old and steady for such nonsense.” John knew how this would arouse the woman, for jealousy was one of her chief characteristics.