Mary’s rosy cheeks deepened in color at the praise, and a shadow came out from the depths of her gray eyes. Mother Nolan saw all this, though she seemed to be very busy with getting poor Pat and his wooden leg into a chair.
Well, a punch was brewed, and Pat played on his fiddle, and Flora Lockhart sang as no one but herself ever sang before on that coast—yes, or anywhere else in the whole island of Newfoundland. The wonder of her singing even set young Cormick’s heart to aching with nameless and undreamed of aches. As for the skipper, he looked as if the fairies had caught him for sure!
DICK LYNCH MEETS MR. DARLING
In Chance Along the wintry days and weeks crawled by, with cold and thaw, wind, snow and fog. Flora Lockhart waited in vain for a reply to her letter. At last her suspicions were awakened by a word from Mother Nolan; so she wrote another letter and gave it to the old woman. The old woman gave it to Mary Kavanagh, and Mary in turn put it into the hands of one of the young men of the harbor, with instructions to take it to Witless Bay and from there send it out by mail. The young man promised to do all this, of course.
“An’ mind ye,” cautioned Mary, “don’t ye go an’ let the skipper know what ye bes up to.”
Now this young man was one of the dozen who wanted Mary Kavanagh for a wife. He was not brave, he was not honest; but he was as cunning as a fox. So he thought the matter over, and soon came to the conclusion that the game was not worth the candle. He was afraid of the skipper; and he was content that the girl from up-along should remain in the harbor and continue to blind the skipper’s heart to the charms of Mary Kavanagh. So he went quietly to the master, put the letter in his hands and told him what he knew of it. Dennis Nolan destroyed the letter, and told the young man to keep himself out of sight for the next three days. The infatuated skipper had not yet given up hope of winning the heart of the wonderful creature from up-along.
Late in March a French brig, bound for St. Pierre, went ashore on the Squid Rocks to the north of Chance Along. Only two of her crew reached the land-wash alive. They were powerful fellows, swarthy as Arabs, with gold rings in their ears, the devil in their hearts, and a smattering of many languages on their tongues. The gale that had driven the brig on the Squid Rocks had interrupted them in the hatching of a mutiny against their captain, mate and boatswain; for the brig’s cargo consisted of silks and wines for the smugglers of St. Pierre, and two chests of gold containing the half-year’s pay of the Governor, officials, and soldiers of the little island.