The Harbor Master eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 236 pages of information about The Harbor Master.

Mr. Darling smiled.  “You are a smart man, George Wick,” he said.

The bully rounded into Witless Bay and worked up to the settlement at the head of it without accident.  Wick handed over his tobacco to Skipper Walsh; and then, with an eye on Mr. Darling, said he would call in a few days later for his trade of fish.  Darling nodded, and purchased tea, hard-bread and bacon from the skipper.  Later, he and George filled a small keg with water and put it aboard, and bought two sealing-guns and a supply of powder and slugs.  They headed down the bay at the first gray wash of dawn.  After three hours of hauling across the wind they rounded the southern headland of the bay.  They made an easting of more than a mile before heading due south.  Mr. Darling took the tiller now, and George manned the sheet.  Darling produced a pair of marine glasses and the chart which he had made from information received from Dick Lynch.  They skirted a lee-shore and had to beat up to windward again and again to clear themselves.  Before sunset they ran into a tiny, sheltered cove and made camp.

It was shortly after noon of the next day that Mr. Darling, diligently scrutinizing the shore through his glasses, saw something that caught his attention.  He edged the bully in and looked again.

“By heaven, it is a man’s leg!” he exclaimed.  He passed the glasses forward to Wick and pointed the direction.

“Sure,” said Wick.  “Sure, sir, it bes some poor divil wid a skinnywopper on his leg—­so it bain’t nobody from a wrack, ye kin lay to that.”

They ran the bully shoreward and lowered the sail.  Darling sprang to the land-wash and found the battered body of a man wedged tight between two icy rocks at the foot of the cliff.  It was frozen stiff; but it was evident that it had not always been frozen.  The crabs had found it, and even the heavy clothing was torn to strips.  Mr. Darling stooped and took a little, red-bound casket from the torn breast.  With his back to George Wick he opened it with trembling fingers.  The diamonds and rubies of Lady Harwood’s necklace flashed up at him!



Mr. John Darling stood spellbound for a full half-minute, gazing down at the flaming, flashing gems coiled in their silken bed.  He was aroused from his wonder and wild conjecture by the voice of George Wick.

“What bes the trouble, sir?” called the fisherman, who was busy fending the bully off the rocks.  “Who bes it, anyhow?  It bain’t no friend o’ yerself, sir, surely?”

Darling shut the casket and slipped it into an inner breast-pocket of his reefer.  He turned slowly toward the sea and the boat, with a studied expression of puzzled pity on his face.

“Some poor fellow who has stepped off the cliff,” he said.  “I never saw him before—­but the sight of him shook me a bit.  He has been here quite awhile, I should say—­yes, through thaw and frost, frost and thaw.  Aye, and the crabs have been at him, poor devil!  I suppose we should bury him; but there is no place here to dig a grave.”

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The Harbor Master from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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