“Yes, sir, very well; at least I went half way to the post, when Mr. Walter Johnson overtook me on his bay horse, and stopped me to ask how Miss Grant was, and seeing the letter in my hand, he offered to drop it in the box for me as he rode by the post office. So as it was such a wet day I let him take it. Did I do wrong?”
“Well, I don’t quite know, but never mind, it saved you a drag in the wet, anyhow.”
The maid left the room, and then I gave it as my opinion that Walter Johnson had never posted the letters, and that to-morrow I would interview him on the subject.
Alec was like a fish out of water at all this “high-bobaree,” as he called it; but we now quieted down and spent a very happy evening together, with one or two neighbours, who having heard of my return, called in to pay their compliments.
That night I tossed and turned about feverishly, as my home-coming experience had been so strange, that I could do nothing but think and dream of it.
Walter Johnson was ever before me, and the more I thought of him and his underhand behaviour, the more I seemed to hate him, till at last I felt in quite a frenzy against him. I vowed to myself that in the morning I would see him, and if I could force him to confess his dastardly behaviour in not posting the letters to me, and in making love covertly to my affianced bride, I would thrash him soundly. My only fear was that I should do him some permanent bodily injury if he sneered at me, or in any way tried to ignore my right to put certain questions to him.
Towards morning my plans of vengeance were arrested by slumber, of which I was greatly in need.
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THE “HAPPY RETURN” INSPECTED—MORE OF MY FATHER’S GHOST—UNPACKING THE TREASURE—SEEK AN INTERVIEW WITH WALTER JOHNSON—TWO LETTERS.
At eight I arose refreshed and looked out of the window, and saw Alec and my father walking down to the “Happy Return,” so I slipped on my clothes and ran down to them.
Father was amazed to think we had made the voyage in such a craft, and said, “All’s well that ends well, my lad; but if you had been caught in a squall in the Channel, with a deeply laden boat like this, what do you think would have become of her crew?”
Then I explained how we had hugged first the French coast and then the English, going into port when we wanted; and how we had been favoured with fair winds and fine weather, which just pleased the old fellow. If anyone wanted an attentive listener let him broach the subject of ships and the sea, and he would at once have my dad as a most appreciative hearer. Shipwrecks and disasters at sea on the East Coast are, unfortunately, of only too frequent occurrence, and a large volume might be written of the daring deeds that have been performed in connection with them, which have come under my own observation.