Jenny instantly became pale.
“Perhaps,” suggested the Secretary, “your best way will be to take a carriage and drive down, at once, to the Navy Yard. Shall I direct the messenger to call a carriage for you?”
“I will thank you to do so,” replied Jenny, faintly.
The carriage was soon at the door. Jenny was much agitated when she arrived at the Navy Yard. To her question as to whether the ship —— had arrived, she was pointed to a large vessel which lay moored at the dock. How she mounted its side she hardly knew; but, in what seemed scarcely an instant of time, she was standing on the deck. To an officer who met her, as she stepped on board, she asked for Mark Clifford.
“What is he? A sailor or marine?”
“There is no such person on board, I believe,” said the officer.
Poor Jenny staggered back a few paces, while a deadly paleness overspread her face. As she leaned against the side of the vessel for support, a young man, dressed as a sailor, ascended from the lower deck. Their eyes met, and both sprung towards each other.
“Jenny! Jenny! is it you!” fell passionately from his lips, as he caught her in his arms, and kissed her fervently. “Bless you! Bless you, Jenny! This is more than I had hoped for,” he added, as he gazed fondly into her beautiful young face.
“They said you were not here,” murmured Jenny, “and my heart was in despair.”
“You asked for Mark Clifford?”
“I am not known in the service by that name. I entered it as Edward James.”
This meeting, occurring as it did, with many spectators around, and they of the ruder class, was so earnest and tender, yet with all, so mutually respectful and decorous, that even the rough sailors were touched by the manner and sentiment of the interview; and mole than one eye grew dim.
Not long did Jenny linger on the deck of the ——. Now that she had found Mark, her next thought was to secure his discharge.
It was little more than half an hour after the Secretary of the Navy parted with Jenny, ere she entered his office again; but now with her beautiful face flushed and eager.
“I have found him!” she exclaimed; “I knew he was on board this ship!”
The Secretary’s interest had been awakened by the former brief interview with Jenny, and when she came in with the announcement, he was not only affected with pleasure, but his feelings were touched by her manner. “How is it, then,” he inquired, “that his name is not to be found in the list of her crew?”
“He entered the service under the name of Edward James.”
“Ah! that explains it.”
“And now, sir,” said Jenny, in a voice so earnest and appealing, that her auditor felt like granting her desire without a moment’s reflection: “I have come to entreat you to give me his release.”