“What puzzled us most was what relation Lobelia was to the skipper. She wa’n’t his wife, ’cause he’d said so, and she didn’t look enough like him to be his mother or sister. But as we was being took off in the Dutchman’s yawl, Hammond thumps the thwart with his fist and says he:
“‘I’ve got it!’ he says; ’she’s ‘is mother-in-law!’
“‘’Course she is!’ says I. ‘We might have known it!’”
Cap’n Jonadab said that the South Seas and them islands was full of queer happenings, anyhow. Said that Eri’s yarn reminded him of one that Jule Sparrow used to tell. There was a Cockney in that yarn, too, and a South Sea woman and a schooner. But in other respects the stories was different.
“You all know Wash Sparrow, here in Wellmouth,” says the Cap’n. “He’s the laziest man in town. It runs in his family. His dad was just the same. The old man died of creeping paralysis, which was just the disease he’d pick out to die of, and even then he took six years to do it in. Washy’s brother Jule, Julius Caesar Sparrow, he was as no-account and lazy as the rest. When he was around this neighborhood he put in his time swapping sea lies for heat from the post-office stove, and the only thing that would get him livened up at all was the mention of a feller named ‘Rosy’ that he knew while he was seafaring, way off on t’other side of the world. Jule used to say that ’twas this Rosy that made him lose faith in human nature.
“The first time ever Julius and Rosy met was one afternoon just as the Emily—that was the little fore-and-aft South Sea trading schooner Jule was in—was casting off from the ramshackle landing at Hello Island. Where’s Hello Island? Well, I’ll tell you. When you get home you take your boy’s geography book and find the map of the world. About amidships of the sou’western quarter of it you’ll see a place where the Pacific Ocean is all broke out with the measles. Yes; well, one of them measle spots is Hello Island.
“’Course that ain’t the real name of it. The real one is spelt with four o’s, three a’s, five i’s, and a peck measure of h’s and x’s hove in to fill up. It looks like a plate of hash and that’s the way it’s pronounced. Maybe you might sing it if ’twas set to music, but no white man ever said the whole of it. Them that tried always broke down on the second fathom or so and said ’Oh, the hereafter!’ or words to that effect. ’Course the missionaries see that wouldn’t do, so they twisted it stern first and it’s been Hello Island to most folks ever since.