Peter stroked the dark head buried in his lap, while Paul blew his nose violently in a yellow bandanna, and replied to Mr. Fogo.
“Very well, sir, so be et. There’s the key of Kit’s House yonder on the nail. Ef you likes to look over the place, one of us will follow you presently, and then, supposin’ et to be to your likin’, us can talk over terms.”
HOW AN ABSENT-MINDED MAN, THAT HATED WOMEN, TOOK A HOUSE BY THE WATER-SIDE, AND LIVED THEREIN WITH ONE SERVANT.
“Well, sir,” said Caleb Trotter, when the boat was pushed off, “what do ’ee think of ’em?”
Mr. Fogo, whose wits had been wool-gathering, came to himself with a start. “I think they are very good people.”
“You may say that! The likes o’ those Twins you won’t see again, not ef you live to be a hundred. Seems to me,” he went on reflectively, “that Natur’, when she turned out the fust, got so pleased wi’ herself that she was bound to try her hand at a dooplicity, just to relieve her feelin’s.”
“A dooplicity, sir, otherwise another of the same identical.”
“Oh, I see.”
“Iss, sir. ‘Tes like that rhyme about the Force o’ Natur’ what cudn’ no furder go, and you can’t do ’t agen, not ef you try all you know.”
“You are fond of poetry, I see,” said Mr. Fogo, with a smile.
“Puffec’ly dotes on et, sir.”
“Have you ever composed any yourself?”
“Once ’pon a time, sir,” said Caleb, pausing in his work, and leaning forward very mysteriously. “Ef you cares to hear, I don’t mind tellin’ ‘ee; on’y you must gi’ me your Davy you won’t let et out to nobody.”
Mr. Fogo gave the required promise.
“Well, ’twas in this way. Once ‘pon a time, me an’ old Joe Bonaday was workin’ a smack round from Bristol. The Betsy Ann was her name, No. 1077 o’ Troy. Joe was skipper, an’ me mate; there was a boy aboard for crew, but he don’t count. Well us got off Ilfrycombe one a’ternoon—August month et was, an’ pipin’ hot—when my blessed parlyment, says Molly Franky—”
“Who was she?”
“Another figger o’ speech, sir, that’s all. Well, as I was a-sayin’, on a sudden, lo and be’old! the breeze drops dead. Ef you’ll believe me, sir, ’twas calm as the Sar’gossa Sea. So there we was stuck—the sail not so much as flappin’—for the best part o’ two hour; at the end o’ which time (Joe not bein’ a convussational man beyond sayin’ ‘thankye’ when he got hes vittles) I was gettin’ a bit dumb-foundered for topicks to talk ’pon. ’Cos, as for the weather, there ’twas, an’, as Joe remarked, ‘twasn’ going to move any more for our discussin’ of et, nor yet cussin’ for that matter.”