Part 2 out of 4
"I don't think I ever saw them flying. I shall always recognize one
again. They are regular double-enders, pointed at both ends. Is it the
same sort of loon that we see on the Maine and Adirondack lakes?"
"The very same," he replied. "I dare say you are well acquainted with its
"Indeed I am; it used to give me goose-flesh when I first heard it, ever
so long ago. It's a dreadfully shivery sound."
The man smiled, as if he thought this a pretty fair description.
"It is rather spooky," he admitted, "but I love it as a typical sound of
the wilderness. It is just redolent with memories of the scented smoke of
camp-fires, of game-tracked swamps and big forests mirrored in deep, calm
waters all aglow with the lights of the setting sun."
This interested me. It is evident that this doctor is not simply a fairly
well educated dispenser of pills and a wielder of horrid instruments.
There is some tincture of sentiment in his make-up.
"How do you enjoy the practice of your profession in Sweetapple Cove?" I
suddenly asked him, rather irrelevantly.
"I have an idea that it is a sort of practice for which I am fairly well
fitted," he answered, slowly, and still looking at the birds. "A fellow
can never be sure that he would make a success in the larger places. Here
you will admit that the critical sense of the population must be easily
satisfied. I have no reason to doubt that I am at least the half a loaf
that is better than no bread."
Of course I could only smile. He had said a lot, very pleasantly, without
giving me the slightest bit of information. To-morrow I intend to go and
have a chat with Mrs. Barnett and pump her dry. I notice that I am rather
a curious young person.
"Jist keep her off a bit now," advised Sammy. "They is a big tide settin'
A slight pressure on the tiller was enough, and Yves loosened the sheets
just a little. On our port side we could see the cliffs, dark and rather
menacing, which as yet failed to show the slightest indenture within
which a boat might lie.
"I think I will give you the tiller now," I told Sammy.
"If you'll not be minding," he answered.
I am discovering that these people have an inborn sense of courtesy.
Their broad accent, which is a mixture of Scotch and Irish and other
North British sounds, is rather a pleasant one. It was quite evident that
I was to suit myself in the matter of steering the boat. If I objected to
relinquishing the tiller owing to a preference for running up on the
rocks I was entirely welcome, as far as I could judge from Sammy's words.
I am beginning to love the old man.
He took the helm and I swung my arms against my sides, for my muscles
felt just a little bit sore.
"I'd like to do this often," I informed him. "It is fine for one's arms."
"It's sure fine fer the pretty face of yer," he asserted, rather timidly.
"The color on it an' the shinin' in yer eyes is real good to see."
"You are very complimentary," I laughed.
Then the old man looked at me, quite soberly, and I could see that a
misgiving had made its way in his dear old soul.
"I mistrust I doesn't jist know what that means," he said, rather
worried. "Ef it's anythin' bad I'm a-beggin' yer pardon."
"You are a perfect dear, Captain Sammy," I told him. "Indeed it means
something very nice."
Profound relief appeared upon his countenance. I am discovering that in
Sweetapple Cove one must limit one's vocabulary. The old man would
probably not appreciate chocolates, but he deserves them.
We were dashing on, at a safe distance from the rocks, and suddenly there
was an opening in the cliffs, with a tiny bay within. Yves pulled in the
sheets a little and we sailed into the deep, clear water of the tiny
There was a small beach of rolling shingle and, beyond this, clinging
like barnacles to the rocky hillside, were a couple of decrepit houses.
Some big flakes and a fish-house were built over the water, on spidery
legs. A few children, very stolid of face and unkempt, watched our
arrival and stared at me. A man, in half-bared arms dotted about the
wrists with remnants of what they call gurry-sores, stood at the water's
edge, waiting to lend a hand. There appears to be no anchorage in this
deep hole. The sails were quickly wrapped around the masts and our
forefoot gently grated against the pebbles. Then all the men jumped out
and dragged the boat up, using some rollers.
"She'll do now," announced Sammy. "Tide's on the ebb, anyways."
There was no lack of hands to help me jump out on the little beach.
Frenchy's small boy had clambered out like a monkey and, like myself, was
an object of silent curiosity to the local urchins. The scent of fish
prevailed, of course, but it was less pronounced than at Sweetapple Cove,
very probably for the unfortunate reason that very few fish had been
caught, of late. Indeed, it was a fine drying day and yet the poor flakes
were nearly bare.
"Bring up the barrel, Sammy," said the doctor. "I'm going up to the
house. I don't think I'll keep you waiting very long, Miss Jelliffe."
He hastened up, scrambling up the rocky path, and entered the house. I
followed him, perhaps rather indiscreetly. This queer atmosphere of
poverty had affected me, I think, and I suddenly became eager to see
whether I could not be of some help.
A woman had met him at the door, with an effort at a smile upon her thin,
seamed face, that was pale with scanty food and haggard from long
watching at night.
"Un do be sayin' as th' arm be better a lot," she informed him. Then she
stared at me, just for a moment, and smiled again.
"That's fine," said the doctor. "We'll have another look at it directly.
You can come in if you wish to, Miss Jelliffe."
There was nothing but just one fairly large room. The patient was lying
on a bed built of planks and his right arm was resting on a pillow,
wrapped up in an enormous dressing.
"You sure is a sight fer sore eyes ter see," said the man.
"I hope I'm one for sore arms too," said the doctor, cheerfully. Then he
turned to me.
"It would perhaps be best for you to leave for a few minutes, Miss
Jelliffe," he said. "It won't take long."
But I didn't feel that I could leave, and he began to cut through
bandages and dressings. Oh! Aunt Jennie dear! I didn't realize that
people could have such dreadful things the matter with them. It made me
just a little faint to look at it, and I had to turn away. There was but
a slight injury at first, I was told, and it had become awful for lack of
proper treatment and care. Dr. Grant, I was also informed by old Sammy,
was confronted at first with the horrible problem of either taking fair
chances for the man's life by an amputation which would have meant
starvation for the family, or of assuming the risk of trying to save that
arm upon which the woman and her little ones were depending. Such things
must surely try a man's soul, Aunt Jennie. The doctor told me that he had
gone out of the house and sat on a rock, to think it over, and had looked
at the flakes with their pitiful showing. The kiddies were ravenous and
the wife exhausted with care. Then he had stared at the other old house,
now abandoned by a family that had been unable to keep body and soul
together in the place.
And so he had been compelled to decide upon this great gamble and spent
three nights and days in watching, in a ceaseless struggle to save that
arm, using every possible means of winning his fight, knowing that the
penalty of failure was death. It was no wonder that he looked happy now
that he knew he had won.
I suppose that such things happen often, Auntie dear, but we have never
seen things like these, and they make an awfully strong impression.
Dr. Grant was working away, looking well pleased, and I handed him a few
things he needed.
"That's fine!" he declared, after he had completed a fresh dressing. "You
are well enough now to come back with me to the Cove, Dick, because that
arm must be attended to every day and I can't come here so often. You
will be able to stand the trip all right and I'll send you back as soon
as you are well."
"I sure kin stand anythin' so long as yer says I kin," answered the man.
His eyes were full of a confidence one usually sees only in happy
For a few minutes the wife had gone out of the house, and she returned,
"They is all laughin' down ter th' beach," she announced. "They is
Frenchy's little bye, all wid' yeller curls, a-playin' wid our laddies,
and Sammy Moore he've brung a barrel o' flour, and a box wid pork, and
they is more tea and sugar. What d' yer think o' that?"
She was much excited, and looked from her husband to us, nervously, as if
fearing to awaken from a dream.
"That ere trader he said I couldn't have no more, afore I sent him a few
quintals o' fish," said Dick, "I don't see how it come."
"You had to have it," said the doctor, just a little bit gruffly. "You
can pay me back after you get to work again."
The woman grabbed his arm, and made him wince, and then she returned to
the beach again and brought back the box.
"Beggin' yer pardon, ma'am," she said. "Jist set down still fer a minnit.
I kin bile th' kittle now an' you'll be havin' a dish o' tea."
"Thank you ever so much," I answered, as pleasantly as I could. "I don't
want to give you so much trouble, and we are going back at once."
The woman looked sorely disappointed.
"It's awful good tea," she pleaded. "Th' kind as comes in yeller
packages, and they is sugar too."
I turned to Dr. Grant. A nearly imperceptible smile and nod from him
showed me that I had better accept. It was evident that the poor creature
could not understand how any one could refuse tea, the only luxury of her
"I'll change my mind, if you will let me," I said. "I really think I
would enjoy it very much."
Then she smiled again, and went up to the little stove, and I followed
her. Dr. Grant had gone out for a moment.
"Doctor un' says Dick goes back wid' un," she said. "He be th' best man
in the whole world, ma'am. Says he'll take pay when fishing gets better.
I mistrust he'll be waitin' a long spell. It must be most twelve dollars,
all the things he've brung."
For a moment the prospect of this huge debt sobered her, and a tear ran
down her cheek.
"And what about the doctor's pay?" I asked.
"I doesn't know," she answered, helplessly. "It's sure a turrible world."
From this I judge that the financial returns of Dr. Grant's practice must
be more than meager. If I had had any money with me I would have given it
to this poor creature, but I had no pockets and had never thought of the
need of a vanity bag and purse for a visit to Will's Island.
The woman looked out of the door, and saw that the doctor had gone down
to the beach and was talking to the men, apparently engaged in making
some arrangement at the bottom of the boat whereon to lay his patient.
"I doesn't know what we'll do," she said again, hurriedly. "But there
never was a good man the like o' he. You ain't got a man yet, has you,
"No, I'm a spinster yet," I declared, smiling.
"He's sure the best ever was. Mebbe he might go to courtin' you, ma'am,
and what a happy woman ye'd be."
I don't think I blushed, Aunt Jennie, or showed any particular
embarrassment. I think I simply recognized a tribute of adoration
rendered by the poor soul to one who, in her weary, red eyes, deserved
nothing less than worship.
"I am quite sure he is a splendid man," I answered, quietly. "He is
also taking care of my father, who broke his leg on the rocks, while
"Oh! I knows yer now," said Mrs. Will. "Sammy he told us how you come in
that white steam schooner, wi' brass shinin' all over."
"Yes," I replied.
She began to stare at me, much interested.
"Sich a bonnie lass ye be! I wisht he'd take a fancy ter ye!" she
exclaimed. "Ye'd sure never find a better man nowheres an' ye look as
good as he do. I mistrust ye'd make an awful fine woman fer he."
I could only smile again. Fancy my meeting with matchmakers in this rocky
desert. The poor thing meant well, of course, and I could make no further
answer, for Dr. Grant was returning. He packed all his things away in his
bag, and I went over to the fisherman's bed.
"I am so glad that you are getting along so much better," I told him.
"Thank yer kindly, ma'am," he answered. "I'se sure a whole lot better an'
now we has grub too."
You know how sweet the fields are after a storm, Aunt Jennie. Here it
also looked as if some dreadful black cloud had lifted, so that the sun
shone down again on this desolate place and made it beautiful to the sick
Then I had to swallow some strong tea, without milk, which I abhor. I
trust I managed it with fortitude. The doctor also had to submit.
"The day is fast approaching when I shall perish from an aggravated case
of tea-poisoning," he confided to me. "Everywhere, under penalty of
seeing long faces, I am compelled to swallow it in large doses. I lie
awake nights seeking vainly for some sort of excuse that will be accepted
without breaking hearts."
"I hope that when you feel the symptoms coming you will hasten back to
the security of civilization," I told him.
"Even that is open to question," he answered.
And so we brought the poor man home, Aunt Jennie, and I'm beginning to
feel dreadfully sleepy, so I'll say _au revoir_.
_From John Grant's Diary_
Atkins has just returned from St. John's, bringing loads of things for
the Jelliffes. He consulted me timidly as to how much he might charge
them for freight, for I am beginning to share with Mr. Barnett the honor
of being considered as a general bureau of information. I craftily
obtained his own views, and suggested a slight increase. Mr. Jelliffe
audited the bill and gave the man five dollars extra for his trouble, so
that by this time the whole family is weeping with joy. Atkins also
brought me a batch of medical journals and a letter.
To look at Dora's handwriting one would judge that the young woman must
be at least six feet high. The letters are so big and bold that they
would never suggest her actual five feet four, with a small fraction of
which she is rather proud. As usual she tells me little about herself,
saying that I can easily understand the nature of her work in the
tenements. Of course I can and, what is more, I am chagrined to think she
is toiling harder and enjoying herself less than I. Here I have a chance
at great breaths of pure air, whereas in New York she is ever hurrying
through sordid little East Side streets and breathing their emanations. I
prefer the fish-houses, and if Miss Jelliffe were acquainted with some of
those streets she would think as I do. The people I deal with here are
grateful and happy to see me. Dora's mob is apt to suspect her motives,
to distrust her offers of care and instruction, and to disagree entirely
with her ideas of cleanliness. I wish she were here; it seems to me that
a partnership in this place could accomplish wonderful things. I would
build a bit of a hospital and she could boss the patients to her heart's
The little girl says that she approves of my doings, but complains that I
write rather flippantly, at times. Considering that she has bidden me to
avoid carefully all matters relating to the tender passion what else can
I do? She says that if I persevere I shall realize that I am doing good
work. We are all seeking achievement, she tells me, and she is sure I am
accomplishing great things.
Poor little Dora! I wish I were as sure of this as she seems to be. As a
matter of fact I am constantly disgruntled at the lack of facilities. How
can a man do big work in surgery with no assistants? The least I should
have is a nurse. I have written to tell her so.
Day before yesterday I took Miss Jelliffe over to Will's Island. I really
think she had lost a little of her color in her assiduous care of her
father, and I was pleased to see the roses return to her cheeks on her
way there. I would have thought that a young woman of her class would
require a great deal of attention, but this young lady appears to be just
as independent in her way as Dora is in hers. She was very much at home
in the boat, and old Sammy just eats out of her hand. She has long ago
gathered him into the fold of her adorers. Ten minutes after we left she
was running our little ship and handling the tiller understandingly.
She is a young woman whose life will be cast in pleasant places, and she
awaits the future cheerfully, secure in the belief that it can bring but
happiness. Dora, on the other hand, is prospecting with shovel and pick,
and I'm afraid they may blister her little hands.
When we arrived at Will's Island the young woman followed me into the
house. I noticed that she shuddered just a little at the sight of Dick's
arm. It was a novel thing to her, and I must say she met it bravely.
Indeed it was rather fine to see how quickly she adapted herself to those
surroundings. She held bandages for me and handed me the solutions with
quick intuition. Also she was delightfully simple and kind in her
treatment of poor Dick's bewildered wife.
I decided to bring the man to the Cove. He insisted that he was perfectly
able to walk down to the boat, but staggered as soon as he tried to stand
up and would have fallen had I not been prepared for him. Sammy and
Frenchy carried him down to the boat and lifted him on board, where they
stretched him on the foot-boards which we had taken the precaution to
upholster luxuriously with dried seaweed. An old sack, stuffed with the
same material, constituted a pillow.
Dick's wife and her brother, with the children, waved their hands at us
as we left the little bay and started on the long run close-hauled to the
For a short time Miss Jelliffe remained near Sammy. She was peering at
the retiring cliffs.
"Who would ever have thought that men would cling to such places?" she
said. "I don't know whether I am glad or sorry that I came."
One could see that she was moved. Life had taken a wider aspect for her.
She doubtless knew of poverty and suffering, but to her they had been
abstract things near which her footsteps had never carried her.
"In another year or two it will be deserted," I told her. "The few sticks
on the island have all been cut down, and they have begun to burn the
boards of the abandoned house, though they also get a little driftwood
for fuel. That is the story of many places on this coast, after the
people have exhausted the scanty supply of wood."
She evidently thought it marvelous that such desolate bits of rock should
have found human limpets to cling to them and be able to support life
after a fashion. Then she began to look at the man who was lying in the
bottom of the boat. Although he was very pale and weak he looked
contentedly at the sky and the fleecy clouds, and when his eyes caught
hers he smiled bashfully. And the instinct then moved her, which lies in
every proper feminine heart, however dormantly, to mother something or
The screaming feathered life no longer interested her, nor the surging of
the crested waves against the cliffs, nor the cleaving of the water by
our little ship. She took a step forward and sat down on the rough
boards, beside this wreck of manhood we were bringing in, unmindful of
the dried fish-scales that would flake off upon her skirts. It was surely
an unconscious movement of hers when her hand went out and rested on the
fisherman's rough paw.
I saw him stare at her, his eyes filled with wonderment and gratitude,
for men of these places know little of tender care.
"How do you feel now?" she asked him, gently.
"I feels like I once did after a day an' a night on th' ice," he replied,
slowly. "I mind there wuz four on us to a small pan as had broke loose.
An' two they give out with th' cold, an' wuz dead afore mornin', but th'
steamer as had lost us in th' fog she jist sudden loomed up, all ter
once, an' took Tom Pilley an' me off an' we wuz saved. I mistrust that's
jist how I feels again now."
The girl turned her eyes towards me, and they were moist. She had
understood the man and realized the time he had spent in despairing
resignation, with the image of death ever before him during the long
battle against cold and starvation. Then life had come, like a flash, out
of the smothering mists, and soon he had been ready to struggle on again.
And it was evident that the dreary prospect of such an existence
prolonged was enough to make him happy once more.
After this she remained silent for a long time. Hitherto, in her
existence, sorrow and suffering had appeared like some other wonderful
things occurring in nature, such as the forces holding atoms together or
compelling bodies to gravitate. One knew of such things, of course, yet
one was unconscious of them. Now they were assuming an importance she had
never realized before. Her head bent low, as if she were being chastened
by some strange feeling of reproach.
It was perhaps the soothing touch of her hand that caused Dick to fall
asleep, and Miss Jelliffe, with cramped limbs, rose to her feet.
"See how quietly he is resting now," she said. "I should think that you
would feel ever so proud of what you have done. I'm sure I hope you do."
I had taken charge of the tiller, upon which she also laid her hand. I
dare say that I was a little surprised, and did not answer at once.
"I don't think that I ever realized before how much just one man may
accomplish," she continued.
"I am afraid that in my profession most of us who try to be honest with
ourselves are inclined to deplore how very little we can achieve," I
"No man has any right to be entirely satisfied with his efforts," she
declared, "and I think all this is a magnificent thing to be devoting
one's energies to."
"I am glad if I am sometimes able to justify an indulgent faculty for
having granted me a parchment permitting me to prune my fellow mortals,
as Holmes puts it," I answered.
She looked at me, seriously, and shook her pretty head.
"You are not speaking at all seriously," she said.
Dora has accused me of flippancy, and this young lady states that I don't
talk seriously. Yet a fellow has a right to dislike the danger of being
unjustifiably placed in the category of meritorious people. I couldn't
very well tell Miss Jelliffe that I was doing all this at the bidding of
a little nurse with whom I am mightily in love. Dora has as yet given me
no right to speak of her as my affianced.
"What I wish to know is how you are going to be paid for your work in
this case," pursued Miss Jelliffe, "and for the things you have given to
these people? And who pays for this boat and the wages of the men? Of
course if I am indiscreet you must say so."
"I am the owner, in perspective, of absolutely unlimited codfish, Miss
Jelliffe," I told her. "Some day these people will bury me under an
avalanche of quintals. Still, it is also possible that they may come on
the installment plan. One hundred and twelve pounds of fish may seem an
unusual fee for a rather protracted case, but consider how far it will go
in the feeding of a lone bachelor. Even though it may be small recompense
it is promised with an honest and kindly heart. I am led to expect huge
amounts when some of the men get back from the Labrador, and still more
will flood my coffers if the shore catch is good and all sorts of other
wonderful things happen. These people actually mean it, and worry
themselves considerably over the matter. Some of the idiots actually
refuse to send for me for the specious reason that they have nothing to
pay me with, and permit themselves to die off in the silliest way,
without my assistance."
"Of course all that is mostly nonsense," said the young lady, decisively,
"but--but I don't exactly see how you manage to get along. Of course just
one glance such as I have seen that poor Dick give you ought to be a nice
reward for any man, but then that sort of thing doesn't exactly
"I am fortunate in having a little money which, in Sweetapple Cove,
stretches out to a fairly important income, so that I am able to invest
in futures, if that be the proper financial term. In the meanwhile I am
having a rather good time," I answered.
For quite a while she remained silent, seeming to be engaged in profound
calculations. After this she again watched the waters and the rugged
coast, and the birds wheeling and screaming over shoals of fish.
We soon neared the entrance to Sweetapple Cove and Miss Jelliffe looked
at it with renewed interest. Beyond those fierce ramparts with their
cruel spurs dwelt men and women, most of whom she probably considered to
be among the disinherited ones of the earth, eking out a bare living from
hand to mouth.
"Isn't it too bad that they should all have to strive so hard for the
little they get," she said, suddenly.
"They do it willingly and bravely, Miss Jelliffe," I said. "Here as
elsewhere, of course, the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and
usually spoils their fish."
When we landed some men came out of the fish-houses, for the time of the
midday meal was at hand. I called for volunteers to bring a hand barrow.
"Who's got a bed in his house that I can put Dick Will in for a few days,
till he gets better?" I asked.
A number of offers were forthcoming at once. Finally he was carried away,
with two sturdy men at the handles, while others walked alongside,
supporting the patient in a sitting posture. He had begun by protesting.
"I is sure I kin walk now, if ye'll let me try," he said.
"You must do just as you are told," Miss Jelliffe admonished him. "You
and I know nothing about these things and we must obey the doctor. You
know he is ever so proud of your arm and you mustn't dare to run chances
of spoiling his beautiful work."
"No, ma'am, not never," he declared, properly ashamed of himself and
quite aghast at the prospect.
The procession caused some excitement in the village, and doubtless much
discussion on the part of the good women. I have no doubt that some of
them lectured their husbands severely for their failure to offer suitable
inducements. They are always eager to be helpful.
"We has three beds i' th' house," the lucky contender had announced,
proudly. It was only very late in the afternoon that I discovered the
domicile to be tenanted by three adults and seven children, most of whom
now cheerfully curl up on the floor. This, however, is never considered
as a hardship by a Newfoundlander. To him anything softer than a plank is
When I saw Miss Jelliffe back to her house she asked me to come in for
lunch. I thanked her and assured her that I would accept her kind
invitation another time, as I had to go at once to another patient.
And so Miss Jelliffe turns out to be an exceedingly womanly young woman,
which, after all, is the only kind we poor imperfect men are able to
admire. When the chance came for her to show courage and sympathy she
seized upon it instinctively. I am sure Dora would be ever so fond of
her, and I wish that they could meet one another.
_From Miss Helen Jelliffe to Miss Jane Van Zandt_
_Dear Aunt Jennie_:
Harry Lawrence was telling me one day that the proper study of man is
girl, and vice versa. It is his modification of the ancient and mossy
Daddy is doing very well, and now that he is asleep through the hypnotic
virtues of a best seller which I have read to him in large doses, I
resume my correspondence with you, and, incidentally, my study of man. He
is really very interesting, Aunt Jennie, with the tiniest bit of
secretiveness as to his own purposes in life which, of course, makes one
more curious about him. In a frock coat, with gardenia in his button
hole, he would make an ideal usher at a fashionable wedding. A few days
ago, when we took that trip to Will's Island, I observed that he has
capable limbs, properly clean-cut features and a general appearance of
energetic efficiency. There are scores just like him, that we meet on
golf links and tennis courts, and, in spite of his rough garb, he really
is a most presentable young man.
I received your letter yesterday, and of course my own Auntie Jennie
could not have foreborne to say that there is no island so deserted that
I would not find a nice young man in it. I consider this statement as
merely displaying the most ordinary and even superficial acquaintance
with the laws of gravitation.
By this time I am naturally entirely at home in the social circles of
Sweetapple Cove. The ancient dames grin at me, most toothlessly and
pleasantly, and since I recklessly distributed all my stock of Maillard's
among the urchins I have a large following among the juvenile population.
To guard against the impending famine I have obtained from St. John's
some most substantial and highly colored candies at very little a pound
which are just now quite as popular to an undiscriminating taste. I wish
I had not been so prodigal with the other ones.
I have foregathered with Mrs. Barnett a great deal and have simply
fallen in love with her. Aunt Jennie, dear, she is a lady to her poor
needle-pricked fingers' ends. She is one of the numerous offspring of an
English parson who was the seventh or eighth son of an inpecunious
baronet, I believe. Her husband starved as a curate in the most genteel
fashion, for some years, and suddenly announced that he was coming here.
We don't know whether Ruth was quite so subservient after the wedding was
over, for I understand that some brides change to some extent after
marriage. Mrs. Barnett was a Ruth before and remained one ever since.
She quietly packed up her trunks and her infants and doubtless bought the
tickets, as Mr. Barnett was probably writing a sermon or visiting old
ladies up to the last moment. Then she found herself here and immediately
made the best of it, and that best is a thing to marvel at. She is a
beautiful, tired-looking thing in dreadful clothes who wears an aureola
of hair that is a perfect wonder. Her back is beautifully straight and
she is capable of a smile I wish I could imitate.
She has the softest, cultured, sweet, English accent, which came with a
little quiver of her voice when she told of a little one who died here,
before there was any doctor. The three that are left are to her as
I would just give anything to bring her to New York, give her the run of
the best _couturieres_ and show her to some of our diamonds-at-breakfast
dowagers. As Harry would say, she would make them look like thirty cents.
They would perish with jealousy. She holds the savor and fragrance of
centuries of refinement.
Yesterday I went to their little church. It was built by Mr. Barnett and
the inhabitants, who cheerfully gave their labor. Every board of it
represents untold begging and saving. It was a nice, simple, little
service, in which the people were much interested and sang hymns with
fervor and plenty of false notes. My voice is hardly worth the money that
has been squandered upon it, but such as it is I began to sing also. To
my intense dismay I was soon singing alone, for the rest of the
congregation respectfully stopped. Mr. Barnett looked at me most
benevolently over his spectacles, but this was hardly enough to subdue my
sudden stage fright.
On the day before the nice little man called on us, soon after dinner,
which here is a midday function. Before this particular feast I had
apologized to Daddy for leaving him alone and going sailing for a few
"That's the worst of you women-folk," he rebuffed me. "Just because a
fellow happens to be fond of you, you must pretend that you are entirely
indispensable. I got on very nicely, thank you, and your absence had no
deleterious influence upon my leg. There is some slight pain in it,
whether you are here or not."
"I know that the charm of my conversation makes you forget it at times,"
I told him.
"I don't deny the charm," said Daddy, who is the most scrupulously polite
man, as you know, "but just now the delight of something to eat is what
I'm hankering for."
"You are going to have Newfoundland turkey," I told him.
Daddy looked at me incredulously, and then his countenance fell.
"Don't tell me you are referring to codfish," he said.
"That is the sad news," I told him. "It is going to be perfectly
delicious, and you will have to wait a moment."
So I turned up my sleeves and armoured myself in a blue gingham apron
before invading the realm of Susie Sweetapple, who only knows how to boil
things, including the tea. Like a true artist I engaged in an
improvisation. The only really bad thing about codfish, Aunt Jennie, is
its intrusive quality when it is prepared by the hundreds and thousands
of quintals. Otherwise, like eggs and potatoes, it is capable of a
multiplicity of avatars. We brought the dish back in triumph.
"Here, at last, is some return for the money squandered upon my
education," I announced. "Aren't you glad I took a course in cookery?"
But Daddy refused to commit himself until after he had thoroughly sampled
"It is first rate," he said, "and you can take another course if you
"You know I brought the cookery book with me," I informed him, "but I've
stopped using it. It tells one to take pinches of this, and pints of
that, and cupfuls of other things that have never been heard of in
Sweetapple Cove. It is dreadfully discouraging. I suggested roast beef to
Susie, for to-night, and she stared at me and I laughed at my own folly.
There is just one recently imported cow in the place, and a small calf,
and they're alive, as are the goats. I can't reconcile my mind to the
idea of a live cow being beef, and the calf is a personal friend of
"I have hitherto considered you as being somewhat ornamental," said
Daddy. "Now that you are also proving useful I am deeming you a
So we had lunch together, for I can't get used to the custom of calling
"That was a splendid sail we had," I said. "The sea was perfectly
delightful. And that poor man was so glad to be brought here. Dr. Grant
is doing wonderful things."
"A smart chap," commented Daddy. "If he has to do this for a living I'm
sorry for him, and if he isn't compelled to he's probably some sort of
"At any rate Sweetapple Cove appreciates him," I said.
"I have no doubt he's an angel with pin-feathers sprouting all over him,"
retorted Dad. "But it isn't business, which I take the liberty of
defining as the way of making the best of one's opportunities instead of
frittering them away. He has unquestionably done a few dozens of poor
devils a lot of good, including myself. But he could find many more
cripples in any big city, and a few of them might have bank accounts."
Just then we heard some one whistling. I was interested to note that the
tune was from a fairly recent comic opera that can hardly have reached
the general population of Sweetapple Cove.
"There is your crank," I said, rather viciously.
He knocked at the door and came in, breezily, as he generally does.
"I've got to be off," he announced. "I shall probably not return till
to-morrow night, or perhaps the morning after. You are getting along very
well, Mr. Jelliffe. Just let me have another look before I go away."
The inspection seemed to be entirely satisfactory.
"Well, I'll run now," said Dr. Grant. "I'll come and see you the moment I
He hurried out again, and I saw him join Sammy and the Frenchman. I waved
my hand at him as the boat was leaving the cove, but I suppose that he
wasn't looking for he made no answer, though Yves wigwagged with a
"Now wouldn't that jar you?" said Daddy. "Wouldn't it inculcate into you
a chastened spirit? Doesn't he consider me as an important patient? Just
comes in and grins and runs away again, for a couple of days, as if I
were not likely to need him at any moment. He's the limit!"
"I don't really think he is going away just for the fun of it," I
At this moment Susie Sweetapple burst into the room like a Black Hand
bomb. It is one of her little ways.
"Parson's coming," she declared, breathlessly, and nodded her head
violently to emphasize the importance of her statement.
"I suppose it is Mr. Barnett," I said. "They expected him back to-day. He
has been away to a place they call Edward's Bay."
"I presume it is," assented Daddy. "His arrival appears to cause the same
sort of excitement on this population as the fire-engines produce among
the juveniles of New York, judging from Susie's display."
The girl had run to the door and opened it widely. Then she backed away
before a little man who removed a clerical hat that was desperately green
from exposure to the elements, and which revealed a shock of hair of a
dull flaxen hue doubtless washed free of any pigment by salt spray and
rain. His garments were also of distinctive cut, though they frankly
exposed well-meant though unvailing efforts at matching buttons and
repairing small rents. He bowed to me, his thin face expanding into a
most gentle and somewhat professional smile, and he expressed
commiseration at the sight of Daddy in his bed.
"I hope I don't intrude upon your privacy," he said, with an intonation
just as refined as that of his wife, though scarcely as sweet. "I took
the liberty of calling, having been informed of your very distressing
accident. I fear you have not finished your repast, and perhaps I had
"Do come in and take a seat," I told him. "It is ever so kind of you to
"I am very glad to see you, sir," said Daddy, very cordially. "We have
not had many opportunities to welcome visitors here, and even our doctor
is too busy a man to pay long calls."
"Yes, quite so. Indeed he is at times exceedingly busy. We think him an
extremely nice young man; quite delightful, I assure you, and he does a
great deal of good."
The man was rubbing his thin little hands together, with his head cocked
to one side, looking like an intellectual and benevolent sparrow.
I must say that I was impressed by him. From conversations with the
fishermen I had gathered the impression that Mr. Barnett was a perfectly
fearless man on land and water, and I had imagined an individual cast in
a rather heroic mold.
It hardly seemed possible that this little parson was the subject of the
tales I had heard, for he bore a tiny look of timidity and, I was sorry
to see, of overwork and underfeeding. But the latter may have been
"This is rather a large field to which we have been called," he
continued. "It gives one very fine opportunities as well as some
difficulties to contend with. But of course we keep on striving. It is
not missionary work, you understand, for the people are all very firm
believers. It is merely a question of lending a helping hand, to the best
of one's ability."
"It must be dreadfully hard at times," I put in. "You had quite a long
sail to get here, didn't you? And isn't it perfectly awful in winter?"
"I have been carried out to sea, and things have looked rather badly
sometimes," he said, deprecatingly. "But one must expect a little trouble
now and then, you know."
Daddy began to ask him questions. You know how he prides himself on his
ability to turn people inside out, as he expresses it. The poor little
man answered, slowly, smiling blandly all the time and looking quite
unfit, physically, to face the perils of such a hard life. I became
persuaded that under that frail exterior there must be a heart full of
strength to endure, of determination to carry out that which he considers
to be his duty.
"You know I really am afraid I'm a dreadful coward," he suddenly
confessed. "I have been rather badly frightened some times."
"My father was the bravest man I ever knew," said Daddy, "and he
acknowledged that he was scared half to death whenever he went into
battle, during the war. Yet he was several times promoted for gallantry
in the field. I feel quite sure that you must have deserved similar
advancement, more than once."
Mr. Barnett looked at him, doubtfully, and with a funny little frightened
"I am afraid you must be chaffing me," he said, with a tentative smile.
"No, sir, I am not," clamored Daddy. "Bravery lies in facing the odds,
when you have to, and putting things through regardless of one's fears.
The chap who never gets scared hasn't enough brains to know danger."
The uneasy look of the parson's face gave way to a pleased expression.
It was interesting to watch Daddy getting at all the facts, as he calls
it, and I suppose that it is a precious talent. In the shortest possible
time he knew the birth rate, the chief family histories, the rates for
the transportation of codfish to the remotest parts of the world, and how
many barrels of flour it took to keep a large family alive for one year,
besides a few hundred other things.
During a lull I asked Mr. Barnett whether he would have some tea. Your
cultivated taste is the one I have followed as regards this beverage, and
I have an ample provision. Before the full-flavored North China infusion,
which I kept out of Susie's devastating hands, and the little biscuits
coming from the most British-looking tin box, I saw the Reverend Basil
Barnett, late of Magdalen, gradually becoming permeated by a sense of
something that had long been missing from his life. When he first caught
the aroma he looked incredulous, then his features relaxed in the smile
of the expert utterly satisfied.
"Mrs. Barnett and I are exceedingly fond of tea," he said, after I had
compelled him to let me fill his cup for the third time.
To-morrow I shall discover some manner of making the dear woman accept a
pound or two of it. The appreciation of her spouse made me think of some
lion-hearted, little, strenuous lady with an inveterate tea-habit. Can
you understand such a confused statement? I realize that it is badly
jumbled. At any rate he held his cup daintily, with three fingers,
and looked at it as Daddy looks at a glass of his very special
"I shall have to go now," he announced, perhaps a little regretfully. "I
hear, Miss Jelliffe, that you have helped minister to the needs of that
poor Dick Will. I am going to see him now. By the way, I trust I may have
the pleasure of seeing you to-morrow at our little church, if you can
leave your dear patient long enough."
"Of course I'll come," I promised, "and I would be glad to go with you
now and see Dick. I know Daddy won't mind, and I should like to see
whether I can do anything to make the man more comfortable."
"Run along, my dear," said Daddy.
Mr. Barnett expressed thanks, and we walked away together. I actually had
to shorten my steps a little to accommodate myself to his quick,
shuffling gait. It is queer, Aunt Jennie, but before this tiny,
unpretentious parson I feel a sense of deference and high regard. To
think he is able to overcome his fears, that his gracile body has been
called upon to withstand the bufferings of storms, and that his notion of
duty should appear to raise him, physically, to the level of these rough
vikings among whom he labors, is quite bewildering. And the best of it is
that when he talks he is entirely free from that didactic authority so
often assumed by men of his cloth. He just admits you into his
confidence, that is all.
"Mrs. Barnett has told me of your kindness to her and the little chaps,"
he said. "I am so pleased that you have become acquainted. The thing a
woman misses most, in places like this, is her circle of friends. But she
is the bravest soul in the world, and although she worries a good deal
when I am away in bad weather she always looks cheerful when I return. I
have been blessed beyond my deserts, Miss Jelliffe."
The little man looked up at me, and I could see that his face was bright
with happiness, so that I had to smile in sympathy. I don't know that I
have ever realized before what a huge thing love and affection mean in
the lives of some people, how they can cast a glamour over sordid
surroundings and reward one for all the hardships.
"I am glad that you are happy," I told him. "I think that you have become
very fond of the place and of these people."
"I shall miss them if ever I am called away," he acknowledged, looking at
the poor, unpainted houses and the rickety flakes.
Dear Auntie Jennie, it looks to me as if these were people to be envied.
To the parson life is the prosecution of a work he deems all-important,
and which he carries on with the knowledge that there is always a helping
hand lovingly to uphold his own. And yet I admire his wife still more
deeply, for she looks like a queen who loves her exile, because the king
is with her.
We went into the house in which Dick found shelter. The men were away
fishing, of course, but two women were there, with their fair share of
the children who swarm in the Cove. At once aprons were produced for the
polishing of the two rough chairs of the establishment.
"We has some merlasses now," one of the women told me, proudly. "Th'
little bye he be allers a puttin' some on bread an' leavin' it on th'
Daddy is calling me, so good by for the present. I am so glad the people
of Sweetapple Cove interest you.
_From Miss Helen Jelliffe to Miss Jane Van Zandt_
Would you believe that the time here flies at least as fast as in New
York during Horse-Show week, although one gets to bed earlier. I am
beginning actually to enjoy this place, strange as it may seem. Had it
not been for poor Daddy's accident I should have been the most contented
thing you ever saw. He sends his love and says I've just got to learn
stenography and type-writing so that when he breaks more legs he can
write to you daily. I believe he's forgotten the use of a pen except to
sign checks with. His patience is wonderful, but he calls it being a good
sportsman. I believe there is a great deal in that word.
It is queer that one can make oneself at home in such a little hole, and
find people that are quite absorbing; I mean the natives, as well as the
others. The whole place is asleep by eight or nine, unless there has been
a good catch of fish, when the little houses on the edge of the cove are
full of weary men still ripping away at the cod, that are brought in huge
piles dwindling very fast after they are spread out to dry. Daddy gets
batches of newspapers, by the uncertain mail, but finishes by nine and
requests to be permitted to snore in peace. I write hurriedly for an hour
or two, and finally succumb to the drowsiness you may find reflected in
On returning from my visit to Dick Will, Daddy looked at me enquiringly,
as I am his chief source of local news and the dear old man is becoming
nearly as absorbed in Sweetapple Cove as in Wall Street.
"The parson has gone to pay other visits," I told him, "but I couldn't
leave you any longer. He is such a nice little man. He asked if he could
read a chapter from the Bible, and Dick said he would be very glad. When
it was finished the man looked as if he were thinking very hard, and Mr.
Barnett asked if anything were puzzling him. Then Dick asked about the
ice in the Sea of Galilee, because big floes were often ankle-deep and he
had often seen men who looked as if they were walking on the water. Mr.
Barnett explained that there was no ice in that country."
"And what did Dick say?" asked Daddy.
"'Then how does they do for swiles?'" was what he asked, and when he was
informed that there were no seals in Galilee Dick expressed commiseration
for the poor people.
"They are a pretty ignorant lot," commented Dad, laughing heartily.
"Few of them have the slightest chance of obtaining any education," I
replied. "And Mr. Barnett was so nice to him, explaining things. Then he
said nothing at all about the chastening effect of suffering. That seems
to be something these people know about. The parson just said that we
were all so glad to see him getting well again. You know, Daddy, the
admonitions of some dominies sound rather like hitting a fellow when he's
down. Mr. Barnett isn't that kind."
"I expect that he belongs to a first-rate kind, my dear," said Daddy.
"There are all kinds of religions, but the only one I respect is that of
the simple, trusting soul."
"I met Mrs. Barnett and asked her to come in to supper," I informed Dad.
"We have plenty of canned chicken left and Susie's brother brought in a
lot of beautiful trout. The man thought that fifteen cents a dozen would
be about the right price, but he left it to me, and I couldn't beat him
down. When he brought them Susie disdainfully informed him that fish was
grub for poor people, and that we had lots of lovely things in cans. I
insisted on taking the trout."
"If you continue to squander money in that way I'll have to cut down your
allowance," threatened Daddy, whereupon I reminded him that he had never
made me one and that I had always sent the bills to him.
He was laughing. I think it's the nicest thing in the world for a girl to
be such pals with her father. I wouldn't give one of the nice grey hairs
on his temples for all the nobility and gentry of Europe and the
millionaires of America. Then I went to get the chess-board and the dear
man gave me all the pawns I wanted and proceeded to wipe the floor with
me, as Harry says. We played on till it began to get dark and Susie came
in with the lamp which she placed in the bracket fastened to the wall.
"Like as not it'll be rainin' soon," she announced. "The swallers is
flyin' low and the wind he've turned to sou-east, so belike it'll be
pourin' in a while. How's yer leg feelin' the night, Mister, an' is there
anythin' else I might be doin' fer yer?"
"No thank you, Susie," he replied.
"So long as parson's comin' I better make hot biscuits too. He's after
likin' them, an' I kin open one o' they little white crocks o' jam. He
holds more'n what ye'd think a wee bit man the likes o' he would manage
to, though he don't never fat up, an' it goes ter show as grub makes
brains with some folks, an' blubber in others."
I could make no answer to such highly scientific statements, and in a few
moments a knock was heard at the door, upon which our handmaiden
"Come right in," she said. "Don't take notice if yer boots is muddy fer
I'll be scrubbin' th' floor ter-morrer. Yer must have been ter the Widdy
Walters, for they is a big puddle afore her door, even this dry weather
we've had couple o' days. Come right in an' welcome fer everybody's glad
ter see yer."
Having thus amply done the honors Susie backed away and our two guests
came in. The parson actually had a dress-suit which smelt most powerfully
of camphor balls and Mrs. Barnett wore something that must have been a
dear little dress some years ago, in which she looked as sweet as sweet
can be. They were both smiling ever so brightly, and the little lump that
was rising in my throat at the sight of these pathetic clothes went back
to wherever is its proper place.
"Good evening, Mr. Jelliffe," said the parson, and repeated his greeting
to me. "It feels a little like rain. I see that you have been playing
chess. Dear me, it is such a long time since I have had a game."
I told him that this was a very imprudent remark, for which my father
would make him pay dearly. I am afraid his sense of humor is drawn down
rather fine, or lying fallow, or something. I had to explain that he
would be captured and made to play whether he wanted to or not, whereat
Susie came in again to get our little table ready, and brought up the
barrel-top which is her latest improvisation of a tray for Daddy's use. I
rose to assist in the preparatives but Susie scorned my aid.
"Ye jist set down an' enj'y yerself," she commanded me. "'T ain't every
day one has th' parson to talk ter. I kin shift ter do it all an' it's no
use havin' a dog an' doin' yer own barkin', like the sayin' is. Th'
biscuits is done brown an' th' kittle's on the bile."
She ran out again for our dishes, and Daddy turned to our two friends.
"You are looking at an abject slave and a young lady who is getting
fairly tamed, though at times she still rebels. Both of these young women
exercise authority over me all day long until the ownership of my own
soul has become a moot question. When my leg is properly spliced again I
shall take that freak Susie to New York and exhibit her as the greatest
natural curiosity I have been able to find on the island."
Mrs. Barnett laughed, ever so pleasantly, and declared that Susie was a
good girl whose intentions were of the best.
Then Daddy went on to explain to Mrs. Barnett the mystery of our presence
here. He told how our second mate had boasted of the salmon that swarmed
in Sweetapple Cove, and how in a moment of folly he had decided to
forsake the Tobique for that year and explore new ground. I was the one
who had suggested camping out, practically, if we could find a little
house, while we sent back the yacht for repairs, at St. John's. We were
expecting it soon. The accident, of course, had to be thoroughly
"It was a beautiful fish, madam, a perfect beauty," he went on. "A clean
run salmon of twenty pounds, if he was an ounce, and as strong as a
horse. I had to follow him down stream and, first thing you know, I
toppled over those confounded rocks and my leg was broken. The fish went
away, towing my best rod and reel towards the Cove."
The parson said grace and we sat down. I am happy to say that they
enjoyed Susie's culinary efforts, and we had the nicest chatty time. Just
as we finished we all stopped conversing and listened. The rain was
pelting down upon our little window panes and the wind came in heavy
gusts, while, far away, the thunder was rolling. Then, after a time, we
heard steps upon the little porch and I rose to open the door. It was Dr.
Grant, engaged in the very necessary formality of removing his dripping
"May I come in?" he asked.
"Please do so," I answered. "We didn't expect you back until to-morrow.
My father will be delighted to see you, as will your other friends."
He came in and sat down after he had greeted everybody. The poor man
looked quite worn and harassed. It was a distinct effort that he made to
speak in his usual pleasant way, and I could see that something troubled
"I think I will leave you now," he said, after a few moments. "I just
wanted to find out how Mr. Jelliffe was getting on. They are expecting me
"Oh! Do rest for a moment," I told him. "You look very tired."
He sat down again, looking at his feet.
"The wind died down and the tide was bearing us away," he explained. "We
had to take to the oars. Pulled a good fifteen miles. We were rather
hurried, for we could see this storm coming up. I'm glad we made the Cove
just in time."
We could all hear the rain spattering down violently. Flashes of
lightning were nearly continuous and the thunder claps increased in
intensity while the wind shook our little house.
"It is all white water outside now," he said, listening. "Well, I'll be
"Yer ain't a goin' ter do nothin' o' the kind," interrupted Susie, who
had just entered with another plate. "There's plenty tea left an' if
there ain't I kin make more. Ye jist bide there till I brings yer some
grub. Ye're dead weary an' needs it bad."
"Do stay," I sought to persuade him.
"Thank you, you are very kind," he said.
One could see that for the moment he didn't care whether he had anything
to eat or not, yet he managed to do fair justice to Susie's cooking.
"I am feeling a great deal better now," he soon announced. "I think I was
rather fagged out. We came back so early because I found I was no longer
needed. I am ever so much obliged to you. I'm afraid I am not very good
company to-night and I will be back early in the morning. That plaster
cast is getting a little loose. We will split it down to-morrow and have
a good look at things."
Mrs. Barnett had risen also and was looking at him. In her eyes I
detected something that was a very sweet, motherly sympathy. Her quick
intuition had shown her that something had gone entirely wrong. Her smile
was so kind and friendly that it seemed to dissolve away something hard
that had come over the surface of the man.
"Isn't there anything that we can do for you?" she asked.
"Nothing!" he exclaimed. "What can any one expect to do? What is the use
of keeping on trying when one has to be forever bucking against ignorance
and stupidity? There is nothing the matter with me. Just a dead woman and
baby, that is all. Just a poor, hard-working creature that has scarcely
known a moment of real happiness in this world. She had five little ones
already, clinging to her skirts, and a lot of stupid neighbors. I know
the kind of advice she got from those silly old women. 'No use callin' in
th' doctor. Them things comes on all right if yer has patience. They
doctors does dreadful things. I's had seven an' here I be, an' no doctor
ever nigh me.' Oh! I can hear the poor fools speaking, and naturally she
took their advice. Then, of course, when she was gasping for breath and
beginning to grow cold they sent for me, thirty miles away, and when I
landed they told me it was all over, and I found them moaning, with a
wild-eyed man huddled up in a corner hardly able to understand, and a lot
of little ones crying for food."
He stopped and wiped his brow with his handkerchief, and looked around
him, without appearing to see any of us. It was like a pent-up stream
that had burst from its dam, and the flood was not yet exhausted.
"I felt like cursing the lot of them," he continued, "and giving them the
tongue-lashing of their lives. But much good it would have done, and I
managed to hold myself back! I couldn't help telling them that they
should have sent for me three days ago, when things began to go wrong.
They know well enough how to weep over their misery, but no one can make
them use their silly heads. They keep on coming with infected gurry sores
as if arms could be saved after they've nearly rotted away, and send for
me to see the dying, as if I could raise them from their beds."
He had stopped suddenly, and looked embarrassed.
"I beg your pardon," he said. "I should not have spoken of these things.
They are all a part of the game. I daresay I ought to have gone up on the
hill, back of the cliffs, and had a good bout of bad language all to
myself, where none could hear me."
Neither the parson nor his wife appeared to be the least bit shocked at
this. They knew from long experience the things that try men's souls.
"I'm glad you've spoken," I told him. "It has relieved you, I'm sure, and
we all sympathize with you."
Long ago, Aunt Jennie, you told me that a man is nothing but a grown-up
boy. This one looked around the room. Daddy was smiling at him in his
dear friendly fashion, and the other two were kindliness itself.
"A fellow doesn't always take his medicine like a little man," he said,
apologetically, "and you're all ever so good."
Then he left, still looking just a little bit ashamed of himself, as I've
seen fellows do in a defeated crew when they have sunk down for a moment
on their sliding seats.
"I think the boy feels alone, sometimes," said Mrs. Barnett. "He has
really a great deal to contend with. But he is a splendid fellow, and I'm
sorry for him. Every one loves him in Sweetapple Cove, you know."
Presently the two left us, after I had promised to go to the little
church on the next day. Susie had come in with a lighted lantern, clad to
her feet in an ancient oilskin coat, and insisted on seeing them home.
They thanked us very charmingly and I watched their departure, the
reflections of the light playing over the deep puddles on the road.
Then I sat down by Daddy's bed, pondering.
"A penny for your thoughts, daughter," he said.
"I was thinking that men are very interesting," I told him. "Dr. Grant
always looks like such a strong man."
"And now you think you have discovered the feet of clay?"
"Well, it seemed quite strange, Daddy."
"I'll tell you one thing, girly," he said. "Never make the fatal error of
thinking any one is perfect. It is a mistake that young people are rather
apt to indulge in. There are little weak points, and sometimes big ones,
in all of us."
"I suppose so," I assented, "but these were such dreadful things he told
us about. It seems so terrible that they should happen at all. It has
made me feel unhappy. I thought that doctors got used to such things."
"There are a lot of things a fellow never gets used to, my dear,"
answered Daddy. "This one is young yet, but he will probably never get
over the sense of rebellion which comes over a man, a real man, who finds
himself butting his head against stupidity and ignorance. Don't you make
any mistake about that fellow Grant! The poorest kind of chap is the one
who is always letting things slide. This is a tough, square-jawed,
earnest chap, of the sort who put their hearts and souls into things,
right or wrong. The man who has never felt or shown weakness is a
contemptible egotist. The cocksure fools always have perfect faith in
themselves. Those two men, the big and the little one, are both pretty
fine specimens, and in their own ways they are equally strong. They're
made of the right stuff."
I don't exactly know why, but I felt greatly pleased. Daddy is a mighty
keen man of the world, and his judgment of others has been one of his
"I wish we could help too, Daddy," I told him.
"We may, if we find a way," he answered. "I'm going to investigate the
When Daddy says he is to investigate, something is going to drop, with a
dull thud. At least that's the way Harry Lawrence puts it. By the way,
Aunt Jennie, what has become of him, and why hasn't he written to me?
_From John Grant's Diary_
I slept rather late, this morning, and came out of the house feeling very
fit. Had it not been for my blistered hands nothing would have remained
to show what a hard pull we had yesterday, excepting the unpleasant
feeling that I made rather a donkey of myself last evening. My only
excuse, and a mighty poor one, is that I was rather played out and
developed a silly grouch.
I had only gone a little way when I met Mrs. Barnett. She came towards me
with her hand outstretched, smiling in her usual pleasant way.
"Right again and topside up," she exclaimed, brightly. "Sammy was just
telling me what a hard time you had to make the cove, yesterday. Those
broad shoulders of yours give you an advantage over my husband. He would
have had to go off towards North Cove. It is fine to be as strong and big
"Mrs. Barnett," I said, fervently, "you are an awful humbug."
She cocked her head a little to one side, with a pretty motion she
sometimes unconsciously affects.
"Out with it," she said. "Explain yourself so that I may repent and be
"There is nothing to be forgiven you," I declared. "I would like to place
you on a pedestal and direct the proper worshipping of you. None but the
most superior kind of a woman can take a fool chap and turn his folly
around so that he may be rather pleased with it. I expected a good
wigging from you, and deserve it."
"That sort of thing is one of the most important functions and privileges
of a woman," she answered. "Men need it all the time for the smoothing
out of their ruffled feelings."
"The men shouldn't allow them to get ruffled," I said.
"There speaks the wise man," she laughed, "nor should the sea permit
itself to get stormy. Were you not explaining to me the other day that
the wind allows the climbing up of the sap in swaying trees, and that the
stirring of the waters keeps them pure and fit to maintain the unending
life beneath them?"
"It seems to me that I did."
"Well, I suppose that a little storminess now and then serves some useful
purpose in a man, and if he only can have a woman about him, to see that
it doesn't go too far, it will do him a lot of good. You should get
"Of course I ought to," I replied, "and moreover I would give everything
in the world if only...."
I interrupted myself, considering that since Dora Maclennon and I are not
engaged, and that she merely represents to me a longing which I often
consider as a hopeless one, I have no right to discuss her, even with
this dear kind woman.
"You have already found the girl?" asked Mrs. Barnett, her eyes filled
with the interested sympathy always shown by the gentler sex in such
"I have found her," I replied, "but she is very far away from me, and it
is just a case of having to grin and bear it."
Then her blue eyes opened widely, and with an exquisitely gentle touch
she placed her hand on my arm.
"You poor dear boy!" she said, with the sweetest little inflection of
voice, that held a world of friendliness and compassion.
"I am afraid you will think I am in a perpetually disgruntled state," I
told her. "Nothing of the kind! I eat the squarest kind of square meals
every day and really enjoy the work here. If it were not a bit trying,
from time to time, it wouldn't be worth a man's while to tackle it."
"That is the way to talk," approved Mrs. Barnett.
So we shook hands again and I left her, thinking what a splendid thing it
must be for a fellow to have such a tower of gentle strength to lean
I went over to the Jelliffes' and cut down the plaster dressing. The
broken leg is doing very well, as was to be expected, and I was much
"That's doing splendidly," I told him. "A little more patience for a
couple of weeks and we'll have you walking up and down the village, a
living advertisement of my accomplishments."
"A couple of weeks!" exclaimed Mr. Jelliffe. "That sounds like three or
four. I know you fellows. No one ever managed to get anything definite
out of a doctor, with the possible exception of his bill."
I laughed, but refused to commit myself by making any hard and fast
promises, and Miss Jelliffe came in.
"Daddy enjoyed himself ever so much last evening," she said. "He likes
Mr. Barnett and grows enthusiastic when he speaks of Mrs. Barnett. I must
say that I share his views."
"They are made of the salt of the earth," I asserted.
"Yes, there can be no doubt of that," she said. "But doesn't it seem
dreadful that a gently nurtured woman should be placed in such
surroundings, with no means of obtaining anything but the barest needs of
existence? She has to stand all the worries of her own household and, in
addition, is compelled to listen to the woes of all the others."
"And any help that she can extend to them," I added, "saving that of
sympathy and kind words, is always at the cost of depriving herself and
her little ones. And yet she is doing it unceasingly, and goes about in
shocking clothes and with a smile on her face, cheerfully, as if her path
in life lay over a bed of roses."
"That's what I call a fine woman, and a good one," said Mr. Jelliffe,
"but I'm sure it is her devotion to that little man that has brought out
all her fine points. His people are her people and she has adopted his
The front door was widely opened on this pleasant day, and, as I was
finishing the dressing, Miss Jelliffe was dreamily looking out over the
cove and following the circling gulls. I think that, like myself, she
wondered at the simplicity of it all. A woman loved a man and clung to
him, and from that moment their personalities merged, and their thoughts
were shared, and a rough, rock-bound, fog-enwrapped land became, for all
its hardships, a place where a man could do great work while the woman
developed to the utmost her glorious faculties of helpfulness and tender
To me there could be no doubt that this couple had made of their union
something very noble in achievement, though they were so quiet and simple
about it all. In so many marriages the partnership is but a poor
doggerel, while in others it is a poem of entrancing beauty, filling
hearts with happiness and heads with generous thought.
"You have been staring at me for a whole minute, Doctor," said Mr.
Jelliffe, suddenly. "Anything particularly wrong or fatal in my general
"I'm sure I beg your pardon," I said, in some confusion. "You are looking
ever so well and I wish I could hurry your leg on a little faster. Nature
has ordained that bones will take just about so long to mend. And now I
am going away to play. Practice happens to be quite slack to-day and
Frenchy should be waiting outside with my rod. I am going to see whether
I cannot deceive an innocent salmon into swallowing a little bunch of
"How dare you speak of such things to an inveterate old angler, after
tying him up by one leg!" exclaimed my patient, shaking his fist at me.
"You fill my heart with envy and all manner of uncharitableness. I call
it the meanest thing I ever heard of on the part of a doctor. Here I am,
without even a new Wall Street report wherewith to possess my soul in
patience. Run away before I throw something at you, and good luck to
"I haven't dared to ask Miss Jelliffe whether she would like to cast a
fly also," I said. "I suppose she will have to stay and nurse your
"She has stuck to me like a leech since yesterday morning," complained
the old gentleman, "excepting for the short time when she went to church.
I don't seem to be able to get rid of her. Wish you would take her away
with you and get me some salmon that doesn't come in cans. She will
doubtless have plenty of rainy days during which she will be compelled to
stay indoors with me, whether I like it or not."
"I have a half a mind to take you at your word, to punish you," said Miss
"This should be a great day for a rise," I sought to tempt her.
"I suppose I can be back in time for lunch?" she asked.
"Certainly. You can come back whenever you want to," I assured her.
"Don't you really care, Daddy?" she asked her father.
"What I care for is broiled salmon, fresh caught and such as has not been
drowned in a net like a vulgar herring," answered the latter.
We were away in a few minutes, walking briskly down to the cove, where we
entered a dory which Frenchy propelled. Our craft was soon beached at the
mouth of the small river and we walked up the bank by the side of the
brawling water. When we reached the first pool we sat down on the rocks
while I moistened a long leader and opened my fly-book.
"I think we will begin with a Jock Scott," I proposed.
"No, let us try a Silver Doctor," she urged me. "It seems best adapted to
present company. It's just a fancy I have, and I'm generally lucky."
As we were speaking a silver crescent leaped from the still surface,
flashed for a second in the sunlight and came down again to disappear in
the ruffled water.
"Heem a saumon magnifique!" exclaimed Yves.
"You must try for him, Miss Jelliffe," I said. "You are to make good that
statement that you are lucky. There is a big rock under the water, just
over there where you see that dark spot. He will be likely to rest there.
It is a beautiful clean run fish. Now take my rod and cast well up stream
and draw your fly back so that it will pass over that spot."
"Oh, no, you try," she said, eagerly. "Isn't he a beauty!"
But I insisted and she took the rod, a fourteen-foot split bamboo. She
looked behind her, to see that the coast was clear. There were no bushes
for her to hook and no rise of ground to look out for.
"Steady, Miss Jelliffe," I said. "Don't get nervous. If he rises don't
try to strike. They will hook themselves as often as not. Begin by
casting away from that place until you get out enough line, then get your
fly a little beyond that spot and draw in gently."
"I've caught plenty of big trout," she said, excitedly, "but I've never
landed a salmon. I am nearly hoping that he won't take the fly. I won't
know what to do."
"There has to be a first time in everything," I told her. "Just imagine
you're after a big trout."
She appeared to become cooler and more confident, letting out a little
line, retrieving it nicely, and lengthening her cast straight across the
stream. The rod was going back expertly, just slightly over her right
shoulder, and the line whizzed overhead.
"Easy," I advised her; "it is a longer rod than you are used to."
She waited properly until the line had straightened out behind her, and
"That is plenty, now for that rock, Miss Jelliffe," I said.
There was another cast, with a slight twist of her supple waist. The fly
flew out, falling two or three yards beyond the rock and she pulled back,
gently, her lure rippling the dark surface. Then came a faint splash, a
vision of a silvery gleam upon the water, which smoothed down again while
the line came back as light as ever.
"Easy, easy, don't cast again in the same place," I advised.
She obeyed, but sore disappointment was in her eyes.
"Did I do anything wrong?" she asked, eagerly.
"Not a bit. He never touched the fly. But I always like to wait a minute
before casting again after a rise, and I think we will put on a smaller
Doctor. His attention has been awakened and he will be more likely to
I quickly changed the fly and Miss Jelliffe, with grim determination,
went to work again. Soon she brought the lure over the exact spot but met
with no response. Once more without the faintest sign of a rise. A third
time, and suddenly the reel sang out and a gleaming bolt shot out of the
"Now steady, Miss Jelliffe! Easy on his mouth. Let him run. If he
slackens reel in. That's the way! We'll have to follow him a little, but
try to keep him from going down stream too far."
Her eyes were eager and her face flushed with the excitement. The wisps
of her glorious hair were floating in the wind as she stepped along the
bank, steadily, while I stood at her side without touching her, but with
a hand ready in case of a slip or a misstep. Frenchy followed us,
carrying a big landing-net and a gaff. His face bore a wide grin and he
was jumping with excitement.
The fish turned and took a run up the pool, again shooting out of the
water in a splendid leap. Then he turned once more, giving Miss Jelliffe
a chance to reel in some line. For a short time he swam about slowly, as
if deeply considering a plan of conduct. At any rate this was followed by
furious fighting; he was up in the air again, and down to the bottom of
the pool, and dashing hither and yon, the line cleaving the water. At
times he seemed to try to shake his jaws free from the hook. Miss
Jelliffe was now pale from the excitement of it. Her teeth were close
set, excepting when she uttered sharp little exclamations of fear and
renewed hope. But always she met his every move, deftly, and was quick to
follow my words of advice. Then followed a period of sulking, when he
went down deep and refused to budge, with the tense line vibrating a
little with the push of the current. I began to meditate on the wisdom or
folly of throwing a stone in the water to make him move, but suddenly he
cut short my cogitations and shot away again, heading up-stream.
"Fight him just a bit harder, Miss Jelliffe," I advised. "Don't allow him
to get rested and try to put a little more strain on the rod; it can
stand it and I'm sure he's well hooked."
"But my arms are getting paralyzed," she complained, with a little tense
laugh. "They are beginning to feel as if they would never move again."
"I should be glad to take the rod," I said, "but afterwards you would
never forgive me. I know that you want to land that fish yourself."
Her little look of determination increased. She was flushed now. Under
the slightly increased effort she made the salmon began to yield, taking
short darts from side to side, which began to grow shorter.
"Walk down a little with him, to bring him into shallower water," I
advised, and took the gaff from Yves. Then I waded in until I was knee
deep and kept very still, but the fish took another run.
"Never mind," I cried, "keep on fighting even if your arms are ready to
drop. A steady pull on him. That's fine! Bring him again a little nearer.
That's the way! He is mighty tired now; just a bit nearer. Good enough!"
The iron of the gaff disappeared under water. Miss Jelliffe was giving
him the butt, and her lips quivered. Then I made a quick move and a
splashing mass of silver rose out of the stream with mighty struggling. I
hurried ashore with it and held it up.
The great contest was over. Miss Jelliffe put down the rod and her arms
sank down to her side, wearily, yet in another moment she knelt down upon
the mossy grass beside the beautiful salmon.
"Oh! Isn't it a beauty!" she cried. "Thank you ever so much! Wasn't it a
wonderful fight he made! I could never have managed it without your help.
You're a very good teacher, you know, and I can understand now why you
men just get crazy over salmon fishing. I'll be just as crazy as any one
from now on. How much does he weigh?"
I pulled out my spring scale and hooked up the fish. We all watched
eagerly as the pointer went down.
"Twenty-two; no, it's twenty-three and just a little bit over. I know it
is the best fish taken from Sweetapple River this year. They haven't been
running any larger," I said.
Then we all sat down again and admired the fish. Frenchy and I lighted
our pipes, and I took the little Silver Doctor from the leader. It was
just the least bit frayed but still very pretty and bright, with its
golden floss and silver tinsel, its gold pheasant tips, blue hackles and
"I will be glad if you will keep this fly," I told Miss Jelliffe. "You
must hold it as a souvenir of your first salmon."
"Thank you! I will keep it always," she answered, brightly. "It will be a
reminder of much kindness on your part, and of this beautiful day. Just
look there, above the pool, where the little spruces and firs are
reflected in the water that sings at their feet on its way down. How
still it is and peaceful. Oh! It has been a glorious day!"
I must acknowledge that she was very charming in the expression of her
enjoyment. There is nothing _blase_ about this handsome young girl. I
followed the hand she was pointing. The river above was like some shining
road with edges jewelled in green and silvery gems. High up a great
osprey was sailing in the blue, while around us the impudent Canada jays
were clamoring. From this spot one could see no houses, owing to a bend
in the river, and we were alone in a vastness of wilderness beauty, with
none but Frenchy near us, who looked like a benign good soul whose gentle
eyes shared in our appreciation.
"I think it is your turn to try the pool," Miss Jelliffe finally said.
"Not this morning," I answered. "You have no idea how the time has gone
by, and how much I have enjoyed the sport. We will leave the pool now and
go back. You know you were anxious to return in time for your father's
lunch. From now henceforth we will know this as the Lady's Pool, and I
hope to see you whip it again on many mornings, before you sail away."
"Please don't speak of sailing away just now," she said.
I took up the rod and the gaff, while Frenchy took charge of the salmon
and the landing-net, and we walked down stream, past the first little
rapids, to the place where we had left the dory.
"Won't Daddy be delighted!" exclaimed Miss Jelliffe.
"He will have good reason," I answered.
By this time we could see the cove and its rocky edges, upon which the
rickety fish-houses and flakes were insecurely perched on slender stilts.
A couple of blunt-bowed little schooners were at anchor, and some men in
boats were catching squid for bait.
"This is picturesque enough," said Miss Jelliffe, "but I miss the beauty
of all that we have just left."
"I'm sure you do," I answered, "yet this view also is worth looking at.
It is not like the peaceful slumbering villages of more prosperous lands.
It represents the struggle and striving for things that will never be
attained, the hopes of those yet young and the reminiscences of others
becoming too old to keep up the fight. In many ways it is better than a
big town, for here the people all know one another, and no one can starve
as long as his neighbor has a handful of flour. Sweetapple Cove is a fine
place, for sometimes the winds of heaven sweep away its smells of fish
and fill deep the chests of sturdy men who fight the sea and gale instead
of fighting one another, as men so often must, in the big cities, to
retain their hold upon the loaves and fishes."
"I suppose we all look for things that can never be attained," she
repeated after me, with a look of very charming, frank friendliness.
I sometimes wonder whether I wear my heart upon my sleeve for those
pleasant daws to peck at. At any rate they do it gently, and both Mrs.
Barnett and this young lady are birds of a very fine feather.
So we entered the boat and were rowed over to the landing-place, but a
few hundred yards away, where the Frenchman's little fellow was waiting,
patiently, with one arm around a woolly pup with which he seemed to be
great friends. As soon as we were ashore he left the dog and came up to
"_Bonjour_," he said. "_Je t'aime bien_."
Yves blushed and smiled, apologetically, at this very sudden declaration
of love, but the girl stooped, laughing, and kissed the little chap,
passing her hand over his yellow locks.
One is ever seeing it, this love of women for the little ones and the
weaklings. We men are proud of our strength, but may it not be on account
of some weaknesses hidden to ourselves that women so often love fellows
who hardly seem to deserve them. It is a thing to wonder at. Dora, I am
very sure, knows all the feeble traits I may possess. Will the day ever
come when these may prompt her to think it would increase her happiness
to take me under her protecting care?
"Won't you come over to the house?" Miss Jelliffe asked me.
"I am afraid that I rather need a wash," I said, "after handling your big
salmon. Frenchy will take it over to your house. I must find out whether
any one has been looking for me. In Sweetapple Cove there is no such
thing as office hours, you know. People come at any time, from ever so
many miles away, and sit down patiently to await my return."
"Well, good-by, and thank you again, ever so much. You must certainly
come to-morrow and help us dispose of that fish."
She extended her hand, in friendly fashion, and I told her I was glad she
had enjoyed herself.
"We are going out fishing again, are we not?" she asked. "I want more
lessons from you, and I should like to watch you at work."
I told her that I would be very happy, and scrambled away up the
path to Sammy's house. Then I looked back, before opening the door. I
saw her still walking, followed by Frenchy who bore the salmon in
triumph. I could see how lithe she was and how the health and strength
of out-of-doors showed in her graceful gait.
"It is not good for man to live alone," I told myself, and after Mrs.
Sammy had informed me that there were no pressing demands for my services
I had lunch, after which I went to my room to write to Dora. I am doing
the best I can not to bother the little girl, yet I'm afraid I always
turn out something like a begging letter. But she always answers in a way
that is ever so friendly and nice. In her last letter she dragged in
again the fact that we were both still young, with the quite inaccurate
corollary that we didn't know our own minds yet. I told her my mind was
made up more inexorably than the laws of the Medes and the Persians, that
it was not going to change, and that if her own mind was as yet so
immature and youthful that it was not fully grown, she ought to give me a
better chance to help in its development. I suppose that in her answer
she will ignore this and speak of something else. That is what always
makes me so mad at Dora, bless her little heart!
_From Miss Helen Jelliffe to Miss Jane Van Zandt_
_Dearest Aunt Jennie_:
I was looking at the calendar, this morning, and thought that some one
had made an extraordinary mistake, but I am now convinced that it will be
four weeks to-morrow since we first arrived in Sweetapple Cove. Your
accounts of delightful doings in Newport are most interesting, yet I am
sure that with you the time cannot possibly fly as it does here.
At present dear old Daddy is reclining in a steamer chair on the porch of
our little house, and his crutches are resting against the wall. They are
wonderful things manufactured by Frenchy, whom Dr. Grant considers as an
universal genius. When they were first brought to us I was inclined to
whimper a little, for I had a dreadful vision of them as a permanent
thing. It was a regular attack of what Daddy, in his sarcastic moments,
calls silly, female fears.
"Don't tell me he is always going to need them!" I cried to the doctor.
This man has a way of setting all doubts at rest. Just one look of his
frank clear eyes does it. I really am not surprised that these people all
just grovel before him.
"Not a bit," he answered decisively. "He doesn't really need them now,
but it will be a little safer to use them for the present. In a week or
so we will make a bonfire of them."
Daddy has been sitting as judge and jury over his poor leg. Such
measurings with steel tape and squintings along the edge of his
shin-bone, and such chapters of queries and answers! But now he is
perfectly satisfied that it is what he calls an A 1 job, and looks at his
limb with the prideful interest of a man who has acquired a rare and
precious work of art.
How can you possibly say that I must be yawning myself half to death and
longing for the fleshpots of Morristown? If I could have my own way I
would build an unpretentious cottage here, but of course I would insist
on a real bath tub. And I would come and spend the most pleasant months,
and cultivate my dear friends the populace, and those delightful Barnetts
and Frenchy's kidlet, who is a darling and my first real conquest.
The doctor and I have caught more salmon, and some sea-trout, and I have
taken lessons in knitting from some ancient dames whose fingers trembled
either from old age or the excitement of the distinction conferred upon
them. They don't despise my ignorance but are certainly surprised at it.
I am not certain that I have not prompted the arising of certain
jealousies, though I do my best to distribute myself fairly. I cannot as
yet turn a heel but I have hopes. Some day I will make Daddy wear the
things, when he puts on enormous boots and goes quail shooting, after we
go South again. I shall select some day when he has been real mean to me,
and be the blisters on his own heels!
The _Snowbird_ is now riding in the cove, having been manicured and
primped up in the dry-dock at St. John's. Daddy says that it was an
economy, for the dock laborer of that fortunate city does not yet regard
himself as an independent magnate. Our schooner and its auxiliary engine
are, of course, objects of admiration to the natives. They know a boat
when they see one. Stefansson would have a fit if he saw a rope end that
wasn't crown-spliced, or a flemish coil that was not reminiscent of the
works of old masters. The way he keeps his poor crew polishing the
brasses must make life dreary for them, yet they seem to scrub away
without repining. I have told you that Jim Brown, our second, is a native
of these parts and responsible for our coming. Now he lords it in the
village dwellings, where he is considered as a far-traveled man who can
relate marvelous tales of great adventures to breathless audiences.
Daddy, of course, directed that every one should be made welcome on
board. You should have seen these big fishermen coyly removing their
heavy boots before treading our decks--I believe that "snowy deck" is the
proper term--lest they should mar the holystoned smoothness. They have
entered with bated breath the dining and sitting room, explored the
mysteries of the galley and peeped into the staterooms.
"Jim he've written once ter the sister o' he," Captain Sammy told me one
day. "He were tellin' how them yachts wuz all fixed up an' we wuz
thinkin' as how in travelin' he'd got ter be considerable of a liar,
savin' yer presence, ma'am. But now I mistrust he didn't hardly know
enough ter tell the whole truth."
A few bystanders nodded in approval. I need hardly tell you that our
invasion is still a subject of interest in the place. From my bedroom
window, where I was trying to knit one afternoon, I heard some men who
were conversing, standing peacefully in the middle of the little road, in
spite of a pouring rain, which they mind about as much as so many ducks.
The only fat man in Sweetapple Cove was speaking.
"Over to England they is them Lards an' Jukes, what ain't allowed in them
States, but I mistrusts them Jelliffes is what takes the place o' they in
"I dunno," doubted another, "th' gentleman he be kinder civerlized fer a
juke. Them goes about wid little crowns on the head o' they, I seen a
pictur of one, onst. But Lards is all right. Pete McPhay he saw one, deer
huntin', two years ago, an' said he'd talk pleasant to anybody, like Mr.
Jelliffe. That's why I thinks he's more like a Lard nor a Juke."
This conclusion seemed to meet with general approval, and the men went
Dr. Grant came over to us fairly early this morning, and joined us on the
"Good morning," he said. "You must be glad that the term of your
imprisonment is drawing to a close, Mr. Jelliffe. You will soon be on
your way home. As a matter of fact there is nothing to prevent your
leaving in a few days. We could easily put you in your berth on board,
well braced up, and in four or five days the _Snowbird_ would be at
anchor off the New York Yacht Club float."
"I am suffering from the deteriorating influence of prolonged idleness,
Doctor," said Daddy. "I have become thoroughly lazy now, and don't care
to start until I can hop on board without assistance, and walk the deck
as much as I want. This daughter of mine has developed an uncanny
attachment to the place; she sometimes tries to look sorry for me, but
she is having the one grand time of her childhood."
I protested, naturally, but he paid no attention and went on.
"Now that I can sit on this porch I get any amount of company. I know
every one in the place and feel that I am acquiring the local accent
through my prolonged conversations with the natives. I am utterly
incapable of thinking of desirable parcels of real estate, and bonds
leave me indifferent. I reckon in codfish now, like the rest of the
population. I caught myself wondering, yesterday, how many quintals the
Flatiron Building was worth."
"I am sure you must miss your daily paper," said the doctor.
"A short time ago that was one of the flies in my ointment; but now I am
at peace. Why remind me of it?"
Daddy delights in chess with the parson and long talks with the doctor. I
can see that he has become really very fond of him. Mr. Barnett is much
more frequently with him, and they have tremendous battles during which
it looks as if the fate of empires depended on the next move, but when
the doctor comes Daddy looks ever so pleased and his voice rings out with
I announced that I was going over to old Granny Lasher, who would get me
out of trouble with that heel I was puzzling over.
"Just look at her, Doctor," said Daddy. "Did you ever see such rosy
cheeks? This has done her a lot of good; of course she has always been a
strong girl, but there is something here that has golf and motoring
beaten to a standstill. She is becoming horribly proud of getting those
salmon. I will have to take down her pride, some day, and show her what
an old fellow like me can do. I am ever so much obliged to you for taking
such good care of her."
Now you and I, Aunt Jennie, know that men are silly things at best. Of
course I am grateful to Dr. Grant for looking after me so nicely, but why
should he deserve such a lot of credit for it? Don't all the nice young
men like to look after girls? They enjoy it ever so much. But somehow
this Dr. Grant enjoys it without undue enthusiasm. I am really ever so
glad that he never looks, as so many of the others do, as if he were
pining for the moment when he can lay his heart and fishy fees, which he
never gets, at my feet. He is just a splendid fellow, Aunt Jennie, who
looks as strong and honest as the day is long. We are all very fond of
"The only thing that hurts is that I have had none of the fishing," said
Daddy. "I have made up my mind to return another year and let the Tobique
take care of itself. By the time I am well enough to fish there will not
be another salmon that will rise, this year."
"No, Mr. Jelliffe," answered the doctor. "The salmon are beginning to
cease their interest in flies, but the trout are biting well."
"I have nothing to say against trout," said Daddy, "but I feel like
crying for a salmon as a baby cries for the moon. There is not much in
life outside of salmon and Wall Street. Even when I have to go to
California I troll a little on Puget Sound, but it doesn't come up to
I left them, deeply engaged in this absorbing subject. I think I have
discovered something rather noteworthy in this salmon fishing. It is the
effect that our interest in the matter has on the population. To them a
fish means a cod; it is the only fish they know. All others are
undeserving of the name, and are compelled to appear under the guise of
their proper appellations. The taking of fish is a serious business, and
one that does not pay very handsomely, as far as these people are
concerned. Therefore they cannot understand that one may catch fish for
amusement, and so we are enwrapped in a halo of mystery. Dr. Grant has
told me that some of them have darkly wondered whether Daddy was
not investigating this island with a view to buying it for weird purposes
of his own, such as obtaining a corner on codfish and raising the price
of this commodity all over the world. Isn't it funny that even here some
notion of trusts and corners should have penetrated? Of course they would
be delighted to have the price of cod raised; it is the dream of their
But most of them have accepted us as natural, if freaky, phenomena with
which they were previously unacquainted, and which have thus far shown no
objectionable features. They have become ever so friendly, yet never
intrusive, and I like them ever so much.
That poor fellow Dick was shipped back to his miserable little island,
two weeks ago, happy in the possession of a useful right arm. It was
quite touching to hear him speak of the doctor. And speaking about Dick
reminds me of the man's wife, with those peculiar ideas of hers. You
remember about them, don't you? Would you believe, Auntie dear, that all
the other women about here are just as bad? They seem to be matchmakers
of the most virulent sort. They boldly ask me if I am going to marry the
doctor, and when, the poor silly things, and if I deny the impeachment
they bring forth little smiles of unbelief.
When I showed my last stocking to Granny Lasher she announced that it was
much too small.
"Didn't yer ever look at the big feet o' he?" she asked.
"The big feet of who?" I asked, in an elegant form of speech.
"Th' doctor," she answered.
"But these are for my father," I objected.
"Sure, I ought ter have knowed that," she replied. "Ye'll be practicin'
on he first, and when yer does real good work ye'll be knittin' 'em fer
"Mrs. Sammy knits stockings for him," I said, severely.
"Well, when he's yer man ye'll not be lettin' other wimmin folks do his
knittin' fer he," persisted the ancient dame.
I simply refuse to argue any more with them. They have that idea in their
hard old heads and it cannot be dislodged. If you and I had been
Newfoundlanders, Auntie dear, we would have married early and been
expected to knit stockings, in the intervals of work on the flakes, for
the rest of our natural lives. The maidens of this island entertain
visions of coming years devoted to the rearing of perfect herds of
children, to assorted household work, to drying fish and knitting
stockings for their lords and masters, until the end.
I even have a suspicion of Mrs. Barnett, sweet good soul though she be. I
walked up to her house yesterday, having met Dr. Grant on the way. He
left me at her door, and when I came in she looked at me, wistfully, and
I intercepted the tiniest little sigh from her.
"What is the trouble?" I asked her.
"Oh! Nothing in the world, my dear," she answered, in that sweetly toned
voice of hers. "Do you know, when you were coming up the path I though
that you and the doctor made the handsomest couple I have ever seen."