“Designed her myself, Brooks. Eh, but your friend Dan’l Coffin has an eye for the shape of a boat, though no hand at pencilling, nor what you might call the cabinet-making part of the job. There’s a young carpenter lives up the court here—a cleverish fellow. I got him to help me over the niceties, you understand; but on my lines, lad. Climb up and cast your eye over the well I’ve put in her. That’s for the treasure; and there’ll be side-lockers round the stern-sheets, and a locker forward big enough to hold a man. The fellow don’t guess their meanin’, an’ I don’t let him guess. He thinks they’re for air-compartments, to keep her buoyant; says she’ll need more ballast than I’ve allowed her, and wants to know what sense there is in buildin’ a boat so floatey. We’ll ballast her, Brooks; all in good time. We’ll ship her aboard the Kingston packet, bein’ of a size that she’ll carry comfortable as deck-cargo; and soon as we get to Kingstown we’ll—”
“Avast there, cap’n!” interrupted a cheerful voice; and I glanced up, to see a sandy-haired youth with an extremely good-natured face nodding at us across the coping of the party-wall. “Avast there! Busy with visitors, eh? No? Well, I’ve been thinkin’ it over, and I’ll take sixpence an hour.”
“I don’t give a ha’penny over fippence,” answered Captain Coffin, patently taken aback by the interruption.
“Fivepence, then, as a pro-temporary accommodation,” said the youth, and, throwing a leg over the wall, heaved himself over and into the back yard. “But it’s taking advantage of me; and you know that if I weren’t in love and in a hurry it wouldn’t happen.”
“You can take fippence, or go to the devil!” said Captain Coffin. “By the way, Brooks, this is my assistant, Mr. George Goodfellow.”
MY FIRST GLIMPSE OF THE CHART.
“Good day,” said Mr. George Goodfellow, nodding affably. “I hope I see you well.”
“Pretty well, thank you, sir,” I answered.
“And where might you come from, makin’ so bold?”
I told him that I was a boarder at Mr. Stimcoe’s.
“Then,” said Mr. Goodfellow, taking off his coat and extracting a pencil and a two-foot rule from a pocket at the back of his small-clothes, “I’m sorry for you. What a female!” He chose out a long and flexible plank from a stack laid lengthwise in the alley-way along the base of the wall, lifted it, set it on three trestles, and began to measure and mark it off. “She’s calculated to destroy one’s belief in human nature, that’s what she is! Fairly knocks the gilt off. Sometimes I can’t hardly realize that she and Martha belong to the same sex. Martha is my young woman.”
“Yes. At present she’s living in Plymouth, assistant in a ham-and-beef shop, as you turn down to the Barbican. That’s her conscientiousness, instead of sitting at home and living on her parents. Don’t tell me that women—by which I mean some women—ain’t the equals of men.