Part 2 out of 7
"I ain't jokin'," she declared. "I've been a poor relation in this
village for a good while and my brother was a shoemaker and on the
upper fringe of the town-folk class. My humor bump would have to
stick up like Cannon Hill afore I could see any joke in that."
"But you're not seriously advising me to treat a rich man
differently from a poor one?"
"Not openly different--no. But if you want to steer a perfectly
SAFE course, one that'll keep deep water under your keel the whole
voyage, why, there's your chart."
Mr. Ellery promptly tore the "chart" into small pieces.
"I'm going out," he said. "I shall be back by supper time."
Mrs. Coffin eyed him grimly.
"Goin' to run it blindfold, are you?" she asked.
"Yes, I am."
Her grimness disappeared and she smiled.
"I'll have your supper ready for you," she said. "Bring back a
The young man hesitated on the threshold.
"Mrs. Coffin," he demanded, "would YOU have called only on the
aristocrats at first?"
She shook her head, smiling still.
"No," she replied, "not me. I've always taken risks. But I didn't
know but you might be a safe sailor. It saves a lot of trouble in
"How about the next?"
"Oh, well, perhaps even the scum may count for somethin' over
there." She turned to face him and her smile vanished. "Go on,
Mr. Ellery," she said. "Go and call where you please. Far be it
from me that I should tell you to do anything else. I suppose
likely you hope some day to be a great preacher. I hope you will.
But I'd enough sight rather you was a good man than the very
greatest. No reason why you can't be both. There was a preacher
over in Galilee once, so you told us yesterday, who was just good.
'Twa'n't till years afterwards that the crowd came to realize that
he was great, too. And, if I recollect right, he chummed in with
publicans and sinners. I'm glad you tore up that fool paper of
mine. I hoped you might when I gave it to you. Now you run along,
and I'll wash dishes. If cleanliness is next to godliness, then a
parson ought to eat out of clean plates."
As a matter of fact, the minister's calls were in the nature of a
compromise, although an unintentional one. He dropped in on
Zebedee Mayo, owner of the big house on the slope of the hill.
Captain Zeb took him up into what he called his "cupoler," the
observatory on the top of the house, and showed him Trumet spread
out like a map. The main road was north and south, winding and
twisting its rutted, sandy way. Along it were clustered the
principal houses and shops, shaded by silver-leaf poplars, a few
elms, and some willows and spruces. Each tree bent slightly away
from the northeast, the direction from which blew the heavy winter
gales. Beyond the main road were green slopes and pastures, with
swamps in the hollows, swamps which were to be cranberry bogs in
the days to come. Then the lower road, with more houses, and,
farther on, the beach, the flats--partially uncovered because it
was high tide--and the bay.
Behind the Mayo house was the crest of Cannon Hill, more hills,
pastures and swamps, scattered houses and pine groves. Then began
the tumbled, humped waste of sand dunes, and, over their ragged
fringes of beach plum and bayberry bushes, the deep blue of the
wide Atlantic. The lighthouse was a white dot and the fish
shanties a blotch of brown. Along the inner edge of the blue were
scars of dancing white, the flashing teeth of hungry shoals which
had torn to pieces and swallowed many a good ship. And, far out,
dotted and sprinkled along the horizon, were sails.
"See?" said Captain Zeb, puffing still from the exertion of
climbing the ladder to the "cupoler," for he was distinctly
"fleshy." "See? The beacon's up. Packet come in this mornin'.
There she is. See her down there by the breakwater?"
Sure enough, the empty barrel, painted red, was hoisted to the top
of its pole on the crest of Cannon Hill. And, looking down at the
bay and following the direction of the stubby pointing finger,
Ellery saw a little schooner, with her sails lowered, lying,
slightly on her side, in a shallow pool near a long ridge of piled
stones--the breakwater. A small wharf made out from the shore and
black figures moved briskly upon it. Carts were alongside the
schooner and there more dots were busy.
"Eben's pennant's flyin'," said Captain Zeb. "He always sets
colors when the packet's in. Keeps packet tavern, Eben does.
That's it, that old-fashioned, gambrel-roofed house on the rise by
the wharf. Call it 'Saints' Rest,' they do now, 'cause Eben's so
The minister saw the long, rambling house, with one lonely, twisted
tree in its yard, a flag flying from a pole beside it. So that was
where the Hammonds lived. And where the girl lived who was certain
he was a "conceited snippet." Whatever he might be in reality he
hoped it was not that. "Snippet" was not in his dictionary, but he
didn't like the sound of it.
"Who owns the packet?" he asked, to make conversation.
"Zach Foster. Married Freewill Doane's daughter over to Harniss.
She's dead now."
"A good sailor, is he?"
Captain Zeb spat in supreme disgust.
"Good farmer!" he snorted. "Zach took over the packet for a debt
when the chap that used to run her died. His dad, old man Foster,
raised garden truck at the same time mine went to sea. Both of us
took after our fathers, I guess. Anyhow, my wife says that when I
die 'twill be of salt water on the brain, and I'm sure Zach's head
is part cabbage. Been better for him if he'd stuck to his garden.
However, I s'pose he does his best."
"They say angels can do no more."
"Um-m. Well, Zach'll be an angel pretty soon if he keeps on
cruisin' with that old hooker as she is. 'Bijah Perry, he's mate
and the only good seaman aboard, tells me that most of the riggin's
rotten and the main topmast ain't sound, by a good deal. The old
man's put off havin' her overhauled for two reasons, one that
repairs cost money, and t'other that puttin' off is the main sheet
of his gospel. When there's no rain the roof don't leak and long's
it don't blow too hard 'most any kind of gear'll hold. That's
Ellery decided that he should like Captain Zeb, although it was
evident that the old whaler had decided opinions of his own which
he did not hesitate to express. He judged that the Mayos were of
the so-called aristocracy, but undoubtedly unique specimens. He
visited four more households that afternoon. The last call was at
Mrs. Thankful Payne's, and while there, listening to the wonderful
"poem," he saw Miss Van Horne pass the window, as has already been
told. He came home to a Cape Cod supper of scalloped clams, hot
biscuits, and baked Indian pudding, and Keziah greeted him with a
cheery smile which made him feel that it WAS home. His summary
disposal of the "chart" had evidently raised him in his
housekeeper's estimation. She did not ask a single question as to
where he had been.
Next day he had a taste of Trumet's real aristocracy, the genuine
article. Captain Elkanah Daniels and his daughter made their first
formal call. The captain was majestic in high hat, fur-collared
cape, tailed coat, and carrying a gold-headed cane. Miss Annabel
wore her newest gown and bonnet and rustled as she walked. They
entered the sitting room and the lady glanced superciliously about
"Hum--ha!" barked Captain Elkanah. "Ahem! Mr. Ellery, I trust
you're being made comfortable. The parish committee are--hum--ah--
anxious that you should be. Yes?"
The minister said that he was very comfortable indeed.
"It isn't what you've been used to, we know," observed Miss
Annabel. "Mr. Langley, our former pastor, was a sweet old
gentleman, but he was old-fashioned and his tastes were queer,
especially in art. Have you noticed that 'fruit piece' in the
dining room? Isn't it too ridiculous?"
Ellery admitted that the fruit piece was rather funny; but no doubt
it had been a gift and so--
"Yes, indeed. I guess it was a present, fast enough. Nobody would
buy such a thing. It seems strange to pa and me that, although so
many of our people have been abroad, they have such strange ideas
of art. Do you remember the beautiful marbles in the palaces at
Florence, Mr. Ellery? Of course you've seen them?"
The minister was obliged to admit that he had never been abroad.
"Oh, is that so? I've been so many times with pa that it seems
almost as if everybody was as familiar with Yurrup as I am. You
remember what I said about the marbles, pa?"
Her parent nodded.
"Hum--ha! Oh, yes, yes," he said. "That was when I was in the
fruit-carrying trade and made a voyage to Valenchy."
"Valencia, pa," corrected Annabel. "And Valencia is in Spain."
"I know it. But we went to Leghorn afterwards. I sailed to
Cronstadt for some years regular. Cronstadt is in Rooshy, Mr.
"Russia, pa," snapped his daughter. Then she changed the subject
to church and parish affairs. They spoke of the sewing circle and
the reading society and the Friday-evening meetings.
"The Come-Outers are so vexed with us," tittered Miss Annabel,
"that they won't even hold prayer meeting on the same night as
ours. They have theirs on Thursday nights and it's as good as a
play to hear them shout and sing and carry on. You'll enjoy the
Come-Outers, Mr. Ellery. They're a perfect delight."
And as they rose to go Captain Elkanah asked:
"Is there anything you'd like done about the parsonage, Mr. Ellery?
If so, it shall be done immejitly. How are you satisfied with your
"Very well, indeed, Captain Daniels," was the prompt reply.
"She's a character, isn't she?" giggled Annabel. "She was born
here in Trumet, but went away to New Bedford when she was young and
grew up there. Her maiden name was Hall, but while she was away
she married a man named Ansel Coffin. They didn't live together
very long and weren't happy, I guess. I don't know whose fault it
was, nobody knows much of anything about it, for that's the one
thing she won't talk about. Anyhow, the Coffin man was lost to
sea, and after a while she came back to keep house for her brother
Solomon. She's an awful odd stick, but she's a good cook, I
believe; though I'm afraid you won't get the meals people such as
ourselves, who've been so much in the city, are used to."
Ellery thought of the meals at his city boarding house and
shuddered. He was an orphan and had boarded for years.
Incidentally, he had worked his way through college. Captain
Elkanah cleared his throat.
"Keziah," he commanded. "Hum--ha! Keziah, come in here a minute."
Keziah came in response to the call, her sewing in her hand. The
renovation of the parsonage had so far progressed that she could
now find time for a little sewing, after the dinner dishes were
"Keziah," said the captain pompously, "we expect you to look out
for Mr. Ellery in every respect. The parish committee expects
"I'll try," said Mrs. Coffin shortly.
"Yes. Well, that's all. You can go. We must be going, too, Mr.
Ellery. Please consider our house at your disposal any time. Be
"Yes," purred Annabel. "DO come and see us often. Congenial
society is very scarce in Trumet, for me especially. We can read
together. Are you fond of Moore, Mr. Ellery? I just dote on him."
The last "hum--ha" was partially drowned by the click of the gate.
Keziah closed the dining-room door.
"Mrs. Coffin," said the minister, "I shan't trouble the parish
committee. Be sure of that. I'm perfectly satisfied."
Keziah sat down in the rocker and her needle moved very briskly for
a moment. Then she said, without looking up:
"That's good. I own up I like to hear you say it. And I am glad
there are some things I do like about this new place of mine.
Because--well, because there's likely to be others that I shan't
like at all."
On Friday evening the minister conducted his first prayer meeting.
Before it, and afterwards, he heard a good deal concerning the
Come-Outers. He learned that Captain Eben Hammond had preached
against him in the chapel on Sunday. Most of his own parishioners
seemed to think it a good joke.
"Stir 'em up, Mr. Ellery," counseled Lavinia Pepper. "Stir 'em up!
Don't be afraid to answer em from the pulpit and set 'em where they
belong. Ignorant, bigoted things!"
Others gave similar counsel. The result was that the young man
became still more interested in these people who seemed to hate him
and all he stood for so profoundly. He wished he might hear their
side of the case and judge it for himself. It may as well be
acknowledged now that John Ellery had a habit of wishing to judge
for himself. This is not always a politic habit in a country
The sun of the following Thursday morning rose behind a curtain of
fog as dense as that of the day upon which Ellery arrived. A flat
calm in the forenoon, the wind changed about three o'clock and,
beginning with a sharp and sudden squall from the northwest, blew
hard and steady. Yet the fog still cloaked everything and refused
to be blown away.
"There's rain astern," observed Captain Zeb, with the air of
authority which belongs to seafaring men when speaking of the
weather. "We'll get a hard, driving rain afore mornin', you see.
Then, if she still holds from the northwest'ard, it'll fair off
"Goin' out in this, Mr. Ellery!" exclaimed Keziah, in amazement, as
the minister put on his hat and coat about seven that evening.
"Sakes alive! you won't be able to see the way to the gate. It's
as dark as a nigger's pocket and thicker than young ones in a poor
man's family, as my father used to say. You'll be wet through.
Where in the world are you bound for THIS night?"
The minister equivocated. He said he had been in the house all day
and felt like a walk.
"Well, take an umbrella, then," was the housekeeper's advice.
"You'll need it before you get back, I cal'late."
It was dark enough and thick enough, in all conscience. The main
road was a black, wet void, through which gleams from lighted
windows were but vague, yellow blotches. The umbrella was useful
in the same way that a blind man's cane is useful, in feeling the
way. The two or three stragglers who met the minister carried
lanterns. One of these stragglers was Mr. Pepper. Kyan was
"Well, I snum!" cried Kyan, raising the lantern. "If 'tain't Mr.
Ellery. Where you bound this kind of night?"
Before the minister could answer, a stately figure appeared and
joined the pair. Lavinia, of course.
"Well, Mr. Ellery," she said. "Ain't you lost, out in this fog?
No, no one was sick.
"That's a mercy. Goin' callin', be you?"
"Hum! Queer weather for a walk, I call it. Won't be many out to-
night, except Come-Outers goin' to holler their lungs loose at
prayer meetin'. He, he! You ain't turned Come-Outer, have you,
Mr. Ellery? You've headed right for the chapel."
Ellery's reply was hurried and a bit confused. He said good night
and went on.
"Laviny," whispered the shocked Kyan, "do you think that was a--er--
polite thing to say to a parson? That about his turnin' Come-
Outer? He didn't make much answer, seemed to me. You don't think
he was mad, do ye?"
"I don't care if he was," snorted Miss Pepper. "He could tell a
body where he was goin' then. Nobody can snub me, minister or not.
I think he's kind of stuck-up, if you want to know, and if he is,
he'll get took down in a hurry. Come along, don't stand there with
your mouth open like a flytrap. I'd like to know what he was up
to. I've a precious good mind to follow him; would if 'twa'n't so
She didn't. Yet, if she had, she would have deemed the trouble
worth while. For John Ellery stumbled on through the mist till he
reached the "Corners" where the store was located and the roads
forked. There, he turned to the right, into the way called locally
"Hammond's Turn-off." A short distance down the "Turn-off" stood a
small, brown-shingled building, its windows alight. Opposite its
door, on the other side of the road, grew a spreading hornbeam tree
surrounded by a cluster of swamp blackberry bushes. In the black
shadow of the hornbeam Mr. Ellery stood still. He was debating in
his mind a question: should he or should he not enter that building?
As he stood there, groups of people emerged from the fog and
darkness and passed in at the door. Some of them he had seen
during his fortnight in Trumet. Others were strangers to him. A
lantern danced and wabbled up the "Turn-off" from the direction of
the bay shore and the packet wharf. It drew near, and he saw that
it was carried by an old man with long white hair and chin beard,
who walked with a slight limp. Beside him was a thin woman wearing
a black poke bonnet and a shawl. In the rear of the pair came
another woman, a young woman, judging by the way she was dressed
and her lithe, vigorous step. The trio halted on the platform of
the building. The old man blew out the lantern. Then he threw the
door open and a stream of yellow light poured over the group.
The young woman was Grace Van Horne. The minister recognized her
at once. Undoubtedly, the old man with the limp was her guardian,
Captain Eben Hammond, who, by common report, had spoken of him,
Ellery, as a "hired priest."
The door closed. A few moments thereafter the sound of a squeaky
melodeon came from within the building. It wailed and quavered and
groaned. Then, with a suddenness that was startling, came the
first verse of a hymn, sung with tremendous enthusiasm:
"Oh, who shall answer when the Lord shall call
His ransomed sinners home?"
The hallelujah chorus was still ringing when the watcher across the
street stepped out from the shadow of the hornbeam. Without a
pause he strode over to the platform. Another moment and the door
had shut behind him.
The minister of the Trumet Regular church had entered the Come-
Outer chapel to attend a Come-Outer prayer meeting!
IN WHICH THE PARSON CRUISES IN STRANGE WATERS
The Come-Outer chapel was as bare inside, almost, as it was
without. Bare wooden walls, a beamed ceiling, a raised platform at
one end with a table and chairs and the melodeon upon it, rows of
wooden settees for the congregation--that was all. As the minister
entered, the worshipers were standing up to sing. Three or four
sputtering oil lamps but dimly illumined the place and made
The second verse of the hymn was just beginning as Ellery came in.
Most of the forty or more grown people in the chapel were too busy
wrestling with the tune to turn and look at him. A child here and
there in the back row twisted a curious neck but twisted back again
as parental fingers tugged at its ear. The minister tiptoed to a
dark corner and took his stand in front of a vacant settee.
The man whom Ellery had decided must be Captain Eben Hammond was
standing on the low platform beside the table. A quaint figure,
patriarchal with its flowing white hair and beard, puritanical with
its set, smooth-shaven lips and tufted brows. Captain Eben held an
open hymn book back in one hand and beat time with the other. He
wore brass-bowed spectacles well down toward the tip of his nose.
Swinging a heavy, stubby finger and singing in a high, quavering
voice of no particular register, he led off the third verse:
"Oh, who shall weep when the roll is called
And who shall shout for joy?"
The melodeon and the hymn book were in accord as to the tune, but
Captain Eben and the various members of the congregation seemed to
have a desire to improvise. They sang with spirit, however, and
the rhythmic pat of feet grew louder and louder. Here and there
men and women were swaying and rocking their bodies in time to the
music. The chorus for each verse was louder than the one preceding
Another hymn was given out and sung. And another and still
another. The windows rattled. The patting grew to a steady
"thump! thump!" Momentary pauses between lines were punctuated by
hallelujahs and amens. Standing directly in front of the minister
was a six-foot, raw-boned individual whose clothes smelled strongly
of fish, and whose hands, each swung at the end of an exposed five
inches of hairy red wrist, looked like flippers. At the end of the
third hymn this personage sprang straight up into the air, cracked
the heels of a pair of red cowhide boots together, and whooped:
"Glory be! Send the PAOWER!" in a voice like the screech of a
northeast gale. Mr. Ellery, whom this gymnastic feat had taken by
surprise, jumped in sympathy, although not as high.
The singing over, the worshipers sat down. Captain Eben took a
figured handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his forehead. The
thin, nearsighted young woman who had been humped over the keyboard
of the melodeon, straightened up. The worshipers relaxed a little
and began to look about.
Then the captain adjusted his spectacles and opened a Bible, which
he took from the table beside him. Clearing his throat, he
announced that he would read from the Word, tenth chapter of
"'Thus saith the Lord. Learn not the way of the heathen, and be
not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed
"'For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree
out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workmen, with the
He read in a measured singsong, stopping occasionally to hold the
book in a better light and peering at the fine print through his
spectacles. And as he read, there was a sudden rustle on one of
the back benches. A child had turned, stared, and pulled at its
mother's sleeve. The rustle grew and spread.
Captain Eben drawled on to the twentieth verse:
"'My tabernacle is spoiled and all my cords are broken: my children
are gone forth from me, and they are not: there is none to stretch
forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains!
"'For the pastors are become brutish and have not sought the Lord:
therefore they shall not prosper, and--'"
The shout came from the second bench from the front, where Ezekiel
Bassett, clam digger and fervent religionist, was always to be
found on meeting nights. Ezekiel was the father of Susannah B.
Bassett, "Sukey B." for short, who played the melodeon. He had
been, by successive seizures, a Seventh Day Baptist, a Second
Adventist, a Millerite, a Regular, and was now the most energetic
of Come-Outers. Later he was to become a Spiritualist and preside
at table-tipping seances.
Ezekiel's amen was so sudden and emphatic that it startled the
reader into looking up. Instead of the faces of his congregation,
he found himself treated to a view of their back hair. Nearly
every head was turned toward the rear corner of the room, there was
a buzz of whispering and, in front, many men and women were
standing up to look. Captain Eben was scandalized.
"Well!" he exclaimed. "Is this a prayer meetin' or--or--what?
Brethren and sisters, I must say--"
Ezekiel Bassett stepped forward and whispered in his ear. The
captain's expression of righteous indignation changed to one of
blank astonishment. He, too, gazed at the dark corner. Then his
lips tightened and he rapped smartly on the table.
"Brethren and sisters," he thundered, in the voice which, of old,
had enforced obedience aboard his coasting schooner, "remember this
is the house of the Lord. Be reverent!"
He waited until every eye had swung about to meet his. Then he
regarded his abashed but excited hearers with a steady and
"My friends," he said, "let us bow in prayer."
John Ellery could have repeated that prayer, almost word for word,
years after that night. The captain prayed for the few here
gathered together: Let them be steadfast. Let them be constant in
the way. The path they were treading might be narrow and beset
with thorns, but it was the path leading to glory.
"Scoffers may sneer," he declared, his voice rising; "they may make
a mock of us, they may even come into Thy presence to laugh at us,
but theirs is the laugh that turns to groanin'. O Lord, strengthen
us to-night to speak what's in our hearts, without fear." ("A-
men!") "To prophesy in Thy name! To bid the mockers and them that
dare--dare to profane this sanctuary be careful. Hired singers and
trumpets and vain shows we have not" ("Thank the Lord! Amen!"),
"but the true faith and the joy of it we do have." ("Hallelujah!
And so on, his remarks becoming more personal and ever pointing
like a compass needle to the occupant of that seat in the corner.
The minister's determination to attend a Come-Outer meeting, though
it had reached the sticking point only a half hour before, was the
result of considerable deliberation. He had argued with himself
and had made up his mind to find out for himself just what these
people did. He was finding out, certainly. His motives were good
and he had come with no desire to scoff, but, for the life of him,
he could not help feeling like a criminal. Incidentally, it
provoked him to feel that way.
"O Lord," prayed Captain Hammond, the perspiration in beads on his
forehead, "Thou hast said that the pastors become brutish and have
not sought Thee and that they shan't prosper. Help us tonight to
labor with this one that he may see his error and repent in
sackcloth and ashes."
They sang once more, a hymn that prophesied woe to the unbeliever.
Then Ezekiel Bassett rose to "testify." The testimony was mainly
to the effect that he was happy because he had fled to the ark of
safety while there was yet time.
"I found out," he shouted, "that fancy music and--ah--and--ah--sot
sermons and fine duds and suchlike wa'n't goin' to do ME no good.
I needed somethin' else. I needed good times in my religion"
("Hallelujah!") "and I've found 'em right here. Yes, sir! right
here. And I say this out loud," turning to glare at the intruder,
"and I don't care who comes to poke fun at me for sayin' it."
A sharp-nosed female followed Mr. Bassett. She spoke with evident
feeling and in a voice that trembled and shook when her emotion
carried it aloft. SHE'D had enough of high-toned religion. Yes,
and of them that upheld it. When her brother Simeon was took bad
with phthisic, "wheezin' like a busted bellerses" and 'twas "up and
down, trot, trot, trot," to fetch and carry for him day in and
night out, did the folks from the Reg'lar church help her? She
guessed NOT. The only one that came nigh her was Laviny Pepper,
and she came only to gas and gabble and find out things that wa'n't
none of her business. What help she got was from a Come-Outer,
from Eben Hammond, bless his good soul! ("Amen!") That phthisic
settled her for Reg'larism. Yes, and for them that preached it,
too. So there!
Captain Eben called for more testimony. But the testifiers were,
to use the old minstrel joke, backward in coming forward that
evening. At an ordinary meeting, by this time, the shouts and
enthusiasm would have been at their height and half a dozen Come-
Outers on their feet at once, relating their experiences and
proclaiming their happiness. But tonight there was a damper; the
presence of the leader of the opposition cast a shadow over the
gathering. Only the bravest attempted speech. The others sat
silent, showing their resentment and contempt by frowning glances
over their shoulders and portentous nods one to the other.
"Come, brethren," commanded the captain sharply; "we are waitin' to
hear you. Are you afraid? If your faith is real, nothin' nor
nobody should keep you from cryin' it out loud. Now, if ever, is
the accepted time. Speak up for the spirit that's in you."
An elderly man, grave and quiet, arose and said a few words,
dignified and solemn words of prayer and thankfulness for the
comfort this little society of true believers had been to him.
Ellery realized that here was another sort of Come-Outer, one of
the Hammond type. Evidently, they were not all like Ezekiel and
the shrill-voiced woman.
Then, from the settee in front of him, rose the lengthy and fishy
person with the cowhide boots and enormous hands. His name was
Josiah Badger and he was, according to Trumet's estimate, "a little
mite lackin' in his top riggin'." He stuttered, and this infirmity
became more and more apparent as he grew eloquent.
"I--I ain't afraid," he proclaimed. "They can call me a C-C-Come-
Outer all they want to. I--I don't care if they do. Let 'em, I
say; l-let 'em! They can p-p-poke their fun and p-p-p-pup-pup-poke
it, but I tell 'em to h-heave ahead and p-pup-pup-POKE. When I
used to g-go to their old Reg'lar meetin' house, all I done was to
go to sleep. But I don't go to sleep here, glory hallelujah! No,
sir! There's too much b-b-blessed noise and we have too g-good
times to g-go to sleep here. That old K-Kyan Pepper called me t-
town f-fool t'other day. T-tut-town fool's what he called me.
Says I to him, says I: 'You-you-y-you ain't got spunk enough to be
a fool,' I says, 'unless Laviny says you c-can be. You old Reg'lar
p-p-pepper shaker, you!"
By this time tee-hees from the children and chuckles from some of
the older members interfered with Mr. Badger's fervent but jerky
discourse. Captain Eben struck the table smartly.
"Silence!" he thundered. "Silence! Brother Badger, I beg your
pardon for 'em. Go on!"
But Josiah's train of thought had evidently been derailed by the
"I--I--I cal'late that's about all," he stammered and sat down.
The captain looked over the meeting.
"I'm ashamed," he said, "ashamed of the behavior of some of us in
the Lord's house. This has been a failure, this service of ours.
We have kept still when we should have justified our faith, and
allowed the presence of a stranger to interfere with our duty to
the Almighty. And I will say," he added, his voice rising and
trembling with indignation, "to him who came here uninvited and
broke up this meetin', that it would be well for him to remember
the words of Scriptur', 'Woe unto ye, false prophets and workers of
iniquity.' Let him remember what the Divine wisdom put into my
head to read to-night: 'The pastors have become brutish and have
not sought the Lord; therefore they shall not prosper.'"
"Amen!" "Amen!" "Amen!" "So be it!" The cries came from all
parts of the little room. They ceased abruptly, for John Ellery
was on his feet.
"Captain Hammond," he said, "I realize that I have no right to
speak in this building, but I must say one word. My coming here
to-night may have been a mistake; I'm inclined to think it was.
But I came not, as you seem to infer, to sneer or to scoff;
certainly I had no wish to disturb your service. I came because I
had heard repeatedly, since my arrival in this town, of this
society and its meetings. I had heard, too, that there seemed to
be a feeling of antagonism, almost hatred, against me among you
here. I couldn't see why. Most of you have, I believe, been at
one time members of the church where I preach. I wished to find
out for myself how much of truth there was in the stories I had
heard and to see if a better feeling between the two societies
might not be brought about. Those were my reasons for coming here
to-night. As for my being a false prophet and a worker of
iniquity"--he smiled--"well, there is another verse of Scripture I
would call to your attention: 'Judge not, that ye be not judged.'"
He sat down. There was silence for a moment and then a buzz of
whispering. Captain Eben, who had heard him with a face of iron
hardness, rapped the table.
"We will sing in closin'," he said, "the forty-second hymn. After
which the benediction will be pronounced."
The Regular minister left the Come-Outers' meeting with the
unpleasant conviction that he had blundered badly. His visit,
instead of tending toward better understanding and more cordial
relationship, had been regarded as an intrusion. He had been
provoked into a public justification, and now he was quite sure
that he would have been more politic to remain silent. He realized
that the evening's performance would cause a sensation and be
talked about all over town. The Come-Outers would glory in their
leader's denunciation of him, and his own people would perhaps feel
that it served him right. If he had only told Mrs. Coffin of what
he intended to do. Yet he had not told her because he meant to do
it anyhow. Altogether it was a rather humiliating business.
So that old bigot was the Van Horne girl's "uncle." It hardly
seemed possible that she, who appeared so refined and ladylike when
he met her at the parsonage, should be a member of that curious
company. When he rose to speak he had seen her in the front row,
beside the thin, middle-aged female who had entered the chapel with
Captain Hammond and with her. She was looking at him intently.
The lamp over the speaker's table had shone full on her face and
the picture remained in his memory. He saw her eyes and the wavy
shadows of her hair on her forehead.
He stepped off the platform, across the road, out of the way of
homeward-bound Come-Outers, and stood there, thinking. The fog was
as heavy and wet as ever; in fact, it was almost a rain. The wind
was blowing hard from the northwest. The congregation dispersed in
chattering groups, their lanterns dipping and swinging like
fireflies. The chatter dealt entirely with one subject--himself.
He heard his name mentioned at least twenty times. Out of the
gusty, dripping blackness came Mr. Badger's voice.
"By time!" crowed Josiah, "he was took down a few p-p-pup-pegs,
wa'n't he! My! how Eben did g-gi-gi-give it to him. He looked
toler'ble white under the gills when he riz up to heave out his s-
s-sus-sassy talk. And foolish, too. I cal'late I won't be the
only town fuf-fuf-fool from now on. He! he!"
The noises died away in the distance. Within the chapel the tramp
of heavy boots sounded as the lights were blown out, one by one.
The minister frowned, sighed, and turned homeward. It is not
pleasant to be called a fool, even by a recognized member of the
He had taken but a few steps when there was a rustle in the wet
grass behind him.
"Mr. Ellery," whispered a voice, "Mr. Ellery, may I speak to you
just a moment?"
He wheeled in surprise.
"Why! why, Miss Van Horne!" he exclaimed. "Is it you?"
"Mr. Ellery," she began, speaking hurriedly and in a low voice,
"I--I felt that I must say a word to you before--"
She paused and glanced back at the chapel. Ezekiel Bassett, the
janitor, having extinguished the last lamp, had emerged from the
door and was locking up. In another moment he clumped past them in
the middle of the road, the circle of light from his lantern just
missing them as they stood in the grass at the side under the
hornbeam and blackberry bushes. He was alone; Sukey B. had gone on
before, other and younger masculine escort having been
Mr. Bassett was out of hearing before Grace finished her sentence.
The minister was silent, waiting and wondering.
"I felt," she said, "that I must see you and--explain. I am SO
sorry you came here to-night. Oh, I wish you hadn't. What made
you do it?"
"I came," began Ellery, somewhat stiffly, "because I--well, because
I thought it might be a good thing to do. As I said--"
"Yes, I know. But it wasn't. It was so--so--"
"So foolish. Thank you, I'm aware of it. I've heard myself called
a fool already since I left your church. Not that I needed to hear
it. I realize the fact."
There was a bitterness in his tone, unmistakable. And a little
laugh from his companion did not tend to soothe his feelings.
"Thank you," he said. "Perhaps it is funny. I did not find it so.
This was priggish, but it must be borne in mind that John Ellery
was very, very fresh from the theological school, where young
divines are taught to take themselves seriously. He was ashamed of
himself as soon as he said it, which proved that his case was not
The girl detained him as he was turning away.
"I wasn't laughing at that," she said. "I know who called you
that--that name. It was Josiah Badger, and he really is one, you
know. I was thinking of his testimony in meeting and how he called
Ky--Abishai--a pepper shaker. That was ridiculous enough, but it
reminded me of something else about Mr. Pepper, and I HAD to laugh.
It wasn't at you, truly."
So the minister begged her pardon; also he remained where he was,
and heard the drops from the tree patter hollow on his hat.
"I came after you," went on Grace rapidly and with nervous haste,
"because I felt that you ought not to misjudge my uncle for what he
said to-night. He wouldn't have hurt your feelings for the world.
He is a good man and does good to everybody. If you only knew the
good he does do, you wouldn't--you wouldn't DARE think hardly of
She stamped her foot in the wet grass as she said it. She was
evidently in earnest. But Ellery was not in the mood to be greatly
impressed by Eben Hammond's charity or innate goodness. The old
tavern keeper's references to himself were too fresh in his mind.
"False prophet" and "worker of iniquity!"
"I'm not judging your uncle," he declared. "It seemed to me that
the boot was on the other leg."
"I know, but you do judge him, and you mustn't. You see, he
thought you had come to make fun of him--and us. Some of the
Regular people do, people who aren't fit to tie his shoes. And so
he spoke against you. He'll be sorry when he thinks it over.
That's what I came to tell you. I ask your pardon for--for him."
"Why--why, that's all right. I think I understood--"
"I'm not asking it because he's a Come-Outer and you're a Regular
minister. He isn't ashamed of his religion. Neither am I. I'm a
"Yes. I--I supposed you were."
"Yes, I am. There, good night, Mr. Ellery. All I ask is that you
don't think too hardly of uncle. He didn't mean it."
She turned away now, and it was the minister who detained her.
"I've been thinking," he said slowly, for in his present state of
mind it was a hard thing to say, "that perhaps I ought to
apologize, too. I'm afraid I did disturb your service and I'm
sorry. I meant well, but-- What's that? Rain?"
There was no doubt about it; it was rain and plenty of it. It came
in a swooping downpour that beat upon the trees and bushes and
roared upon the roof of the chapel. The minister hurriedly raised
"Here!" he cried, "let me--Miss Van Horne! Where are you?"
The answer came from a short distance down the "Turn-off."
"Good night," called the girl. "I must run."
Evidently, she WAS running. Therefore the young man ran after her.
He caught up with her in a moment, in spite of some stumbles over
the rough road.
"Here!" he commanded, "you must take the umbrella. Really, you
must. You haven't one and you'll be wet through."
She pushed the umbrella aside.
"No, no," she answered. "I don't need it; I'm used to wet weather;
truly I am. And I don't care for this hat; it's an old one. You
have a long way to go and I haven't. Please, Mr. Ellery, I can't
"Very well," was the sternly self-sacrificing reply, "then I shall
certainly go with you."
"But I don't wish you to."
"I can't help that. I'm not going to let you go unprotected
through this flood. Especially as you might have been at home
before this if you hadn't stopped to speak with me."
"But you mustn't."
Here was the irresistible force and the immovable object. They
stood stock still in the middle of the road, while the rain drops
jumped as they struck the umbrella top. The immovable object,
being feminine, voiced the unexpected.
"All right," she said; "then I suppose I shall have to take it."
"The umbrella. I'm sorry, and you'll get dreadfully wet, but it's
your own fault."
He could feel her hand near his own on the handle. He did not
relinquish his grasp.
"No," he said. "I think, on the whole, that that is unreasonable.
I SHOULD get wet and, though I don't mind it when it is necessary,
"Well?" rather sharply, "what are you going to do?"
"Go with you as far as your gate. I'm sorry, if my company is
He did not finish the sentence, thinking, it may be, that she might
finish it for him. But she was silent, merely removing her hand
from the handle. She took a step forward; he followed, holding the
umbrella above her head. They plashed on, without speaking,
through the rapidly forming puddles.
Presently she stumbled and he caught her arm to prevent her
falling. To his surprise he felt that arm shake in his grasp.
"Why, Miss Van Horne!" he exclaimed in great concern, "are you
crying? I beg your pardon. Of course I wouldn't think of going
another step with you. I didn't mean to trouble you. I only-- If
you will please take this umbrella--"
Again he tried to transfer the umbrella and again she pushed it
"I--I'm not crying," she gasped; "but--oh, dear! this is SO funny!"
Mr. Ellery gazed blankly at her through the rain-streaked dark.
This was the most astonishing young person he had met in his
twenty-three years of worldly experience.
"Funny!" he repeated. "Well, perhaps it is. Our ideas of fun seem
to differ. I--"
"Oh, but it IS so funny. You don't understand. What do you think
your congregation would say if they knew you had been to a Come-
Outers' meeting and then insisted on seeing a Come-Outer girl
John Ellery swallowed hard. A vision of Captain Elkanah Daniels
and the stately Miss Annabel rose before his mind's eye. He hadn't
thought of his congregation in connection with this impromptu
rescue of a damsel in distress.
"Ha, ha!" he laughed mournfully. "I guess it is rather funny,
"It certainly is. Now will you leave me and go back to your
"Not unless you take the umbrella."
"Very well. It is a beautiful evening for a walk, don't you think
so? Mr. Ellery, I'm afraid we shan't have you with us in Trumet
"Oh, because you're so very, very original. Are your sermons that
way, too? Captain Elkanah doesn't like his ministers to be too
The minister set his teeth. At that moment he felt an intense
desire to bid the Daniels family mind their own business. Then
another thought struck him.
"Possibly your Uncle Eben might be somewhat--er--surprised if he
knew you were with me. Perhaps he might have something to say on
"I guess he would. We shall know very soon. I ran away and left
him with Mrs. Poundberry, our housekeeper. He doesn't know where I
am. I wonder he hasn't turned back to look for me before this. We
shall probably meet him at any moment."
She seemed to enjoy the prospect of the meeting. Ellery wondered
what on earth he should say to Captain Hammond--that is, provided
he was allowed to say anything.
Suddenly a heavier gust of rain and wind beat upon them. The
minister struggled with the umbrella. The gust passed and with it
the fog. An instant before it had been all about them, shutting
them within inky walls. Now it was not. Through the rain he could
see the shadowy silhouettes of bushes at the road side. Fifty
yards away the lighted windows of the Hammond tavern gleamed
yellow. Farther on, over a ragged, moving fringe of grass and
weeds, was a black flat expanse--the bay. And a little way out
upon that expanse twinkled the lights of a vessel. A chain
rattled. Voices shouting exultingly came to their ears.
"Why!" exclaimed Grace in excited wonder, "it's the packet! She
was due this morning, but we didn't expect her in till to-morrow.
How did she find her way in the fog? I must tell uncle."
She started to run toward the house. The minister would have
followed with the umbrella, but she stopped him.
"No, Mr. Ellery," she urged earnestly. "No, please don't. I'm all
right now. Thank you. Good night."
A few steps farther on she turned.
"I hope Cap'n Elkanah won't know," she whispered, the laugh
returning to her voice. "Good night."
Ellery stood still in the rain and watched her. He saw her pass
the lighted windows and open a door. Into the yellow radiance she
flashed and disappeared. A minute more and the bulky form of Eben
Hammond, lantern in hand, a sou'wester on his head and his
shoulders working themselves into an oilskin coat, burst out of the
door and hurriedly limped down toward the shore. On the threshold,
framed in light, stood his ward, gazing after him. And the
minister gazed at her.
From the bay came the sound of oars in row-locks. A boat was
approaching the wharf. And suddenly from the boat came a hail.
"Halloo! Ahoy, dad! Is that you?"
There was an answering shout from the wharf; a shout of joy. Then
a rattle of oars and a clamor of talk. And Grace still stood in
the doorway, waiting.
The lantern bobbed up the slope. As it reached the tavern gateway,
the minister saw that it was now carried by a tall, active man, who
walked with a seaman's stride and roll. Captain Eben was close
beside him, talking excitedly.
They entered the yard.
"Grace! Grace!" screamed Captain Eben. Gracie, girl, look who's
The tall man ran forward.
"Hi, Grace!" he cried in a deep, hearty voice. "Is that you?
Ain't you got a word for your old messmate?"
The girl stepped out into the rain.
"Why! why, NAT!" she cried.
The big man picked her up bodily in his arms and carried her into
the house. Captain Eben followed and the door closed.
John Ellery picked his way homeward through the puddles and the
He found Keziah in the sitting room, seated by the table, evidently
writing a letter. She looked tired and grave--for her.
"Well!" she exclaimed as he entered. "I guess you're soppin' now,
sartin sure. There's a light in your room. Take off your wet
things and throw 'em down to me, and I'll dry 'em in the kitchen.
Better leave your boots here now and stand that umbrella in the
sink. The kettle's on the stove; you'd better have somethin' hot--
ginger tea or somethin'. I told you not to go out such a night as
this. Where in the world have you been?"
The minister said he would tell her all about it in the morning.
Just now he thought he had better go up and take off his wet
clothes. He declined the ginger tea, and, after removing his
boots, went upstairs to his room.
Keziah dipped her pen in the ink and went on with her letter.
"I inclose ten dollars," she wrote. "It is all I can send you now.
More than I ought to afford. Goodness knows why I send anything.
You don't deserve it. But while I live and you do I can't--"
The minister called from the landing.
"Here is my coat," he said. "The cuffs and lower part of the
sleeves are pretty wet. By the way, the packet came in to-night.
They didn't expect her so soon on account of the fog. There was a
passenger aboard whom I think must be that Nathaniel Hammond you
told me of."
Keziah's pen stopped. The wet coat struck the hall floor with a
soft thump. The tick of the clock sounded loud in the room. A
sheet of wind-driven rain lashed the windows.
"Did you hear?" called the minister. "I said that Nathaniel
Hammond, Captain Eben's son, came on the packet. I didn't meet
him, but I'm sure it was he. Er--Mrs. Coffin, are you there? Do
you hear me?"
The housekeeper laid the pen down beside the unfinished letter.
"Yes," she said, "I hear you. Good night."
For minutes she sat there, leaning back in her chair and staring at
the wall. Then she rose, went into the hall, picked up the coat,
and took it out into the kitchen, where she hung it on the
clotheshorse by the cook stove. After a while she returned to the
table and took up the pen. Her face in the lamplight looked more
tired and grave than ever.
It was a long time before John Ellery fell asleep. He had much to
think of--of the morrow, of the talk his rash visit to the chapel
would cause, of the explanation he must make to Captain Elkanah and
the rest. But the picture that was before his closed eyes as he
lay there was neither of Captain Elkanah nor the parish committee;
it was that of a girl, with dark hair and a slim, graceful figure,
standing in a lighted doorway and peering out into the rain.
IN WHICH OLD FRIENDS MEET
When Ellery came down to breakfast the rain was over, the wind had
gone down, and the morning sunshine was pouring in at the dining-
room windows. Outside the lilacs were in bud, the bluebirds were
singing, and there was a sniff of real spring in the air. The
storm was at an end and yet the young minister was conscious of a
troublesome feeling that, for him, it was just beginning.
However, he had determined while dressing to make a clean breast of
it to his housekeeper--a nominally clean breast, that is. There
were some things he would not tell her, some that he would not
speak of to anyone, the picture in the doorway for instance. True,
it was only a picture and of no moment, but it was pleasant to
remember. One of the very few pleasant things connected with the
So, as they sat opposite each other at the table, he began his
confession. The muffins scorched in the oven and the coffeepot
boiled over as he told his story, for Keziah was too much
interested to think of trifles. Interested and astounded, for,
since Come-Outers had been Come-Outers and the split in the society
took place, no Regular minister had crossed the threshold of a
seceder's dwelling, much less attended their services and walked
home with a member of their congregation. She knew what this
amazing procedure was likely to mean, if her parson did not.
"Well!" she exclaimed when the recital was finished. "Well!"
"I--I'm afraid I was too hasty," observed Mr. Ellery thoughtfully.
"Perhaps it would have been wiser not to have done it."
"Perhaps 'twould. Yes, I wouldn't wonder a mite."
"It will be talked about some, I suppose. Don't you think so?"
"I'm afraid some of my own people may think it queer."
"Queer! Say, Mr. Ellery, you remind me of a half-breed Portugee
feller--half Portugee and a half Indian--that went to sea with my
father, back in the old days. He hardly ever spoke a word, mainly
grunted and made signs. One day he and another fo'mast hand went
aloft in a calm to do somethin' to the tops'l. The half-breed--
they called him Billy Peter and he always called himself that--was
out on the end of the yard, with his foot on the rope underneath, I
forget the name of it, when the tarred twine he had for a shoe
string caught. Tryin' to get it loose it broke sudden, his shoe
pulled off, he lost his balance and fell. He grabbed at the yard,
saved himself for a second, fell again, grabbed the next yard, then
a rope and so on down, grabbin' and pullin' all the way. First his
shoe hit the deck, then his sheath knife, then a piece of rope, and
finally himself, landin' right on top of the Irish cook who was
goin' aft from the galley with father's dinner.
"There was the greatest racket you ever heard, pans fallin', dishes
smashin', men yellin', and the cook swearin'. Father run on deck,
thinkin' the ship was dismasted. He found the cook and Billy Peter
sittin' in the middle of the mess, lookin' at each other. Neither
was hurt a mite. The mates and the crew, part of 'em, was standin'
starin' at the pair.
"'For Heaven sakes!' says father; 'what happened?'
"The half-breed looked up and rubbed his head. 'Ugh!' says he,
'Billy Peter bust his shoe string.'
"The cook, his name was O'Neill, looked at him disgusted. 'Well,
begorra!' says he, 'Billy Peter, you don't exaggerate none, do ye!
It's a good thing BOTH of 'em didn't bust or we'd have foundered.'
"You remind me of Billy Peter, Mr. Ellery, you don't exaggerate.
Queer? Some folks think your goin' to that meetin' last night
QUEER? At this moment one half of Trumet is talkin' about it and
runnin' out to tell the other half. I guess I'd better hurry up
with this breakfast. We're goin' to have callers."
Strange to say, however, this prophecy of early morning visitors
did not prove true. Nine o'clock, then ten, and no visitor came to
the parsonage. Mrs. Coffin affirmed that she did not understand
it. Where was Didama? Where Lavinia Pepper? Had the "Trumet
Daily Advertiser" suspended publication?
At half past ten the gate slammed. Keziah peered from the window.
"Humph!" she ejaculated. "Here comes Elkanah and he's got storm
signals set, by the looks. He's comin' after you, Mr. Ellery."
"Very well," was the calm reply; "let him come."
"What are you goin' to say to him?"
"Nothing, except that I did what I considered right at the time.
Show him into the study, Mrs. Coffin, please."
Captain Daniels marched to the dining-room door, his gold-headed
cane marking time like a drumbeat. He nodded curtly to Keziah, who
answered the knock, and stepped across the threshold.
"Hum--ha!" he barked. "Is the minister--hum--ha! is Mr. Ellery
"Yes, he's in."
"Tell him I want to see him."
The housekeeper announced the visitor.
"He's as sour as a skimmin' of last week's milk," she whispered.
"Don't be afraid of him, though."
"Oh, I'm not. Show him in."
"All right. Say, Mr. Ellery, it's none of my business, but I
wouldn't say anything about your seein' Grace home. That's none of
HIS business, either, or anybody else's."
The head of the parish committee stalked into the study and the
door closed behind him. A rumble of voices in animated
Mrs. Coffin went out into the kitchen and resumed her business of
making a dried-apple pie. There was a hot fire in the stove and
she opened the back door to let in the fresh air. She worked
briskly, rolling out the dough, filling the deep dish, and pinking
the edges of the upper crust with a fork. She was thinking as she
worked, but not of the minister or his visitor.
She put the pie in the oven and set the damper. And, as she knelt
by the stove, something struck her lightly on the back of the neck.
She looked up and about her, but there was no one in sight. Then
she picked up the object which had struck her. It was a cranberry,
withered and softened by the winter frosts.
She looked at the cranberry, then at the open door, and her eyes
twinkled. Running quickly to the threshold she peered out. The
back yard was, apparently, empty, save for a few hens belonging to
near neighbors, and these had stopped scratching for a living and
were huddled near the fence.
"Hum!" she mused. "You rascal! Eddie Snow, if it's you, I'll be
after you in a minute. Just because you're big enough to quit
school and drive store wagon is no reason why I can't-- Hey? Oh!"
She was looking down below the door, which opened outward and was
swung partly back on its hinges. From under the door projected a
boot, a man's boot and one of ample size.
Keziah's cheeks, already red from the heat of the stove, reddened
still more. Her lips twitched and her eyes sparkled.
"Hum!" she said again. "They say you can tell the Old Scratch by
his footprints, even if you can't smell the sulphur. Anyhow, you
can tell a Hammond by the size of his boots. Come out from behind
that door this minute. Ain't you ashamed of yourself?"
The owner of the boot stepped forth from behind the door and seized
her by both hands.
"Halloo, Keziah!" he cried joyfully. "My, but it's good to see
"Halloo, Nat!" said Keziah heartily. "It's kind of good to see
The rest of him was in keeping with his boots. He was big and
broad-shouldered and bearded. His face, above the beard, was
tanned to a deep reddish brown, and the corners of his eyes were
marked with dozens of tiny wrinkles. He was dressed in blue cloth
and wore a wide-brimmed, soft felt hat. He entered the kitchen and
tossed the hat into a corner.
"Well!" he exclaimed. "Why don't you act surprised to see a
feller? Here I've been cruisin' from the Horn to Barnegat and back
again, and you act as if I'd just dropped in to fetch the cup of
molasses I borrowed yesterday. What do you mean by it?"
"Oh, I heard you'd made port."
"Did, hey? That's Trumet, sure pop. You ain't the only one. I
sneaked off acrost lots so's to dodge the gang of neighbors that I
knew would be sailin' into our yard, the whole fleet loaded to the
gunwale with questions. Wanted to see you first, Keziah."
"Yes. So, instead of callin' like a Christian, you crept up the
back way and threw cranberries at me. Ain't you ashamed of
"Not a mite." He took a handful of the frostbitten berries from
his coat pocket and inspected them lovingly. "Ain't they fine?" he
asked, crunching two or three between his teeth. "I picked 'em up
as I came along. I tell you, that's the home taste, all right."
"Don't eat those frozen things. They'll give you your never-get-
"What? Cape Cod cranberries! Never in the world. I'd rather eat
sand down here than the finest mug my steward can cook. Tell you
what I'll do, though; I'll swear off on the cranberries if you'll
give me a four-inch slice of that pie I saw you put in the oven.
Dried-apple, I'll bet my sou'wester. Think you might ask a feller
to sit down. Ain't you glad to see me?"
Mrs. Coffin pulled forward one of the kitchen chairs. He seated
himself on it and it groaned under his weight.
"Whew!" he whistled. "Never made to stand rough weather, was it?
Well, AIN'T you glad?"
Keziah looked at him gravely.
"You know I'm glad, Nat," she said.
"So? I hoped you would be, but I did want to hear you say it. Now
you come to anchor yourself and let's have a talk. I've been
countin' on it ever since we set tops'ls off Surinam."
The housekeeper took the other chair.
"How are you--" she began. He stopped her.
"S-shh!" he interrupted. "Don't say anything for a minute. Let me
look at you. Just as clean and wholesome and good-lookin' as ever.
They don't make girls like that anywhere else but down on this old
sand bar. Not a day older, by the jumpin'--"
She held up her hand.
"Hush, Nat," she protested; "don't talk foolish. Girl? Not a day
older? Why, if feelin's count for anything, I'm as old as
Methusaleh. Haven't I had enough to make me old?"
He was grave immediately.
"I beg your pardon, Keziah," he said. "I'm a dough head, that's a
fact. I hadn't forgot about Sol, but I was so glad to be home
again and to see dad and Grace and the old town and you that
everything else flew out of my mind. Poor Sol! I liked him."
"He liked you, too. No wonder, considerin' what you did to--"
"Belay! Never mind that. Poor chap! Well, he's rid of his
sufferin's at last. Tell me about it, if you can without bringin'
all the trouble back too plain."
So she told him of her brother's sickness and death, of having to
give up the old home, and, finally, of her acceptance of the
housekeeper's position. He listened, at first with sympathy and
then with suppressed indignation.
"By the jumpin' Moses!" he exclaimed. "And Elkanah was goin' to
turn you out of house and home. The mean, pompous old--"
"Hush! hush! he's in there with Mr. Ellery."
"Yes; they're in the study."
"By the jumpin'-- Let me talk to him for a few minutes. I'LL tell
him what's good for his health. You just listen."
He rose from the chair, but she made him sit down again.
"No, no," she protested. "He wasn't to blame. He had to have his
rent and I didn't feel that I could afford to keep up a whole
house, just for myself. And, besides, I ought to be thankful to
him, I suppose. He got me this place."
"Yes, he did. I rather guess Zeb Mayo or somebody may have
suggested it to him first, but--"
"Humph! I rather guess so, too."
"Well, you can't always tell. Sometimes when you really get inside
of a person you find a generous streak that--"
"Not in a Daniels. Anybody that got inside of Elkanah would find
nothin' but Elkanah there, and 'twould be crowded at that. So he's
talkin' to the new parson, hey? Bossin' him, too, I'll bet."
"I ain't so sure. Mr. Ellery's young, but he's got a mind of his
Captain Hammond chuckled and slapped his knee.
"Ho, ho!" he laughed. "I've been hearin' somethin' about that
mind. Went to the chapel last night, I understand, and he and dad
had a set-to. Oh, I heard about it! Wish I might have been
"How does your father act about it?"
"'Bout the way a red-hot stove acts when you spill water on it;
every time he thinks of the minister he sizzles. Ho, ho! I do
wish I could have been there."
"What does Grace say?"
"Oh, she doesn't say much. I wouldn't wonder if she felt the way I
do, though we both keep quiet. I'll tell you, between ourselves
and the ship's pump, that I sort of glory in the young chap's
"Good! So do I. I like him."
"See here, Keziah! I'm gettin' frightened. You ain't settin' your
cap to be a parson's wife, are you? Because--"
"Don't be silly. I might adopt him, but that's all, I guess."
Her friend leaned forward.
"Keziah," he said earnestly, "there's no sense in your slavin'
yourself to death here. I can think of a good deal pleasanter
berth than that. Pleasanter for me, anyhow, and I'd do my best to
make it pleasant for you. You've only got to say the word and--
No? Well, then all I can do is hope through another voyage."
"Please don't, Nat. You know."
"No, I don't know."
"Well, perhaps you don't. But I know. I like you, Nat. I count
on you as the straightest, truest friend I've got; and I want to
keep on countin' on you just that way. Mayn't I?"
"'Course you can, Keziah. But--"
"Then don't say another word, please."
He sighed and looked out at the open door. The kitchen clock
ticked loud in the silence.
"All right," he said at last. "All right, but I'm goin' to keep on
"You mustn't, Nat."
"Keziah, when you set your foot down you're pretty stubborn; but
I've got somethin' of a foot myself. You remember you said so a
few minutes ago. Hi, hum! Well, speakin' of dad reminds me that
I'm kind of worried about him."
"You are? Why? Isn't he well?"
"Pretty well, but he ain't strong, and he gets too excited over
things like last night's foolishness. Grace tells me that the
doctor says he must be careful or he'll drop off sudden some of
these days. He had a shock five or six years ago, a little one,
and I've been anxious about him ever since. I've got to go to New
York off and on for the next month; after that I hope to be home
for a spell and I can keep an eye on him. Keziah, if you'll listen
I'll whisper somethin' to you--religion's a good thing and so's a
mustard plaster, but both of 'em can be put on too strong. Dad is
just a little mite crazy on Come-Outers, I'm afraid."
"Oh, no, I guess not! You mustn't worry. How did Grace look to
"Like the harbor light on a stormy night. She's a brick, that
girl, and gets prettier every minute. Wonder to me some of the
young chaps down here don't carry her off by main strength. She'll
make somebody a good wife."
"Um-hm. Have--have you ever thought of her that way yourself?"
"Well, don't get mad. I think a lot of Grace, and I don't know
anyone I'd rather see you marry."
"I do. Keziah, that's enough of that. Are you and dad in
partnership to get me spliced and out of the way? He was at me
this mornin' along the same line. Don't say anything like that
again, even in fun. YOU know why."
"All right, all right. Now tell me about yourself. Have you had a
good voyage? How do you like your owners? How did Zach Foster
ever get the packet in through yesterday's fog?"
"Voyage was all right. Some rugged weather on the trip out, but
homeward bound we slid along like a slush bucket on a greased
plank. Owners are all right. Good people as ever I sailed for.
As for Zach and the packet-- Ho, ho!"
He laughed, rocking back and forth on the chair, which creaked in
"What's the joke?" demanded the housekeeper. "Don't do that! That
chair wasn't made for elephants to use."
"Hey? 'Tis pretty weak in the knees, ain't it? Dad would say
'twas a piece with the creed of those that owned it. I-- What's
that? Somebody's comin'. I'm goin' to clear out. I don't want to
be put through my catechism yet a while."
"No, you mustn't go. I want you to meet Mr. Ellery. You sit out
on the wash bench by the back door till I get rid of whoever 'tis
that's comin'. Scoot!"
Nat "scooted," stopping to snatch up his hat as he ran. Keziah
went into the dining room and admitted Captain Zebedee Mayo, who
was panting from the exertion of his walk.
"Whew!" puffed Captain Zeb, mopping his forehead. "How be you,
Keziah? What? You ain't all alone! Thought you'd have a cabin
full of gab machines by this time. Have they been and gone?"
"No, they haven't been. I-- My land, my pie!"
She rushed into the kitchen and snatched the pastry from the oven.
Her new caller followed her.
"So they ain't been, hey?" he said. "That's queer."
"Elkanah's here. He's in there with the minister now."
"He is? Givin' the young feller Hail Columby, I cal'late. Well,
now, he shan't. He, he! When they told me how the minister passed
old hop-and-go-fetch-it what was due him at the chapel last night I
riz up and hoorayed till my wife shut the windows. She said the
neighbors all thought I was loony, anyhow, and I needn't prove it
to 'em. He, he! But Elkanah ain't got any funny bone. He's as
solemn as a stuffed owl, and he'll-- Well, I'm goin' to put MY oar
in. I'm parish committee, too, I cal'late, and I've got somethin'
to say, even if I wa'n't christened Daniels. Here goes!"
He headed for the study, but before he crossed the threshold of the
kitchen Ellery and his visitor came out into the dining room.
Captain Elkanah's face was flushed, and he fidgeted. The minister
looked determined but calm.
"Ahoy there, Elkanah!" hailed Zebedee cheerfully. "'Mornin', Mr.
Ellery. Been havin' officers' counsel, have you?"
"Good morning, Captain Mayo," said the minister.
"'Mornin', Zebedee," grunted Elkanah. "I have--hum--ha!--been
discussing the regrettable affair of last night with Mr. Ellery. I
have tried--hum--ha! to show him that respectable people of our
society don't associate with Come-Outers, and that for a Regular
minister to go to their meetings is something neither the
congregation nor the parish committee approves of. No--er--hum--
"And I explained to Captain Daniels," observed the minister, "that
I went there for what seemed to me good reasons, and, as they did
seem to me good at the time, I'm not ashamed of having gone. It
was an honest mistake on my part and I may make more."
"But the society--" began Elkanah. Captain Zeb interrupted him.
"Don't worry about the society, Mr. Ellery," he said with emphasis.
"Nor about the parish committee, either. Great fishhooks! the most
of us are tickled to death over what you said to Eben Hammond. We
think it's a mighty good joke. YOU didn't know, of course, and
what you did was done innocent. He! he! he! Did you lay him out,
"Zebedee," began Captain Daniels, "I must say I can't see anything
to laugh at."
"You never could, Elkanah. I remember that time when you and me
and some of the fellers home from sea went out sailin' and the boom
knocked you overboard with your Sunday clothes on. Lordy, how the
rest of us did holler! but you never cracked a smile. If you'd
seen yourself when we hauled you in! whiskers runnin' salt water;
beaver hat lookin' like a drownded kitten--"
"There! There! Never mind that. I think you'll find a good many
of the society feel as I do, shocked and--hum--ha!--sorry. I'm
surprised they haven't been here to say so."
"I expected them," remarked the minister.
"So did I," chimed in Captain Zeb. "But I cal'late to know why
they ain't been. They're all too busy crowin' over the way Nat
Hammond fetched the packet home last night. WHAT? You ain't
heard? Great fishhooks! it's the best thing ever--"
"I've heard about it," snapped Elkanah impatiently. "Mr. Ellery,
I'm glad you realize that your action was a mistake and I will take
pains to have that immejitly made plain to--"
"YOU ain't heard, Keziah, have you?" broke in Zebedee. "Nor you,
Mr. Ellery? Well, I must tell you. Here's where I gain a lap on
Didama Rogers. Seems the Deborah S.--that's the packet's name, Mr.
Ellery--she hauled out of Boston night afore last on the ebb, with
a fair wind and sky clear as a bell. But they hadn't much more'n
got outside of Minot's 'fore the fog shut down, thicker'n gruel for
a sick rich man. The wind held till 'long toward mornin'; then she
flattened to a dead calm. 'Bije Perry, the mate, he spun the yarn
to me, and he said 'twas thick and flat as ever he see and kept
gettin' no better fast.
"They drifted along till noon time and then they was somewheres out
in the bay, but that's about all you could say. Zach, he was
stewin' and sputterin' like a pair of fried eels, and Lafayette
Gage and Emulous Peters--they're Denboro folks, Mr. Ellery, and
about sixteen p'ints t'other side of no account--they was the only
passengers aboard except Nat Hammond, and they put in their time
playin' high low jack in the cabin. The lookout was for'ard
tootin' a tin horn and his bellerin' was the most excitin' thing
goin' on. After dinner--corned beef and cabbage--trust Zach for
that, though it's next door to cannibalism to put cabbage in HIS
mouth--after dinner all hands was on deck when Nat says: 'Hush!' he
says. 'Don't I hear somethin'?'
"They listened, and then they all heard it--all 'cept Zach, who's
deef in his larboard ear.
"'Stand by!' roars Nat. 'It's a squall, dead astern and comin'
abilin'! I'll take her, 'Bije. You look out for them tops'ls.'
"So Nat grabs the wheel and 'Bije tears for'ard and sends the two
fo'mast hands aloft on the jump. Zach was skipper, but all he done
was race around and holler and trip over his own feet. Oh, he's a
prize sailor, he is! Don't talk to me about them Fosters! I--"
"Nobody is talkin' about 'em but you, Zeb," observed Keziah drily.
"Go on. How about the squall?"
"It hit 'em 'fore they got even one tops'l clewed down. That one,
the foretops'l 'twas, split to rags. The main tops'l was set, and
when the squall struck, the rotten old topmast went by the board
'Kerrash-o!' 'Course splinters flew like all possessed, and one of
'em, about a foot long, sailed past Nat's head, where he stood
heavin' his whole weight on the wheel, and lit right on the
binnacle, smashin' it to matches.
"They say Nat never paid the least attention, no more'n if the
chunk of wood had been a June bug buzzin' past. He just held that
wheel hard down and that saved the packet. She come around and put
her nose dead in the wind just in time. As 'twas, 'Bije says there
was a second when the water by her lee rail looked right underneath
him as he hung onto the deck with finger nails and teeth.
"Well, there they was, afloat, but with their upper riggin' gone
and the compass smashed flat. A howlin' no'thwester blowin' and
fog thick as ever. Zach was a whimperin', fidgetin' old woman,
Lafayette and Emulous was prayin' in the scuppers--and that ain't
an exercise they're used to, neither--and even 'Bije was mighty
shook up and worried--he says he was himself. But Nat Hammond was
as cool and refreshin' as the bottom of my well up home.
"'Better clear away that mess aloft, hadn't you?' he says to the
"Zach said he guessed so; he wa'n't sure of nothin'. However, they
cleared it away, and incidentally 'Bije yanked the prayer meetin'
out of the scuppers and set 'em to work. Then Nat suggests gettin'
the spare compass and, lo and behold you! there wa'n't any.
Compasses cost money and money's made to keep, so Zach thinks.
"So there they was. Wind was fair, or ought to be, but 'twas
blowin' hard and so thick you couldn't hardly see the jib boom.
Zach he wanted to anchor, then he didn't, then he did, and so on.
Nobody paid much attention to him.
"'What'll we do, Nat?' says 'Bije. He knew who was the real seaman
"'Keep her as she is, dead afore it, if you ask me, says Nat.
'Guess we'll hit the broadside of the cape somewheres if this gale
"So they kept her as she was. And it got to be night and they knew
they'd ought to be 'most onto the edge of the flats off here, if
their reck'nin' was nigh right. They hove the lead and got five
fathom. No flats about that.
"Zach was for anchorin' again. 'What do you think, Nat?' asks
"'Anchor, of course, if you want to,' Nat says. 'You're runnin'
this craft. I'm only passenger.'
"'But what do you THINK?' whines Zach. 'Can't you tell us what you
"'Well, if 'twas me, I wouldn't anchor till I had to. Prob'ly
'twill fair off to-morrow, but if it shouldn't, we might have to
lay out here all day. Anyhow, we'd have to wait for a full tide.'
"'I'm afraid we're off the course,' says 'Bije, else we'd been
acrost the bar by this time.'
"'Well,' Nat tells him, 'if we are off the course and too far
inshore, we would have made the bar--the Bayport bar--if not the
Trumet one. And if we're off the course and too far out, we'd
ought to have deeper water than five fathom, hadn't we? 'Course
I'm not sure, but-- What's that, lands-man?'
"'Three and a half, sir,' says the feller with the lead. That
showed they was edgin' in somewheres. Nat he sniffed, for all the
world like a dog catchin' a scent, so 'Bije declares.
"'I can smell home,' he says.
"Three fathom the lead give 'em, then two and a half, then a scant
two. They was drawin' six feet. Zach couldn't stand it.
"'I'm goin' to anchor,' he squeals, frantic. 'I believe we're
plumb over to Wellmouth and drivin' right onto Horsefoot Shoal.'
"'It's either that or the bar,' chimes in 'Bije. 'And whichever
'tis, we can't anchor in the middle of it.'
"'But what'll we do?' shouts Zach. 'Can't nobody say somethin' to
"'Tell you I smell home,' says Nat, calm and chipper, 'and I'd know
that smell if I met it in Jericho. Ha! there she deepens again.
That was the bar and we're over it.'
"The wind had gone down to a stiff sailin' breeze, and the old
Debby S. slapped along afore it. Sometimes there was twelve foot
under her keel and sometimes eight or nine. Once 'twas only seven
and a half. Zach and 'Bije both looked at each other, but Nat only
"'Oh, you can laugh!' hollers Zach. ''Tain't your vessel you're
runnin' into danger. YOU aint paid out your good money--'
"Nat never answered; but he stopped smilin'.
"And all to once the water deepened. Hammond swung her up into the
"'NOW you can anchor,' says he.
"'And 'bout time, too, I guess,' says 'Bije. 'I cal'late the
skipper's right. This IS Horsefoot and we're right between the
shoals. Yes, sir, and I hear breakers. Lively there!'
"They hove over the mudhook and dropped the sails. Nat shook his
"'Breakers or not,' says he, 'I tell you I've smelt home for the
last half hour. Now, by the jumpin' Moses, I can TASTE it!'
"And inside of a couple of shakes come the rain. It poured for a
while and then the fog cleared. Right acrost their bows was
Trumet, with the town clock strikin' ten. Over the flat place
between the hills they could see the light on the ocean side. And
they was anchored right in the deep hole inside the breakwater, as
sure as I'm knee high to a marlin spike!
"'Bije just stared at Hammond with his mouth open.
"'Nat,' says he, 'you're a seaman, if I do say it. I thought I was
a pretty good bay pilot, but I can't steer a vessel without a
compass through a night as black as Pharaoh's Egypt, and in a thick
fog besides, and land her square on top of her moorin's. If my hat
wa'n't sloshin' around thirty mile astern, I snum if I wouldn't
take it off to you this minute!'
"'Nat,' stammers Zach, 'I must say I--'
"Nat snapped him shut like a tobacco box. 'You needn't,' says he.
'But I'll say this to you, Zach Foster. When I undertake to handle
a vessel I handle her best I know how, and the fact that I don't
own her makes no difference to me. You just put that down
somewheres so you won't forget it.'
"And this mornin'," crowed Captain Zebedee, concluding his long
yarn, "after that, mind you, that lubber Zach Foster is around town
tellin' folks that his schooner had been over the course so often
she COULDN'T get lost. She found her way home herself. WHAT do
you think of that?"
The two members of the parish committee left the parsonage soon
after Captain Mayo had finished his story. Elkanah had listened
with growing irritation and impatience. Zebedee lingered a moment
behind his companions.
"Don't you fret yourself about what happened last night, Mr.
Ellery," he whispered. "It'll be all right. 'Course nobody'd want
you to keep up chummin' in with Come-Outers, but what you said to
old Eben'll square you this time. So long."
The minister shut the door behind his departing guests. Then he
went out into the kitchen, whither the housekeeper had preceded
him. He found her standing on the back step, looking across the
fields. The wash bench was untenanted.
"Hum!" mused Ellery thoughtfully, "that was a good story of Captain
Mayo's. This man Hammond must be a fine chap. I should like to
Keziah still looked away over the fields. She did not wish her
employer to see her face--just then.
"I thought you would meet him," she said. He was here a little
while ago and I asked him to wait. I guess Zeb's yarn was too much
for him; he doesn't like to be praised."
"So? Was he here? At the Regular parsonage? I'm surprised."
"He and I have known each other for a long while."
"Well, I'm sorry he's gone. I think I should like him."
Keziah turned from the door.
"I know you would," she said.
IN WHICH CAPTAIN NAT PICKS UP A DERELICT
It is probable that John Ellery never fully realized the debt of
gratitude he owed to the fog and the squall and to Captain Nat
Hammond. Trumet, always hungry for a sensation, would have
thoroughly enjoyed arguing and quarreling over the minister's visit
to Come-Outer meeting, and, during the fracas, Keziah's parson
might have been more or less battered. But Captain Nat's brilliant
piloting of the old packet was a bit of seamanship which every man
and woman on that foam-bordered stretch of sand could understand
and appreciate, and the minister's indiscretion was all but
forgotten in consequence. The "Daily Advertisers" gloated over it,
of course, and Captain Elkanah brought it up at the meeting of the
parish committee, but there Captain Zeb Mayo championed the young
man's course and proclaimed that, fur's he was concerned, he was
for Mr. Ellery more'n ever. "A young greenhorn with the spunk to
cruise single-handed right into the middle of the Come-Outer school
and give an old bull whale like Eben the gaff is the man for my
money," declared Zebedee. Most of his fellow-committee agreed with
him. "Not guilty, but don't do it again," was the general verdict.
As for the Come-Outers, they professed to believe that their leader
had much the best of the encounter, so they were satisfied. There
was a note of triumph and exultation in the "testimony" given on
the following Thursday night, and Captain Eben divided his own
discourse between thankfulness for his son's safe return and
glorification at the discomfiture of the false prophets.
Practically, then, the result of Ellery's peace overture was an
increased bitterness in the feeling between the two societies and a
polishing of weapons on both sides.
Keziah watched anxiously for a hint concerning her parson's walk in
the rain with Grace, but she heard nothing, so congratulated
herself that the secret had been kept. Ellery did not again
mention it to her, nor she to him. A fortnight later he preached
his great sermon on "The Voyage of Life," and its reference to
gales and calms and lee shores and breakers made a hit. His
popularity took a big jump.
He met Nat Hammond during that fortnight. The first meeting was
accompanied by unusual circumstances, which might have been
serious, but were actually only funny.
The tide at Trumet, on the bay side, goes out for a long way,
leaving uncovered a mile and a half of flats, bare and sandy, or
carpeted with seaweed. Between these flats are the channels,
varying at low water from two to four feet in depth, but deepening
rapidly as the tide flows.
The flats fascinated the young minister, as they have many another
visitor to the Cape, before or since. On cloudy days they lowered
with a dull, leaden luster and the weed-grown portions were like
the dark squares on a checkerboard, while the deep water beyond the
outer bar was steely gray and angry. When the sun shone and the
wind blew clear from the northwest the whole expanse flashed into
fire and color, sapphire blue, emerald green, topaz yellow, dotted
with white shells and ablaze with diamond sparkles where the
reflected light leaped from the flint crystals of the wet, coarse
The best time to visit the flats--tide serving, of course--is the
early morning at sunrise. Then there is an inspiration in the wide
expanse, a snap and tang and joy in the air. Ellery had made up
his mind to take a before-breakfast tramp to the outer bar and so
arose at five, tucked a borrowed pair of fisherman's boots beneath
his arm, and, without saying anything to his housekeeper, walked
down the lawn behind the parsonage, climbed the rail fence, and
"cut across lots" to the pine grove on the bluff. There he removed
his shoes, put on the boots, wallowed through the mealy yellow sand
forming the slope of the bluff, and came out on the white beach and
the inner edge of the flats. Then he plashed on, bound out to
where the fish weirs stood, like webby fences, in the distance.
It was a wonderful walk on a wonderful day. The minister enjoyed
every minute of it. Out here he could forget the petty trials of
life, the Didamas and Elkanahs. The wind blew his hat off and
dropped it in a shallow channel, but he splashed to the rescue and
laughed aloud as he fished it out. It was not much wetter than it
had been that night of the rain, when he tried to lend his umbrella
and didn't succeed. This reflection caused him to halt in his walk
and look backward toward the shore. The brown roof of the old
tavern was blushing red in the first rays of the sun.
A cart, drawn by a plodding horse and with a single individual on
its high seat, was moving out from behind the breakwater. Some
fisherman driving out his weir, probably.
The sand of the outer bar was dimpled and mottled like watered silk
by the action of the waves. It sloped gradually down to meet the
miniature breakers that rolled over and slid in ripples along its
edge. Ellery wandered up and down, picking up shells and sea
clams, and peering through the nets of the nearest weir at the
"horsefoot crabs" and squid and flounders imprisoned in the pound.
There were a few bluefish there, also, and a small school of
The minister had been on the bar a considerable time before he
began to think of returning to the shore. He was hungry, but was
enjoying himself too well to mind. The flats were all his that
morning. Only the cart and its driver were in sight and they were
half a mile off. He looked at his watch, sighed, and reluctantly
started to walk toward the town; he mustn't keep Mrs. Coffin's
breakfast waiting TOO long.
The first channel he came to was considerably deeper than when he
forded it on the way out. He noticed this, but only vaguely. The
next, however, was so deep that the water splashed in at the top of
one of his boots. He did notice that, because though he was not
wearing his best clothes, he was not anxious to wet his "other
ones." The extent of his wardrobe was in keeping with the size of
And the third channel was so wide and deep that he saw at once it
could not be forded, unless he was willing to plunge above his
waist. This was provoking. Now he realized that he had waited too
long. The tide had been flowing for almost an hour; it had flowed
fast and, as he should have remembered, having been told, the
principal channels were eight feet deep before the highest flats
He hurried along the edge, looking for a shallower place, but found
none. At last he reached the point of the flat he was on and saw,
to his dismay, that here was the deepest spot yet, a hole, scoured
out by a current like a mill race. Turning, he saw, creeping
rapidly and steadily together over the flat behind him, two lines
of foam, one from each channel. His retreat was cut off.
He was in for a wetting, that was sure. However, there was no help
for it, so he waded in. The water filled his boots there, it
gurgled about his hips, and beyond, as he could see, it seemed to
grow deeper and deeper. The current was surprisingly strong; he
found it difficult to keep his footing in the soft sand. It looked
as though he must swim for it, and to swim in that tide would be no
Then, from behind him, came a hail. He turned and saw moving
toward him through the shallow water now covering the flat beyond
the next channel, the cart he had seen leave the shore by the
packet wharf, and, later, on the outer bar. The horse was jogging
along, miniature geysers spouting beneath its hoofs. The driver
waved to him.
"Hold on, mate," he called. "Belay there. Stay where you are.
I'll be alongside in a shake. Git dap, January!"
Ellery waded back to meet this welcome arrival. The horse plunged
into the next channel, surged through it, and emerged dripping.
The driver pulled the animal into a walk.
"Say," he cried, "I'm cruisin' your way; better get aboard, hadn't
you? There's kind of a heavy dew this mornin'. Whoa, Bill!"
"Bill" or "January" stopped with apparent willingness. The driver
leaned down and extended a hand. The minister took it and was
pulled up to the seat.
"Whew!" he panted. "I'm much obliged to you. I guess you saved me
from a ducking, if nothing worse."
"Yes," was the answer, "I wouldn't wonder if I did. This ain't
Saturday night and 'twould be against Trumet principles to take a
bath any other time. All taut, are you? Good enough! then we'll
get under way." He flapped the reins and added, "G'long, Julius
The horse, a sturdy, sedate beast to whom all names seemed to be
alike, picked up his feet and pounded them down again. Showers of
spray flew about the heads of the pair on the seat.
"I ain't so sure about that duckin'," commented the rescuer. "Hum!
I guess likely we'll be out of soundin's if we tackle that sink
hole you was undertakin' to navigate. Let's try it a little
Ellery looked his companion over.
"Well," he observed with a smile, "from what I've heard of you,
Captain Hammond, I rather guess you could navigate almost any water
in this locality and in all sorts of weather."
The driver turned in surprise.
"So?" he exclaimed. "You know me, do you? That's funny. I was
tryin' to locate you, but I ain't been able to. You ain't a
Trumetite I'll bet on that."
"Yes, I am."
"Tut! tut! tut! you don't tell me. Say, shipmate, you hurt my
pride. I did think there wa'n't a soul that ever trod sand in this
village that I couldn't name on sight, and give the port they