Full Online Books
BOOK CATEGORIES
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
LINKS
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
donate
Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesFair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 2
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 2 Post by :brennan Category :Long Stories Author :Joseph Crosby Lincoln Date :May 2012 Read :3496

Click below to download : Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 2 (Format : PDF)

Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 2

CHAPTER II

Mr. Cahoon's grin vanished and the expression of his face above the whiskers indicated extreme surprise.

"What am I doin' here?" he repeated. "Didn't you know I was here, Cap'n Sears?"

"Of course I didn't. The last I heard of you you had shipped as cook aboard the _Gallant Rover and was bound for Calcutta, or Singapore or somewhere in those latitudes. And that was only a year ago. What are you doin' on the Cape and pilotin' that kind of a craft?" indicating the truck wagon.

The question was ignored. "Didn't they never tell you I was here?" demanded Judah. "Didn't that Joel Macomber tell you I been hailin' him every time he crossed my bows, askin' about you every day since you run on the rocks? Didn't he tell you that?"

"No."

"Never give you my respects nor--nor kind rememberances, nor nawthin'?"

"Not a word. Never so much as mentioned your name."

"The red-headed shark!"

"There! There! Sshh! Never mind him. Come in here and sit down a minute, can't you? Or are you in a hurry?"

"Eh? No-o, I ain't in no 'special hurry. Just got a deck load of seaweed aboard carting it up home, that's all."

"Home? What home?"

"Why, where I'm livin'. I call it home; anyhow it's all the home I got. Eh? Why, Cap'n Sears, ain't they never told you that I'm livin' at the Minot place?"

"The Minot place! Why--why, man alive, you don't mean the General Minot place, do you?"

"Um-hm. That's what folks down here call it. There ain't no Generals there though."

"And _you are livin' in the General Minot house? Look here, Judah, are you trying to make a fool of me?"

Mr. Cahoon's countenance--that portion of it above the whisker tidemark, of course--registered horror at the thought. He had been cook and steward aboard Captain Kendrick's ships for many voyages and his feeling for his former skipper was close kin to idolatry.

"Eh?" he gasped. "Me try to make a fool out of _you_, Cap'n Sears? _Me? No, no, I got _some sense left, I hope."

Kendrick smiled. "Oh, the thing isn't impossible, Judah," he observed dryly. "It has been done. I have been made a fool of and more than once.... But there, never mind that. I want to know what you are doin' at the General Minot place. Come aboard here and tell me about it. You can leave your horse, can't you? He doesn't look as if he was liable to run away."

"Run away! Him?" Judah snorted disgust. "Limpin' Moses! He won't run away for the same reason old Cap'n Eben Gould didn't say his prayers--he's forgot how. I was out with that horse on the flats last week and the tide pretty nigh caught us. The water in the main channel was so deep that it was clean up to the critter's garboard strake, and still, by the creepin', I couldn't get him out of a walk. I thought there one spell he might _drift away, but I knew dum well he'd never run.... Whoa! you--you hipponoceros you!" addressing the ancient animal, who was placidly gnawing at the Macomber hitching post. "'Vast heavin' on that post! _Look at the blasted idiot!" with huge disgust. "To home, by the creepin', he'll turn up his nose at good hay and then he'll cruise out here and start to swaller a wood fence. Whoa! Back! Back, or I'll--I'll bore a hole in you and scuttle you."

The old horse condescended to back for perhaps two feet, a proceeding which elicited a grunt of grudging approval from Mr. Cahoon. The latter then settled himself with a thump upon the settee beside Captain Kendrick.

"How's the spars splicin'?" he inquired, with a jerk of his thumb toward the captain's legs. "Gettin' so you can navigate with 'em? Stand up under sail, will they?"

"Not for much of a cruise," replied Sears, using the same nautical phraseology. "I shan't be able to run under anything but a jury rig for a good while, I'm afraid. But never mind the spars. I want to know how you happen to be down here in Bayport, and especially what on earth you are doin' at the Minot place? Somebody died and left you a million?"

Mr. Cahoon's whiskers were split again by his wide grin.

"If I was left a million _I'd die," he observed with emphasis. "No, no, nothin' like that, Cap'n. I'm there along of ... humph! You know young Ogden Minot, don't you?"

"No, I guess I don't. I don't seem to remember him. Ogden Minot, you say?"

"Sartin. Why, you must have run afoul of him, Cap'n Sears. He has a--a sort of home moorin's at a desk in Barstow Brothers' shippin' office up on State Street. Has some kind of berth with the firm, they tell me, partner or somethin'. You must have seen him there."

"Well, if I have I.... Hold on a minute! Seems to me I do remember him. Tall fellow, dresses like a tailor's picture; speaks as if--"

"As if the last half of every word was comin' on the next boat. That's him. Light complected, wears his whiskers wing and wing, like a schooner runnin' afore the wind. Same kind of side whiskers old Cap'n Spencer of the _Farewell used to carry that voyage when I fust run afoul of you. You was second mate and I was cook, remember. You recollect the skipper's side whiskers, Cap'n Sears? Course you do! Stuck out each side of his face pretty nigh big as old-fashioned studdin' sails. Fo'mast hands used to call 'em the old man's 'homeward-bounders.' Ho, ho! Why, I've seen them whiskers blowin'--"

Kendrick interrupted.

"Never mind Cap'n Spencer's whiskers," he said. "Stick to your course, Judah. What about this Ogden Minot?"

"Everythin' bout him. If 'twan't for him I wouldn't be here now. No sir-ee, 'stead of settin' here swappin' yarns with you, Cap'n Sears, I'd be somewheres off Cape Horn, cookin' lobscouse and doughboy over a red-hot galley stove. Yes sir, that's where I'd be. And I'd just as soon be here, and a dum sight juster, as the feller said. Ho, ho! Tut, tut, tut! You can't never tell, can you? How many times I've stood in my galley with a gale of wind blowin', and my feet braced so's I wouldn't pitch into the salt-horse kittle every time she rolled, and thinkin'--"

"There, there, Judah! Bring her up, bring her up. You're three points off again."

"Eh? So I be, so I be. I'll try and hold her nose in the notch from now on. Well, 'twas last October, a year ago, when I'd about made up my mind to go cook in the _Gallant Rover_, same as you said. I hadn't signed articles, you understand, but I was cal'latin' to, and I was down on Long Wharf where the _Rover was takin' cargo, and her skipper, Cap'n Gustavus Philbrick, 'twas--he was a Cape man, one of the Ostable Philbricks--he asked me if I wouldn't cruise up to the Barstow Brothers' office and fetch down some papers that was there for him. So I didn't have nawthin' to do 'special, and 'twas about time for my eleven o'clock--when I'm in Boston I always cal'late to hist aboard one eleven o'clock, rum and sweetenen' 'tis generally, at Jerry Crockett's saloon on India Street and.... Aye, aye, sir! All right, all right, Cap'n Sears. I'll keep her in the notch, don't worry. Well--er--er--what was I sayin'? Oh, yes! Well, I had my eleven o'clock and then I cruised up to the Barstow place, and the fust mate there, young Crosby Barstow 'twas, he was talkin' with this Ogden Minot. And when I hove in sight young Barstow, he sings out: 'And here's another Cape Codder, Ogden,' he says. 'You two ought to know each other. Cahoon,' says he, 'this is Mr. Ogden Minot; his folks hailed from Bayport. That's down your way, ain't it?'

"'You bet!' says I. 'My home port's Harniss, and that's right next door. Minot? Minot?' I says, tryin' to recollect, you understand. 'Seems to me I used to know a Minot down that way. Why, yes, course I did! You any relation to old Ichabod Minot, that skippered the _Gypsy Maid fishin' to the Banks? Ichabod hailed from--from--Denboro, seems to me 'twas.'

"He said no pretty sharp. Barstow, he laughed like fury and wanted to know if this Ogden Minot looked like Ichabod. 'Is there a family resemblance?' he says. I told him I guessed not. 'Anyhow,' says I, 'I couldn't tell very well. I only seen Ichabod when he was drunk.' That tickled Barstow most to death. 'You never saw him but that once, then?' he wanted to know. 'Oh, yes,' says I, 'I seen him about every time he was on shore after a fishin' trip.'

"That seemed to make him laugh more'n ever and even young Ogden laughed some. Anyhow, we got to talkin' and I told Barstow how I was cal'latin' to go cook on the _Gallant Rover_. 'And I'm sick of it,' I says. 'I'd like a nice snug berth ashore.' 'You would?' says Barstow. Then he says, 'Humph!' and looks at Minot. And Minot, he says, 'Humph!' and looked at him. And then they both says, 'Humph!' and looked at me. And afore I set sail from that office to carry Cap'n Philbrick's papers back to him I'd agreed not to sign on for that v'yage as cook until I'd cruised down here to Bayport along of young Ogden Minot to see how I'd like to be sort of--of general caretaker and stevedore, as you might call it, at the General Minot place. You see, young Ogden was the General's grandson and he'd had the property left him. And 'twas part of the sailin' orders--in the old General's will, you understand--that it couldn't be sold, but must always be took care of and kept up. Ogden could rent it out but he couldn't sell it; that was the pickle _he was in. Understand, don't you, Cap'n Sears?"

Kendrick nodded. "Why--yes, I guess likely I do," he said. "But this Minot boy could live in it himself, couldn't he? Why doesn't he do that? As I remember it, it was considerable of a house. I should think he would come here himself and live."

Judah nodded. "You would think so, wouldn't you?" he agreed. "But _he don't think so, and what's a mighty sight more account, his wife don't think so. She's one of them kind of women that--that--well, when she gets to heaven--course I ain't layin' no bets on her gettin' there, but _if she does--the fust thing she'll do after she fetches port is to find out which one of them golden streets has got the highest-toned gang livin' on it and then start in tryin' to tie up to the wharf there herself. _She wouldn't live in no Bayport. No sir--ee! She's got winter moorin's up in one of them streets back of the Common, and summer times she's down to a place called--er--er--Nahum--Nehimiah--No--jumpin' prophets! What's the name of that place out on the rocks abaft Lynn?"

"Nahant?" suggested his companion.

"That's it. She and him is to Nahant summers. And what for _I don't know, when right here in Bayport is a great, big, fine house and land around it and--and flower tubs in the front yard and--and marble top tables--and--and haircloth chairs and sofys, and--and a Rogers' statoo in the parlor and--and.... Why, say, Cap'n Sears, you ought to _see that house and the things in it. They've spent money on that house same as if a five dollar bill wan't nawthin'. Wasted it, I call it. The second day I was there I wanted to brush off some dust that was on the chair seats and I was huntin' round from bow to stern lookin' for one of them little brush brooms, you know, same as you brush clothes with. Well, sir, I'd about give up lookin' when I happened to look on the wall of the settin'-room and there was one hangin' up. And, say, Cap'n Sears, I wisht you could have seen it! 'Twas triced up in a--a kind of becket, as you might say, made out of velvet--yes, sir, by creepin', velvet! And the velvet had posies and grass painted on it. And, I don't know as you'll believe it, but it's a fact, the handle of that brush broom was gilded! Yes sir, by Henry, _gilded_! 'Well,' thinks I to myself, 'if this ain't then I don't know what is!' I did cal'late that I was gettin' used to style, and high-toned money-slingin', but when it comes to puttin' gold handles onto brush-brooms, that had me on my beam ends, that did. And ain't it a sinful waste, Cap'n Sears, I ask you? Now ain't it? And what in time is the _good of it? A brush-broom is just a broom, no matter if----"

Again the captain interrupted. "Yes, yes, of course, Judah," he agreed, laughing; "but what do you do up there all by yourself? In that big house?"

"Oh, I don't live in the whole house. I could if I wanted to. Ogden, he don't care where I live or what I do. All he wants of me, he says, is to keep the place lookin' good, and the grass cut and one thing or 'nother. He keeps hopin' he's goin' to rent it, you know, but they won't nobody hire it. The only thing a place big as that would be good for is to keep tavern. And we've got one tavern here in Bayport already."

Kendrick seemed to be thinking. He pulled his beard. Of course he wore a beard; in those days he would have been thought queer if he had not. Even the Harvard students who came to Bayport occasionally on summer tramping trips wore beards or sidewhiskers; the very callowest Freshman sported and nourished a moustache.

"So you don't occupy the whole house, Judah?" asked the captain.

"No, no," replied Mr. Cahoon. "I live out in the back part. There's the kitchen and woodshed and dinin'-room out there and a couple of bedrooms. That's all _I want. There's nine more bedrooms in that house, Cap'n," he declared solemnly. "That makes eleven altogether. Now what in tunket do you cal'late anybody'd ever do with eleven bedrooms?"

Kendrick shook his head. "Give it up, Judah," he said. "For the matter of that, I don't see what you do with two. Do you sleep in one week nights and the other on Sundays?"

Judah grinned. "No, no, Cap'n," he said. "I don't know myself why I keep that other bedroom fixed up. Cal'late I do it just for fun, kind of makin' believe I'm going to have company, I guess. It gets kind of lonesome there sometimes, 'specially meal times and evenin's. There I set at mess, you know, grand as the skipper of the _Great Republic_, cloth on the table, silver knife and fork, silver castor with blue glass vinegar and pepper-sass bottles, great, big, elegant mustache cup with 'Forget Me Not' printed out on it in gold letters--everything so fine it couldn't be no finer--but by creepin', sometimes I can't help feelin' lonesome! Seems foolish, don't it, but I be."

Captain Kendrick did not speak. He pulled at his beard with more deliberation and the look in his eye was that of one watching the brightening dawn of an idea.

"I told Ogden so last time he was down," continued Mr. Cahoon. "He asked me if I was comf'table and if I wanted anything more and I told him I didn't. 'Only thing that ails me,' I says, 'is that I get kind of lonesome bein' by myself so much. Sometimes I wisht I had comp'ny.' 'Well, why don't you _have comp'ny?' says he. 'You've got room enough, lord knows.' 'Yes,' I says, 'but who'll I have?' He laughed. 'That's your lookout,' says he. 'You can't expect me to hire a companion for you.'"

"Humph!" Kendrick regarded him thoughtfully. "So you would like company, would you, Judah?"

"Sartin sure I would, if 'twas the right kind. I got a cat and that helps a little mite. And Cap'n Shubal Hammond's wife told me yesterday she'd give me a young pig if I wanted one. That's what I'm cartin' home this little mite of seaweed for, to bed down the pig sty. But cats and hogs, they're all right enough, but they ain't human."

"Do you keep hens?"

This apparently harmless question seemed to arouse Mr. Cahoon's ire. His whiskers bristled and his nose flamed.

"Hens!" he repeated. "Don't talk to me about hens! No, sir, by the prophets, I don't keep hens! But them everlastin' Fair Harborers keep 'em and if they'd keep 'em to home I wouldn't say a word. But they don't. Half the time they're over my side of the fence raisin' blue hob with my garden. Hens! Don't talk to me about 'em! I hate the sight of the critters."

Kendrick smiled. "And after all," he observed, "hens aren't human, either."

Judah snorted. "Some are," he declared, "and them's the worst kind."

There was, doubtless, a hidden meaning in this speech, but if so Sears Kendrick did not seek to find it. Laying a hand upon the broad shoulder of his former sea-cook he lifted himself to his feet.

"Judah," he asked, briskly, "is that seaweed in your cart there dry?"

"Eh? Dry? Yes, yes, dry as a cat's back. Been layin' on the beach above tide mark ever since last winter. Why?"

"Do you suppose you could help me hoist myself aboard?"

"Aboard? Aboard that truck-wagon? For the land sakes, what for?"

"Because I want a ride. I've been in drydock here till I'm pretty nearly crazy. I want to go on a cruise, even if it isn't but a half mile one. Don't you want to cart me down to your anchorage and let me see how you and General Minot and the gilt whisk broom get along? I can sprawl on that seaweed and be as comfortable as a gull on a clam flat. Come on now! Heave ahead! Give us a hand up!"

"But--limpin' prophets, Cap'n Sears, I couldn't cart you up the main road of Bayport in a seaweed cart. You, of all men! What do you cal'late folks would say if they see me doin' it? Course I'd love to have you ride down and see how I'm livin'. If you'd set up on the thawt there," indicating the high seat of the truck-wagon, "I'd be proud to have you. But to haul you along on a load of seaweed that's goin' to bed down a hog! Cap'n, you _know 'twouldn't be fittin'! Course you do."

His horror at the sacrilege was so ludicrous that Kendrick laughed aloud. However, he insisted that there was nothing unfitting in the idea; it was a good idea and founded upon common-sense.

"How long do you think these sprung sticks of mine would last," he said, referring to his legs, "if they were jouncin' up and down on that seat aloft there? And I couldn't climb up even if I wanted to. But, you and I between us, Judah, can get me in on that seaweed, and that's what we're goin' to do. Come, come! Tumble up! All hands on deck now! Lively!"

The familiar order, given with a touch of the old familiar crispness and authority, had its effect. Mr. Cahoon argued no more. Instead he sprang to attention, figuratively speaking.

"Aye, aye, sir!" he said. "Here she goes. Take it easy, Cap'n; don't hurry. Ease yourself down that bankin'. If we was to let go and you come down with a run there'd be the divil and all to pay, wouldn't there? So ... so.... Here we be, alongside. Now---- Aloft with ye."

They had reached the road by the tailboard of the wagon. And now Judah stooped, picked up his former skipper in his arms and swung him in upon the load of dry seaweed as if he were a two year old boy instead of a full-grown, and very much grown, man.

"Well," he asked, as he climbed to the seat, "all ready to make sail, be we? Any message you want to leave along with Sary? She won't know what end you've made, will she?"

"Oh, she'll guess I've gone buggy-ridin' with the doctor. He's been threatenin' to take me with him 'most any day now. Sarah'll be all right. Get under way, Judah."

"Aye, aye, sir. Git dap! Git dap! Limpin', creepin', crawlin', hoppin', jumpin'.... Starboard! _starboard_, you son of a Chinee! Need a tug to haul this critter into the channel, I swan you do! Git dap! All shipshape aft there, Cap'n Sears? Good enough! let her run."

The old white horse--like the whisk broom and the Rogers group, a part of the furniture of the General Minot place--plodded along the dusty road and the blue truck-wagon rolled and rattled behind him. Captain Kendrick, settling his invalid limbs in the most comfortable fashion, lay back upon the seaweed and stared at the sky seen through the branches of elms and silver-leaf poplars which arched above. He made no attempt to look over the sides of the cart. Raising himself upon an elbow to do so entailed a good deal of exertion and this was his first trip abroad since his accident. Besides, seeing would probably mean being seen and he was not in the mood to answer the questions of curious, even if sympathetic, townsfolk. Judah made several attempts at conversation, but the replies were not satisfactory, so he gave it up after a little and, as was his habit, once more broke forth in song. Judah Cahoon, besides being sea cook on many, many voyages, had been "chantey man" on almost as many. His repertoire was, therefore, extensive and at times astonishing. Now, as he rocked back and forth upon the wagon seat, he caroled, not the _Dreadnought chantey, but another, which told of a Yankee ship sailing down the Congo River, evidently in the old days of the slave trade.


"'Who do you think is the cap'n of her?
Blow, boys, blow!
Old Holy Joe, the darky lover,
Blow, my bully boys, blow!

'What do you think they've got for dinner?
Blow, boys, blow!
Hot water soup, but a dum sight thinner,
Blow, my bully boys, blow!

'Oh, blow to-day and blow to-morrer,
Blow, boys, blow!
And blow for all old salts in sorrer,
Blow, my bully----'


"Oh, say, Cap'n Sears!"

"Yes, Judah?"

"They've put up the name sign on the Fair Harbor since you was in Bayport afore, ain't they? We're right off abreast of it now. Can't you hist yourself up and look over the side? It's some consider'ble of a sign, that is. Lobelia she left word to have that sign painted and set up last time she was here. She's over acrost in one of them Eyetalian ports now, so I understand, her and that feller she married. Eh? Ain't that quite a sign, now, Cap'n?"

Kendrick, because his driver seemed to be so eager, sat up and looked over the sideboard of the truck-wagon. The vehicle was just passing a long stretch of ornate black iron fence in the center of which was a still more ornate gate with an iron arch above it. In the curve of the arch swung a black sign, its edges gilded, and with this legend printed upon it in gilt letters:


FAIR HARBOR

For Mariners' Women

"Without, the stormy winds increase,
Within the harbor all is peace."


Behind the fence was a good-sized tract of lawn heavily shaded with trees, a brick walk, and at the rear a large house. The house itself was of the stately Colonial type and its simple dignity was in marked contrast to the fence.

Captain Kendrick recognized the establishment of course. It, with its next door neighbor the General Minot place, was for so many years the home of old Captain Sylvanus Seymour. Captain Sylvanus, during his lifetime, was active claimant for the throne of King of Bayport. He was the town's leading Democratic politician, its wealthiest citizen, with possibly one exception--its most lavish entertainer--with the same possible exception--and when the Governor came to the Cape on "Cattle Show Day" he was sure to be a guest at the Seymour place--unless General Ashahel Minot, who was the exception mentioned--had gotten his invitation accepted first. For General Minot was Bayport's leading Whig, as Captain Sylvanus was its leading Democrat, and the rivalry between the two was intense. Nevertheless, they were, in public at least, extremely polite and friendly, and when they did agree--as on matters concerning the village tax rate and the kind of doctrine permitted to be preached in the Orthodox meeting-house--their agreement was absolute and overwhelming. In their day the Captain and the General dominated Bayport by sea and land.

But that day had passed. They had both been dead for some years. Captain Seymour died first and his place and property were inherited by his maiden daughter, Miss Lobelia Seymour. Sears Kendrick remembered Lobelia as a dressy, romantic spinster, very much in evidence at the church socials and at meetings of the Shakespeare Reading Society, and who sang a somewhat shrill soprano in the choir.

Now, as he looked over the side of Judah Cahoon's truck-wagon and saw the sign hanging beneath the arch above the gate of the Seymour place he began dimly to remember other things, bits of news embodied in letters which his sister, Sarah Macomber, had written him at various times. Lobelia Seymour had--she had done something with the family home, something unusual. What was it? Why, yes....

"Judah," he said, "Lobelia Seymour turned that place into a--a sort of home, didn't she?"

Judah twisted on the wagon seat to stare at him.

"What are you askin' me that for, Cap'n Sears?" he demanded. "You know more about it than I do, I guess likely. Anyhow, you ought to; you was brought up in Bayport; I wasn't."

"Yes, but I've been away from it ten times longer than I've been in it. I'd forgotten all about Lobelia. Seems to me Sarah wrote me somethin' about her, though, and that she had turned her father's place into a home for women."

"For mariners' women, that's what she calls it. Didn't you see it on the sign? Ho, ho! that's a good one, ain't it, Cap'n Sears? 'Mariners' women!' Course what it means is sea cap'ns widders and sisters and such, but it does sound kind of Brigham Youngy, don't it? Haw, haw! Well, fur's that goes I have known mariners that--Hi! 'Vast heavin' there! What in time you tryin' to do, carry away that gate post? Whoa! Jumpin' creepin', limpin'---- Whoa! _Look at the critter!" in huge disgust and referring to the white horse, who had suddenly evinced a desire to turn in at a narrow driveway and to gallop while doing so. "Look at him!" repeated Judah. "When I go up to the depot he'll stand right in the middle of the railroad track and go to sleep. I have to whale the timbers out of him to get him awake enough to step ahead so's a train of cars won't stave in his broadside. But get him home here where he can see the barn, the place where he knows I stow the oats, and he wants to run right over top of a stone wall. Can't hardly hold him, I can't. Who-a-a!... Well, Cap'n Sears, here we be at the General Minot place. Here's where I sling my hammock these days."

Kendrick looked about him, at the grassy back yard, with the ancient settee beneath the locust tree, the raspberry and currant bushes along the wall, the venerable apple and pear trees on the other side of the wall, at the trellis over the back door and the grape vine heavily festooning it, at the big weather-beaten barn, carriage house and pig-pens beyond. Turning, he looked upward at the high rambling house, its dormers and gables, its white clapboards and green window blinds. The sunlight streamed over it, but beneath the vine-hung lattice and under the locust tree were coolness and shadow. The wing of the big house, projecting out to the corner of the drive, shut off the view to or from the road. Somehow, the whole yard, with its peace and quiet and sunshine and shadow, and above all, its retirement, made a great appeal. It seemed so homelike, so shut away, so comforting, like a sheltered little backwater where a storm-beaten craft might lie snug.

Mr. Cahoon made anxious inquiry.

"What do you think of it, Cap'n?" he asked.

His visitor did not reply. Instead he said, "Judah, I'd like to see your quarters inside, may I?"

"Sartin sure you may. Right this way. Look out for the rocks in the channel," indicating the brick floor beneath the lattice. "Two or three of them bricks stick up more'n they ought to. Twice since I've been here the stem of one of my boots has fetched up on them bricks and I've all but pitch-poled. Take your time, Cap'n Sears, take your time. Here, lean on my shoulder, I'll pilot you."

The captain smiled. "Much obliged, Judah," he said, "but I shan't need your shoulder. There aren't any stairs to climb, are there? Stair climbin' is too much for me yet awhile. Perhaps it will always be. I don't know."

The tone in which he uttered the last sentence caused his companion to turn his head and regard him with concern.

"Sho, sho, sho!" he exclaimed, hastily. "What kind of talk's that, Cap'n! I'll live to see you shin up and hang your hat on the main truck yet.... There, here's the galley. Like it, do you?"

The "galley" was, of course, the kitchen. It was huge and low and very old-fashioned. Also it was, just now, spotlessly clean. From it opened the woodshed, and toward the front, the dining room.

"I don't eat in here much," observed Judah, referring to the dining room. "Generally mess in the galley. Comes more natural to me. The settin' room, and back parlor and front parlor are out for'ard yonder. Come on, Cap'n Sears."

The captain shook his head. "Never mind them just now," he said. "I want to see the bedrooms, those you use, Judah. That is, unless they're up aloft."

"No, no. Right on the lower deck, both of 'em. Course there _is plenty more up aloft, but, as I told you, I never bother 'em. Here's my berth," opening a door from the sitting room. "And here's what I call my spare stateroom. I keep it ready for comp'ny. Not that I ever have any, you understand."

Judah's bedroom was small and snug. The "spare stateroom" was a trifle larger. In both were the old-fashioned mahogany furniture of our great-grandfathers. Mr. Cahoon apologized for it.

"Kind of old-timey stuff down below here," he explained. "Just common folks used these rooms, I judge likely. But you'd ought to see them up on the quarter deck. There's your high-toned fixin's! Marble tops to the bureaus and tables and washstands, and fruit--peaches and pears and all sorts--carved out on the headboards of the beds, and wreaths on the walls all made out of shells, and--and kind of brass doodads at the tops of the window curtains. Style, don't talk!... Sort of a pretty look-off through that deadlight, ain't there, Cap'n Sears? Seems so to me."

Kendrick had raised the window shade of the spare stateroom and was looking out. The view extended across the rolling hills and little pine groves and cranberry bogs, to the lower road with its white houses and shade trees. And beyond the lower road were more hills and pines, a pretty little lake--Crowell's Pond, it was called--sand dunes and then the blue water of the Bay. The captain looked at the view for a few moments, then, turning, looked once more at the room and its furniture.

"So you've never had a passenger in your spare stateroom, Judah?" he asked.

"Nary one, not yet."

"Expectin' any?"

"Nary one. Don't know nobody to expect."

"But you think it would be all right if you did have some one? Your er--owner--young Minot, I mean, wouldn't object?"

"Object! No, no. He told me to. 'I should think you'd die livin' here alone,' he says. 'Why don't you take a boarder? I would if I was you.'"

Sears Kendrick stopped looking at the room and its furniture and turned his gaze upon his former cook.

"Take a boarder?" he repeated. "Did Ogden Minot tell you to take a boarder? And do you think he meant it?"

"Sartin sure he meant it. He don't care what I do--in reason, of course."

"Humph!... Well, then, Judah, why don't you take one?"

"Eh? Take one what? A boarder? Who'd I take, for thunder's sakes?"

Captain Kendrick smiled.

"Me," he said.

If you like this book please share to your friends :
NEXT BOOKS

Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 3 Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 3

Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 3
CHAPTER IIIFor the half hour which followed the captain's utterance of that simple little word, "Me," exclamation, protestation and argument heated and unwontedly disturbed the atmosphere of the Minot spare stateroom and when the discussion adjourned there, of the little back yard. The old white horse, left to himself and quite forgotten, placidly meandered on until he reached a point where he could reach the tender foliage of a young pear tree which leaned over the wall toward him. Then, with a sigh of content, he proceeded to devour the tree. No one paid the least attention to him. Captain Kendrick,
PREVIOUS BOOKS

Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 1 Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 1

Fair Harbor: A Novel - Chapter 1
CHAPTER I"Hi hum," observed Mr. Joel Macomber, putting down his knife and fork with obvious reluctance and tilting back his chair. "Hi hum-a-day! Man, born of woman, is of few days and full of--of somethin', I forget what--George, what is it a man born of woman is full of?" George Kent, putting down his knife and fork, smiled and replied that he didn't know. Mr. Macomber seemed shocked. "_Don't know?_" he repeated. "Tut, tut! Dear me, dear me! A young feller that goes to prayer meetin' every Friday night--or at least waits outside the meetin'-house door every Friday night--and yet he
NEXT 10 BOOKS | PREVIOUS 10 BOOKS | RANDOM 10 BOOKS
LEAVE A COMMENT