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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAdrift On The Pacific: A Boys Story Of The Sea And Its Perils - Chapter 37. Conclusion
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Adrift On The Pacific: A Boys Story Of The Sea And Its Perils - Chapter 37. Conclusion Post by :JesSimaca Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Sylvester Ellis Date :May 2012 Read :1481

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Adrift On The Pacific: A Boys Story Of The Sea And Its Perils - Chapter 37. Conclusion

CHAPTER XXXVII. CONCLUSION

Many a long hour did the two--Fred and Inez--spend in talking together of the past and their future. They were as brother and sister to each other, and their prospects were discussed as if it were fixed that they should never lose sight of each other again.

It was on this voyage, too, that Abram Storms disclosed the plan of action he had decided upon.

"The pearls which I have in my possession I shall dispose of in San Francisco--or at least a portion of them. Those which were my share, according to the original agreement, I shall keep. The single pearl, which will doubtless bring a large price in New York, is the property of Inez, and shall be devoted to her benefit. I intend to place her in a school and make a systematic effort to trace her parentage. The pearls left by Captain Bergen go to you, Fred."

But here occurred the first stumbling-block. Fred Sanders refused pointedly, but firmly, to accept a single one of them. He declared he had no claim upon any one of that little party, and he would not suffer himself to be dissuaded from his position.

He was yet young, vigorous and ambitious, and with the help of heaven he would carve out his own fortune. Seeing it was useless to argue the question, Storms fell back upon the original intention of Captain Bergen, which was to devote the greater portion of his wealth to charity.

In due time, the _Albatross glided through the Golden Gate, and our friends found themselves in San Francisco, whose streets all had trod years before.

The first thing Storms did after establishing Inez in pleasant quarters was to hunt up the mother of Captain Bergen, and he prosecuted his search with a heavy heart, bearing the bad news which he did. He was relieved to find that she had been dead fully two years, and the nearest relative of the captain remaining was his cousin, who was in such affluent circumstances that Storms decided not to give him any portion of the wealth left by the deceased captain.

While Abe Storms was engaged upon his duty, young Fred Sanders was busy.

Although he had revealed a great deal of his past life, there remained one great secret, which he had reserved as a final surprise, especially to Inez Hawthorne, who, as yet, had not formed the slightest idea of what was coming. And what this secret was, and the particulars of not one but two astounding discoveries, we will now proceed to relate.

The grim old sailor, Captain Strathmore, of the steamer _Polynesia_, has made many voyages between San Francisco and the Imperial Japanese city of Tokio since we last saw him, more than three years ago. There is little change, however, in his appearance, and the same kindly heart, tempered in the furnace of affliction and sorrow, throbs beneath his rough exterior. There are few officers holding such a responsible position as he who are greater favorites with the multitudes that go down to the sea in ships, and he promises to perform many valuable years of service to his employers, who appreciate the sterling worth of the brave, noble man.

The steamer has been at the dock several days, and soon is to leave for her long voyage across the Pacific. The captain is sitting in his cabin, reading and writing some letters. By-and-by he lays down his pen, and wheeling his chair around, gives utterance to his thoughts, as he has grown in the habit of doing of late.

"I shall keep in harness till I die, for idleness would take me off in a short time. I have striven to do my duty to God and my fellow-man--and though much sorrow has come to me, yet I shall never murmur nor complain, when I see so much around me and know that no race and no place in society is exempt from it.

"Years ago I placed away my beloved wife in the distant New England hills, and then when the fair bud which she left behind blossomed, that, too, was gathered by the angels and I was left alone.

"The darling son upon whom I centered all my hopes was a wild, wayward boy, and he left my roof and has never come back again. Whether he is or is not, I cannot tell, but I fear that, if he still treads the earth, he is sowing the wind and will reap the whirlwind. I have striven to forget that I was ever afflicted in being the parent of such a child. But alas, the roots of affection are planted so deep that it is hard to withdraw them.

"Then there came to me a second Inez, and I loved her as I did the first. Just as she nestled around my heart, she was taken away in the most surprising manner. I believed then that I should see and clasp her again in my arms. But the years have come and gone, and still she comes not to me. Ah! could I but hear the music of that voice--could I but feel those dimpled arms about my neck as I used to do----Helloa!"

Just then Fred Sanders walked briskly into the cabin, doffed his hat, made a bow, laughed and said:

"Helloa, pop! how are you?"

Captain Strathmore gasped, stared and replied:

"No--no--no--Fred. Is that you, my own boy?"

And Fred laughed, and then, with tears in his eyes, leaped forward and threw his arms about the old captain's neck and cried like a child, while the parent, fondly caressing him, cried too, and for a minute neither could speak an intelligible word.

"Pop," finally said the youth, raising his head and sitting upon the strong knee, "I have been a bad boy. I have brought trouble to you, but I have come thousands of miles to ask your forgiveness and to try to cheer your declining years."

"What are you talking about declining years for, you young rascal? I never was so strong and hearty in my life. You have made me twenty years younger! Ah, if your mother could but see this! But she is smiling in heaven over it, and so is our darling Inez, who joined her long ago. God be thanked! my boy is dead but is alive again!"

And, laughing and crying, they shook hands, and talked and talked.

"Tell me everything that has befallen you, my dear son."

And Fred did so, as we have already told the reader, adding that he never so far forgot himself as to dishonor his father by bearing his name. He was known everywhere as Frederic Sanders, whereas his full name was Frederic Sanders Strathmore--which he was now proud to assume, and which, with God's help, he meant to honor.

They sat a long time in loving converse, and, finally, Captain Strathmore told the story of Inez Hawthorne, who came to and went from him in such an extraordinary manner, and for whom he sighed and longed as he had for his own child, taken from him years before.

Fred smiled in an odd way, while this story was being told, and then asked his father to walk down to the Occidental Hotel with him.

"I have some very particular business," he added, "and will take it as a great favor if you will so so."

"Of course I will," responded the cheery old captain, springing to his feet. "I will walk if I can, but I feel more like flying; and if there's any more good news, I'll set up a dancing and yelling carnival."

"Well, there is good news awaiting you, so you had better get ready to put on the brakes."

"What do you mean, Fred?"

"Wait, and you will see."

A few minutes later there was a gentle tap on the door of Inez Hawthorne's room at the Occidental. She was busy sewing, and she called out in a somewhat startled voice:

"Come in!"

Fred Strathmore threw the door wide open, and, taking hold of his father's arm, gave him such a vigorous shove that he was forced several steps into the apartment before he could stop himself.

He caught sight of a beautiful, scared face, which stared with something like terror at him for a moment; and then there was a scream, and she made one bound forward.

"Oh, father, father! my own dear father! I am so glad!"

Again the arms were about the neck of the weather-beaten sea-dog; again the kisses were showered upon his bronzed face; again his own lost Inez was in his arms.

Poor Captain Strathmore broke down completely. Instead of shouting and dancing, as he threatened to do, he sat in his chair, and, with Inez on his knee, overrunning with joy, delight and supreme happiness, he could do nothing but cry, cry, cry, and murmur his gratitude and thankfulness.

But, after a time, he did recover himself; and then he became aware for the first time, as did the others, that a fourth party was present. This was Mate Storms, who suspected the situation before he was introduced to the happy captain of the _Polynesia_. Since they all had such an extraordinary story to relate, the captain had an equally remarkable one to tell them.

The persistent and never-ending investigation which he set on foot concerning the lost Inez had resulted, not in finding her, but in unearthing her entire history.

She was a native of the city of New York, and her father died there before she was a year old. A former suitor of her mother, angered because she would not become his wife, even after her husband was deceased, resorted to the atrocious revenge of stealing Inez when she was but an infant, and he hastened across the continent with her.

When he had kept her there a brief time, he sought to open negotiations with the mother, with a view of delivering back her child on condition that the parent should become his wife; but he was shocked to learn that the poor, heartbroken mother had died from grief, and the child was upon his hands.

This man finally married a woman in San Francisco, but neither of them could ever feel any affection for the little girl (whom, however, they treated quite fairly), and the wife insisted that she should be gotten rid of in some way. Through some whim or other, the abductor had always called her by her right name--Inez Hawthorne--and, seeing some mention of it in the newspapers, he resorted to the means which we described, at the opening of this story, for ridding himself forever of her.

As soon as Inez was safely placed on the steamer, this wicked couple disappeared, and no further trace of them could be found. Captain Strathmore, who was anxious to punish them, believed they had left the country. Inez, therefore, was an orphan, and while a gentle sadness filled her affectionate heart--as she heard the particulars of her own history for the first time, and reflected upon that poor, heartbroken mother, who had gone to her rest long ago--she could not feel any poignant grief, for her memory of the lost one was too shadowy and faint. But she had found a home and friends for life.

Abram Storms explained that he had met three English gentlemen who were making a tour of the world in a large steam yacht; and, since they possessed abundant means, and were very social, he had shown them the pearls in his possession and offered to dispose of them all. They were delighted with the specimens, and especially with the enormous one belonging to Inez. They offered twenty-five thousand dollars for the single one, and just one hundred thousand for the rest. This was less than Storms had counted upon--and doubtless less than he could have secured by consulting leading lapidaries in other parts of the world--but he was inclined to end the transaction by accepting it, and he asked the advice of his friends. After fully discussing the matter, it was agreed to close with the offer, and the exchange was completed that afternoon, and the money belonging to Inez was placed in the bank the next morning.

Since Storms was anxious to return to his home, and since there was no call for his remaining longer in San Francisco, it was arranged that Inez should enter an excellent school in the Golden Gate City, where she should spend several years, while Captain Strathmore was to act as her guardian until she should attain her legal majority. The captain's position enabled him to find a berth under him for Fred on the steamer _Polynesia_, and the boy sailed with him on the next voyage to Tokio, and on many a subsequent one.

Abe Storms is as poor as he was before he made his voyage to the South Seas, for, having dedicated the wealth left by Captain Bergen to charitable purposes, he felt it his duty to do the same with his own, and, since he has no one besides himself dependent upon him, he is not troubled by fears of not being able to make a comfortable living.


(THE END)
Edward Sylvester Ellis's Book: Adrift on the Pacific: A Boys Story of the Sea and its Perils

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