“There is the Phantom getting under way,” the skipper said, as his turn up and down the deck brought him close to Frank.
“So she is. I saw her owner go ashore less than an hour ago.”
“Yes; he came on board again five minutes ago. The men began to bustle about directly he got on deck. I do hope they won’t put in again as long as we are here. The hands are as savage as bulls, and though they remembered what you told them, and there were no rows on shore last night, I shall be glad when we ain’t in the same port with the Phantom, for I am sure that if two or three men of each crew were to drop in to the same pub, there would be a fight in no time. And really I could not blame them. It is not in human nature to lose a race like that without feeling very sore over it. I hope she is off. Anyhow, as we are going to Cowes this evening, it will be a day or two before the hands are likely to run against each other, and that will give them time to cool down a bit.
“There is one thing. I bet the Phantom won’t enter against us at Cowes. If we were to give them a handsome beating there, it would show everyone that they would have had no chance of winning the Cup if it had not been for the accident.”
“No, I don’t suppose that we shall meet again this season, and indeed I don’t know that I shall do any more racing myself, except that I shall feel it as a sort of duty to enter for the Squadron’s open race.
“I think, by the course she is laying, that the Phantom is off to Southampton. Perhaps she is going to meet somebody there. Anyhow, she is not likely to be back until we have started for Cowes.”
Frank sat for some time with the paper in his hand, but, although he glanced at it occasionally, his mind took in nothing of its contents. Again and again he watched the Phantom. Yes, she was certainly going to Southampton Water.
From what Bertha had said to him the evening before, he had received a strong hope that she would reject Carthew. Nothing was more probable than that he should have gone ashore that morning, fresh from his victory, to put the question to her, and his speedy return and his order to make sail as soon as he got on deck certainly pointed to the fact that she had refused him.
A load of care seemed to be lifted from Frank’s mind. From the first, when he had found that Carthew was a visitor at Lady Greendale’s, he had been uncomfortable. He knew the man’s persevering nature, and recognised his power of pleasing when he desired to do so. He was satisfied that, when he himself was refused, the reason Bertha gave him was, as far as she knew, the true one; but he had since thought that possibly she might then, although unsuspected by herself, have been to some extent under the spell of Carthew’s influence. When she had declined two unexceptional offers, he had been almost convinced that Carthew, when the time came, would receive a more favourable answer. But he had watched them closely on the few occasions when he had seen them together in society, and, certain as he had felt at other times, he had come away somewhat puzzled, and said to himself: