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Drift from Two Shores by Bret Harte

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I have always been an early riser. The popular legend that "Early
to bed and early to rise," invariably and rhythmically resulted in
healthfulness, opulence, and wisdom, I beg here to solemnly protest
against. As an "unhealthy" man, as an "unwealthy" man, and
doubtless by virtue of this protest an "unwise" man, I am, I think,
a glaring example of the untruth of the proposition.

For instance, it is my misfortune, as an early riser, to live upon
a certain fashionable avenue, where the practice of early rising is
confined exclusively to domestics. Consequently, when I issue
forth on this broad, beautiful thoroughfare at six A. M., I cannot
help thinking that I am, to a certain extent, desecrating its
traditional customs.

I have more than once detected the milkman winking at the maid with
a diabolical suggestion that I was returning from a carouse, and
Roundsman 9999 has once or twice followed me a block or two with
the evident impression that I was a burglar returning from a
successful evening out. Nevertheless, these various indiscretions
have brought me into contact with a kind of character and phenomena
whose existence I might otherwise have doubted.

First, let me speak of a large class of working-people whose
presence is, I think, unknown to many of those gentlemen who are in
the habit of legislating or writing about them. A majority of
these early risers in the neighborhood of which I may call my
"beat" carry with them unmistakable evidences of the American type.
I have seen so little of that foreign element that is popularly
supposed to be the real working class of the great metropolis, that
I have often been inclined to doubt statistics. The ground that my
morning rambles cover extends from Twenty-third Street to
Washington Park, and laterally from Sixth Avenue to Broadway. The
early rising artisans that I meet here, crossing three avenues,--
the milkmen, the truck-drivers, the workman, even the occasional
tramp,--wherever they may come from or go to, or what their real
habitat may be,--are invariably Americans. I give it as an honest
record, whatever its significance or insignificance may be, that
during the last year, between the hours of six and eight A. M., in
and about the locality I have mentioned, I have met with but two
unmistakable foreigners, an Irishman and a German. Perhaps it may
be necessary to add to this statement that the people I have met at
those early hours I have never seen at any other time in the same

As to their quality, the artisans were always cleanly dressed,
intelligent, and respectful. I remember, however, one morning,
when the ice storm of the preceding night had made the sidewalks
glistening, smiling and impassable, to have journeyed down the
middle of Twelfth Street with a mechanic so sooty as to absolutely
leave a legible track in the snowy pathway. He was the fireman
attending the engine in a noted manufactory, and in our brief
conversation he told me many facts regarding his profession which I
fear interested me more than the after-dinner speeches of some
distinguished gentlemen I had heard the preceding night. I
remember that he spoke of his engine as "she," and related certain
circumstances regarding her inconsistency, her aberrations, her
pettishnesses, that seemed to justify the feminine gender. I have
a grateful recollection of him as being one who introduced me to a
restaurant where chicory, thinly disguised as coffee, was served
with bread at five cents a cup, and that he honorably insisted on
being the host, and paid his ten cents for our mutual entertainment
with the grace of a Barmecide. I remember, in a more genial
season,--I think early summer,--to have found upon the benches of
Washington Park a gentleman who informed me that his profession was
that of a "pigeon catcher"; that he contracted with certain parties
in this city to furnish these birds for what he called their
"pigeon-shoots"; and that in fulfilling this contract he often was
obliged to go as far west as Minnesota. The details he gave--his
methods of entrapping the birds, his study of their habits, his
evident belief that the city pigeon, however well provided for by
parties who fondly believed the bird to be their own, was really
ferae naturae, and consequently "game" for the pigeon-catcher--were
all so interesting that I listened to him with undisguised delight.
When he had finished, however, he said, "And now, sir, being a poor
man, with a large family, and work bein' rather slack this year, if
ye could oblige me with the loan of a dollar and your address,
until remittances what I'm expecting come in from Chicago, you'll
be doin' me a great service," etc., etc. He got the dollar, of
course (his information was worth twice the money), but I imagine
he lost my address. Yet it is only fair to say that some days
after, relating his experience to a prominent sporting man, he
corroborated all its details, and satisfied me that my pigeon-
catching friend, although unfortunate, was not an impostor.

And this leads me to speak of the birds. Of all early risers, my
most importunate, aggressive, and obtrusive companions are the
English sparrows. Between six and seven A. M. they seem to possess
the avenue, and resent my intrusion. I remember, one chilly
morning, when I came upon a flurry of them, chattering, quarreling,
skimming, and alighting just before me. I stopped at last, fearful
of stepping on the nearest. To my great surprise, instead of
flying away, he contested the ground inch by inch before my
advancing foot, with his wings outspread and open bill
outstretched, very much like that ridiculous burlesque of the
American eagle which the common canary-bird assumes when teased.
"Did you ever see 'em wash in the fountain in the square?" said
Roundsman 9999, early one summer morning. I had not. "I guess
they're there yet. Come and see 'em," he said, and complacently
accompanied me two blocks. I don't know which was the finer
sight,--the thirty or forty winged sprites, dashing in and out of
the basin, each the very impersonation of a light-hearted,
mischievous puck, or this grave policeman, with badge and club and
shield, looking on with delight. Perhaps my visible amusement, or
the spectacle of a brother policeman just then going past with a
couple of "drunk and disorderlies," recalled his official
responsibilities and duties. "They say them foreign sparrows drive
all the other birds away," he added, severely; and then walked off
with a certain reserved manner, as if it were not impossible for
him to be called upon some morning to take the entire feathered
assembly into custody, and if so called upon he should do it.

Next, I think, in procession among the early risers, and surely
next in fresh and innocent exterior, were the work-women or shop-
girls. I have seen this fine avenue on gala afternoons bright with
the beauty and elegance of an opulent city, but I have see no more
beautiful faces than I have seen among these humbler sisters. As
the mere habits of dress in America, except to a very acute critic,
give no suggestion of the rank of the wearer, I can imagine an
inexperienced foreigner utterly mystified and confounded by these
girls, who perhaps work a sewing-machine or walk the long floors of
a fashionable dry-goods shop. I remember one face and figure,
faultless and complete,--modestly yet most becomingly dressed,--
indeed, a figure that Compte-Calix might have taken for one of his
exquisite studies, which, between seven and eight A. M. passed
through Eleventh Street, between Sixth Avenue and Broadway. So
exceptionally fine was her carriage, so chaste and virginal her
presence, and so refined and even spiritual her features, that, as
a literary man, I would have been justified in taking her for the
heroine of a society novel. Indeed, I had already woven a little
romance about her, when one morning she overtook me, accompanied by
another girl--pretty, but of a different type--with whom she was
earnestly conversing. As the two passed me, there fell from her
faultless lips the following astounding sentence: "And I told him,
if he didn't like it he might lump it, and he traveled off on his
left ear, you bet!" Heaven knows what indiscretion this speech
saved me from; but the reader will understand what a sting the pain
of rejection might have added to it by the above formula.

The "morning-cocktail" men come next in my experience of early
rising. I used to take my early cup of coffee in the cafe of a
certain fashionable restaurant that had a bar attached. I could
not help noticing that, unlike the usual social libations of my
countrymen, the act of taking a morning cocktail was a solitary
one. In the course of my experience I cannot recall the fact of
two men taking an ante-breakfast cocktail together. On the
contrary, I have observed the male animal rush savagely at the bar,
demand his drink of the bar-keeper, swallow it, and hasten from the
scene of his early debauchery, or else take it in a languid,
perfunctory manner, which, I think, must have been insulting to the
bar-keeper. I have observed two men, whom I had seen drinking
amicably together the preceding night, standing gloomily at the
opposite corners of the bar, evidently trying not to see each other
and making the matter a confidential one with the bar-keeper. I
have seen even a thin disguise of simplicity assumed. I remember
an elderly gentleman, of most respectable exterior, who used to
enter the cafe as if he had strayed there accidentally. After
looking around carefully, and yet unostentatiously, he would walk
to the bar, and, with an air of affected carelessness, state that
"not feeling well this morning, he guessed he would take--well, he
would leave it to the bar-keeper." The bar-keeper invariably gave
him a stiff brandy cocktail. When the old gentleman had done this
half a dozen times, I think I lost faith in him. I tried
afterwards to glean from the bar-keeper some facts regarding those
experiences, but I am proud to say that he was honorably reticent.
Indeed, I think it may be said truthfully that there is no record
of a bar-keeper who has been "interviewed." Clergymen and doctors
have, but it is well for the weakness of humanity that the line
should be drawn somewhere.

And this reminds me that one distressing phase of early rising is
the incongruous and unpleasant contact of the preceding night. The
social yesterday is not fairly over before nine A. M. to-day, and
there is always a humorous, sometimes a pathetic, lapping over the
edges. I remember one morning at six o'clock to have been
overtaken by a carriage that drew up beside me. I recognized the
coachman, who touched his hat apologetically, as if he wished me to
understand that he was not at all responsible for the condition of
his master, and I went to the door of the carriage. I was
astonished to find two young friends of mine, in correct evening
dress, reclining on each other's shoulders and sleeping the sleep
of the justly inebriated. I stated this fact to the coachman. Not
a muscle of his well-trained face answered to my smile. But he
said: "You see, sir, we've been out all night, and more than four
blocks below they saw you, and wanted me to hail you, but you know
you stopped to speak to a gentleman, and so I sorter lingered, and
I drove round the block once or twice, and I guess I've got 'em
quiet again." I looked in the carriage door once more on these
sons of Belial. They were sleeping quite unconsciously. A
bouttonniere in the lappel of the younger one's coat had shed its
leaves, which were scattered over him with a ridiculous suggestion
of the "Babes in the Wood," and I closed the carriage door softly.
"I suppose I'd better take 'em home, sir?" queried the coachman,
gravely. "Well, yes, John, perhaps you had."

There is another picture in my early rising experience that I wish
was as simply and honestly ludicrous. It was at a time when the
moral sentiment of the metropolis, expressed through ordinance and
special legislation, had declared itself against a certain form of
"variety" entertainment, and had, as usual, proceeded against the
performers, and not the people who encouraged them. I remember,
one frosty morning, to have encountered in Washington Park my
honest friend Sergeant X. and Roundsman 9999 conveying a party of
these derelicts to the station. One of the women, evidently, had
not had time to change her apparel, and had thinly disguised the
flowing robe and loose cestus of Venus under a ragged "waterproof";
while the other, who had doubtless posed for Mercury, hid her
shapely tights in a plaid shawl, and changed her winged sandals for
a pair of "arctics." Their rouged faces were streaked and stained
with tears. The man who was with them, the male of their species,
had but hastily washed himself of his Ethiopian presentment, and
was still black behind the ears; while an exaggerated shirt collar
and frilled shirt made his occasional indignant profanity
irresistibly ludicrous. So they fared on over the glittering snow,
against the rosy sunlight of the square, the gray front of the
University building, with a few twittering sparrows in the
foreground, beside the two policemen, quiet and impassive as fate.
I could not help thinking of the distinguished A., the most
fashionable B., the wealthy and respectable C., the sentimental D.,
and the man of the world E., who were present at the performance,
whose distinguished patronage had called it into life, and who were
then resting quietly in their beds, while these haggard servants of
their pleasaunce were haled over the snow to punishment and

Let me finish by recalling one brighter picture of that same
season. It was early; so early that the cross of Grace Church had,
when I looked up, just caught the morning sun, and for a moment
flamed like a crusader's symbol. And then the grace and glory of
that exquisite spire became slowly visible. Fret by fret the
sunlight stole slowly down, quivering and dropping from each, until
at last the whole church beamed in rosy radiance. Up and down the
long avenue the street lay in shadow; by some strange trick of the
atmosphere the sun seemed to have sought out only that graceful
structure for its blessing. And then there was a dull rumble. It
was the first omnibus,--the first throb in the great artery of the
reviving city. I looked up. The church was again in shadow.


"Once, when I was a pirate--!"

The speaker was an elderly gentleman in correct evening dress, the
room a tasteful one, the company of infinite respectability, the
locality at once fashionable and exclusive, the occasion an
unexceptionable dinner. To this should be added that the speaker
was also the host.

With these conditions self-evident, all that good breeding could do
was to receive the statement with a vague smile that might pass for
good-humored incredulity or courteous acceptation of a simple fact.
Indeed, I think we all rather tried to convey the impression that
our host, when he WAS a pirate,--if he ever really was one,--was
all that a self-respecting pirate should be, and never violated the
canons of good society. This idea was, to some extent,
crystallized by the youngest Miss Jones in the exclamation, "Oh,
how nice!"

"It was, of course, many years ago, when I was quite a lad."

We all murmured "Certainly," as if piracy were a natural expression
of the exuberance of youth.

"I ought, perhaps, explain the circumstances that led me into this
way of life."

Here Legrande, a courteous attache of the Patagonian legation,
interposed in French and an excess of politeness, "that it was not
of a necessity," a statement to which his English neighbor
hurriedly responded, "Oui, oui."

"There ess a boke," he continued, in a well-bred, rapid whisper,
"from Captain Canot,--a Frenchman,--most eenteresting--he was--oh,
a fine man of education--and what you call a 'slavair,'" but here
he was quietly nudged into respectful silence.

"I ran away from home," continued our host. He paused, and then
added, appealingly, to the two distinguished foreigners present: "I
do not know if I can make you understand that this is a peculiarly
American predilection. The exodus of the younger males of an
American family against the parents' wishes does not, with us,
necessarily carry any obloquy with it. To the average American the
prospect of fortune and a better condition lies OUTSIDE of his
home; with you the home means the estate, the succession of honors
or titles, the surety that the conditions of life shall all be kept
intact. With us the children who do not expect, and generally
succeed in improving the fortunes of the house, are marked
exceptions. Do I make myself clear?"

The French-Patagonian attache thought it was "charming and
progressif." The Baron Von Pretzel thought he had noticed a
movement of that kind in Germany, which was expressed in a single
word of seventeen syllables. Viscount Piccadilly said to his
neighbor: "That, you know now, the younger sons, don't you see, go
to Australia, you know in some beastly trade--stock-raising or
sheep--you know; but, by Jove! them fellahs--"

"My father always treated me well," continued our host. "I shared
equally with my brothers the privileges and limitations of our New
England home. Nevertheless, I ran away and went to sea--"

"To see--what?" asked Legrande.

"Aller sur mer," said his neighbor, hastily.

"Go on with your piracy!" said Miss Jones.

The distinguished foreigners looked at each other and then at Miss
Jones. Each made a mental note of the average cold-blooded
ferocity of the young American female.

"I shipped on board of a Liverpool 'liner,'" continued our host.

"What ess a 'liner'?" interrupted Legrande, sotto voce, to his next
neighbor, who pretended not to hear him.

"I need not say that these were the days when we had not lost our
carrying trade, when American bottoms--"

"Que est ce, 'bot toom'?" said Legrande, imploringly, to his other

"When American bottoms still carried the bulk of freight, and the
supremacy of our flag--"

Here Legrande recognized a patriotic sentiment and responded to it
with wild republican enthusiasm, nodding his head violently.
Piccadilly noticed it, too, and, seeing an opening for some general
discussion on free trade, began half audibly to HIS neighbor: "Most
extraordinary thing, you know, your American statesmen--"

"I deserted the ship at Liverpool--"

But here two perfunctory listeners suddenly turned toward the other
end of the table, where another guest, our Nevada Bonanza lion, was
evidently in the full flood of pioneer anecdote and narration.
Calmly disregarding the defection, he went on:--

"I deserted the ship at Liverpool in consequence of my ill-
treatment by the second mate,--a man selected for his position by
reason of his superior physical strength and recognized brutality.
I have been since told that he graduated from the state prison. On
the second day out I saw him strike a man senseless with a belaying
pin for some trifling breach of discipline. I saw him repeatedly
beat and kick sick men--"

"Did you ever read Dana's 'Two Years before the Mast'?" asked
Lightbody, our heavy literary man, turning to HIS neighbor, in a
distinctly audible whisper. "Ah! there's a book! Got all this
sort of thing in it. Dev'lishly well written, too."

The Patagonian (alive for information): "What ess this Dana, eh?"

His left hand neighbor (shortly): "Oh, that man!"

His right hand neighbor (curtly): "The fellah who wrote the
Encyclopaedia and edits 'The Sun'? that was put up in Boston for
the English mission and didn't get it."

The Patagonian (making a mental diplomatic note of the fact that
the severe discipline of the editor of "The Sun," one of America's
profoundest scholars, while acting from patriotic motives, as the
second mate of an American "bottom," had unfitted him for
diplomatic service abroad): "Ah, ciel!"

"I wandered on the quays for a day or two, until I was picked up by
a Portuguese sailor, who, interesting himself in my story, offered
to procure me a passage to Fayal and Lisbon, where, he assured me,
I could find more comfortable and profitable means of returning to
my own land. Let me say here that this man, although I knew him
afterward as one of the most unscrupulous and heartless of
pirates,--in fact the typical buccaneer of the books,--was to me
always kind, considerate, and, at times, even tender. He was a
capital seaman. I give this evidence in favor of a much ridiculed
race, who have been able seamen for centuries."

"Did you ever read that Portuguese Guide-book?" asked Lightbody of
his neighbor; "it's the most exquisitely ridiculous thing--"

"Will the great American pirate kindly go on, or resume his
original functions," said Miss Jones, over the table, with a
significant look in the direction of Lightbody. But her anxiety
was instantly misinterpreted by the polite and fair-play loving
Englishman: "I say, now, don't you know that the fact is these
Portuguese fellahs are always ahead of us in the discovery
business? Why, you know--"

"I shipped with him on a brig, ostensibly bound to St. Kitts and a
market. We had scarcely left port before I discovered the true
character of the vessel. I will not terrify you with useless
details. Enough that all that tradition and romance has given you
of the pirate's life was ours. Happily, through the kindness of my
Portuguese friend, I was kept from being an active participant in
scenes of which I was an unwilling witness. But I must always bear
my testimony to one fact. Our discipline, our esprit de corps, if
I may so term it, was perfect. No benevolent society, no moral
organization, was ever so personally self-sacrificing, so honestly
loyal to one virtuous purpose, as we were to our one vice. The
individual was always merged in the purpose. When our captain blew
out the brains of our quartermaster, one day--"

"That reminds me--DID you read of that Georgia murder?" began
Lightbody; "it was in all the papers I think. Oh, I beg pardon--"

"For simply interrupting him in a conversation with our second
officer," continued our host, quietly. "The act, although harsh
and perhaps unnecessarily final, was, I think, indorsed by the
crew. James, pass the champagne to Mr. Lightbody."

He paused a moment for the usual casual interruption, but even the
active Legrande was silent.

Alas! from the other end of the table came the voice of the Bonanza

"The rope was around her neck. Well, gentlemen, that Mexican woman
standing there, with that crowd around her, eager for her blood,
dern my skin! if she didn't call out to the sheriff to hold on a
minit. And what fer? Ye can't guess! Why, one of them long
braids she wore was under the noose, and kinder in the way. I
remember her raising her hand to her neck and givin' a spiteful
sort of jerk to the braid that fetched it outside the slip-knot,
and then saying to the sheriff: 'There, d--n ye, go on.' There was
a sort o' thoughtfulness in the act, a kind o' keerless, easy way,
that jist fetched the boys--even them thet hed the rope in their
hands, and they--" (suddenly recognizing the silence): "Oh, beg
pardon, old man; didn't know I'd chipped into your yarn--heave
ahead; don't mind me."

"What I am trying to tell you is this: One night, in the Caribbean
Sea, we ran into one of the Leeward Islands, that had been in olden
time a rendezvous for our ship. We were piloted to our anchorage
outside by my Portuguese friend, who knew the locality thoroughly,
and on whose dexterity and skill we placed the greatest reliance.
If anything more had been necessary to fix this circumstance in my
mind, it would have been the fact that two or three days before he
had assured me that I should presently have the means of honorable
discharge from the pirate's crew, and a return to my native land.
A launch was sent from the ship to communicate with our friends on
the island, who supplied us with stores, provisions, and general
information. The launch was manned by eight men, and officered by
the first mate,--a grim, Puritanical, practical New Englander, if I
may use such a term to describe a pirate, of great courage,
experience, and physical strength. My Portuguese friend, acting as
pilot, prevailed upon them to allow me to accompany the party as
coxswain. I was naturally anxious, you can readily comprehend, to

"Certainly," "Of course," "Why shouldn't you?" went round the

"Two trustworthy men were sent ashore with instructions. We,
meanwhile, lay off the low, palm-fringed beach, our crew lying on
their oars, or giving way just enough to keep the boat's head to
the breakers. The mate and myself sat in the stern sheets, looking
shoreward for the signal. The night was intensely black. Perhaps
for this reason never before had I seen the phosphorescence of a
tropical sea so strongly marked. From the great open beyond,
luminous crests and plumes of pale fire lifted themselves, ghost-
like, at our bows, sank, swept by us with long, shimmering,
undulating trails, broke on the beach in silvery crescents, or
shattered their brightness on the black rocks of the promontory.
The whole vast sea shone and twinkled like another firmament,
against which the figures of our men, sitting with their faces
toward us, were outlined darkly. The grim, set features of our
first mate, sitting beside me, were faintly illuminated. There was
no sound but the whisper of passing waves against our lap-streak,
and the low, murmuring conversation of the men. I had my face
toward the shore. As I looked over the glimmering expanse, I
suddenly heard the whispered name of our first mate. As suddenly,
by the phosphorescent light that surrounded it, I saw the long
trailing hair and gleaming shoulders of a woman floating beside us.
Legrande, you are positively drinking nothing. Lightbody, you are
shirking the Burgundy--you used to like it!"

He paused, but no one spoke.

"I--let me see! where was I? Oh, yes! Well, I saw the woman, and
when I turned to call the attention of the first mate to this fact,
I knew instantly, by some strange instinct, that he had seen and
heard her, too. So, from that moment to the conclusion of our
little drama, we were silent, but enforced spectators.

"She swam gracefully--silently! I remember noticing through that
odd, half-weird, phosphorescent light which broke over her
shoulders as she rose and fell with each quiet stroke of her
splendidly rounded arms, that she was a mature, perfectly-formed
woman. I remember, also, that when she reached the boat, and,
supporting herself with one small hand on the gunwale, she softly
called the mate in a whisper by his Christian name, I had a boyish
idea that she was--the--er--er--female of his species--his--er--
natural wife! I'm boring you--am I not?"

Two or three heads shook violently and negatively. The youngest,
and, I regret to say, the OLDEST, Miss Jones uttered together
sympathetically, "Go on--please; do!"

"The--woman told him in a few rapid words that he had been
betrayed; that the two men sent ashore were now in the hands of the
authorities; that a force was being organized to capture the
vessel; that instant flight was necessary, and that the betrayer
and traitor was--my friend, the Portuguese, Fernandez!

"The mate raised the dripping, little brown hand to his lips, and
whispered some undistinguishable words in her ear. I remember
seeing her turn a look of ineffable love and happiness upon his
grim, set face, and then she was gone. She dove as a duck dives,
and I saw her shapely head, after a moment's suspense, reappear a
cable's length away toward the shore.

"I ventured to raise my eyes to the mate's face; it was cold and
impassive. I turned my face toward the crew; they were conversing
in whispers with each other, with their faces toward us, yet
apparently utterly oblivious of the scene that had just taken place
in the stern. There was a moment of silence, and then the mate's
voice came out quite impassively, but distinctly:--


"'Aye, aye, sir!'

"'Come aft and--bring your oar with you.'

"He did so, stumbling over the men, who, engaged in their whispered
yarns, didn't seem to notice him.

"'See if you can find soundings here.'

"Fernandez leaned over the stern and dropped his oar to its shaft
in the phosphorescent water. But he touched no bottom; the current
brought the oar at right angles presently to the surface.

"'Send it down, man,' said the mate, imperatively; 'down, down.
Reach over there. What are you afraid of? So; steady there; I'll
hold you.'

"Fernandez leaned over the stern and sent the oar and half of his
bared brown arm into the water. In an instant the mate caught him
with one tremendous potential grip at his elbows, and forced him
and his oar head downward in the waters. The act was so sudden,
yet so carefully premeditated, that no outcry escaped the doomed
man. Even the launch scarcely dipped her stern to the act. In
that awful moment I heard a light laugh from one of the men in
response to a wanton yarn from his comrade,--James, bring the vichy
to Mr. Lightbody! You'll find that a dash of cognac will improve
it wonderfully.

"Well--to go on--a few bubbles arose to the surface. Fernandez
seemed unreasonably passive, until I saw that when the mate had
gripped his elbows with his hands he had also firmly locked the
traitor's knees within his own. In a few moments--it seemed to me,
then, a century--the mate's grasp relaxed; the body of Fernandez, a
mere limp, leaden mass, slipped noiselessly and heavily into the
sea. There was no splash. The ocean took it calmly and quietly to
its depths. The mate turned to the men, without deigning to cast a
glance on me.

"'Oars!' The men raised their oars apeak.

"'Let fall!' There was a splash in the water, encircling the boat
in concentric lines of molten silver.

"'Give way!'

"Well, of course, that's all. WE got away in time. I knew I bored
you awfully! Eh? Oh, you want to know what became of the woman--
really, I don't know! And myself--oh, I got away at Havana! Eh?
Certainly; James, you'll find some smelling salts in my bureau.
Gentlemen, I fear we have kept the ladies too long."

But they had already risen, and were slowly filing out of the room.
Only one lingered--the youngest Miss Jones.

"That was a capital story," she said, pausing beside our host, with
a special significance in her usual audacity. "Do you know you
absolutely sent cold chills down my spine a moment ago. Really,
now, you ought to write for the magazines!"

Our host looked up at the pretty, audacious face. Then he said,
sotto voce,--

"I do!"

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