A STORY FOR GIRLS
BY FANNIE E. NEWBERRY
Author of "The Odd One," "Not for Profit," "Bubbles," "Joyce's Investments," "Sara a Princess," etc., etc.
"Our Faith, a star, shone o'er a rocky height; The billows rose, and she was quenched in night."
A. L. BURT COMPANY, PUBLISHERS.
By A. I. BRADLEY & CO
OF A HAPPY VISIT,
LET ME DEDICATE TO YOU, MY COUSINS
H. S. AND W. FASSETT,
THIS LITTLE BOOK
WITH MY AFFECTIONATE REGARDS
I. Debby has a Caller II. The Leave-taking III. New Surroundings IV. Introductions V. "On the Bay of Biscay, O!" VI. Portuguese Towns and Heroes VII. Kite-flying and Gibraltar VIII. Nightmare and Gossip IX. A Game of Gromets X. Mrs. Windemere's Dinner XI. A Sunday at Sea XII. The Story of a Wreck XIII. Algiers and Andy XIV. Guesswork XV. Tropical Evenings XVI. Danger XVII. Lady Moreham Speaks XVIII. Last Days Together XIX. Old Ties and New XX. In Old Bombay XXI. Friends Ashore XXII. In Elephanta's Caves
DEBBY HAS A CALLER.
"And they're twins, you say?"
"Yes'm, two of 'em, and as putty as twin blooms on a stalk, 'm."
The second speaker was a large, corpulent woman, with a voluminous white apron tied about her voluminous waist. She stood deferentially before the prospective roomer who had asked the question, to whom she was showing the accommodations of her house, with interpolations of a private nature, on a subject too near her heart, to-day, to be ignored even with strangers. As she stood nodding her head with an emphasis that threatened to dislodge the smart cap with purple ribbons, which she had rather hastily assumed when summoned to the door, the caller mentally decided that here was a good soul, indeed, but rather loquacious to be the sole guardian of two girls "putty as twin blooms."
She, herself, was tall and slender, and wore her rich street costume with an easy elegance, as if fine clothing were too much a matter of course to excite her interest. But upon her face were lines which showed that, at some time, she had looked long and deeply into the hollow eyes of trouble, possibly despair. Even the smile now curving her well-turned lips lacked the joyousness of youth, though in years she seemed well on the sunny side of early middle age. She was evidently in no hurry this morning, and finding her possible landlady so ready to talk, bent an attentive ear that was most flattering to the good creature.
"I knew," she said, sinking into a rattan chair tied up with blue ribbons, like an over-dressed baby, "that these rooms had an air which suggested youth and beauty. I don't wonder your heart is sore to lose them."
"Ah, it's broke it is, 'm!" the voice breaking in sympathy, "for I've looked upon 'em as my own, entirely, and it's nigh to eighteen year, now. Their mother, just a slip of a girl herself, 'm, had only time for a long look at her babbies before she begun to sink, and when she see, herself, 'twas the end, she whispered, 'Debby'—I was right over her, 'm, leaving the babbies to anybody, for little they were to me then, beside the dear young mistress—so she says, says she, 'Debby!' and I says, very soft-like, 'Yes, Miss Helen,'—'cause, mind you, I'd been her maid afore she was merrit at all, and I allays forgot when I wasn't thinkin', and give her the old name—and I says, 'Yes, Miss Helen?' And then she smiles up at me just as bright as on her wellest days, 'm, and says, 'Call 'em Faith and Hope,' Debby; that's what they would be to me if—and not rightly onderstandin' of her, I breaks in, 'Faith and Hope? Call what faith and hope?' For, thinkses I, 'she may be luny with the fever.' But no, she says faint-like, but clear and sound as a bell, 'Call my babies so. Let their names be Faith and Hope, and when their poor father comes home, say it was my wish, and he must not grieve too much, for he will have Faith and Hope always with him.' And then the poor dear sinks off again and never rightly comes to, till she's clean gone."
"And their father was on a voyage, then?"
"Yes 'm, second mate of the 'International.' He's cap'n now, 'm, with an interest in the steamship, and they do say they ain't many that's so dreadfully much finer in the big P. & O. lines—leastwise so I've heerd tell, 'm, and I guess they ain't no mistake about it, nuther."
"And you have mothered his babies all these years?"
"I have, 'm, yes. In course when it come time for their schoolin' I had to let 'em go. 'Twas then Cap'n Hosmer was going to give up this house, 'cause 'twa'n't no use a-keepin' it while they was off, but thet made me put my wits to work, and I planned a plan as I ain't seen fit to find no fault with to this day. I ups and merries John Gunter, what's been a-hangin' around a year or more, and I says, 'We'll take the house off your hands, Cap'n. I've made up a notion to keep lodgers, and then that'll give my girls a place to come to, and git fed up, a holidays—don't you see, sir? And at that he laughs and says, says he—for he's a man what's sound and sweet clear through, like a hard cabbage, 'm, no rotten nowhere—and he says: 'A good plan, Debby, and I'll rent your two best rooms for my daughters now, and pay a year in advance,' and so 'twas done, 'm. And so's went the last five year, them a-coming and going, jest like the sunshine in Aprile, but now—"
Again the always husky voice broke, and the white apron was turned into a handkerchief for the nonce.
"Now you are going to lose them, you say?"
"Yes'm. They're to ship with their father for the long cruise—that is, I s'pose I oughter say they're a-goin with him on the long v'yage to Ingy."
"I presume he gets lonely for them too, poor man!"
"In course he do, 'm—I sees thet plain—and I can't really say a word, only—hist! I believes it's 'em, now. If that ain't my Miss Hope's rush through the hall then I'll—"
An unmistakable breeze and clatter, in which fresh young voices could be plainly heard, sounded without, and, as both women faced the door, it was flung somewhat violently open, and a young creature appeared in its frame who seemed the incarnation of joy and brightness. Involuntarily the lady murmured "Hope!" for the young girl's great brown eyes were alight with fun, and her red-brown hair seemed to laugh sympathetically in every curly lock and tangle, while her parted lips showed teeth like bits of alabaster polished to splendor.
She had scarcely entered when there seemed to be two of her, for her sister, close behind, was so perfect a counterpart that no one, unless a keen observer, could detect a difference. The stranger was a keen observer and noticed that, while eyes, teeth, hair, and rich complexion were identical, also the height and build, the expression was quite different. Where the first-comer was alert, bird-like, and possibly inclining to sharpness, the second was more dreamy, peaceful, and slow. She had called the one "Hope," and saw, with quick pleasure, that she was right, for as the girl stopped suddenly, abashed at finding a stranger in the room, Mrs. Gunter said apologetically—
"I was jest takin' this lady through, Miss Hope. She thowt as she might be a-wantin' of these after you an' Miss Faith was a-gone, maybe. Mrs. Rollston it is."
Each young girl acknowledged the introduction with a pleasant little nod, and a murmured, "Happy to meet you, Mrs. Rollston," so precisely similar in voice and manner that she could not help an amused smile; yet, even here she could detect that same subtle difference in the expression. Hope's nod was accompanied by a blithe glance, keen, yet inviting, Faith's with a softly-inquiring, yet half-indifferent look, as if some undercurrent of thought were still unstirred. She felt that Hope appropriated her friendliness as a matter of course, while Faith, though not repelling it, maintained a fine reserve which might, or might not, vanish like hoar-frost in the first sun-ray of affection. She said gently, "Your kind Mrs. Gunter has been telling me something of your plans. It takes a great deal out of a house when young people leave it."
"Dear old Deb! She doesn't realize what a lot of care it will take off her shoulders, though," cried Hope, quickly. "It will give her hours and hours for Gyp and the lodgers. You see,"—laughing and dimpling till Mrs. Rollston longed to kiss her,—"I put the dog first."
"Which does not hurt my feelings yet, whatever it may do later," returned that lady in kind. "And when do you sail, may I ask?"
"To-morrow morning. I'm so glad we're to start by daylight. We're going to take Debby out, and send her back in the pilot boat, aren't we, Faith?"
"You nearly promised, you know, Debby," put in the one addressed, seeing dissent in her eye.
"But not quite, honey. I allays feels it's a temptin' of Proverdance for such a shaped woman as I be to set foot on things what goes a-rockin' around on the water. I like to feel good solid earth under them feet!" and she peered quizzically over her round person at her huge carpet slippers, and shook her head with a chuckle of amusement. "I've watched them frisky little steam critters 'fore now, and they're most dujeous like to a babby jest a-larnin' to walk, or a tipsy man a-tryin' to steer straight when he sees double. No, thankee kindly, but I guess I'll say good-by ashore, where I can cry it out comfortable after you're gone."
"Foolish old Debby!" laughed Hope, while Faith looked with a sweet regret at her dear old nurse, but did not speak.
"Do you know," said the stranger, who was about leaving, her business having been long finished, "I am wondering how it happened that these names were bestowed just as they are. Can you tell me, Mrs. Gunter? It would seem as if the babies must have shown their dispositions when very young—or was it a happy chance?"
Deborah laughed with unction. It was a story she was fond of telling. They had just descended the stairs and she opened a door into a snug-looking sitting-room off the hall as she said—
"Well, jest set you down again for a minute, 'm, if you please, and I'll tell you. I ain't good for much at standin' long—too many pounds to hold up. Here, 'm, this is the best chair—now I'll tell ye. Fact is, I was in a real pupplex over them names for a time. First, I was a-goin' to wait till their fayther got home, but they kept a-growin' so fast thet it didn't seem right not to have 'em named. I was real worrited for a spell till, all at once, I found out that they was named—yes, and I'd done it myself! 'Twas like this: When they'd begin to be a stir in the crib, and I was right busy, I'd say to my shadder, 'I hope it isn't this one, 'cause she wouldn't keep still a blessed minute'; or I'd say, 'I've faith to b'lieve it's that one, for she'll coo and play with her toes till I gets ready.' 'Twas allays jest so—'I hope,' or 'I've faith,' every time. And soon as it come to me, why, I jest named the obstreperous one Hope and the quiet one Faith—don't you see?"
"I do. It was bright of you, too. It really means that the names came by nature, so fit like a glove, of course. But I must be off at once. Thank you for a pleasant morning, Mrs. Gunter! I will bring my husband around to-morrow for his approval, if he can spare the time. At any rate, I think I am not too hasty in saying we will take the rooms. We will, if you please, pay by the week in advance, as he is only here on business, and our departure may, necessarily, be sudden. Good-morning."
She departed, followed by the smiles and curtesies of Mrs. Gunter, but not till the latter had found time to whisper huskily, "Aren't they sweet girls, 'm, and do you wonder it breaks me in pieces to lose 'm?" to which she responded heartily,
"Indeed, I can fully understand your grief. They are delightful, and singularly alike. If I were to describe each in a word, I should say Hope is radiant, Faith lovely, and both are charming!"
There were lively times in the Portsea lodging-house, next morning. The many last small tasks that crowd upon the out-going voyager had kept even Hope too busy to talk much, and she at length stopped breathlessly, to cry, as she jammed her dressing-sacque and tooth-brush into an already over-crowded bag,
"Dear me! Faith, have you a spot for my hair-brush? It won't fold up nor crush down, and this crocodile is just gorged. I don't know that I can ever snap his jaws to in the world!"
Faith looked and smiled an assent.
"Toss it over! If your alligator-grip is full I can find room in this telescope, but I hope it won't break my scent bottle."
"Oh, alligator—yes, but what's the difference? The creatures look alike in the pictures, I'm sure. That's a darling! Now, if I can ever find the eye for this hook—oh, thank you! How calm you are. Why, my hands fairly shake with nervousness. Now I believe I'm ready."
"I too," returned Faith, taking up her gloves and smiling at Deborah, who just then opened the door, displaying eyes swollen with weeping and cap awry, and who observed sobbingly,
"The new lady—Mrs. Rollston—is below, and asked if you was gone. I thowt as likely she was a-wantin' to see you again, if you don't mind, though she didn't really ask for you. Will you be pleased to come down?"
"Yes indeed!" cried Hope. "Where did I put that umbrella? Oh, I remember! It's tied to the steamer trunk. We may as well take our luggage all down, as we go so soon."
"Yes," said Faith, who had already lifted the telescope and a linen rug-holder, embroidered with her initials, and calmly sailed out, while Hope buzzed aimlessly about, picking up sundry small belongings, during which time Debby shouldered her heavier packages and followed. The girls allowed no dissimilarity in their costumes, to the smallest detail, but for convenience' sake had selected their traps and luggage as unlike as possible. When Hope reached the drawing-room Mrs. Rollston was making to Faith a half-apology for her early visit.
"I knew, if I could time my call exactly right, I would not bother you. There is always a breathing-space while waiting for the cab, and—"
"And you have exactly hit it!" broke in Hope, coming forward to give her greeting, as Faith turned away. "We are pleased to meet you again."
"Thank you. I find myself, in my idle time here, waiting upon my husband's business, taking more interest than is perhaps strictly allowable in you both. Can you pardon me?"
"Freely," said Faith, "and we return it. Hope and I had a smart discussion over you, last night. She says you are an American."
"Does she?" turning swiftly to the sister. "What makes you think so, Miss Hope?"
"Your manner, your dress, and your accent," was the prompt reply though the girl flushed a little in embarrassment.
"But how do you young English girls so well understand these points of difference when—"
"Oh, but we're not English girls!" cried Hope.
"That is, not entirely," qualified Faith. "Our mother was English—"
"But our father's American!" Hope finished the sentence with a triumphant air, and her visitor laughed.
"You seem proud of it, too," she said.
"I am. Faith does not care so much, but I'm very glad it is so. We went across with father and Debby once, and stayed a year. It was such a pleasant time! Father's people live in an old town they call Lynn—such a pretty, shady place, with a drowsy air that wakes into real life two or three times a day, when the factory people stream through the streets—for you see they make shoes there."
"Do they?" asked the lady with a peculiar smile, as if this were not great news to her.
"Yes. Uncle Albert's house, where we lived, was almost hidden beneath great elm trees, and he and Aunt Clarice were so good to us."
"And we kept bees," put in Faith, looking exactly like her twin in her sudden animation. "I used to help uncle swarm them myself."
"And we went down to Boston every few weeks," Hope crowded in again, "and that was fine. I love Boston. Its narrow, crooked streets make me think of our own Portsmouth, here, but with a difference. And oh! the gardens, and the Common, and the Museum—"
"The cab's at the dure," announced Debby in an abused voice, feeling that this lively talk was scarce seemly in view of the near separation to follow. Debby cherished grief, and felt it a Christian duty to make much of it, perhaps because her sunny nature would of itself throw it off too lightly.
At her word all was quickly changed. The two girls forgot the strange woman to hug the dear old nurse, and finally were escorted by both to the cab door, Hope crying heartily, Faith showing only misty eyes and quivering lips, but looking paler than her sister.
It had been arranged that Captain Hosmer, whose business had kept him with his steamer overnight, should meet his daughters at the pier, and the cabman had his directions, so whipped up and was off without delay, leaving poor Debby almost a senseless heap upon the door-step—an old-fashioned green door on a retired street in the more ancient part of the suburb—while Mrs. Rollston, in some dismay, bent over her.
But before the house disappeared from view Faith's straining eyes saw the two slowly mounting the steps together and turned in great content to say, "I'm glad that friendly lady is to be at Debby's. She has just helped the poor dear up the steps as kindly as possible. Poor Debby! She will miss us."
"Yes." Hope's quick tears were already somewhat stayed, and she now looked brightly out, as they clattered across the bridge into the town of Portsmouth proper and began to circle swiftly through the narrow streets.
"But she will feel better in a day or two. And oh! Faith, I can't help being glad that we are going, can you? We leave Debby, but we go with father, and such a fine voyage is enough to make any one happy. Ought we to feel all sorry?"
"No, indeed! Why should we? As you say, we are to go with our father. That alone is a great delight."
"And, by the way, that lady never told us whether she was American, or not, did she?"
"Sure enough! Well, we may never see her again, so what does it matter? I hope we will, though, for I liked her."
"And so did I," was Hope's emphatic rejoinder.
Captain Hosmer opened the cab door for them himself, and gave them the gaze of wondering approval which he reserved for these fair daughters. To him their growth, development, and beauty seemed something magical, incomprehensible. He had left them in the lank, homely, tooth-shedding period, at the time he placed them in school, and when he returned to see them graduated, here were two blooming maidens on the very borderland of charming womanhood. The usual love and pride of a father was in him a rapture made up of the love given to his very own, and also of the admiration that a man, little thrown among women, is apt to feel for those of his fireside. Then, too, these were the relics of a wife most fondly cherished, and he constantly saw in them traits and expressions which brought her to mind, and filled his heart with tenderness.
They, in turn, fairly adored the tall, brawny man, whose whole bearing bespoke self-restraint, and the calm exercise of authority, and if his attitude towards them was both chivalrous and tender, theirs to him was fondly admiring and respectful.
"I've been waiting for you ten minutes," he said, flinging his cigar away. Then he beckoned to a sailor who, cap in hand, stood by, and giving him a low order, led the girls off at a brisk pace, saying, "Jack will see to your luggage; I've something to show you before we leave."
With one on either arm he walked them rapidly among the bales, boxes, cordage, wagons, lumber, and people crowding the wharf, then turned abruptly townwards, entered a short, lane-like street, and finally stopped at a low, quaint-looking old shop, leaning in a tired manner against a larger building beyond, thus throwing its doors and windows into such oblique angles that Hope declared it made her feel dizzy. A little dark man—doubtless to match the little dark house—bowed with much suavity in the doorway, as if expecting them, and the captain at once addressed him.
"Here we are, Beppo! Bring them along, and be quick about it." But, though his words were commanding, his eyes twinkled at the man, who, ducking his black head once more, disappeared within.
The girls peered into the doorway, from which issued a by-no-means agreeable odor, and their father asked, laughingly.
"Shall we go in?"
"I think not," said Faith, holding her handkerchief to her dainty little nose, "but what are those queer—why!" She jumped and caught at her father, for some one had seemed to ask in a gruff voice, right at her ear, "What d'ye want?"
Her father laughed outright.
"Scared you, eh? Look out, Hope!" for the latter had stepped inside.
She answered merrily.
"Oh, Faith, come! What you heard was a parrot. And there are a lot of birds—oh! and cats—such queer ones. Do come and see."
But at this minute, from some inner apartment Beppo reappeared, a cage in either hand. In one perched a parrot of gorgeous plumage, in the other crouched a beautiful Angora cat, large and tawny, its great brush of a tail curled disconsolately about its ears.
"What a lovely kitten!" cried Faith, "and so frightened. Poor, poor Pussy!"
"And such a saucy parrot!" chimed in Hope. "Isn't it handsome, though?"
"He talka—oh, mocha he talka," observed Beppo, holding the cages on high with a prideful air. "An' he pussa ver' fine, yes."
"Well, girls, which do you like the better?" said the captain. "I know it's the thing to give presents to out-going travelers, and I want to do everything shipshape. But flowers are a nuisance the second day out, and fruit a drug, so I thought a pet was the thing. It's only to decide which it shall be."
"Oh, if we can't have both, do let's take the parrot; don't you say so, Faith?"
"Why, if you wish it, of course, dear, but"—her gaze rested lingeringly upon the other cage.
"But you want the Persian cat, I see, daughter," put in the captain. "Well, well, let's have both, Beppo. We'll find some place to stow 'em, no doubt. Have you somebody by to carry them to the steamer?"
"Me go," cried the man, grinning broadly in delight over this trade, "me vife she stay—me go."
"But couldn't I carry the poor kitten in my arms, she seems to feel being a prisoner so?" asked Faith, distressed for the pet she loved already.
"He might scratch you," said the captain, but Beppo shook his head.
"Noa, noa, he gooda; but he getta waya. Dis safa. Betta go cagea."
"Drat the cage!" shouted a hoarse voice, and Faith nearly fell over backwards, while Hope danced up and down in merry laughter.
"It's my parrot! Oh, father, does he swear? What will we do with him?"
The captain was silently shaking with merriment, but drew himself together and turned sternly to the man. "Beppo, you declared that was a refined, clean-talking bird—now, didn't you? I told you it was for a young lady."
The man's face fell and he broke into profuse apologies, which grew more unintelligible as they increased in vehemence. Out of it all they managed to gather that this was the parrot's worst expression, and only lately learned of a "badda carpentiera," who had found difficulty in fashioning the wooden cage he was making, and had used "badda wodda" in consequence. Hope could scarcely wait till he had finished to cry, anxiously,
"But, father, it isn't a real swear-word, now, is it? And anyhow we can teach him to do better. Do, do let me have him!"
Her father gave her a merry glance.
"They say some women really like to hear a man use strong expressions—now, it can't be you are like that—or is it that you want somebody to reform, eh? However, if you can stand it I can—sailors have to get used to such things. I can't say I've ever found it really necessary to swear though, as some of them maintain. I can do a considerable amount of ordering in the worst storm going, and remember to rule my tongue as well as my crew. In fact, I won't have anything of the kind aboard, so, my dear, if your bird begins by breaking my rules, what then?"
"I shall teach him better. Parrots say what they are taught, and if he does not hear it, he won't talk it."
"Well, then, if you'll take him in hand—come on, Beppo, we must be moving," and the little procession began its march.
Faith drew a long breath of relief.
"Well," she remarked, with a dainty lifting of the brows that always made the captain think of his girl-wife, so long lost to him, "I'm decidedly grateful that my cat cannot talk. He won't be able to disgrace us, at least."
"Oh, Hope, I wish they wouldn't! Doesn't it seem too hard? Those poor mothers and sisters—"
"And sweethearts," added Hope under her breath, watching with great eyes. "I don't mind so much those that make so much noise about it, like that big woman by the post, but this little group over here; they do feel awfully, and my heart aches for them."
The girls were standing on the deck of the "International," watching the last adieux on shore. A small squad of British soldiery were about embarking, and the home friends were gathered on the wharf, waiting for a last glimpse of their beloved boys. The "big woman" Hope mentioned had made such violent demonstrations, insisting upon following her red-cheeked son about and weeping on his shoulder, that he had fled before the laughter of his brothers-in-arms, and hidden in some nook on board, leaving her to find solace in a vile-looking black pipe, which she was just lighting with an equanimity that did not suggest an entirely heart-broken condition. The group mentioned consisting of the intelligent-looking young officer in charge of the squad, and three women, who were evidently mother, sister, and friend.
They visited in low tones till the last minute, but at the final separation the poor mother turned from her red-coat's embrace, nearly fainting in her daughter's arms, and the poor fellow, looking back at the three pale faces, had staggered a little in his own walk, as if overcome by emotion, as he rallied his men for embarkation. Just as the gang-plank slid inside upon its rollers, however, something happened which brought back the ever-ready laughter to the girls' lips. A young exquisite, with a monocle who had been hovering around one party, in which were two or three pretty girls whose sly fun at his expense he was too dense to appreciate, thought it would be a cunning thing to fling after them the handkerchief he had pretended to drench with regretful tears; but being very close to the edge of the wharf he miscalculated his balance, and would have toppled into the water, but that a burly tar, standing close by, caught him by his waistband and dragged him back to safety, swearing a round oath at him for his foolishness.
The poor little dandy's natty straw hat and monocle were lost, though, but worse yet was the shout of laughter that arose from ship and shore, at his expense, mingled with cheers for the big sailor. Crestfallen enough, he was glad to sink back into the crowd and become inconspicuous, for once. But no one on the steamer gave him further attention, for, as they swung out into deep water with that majestic motion in which a great vessel seems to courtesy to the deep, there was too much of great interest to look at.
The girls had thoroughly examined their fine stateroom, which opened from their father's cabin, a day or so before, and now, having hastily deposited the cat, parrot, and luggage within in its doors, were prepared to spend this first hour of their journey in making good use of their eyes. It happened to be a fine day, clear and mild, with little air stirring, and even the most tearful of the passengers soon began to feel the influence of the fine air and lively scenes about them.
As they passed Fort Monckton some regimental band was practising a martial air, which came in softened strains across the water, and it seemed as if Spithead roadway were fairly alive with craft of every description, from a gun-ship seeking dry dock for repairs, to a slender racing wherry, whose one occupant, bareheaded and armed, flung up an oar in greeting, as the stately "International" steamed by.
Hope turned almost reluctantly from all this life and movement to watch the fertile shores of the Isle of Wight, but Faith fell at once under their spell, and could scarcely be persuaded to talk, so busy were her eyes noting the rich verdure and picturesqueness of the wooded scene. As they neared Cowes she pointed to a massive tower, which loomed up amid the thick verdure, and observed,
"See, Hope, there's Osborne House, one of our queen's castles, isn't it beautiful?"
"Yes," said Hope, "and there's a sloop flying an American flag—see? Ah! it's saluting—now watch our colors, Faith; isn't that pretty? And aren't you glad we sail under both? There's a book named 'Under Two Flags,' and I've wondered what it is about. Our father's steamer sails under both the American and British, and I'm so proud of both I want to huzza every time I see them!"
The breeze was freshening by this, so that they felt the need of more wraps, and decided to go below for them. As they slowly paced across the broad deck their eyes roved from group to group, and they began already to decide which would, and would not, be desirable acquaintances. In turn, many eyes followed them, and they caught such expressions as—"Did you ever see such a resemblance? How beautiful they are, and how exactly alike," and the whisper, "Who are they?" passed from lip to lip, for, having roamed all over this great ocean hotel more than once, when "visiting papa," the twins now went about with an assurance few passengers had yet attained to.
Besides the sight of two mere girls apparently unattended, is a most unusual thing abroad, and so our sisters seemed, this morning, for their father was too busy with his many duties to attend upon them when he knew they were perfectly at home, here. As they entered their pretty cabin, for so the English oftenest designate a first-class stateroom, a pitiful "miew," long drawn out, and at once answered by a hoarse "Shut up!" greeted their ears. The poor kitten was evidently suffering, and the naughty parrot scolding her for complaining.
"It's a wicked shame to keep my fine Angora in that cage!" cried Faith, with unusual spirit, "And you must teach that rude fellow not to scold at her."
Hope smiled good-naturedly.
"How can I help his talking, dear? But why can't we let kitty out, now? Shut the door and have her get used to it here, first. How pretty this room is! Wasn't it lovely of father to fit it up freshly for us?"
"Of course it was!" cried a well-known bass voice, and a blue-capped head appeared at the inner door. "Going to let Puss out, girlies?" asked the captain. "Wait, I'll assist you."
He was soon down upon his knees fumbling with the cage, the girls watching him in eager anticipation; and this seems an excellent opportunity to describe the pretty apartment. It was about twelve feet square, and its two narrow white bedsteads were set side by side beneath the starboard portholes, and safely screwed to the floor, leaving a narrow space beyond, which gave opportunity to reach the convenient wardrobe there. In one corner, at the foot of the beds, was the stationary wash-stand with cleated shelves above, and a cunning pigeon-hole arrangement for shoes below—"Anything but footless boots clattering around in a gale!" said Captain Hosmer. In the other corner was a dear little toilet-stand, built in securely, and fitted below with triangular drawers, which shut fast with a click, and were opened with a spring. Its top was beveled out into fanciful squares and rounds, into which deep trays for toilet articles were secured, and, above, a mirror of goodly size was also screwed to place. Between these was the door that led to a narrow corridor leading directly to the deck in one direction, to one of the saloons in the other.
Along the wall space, opposite the wardrobe, were light racks for books, wraps, and knick-knacks, and below a long seat, or lounge, covered in white dimity, with its flounce reaching to the floor. The top to this could be raised, and the space beneath made a most handy place for the bestowal of cloaks and gowns. All the decorating of walls and panels was in white and pale green, pricked out with gold; and a small door close beside the bed-heads opened into the captain's cabin.
This was a foot or two larger, and of irregular shape, its deck-wall forming a swell, in which were three broad windows which gave a view of the sea for a full half-circle of the horizon. It also overlooked the forward deck, the watchful lookout on the bridge, the busy sailors at their tasks, and gave glimpses of the steerage at long range. It was richly paneled in leather, with much gilding, the draperies were of crimson damask, and the seat which followed the window's swell was cushioned in crimson plush, all of which gave it a snug, shut-in look. A large table with a constant litter of maps, charts, sextants, log-books, pipes, and tobacco jars, occupied the center, and comfortable chairs were placed around in careless order. There were a few books in some wall-shelves, a violin case in one corner—which instrument the captain loved to practise on, though he was no proficient—and one or two pretty India cabinets of lacquered work, containing odd specimens, and fine curios from many countries.
His sleeping apartment, off at one side, which filled in the irregular triangle left from the rounded end, was a mere closet with a narrow bunk, "hard as iron," as Faith often disconsolately remarked, and a folding bath. The captain asked no personal luxuries, yet no father ever lived who was more lavish in bestowing every refinement of dainty living upon his daughters.
The girls liked to speak of his cabin as the "library," and mostly did so, much to its owner's amusement, who seldom read any book except the log, or the daily writings of the weather on sea and sky.
"There!" he said, as he succeeded in loosening the cage door. "Now come out, Mr. Puss, and make friends. What are you going to name him, Faith?"
"What would you, father? It ought to be a Persian name, oughtn't it?"
"That might do—if you don't get too much of a jaw-breaker, child. Remember, I'm not learned."
"The idea! When you can rattle off those Indian names that I cannot understand at all, Just as if they were everyday Hatties and Kitties and Pollys."
"Oh, of course. I'm used to them. But Persian's another thing, I suppose. Come, kitty, don't be afraid—whew!" for, in spite of coaxing, the frightened creature made a dash past him, as he would have stroked its silky coat, and disappeared under the white valance of the nearest bed.
Instantly Faith was on her knees, diving after, but nearly fell over with laughter when Mr. Parrot called out promptly, in a shocked voice, "Oh, for shame!"
Amid the laughter the captain remarked quickly, "I have it! Who was that Persian poet you were reading about the other night, in Portsea, Faith? Why not name him that? Don't you remember, he was said to be rather a shy, retiring man. Now, kitty, here, seems to have the same disposition."
Faith was now scrambling out, warm and tumbled, Puss safe in her arms, but only half yielding to restraint, and, smiling at her father's funny glance, she answered, gasping a little with her exertions,
"It was Hafiz, papa. I had thought of Ali Baba, but that always suggests the forty thieves, you know, and I wouldn't like my pretty Angora to be accused of stealing even cream—father, do you suppose he's hungry?"
"Bless us! Just as likely as not. Wait, I'll send Joey for some milk at once," touching an electric button just above the seat. "I see Mr. Parrot has his dinner in his cage. Well, shall it be Hafiz?"
"I believe that will do," returned Faith slowly, "and what will you name your bird, Hope?"
"Oh, I'm not going so far for a name as all that, only to America, and I shall call him Texas."
Her father, smiling at her ideas of distance, joined Faith in her surprised question, "But why?"
"Why? Because I've always thought, from things I've read about Texas, that it's a jolly, wide-awake state, but not over-refined, perhaps. It has always seemed to me they did rather dreadful things there, but in an off-hand, good-natured sort of way, that made them seem more funny than really bad. I don't think I can make it quite plain to you, but that's the way my parrot acts. He is not so wicked as he seems, and I shall certainly call him Texas."
At this instant the boy, who had been electrically summoned, appeared. He was a Japanese, with a good face, now in a broad smile as he received his orders, and the quick glance by which he took in the pretty room and its lively occupants was alert and well pleased. He had waited upon the captain for years, spoke perfect English, and was the most faithful and good-tempered of lackeys. He soon reappeared with some rich-looking milk, which poor Hafiz eagerly began to lap, so soon as Faith had poured some into a saucer, and for the first time a soft purring sounded from his white-collared throat.
"There!" said his little mistress, watching him in great satisfaction, "he really was half starved. Now, don't you see how like our Persian poet he is, father? You remember Hafiz liked to sing of all comfortable things—good living, and so on. Here is my Hafiz doing the same thing."
"Only his language is not entirely comprehensible," laughed her sister.
"Could you have understood the real poet any better?" was the arch response, and Hope had to acknowledge that, for all practical purposes, the Angora Hafiz was as intelligible as his namesake.
When they went back upon deck Faith had the pacified Hafiz in her arms, and was inclined to sympathize with her sister, who could not carry Texas about in that manner. But Hope needed no consolation. "Possibly I cannot, yet," she allowed, "but wait a while. I intend to tame Texas, and then I shall have him to perch on my wrist like a falcon. And, just now, I don't know that I care to be hampered by any sort of a baby," laughing mischievously, for Faith looked quite motherly, with the kitten wrapped in a fold of her cape.
They had come above to see the lighthouse and Hurst Castle, at the opening into the Channel, which seemed to be held out from the mainland by a long, thin arm of soil. The Channel here narrows to about a mile in width, and these objects loom up conspicuously to the starboard of the outbound steamer. As they stood watching from the hurricane deck, to which they had ascended, and admiring not only the bright scene before them, but also the splendor and cleanliness of their father's ship, a boyish voice was heard to exclaim,
"Well, I've explored as far as they'll let me, and I say she's a dandy! I believe she'll compare pretty well with the P. & O. liners, after all, don't you, Bess?" And up through the companionway came a head in a yachting-cap, followed by a slender boy in gray, with a frank, but homely visage.
He gave the girls a keen glance, which they more modestly returned, and they privately decided, after a second look, that his eyes were fine and his smile a pleasant one, if he was slightly snub-nosed and freckled.
Just behind him came the "Bess" of his question, a rather delicate young lady in appearance, possibly in her early twenties, the boy being at least four years younger. She was not pretty, but as her eyes lighted upon the sisters, she too smiled so pleasantly, they were at once drawn to her, and returned the wordless greeting with more than civility. Then Hope broke out, impulsively,
"We are watching the lighthouse. Doesn't it loom up well? Almost as if we were going to run into it."
"True enough," returned "Bess," as both drew nearer, and the boy added, to Faith,
"You've got an Angora, haven't you? We left one at home, didn't we, Bess? He's a splendid fellow, Chimmie Fadden is!"
"Chimmie Fadden? What a funny name!" laughed the twins in chorus.
"It's out of a story," he explained, "a Van Bibber story, and really means Jimmy, you know, but that's the way the boy pronounced it himself. He acts timid," this in reference to Hafiz, who burrowed under Faith's arm, resenting his advances.
"Yes, he doesn't like it on board, at all. It's all too strange, yet. Father gave him to me just before we started, and he hasn't become used to anything—not even me."
"And I've a parrot," put in Hope. "He takes it out in scolding. I shall not dare have him on deck until he gets over his sulks, and will talk nice things. So far, he is a bit rude and outspoken for polite society."
Their light talk and laughter seemed to break all ice between them, if there had been any to break, and the young lady asked,
"Do you go far? I noticed you on the forward deck. It is seldom one sees two people so exactly alike. Can even your own mother tell you apart?"
"Our mother we have never known, she died when we were so little," said Faith gently, "but Debby, our nurse, always knew, and so does father. Very few others do, though."
"Is your father with you?"
"Oh, yes, indeed!" laughed Hope. "We couldn't very well do without him—"
"Oh, I know, I know. He's the captain! Isn't he now?" cried the boy. "I heard the head steward saying something to another officer about the captain's daughters. Haven't I made a good guess?"
"You certainly have," said Faith.
"Then your name is Hosmer," added the boy, triumphantly. "I've been over nearly the whole steamer, and she's fine! And I know our captain quite well, and like him first-rate, already."
"Oh, you do?" laughed his sister. "Well, now you have ferreted out who these young ladies are, I think we ought to introduce ourselves. This is my brother, Dwight Vanderhoff, of New York City, America, and I am his sister Elizabeth, generally shortened to Bess. We are going with our mother and uncle, Mr. Dwight Lawrence, for whom this youngster is named, to India, and intend to make an extended tour. We have been on the Continent and in the British Isles for three or four months, and haven't lost any of our Yankee enthusiasm and curiosity yet, as you see."
"And we're American, too!" cried Hope.
"And English," added Faith.
"Why, how is that?"
The latter explained.
"Well, if that isn't jolly!" said Dwight. "To be sure, this steamer's the 'International,' and sails under both flags. I noticed our old 'star-spangled' along with the Union Jack, and wondered. Do you see, Bess?"
"Of course I see, and am delighted. I shall consider it a good omen for our voyage."
"Especially as she carries Faith and Hope with her," remarked the latter, with a merry glance at her sister.
"Certainly," returned Bess obliviously, but Dwight broke in,
"Wait! You mean something special by that; I see it in your eyes. Let me guess again. Faith and hope—faith and hope—I once knew a girl named Faith—say! I'll bet a cooky those are your names. Aren't they, now?"
"Right again!" laughed Hope, while he jumped about, clapping his hands in ecstasy.
"Hear that, Bess Vanderhoff? Uncle always said I was a regular Yankee for guessing, and that shows it. But those are stunning names for twins—"
"Dwight, Dwight! What an expression to describe those lovely words."
"Well, it was rather off, Bess. I beg your pardon, Miss Faith and Miss—but which is which, and how will I know if you tell me? It's a regular Chinese puzzle, for you are precisely the same until you speak, and then there's a difference. For you," he pointed towards Hope, "look somehow—well, jollier, I guess it is."
"Don't be personal, Dwight," admonished his sister.
"But it's a personal subject, sis, how can I help it? May I make one more try at it?"
"As many as you like," laughed Hope.
"Well, then, if you're named as you ought to be you are Hope, because you look it, and she—"
He was interrupted by a little cry from Faith, who had been watching the scenery more closely than the others. They followed her gaze and were silenced a while by the impressive scene, for the Channel was opening broadly before them, its cold green waves curling into foam-tipped breakers, while the Needles, those natural turrets of the deep, rose in stately fashion from the waters, seemingly in their very path, as if here the bold voyager must needs be challenged before venturing further. The narrow Solent was passed and a wider roadway was to be theirs for many a day. But after a little, Dwight's irrepressible spirits broke out afresh, and he returned to the charge, evidently determined to be at no loss when addressing these girls, whom he secretly chose as companions for Bess and himself out of the whole passenger list. He finished his guess concerning Hope, and once more proved his right to American citizenship.
"But why do I look my name?" she asked curiously.
"Can't tell; you just do, that's all. I'm a guesser, but I can't explain why, at all.
"You may know me by my cat—Hafiz the poet, at your service," said her sister merrily.
"But when you don't have the cat, Miss Faith? One of you ought to tie on a pink ribbon somewhere, and one a blue."
"Yes, and then we'd be like the old woman with her eggs," put in Bess. "It would be sink or swim—pink or blue—but which? I think I'd rather learn you by closer observation, and you mustn't mind if I stare a good deal for a time.
"Oh, no, people always do stare," said Hope nonchalantly, which was, indeed, the truth. The sisters had become so used to this attention in public that they were able to appear unconscious of it always, whether really so or not. For, being sensible girls, they did not attribute this at all to their fair, fresh faces, but to the resemblance between them, enough of a novelty in this world of diversities to be always observable.
They were well out into the Channel when summoned to luncheon, and only waited long enough for a good look back at the beautifully wooded shores before they went below. The first meal at sea is always an interesting one. It is a matter of great moment to many in what part of the saloon they will be assigned a place, and of course the special honor of sitting at the captain's table is desired by all, though attained by few.
As they were descending towards the cabin, to join their father, Faith, ever thoughtful of others, said in a low voice.
"Don't you wish we could have the Vanderhoff party at our table, Hope?"
"True enough. It would be fine! Let's ask father."
"But you know he leaves all that to Mr. Malcolm, and I don't believe we ought to meddle."
Mr. Malcolm was the head steward, and it was an excellent rule of Captain Hosmer's to interfere as little as possible with the special prerogatives of his officers, who in turn always tried their best to please him. Mr. Malcolm knew his duties thoroughly, and did them.
This the girls knew, hence the disclaimer from thoughtful Faith,
"Oh dear! It would be so pleasant. And father ought to have a say about his own table—"
"But you know he's always consulted, dear, and by this time everything is planned."
"Well, we might be consulted, too."
"Why, Hope! When he has planned everything to make it pleasant for us."
Hope's pout died out into a shamefaced smile.
"There, there! Consider it unsaid, Miss Wisdom. Guess I can appreciate the dear man, myself—and there he is looking for us now."
Quite over her pet, she ran to meet him, and his tender smile met their upturned faces.
"Ah, girlies, I was just coming for you. I'll see you in to the table and join you presently. Just now I'm busy, but Malcolm and Joey will look after you. I didn't forget that my little girls were along when we fixed up the table-list, and you'll see they are not all ponderous elderly people with titles, this time. Come on!"
The sisters exchanged glances, and Hope in a spasm of repentance, murmured, "Oh papa, you're too good to us!" which he only half caught as Faith just then remarked,
"But Hafiz—I'll have to—"
"Here, Jack,"—to a passing attendant,—"take this kitten to my cabin, and see that the door is shut into the large stateroom, off. Hafiz and Texas are better apart until time has cemented their friendship," he added, with a twinkle, turning again to his daughters. "Now hurry!" and he raced them merrily down the companion-way, and through the after saloon, to the great apartment set out with table after table, in a bewildering vista of white linen, glittering silver, and shining crystal.
As they stepped to their places Hope nearly gave a hop of pleasure, for on one side were Bess and Dwight, with a tall lady whom Bess greatly resembled, and a rather magnificent gentleman, whose whole air bespoke one used to power, to luxury, and to travel.
The others consisted of two or three officers, an outgoing Indian official who wrote Sir before his name, a famous traveler, a minister from America, and a Russian writer of note. The ladies were fewer, there being only three besides Mrs. Vanderhoff. One was the wife of the English baronet, and the other two seemed traveling together, but in what relation was not apparent. One was past middle life, and fine-looking, with snowy hair, brilliant eyes, and a polished speech and manner. The other was, as the sisters rather hastily decided, not prepossessing in appearance, having a reserved and haughty manner. She seldom spoke, and was either preoccupied, or indifferent.
The captain, with a courteous general greeting, introduced his daughters, then seated them, one on either side of his own place, when, with a word to Joey, whose manner was eagerly attentive, he hastened back to his post, leaving them to their own devices. Bess at once presented them to her mother and uncle, the latter in turn mentioning the names of the Indian official, Sir Wilbur Lawton, his wife and the traveler, whose famous cognomen may not be written here. Then he glanced half inquiringly at the two ladies, who were evidently strangers to him, when she of the white hair said gracefully,
"And let me present to all, my friend, Lady Moreham."
Then, as her companion did not return the favor, she added, "And I am Mrs. Poinsett."
The younger people were too well trained to monopolize conversation, but listened with pleasure to the talk between the gentlemen concerning hunting of "big game" in India, with which both the traveler and Sir Wilbur seemed well acquainted, Mr. Lawrence asking intelligent questions, and the Russian whose name was almost unpronounceable, putting in a broken sentence, or two, now and then. The ladies mostly listened, also, but occasionally the two who were companions conversed in low tones. Lady Lawton, who was extremely fleshy, devoted herself exclusively to her luncheon.
The twins, meanwhile, made their observations with the promptitude of youth. They liked Mrs. Vanderhoff, whose manner was quiet and sensible, in accord with her dress and appearance, and they also fancied Mrs. Poinsett, but the one called Lady Moreham they decided was disagreeable, and too proud of her rank to be sociable. They were glad she sat at the further end of the table, and Hope remarked, as she bent forward for the pepper-box. "There's a regular specimen of your British aristocracy, Faith Hosmer. You must feel proud of it!"
But Faith only smiled, as she murmured in return, "Judge not!" then, with her charming smile, answered Mr. Lawrence's question with a "No, sir, it is our first trip to India. We have often been to Cowes, or Plymouth, with father, but never far from English shores, except once, when we spent a year in Massachusetts, at the time he was mate of the 'Glasgow.'"
"Ah, in what part? Boston, I presume?"
"Yes, sir, Boston, Lynn, Salem; but we lived at Lynn."
Here Bess broke in to briefly explain the double nationality claimed by the girls, and for a rather embarrassing minute the attention of the table seemed concentrated upon them. Amid the fusillade of question and comment Hope noticed Lady Moreham's eyes suddenly flash and soften—she could almost have thought there were tears in them, indeed. But why? At any rate, she began to think there might be some redeeming traits, even in this "specimen of British aristocracy."
"ON THE BAY OF BISCAY, O!"
The meal was scarcely over, when there was a perceptible change in the movement of the steamship, for, no longer sheltered by the Isle of Wight, they soon discovered that what they had always heard of the broad English Channel is true, and found it one of the roughest sheets of water known. Faith soon began to look "white around the gills," as Mr. Malcolm teasingly informed her, and when she said she "thought she would go and look after Hafiz," Hope rallied and ridiculed her, well backed by Dwight, who was a born sailor; but Bess evidently sympathized with her, and began herself to look wan.
Faith had gone indoors—they were on the forward deck upon which the captain's cabin, or "library," opened, and Hope had been watching her zig-zag progress across it, laughing merrily, when, with the suddenness of a lightning-stroke, everything grew black and began to spin around her. She looked helplessly at Dwight, whose grinning face was like that of a whirling dervish, made a little lurch forward, and would have fallen, but that watchful Mr. Malcolm caught her just in time. He at once sent a boy for the stewardess, and they soon had the half-unconscious girl safe inside her own stateroom door, where Faith looked up drowsily from her little bed to remark,
"Why, what's the matter? Did she get hurt?"
"Oh, no, only faint," returned the woman smiling broadly, while she unfastened Hope's gown and assisted her upon the other bed. "There's the pair of you."
"Two fools!" remarked the parrot, with such appropriateness that even Hope had to join feebly in the woman's jolly laughter, while Faith plucked up strength to gibe a little in return for her sister's attack on deck.
"There, now, all you've got to do is to lie still," said the stewardess, as she turned away. "Why, you little kitten! Where did you come from?" for Hafiz, curled down snugly by Faith, had just attracted her notice. "Is he yours, Miss Faith?"
"Yes, Martha. Papa gave him to me, and do let papa know, please, how sick we are, so that he can look in on us when he has time," she added, for, unaccustomed to illness, she felt they were almost in danger of their lives, now.
When, however, a little later, their father peered in with a laughing face to rally them, and declared in cheery tones that they were "just getting their sea-legs, and would be good sailors in a day or two," they took heart, and both soon drowsed off into hazy slumber. But neither wanted any dinner that night, and did not attempt much exertion until late the next day. Hope awoke, feeling much brighter, and felt that the motion was not so distressing as yesterday. She looked across at Faith, who lay with closed eyes, pale indeed, but peaceful.
"Are you awake?" she whispered.
"Yes," returned her sister, opening her eyes only to close them at once. "I'm awake, but it's the queerest thing. So long as I keep my eyes closed I'm quite comfortable, but when I open them I feel as if I were in a high swing just ready to tumble out; and when Texas gets to pitching around in his cage, and hanging fairly upside down, and whirling around like a crazy thing, it makes me a great deal worse."
"Poor Texas! I don't think he's very happy himself. I wonder, are birds ever seasick, really? I've heard they often mope and die on shipboard, but is it seasickness?"
"I'm sure I don't know—but let's not talk about it! What time do you suppose it is, Hope?"
"Oh, somewhere along in the afternoon. Somebody says there's no time at sea—it's all now. Heigh-ho! I've half a mind to get up and dress—why-y, what's that?"
Sure enough! Even Faith opened her eyes wide to stare upward, for there was something sliding through one of the portholes above their heads, and dropping softly downwards—a small package done up in crinkly pink paper, and tied neatly about with blue lutestring.
"It's father!" cried Hope, as she scrambled to her knees to peer out, but she could see nobody on the narrow guards without.
Meanwhile Faith grasped the little packet and began to untie it, forgetting her illness in her eagerness.
The paper, when opened, disclosed two sea biscuits—the square, thin kind, like a soda cracker—and upon each was painted a tiny marine view in water-colors, while beneath was a couplet done in fanciful lettering. One read,
"Hope for a season bade the world farewell, And Freedom shrieked—as Kosciusko fell,"
while the other bore the legend,
"Our Faith, a star, shone o'er a rocky height; The billows rose, and she was quenched in night."
"How absurd! How funny! Who did it?" they cried in concert, forgetting all ill feelings as they laughed till the tears came.
"It never was father," said Hope, when she could get her voice. "The dear man couldn't repeat a line of poetry to save his life. That one about Kosciusko used to be in one of our school speakers, don't you know?"
"Yes, it's Campbell's." Faith always remembered more accurately than her sister, while the latter learned more readily. "But who would ever think of applying it so oddly? The play on our names is bright enough, but—I'll tell you, I'll tell you! It was that boy—Dwight Vanderhoff. I just believe it! He is clever, I'm sure, and his uncle could help him."
"As likely as not—or Mr. Malcolm—but no, I don't believe he would. He is full of fun, but dignified too, and he never forgets we are the captain's daughters. It must be that boy! Martha Jordan says he hasn't been ill a minute, and that he knows everybody on shipboard, already, and they all like him."
The stewardess was fond of the girls, and in her frequent visits had brought them every bit of news she could pick up, to lighten their confinement. She appeared while they were conjecturing, and said,
"Aha! Well, aren't you?"
"Almost," said Faith, as both began telling the story of their package.
Martha appeared much interested, but there was a look on her honest face that seemed to say she was not so densely ignorant of the matter as she pretended to be, and, while she assisted them into their long, flannel-lined ulsters and close caps, for a visit to the upper deck, where she declared the fresh wind would blow their last qualms away, they tried to learn just what she did know, but without success. Giving it up, finally, Hope proposed that they wear the sea-biscuit as ornaments, and see who should look most conscious when they drew near.
"A good idea! And where is that box of ribbons? Let's find a pink and blue, if we can."
"Tell me where you put it and I'll look," said Martha, much amused, and, when found, she punched a hole through one corner of the pasty squares, and tied each to a button of the ulsters. Hope's was pink, and Faith's blue.
Thus equipped, she started them up the companion-way, and seeing they were reasonably firm on their feet, went about her business, chuckling to herself as if greatly enjoying something. As they appeared above, they received a merry greeting from their father, who sat chatting with Mr. Lawrence to leeward of a smokestack, which gave a grateful warmth, as the day was a typical November one, gray and chill.
Both gentlemen sprang up to offer chairs, and congratulate them upon their courage in venturing out, and they were barely seated, when up came Dwight, trying to keep under a most amazing grin that persisted in stretching his mouth from ear to ear.
"Well, this is good!" he cried, shaking hands with a nourish. "I knew, if you'd just make a try at it, you'd be all right. If everybody would stick it out and stay on deck, as I do, there'd be no such thing as seasickness."
"Oh, the conceit of him!" laughed his uncle. "Stick it out, indeed! Why, you don't know what it means, you healthy young rascal. You have the stomach of a goat!"
To divert attention, possibly, Dwight suddenly turned to the girls, and inspected them with apparent curiosity.
"You seem to be decorated, this afternoon," he remarked in a non-committal tone, "and got on your pink and blue ribbons, I declare!"
His gaze rested on the sea-biscuit, and he lowered his eyelids to hide the laugh behind them.
"You didn't know we had decorations on this ship?" asked Hope teasingly. "Only a few get them. They are for good conduct under trying conditions. We have been ill, but not disagreeably ill. There's a difference."
The gentlemen were looking at the painted squares, now, and her father said, "What's that nonsense, my dear? What are they, anyhow?"
"Just something the stormy petrels dropped through our porthole," said Faith, gravely taking up the tale. "Aren't they pretty?"
"H'm! Quite so." Mr. Lawrence was also indulging in a long look. "Did a merman paint them for you? And what sea-king got up that poetry? It seems well selected, if not entirely original." He glanced at his nephew quizzically, and added, "I suppose the other name of that Freedom who shrieked was Dwight, wasn't it? Pretty well, sir, pretty well! I recognize the work. Your style is original, Mr. Artist Vanderhoff."
"And didn't you help him one bit, Mr. Lawrence?" asked Faith.
"Did not even know of it, Miss Hosmer."
"Then I call it a mighty smart performance!" cried Hope in a tone of finality which brought a hearty laugh from the group.
"Clever enough!" decided the captain, as he spelled out the twisted lines, and chuckled over them. "You're quite an artist, young man. I remember, a few years back, I had a whole crew of the long-haired profession aboard, and a jolly, turbulent set they were. They decorated the ship from stem to gudgeon in all sorts of unexpected places, and almost disorganized my Lascars, snatching them off duty to pose as models. I had to threaten to driven 'em below at the rope's end, and batten down the hatches, to bring them to reason. But they made fun for us the whole voyage, and I was sorry to see the last of them at Gibraltar."
The steamer was now in the broad Bay of Biscay, which washes the bold shores of France and Spain, and the water had that compact hue of dark azure, with occasional greenish lights, that tells of deep soundings.
As they forged ahead, to the steady drum-beat of the engines, the broad swirl of water, churned into foam by the great propellers at the stern, marked their path as far back as the eye could reach. The weather was fitful, and the sky cleared somewhat toward sunset, but its light was cold, and threatening clouds hung close upon its edge. The treacherous weather predicted of the bay might be upon them soon, though as yet it had been "all plain sailing," as the captain observed.
"It's either here, or on the Indian seas," he said laughingly. "Somewhere, we'll have to take it! It is not often we get through without a little shaking up, somewhere. 'Twould scarcely be possible in so long a voyage."
"About how long does it take you?" asked Mr. Lawrence, lazily watching the line of faint silvery blue, streaking the horizon.
"Oh, I usually make it inside of thirty days, when our stops aren't too long," returned the captain. "Of course the P. & O. liners, being mail-carriers, do it in much less time. But they're built for speed, and make fewer stops. Then, we tramp steamers always give them the right of way in harbor—hello!"
He rose to his feet, his keen eyes looking off to starboard, while at the same instant came a cry from the lookout, "Sail to starboard, aft!"
The others, following the captain's gaze, saw something like a faint smudge growing on the horizon's line against the faintly tinted hue, and, even as they watched, it deepened to a waving plume.
"Come!" said he, and they followed him to the bridge, where, giving each a turn at the glass, they watched the plume until a shape was attached to it, and it grew into a graceful steamship, its funnels belching black, and its sails gleaming like shadowy shapes of vapor till they grew near enough to become defined, and materialized by nearness.
"It's one of the liners now—a P. & O!" cried the captain with some excitement. "Isn't she a lady, though? Watch her gait! She's as steady and swift as the stars in their courses. You'll see her colors soon."
He sang out an order or two, then turned to answer Faith who, with her eyes fixed on the rapidly nearing steamer, asked dreamily,
"What does P. & O. stand for, papa?"
"Why, don't you know? For goodness' sake, child, what an odd question for a seaman's daughter to ask!"
"But I surely don't know. I never heard anything but P. & O. and I never even thought to ask before."
"Well, it's Peninsular and Oriental, of course—there, see her colors? Those four triangles in blue, white, yellow, and red, at her masthead. Watch while we salute her!"
The beautiful courtesy was given and exchanged, the great steamer passing at so close range that they could see the clustered groups upon her immense decks, note the fluttering handkerchiefs, and hear their cheers, in response to those from the "International," ringing faint, yet clear, across the watery space between.
"That's the 'London,'" said the captain dropping his glass after a long, admiring gaze, "and, by the way, the old 'London,' a fine, staunch vessel, was wrecked in this very bay years ago."
They watched the leviathan, with its hundreds of passengers, a long time, but at length its greater speed carried it from view in the darkening night, and they were presently reminded, by the signal, that it was time to dress for dinner.
The "International" would have seemed odd, in many respects, to one used only to the trans-Atlantic steamers, for, though entirely officered by English-speaking whites, its crew consisted largely of Malays and Lascars, while the waiters were mostly Japanese and Bengalese, wearing a costume compounded of their native gowns and the white aprons of European waiters. The maids, under Mrs. Jordan, were also East Indian women, and they were very picturesque in their saris, or head coverings, of gay colors, with brilliant teeth gleaming out of their swarthy faces, and eyes like beads for blackness. Even the boys who answered bell-calls and polished the brasses and the shoes, were from Soudan or Bombay, and the stokers down in the engine-room were Seedees, black as the coals they kept flinging into those yawning red mouths, which made one think of an opening into the great pit of Hades.
These Seedees are as near a salamander as a human being can be, perhaps, and certainly they will endure heat that would soon kill a white man. Sometimes, in those southern seas, the temperature of the furnace-room is something unthinkable, yet they endure it; though, as soon as their relief appears, they will fling their steaming, and almost naked, bodies into the scuppers, to let the rush of water wash them into coolness, once more. It was understood that the girls were not to visit any of the lower regions of the ship, without the company of some officer, but Mr. Malcolm was very accommodating, so, matronized by Mrs. Vanderhoff, her party and the twins managed to peep into nearly every hole and corner before the voyage was over. Even where they did not care to go Dwight would penetrate, if by crawling or climbing he could reach the spot.
Before bedtime the steamer had changed its course to westward, and as it encountered a stiff head wind its progress was labored and slow. Most of the passengers early "sought the seclusion that the cabin grants," as Dwight mockingly observed, but, sheltered in the snug pilot-house, our girls, with himself and Bess, rode out the "storm," as Faith called it (though the gray old steersman laughed at the idea), until a late hour. All day there had been a flock of sea-gulls following them, and, attracted by the light, they sometimes dashed against the windows, startling the girls and delighting Dwight. They will follow a steamer much as a fly does a horse, always keeping at just about such a distance, though one would think, in their sky-circling and ocean-dipping, they must lose time occasionally. As these birds of the sea glide down a billow, then skim lightly up again, it would seem they must sometimes be caught in the swirl of foam and borne under, but no! Every time, no matter with what fusilade of spray the wave breaks, Mr. Seagull rises, lightly triumphant, with not so much as a silver feather wetted by salt water!
The night grew very dark, and the sea was turbulent. The late supper—a fourth meal always served on board the "International"—was something of a scramble, but our young people enjoyed it, as few of the older passengers were present, and though an occasional fit of squeamishness disturbed both twins, while Bess had to disappear suddenly, Dwight ate calmly on of everything offered, with an equanimity that tickled Joey, and excited the envy of all. The saloons looked deserted, and only a few mustered for a short look at the light on Finisterre. After seeing it, our girls decided bed was a good place, but Faith thought she had scarcely dropped asleep, though hours had fled, when something seemed to shake her into consciousness, and Hope's agitated voice whispered, "Oh, what is that?"
It was a hoarse, awful, prolonged bellow, as of some giant ox in sore distress, and when it would stop, occasionally, faint and far would come another bellow, mellowed by distance, but sounding unspeakably eerie and frightsome. A bell, too, seemed to be tolling a knell for something, and there was a constant rush of feet on deck, mingled with trumpeted orders and the rattle of cordage. Yet the steamer did not seem to be pitching about at all, as it was when they retired. Could they be going down, and were those awful noises calls for help? And where could they be to have answers coming over the waves like that?
"Oh dear!" sighed Hope. "What can it all mean? Do see if papa is in his cabin; you're on that side."
"Of course he isn't!" answered her sister, more calmly. "When there's danger he's always at his post. And do you suppose, if there was real danger for us, that he wouldn't come and let us know? I can trust my father!"
"Well, so can I," snapped Hope, so disgusted at this superior tone she half forgot her fright. "But it might be that he couldn't get to us, Faith Hosmer! He might be washed overboard."
Something in the idea of her big, cool father being washed off the decks of this staunch ship somehow amused Faith, who really was not much alarmed, and she could not help laughing, which gave fresh offense to her sister, who, breaking into tears, exclaimed, "You're a heartless girl, and ought to be ashamed!"
"Why, Hope!" A soft arm stole around her neck and a little figure "cuddled" close. "You're all wrought up, but really I don't think it's so bad. See how quiet the ship is. I presume we're caught in a fog, or something. Just as likely as not we're off the light, yet, and that is a bell-buoy, or something."
"Dear! I'd like to call a bell-boy, and ask," giggled Hope, a bit hysterical. "Hark! there's papa now."
In an instant the two girls were on their feet peering into the "library."
"Oh, papa, what is it?" cried Hope.
"What's what, my dear?" coming nearer, and showing himself wrapped in tarpaulins from head to heels. "D'ye mean that old tooter?" laughing lightly. "Nothing at all, except that we're in a fog and the horn's got a chill. Now turn in, quick, before you get one, too, and go to sleep, dearies; your father's watching."
"Hope," said her sister, after they had lain still a while. "I think that's a beautiful thought! 'Your father's watching.' It means two fathers for us, dear, and One of them cannot make a mistake, even in a fog. Good night and pleasant dreams. I'm going to sleep."
They kissed and curled down contentedly, sleeping like babies all night. Father was watching!
PORTUGUESE TOWNS AND HEROES.
The fog had delayed them some hours, but when the girls awoke, late the next morning, there was not a vestige of it left, save an extra brilliance in the clear air, while the engines were pounding away in a brave effort to bring them into Lisbon by the schedule. As noon approached, and the pale tan of the coast line grew upon them, all was animation on board, for any landing when voyaging by sea, is an event, and especially so when the stay is to be of several hours duration.
Our twins dragged out their flat steamer trunks from under their beds, and pulled out their prettiest street costumes, glad to discard the useful ulster for a light jacket and hat. They were told the weather would be mild on shore, though it was November, and they were delighted to feel themselves really "dressed up" again, as Hope remarked.
"Do you know," put in her sister ruminantly, "there's ever so much difference between being dressed up and well dressed. Now there's Mrs. Vanderhoff; she never is really dressed up, but I have not yet seen her when she was not well dressed for the occasion."
"Faith, if you get to moralizing I shall go distracted! Where did we put our jeweled hat pins? I've looked and looked, and—oh, there they are right under my nose. Goodness! is that a rap?—Ah, is it you, Miss Bess? Come right in. How fine you look in your shore clothes!"
"Shore clothes? That's good! Country people talk about store clothes at home, but I never heard of shore clothes, before."
"Well, it's my invention—an inspiration of the moment. I'll make you a present of it. Do you know, Faith, we'll have to buy some new handkerchiefs, or have ours laundered in some way. I never used so many in my life."
"You might do as the Carrollton girls, from Chicago, did when they were abroad, last year," remarked Bess with a laugh. "There were so many of them that the laundry bills were dreadful, so they concluded to wash out their own handkerchiefs. Of course they had no way of ironing them, so, while they were still very wet, they would plaster them up against the window-panes in the sun, to dry. They said the embroidered ones would come out beautifully, just as if nicely pressed on the wrong side. It got so they would look at the window panes the first thing, when they reached a hotel, or pension, to see if they were large enough for drying-boards. And when they visited the Tuileries, as they all stood in silence, gazing at the great fountain, the lovely flowers, and the lawn of velvet, Minnie suddenly broke out, 'What a beautiful place to dry our handkerchiefs, girls!'"
"How ridiculous!" cried Faith. "I hope no such practical thought will mar the romance of our visit to Lisbon, to-day."
"Oh, nothing could take your romance away," said Hope. "A little more practicality wouldn't hurt you. But come, I'm ready. Let's go up and see the blessed land, even if it is only Portuguese soil."
Thus talking and laughing they hastened deckwards, and many eyes turned upon them with pleasure as they appeared, so bright and rosy, and unconscious of anything but the enjoyment in hand. Even Lady Moreham's face relaxed, and her eyes followed them with a wistful expression, as she remarked, sotto voce, "How sweetly they look!"
"Sweet, you mean," hinted Mrs. Poinsett at her elbow, with a deferential air, yet decided tone.
The other turned with a quick, impatient sigh, and half-resentful manner, but in a moment moved closer and said humbly,
"Thank you for the correction! Do not let my smallest errors escape you."
Mrs. Poinsett bent her dignified head.
"I obey you, my lady, though it is hard for both of us."
"Yes, everything is hard, but no matter."
And now all eyes were gazing shorewards, for Lisbon presents a beautiful appearance when approached from the water, rising, as she does, in terraces which overlook the noble Tagus, and are in turn overlooked by the Sierras, ending in the Peak of Lisbon, at its mouth. Arriving thus, one does not see the filth and squalor, the tumble-down buildings, unpaved streets, or many poor mean houses tucked in among the grander ones. Lisbon has sometimes been called "The Sultana of the West," and the comparison is apt enough, for like many a sultana her first appearance is conspicuously beautiful, but she will not bear too close inspection. Her jewels are often mere colored glass, her embroideries tawdry, and her garments not over clean.
But in the brilliant sunshine of this glowing noon Portugal's capital sat throned in majesty, and the passengers were enthusiastic in their praises.
"Come!" cried Dwight, appearing like a bombshell in their midst. "Are you ready, girls? We're going ashore together, and while the captain runs about on his affairs, uncle and mother are going to trot us around wherever we want to go. Then, by and by, we're to meet him in the Place of Commerce, and go for dinner at the Braganza. He and uncle have fixed it all up. Hip, hooray! Won't it be jolly to be on land again?"
But it proved slow work making their way in, for the river's mouth, which broadens into a noble harbor, was choked with the shipping of many lands, which had doubtless been detained by the fog of last night. As the young people leaned over the guard rail, it was great fun to watch the crowd of clumsy little native boats, laden with fruit and wine, which were hovering about the steamer, and getting in the way of everybody, while crying their wares. Many of these boatmen seemed as dark in complexion as any East Indian on board, and nearly all wore ear-rings, generally of silver, in the dingy lobes of their ears. They seemed noisy and quarrelsome, and often shrieked what seemed like terrible imprecations at each other, shaking their fists and scowling darkly, only to be laughing carelessly the next minute, as if nothing mattered. Dwight was about motioning one man to fling him up a bunch of figs, in exchange for the silver coin in his fingers, when his uncle called them to the other side of the deck, which was just as well, for it would have had to be a splendid toss and catch had he secured them.
Mr. Lawrence wanted to point out the difference between a clumsy coast lugger just putting out to sea, and a clean little clipper-built English yacht coming in. He said,
"It is a difference that you will see in almost everything here. The Portuguese do not know the meaning of the word thrift, as we understand it, and if cleanliness is not next to godliness with them, it certainly is next to royalty, for it never descends to the common people."
When, at last, they went on shore and left the wharves behind, most of the bustle died away, and they could see that Mr. Lawrence had only told the truth, in the easy way in which all business seemed to be managed.
But they found much to admire and enjoy in the odd costumes and people they were constantly meeting; more, as Hope rather contemptuously remarked, than in the buildings, which were "just like houses anywhere."
She was right enough, for this is largely true on the seaward side of Lisbon. Her quaintness, and squalor also, lie further inland, where the old quarters are to be found.
"So you don't think Lisbon has many novelties, Miss Hosmer?" laughed Mr. Lawrence, who thought there was more fun in the young people than in scenes that were not new to him. "Just wait a bit! We are coming to something now."
He led the way into a pleasant enclosure, or placa, as they call it there, saying carelessly, "Let's cross to the other side."
They started briskly enough, but in a minute Hope flung out a hand as if for support.
"Oh, I can't stand up another minute!" she cried. "It makes me seasick."
But Dwight caught her arm and laughingly urged her on, stumbling and protesting, for this is known as Rolling Motion Square, and is paved in gray-blue stone to represent billows in motion. So complete is the effect that those who are still giddy from ocean travel find it a trial to walk across it.
"Dwight," called his mother admonishingly, "you will weary the patience of these young ladies. Come and help your mother a minute, can't you?"
"Of course I can, mommy, provided Miss Hope will release me, but she is clinging awfully tight just now!"
Amid the laughter his uncle sent him forward with a push, and offered his own arm.
"Get out, you rascal! We're nearly across, Miss Hosmer, and I'm very glad of an opportunity to monopolize you for a little. I see you are not greatly impressed with Portugal; you don't like it so well as—well, Lynn, for instance?"
"Now you are laughing at me, but indeed I do not! Do you know, Mr. Lawrence, I have always wished we girls were Americans in real earnest—to live there, you understand. I love England, too, but while I was with Uncle Albert at Lynn, he used to talk to me a great deal about that grand United States and it seems to me a wonderful land. Faith was not so strong as I, and used to stay in more—you see, uncle was not really in the busy part, but well out where it was more like the country—and she did not go about with him as I did. Once he took me to Plymouth, and when he showed me that rock with the railing around it, and told me about those Pilgrim fathers braving the sea and savages, just to worship God as they thought was right, it seemed to me as if my whole soul bowed down in reverence! From that minute I was an American girl—a New England girl—and I have kept true to my father's country ever since."
"I think," said Mr. Lawrence, thoughtfully, "that there is something in the foundation of our New England which gives it an interest beyond that of almost any region known, and it certainly appeals to any nature which has an enthusiasm for the heroic and noble. Many countries have been acquired through bloodshed, by conquest and because of greed and glory, but a country whose foundations were laid in the rights of conscience only, whose progenitors took God alone for their Leader, and his rules and service for their code—who came in peace and poverty, demanding nothing but the right to live and die true men—ah! no wonder New England is proud of her forefathers."
"What Portuguese hero are you lecturing about now, uncle?" called back Dwight, saucily, but was at once suppressed by his mother. Hope answered lightly,
"We have found better heroes than those old Portuguese fighters, we think; haven't we, Mr. Lawrence?"
"Yes. Still, there is one man whom I greatly admire, of this nation, and I think we will visit his statue next. What do you know about Luiz de Camoes, or, as we write it, Camoens, Dwight?"
"Gracious! Nothing at all; never heard of him. Was he a fighter?"
"Hardly. At any rate he did his fighting in a noble way—rather like heaping coals of fire I should say. He was a writer."
"Oh, tell us about him, uncle."
"What! A lecture? But that is not admissible in polite society."
"Now, don't tease. You know we are all dying to hear about him. Proceed!"
"Dying?" put in Mrs. Vanderhoff. "How extravagantly you talk, my son."
"Well, crazy, then."
She laughed hopelessly.
"Go on, pray," she said to her brother. "He simply leaps from the frying-pan into the fire."
"De Camoens," he said, "was by no means without faults, but he was gifted, generous, forgiving, and brave. He was foolish enough to love a lady too near the throne, and on that account was banished, and endured many hardships for years. Yet he did not let this dampen his love of country, and his loyalty to the government. Though an exile, he wrote a romantic epic extolling the deeds of his countrymen in all ages, which has become a great classic, and has made both them and himself immortal. I call that a generous deed! He died poor and unnoticed, but now his people make an idol of him, and his statue is one of the sights of Lisbon."
"Did he live here?" asked Faith. "That is, when he was not in exile?"
"Yes, this was his home."
"And his poem was the Lusiad," added Mrs. Vanderhoff.
"Why, I've heard of that!" cried Dwight. "We had something about it in our Rhetoric."
"And here," said Mr. Lawrence, pointing down a street into which they had turned, "you catch your first glimpse of his statue. Poor fellow! I wonder if he knows of the tardy recognition, wherever he is now?"
They stood some time before this monument to an unfortunate genius, then started on a lively exploration of the streets and shops, which was perhaps more interesting to the ladies than to their escort. At any rate it was with something like a sigh of relief that he at length glanced at his watch, and declared it was time to meet the captain in the Place of Commerce, close by.
This is a conspicuous square in Lisbon, and they had already visited some of its arcaded shops, but without taking special note of its attractions. Now they had leisure to stroll about and admire the fine public buildings, and the exquisite flowers and foliage. Quite suddenly they came upon the captain who was, to the great astonishment of his daughters, walking leisurely about in company with Lady Moreham and Mrs. Poinsett. They all stopped to exchange greetings, and finally wandered over to the open side of the square, where is a fine view of the Tagus, with its varied shipping and busy shores. As they were turning to make their way to the hotel for dinner, Faith found herself beside the English lady, who said in a gentle voice, which seemed oddly out of place with her reserved, almost haughty, manner,
"Have you enjoyed the afternoon, my child?"
"Very much, thank you," said Faith. "There are so many queer-looking people, and it is diverting to visit all these open booths, and try to understand their jargon and make them understand ours. I feel in a dream sometimes."
"Then you have not traveled largely?"
"Very little, my lady."
"I heard you and your sister speak of being in the United States some time, did I not?"
"Oh yes, a year. Our father was born there."
"And you were in Boston?"
"Yes, many times."
"Did you ever go to any of the suburbs—Brookline, for instance?"
"I was there twice. We had friends living there. Isn't it a charming place? It made me think of some of our prettiest English towns."
"Oh, it is better—that is, I have heard it spoken of as a little paradise. Did you go about considerable?"
Faith glanced at her, surprised by several things. First, there was a wistful note in her voice which seemed singular when speaking of a town never visited; second, with all her precise use of language, once in a while this woman of the highest aristocracy made an odd slip in a grammatical way. She was a somewhat puzzling compound. Faith answered,
"A little. We rode up on Corey's Hill, of course, and around by the reservoir, and out towards Jamaica Pond—but you do not know, perhaps—"
"Go on, pray! I like to hear it." The woman's manner was almost breathless with eagerness, and Faith, wondering still more, continued. "I enjoyed as much as anything just wandering around alone, and looking at the lovely homes. I never was quite sure when I was in a real street, or in a private way, till I saw the signs up, and I used to wonder why these beautiful little lanes were labeled, 'Dangerous,' till uncle told me it was because they were private property, and the town would not be responsible for accidents that might happen there. My friend lived in a park, with several houses set down at random, and pretty drives through it, and another little girl I visited lived well up the hill, and when she wanted to come down town in winter she just tucked herself up on a little sled, and coasted all the way. I thought that must be great fun!"
Lady Moreham's eyes were all alight.
"I love to hear you tell about it!" she said. "Some other time we will talk some more. Your father is beckoning you to hurry, now, and there is my friend waiting for me impatiently. But did you ever hear of Hale's story, The Man Without a Country? Hale is an American writer."
"I have heard of him, but have not read that story," returned the girl.
"It is a sad one—a very sad one! Good-by. Thank you for a pleasant stroll. I will see you again."
She passed swiftly ahead, to join Mrs. Poinsett, and Faith turned aside to her own party, but when they joked her on making a conquest of the titled lady she only smiled dreamily, and saw an eager face, filled with almost girlish life, begging for childish particulars about a modest place in far-away New England.
It was after sunset when, their excellent dinner over, they returned on board the dear old steamer, which seemed really like home as Joey smiled a welcome, Mr. Malcolm called a greeting down from the guards, and two or three of the babies ran from their ayahs' sides, along the deck, to meet them. Even the Bengali boy grinned, as he cleared away some paper bags and fruit skins, and a little Mohammedan, who had been making a perch to which Texas could be chained when on deck, came with deep salaams to beg that they would step and see if it were satisfactory. They expressed themselves much pleased, but Faith pointed to the long chain attached, and said.
"I don't like that! It makes me think of dungeons and criminals."
"But we'd lose him without it," urged Hope.
"I suppose so. I'm glad, though, my pet is a cat, and does not need chains or cages, I'm going to tell the babies a story in the little saloon, Hope, if you want me. They like it before they have to go to bed."
An hour or so later the girls were resting idly in their own stateroom, when Faith asked, suddenly. "What do you think of my lady? Do you like her any better?"
"You mean Lady Moreham? Yes, I think I do. What was she saying to you, anyhow, in the placa?"
"Not much. Simply asking questions. I did the talking."
"I thought at first she was horrid—proud and cross, you know,"—continued Hope, who was lolling indolently on the dimity-covered seat, in a loose gown, "but I'm not so certain of it, now. There's something about her—I wonder if father ever knew her before? He seems friendly with her, don't you think?"
"Oh, he's friendly with everybody; it's his business to be. And, of course, she is an important personage. But she kept me talking about Brookline, to-day—you remember the pretty place just out from Boston don't you?—and it seemed odd she should care about it. And did you notice, yesterday, whenever we spoke of—"
"Yes, I did. You can't mention America but she wakes up. Other times she doesn't even seem to hear. Perhaps she has been there, after all."
"Possibly. I wonder what she is going out to India for?"
"Oh, to join her husband, probably. That's what all the ladies go for, isn't it?"
A tap at the door and their father's voice.
"Oh no, papa," cried Hope, throwing the door open. "We are up yet, and as wide awake as hawks."
"All right! Get into your ulsters, and come up to the pilot-house. There's a fresh breeze springing up from N.N.E. that will send us spinning on our way, when we can catch it. As soon as we get a good offing, you'll see as pretty a sight as you need ever expect to—the old 'International' under full canvas making her eighteen knots an hour for Gibraltar—lively now!"
In a moment they were beside him, hastening to the elevated turret, with its outlook in every direction, and presently the girls were enchanted to watch the lively rattling of ropes and shrouds, the rapid unfurling of the great sails, that snapped to place as if clapping giant hands in joy. When these caught the breeze and braced themselves to duty, there was a sort of thrill along the good ship, as if she had responded with one quick heart-beat. Then, fair, still, magnificent, she glided away, leaving the twinkling lights of city and harbor to fade out in distance—first those low on the water, then the street lights on the terraces, and lastly one lone gleam in a distant tower that, like a friendly eye, still gazed after them when, far out in the open, they sailed smoothly on, the fires banked, and Steam gracefully yielding place to his older brother, Wind.