She looked up at him with a little smile.
“That would, doubtless, be all very pleasant for you,” she said, “and in order that you might be pleased, you would have her give up so much. That is the way with men! Now, here am I, born in the very end of the last century, and having had, consequently, no good out of that, and with but seventeen years in this century, and most of it passed in girlhood and in school; and now, when the world might open before me for a little, here you come along and tell me all that you would like to have, and that you would like me to give up.”
“But you should not think,” said he, and that was all he said, for at that moment Kate Bonnet felt a little jerk at the end of her line, and then a good strong pull.
“I have a fish!” she cried, and sprang to her feet. Then, with a swoop, she threw into the midst of the weeds and wild flowers a struggling fish which Martin hastened to take from the hook.
“A fine fellow!” he cried, “and he has arrived just in time to make a dainty dish for your supper.”
“Ah, no!” she said, winding the line about her rod; “if I were to take that fish to the house, it would sorely disturb Madam Bonnet. She would object to my catching it; she would object to having it prepared for the table; she would object to having it eaten, when she had arranged that we should eat something else. No, I will give it to you, Master Newcombe; I suppose in your house you can cook and eat what you please.”
“Yes,” said he; “but how delightful it would be if we could eat it together.”
“Meaning,” said she, “that I should never eat other fish than those from this river. No, sir; that may not be. I have a notion that the first foreign fish I shall eat will be found in the island of Jamaica, for my father said, that possibly he might first take a trip there, where lives my mother’s brother, whom we have not seen for a long time. But, as I told you before, nobody must know this. And now I must go to my supper, and you must take yours home with you.”
“And I am sure it will be the sweetest fish,” he said, “that was ever caught in all these waters. But I beg, before you go, you will promise me one thing.”
“Promise you!” said she, quite loftily.
“Yes,” he answered; “tell me that, no matter where you go, you will not leave Bridgetown without letting me know of it?”
“I will not, indeed,” said she; “and if it is to Jamaica we go, perhaps my father—but no, I don’t believe he will do that. He will be too much wrapped up in his ship to want for company to whom he must attend and talk.”
“Ah! there would be no need of that!” said Newcombe, with a lover’s smile.
She smiled back at him.
“Good-night!” she said, “and see to it that you eat your fish to-night while it is so fresh.” Then she ran up the winding path to her home.
He stood and looked after her until she had disappeared among the shrubbery, after which he walked away.