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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesFair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 13
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Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 13 Post by :brennan Category :Long Stories Author :Joseph Crosby Lincoln Date :May 2012 Read :1239

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Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 13


So Judah was obliged to postpone the telling of his most important news item. But the following morning when, looking heavy-eyed and haggard, as if he had slept but little, Captain Kendrick limped into the kitchen for breakfast, Mr. Cahoon served that item with the salt mackerel and fried potatoes. It was surprising, too--at least Sears found it so. Egbert Phillips, so Judah declared, had given up his rooms at the Central House and had gone, household goods and all, to board and lodge at Joel Macomber's. He was occupying, so Judah said, the very room that Sears himself had occupied when he was taken to his sister's home after the railway accident.

The captain could scarcely believe it. He had not seen Sarah Macomber since the day following the Foam Flake's amazing cut-up on the Orham road, when she had come, in much worriment and anxiety, to learn how badly he was hurt. Her call had been brief, and, as he had succeeded in convincing her that the extra twist to his legs would have no serious effect, she had not called since. But Sarah-Mary, the eldest girl, had brought a basket containing a cranberry pie, a half-peck, more or less, of molasses cookies, and two tumblers of beach-plum jelly, and Sarah-Mary had said nothing to her Uncle Sears about the magnificent Mr. Phillips coming to live with them.

"I guess not, Judah," said the captain. "Probably you've got it snarled some way. He may have gone there to supper with George Kent and the rest of the yarn sprouted from that."

But Judah shook his head. "No snarl about it, Cap'n Sears," he declared. "Come straight this did, straight as a spare topmast. Joe Macomber told me so himself. Proud of it, too, Joe was; all kind of swelled up with it, like a pizened shark."

"But why on earth should he pick out Sarah's? Why didn't he go to Naomi Newcomb's; she keeps a regular boardin'-house? Sarah can't take any more boarders. Her house is overloaded as it is. That was why I didn't stay there. No, I don't believe it, Judah. Joel was just comin' up to blow, that's all. He's a regular puffin'-pig for blowin'."

But Sarah called that very forenoon and confirmed the news. She had agreed to take Mr. Phillips into her home. Not only that, but he was already there.

"I know you must think it's sort of funny, Sears," she said, looking rather embarrassed and avoiding her brother's eye. "If anybody had told me a week ago that I should ever take another boarder I should have felt like askin' 'em if they thought I was crazy. I suppose you think I am, don't you?"

"Not exactly, Sarah--not yet."

"But you think I most likely will be before I'm through? Well, maybe, but I'm goin' to risk it. You see, I--well, we need the money, for one thing."

Sears stirred in his chair.

"I could have let you have a little money every once in a while, Sarah," he said. "It's a shame that it would have to be so little. If those legs ever do get shipshape and I get to sea again----"

She stopped him. "I haven't got so yet awhile that I have to take anybody's money for nothin'," she said sharply. "There, there, Sears! I know you'd give me every cent you had if I'd let you. I'll tell you why I took Mr. Phillips. He came to supper with George the other night and stayed all the evenin'. He's one of the most interestin' men I ever met in my life. Not any more interestin' than you are, of course," she added, loyally, "but in--in a different way."

"Um ... yes. I shouldn't wonder."

"Yes, he is. And he liked my supper, and said so. Ate some of everything and praised it, and was just as--as common and everyday and sociable, not a mite proud or--like that."

"Why in the devil should he be?"

"Why--why, I don't know why he shouldn't. Lots of folks who know as much as he does and have been everywhere and known the kind of people he knows--they would be stuck up--yes, and are. Look at Cap'n Elkhanah Wingate and his wife."

"I don't want to look at 'em. How do you know how much this Phillips knows?"

"How do I _know_? Why, Sears, you ought to hear him talk. I never heard such talk. The children just--just hung on his words, as they say. And he was so nice to them. And Joel and George Kent they think he's the greatest man they ever saw. Oh, all hands in Bayport like him."

"Humph! When he was here before, teachin' singin' school, he wasn't such a Grand Panjandrum. At least, I never heard that he was."

"Sears, you don't like him, do you? I'm real surprised. Yes, and--and sorry. Why don't you like him?"

Her brother laughed. "I didn't say I didn't like him, Sarah," he replied. "Besides, what difference would one like more or less make? I don't know him very well."

"But he likes you. Why, he said he didn't know when he had met a man who gave him such an impression of--of strength and character as you did. He said that right at our supper table. I tell you I was proud when he said it about my brother."

So Sears had not the heart to utter more skepticism. He encouraged Sarah to tell more of her arrangements with the great man. He was, it appeared, to have not only the bedroom which Sears had occupied, but also the room adjoining.

"One will be his bedroom," explained Mrs. Macomber, "and the other his sittin' room, sort of. His little suite, he calls 'em. He is movin' the rest of his things in to-day."

Seers looked at her. "Two rooms!" he exclaimed. "He's to have _two rooms in your house! For heaven sakes, Sarah, where do the rest of you live; in the cellar? Goin' to let the children sleep in the cistern?"

She explained. It was a complicated process, but she had worked it out. Lemuel and Edgar had always had a room together, but now Bemis was to have a cot there also. "And Joey, of course, is only a baby, his bed is in our room, Joel's and mine. And Sarah-Mary and Aldora, they are same as they have been."

"Yes, yes, but that doesn't explain the extra room, his sitting room. Where does that come from?"

She hesitated a moment. "Well--well, you see," she said, "there wasn't any other bedroom except the one George hires, and he is goin' to stay for a while longer anyway. At first it didn't seem as if I could let Mr. Phillips have the sittin' room he wanted. But at last Joel and I thought it out. We don't use the front parlor hardly any, and there is the regular sittin' room left for us anyway, so----"

"Sarah Kendrick Macomber, do you mean to tell me you've let this fellow have your _front parlor_?"

"Why--why, yes. We don't hardly ever use it, Sears. I don't believe we've used that parlor--really opened the blinds and used it, I mean--since Father Macomber's funeral, and that was--let me see--over six years ago."

Her brother slowly shook his head. "The judge was right," he declared. "He certainly was right. Smoothness isn't any name for it."

"Sears, what are you talkin' about? I can't understand you. I thought you would be glad to think such a splendid man as he is was goin' to live with us. To say nothin' of my makin' all this extra money. Of course, if you don't want me to do it, I won't. I wouldn't oppose you, Sears, for anything in this world. But I--I must say----"

He laid his hand on hers. "There, Sarah," he broke in. "Don't pay too much attention to me. I'm crochetty these days, have a good deal on my mind. If you think takin' this Phillips man aboard is a good thing for you, I'm glad. How much does he pay you a week?"

She told him. It was more than fair rate for those days.

"Humph!" he observed. "Well, Sarah, good luck to you. I hope you get it."

"Get it! Why, of course I'll get it, Sears. Its all arranged. And I want you and Mr. Phillips to know each other real well. I'm goin' to tell him he must call again to see you."

"Eh?... Oh, all right, Sarah. You can tell him, if you want to."

After she had gone he thought the matter over. Surely Mr. Egbert Phillips was a gentleman of ability along certain lines. His sister Sarah was a sensible woman, she was far far from being a susceptible sentimentalist. Yet she was already under the Phillips spell. Either Judge Knowles was right--very, very much right--or he was overwhelmingly wrong. If left to Bayport opinion as a jury there was no question concerning the verdict. Egbert would be triumphantly acquitted.

Sears, however, did not, at this time, spare much thought to the Phillips riddle. He had other, and, it seemed to him, more disturbing matters to deal with. The quarrel between Elizabeth Berry and young Kent was one of those, for he felt that, in a way, he was the cause of it. George had, of course, behaved like a foolish boy and had been about as tactless as even a jealous youth could be, but there was always the chance that some one else had sowed the seeds of jealousy in his mind. He determined to see Kent, explain, have a frank and friendly talk, and, if possible, set everything right--everything between the two young people, that is. But when, on his first short walk along the road, he happened to meet Kent, the latter paid no attention to his hail and strode past without speaking. Sears shouted after him, but the shout was unheeded.

Elizabeth was almost as contrary. When he attempted to lead the conversation to George, she would not follow. When he mentioned the young man's name she changed the subject. At last when, his sense of guilt becoming too much for him, he began to defend Kent, she interrupted the defense.

"Cap'n Kendrick," she said, "I understand why you take his part. And it is like you to do it. But when you begin to blame yourself or me then I shan't listen."

"Blame _you_! Why, Elizabeth, I had no idea of blamin' you. The whole thing is just a--a misunderstandin' between you and George, and I want to straighten it out, that's all. If anybody is to blame I really think I am. I should have thought more about--about, what he calls appearances; that is, perhaps I should."

She lost patience. "Oh, do stop!" she cried. "You know you are talking nonsense."

"Well but, Elizabeth, I feel--wicked. I wouldn't for the world be the cause of a break between you two. If that should happen because of me I couldn't rest easy."

This conversation took place in the smaller sitting room of the Fair Harbor, the room which she and her mother used as a sort of office. She had been standing by the window looking out. Now she turned and faced him.

"Cap'n Kendrick," she asked, "just what do you mean by a 'break' between George Kent and me? Are you under the impression that he and I were--were engaged?"

"Why--why, weren't you?"

"No. Why should you think we were?"

"Well--why, there seemed to be a sort of general idea that--that you were. People--Bayport folks seemed to think--seemed to think----"

She stamped her foot. "They don't think, most of them, they only talk," she declared. "_I certainly never said we were. And he didn't either, did he?"

Kent had said that he and Elizabeth were engaged--practically--whatever that might mean. But the captain thought it wisest just then to forget.

"Why--no, I guess not," he answered.

"Of course he didn't ... Cap'n Kendrick. I--oh, you might as well understand this clearly. I have known George for a long time. I liked him. For a time I thought--well I thought perhaps I liked him enough to--to like him a lot more But I was mistaken. He--he kept doing things that I didn't like. Oh, they had nothing to do with me. They were things that didn't seem--what you would call square and aboveboard. Little things that.... It was about one of these that we disagreed just before the 'Down by the Sea' theatricals. But he explained that and--and--well, he can be so nice and likable, that I forgave him. But lately there have been others. He has changed. And now all this foolishness, and.... There, Cap'n Kendrick, I didn't mean to say so much. But I want you to understand, and to tell every one else who talks about George Kent and me being engaged, that there never was any such engagement."

It would be rather difficult to catalogue all of Sears Kendrick's feelings as he listened to this long speech. They were mixed feelings, embarrassment, sorrow, relief--and a most unwarranted and unreasonable joy. But he repressed the relief and joy and characteristically returned to self-chastisement.

"Yes--oh--I see," he faltered. "I guess likely I didn't understand exactly. But just the same I don't know but George was right in some things he said. I shouldn't wonder if I had been careless about--about appearances. I don't know but--but my seein' you so much--and our goin' to Orham together might set some folks talkin'. Of course it doesn't seem hardly possible that anybody could be such fools, considerin' you--and then considerin' me--but----"

She would not hear any more. "I don't propose to consider _them_," she declared with fierce indignation. "I shall see you or any one else just as often as I please. Now that you are to take care of my money for me I have no doubt I shall see you a great deal oftener than I ever did. And if those--those talkative persons don't like it, they may do the next best thing.... No, that is enough, Cap'n Kendrick. It is settled."

And it did appear to be. If anything, she saw him oftener than before, seemed to take a mischievous delight in being seen with him, in running to the Minot place on errands connected with the Harbor business, and in every way defying the gossips.

And gossip accepted the challenge. From the time when it became known that Sears Kendrick was to be the trustee of Elizabeth Berry's twenty-thousand dollar legacy the tide of public opinion, already on the turn, set more and more strongly against him. And, as it ebbed for Captain Sears, it rose higher and higher for that genteel martyr, Mr. Egbert Phillips.

Sears could not help noticing the change. It was gradual, but it was marked. He had never had many visitors, but occasionally some of the retired sea dogs among the town-folk would drop in to swap yarns, or a younger captain, home from a voyage, would call on him at the Minot place. The number of those calls became smaller, then they ceased. Doctor Sheldon was, of course, as jolly and friendly as ever, and Bradley, when he drove over from Orham on a legal errand, made it a point to come and see him. But, aside from those, and Sarah Macomber, and, of course, Elizabeth Berry, no one came.

When he walked, as he did occasionally now that his legs were stronger--they had quite recovered from the strain put upon them by the Foam Flake's outbreak--up and down the sidewalk from Judge Knowles' corner to the end of the Fair Harbor fence, the people whom he met seldom stopped to chat with him. Or, if they did, the chat was always brief and, on their part, uneasy. They acted, so it seemed to him, guilty, as if they were doing something they should not do, something they were not at all anxious to have people see them do. And when he drove with Judah down to the store the group there no longer hailed him with shouts of welcome. They spoke to him, mentioned the weather perhaps, grinned in embarrassed fashion, but they did not ask him to sit down and join them. And when his back was turned, when he left the store, he had the feeling that there were whispered comments--and sneers.

It was all impalpable, there was nothing openly hostile, no one said anything to which he could take exception--he only wished they would; but he felt the hostility nevertheless.

And among the feminine element it was even more evident. When he went to church, as he did semi-occasionally, as he walked down the aisle he felt that the rustle of Sunday black silks and bonnet strings which preceded and followed him was a whisper of respectable and self-righteous disapproval. It was not all imagination, he caught glimpses of sidelong looks and headshakes which meant something, and that something not applause. Once the Reverend Mr. Dishup took for his text Psalm xxxix, the sixth verse, "He heapeth up riches and knoweth not who shall gather them." The sermon dealt with, among others, the individual who in his lifetime amassed wealth, not knowing that, after his death, other individuals scheming and unscrupulous would strive to divert that wealth from the rightful heirs for their own benefit. It was a rather dull sermon and Sears, his attention wandering, happened to turn his head suddenly and look at the rest of the congregation. It seemed to him that at least a quarter of the heads in that congregation were turned in his direction. Now, meeting his gaze, they swung back, to stare with noticeable rigidity at the minister.

Over at the Fair Harbor his comings and goings were no longer events to cause pleasurable interest and excitement. The change there was quite as evident. Miss Snowden and Mrs. Brackett, leaders of their clique, always greeted him politely enough, but they did not, individually or collectively, ask his advice or offer theirs. There were smiles, significant nods, knowing looks exchanged, especially, he thought or imagined, when he and Miss Berry were together. Cordelia Berry was almost cold toward him. Yet, so far as he knew, he had done nothing to offend her.

He spoke to Elizabeth about her mother's attitude toward him. She said it was his imagination.

"It may be," she said, "that you don't consult her quite enough about Fair Harbor matters, Cap'n Kendrick. Mother is sensitive, she is matron here, you know; perhaps we haven't paid as much deference to her opinion as we should. Poor mother, she does try so hard, but she isn't fitted for business, and knows it."

That Sunday, after his return from church, the captain asked Judah a point blank question.

"Judah," he said, "I want you to tell me the truth. What is the matter with me, nowadays? The whole ship's company here in Bayport are givin' me the cold shoulder. Don't tell me you haven't noticed it; a blind man could notice it. What's wrong with me? What have I done? Or what do they say I've done?"

Judah was very much embarrassed. His trouble showed in his face above the whiskers. He had been bending over the cookstove singing at the top of his lungs the interminable chantey dealing with the fortunes of one Reuben Ranzo.

"'Ranzo was no sailor,
Ranzo, boys, Ranzo!
Ranzo was a tailor,
Ranzo, boys, Ranzo!

"'Oh, poor Reuben Ranzo!
_Ranzo_, boys, Ranzo!
Hurrah for Reuben Ranzo!
_Ranzo_, boys, _Ranzo_!

"'Ranzo was no sailor,
Ranzo, boys, Ranzo!
He shipped on board a whaler,
Ranzo, boys, Ranzo!'"

And so on, forever and forever. Judah had reached the point where:

"They set him holy-stonin',
Ranzo, boys, Ranzo!
And cared not for his groanin',
Ranzo, boys, Ranzo!

"_'Oh_, poor Reuben Ranzo!
_Ranzo_, boys, Ranzo!
Hurrah for----'

"Eh? Did you say somethin', Cap'n Sears?"

Sears repeated his question, and then, as no answer seemed to be forthcoming, repeated it once more, with an order to "step lively." Judah groaned and shook his head.

"I've been sort of afraid you might think somethin' was queer, Cap'n Sears," he admitted. "I was hopin' you wouldn't, though, not till it begun to blow over. All them kind of things do blow over, give 'em time. One voyage I took--to Shanghai, seems to me 'twas, either that or Rooshy somewheres--there was a ship's carpenter aboard and word got spread around that he had a wooden leg. Now he didn't, you know; matter of fact, all he had out of the way with him was a kind of--er--er--sheet-iron stove lid, as you might call it, riveted onto the top of his head. He was in the Mexican war, seemed so, and one of them cannon balls had caved in his upper deck, you understand, and them doctors they----"

"Here, here, Judah! I didn't ask you about any iron-headed carpenters, did I?"

"No; no, you never, Cap'n Sears. But what I started to say was that----"

"All right, but you stick to what I want you to say. Tell me what's the matter with me in Bayport?"

Judah groaned again. "It 'tain't so much that there's any great that's wrong along of you, Cap'n," he said, "as 'tis that there ain't nothin' but what's so everlastin' right with another feller. That's the way I size it up, and I've been takin' observations for quite a spell. Bayport folks are spendin' seven days in the week lovin' this Egbert Phillips. Consequentially they ain't got much time left to love you in. Fools? Course they be, and I've told some of 'em so till I've got a sore throat hollerin'. But, by the creepin'----"

"Judah! Has Phillips been saying things about me?"

"Hey? Him? No, no, no! He don't say nothin' about nobody no time, nothin' out of the way, that is. He's always praisin' of you up, so they tell me, and excusin' you and forgivin' you."

"Forgivin' me? What do you mean by that?"

"Hold on! don't get mad at _me_, Cap'n Sears. I mean when they say what a pity 'tis that he, the man whose wife owned all this Seymour property and the fifty thousand dollars and such--when they go to poorin' him and heavin' overboard hints about how other folks have the spendin' of that money and all--he just smiles, sad but sort of sweet, and says it's all right, his dear Lobelia done what seemed to her proper, and if he has to suffer a little grain, why, never mind.... That's the way he talks."

"But where do I come in on that?"

"Well--well, you don't really, Cap'n Sears. Course you don't. But you--you have got the handlin' of that money, you know. And you are gettin' wages for skipperin' the Fair Harbor. I've heard it said--not by him, oh, creepin', no!--but by others, that _he ought to have that skipper's job, if anybody had. Lots of folks seem to cal'late he'd ought to _own the Harbor. But instead of that he don't own nothin', they say, and scratches along in two rooms, down to Joe Macomber's, and, underneath all his sufferin', he's just as sweet and uncomplainin' and long-endurin' and--and high-toned and sociable and--and----"

"Yes, yes. I see. Do they say anything more? What about my bein' Elizabeth Berry's trustee?"

Mr. Cahoon paused before replying. "Well, they do seem to hold that against you some, I'm afraid," he admitted reluctantly. "I don't know why they do. And they don't say much in front of me no more, 'cause, they realize, I cal'late, that I'm about ready to knock a few of 'em into the scuppers. But it--it just don't help you none, Cap'n, takin' care of that money of Elizabeth's don't. And it does help that Eg man.... Why? Don't ask me. I--I'm sick and disgusted. _I shan't go to no church vestry to hear him lecture on Eyetalian paintin' or--or glazin', or whatever 'tis. And have you noticed how they bow down and worship him over to the Fair Harbor? Have you noticed Cordelia Berry? She's makin' a dum fool of herself, ain't she? Not that that's a very hard job."

Judah's explanations did not explain much, but they did help to increase Sears' vague suspicions. He had noticed--no one could help noticing--the ever-growing popularity of Mr. Phillips. It was quite as evident as the decline of his own. What he suspected was that the two were connected and that, somehow or other, the smooth gentleman who boarded and lodged with the Macombers was responsible, knowingly, calculatingly responsible for the change.

Yet it seemed so absurd, that suspicion. He and Phillips met frequently, sometimes at church, or oftenest at the Harbor--Egbert's visits there were daily now, and he dined or supped with the Berrys and the "inmates" at least twice a week. And always the Phillips manner was kind and gracious and urbane. Always he inquired solicitously concerning the captain's health. There was never a hint of hostility, never a trace of resentment or envy. And always, too, Sears emerged from one of those encounters with a feeling that he had had a little the worst of it, that his seafaring manners and blunt habit of speech made him appear at a marked disadvantage in comparison with this easy, suave, gracefully elegant personage. And so many of those meetings took place in the presence of Elizabeth Berry.

Elizabeth liked Egbert, there was no doubt of that. Once when she and the captain were together in the Fair Harbor office Phillips entered. Sears and Elizabeth were bending over the ledger and Egbert opened the door. Sears and the young lady were not in the least embarrassed--of course there was not the slightest reason why they should be--but, oddly enough, Phillips seemed to be. He stepped back, coughed, fidgeted with the latch, and then began to apologize.

"I--I really beg your pardon," he said. "I am sorry.... I didn't know--I didn't realize--I'm _so sorry."

Elizabeth looked at him in surprise. "But there is nothing for you to be sorry about," she declared. "What is it? I don't understand."

Egbert still retained his hold upon the latch with one hand. His hat, gloves and cane were in the other. It is perhaps the best indication of his standing in the community, the fact that, having lived in Bayport for some weeks and being by his own confession a poor man, he could still go gloved and caned on week days as well as Sundays and not be subject to ridicule even by the Saturday night gang in Eliphalet Bassett's store.

He fidgeted with the latch and turned as if to go.

"I should have knocked, of course," he protested. "It was most careless of me. I do hope you understand. I will come--ah--later."

"But I don't understand," repeated the puzzled Elizabeth. "It was perfectly all right, your coming in. There is no reason why you should knock. The cap'n and I were going over the bills, that's all."

Mr. Phillips looked--well, he looked queer.

"Oh!" he said. "Yes--yes, of course. But one doesn't always care to be interrupted in--even in business matters--ah--sometimes."

Elizabeth laughed. "I'm sure I don't mind," she said. "Those business matters weren't so frightfully important."

"I'm so glad. You ease my conscience, Elizabeth. Thank you.... But I am afraid the captain minds more than you do. He looks as if he didn't like interruptions. Now do you, Captain Kendrick?"

Sears was ruffled. The man always did rub him the wrong way, and now, for the first time, he heard him address Miss Berry by her Christian name. There was no real reason why he should not, almost every one in Bayport did, but Sears did not like it nevertheless.

"You don't fancy interruptions, Captain," repeated the smiling Egbert. "Now do you? Ha, ha! Confess."

For the moment Sears forgot to be diplomatic.

"That depends, I guess," he answered shortly.

"Depends? You see, I told you, Elizabeth. Depends upon what? We must make him tell us the whole truth, mustn't we, Elizabeth? What does it depend upon, Captain Kendrick; the--ah--situation--the nature of the business--or the companion? Now which? Ha, ha!"

Sears answered without taking time to consider.

"Upon who interrupts, maybe," he snapped. Then he would have given something to have recalled the words, for Elizabeth turned and looked at him. She flushed.

Egbert's serenity, however, was quite undented.

"Oh, dear me!" he exclaimed, in mock alarm. "After that I shall _have to go. And I shall take great pains to close the door behind me. Ha, ha! _Au revoir_, Elizabeth. Good-by, Captain."

He went out, keeping his promise concerning the closing of the door. Elizabeth continued to look at her companion.

"Now why in the world," she asked, "did you speak to him like that?"

Sears frowned. "Oh, I don't know," he answered. "He--he riles me sometimes."

"Yes.... Yes, I should judge so. I have noticed it before. You don't like him for some reason or other. What is the reason?"

He hesitated. Aside from Judge Knowles' distrust and dislike--which he could not mention to her--there was no very valid reason, nothing but what she would have called prejudice. So he hesitated and reddened.

She went on. "_I like him," she declared. "He is a gentleman. He is always polite and considerate--as he was just now about breaking in on our business talk. What did you dislike about that?"

"Well, I--well--oh, nothin', perhaps."

"I think nothing certainly. He is an old friend of mother's and of the people here in the Harbor. They all like him very much. I am sorry that you don't and that you spoke to him as you did. I didn't think you took unreasonable dislikes. It doesn't seem like you, Cap'n Kendrick."

So once more Sears felt himself to have been put in a bad position and to have lost ground while Phillips gained it. And, brooding over the affair, he decided that he must be more careful. If he were not so much in Elizabeth's company there would be no opportunity for insinuations--by Egbert Phillips, or any one else. So he put a strong check upon his inclination to see the young woman, and, overconscientious as he was so likely to be, began almost to avoid her. Except when business of one kind or another made it necessary he did not visit the Harbor. It cost him many pangs and made him miserable, but he stuck to his resolution. She should not be talked about in connection with him if he could help it.

He had had several talks with Bradley and with her about her legacy from Judge Knowles. The twenty-thousand was, so he discovered, already well invested in good securities and it was Bradley's opinion, as well as his own, that it should not be disturbed. The bonds were deposited in the vaults of the Harniss bank, and were perfectly safe. On dividend dates he and Miss Berry could cut and check up the coupons together. So far his duties as trustee were not burdensome. Bradley had invested Cordelia's five thousand for her, so the Berry family's finances were stable. In Bayport they were now regarded as "well off." Cordelia was invited to supper at Captain Elkhanah Wingate's, a sure sign that the hall-mark of wealth and aristocracy had been stamped upon her. At that supper, to which Elizabeth also was invited but did not attend, Mr. Egbert Phillips shone resplendent. Egbert was not wealthy, a fact which he took pains to let every one know, but when he talked, as he did most of the evening, Mrs. Wingate and her feminine guests sat in an adoring trance and, after these guests had gone, the hostess stood by the parlor window gazing wistfully after them.

Her husband was unlocking the door of a certain closet upon the shelf of which was kept a certain bottle and accompanying glasses. The closet had not been opened before that evening, as the Reverend and Mrs. Dishup had been among the dinner guests.

"Elkhanah," observed Mrs. Wingate, dreamily, "I do think Mr. Phillips is the most elegant man I ever saw in my life. His language--and his manners--they are perfect."

Captain Elkhanah nodded. "He's pretty slick," he agreed.

If he expected by thus agreeing to please his wife, he must have been disappointed.

"Oh, _don't say 'slick'!" she snapped. "I do wish you wouldn't use such countrified words."

"Eh?" indignantly. "Countrified! Well, I am country, ain't I? So are you, so far as that goes. So was he once--when he was teachin' a one-horse singin' school in this very town."

"Well, perhaps. But he has got over it. And it would pay you to take lessons from him, and learn not to say 'slick' and 'ain't'."

Her husband grunted. "Pay!" he repeated. "I'll wait till he pays me the twenty dollars he borrowed of me two weeks ago. He wasn't too citified to do that."

Mrs. Wingate stalked to the stairs. "I'm ashamed of you," she declared. "You know what a struggle he is having, and how splendid and uncomplaining he is. And you a rich man! Any one would think you never saw twenty dollars before."

Captain Elkhanah poured himself a judicious dose from the bottle.

"Maybe I never _will see _that twenty again," he observed with a chuckle.

"Oh, you--you disgust me!"

"Oh, go----"

"_What? What are you trying to say to me?"

"Go to bed," said the captain, and took his dose.

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Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 14 Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 14

Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 14
CHAPTER XIVIf Elizabeth noticed that Sears was not as frequent a visitor at the Fair Harbor as he had formerly been she said nothing about it. She herself had ceased to run in at the Minot place to ask this question or that. Since the occasion when Mr. Phillips interrupted the business talk in the office and his apologies had brought about the slight disagreement--if it may be called that--between the captain and Miss Berry, the latter had, so Sears imagined, been a trifle less cordial to him than before. She was not coldly formal or curt and disagreeable--her mother was

Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 12 Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 12

Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 12
CHAPTER XIIElizabeth did not visit the Minot place that evening, as she had said she meant to do. It may be that Sears was a trifle disappointed, but even he would have been obliged to confess that that particular evening was not the time for him to receive callers. He ate his supper--a very small portion of the meal which Judah had provided for him--and, soon afterward, retired to the spare stateroom and bed. Undressing was a martyrdom, and he had hard work to keep back the groans which the pain in his legs tempted him to utter. There was no