Mike moved stolidly ahead, gripping his daughter and pulling her along with him. Phyllis, who was still clutching Mollie’s arm, followed after, while Madge walked valiantly by Phil’s side.
“Leave go!” Mike shouted, raising his fist threateningly at Phyllis. Mollie cried out at the thought of possible hurt to her friend, but Phyllis did not falter. She gazed up at the burly sailor with a look of such intense scorn, mingled with defiance, that he dropped his hand to his side and said sneeringly: “Come back to my shanty boat, then. I will settle with you when we get there.”
Tightening his hold on his daughter’s arm he strode off toward the shanty boat, dragging poor Mollie along at a cruel rate of speed. Phil, still clasping Mollie’s other arm, kept pace with her, while Madge marched a little to the rear with the air of a grenadier.
Mollie’s beautiful white face was set in lines of despair, but her companions felt nothing save righteous indignation against the brutal man they were forced either to follow or else leave Mollie to her fate.
On the deck of the wretched shanty boat, this time, a man and a woman were waiting with burning impatience. The man was Bill and the woman was Mike Muldoon’s wife. A group of fisher folk stood near, evidently anxious to know what was going to happen. It was late in the afternoon, and they had returned from the day’s work on the water.
Madge broke away from her own party to run toward these men and women. There were about half a dozen in number. “Won’t you help us?” she cried excitedly. “Captain Mike is trying to force his daughter to marry that dreadful Bill. He has beaten her cruelly because she refuses to do it. My friend and I tried to get Mollie away from him, but he found us and forced her to come back here.”
“Don’t hurt the young ladies, Mike,” remonstrated one of the fishermen, with a satirical grin in their direction, “it wouldn’t be good business.” Then he turned to Madge and said gruffly: “It ain’t any of our lookout what Mike does with his daughter. She’s foolish, anyhow. Can’t see why Bill wants to marry her.”
Muldoon had jerked Mollie from Phil’s restraining grasp and flung her aboard the shanty boat. The woman pushed the girl inside the cabin and closed the door. Then she stood waiting to see what her husband intended to do with the two girls.
Captain Mike was puzzled. He stood frowning angrily at Mollie’s defiant champions. They had refused to go back home. He had given them their opportunity. It was just as well they had not taken it, for suddenly the man was seized with an idea.
“Git into my rowboat,” he ordered Phil and Madge. “I am going to put you aboard my sailboat and carry you home to your friends. You had better take my offer. You’ll only get into worse trouble if you stay around here. How do you think you are going to take care of Moll—knock me and Bill and my old woman down and run off with Moll?”