“Don’t forget the letters. Uppee sleevee, old Tea-tray!” roared Dennis.
Ah-Fo flirted them out once more. “Ha! ha! ha!” laughed he, and went finally away.
“Das Haar trennt.”—German Proverb.
We three were not able to be present at Alfonso’s wedding, for the very good reason that we were no longer in British Guiana. But the day we sailed for Halifax, Alfonso and his Georgiana came down to see us on the stelling. “Georgiana” was as black as a coal, but Alfonso had not boasted without reason of the cut of her clothes. She had an upright pretty figure, and her dress fitted it to perfection. It was a white dress, and she had a very gorgeous parasol, deeply fringed, and she wore a kerchief of many colours round her shoulders, and an equally bright silk one cleverly twisted into a little cap on her woolly head. Her costume was, in short, very gay indeed.
“Out of all the bounds of nature and feminine modesty,” said Alister.
“Of your grandmother’s nature and modesty, maybe,” retorted Dennis. “But she’s no gayer than the birds of the neighbourhood, anyway, and she’s as neat, which is more than ye can say for many a young lady that’s not so black in the face.”
In short, Dennis approved of Alfonso’s bride, and I think the lady was conscious of it. She had a soft voice, and very gentle manners, and to Dennis she chatted away so briskly that I wondered what she could have found to talk about, till I discovered from what Dennis said to Alister afterwards, that the subject of her conversation was Alfonso’s professional prospects.
“Look here, Alister dear,” said Dennis; “don’t be bothering yourself whether she employs your aunt’s dressmaker or no, but when you’re about half-way up that ladder of success that I’ll never be climbing (or I’d do it myself), say a good word for Alfonso to some of these Scotch captains with big ships, that want a steward and stewardess. That’s what she’s got her eye on for Alfonso, and Alfonso has been a good friend to us.”
“I’ll mind,” said Alister. And he did. For (to use his own expression) our Scotch comrade was “aye better than his word.”
Dennis O’Moore’s cousin behaved very kindly to us. He was not only willing to find Dennis the money which the squire had failed to send, but he would have advanced my passage-money to Halifax. I declined the offer for two reasons. In the first place, Uncle Henry had only spoken of paying my passage from Halifax to England, and I did not feel that I was entitled to spend any money that I could avoid spending; and, secondly, as Alister had to go north before the mast, I chose to stick by my comrade, and rough it with him. This decided Dennis. If Alister and I were going as seamen, he would not “sneak home as a passenger.”
The elderly cousin did not quite approve of this, but the engineer officer warmly supported Dennis, and he was also upheld in a quarter where praise was still dearer to him, as I knew, for he took me into his confidence, when his feelings became more than he could comfortably keep to himself.