Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

ALL winter Jack and I were scheme for lighting Skeletta rather at cross-purposes-not, with acetylene, or installing a of course, that Jack knew it! hot-water system! No knight With complete unconsciousness of chivalry could have been of any lack of enthusiastic more tediously one-ideaed about response from me, he cheer- his Lady Fair than the White fully passed most evenings and Knight about his Lady Skeletta! every Sunday talking about I suppose it never occurred to and making plans for Skeletta's either of them that their hearers reappearance in the summer. could possibly be any loss enIn return, I read aloud notices thusiastic! Yet I never had from the papers of glorious quite the heart or was it

foreign tours (prices generally merely nerve 1-to say plainly unspecified) and advertisements and succinctly: "Oh, take of seemingly ideal cottages in the nasty boat away ; I don't the country, and met with want any boat to-day-or any much the same response—un. other day.” And the unconinterested “ahs” and “m'ms." scious one went on making Jack is used to my doing a plans for her and me—but algood deal of talking without ways combined ! any fixed intent to it, and when In the pent-up bitterness of uninterested withdraws his seri- my heart I said something of ous attention ; but I dare not what I felt one evening when do this with his prattlings, how the Don was dining with us ever monotonously maritime, and the inevitable subject came Sometime I may make an as- up. Pained and surprised, he senting grunt too many, and said find myself committed to a But, my dear lady, are


[ocr errors]



you seriously wishing me to when, on their return, papa believe that you do not care presented her with something for sailing ?" And the ques. new to cook in or to sew with ! tion cleared my own mind on All that happened was that the subject, for with almost I gave up drawing Jack's attenequally pained surprise I an- tion to the Shipping or Estate swered

notices, but pored over them “Of course not-I love sailalone, as over a secret sorrow. ing."

It was no doubt a far, far “ Then " the puzzled frown better thing I was going to do

8 deepening.

-but then I had done it “But I hate cooking; I before ! loathe washing-up, and the The virtue was rewarded, A A foc's'le gives me curvature of “bull,” a “bear,” or perhaps the spine.”

a "stag” did something unThe Don was sympathetic foreseen but pleasing in the and relieved ; but with a glance Stock Exchange Circus. ;

In at Jack, who was busy making fiction it is as easy to make ornamental ends to new man- one's hero millionaire as ropes, he murmured

anything less, but in real life “It is as well, perhaps, that one is exceedingly pleased with Jack does not always listen to £100, or, to continue zoologihalf you say.”

cally, even a "pony"!

“pony"!' And But in this instance he had it was something between the listened more than we thought, one and the other that Jack for Skeletta vanished from his triumphantly acquired. My talk for some time after this, rapture was modified ; for I and I, partly from perversity, knew that no alternative perhaps, but chiefly from a method of spending it would guilty conscience, began to miss occur to Jack but to lay it her.

at the feet, so to speak, of This could not go on long; Skeletta, and some more comneither puzzlement nor pique plicated labour-saving horror could keep Jack off his pet would be given to me, and we subject, but now it took the would cruise for an extra fortform of endless splendid ideas night. to save me work in the foc's'le ! I was wrong. The money was It was very sweet of him, of laid at my feet. Of course course, but I began to feel Skeletta was involved in it, and like the super - domesticated by that much I was right, but mother of the Swiss Family for once she was a secondary Robinson : when all the rest consideration. The money started out for glorious en- would be spent in Skeletta, but counters with interesting ani- for me, for—we should have a mals and educative plants, she crew!

Like every

granted remained behind as a matter human wish, I began at once of course, and was duly elated to see the disadvantages ! A

[ocr errors]

crew would occupy the loathed pings he ended by remarking, foc's'le instead of me—but it “I have always thought it would also occupy the foo's'le would be a mistake to marry a berths instead of our friends ! clever woman ; and when

“If one could only contrive Jack laughingly added, “And to get a collapsible crew," I since living on

" I since living on Skeletta you sighed. Words of ill omen! know it !” I was left wonderThey came back to us ofttimes ing whether the balance were to mock us !

a credit or debit one for me ! Most yachts fit out in May, The particular object of the and their crews are engaged to Dhuiné Wassail's admiration at put through that lengthy job. the moment was unknown to This was another bright pros- me by name ; but from his pect for me, though a gloomy description I gathered that, one for Jack, who hated to like Weir of Hermiston, he think of mere hirelings enjoy- found her “somehow suitable,” ing all the glorious rummag- and chiefly from her having ings and pulley-haulings that what they both mistakenly fitting out entails ! As we thought an ornament to woman could not get away till July, a weak head ! not even I could see any sense

For that or other reasons, in paying a crew to loaf at our the good D.W. was preparing expense for two months.

to be co-guest with this meritPlenty of good men who orious damsel at as many counwill be glad enough of the job try houses as he could manage when we start, was Jack's to get invited to, and Skeletta verdict. I believed him.

would know him no more. “Poor Isobel; poor simple But the Don was delighted Isobel !”

to come, and more of my way We found we could not get of thinking about the prothe D.W. to come with us, as fessional crew than of Jack's. he had “a previous engage- The poor man was always so ment,” which, being inter- anxious to help with the preted, meant he hoped to chores,” and so unfailingly have one to announce !

useless at them that he worried I am afraid the D.W. con- himself without helping any siders me lacking in “soul" one else, but now he and I and womanly sweetness, could just talk

without our chiefly, I think, from my want Skipper's justified strictures on of appreciation of matters Kel- our laziness. The Don saidtic. Also I occasionally argue “You and I, madame, will in defence of my own opinion supply the Celtic element in instead of humbly adopting happy contrast to our English his, and he is of those who host. think a really nice woman is I disclaimed the slightest necessarily rather a fool. At Celtic tendency, thinking of the one of our last verbal scrap- D.W. and his unappreciated

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

Gaelic, but the Don went showed him his latest device on

for washing potatoes with the “Perhaps I should have said least amount of labour; who Latin to explain myself, but I could have resisted an invitawas thinking of Kipling's lines- tation

tation to como too ? Our

guest was not an exuberant · And while the Celt is talking from talker, but at the end of an

Valencia to Kirkwall, The English-ah, the English 1-don't hour or so he managed to get way anything at all !! »

in a word.

My dear fellow, your picIn accordance with the maxim ture of an ideal summer has been that we needs must love the most adequately expressed ; highest when we know it, Jack there is, as far as I can see, has a conviction that every only one drawback, and that one must enjoy yachting when is this climate. I am like the they try it—the difficulty is to Frenchman who visited one of get the right people to want to our triste London Exhibitions, try it!

To explain all the and asked, 'Je viens d'arriver. joys of it to a man who finishes Où est la sortie ?' I am just with saying, “But what do you home, and I am going off do all day?" must be as trying again as soon as may be ; to Jack's ardent soul as atheism nothing north of the Mediterto a religious proselytiser ! ranean is any good to me.

With those difficulties, why But if you really want some not go alone, one might say~ one who is keen on being unand it would probably be a comfortable~I mean keen on motorist who said so. The any sporting offer,—what about larger the car, the oftener one my boy? He's only eighteen, sees it mostly empty, although but what he lacks in age he it takes less love for one's makes up in adaptability - a fellow-creature to suffer it to quality I have not enough of sit beside one than to live with for your purposes. Anyhow, it, night and day, in close if you get no one else ” (he proximity ! The sailing fra- seemed to take a low view of ternity is rather more hos- the probable popularity of our pitable, or more fanatical, but invitation !), “and care to risk for whichever reason it seemed it, you can let me know”; and to us unthinkable to have an he left it at that. empty berth on Skeletta.

The more I thought of it, At last we thought the Lord the more the idea smiled to me. had provided a ram, in the Jack has a barely repressed form of an old friend of Jack's, passion for teaching, which does home from India. We had him not get an encouraging outlet to dine-showed him photo- in the Stock Exchange, and graphs, covered the table with my early enthusiasm for being charts, gave him a glowing taught is fading away. So it account of our last cruise-Miss seemed to me a boy from colKeatley and all-and Jack even lege would be not only keen

« AnteriorContinuar »