Carl’s father meanwhile had been trudging daily over to the dry-dock to see after the Juno, which had had to have her bottom scraped, her gaping seams caulked, and to undergo a general repair: he was hardly at home to meals. It was a case of urgency, as the delivery of her cargo at its destination could not be delayed beyond a certain time.
About a month after Elizabeth had come into Captain Beck’s house the Juno was ready for sea again; and Carl’s sister came into the room smiling one day then, and said—
“Elizabeth, there is a young sailor out in the porch who wants to speak to you; he has a parcel under his arm. Perhaps it is a present.”
Elizabeth, who was bringing in the tea-things at the time, turned red, and Carl Beck, who was standing by the window, a little pale. She knew very well that it was Salve, and for a moment she was almost frightened at his audacity. She had seen him a couple of times before, and had allowed him to feel that she was not particularly anxious for his company, in consequence of what her aunt had told her, and as she went out to see him now she trembled.
He looked at her for a moment or two without saying a word.
“Will you take this dress, Elizabeth?” he said at last, almost harshly.
“No, that I won’t, Salve. Such things as you have been saying about me!”
“So you won’t take it?” he said, slowly and dejectedly. “It is no use saying anything more, then, I suppose.”
“No, Salve, it is no use saying anything more.”
The desolate expression of his face as he stood and looked at her, while he asked, “Am I to take it to sea with me, Elizabeth?” went to her heart, and the tears rushed into her eyes. She shook her head negatively, but with an almost despairing look, and disappeared into the house.
They could see in the sitting-room that she had been crying. But Carl Beck was a cold-blooded man, and merely lay at the window and looked out after his rival, to see if he had the parcel under his arm as he went out of the gate.