The artist watched the comedy with amused disapproval. He suspected Uncle William of trifling away the time. The spring was fairly upon them, and the Andrew Halloran still swung at anchor alone at the foot of the cliff. Whenever the artist broached the subject of a new boat, Uncle William turned it aside with a jest and trotted off to his clam-basket. The artist brooded in silence over his indebtedness and the scant chance of making it good. He got out canvas and brushes and began to paint, urged by a vague sense that it might bring in something, some time. When he saw that Uncle William was pleased, he kept on. The work took his mind off himself, and he grew strong and vigorous. Andy, coming upon him one day on the beach, looked at his brown face almost in disapproval. “You’re a-feelin’ putty well, ain’t you?” he said grudgingly.
“I am,” responded the artist. He mixed the color slowly on his palette. A new idea had come into his head. He turned it over once and then looked at Andy. The look was not altogether encouraging. But he brought it out quickly. “You’re a rich man, aren’t you, Andy?”
Andy, pleased and resentful, hitched the leg of his trousers. “I dunno’s I be,” he said slowly. “I’ve got money—some. But it takes a pile to live on.”
“Yes?” The artist stood away from his canvas, looking at it. “You and Uncle William are pretty good friends, aren’t you?”
“Good enough,” replied Andy. His mouth shut itself securely.
The artist did not look at it. He hastened on. “He misses his boat a good deal.”
“I know that,” snapped Andy. His green eye glowered at the bay. “Ef it hadn’t been for foolishness he’d hev it now.”
The artist worked on quietly. “I lost his boat for him, Andy. I know that as well as you do. You needn’t rub it in.”
“What you goin’ to do about it?” demanded Andy.
“I’m goin’ to ask you to lend me the money for a new one.”
“No, sir!” Andy put his hands in his pockets.
“I’ll give you my note for it,” said the artist.
“I do’ want your note,” retorted Andy. “I’d rather have William’s and his ain’t wuth the paper it’s writ on.”
The artist flushed under his new color. “I don’t know just why you say that. I shall pay all I owe—in time.”
“Well, you may, and then again you mayn’t,” said Andy. His tone was less crusty. “All I know is, you’ve cost William a heap o’ money, fust and last. You’ve et a good deal, and you lost the Jennie, and he had to borrow a hunderd of me to go to New York with.” Andy spoke with unction. He was relieving his mind.
The artist looked up. “I didn’t know that.” He began to gather up his materials.
“What you goin’ to do?” asked Andy.
“I’m going to find Uncle William,” said the artist.
Andy fidgeted a little. He looked off at the water. “I wa’n’t findin’ no fault,” he said uneasily. “I was just explainin’ why I couldn’t resk any more o’ my money on him.”