Fiction

Their Wives Went Along

A Story of a Summer Outing

W. W. Jacobs September 1 1917
Fiction

Their Wives Went Along

A Story of a Summer Outing

W. W. Jacobs September 1 1917

Their Wives Went Along

A Story of a Summer Outing

W. W. Jacobs

Author of “Many Cargoes,” “At Sttmcich Post,” etc.

THE HANDS on the wharf had been working all Saturday night and well into Sunday morning to finish the Foam, and now at ten o’clock, with hatches down and freshly scrubbed decks the skipper and mate stood watching the tide as it rose slowly over the smooth Thames mud.

“What time’s she coming?” enquired the skipper, turning a lazy eye up at the wharf.

“About ha’-past ten she said,” replied the mate. “It’s very good o’ you to turn ©ut and let her have your state-room.” “Don’t say another word about that.” said the skipper, impressively. “I’ve met your wife once or twice. George, an’ I must sày that a nicer spoken woman, an’ a more well be’aved one. I’ve seldom 9een.” “Same to you,” said the mate; “your wife I mean.”

“Any man,” continued the skipper, “as would lay in a comfortable stateroom, George, ánd leave a lady a-trying to turn and to dress and ondress herself in a pokey little locker ought to be ashamed of himself.”

“You 9ee, it’s the luggage they bring,” said the mate, slowly refilling his pipe. “What they want with it all I can’t think. As soon as my old woman makes up her mind to come for a trip, to-morrow being bank holiday, an’’she being in the mind for an outing, what does she do? Goes down to Commercial Road and buys a bonnet far beyond her station.”

“They’re all like it,” said the skipper; “mine’s just as bad. What does that boy want?”

The boy approached the edge of the jetty and. peering down at them, answered for himself.

“Who’s Captain Bunnett?” he demanded. shrilly.

“That’s me, my lad,” said the skipper looking up.

“I’ve got a letter for yer,” said the boy, holding it out. *

THE skipper held out his hands and caught it, and, after reading the contents, felt his beard and looked at the mate.

“It never rains but it pours,” he said figuratively.

“What’s up?” enquired the other.

“ 'Ere’s my old woman coming now,” said the skipper. “Sent a note to say she’s getting ready a9 fast as she can, an’ I’m not to sail on any account till she comes.”

“That’s awkward,” said the mate, who felt that he was expected to say something.

“It never struck me to tell her your wife was coming,” said the skipper. “Where we’re to put ’em both I don’t know. I s’pose it’s quite certain your wife ’ll come?”

“Certain,” said the mate.

“No chance of ’er changing ’er mind?” suggested the skipper, looking away from him.

“Not now she’s got that bonnet,” replied the mate. “I s’pose there’s no chance of your wife changing hers?"

The skipper shook his head. “There’s one thing,” he said hopefully, “they’ll be nice company for each other. They’ll have to ’ave the stateroom between ’em. It’s a good job my wife ain’t as big as yours.”

“We’ll be able to play four ’anded wist sometimes,” said the mate as he followed the skipper below to see what further room could be made,

“Crowded but jolly,” said the other.

THE TWO cabs drove up almost at the same moment, while they were below, and Mrs. Bunnett’s cabman had no sooner staggered on to the jetty with her luggage than Mrs. Fillson’s arrived with

“George!” cried Mrs. Fillson. who was a fine woman, raising her voice almost to a scream in the effort to make herself heard above the winch of a neighboring steamer.

It was unfortunate perhaps that both officers of the schooner bore the same highly respectable Christian name.

“George!” cried Mrs. Bunnett, glancing indignantly at the other lady.

“George!” cried Mrs. Fillson, returning her looks with interest.

“Hussey,” said Mrs. Bunnett under her breath, but not very much under “George!”

hers. The two ladies, who were entire strangers, stood regarding each other curiously as they looked down at the bare deck of the Foam.

There was no response.

“George!” cried both ladies together.

Still no response, and they made a louder effort.

' I 'HERE was yet another George on -*■ board, in the fo’c’sle, and in response to pushes from curious friends below, he came up and regarded the fair duettist9 open-mouthed.

“What d’yer want?” he said at length, sheepishly.

“Will you tell Captain Bunnett that his wife, Mrs. Bunnett, is here !” said that lady a thin little woman with bright black eyes.

“Yes, mum,” said the seaman, and was hurrying off, when Mrs. Fillson called him back.

“Will you tell Mr. Fillson that his wife, Mrs. Fillson, is here!” she said politely.

“All right, mum,” said the other, and went below to communicate the pleasing tidings. Both husbands came up on deck hastily, and a glance served to show them how their wives stood.

“How do you do, Cap’n Bunnett,” said Mrs. Fillson, with avfascinating smile.

“Good-mornin’, marm,” said the skipper, trying to avoid his wife’s eye. “That’s my wife, Mrs. Bunnett,”

“Good morning, ma’am,” said Mrs. Fillson, ^ad justin g the new bonnet with the tips of her fingers.

“Good morning to you,” said Mrs. Bunnett in a cold voice, but patronizing. “You have come to bring your husband some of his things, I suppose?”

“She’s coming with us,” said the skipper, in a hurry to have it over. “Wait half a moment and I’ll'help you down.”

He got up to the side and helped them both on to the deck, and with a great attempt at cheery conversation, led the way below, where in the midst of an impressive silence, he explained that the ladies would have to share the state-room between them.

“That’s the only way out of it,” said the mate, after waiting in vain for them to say something. ,

“It’s a fairish size when you come to look at it,” said the skipper, putting his head on one side to see whether the bunk looked larger that way.

"Pack three in there at a pinch,” said the mate hardily.

STILL the ladies said nothing, but there was a storm-signal hoisted in Mrs. Bunnett’s cheek which boded no good to her husband. There was room only for one trunk in the state-room, and by prompt generalship Mrs. Fillson got hers in first. Having seen it safe, she wept up on deck for a look round.

“George,” said Mrs. Bunnett fiercely, as soon as they were alone.

“Yes. my dear,” said her husband. “Pack that woman off home,” said Mrs. Bunnett sharply.

“I couldn’t do that,” said the skipper firmly. “It’s your own fault. You should have said you was coming.”

“Oh, I know' you didn’t want me to come,” said Mrs. Bunnett, the roses on her bonnet trembling. “The mate can think of a little pleasure for his wife, but I can stay home and do your mending and keep the house clean. Oh, I know, don't tell me.”

“Well, it’s too late to alter it," said her husband. “I must get up above now, you’d better come too.”

They were still in the thick of the traffic a t dinner-time, so that the skipper was able, to his secret relief, to send the mate below to do the honors of the table. The latter

Mfs. Bunnett followed him on deck, and getting a s far from the mate’s wife as possible, watche d with a

superior air of part ownership the movements of the

seamen a s they got under way. A favorable westerly breeze was blowing and, the canvas once set, she stood by her husband as h é pointed out the various objects o f interest on the banks of the river.

c a m e u p

from it pale and scared, and catching the* skipper’s eye, hunched his shoulders significantly.

“No words?” enquired the latter anxiously, in a half-whisper.

“Not exactly words,” replied the mate. “What you might call snacks.”

He moved off a bit as his table companions came up on deck, and the master of the Foam, deciding to take the bull by the horns, called both of them to him, and pointed out the beauties of the various passing craft. In the midst of his discourse his wife moved off, leaving the unhappy man conversing alone with Mrs. Fillson, her face containing an expression such as is seen in the prints of the very best of martyrs as she watched them.

A T TEA-TIME the men sat in misery, Mrs. Bunnett passed Mrs. Fillson her tea without looking at her, an example which Mr9. Fillson followed in handing her the cut bread-and-butter. When she took the plate back it was empty, and Mrs. Bunnett convulsed with rage, was picking the slices out of her lap.

“Oh, I am sorry,” said Mrs. Fillson. “You’re not, ma’am,” said Mrs. Bunnett fiercely. “You did it a purpose.” “There, there!” said both men feebly.

“Of course, my husband’ll sit quite calm and see me insulted,” said Mrs. Bunnett? rising angrily from her seat.

’“And my husband'll sit drink tea,1 rhile I’m given the lie,” said Mrs. Fillson, 1 ending an indignant look upon the mat !.

“If you think I’m going to share the state-room with that woman, rge, you’re mistaken,” said Mrs. Bunnett, in^a terrible voice. “I’d sooner sleep c n a doorstep.”

“And I’d sooner sleep on the serai er," said Mrs. Fillson, regarding her floe’s scanty proportions.

“Very well, me an’ the mate’ll there,” said the skipper wearily, can have the mate’s bunk and Mrs. Íillson can have the locker. You don’t m George?”

“Oh, George don’t mind,” said Bunnett mimickingly; “anything’ll for George. If you'd got the spirit o man, you wouldn’t let me be insulted l1 this.”

“And if you’d got the spirit of a mai i,” said Mrs. Fillson, turning on her hi is-' band, “you wouldn’t let them talk to i íe like this. You never stick up for j"

SHE FLOUNCED up on deck where Mrs. Bunnett, after a vain attain it to finish her tea, shortly followed her. T íe men ceettaued thecr mea for svnre 23tv 3 5*1*30*. 1

ha*w 2/ h»» a /vut-n' ;«sc 2/ o&iÿ* îhe»3t. Gevop*''” sad the skypoer 4: as he^tcrde wriYs^cjup. " Nv/ehurx

*1: pvr«-. * $4u the mate, -«weh ux o*«c ard s.apo.3x îun OC te« hwok.

U* use pceceed. I wat, * *-d til« «Cher "Út ova ¿o h Sr ivc« fcvçwr." sau te« »AM "they 4 se« thm/vach 2 saled

30K*Chvc i«e years 3«»« -weer xd w-vat Ú ovau oal 4 nsa > tascy evr-t '

‘Wt> , f -»vu rat th-rti o atjtete^: 2h# $ko¡W*c *'wy so. Th.s sert / te.rrx s wvtmytex *

’B*e tv« «« psc or? a; .»twti'iA ’ sau te« 31a«. v? h* te pipe. * ££ tea: s as

hat as tes. ««’i ha'« 4 hic /C 4 3« te M AT >m. *

B ¿f.V\T xext WTT.-TJ tras, f atyhiitjc* wvrse. «»TÍ at y 2irevu.y ftobtnx her er*i te arts J¿ /tur: teste. : te dt te:s teey •« n i-tstiv-rírse4!., tu.c 3 te« rwt.'-e H tee 3*em.nx tee 40"~atitee trouer-. v tec*.r /we stitsiaccvc. Kt Itee year nwt tee irv*« w* te ’•viwve.

*2 tvc h erste v» .temp;art #r Vite, aty3eev fSwlo^s. ‘ su tee a?«r i-V 4 eee-erttk 4c tee ttaa*'iur u mou ,-04. u MÍ *vur rte.»»-te 4 'me ess -visi deetepa 7U yak; £ a» a^vr

*^* /OiU «m* sau te« na ts t s «ute sdRptee *#*■*1* a her seek "du

jVxte jeù'.jptreoua tywox **¿3 /caer 5fîwwt*j. tr*.«d hard to thirk of further insults.

"L.ktf 4 tif " .vctinted the skipper. C”urtCiUixiy.

Th« tret* hesitated s> orç for 4 crushox -« ovteder that his wife lost all patience arc rose 2? her feet cr.tscc with wrath.

"Hew ¿are rjc talk to my huscar-i lute that** she demanded rerrely. “Georxe. .tetre ia on ieck th is ir scar : ! "

"I deed te-tei wha: he says." said the 3iat«v wue had only .est rexur his dinner.

“You .-cm« away at .vos.' said his wife. Ttisteutx hs plate from him.

The map# $vc up with 4 s en and. neetrx te« vea 0: hvcrvr-strvier iomnisvr4ten 3 his capcan's ¿7«. re-:u*~«d it with /3« /f mpccert ~ace

*Yw 4 a~x«r irfe. 04 or." he said savaxe*.y ‘YocTl swa *ow that little un

/n« ‘f tees« days."

T’e saccer. wte the weapcvt - uues203 r* roe*/ r î s teso, turnee rpurd and scate-/ 4: ? 3t 3 aftr*.p«d imatetne-t.

‘I: I *asr i te« cap 3 of 22 s she. ' re sa.u v esi: y. ‘ar ¡x*-uci to '«C 4 ;v te« ne-. I / *-cc

7vu ter teem »vrus. '

**: s a ter vvvte p.vc. Cueva - Bu -rete.' M-v. ÿl sve muro -çy “The-« «us 4 w; /iu *ura3V'Us« -’al uwd to r-'* » X5v so svmeUTiesv wro i .4: v V í s ir -te. arc le te*. Á#M * 32?« .f «• te 2 ’

Vjt. v« z:vr tea2 and h« hadith c* 4 î’.vu'te ha i te« s ie .* »voy. ' sa.c the naiv nn. -fx,

‘243 3 or 3« .-ach, ,*rew -o '

te o-ew sad the slapper :r. a ruffocaur* voice, "I oar.'t star.d ii s Cotre up or. deck. Georse. ard repeat their words."

Before the rite could accept the irritation. he was drainred back by htj wife, while at the sarte lire Mrs. Bur ret 2 with a f rar tic scream, threw her arms rooad her husband's reck, ard dared him la

move.

"You wait till Î ret you ashore, my lad.* «:d the skipper threatenrxiy.

“I’ll have te trtrr the ship home after I've done with pick" retorted the mate as he passed up or deck wtth h_s wife.

TOURING the xftemocr the ni-ipies ex' oharuvi a wx>cd. thoux“ tee two -ushards excharxed riri»* *:' ñery Imre-t. ari ‘ater on. trein spe eses reír* be lew x-4i-a T drew rear te each The mate, however, hv? teer tr rdir.Ç, a-i is they rame try«titer net tu foe with 4 c easart smle.

~?-4v-r. ; d mar." he said reate: 7 rat u yen near** ietaiei the 'M2'i r r*u5 sjccnushrsetu

*1 mean the wxy yoc prêter :«•: to row tee." the mate. "Spieruiit 7:: ¿dít. I t«C to tari v-;ri ip. t‘Ut 1 WXHlt

r 't « te

■ ;*. dyer mear te say yet 2-rnY near wrat yvu sad** trs MÄf.

\\uT o'ccdrs«.* sad the mate, with az sciva-x-oe of meat «urprise. *Y««

■d i~ t. did ywi

“NC the satpoer. swa uwi»C somete ~x 13 its terea2 "N r. -our* rot. But ¿d te weil. te«. .mot

I lo.tervn weil, -ny; nd." “.Not half so well as you did,” said the mate. “Well, I s’pose we’ve got to keep it up now.”

“I s’pose so,” said the skipper; “but we musn’t keep it up on the same things, George. Swallerin’ knives an’ that sort o’ thing, I mean.”

“No, no,” said the mate hastily.

“An’ if you could get your missus to go home by train from Summercove, George, we might have a little peace and quietness,” added the other.

“She’d never forgive me if I asked her,” said the mate; “you'll have to order it cap’n.”

“I won’t do that, George,” said the skipper firmly. “I’d never treat a lady like that aboard my ship. I ’ope I know ’ow to behave myself if I do eat with my knife.”

“Stow that,” said the mate, reddening. “We'll wait an’ see what turns up,” he added hopefully.

p* OR THE next three days nothing A fresh transpired, and the bickering between the couples, assumed on the part of the men and virulent on the part of their wives, went from bad to worse. It was evident that the ladies preferred it to any other amusement life on ship-board could offer, and, after a combined burst of hysterics on their part, in which the whole ship’s company took a strong interest, the husbands met to discuss heroic remedies.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” said the skipper ruefully. “We'll be the laughing stock o’ the crew even afore they’re done with us. There’s another day afore we reach Summercove, there’s five or six days there, an’ at least five days back again.”

“There’ll be murder afore then,” said the mate, shaking his head.

“If we could only pack ’em both 'ome by train,” continued the skipper.

“That’s an expense,” said the mate.

“It ’ud be worth it,” said the other.

“And’ they wouldn’t do it,” said the mate, “neither of ’em.”

“I’ve seen women having rows afore,” said the skipper, .“but then they could get away from each other. It’s being boxed up in this little craft as does the mischief.”

“S’pose we pretend the ship’s riot seaworthy,” said the mate.

‘Then they’d stand by us,” said the skipper, “closer than ever.”

“I bHeeve they would,” said the mate. “They’d go fast enough if we’d got a case o’ smallpox or anything like that aboard, though.”

The skipper grunted assent.

“It ’ud be worth trying,” said the mate. “We’ve pretended to have a quarrel. Now just as we’re going into port let one of the hands, the boy if you like, pretend he’s sickening for smallpox.”

“How’s he going to do it?” enquired the skipper derisively.

“You leave it to me,” replied the other. “I’ve got an idea how it’s to be done.”

A GAINST his better judgment the skipper, after some demur, consented, and the following day, when the passengers were on deck gazing at the small port of Summercove as they slowly approached it, the cook came up excitedly and made a communication to the skipper.

“What?” cried the latter. “Nonsense.”

“What’s the matter?” demanded Mrs. Bunnett, turning round. “Cook, here, has got it into his head that the boy’s got the smallpox,” said the skipper.

Both women gave a faint scream.

“Nonsense,” said Mrs. Bunnett, with a pale face.

“Rubbish,” said Mrs. Fillson, clasping her hands nervously.

“Very good, mum,” said the cook calmly. “You know best, o’cou/se, but I was on a barque once what got it aboard bad, and I think I ought to know it when I see it.”

“Yes; and now you think everything’s the smallpox,” said Mrs. Bunnett uneasily.

“Very well, mum,” said the cook, spreading out his hands. “Will you come down an’ ’ave a look at ’im?”

“No,” snapped Mrs. Bunnett, retreating a pace or two.

“Will you come down art’ ’ave a look at ’im, sir?” enquired the cook.

“You stay where you are, George,” said Mrs. Bunnett shrilly, as her husband moved forward. “Go farther off, cook.”

“And keep your tongue still till we get to port,” said the mate. “Don’t go blabbing it all over the place, mind, or we shan’t get nobody to work us out.”

“Ay, ay,” said the cook, moving off. “I ain’t ’afraid of it—I’ve given it" to people, but I’ve never took it myself yet.”

“I’m sure I wish I was off this dreadful ship,” said Mrs. Fillson nervously. “Nothing but unpleasantness. How long before we get to Summercove, Cap’n Bunnett?”

“ ’Bout a 'our an’ a ’arf ought to do it," said the skipper.

Both ladies sighed anxiously, and, going as far aft as possible, gazed eagerly at the harbor as it opened out slowly before them.

“I shall go^ back by train,” said Mrs. Bunnett. “It’s a shame, having my holiday spoilt like this.”

“It’s one o’ them things what can’t be helped.” said her husband piously.

“You’d better give me a little money,” continued his wife. “I shall get lodgings in the town for a day or two, till I see how things are going.”

“It ’ud be better for you to get straight back^ home,” said the skipper.

“Nonsense,” said his wife, sharply. “Suppose you take it yourself, I should have to be here to see you were looked after. I’m sure Mrs. Fillson isn’t going home.”

Mrs. Fillson, holding out her hand to Mr. Fillson, said she was sure she wasn’t.

“It ’ud be a load off our minds if you did go,” said the mate, speaking for both.

“Well, we’re not going for a day or two at any rate,” 'said Mrs. Bunnett glancing almost amiably at Mrs. Fillson.

In face of this declaration, and in view of the persistent demands of the ladies, both men, with a very ill grace, furnished them with some money.

“Do_n’t say a word about it ashore, mind,” said the mate, avoiding his chief’s indignant gaze.

“But you must have a doctor,” said Mrs. Bunnett. .

“I know of a doctor here,” said the mate; “that’s all arranged for.”

I_T E MOVED away for a little private A A talk with the skipper, but that gentleman was not in a conversational mood, and a sombre silence fell upon all until they were snugly berthed at Summercove and the ladies, preceded by their luggage on a trolley, went off lodgings. They sent down an to sf y that they had found thei they were clean and comforta little more than they had inten«

They implored their husbands _ any unnecessary risks and sent infectant soap for them to a

For three days they kept . ings and became fast friends, spite of their anxiety, for vario the neighborhood. Twice a da. they sent down beef-tea and o cades for the invalid, which i farther than ‘the cabin, comm being kept up by a small

strict injunctions not to go _

the fourth day in the early mo. _ came down as close to the Aip dared to bid farewell.

“Write if there’-s any change worse,” cried Mrs. Bunnett.

“Or if you get it, George,

“It's all right, he’s going on fully,” said the mate.

'T'HE TWO wives appeared to aatisA fied and with a final adieu wen , off to the railway station, turning at eve y few yards to wave farewells until the: were out of sight.

“If ever I have another woman a board my ship, George,” said the tkippei, “I’ll run into something. Who’s th » old gentleman?”

He nodded in the direction of an e derly man with white side whiskers who, with

a black bag in his hand, straight for the schooner.

“Captain Bunnett?” he enquired s iaTp-

“That's me, sir,” said the skipper.

“Your wife sent me,” said the tall briskly. “My name’s Thompsoi Thompson. She says you’ve of smallpox on board which me to see.” *

“We’ve got a doctor,” said t¿e and mate together.

“So your Wifè-àaid, but shejWisried me particularly to see the case,? said I Dr. Thompson. “It’s also my doty _ medical officer of the port.” [

“You’ve done it, George, you’ve it,” moaned the panic-stricken ski] proachfully.

“Well, anybody can make a__

whispered the mate back; “an’ he touch us, as it ain’t smallpox. Let come, and we’ll lay it on to the cook, he made a mistake.”

“That’s the ticket,” said the skipper, _ turned to assist the doctor to the deck] the mate hurried below to persuade indignant boy to ^trip and go to bed.

In the midst of a breathless silence doctor examined the patient; then, to surprise of all, he turned to the crew examined them one after the other.

“How long has this boy been ill?” demanded.

“About four days,” said the puzzl] skipper.

“You see what comes of trying to hi this kind of thing up,” said thel sternly. “You keep the patient down instead of having him taken away _ the ship disinfected, and now all other poor fellows have got it.”

“What?” screamed the skipper, as crew broke into profane expressions astonishment and self-pity. “Got what?]

“Why, the smallpox,” said the doctor “Got it in its worst form, too. Suppressed. There’s not one of them got a mark on him. J It’s all inside.”

Continued on page 80

Their Wives Went Along

Continued from page 33

“Well, I’m damned,” said the skipper, as the crew groaned despairingly.

“What else did you expect?” enquired the doctor wrathfully. “Well, they can’t be moved now; they must all go to bed, and you and the mate must nurse them.”

“And s’pose we catch it?” said the mate feelingly.

“You must take your chabce,” said the doctor; then he relented a little. “I’ll try and send a couple of nurses down thi9 afternoon,” he added. “In the meantime you must do what you can for them.”

“Very good, sir,” said the skipper, brokenly.

“All you can do" at present,” said the doctor* as he slowly mounted the steps, “is to sponge them all over with cold water. Do it every half hour till the rash comes out.”

“Very good,” said the skipper again. “But you’ll hurry up with the nurses, sir!”

He stood in a state of bewilderment until the doctor was out of sight, and then, with a heavy sigh, took his coat off and set to work.

T_T E AND the mate, after warning off * * the men who had come down to work, spent all the morning in sponging their crew, waiting with an impatience born of .fatigue for the rash to come out. Th¡9 impatience was shared by the crew, the state of mind of the cook afler the fifth sponging, calling for severe rebuke on the part of the skipper.

“I wish the i.urses ’ud come, George,” he said as they sat on the deck panting after their exertions. “This is a pretty mess if you like.”

“Seems like a judgment,” said the mate wearily.

“Halloa, there,” came a voice from the quay.

Both men turned and looked up at the speaker. ,

“Halloa,” said the' skipper dully.

“What’s all this $bout smallpox?” demanded the newcomer abruptly.

The skipper waved his hand languidly towards the fo’c’sle. \ “Five of ’em down with it,” he said quietly. “Are you another doctor, sir?”;

Without troubling tp reply, their visitor jumped on board and went nimbly below, followed by the other two.

“Stand out of the light,” he said brusquely. “Now, my lads, let’s have a look at you.”

He examined them in a state of bewilderment, grunting strangely as the washed-men submitted to his-scrutiny.

“They’ve had the best of cold sponging,” said the skipper, not without a little pride.

“Best of what?” demanded the other.

'T'HE skipper told him, drawing back. -*■ indignantly as the doctor suddenly sat down and burst into a hoarse roar of laughter. The unfeeling noise grated harshly on the sensitive ears of the sick men, and Joe Burrows, raising himself in his bunk, made a feeble attempt to hit him.

“You’ve been sold,” said the doctor, wiping his eyes.

“I don’t take your meaning,” said the skipper, with dignity.

“Somebody’s been having a joke with you,” said the doctor. “Get up. you fools, you’ve got about as much smallpox as I have.”

“Do you mean to tell me-” began

the skipper.

“Somebody’s been having a joke with you, I tell you,” repeated the doctor as the men, with sundry oaths, half of relief, half of dudgeon, got out of bed and began groping for their clothes. “Who is» it, do you think?”

The skipper shook his head, and the mate, following his lead, in duty bound, shook his; but a little while after, as they sat by the wheel smoking and waiting for the men to return to work the cargo out, they were more confidential. The skipper removed his pipe from his mouth, and, having eyed the mate for some time in silence, jerked his thumb in the direction of the railway station. The mate, with a woe-begone nod, assented.