“Listen!” she cried. “Isn’t that an automobile comin’?”
It undoubtedly was. Apparently more than one motor car was approaching along the sandy road leading from the village to the lighthouse.
“Who in the world is it?” asked Martha, drawing aside the window shade and trying to peer out. “Lulie, you don’t think it can be—”
Lulie looked troubled, but she shook her head.
“No, it can’t be,” she declared. “The seance was to be away over in Trumet and it is sure to last hours. They couldn’t have gone as far as that and—”
She was interrupted. From the dining room came the sound of rushing feet. Primmie burst into the room. She was wildly excited.
“My Lord of Isrul, Miss Martha!” she cried. “It’s them come back. It is, it is, it is!”
“Who? Who, Primmie?” demanded Miss Phipps. “Stop flappin’ your wings—arms, I mean. Who’s come back?”
“The sperit folks. All hands of ’em, Marietta and ’Phelia Beebe and Abe Hardin’ and Cap’n Jeth and all. And—and they’re comin’ in here—and here’s Nelson right where Cap’n Jeth can catch him. Oh, my savin’ soul!”
From behind her agitated shoulder peered the countenance of Mr. Bloomer.
“She’s right, Lulie,” observed Zach, with calm emphasis. “The whole crew of ghost seiners is back here in port again, Cap’n Jeth and all. Better beat for open water, hadn’t you, Nelse, eh? Be the divil to pay if you don’t. . . . Godfreys, yes!”
The announcement exploded like a bomb in the midst of the little group in the light keeper’s sitting room. Lulie turned a trifle pale and looked worried and alarmed. Martha uttered an exclamation, dropped the window shade and turned toward her young friend. Mr. Bangs looked from one to the other and was plainly very anxious to help in some way but not certain how to begin. Of the four Nelson Howard, the one most concerned, appeared least disturbed. It was he who spoke first and his tone was brisk and businesslike.
“Well, Lulie,” he said, “what do you want me to do? Shall I stay and face it out? I don’t mind. There’s nothing for us to be ashamed of, you know.”
But Lulie shook her head. “Oh, no, no, Nelson,” she cried, “you mustn’t. You had better go, right away. There will be a scene, and with all those people here—”
Miss Phipps put in a word. “But perhaps Nelson’s right, after all, Lulie,” she said. “There is no reason in the world why he shouldn’t come to see you, and maybe he and Cap’n Jeth might as well have a plain understandin’ now as any time.”
Miss Hallett’s agitation increased. “Oh, no,” she cried, again. “Don’t you see it mustn’t happen, on father’s account? You know how he—you know how excited and—and almost violent he gets when any one crosses him nowadays. I’m afraid something might happen to him. I’m afraid. Please go, Nelson, for my sake.”