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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesJudy - Chapter 24. "Home Is The Sailor From The Sea"
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Judy - Chapter 24. 'Home Is The Sailor From The Sea' Post by :adhoc Category :Long Stories Author :Temple Bailey Date :May 2012 Read :2993

Click below to download : Judy - Chapter 24. "Home Is The Sailor From The Sea" (Format : PDF)

Judy - Chapter 24. "Home Is The Sailor From The Sea"

CHAPTER XXIV. "HOME IS THE SAILOR FROM THE SEA"

Judy's cry did not wake Tommy, and still in a half-dream she went down to the edge of the water and stood ghost-like in the moonlight, waiting. There was another figure in the boat, half-hidden by the shadowy sails, but it was Launcelot who, when the shallow water was reached, jumped out and waded to shore.

"Judy, Judy," he said, as he came up to her, "I knew I should find you."

She looked at him with wide eyes. "Where--where did you come from," she whispered, while her white hands fluttered across his coat sleeve as if to see that he was real.

There was sympathy and tenderness in his boyish face, but seeing her condition, he spoke cheerfully. "I came down to The Breakers after Tommy. His mother was ill, and his father had to stay with her, so they sent me. And when I got there I found Anne and--and--" he checked himself hurriedly, "I found Anne almost frantic because you had gone, and then when she found your note I started out, for I knew I should find you, Judy. I knew I should sail straight to you."

For one little moment as they stood together in the moonlight, he looked down at her with the eyes of the lover he was to be, but as yet they were only boy and girl and the moment passed.

"Where's Tommy?" asked Launcelot, coming out of his dream.

He was answered by a shout as Tommy came plunging over the sand.

"Why didn't you wake me, Judy?" he complained, bitterly, "when you first saw the boat."

"Stop that," commanded Launcelot. "Why weren't you keeping watch? What kind of sailor do you call yourself, Tommy?"

"Oh, well," Tommy excused, "I was sleepy."

"And so you let a girl watch," was Launcelot's hard way of putting it, and Tommy's eyes shifted.

"Oh, well," he began again.

"I made him let me watch, Launcelot," Judy interrupted, feeling sorry for the small boy, "and I told him to go to sleep."

"Oh, of course you did," said Launcelot, shortly, "and of course he went, he's a nice sort of sailor."

"I'm not going to be a sailor," Tommy announced, sulkily. "I'm going home--"

"Right-o," agreed Lancelot, "and the quicker the better."

"Miss Judy," came a sepulchral voice from the boat, "Miss Judy, we thought you were drownded."

"Oh, Perkins," cried Judy, "is that you, Perkins?"

"What's left of me, Miss," and Perkins' bald head came into view as he stood up in the boat.

Judy and Tommy climbed in, amid excited questions and explanations, which presently settled into a continuous monotone of complaint from Tommy. "I'm half-starved. Haven't you anything to eat, Perkins?"

Now Tommy grated on Perkins' nerves. The old butler had always been treated by the Jamesons with the gentle consideration due his age and long and faithful service, in the light of which Tommy's dictation seemed nothing less than impertinent.

And so it came about that Judy was served with good things first, while Tommy was made to wait.

"Oh, Perkins, can't you hurry," growled the small rude boy.

And then Judy turned on him. "You may be hungry, Tommy," she blazed, "but don't speak to Perkins that way again."

"Oh, Miss," deprecated Perkins, although in his old heart he was glad of her defense.

"Perkins has been out all night hunting for us," Judy's voice quivered, "and--and--he is just as tired as we are, Tommy Tolliver."

But Tommy had his sandwich, and blissfully munching it, cared little for Judy's reproof. After he had finished he went to sleep comfortably in the bottom of the boat, his troubles forgotten.

There was about Launcelot and Perkins an air of subdued excitement that finally attracted Judy's attention.

"What's the matter with you all?" she asked, curiously, as she looked up suddenly from her pile of comfortable cushions, and caught Perkins smiling at Launcelot over her head.

"Oh, nothing, Miss, nothing at all," coughed Perkins.

"Has anything happened?"

Launcelot, who was steering, smiled down at her.

"Miss Curiosity," he teased.

"I'm not curious. I just want to know."

"Oh, well, that's one way to put it."

"Tell me. Has anything happened?"

"Yes."

"What?"

"Something splendid."

Judy sat up. "Tell me," she begged.

But Launcelot was inflexible. "Not now," and Judy sank back with a sigh, for she was getting to know that when the big boy said a thing he meant it.

"When will I know?" she asked after a while.

"When you get to The Breakers."

"Oh."

She was silent for a little, then she said:

"I know you think it was awful for me to run away with Tommy--"

"It would have been better if you had sent him home."

"But I wanted to help him--he has such a hard time."

"He would have a harder time if he went to sea, Judy. He isn't like you, he doesn't like the sea for its own sake. He has read a lot of stuff about sailors and adventures, and his head is full of it. He isn't the kind that makes a brave man."

"I know that," said Judy, for the little voyage had proved Tommy and had found him wanting.

"He ought to stay at home and fight things out," said Launcelot, "as the rest of us have to."

Judy looked up at him, surprised. "Are you fighting things out?" she asked.

"Oh, yes. I want to go to college, and I can't and that's the end of it," and Launcelot's lips were set in a stern line.

"Why not?"

"Father's too sick for me to leave--I've got to run the farm," was Launcelot's simple statement of the bitter fact.

"I am always trying to do great things," mourned Judy, with a sigh for the Cause of Thomas the Downtrodden, from which the romance seemed to have fled, "but they just fizzle out."

"Don't be discouraged. You'll learn to look before you leap yet, Judy," and Launcelot laughed, his own troubles forgotten in his interest in hers.

"What are you going to take up for a life work?" asked Judy, remembering Ruskin.

"I am going to be a lawyer," announced Launcelot, promptly, "and a good one like the Judge. My grandfather was a Judge, too, but father chose business, and failed because he wasn't fitted for it, and that's why we are on the farm, now."

"I'm going to be an artist," announced Judy, toploftically, "and paint wonderful pictures."

But Launcelot looked at her doubtfully. "I'll bet you won't," he said with decision. "I'll bet you won't paint pictures and be an artist."

"Why not?"

"Because you'll get married, and--"

Judy shrugged an impatient shoulder. "I am never going to marry," she declared.

"Why not?"

"Because I want my own way," said wilful Judy.

"Oh," said "bossy" Launcelot.

The waves were twinkling in the gold of the morning sun when the tired party sighted the beach below The Breakers.

Judy standing up in the boat with her dark hair blowing around her spied a little waiting group.

"There's Anne--dear Anne--and, why, Launcelot, there's a dog."

"Is there?"

"Yes, and--and--a man--"

"Yes." Launcelot's voice was calm, but his hand on the tiller trembled.

She turned on him her startled eyes. "Do you know who it is?" she demanded.

"Yes."

"Who?"

"Look and see."

The man on the beach was gazing straight out across the bay, and in the clearness of the morning air, Judy made out his features, the pale dark face, the waving hair.

She clutched Launcelot's arm. "Who is it?" she demanded, looking as if she had seen a spirit. "Who is it, Launcelot?"

And then Launcelot gave a shout that woke Tommy.

"It's, oh, _who do you think it is, Judy Jameson?"

And Judy whispered with a white face, "It looks like--my father. Is it really--my father--Launcelot?" and Launcelot let the tiller go, and caught hold of her hands, and said: "It really is, it really and truly is, Judy Jameson."

Judy never knew how the boat reached the wharf, nor how she came to be in her father's arms. But she knew that she should never be happier this side of heaven than she was when he held her close and murmured in her ear, "My own daughter, my own dear little girl."

It was an excited group that circled around them--Perkins and Launcelot, and the dog, Terry, and last but not least, Anne, red-eyed and dishevelled.

"Oh, Judy, Judy," she sobbed, when at last Judy came down to earth and beamed on her. "We thought you were drowned, and I have cried all night."

And at that Judy cried, too, and they sat down on the sand and had a little weep together, comfortably, as girls will, when the danger is over and every one is safe and happy.

"I'm all right," gasped Judy at last, mopping her eyes with a clean handkerchief, offered her by the ever-useful Perkins. "I'm all right--but--but--Anne was such a goosie,--and I am so happy--" And with that she dropped her head on Anne's shoulder again and cried harder than ever.

"Dear heart, don't cry," begged the Captain.

"She is tired to death," explained Launcelot.

"She needs her breakfast, sir," suggested Perkins.

"So do I," grumbled Tommy Tolliver, who stood in the background feeling very much left out.

But even as they spoke, Judy slipped into her father's arms again, and lay there quietly, as she murmured, so that no one else heard:

"'Home is the sailor from the sea'--oh, father, father, I knew you would come back to me--I knew you would come back some day."

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