“No, I ain’t; me and Gramper’s fishermen now.”
“Your name is Flucker Johnstone, and your sister’s Christie, I think?” added the youth, enjoying the amusement of the young ladies about him.
“It’s Sammy Bowen, and hern’s Ruth.”
“Have you got a Boaz over there for her?”
“No, we’ve got a devil-fish, a real whacker.”
This unexpected reply produced a roar from the gentlemen, while the boy grinned good-naturedly, though without the least idea what the joke was. Pretty Miss Ellery, who had been told that she had “a rippling laugh,” rippled sweetly as she leaned over the railing to ask,
“Are those lilies in your pails? I want some if they are for sale.”
“Sister’ll fetch ’em round when she’s left the lobs. I ain’t got none; this is bait for them fellers.” And, as if reminded of business by the yells of several boys who had just caught sight of him, Sammy abruptly weighed anchor and ran before the wind toward the stable.
“Funny lot, these natives! Act as if they owned the place and are as stupid as their own fish,” said the youth in the white yachting suit, as he flung away his cigarette end.
“Don’t agree with you, Fred. I’ve known people of this sort all my life and a finer set of honest, hardworking, independent men I never met,—brave as lions and tender as women in spite of their rough ways,” answered the other young man, who wore blue flannel and had a gold band on his cap.
“Sailors and soldiers always stand by one another; so of course you see the best side of these fellows, Captain. The girls are fine creatures, I grant you; but their good looks don’t last long, more’s the pity!”
“Few women’s would with the life they lead, so full of hard work, suspense, and sorrow. No one knows till one is tried, how much courage and faith it takes to keep young and happy when the men one loves are on the great sea,” said quiet, gray-haired lady, as she laid her hand on the knee of the young man in blue with a look that made him smile affectionately at her, with his own brown hand on hers.
“Shouldn’t wonder if Ben Bowen was laid up, since the girl brings the fish. He’s a fine old fellow. I’ve been to No Man’s Land many a time blue-fishing with him; must ask after him,” said an elderly gentleman who was pacing to and fro yearning for the morning papers.
“We might go over to the island and have a chowder-party or a fish-fry some moonlight night. I haven’t been here for several years, but it used to be great fun, and I suppose we can do it now,” suggested Miss Ellery with the laugh.
“By Jove, we will! And look up Christie; ask her when she comes round,” said Mr. Fred, the youthful dude, untwining his languid legs as if the prospect put a little life into him.
“Of course we pay for any trouble we give; these people will do anything for money,” began Miss Ellery; but Captain John, as they called the sailor, held up his hand with a warning, “Hush! she’s coming,” as Ruth’s weather-beaten brown hat turned the corner.