“Well, that is all right,” said Doctor Walker, rising. “And if a little more should be needed, we must not let him go wrong for the want of a thousand or two. And now, Admiral, I’m off for my morning walk. Won’t you come too?”
“No, I am going into town.”
“Well, good-bye. I hope to have better news, and that all will come right. Good-bye, Mrs. Denver. I feel as if the boy were my own, and I shall not be easy until all is right with him.”
IN STRANGE WATERS.
When Doctor Walker had departed, the Admiral packed all his possessions back into his sea chest with the exception of one little brass-bound desk. This he unlocked, and took from it a dozen or so blue sheets of paper all mottled over with stamps and seals, with very large V. R.’s printed upon the heads of them. He tied these carefully into a small bundle, and placing them in the inner pocket of his coat, he seized his stick and hat.
“Oh, John, don’t do this rash thing,” cried Mrs. Denver, laying her hands upon his sleeve. “I have seen so little of you, John. Only three years since you left the service. Don’t leave me again. I know it is weak of me, but I cannot bear it.”
“There’s my own brave lass,” said he, smoothing down the grey-shot hair. “We’ve lived in honor together, mother, and please God in honor we’ll die. No matter how debts are made, they have got to be met, and what the boy owes we owe. He has not the money, and how is he to find it? He can’t find it. What then? It becomes my business, and there’s only one way for it.”
“But it may not be so very bad, John. Had we not best wait until after he sees these people to-morrow?”
“They may give him little time, lass. But I’ll have a care that I don’t go so far that I can’t put back again. Now, mother, there’s no use holding me. It’s got to be done, and there’s no sense in shirking it.” He detached her fingers from his sleeve, pushed her gently back into an arm-chair, and hurried from the house.
In less than half an hour the Admiral was whirled into Victoria Station and found himself amid a dense bustling throng, who jostled and pushed in the crowded terminus. His errand, which had seemed feasible enough in his own room, began now to present difficulties in the carrying out, and he puzzled over how he should take the first steps. Amid the stream of business men, each hurrying on his definite way, the old seaman in his grey tweed suit and black soft hat strode slowly along, his head sunk and his brow wrinkled in perplexity. Suddenly an idea occurred to him. He walked back to the railway stall and bought a daily paper. This he turned and turned until a certain column met his eye, when he smoothed it out, and carrying it over to a seat, proceeded to read it at his leisure.