“Thank you, sir: I couldn’t ask for more. There’s another thing: do you think you could do anything for Mr. Toley? He’s a capital fellow.”
“I know it. I have anticipated you. Toley is appointed captain of the Jane, an Indiaman that arrived the other day; her captain died of scurvy on the way out. She’ll sail for England next week; we go with her; and so does that villain Barker, who’ll get his deserts when he reaches London. The Good Intent is broken up; her interloping is over for good and all.
“But come, my boy, sure ’tis time we dressed: Admiral Watson likes punctuality, and I promise you he’ll give us a capital dinner. A word in your ear: Phyllis is to sit between you and Hastings. You can’t eat him, at any rate.”
A week later Desmond went down to the Company’s ghat to see the Jane sail. Mr. Toley in his brand new uniform looked more melancholy than ever, and Phyllis Merriman made a little grimace when she saw for the first time the captain under whose charge she was to sail for home.
“Don’t be alarmed,” said Desmond, laughing. “The sadder he looks, I believe the happier he is. Silas Toley is a fine seaman and a true gentleman.—
“I wonder if we shall ever meet again, Miss Merriman?”
“I wonder, Mr. Burke.”
“I shall hear about you, I hope.”
“Dear me; it is very unlikely. Father hates putting pen to paper. ’Tis far more likely I shall hear of you, Mr. Burke, doing terrible things among these poor Indians—and tigers: I am sure you must want to shoot a tiger.”
“You shall have my first skin—if I may send it.”
“Mamma will be charmed, I am sure; though indeed she may have too many of them, for we have the same promise from—let me see—Mr. Lushington, and Mr. Picard, and Mr. Hastings, and—”
“All aboard!” sang out a voice from the deck of the vessel.
Phyllis gave Desmond her hand, and looked at last into his eyes. What he read in hers filled him with contentment. She ran across the plank and joined her father and mother, to whom Desmond had already said his adieux. At the last moment Bulger came up puffing, a miscellaneous collection of curiosities dangling from his hook.
“Goodby, sir,” he said, giving Desmond a hearty grip. Then he shut one eye and jerked his head in the direction of the vessel. “Never you fear, sir: I’ll keep my weather eye open. Missy have taken an uncommon fancy to this here little fishhook o’ mine, and ’tis my belief I’ll keep her hanging on to it, sir, nevertheless and notwithstandin’ and all that, till you comes home covered with gore and glory. I may be wrong.”
He tumbled on deck. Then amid cheers, with flags flying and handkerchiefs waving, the good ship moved from the ghat into the swelling river.