“Wouldn’t she be the proud woman now, av she could see me!” he cried.
“Why don’t you get her out to live with you?” I asked.
He shook his head, “I’m a married man, Mr. —— bad luck to me, I’ve forgotten your name now!”
“I didn’t trouble you with it. Well, I hope you’ll go and see her before she dies.”
But when I came to think of it, I did not feel sure if that was what I wished. Not being a woman, how could I balance the choice of pain? How could I tell if it were better for her to be disappointed with every ship and every tide, still having faith in her own Micky, and hope of his coming, or for the tide and the ship to bring him with all his meanness upon the head she loved, a huge disappointment, once for all!
fair day at e’en.”
After leaving New York, we no longer hugged the coast. We stood right off, and to my great delight, I found we were going to put in at Bermuda for repairs. I never knew, but I always fancy that these were done cheaper there than at New York. Or it may merely have been because when we had been at sea two days the wretched Slut leaked so that, though we were pumping day and night, till we were nearly worn out, we couldn’t keep the wet from the gimcrack cargo.
Fortunately for us the weather was absolutely lovely, and though it was hot by day, we wore uncommonly little clothing, and “carried our change of air with us,” as Dennis said.
As to the nights, I never can forget the ideal beauty of the last three before we reached Bermuda. I had had no conception of what starlight can be and what stars can look like. These hanging lamps of the vast heavens seemed so strangely different from the stars that “twinkle, twinkle,” as the nursery book has it, through our misty skies at home. We were, in short, approaching the tropics. Very beautiful were the strange constellations of the midnight sky, the magic loveliness of the moonlight, and the phosphorescence of the warm waves, whilst the last exquisite touch of delight was given by the balmy air. By day the heat (especially as we had to work so hard in it) made one’s enjoyment less luxurious, but if my love for the sea had known no touch of disappointment on the cold swell of the northern Atlantic, it would have needed very dire discomfort to spoil the pleasure of living on these ever-varying blue waters, flecked with white foam and foam-like birds, through the clearness of which we now and then got a peep of a peacock-green dolphin, changing his colour with every leap and gambol, as if he were himself a wave.
Of living things (and, for that matter, of ships) we saw far less than I expected, though it was more than a fortnight from the time of our leaving Sandy Hook to the night we lay off to the east of the Bermudas—the warm lights from human habitations twinkling among the islands, and the cold light of the moon making the surf and coral reefs doubly clear against the dark waters—waiting, but scarcely wishing, for the day.