Puslapio vaizdai

and turned toward him, without, however, betraying the least alarm; her manner was a mixture of surprise and self-possession. The master-at-arms was anything but self-possessed; he was, on the contrary, very much disconcerted. Miss Inglefield, for it was she, waited for him to speak; but at length, despairing of this, she spoke herself:

«Did you wish to see any one?»

The voice was softer than any the masterat-arms had ever heard, and its tones were so kind that he took heart.

«Yes, miss," he answered; «I guess it's you I want to see.»

«Me?» she exclaimed, in evident wonder. "I'm from the Denver, miss,» he explained. The master-at-arms watched the girl keenly to see what effect this announcement would have, but if her color deepened it was too dark to notice it.

So you are from the Denver, and wish to see me, she answered. «If that is the case, I think it would be well, for many reasons, to retire to the summer-house.»>

She picked up her white skirts, and led the way down a secluded path lined with vines to a little arbor in the corner of the garden. The master-at-arms followed, not without misgivings concerning his ability to handle a mission of such delicacy as this promised. to be. The ease and dignity of her bearing, and the simplicity of her speech, completely mystified him; he had expected any reception but this. When they reached the summerhouse, she motioned him toward a wicker bench, and sat down beside him.

"I think we shall be safe from interruption here, she said, with a smile of encouragement; and then she added, «Did any one send you?»>

Although the master-at-arms thought the question a trifle strange, he could not but admit that it was pertinent.

Dennis Keegan sent me, miss,» he replied. «Dennis Keegan! And you wish to see me -are you sure? »

There was such an evident note of disappointment in this that the master-at-arms was more puzzled than ever. Was it possible that Mr. Pennington had not told her about Dennis? Dennis is the man who is actin' for Mr. Pennington, you know, miss-sorter under his orders.>>

But Miss Inglefield, greatly to his discomfiture, did not seem to grasp the situation in the least.

"Who are you?» she demanded, with a touch of impatience.

miss,» he answered, in a tone of injured dignity.

«But the orders you speak of, what are they? I do not quite understand.»>

What were the orders! There began to dawn on the master-at-arms, from various things he had noticed in Miss Inglefield's conversation and manner, a suspicion that she had had no previous intimation of the communication he was about to impart. This was a point which had not been touched upon by Mr. Keegan. He was in a quandary. To withdraw now might injure Mr. Pennington's honor, and, besides, make things exceedingly unpleasant for him, the master-at-arms. But if Mr. Keegan had by any chance made a mistake, to go on would involve Mr. Pennington in a difficulty the gravity of which the master-at-arms had not before considered. But his faith in Mr. Keegan, and the fear of his displeasure, finally predominated.

«You see, miss,» he began, «the reason I come up here, and not Dennis, was this: I happen to be acquainted with the seenora as does the cookin' for you, and Dennis he said for me to tell this here to the seenora, and the seenora-»

«Has Mr. Pennington sent a note?» Miss Inglefield broke in, in despair.

«A note!» the master-at-arms repeated deprecatingly; «he never insulted me or Dennis with a note yet, miss.»>

« Please go on, then, quickly,» she said; «I may be called at any minute.»>

«There ain't nothin' to it exceptin' this, miss, he began, in no wise to be hurried, however: «Mr. Pennington's time 's up on the ship to-day, and he has bought tickets for two» -the master-at-arms thought the inference a very happy one, and emphasized the numeral


"on the steamer what leaves to-night. Then he goes to Dennis Keegan, who's been on many a cruise with him in 's younger days, and in many a tight place, too, and he says, (Keegan, there's a young lady what lives up here on the hill behind Funchalyou'd like to take off with you this evenin', Mr. Pennington,) Dennis puts in, but there be cert'in reasons again' your goin' up and gettin' her yourself. Mr. Pennington looked sorter surprised, but, Lord! miss, he ought to know there ain't much goin' on what Dennis ain't on to. Well, sir, Dennis went on, without givin' him a show to speak, all you got to do is to leave this here business to me and Chimmy) - that's me, miss, and if that there young lady ain't ready to go with you at whatever time you say, it won't be our

"I'm the master-at-arms of the Denver, fault, sir.>>>


The master-at-arms paused, and wiped the perspiration from his face with his red handkerchief, watching Miss Inglefield anxiously the while. She had sat quietly by during this recital, but he could see that she was agitated now by her breathing, which came and went quickly, and his confidence in Mr. Keegan's judgment redoubled. Evidently, if the young lady in the case was as much in love as she appeared from these symptoms, the course he was taking was most justifiable. The masterat-arms had always deemed a little prevarication in a good cause no harm. There was, apparently, quite a mental struggle going on within Miss Inglefield. Once or twice she seemed about to speak, and then to change her mind. It was at this point that a hearty masculine voice was heard calling loudly from the garden above: « Eleanor! >>

Miss Inglefield rose.

«Coming, papa,» she answered; but to the astonishment of the master-at-arms, she did not betray the slightest alarm. She walked slowly toward the step, her head bent downward in thought; then she suddenly drew herself up to the full height of her commanding figure, and faced him.

«At what time will Mr. Pennington be here?» she demanded.

«At half-past eleven, at the back gate, miss, he answered, doubting if he heard aright.

«Tell him I shall be ready,» she said; and before he could reply she had vanished among the vines.

The master-at-arms stood looking after her for a moment, and then made his way out of the garden, keeping a bright lookout for Mr. Inglefield. He found his bulla-carta, after some trouble, in front of a stray wineshop which was built in the wall, and into which he dived precipitately in search of his Jehus. It is to be doubted if either of them understood the choice maritime invectives that he heaped upon them impartially for hiding themselves; but they motioned him into the vehicle with soothing urbanity, and started for the convent above, blissfully oblivious to the occasional mutterings from within.

Upon his arrival at the convent, the master-at-arms proceeded, by a judicious use of Mr. Keegan's funds, to make arrangements with the sled-owners, by which every sled was to be ready for descent at eleven o'clock. He impressed upon them that a large party of gentlemen of his acquaintance wished to make the descent by moonlight. One and all

promised that it should be as the senhor wished, although each had his private doubts about the moonlight. This done, the masterat-arms descended to Funchal, where he found Mr. Keegan awaiting him in the wine-shop, engaged in making life unbearable for the Portuguese occupants. On the entrance of the master-at-arms he desisted abruptly from this pastime, and drew him into a corner.

<<Well, Chimmy, is it a go?» he asked.

The master-at-arms regarded him in a way that plainly signified his approbation of such an arch diplomatist, and then launched into a glowing description of his share of the transaction, interspersed with frequent reproaches for not informing him beforehand of the true state of affairs. Mr. Keegan listened with evident satisfaction.

«She ain't goin' to take no trunks, is she?» he inquired, with some apprehension.

The master-at-arms confessed he had forgotten to caution the young lady on this point. « Women, Chimmy,» said Mr. Keegan, profoundly, «will never leave any spare riggin' behind if they ain't made to.»


YOUNG Ensign Pennington was reclining on the lounge in the smoking-room of Burroughs's Hotel, Funchal, in anything but a happy frame of mind. His traveling-case was at his feet, and his trunks were on board the steamer which was to leave for England that night. The other occupant of the room, his friend and classmate Morgan, had assumed an absurdly awkward position on the table, which he always chose in preference to a chair, and was doing most of the talking.

Perhaps nothing could better show the difference between the temperaments of Pennington and Morgan than their present attitudes. Under an apparent languor, and a seeming indifference to his own affairs and those of others, Pennington concealed qualities which made him, young as he was, one of the most efficient officers in the service. Morgan, on the other hand, had a continual craving for excitement, which betrayed itself in every action. Now he was shifting restlessly from one elbow to the other, while Pennington had not changed his position since lighting his cigar. Their characters dovetailed into each other with such nicety that few closer friendships have been formed than that which existed between them. Morgan's impetuosity was offset by Pennington's inertia, his frankness by Pennington's reserve, while

they possessed in common certain qualities, invariably found in a true seaman, which served to cement the bond. But it was Pennington who wielded the influence, and his was the only influence which had ever been known to affect Morgan. Their names had become associated at the naval academy, where Morgan had been stroke of the crew, of which Pennington had been captain, and since then they had been separated but little. It had been their singular good fortune -for the discrepancy between their standings had been great-to take the two years' cruise together as midshipmen, and as ensigns they had both been ordered to the Denver. Now, it would seem, the time had come for a long separation, and each felt as only young fellows who have spent the best part of their lives under such circumstances can feel, and found it hard to realize that it might be many years before they would meet. But gradually Morgan approached a subject which was uppermost in his mind as well as in Pennington's. It had always been said of Morgan that his friends' troubles worried him more than his own, and perhaps the chances this particular trouble offered for something hazardous especially appealed to him. At last he broke in, with characteristic abruptness:

<< Of course it is none of my business, Jack, but when I see you go off in this way without seeing Miss Inglefield, without even so much as writing her a line, in spite of the fact that five months ago you wanted to marry her, I can't help saying something, for it is n't much like you. I tell you what, Jack, you may travel some, but it will be a devilish long time before you come across another girl like her.» Morgan paused, uncertain what the effect of this speech would be; for, beyond the fact that he had asked Mr. Inglefield for his daughter, and had been refused, Pennington had told him nothing of the affair. Now he only smiled a little wearily.

It is no use, Dutchman,» he said, in the tone of affectionate forbearance that he often used with his friend; «that is all past now.» <<Thanks to your confounded, misplaced principle!» Morgan went on a trifle warmly. Renouncing her for a little thing like her father's refusal! You might have known what he would have said before you asked him; I could have told you that. If I cared as much for the girl as you do, Jack, and she cared as much for me as I know she does for you, I would take her home with me in spite of all the English in Madeira.»>

"Don't talk nonsense, Dutchman,» said Pen

nington, lighting another cigar; but Morgan noticed that his hand shook a little as he held it, and this encouraged him.

<< It is n't as if you were as I am, and only had your pay,» he remonstrated; «or it is n't as if you were only knocking the bottom out of your own life,» he continued, throwing in the arguments as they came to him. «And perhaps you do not think I know what has been the matter with you ever since we left here in the spring; but I do, and I call coming back here fate.>>

«It looks to me as if the department had had rather a large share in that,» replied Pennington, with a half-hearted attempt at humor. «But don't let us worry about it, Dutchman,» he added, very much in the way he used to quiet his friend in the old days when they were midshipmen together. It seemed to be his place to do the comforting, no matter whose the trouble. But now Morgan would not be comforted. He slid off the table, and went over to the lounge beside Pennington.

«Jack, he began, with an earnestness which surprised even Pennington, who was used to his ways, «you have a perfect right to ruin your own life if you want to, although a good many of us would hate to see you do it; still, that is your own affair; but you have n't any right to ruin her life. I've seen more of women than you have, and there are some who get over things of that sort. She never will.>>

Pennington was silent. A party was coming down the veranda singing the refrain of a hearty English melody. They seated themselves immediately in front of the windows of the smoking-room and proceeded to light their pipes.

«She used to be such a jolly girl,» said one, in answer to some inaudible remark, «<but she never goes anywhere now.»

Pennington and Morgan listened aimlessly, without well knowing why. Morgan chafed at the interruption, coming as it did at such a serious turn in their conversation, and it seemed to banish his last hope of influencing his friend. The lights in the smokingroom were low, and the broad, checkered shoulders of the speaker, whose back was turned, were pushed into the window, his elbows resting on the sill. His Oxford cap was tilted jauntily on one side of his head, and a pipe, as if to complete the poise, protruded from the other. The subject thus brought up seemed an interesting one to the whole party, for those who were still humming the air stopped to join in the talk. It was evident that some person was being discussed.

«Had she been with us to-night we should n't have had such a beastly slow time,» said another.

To this there was a unanimous assent. «I wonder what is the reason of it all?» he continued.

<<They say it is some chap in the American navy,» volunteered another, «who was here last spring->>

But Pennington did not wait to hear any more. He had risen, and his grasp on Morgan's arm was like that of a vise.

"Let's get out of this, Dutchman,» he said, and his teeth were tightly shut together. Morgan followed him out of the room. Pennington stalked through the corridors at a pace he found it difficult to keep up with, and through the office, where Mr. Burroughs, the proprietor, was reading the London news of the week before. He glanced at the two with the air of a man who has long since ceased trying to account for American idiosyncrasies, and then resumed his paper. At the hotel entrance Pennington brought up against a man who was coming in out of the darkness; the force of the impact, and the heavy blow of the traveling-case against the knees, would have been sufficient to stun an ordinary mortal.

But Mr. Keegan was not an ordinary mortal. He waived Pennington's apologies, saluted him, and then thrust his hands into his pockets with his customary nonchalance. Both Pennington and Morgan stood regarding him in no little surprise, and waited for him to speak. Mr. Keegan rolled his tobacco from one cheek to the other, and surveyed them with deliberation.

«You 're the very gentleman I'm lookin' for, Mr. Pennington,» he said at length; «<but I were n't expectin' to run again' you so soon.» This was literal, if nothing else.

<< Neither was I, Keegan, to tell the truth,» replied Pennington, smiling in spite of himself as he picked up the traveling-case. «I was sorry you were not on board when I left the ship," he added, « for I wanted to see you before I went.>>

Mr. Keegan evidently thought this speech perfunctory, for he paid no attention to it.

<< I come up here to remind you of somethin' you must have forgot, sir. Have you got all your stuff aboard, Mr. Pennington?» he asked. Pennington was puzzled. Mr. Keegan did not look as if he had been drinking; but then Pennington remembered that Mr. Keegan's appearance was never materially altered under such circumstances. He had seen him in a state of inebriation more than once.

"I do not remember to have forgotten anything, Keegan,» he answered. «I sent all my baggage out this afternoon.>>

«How about your tickets, sir? »

Pennington would have resented this catechism from any other petty officer, but from Mr. Keegan somehow it did not seem an impertinence. He had always been interested in his welfare.

«The agent was to have my ticket for me at ten, Keegan,» said Pennington. «Why?» «Nothin', sir,» said Mr. Keegan, with admirable unconcern, «except the master-at-arms and me knows of a certain lady as would like to go with you, sir, if you cared about takin' her.»

Pennington looked bewildered; but Morgan, who had been listening with increasing astonishment, realized the purport of this intelligence at once. He grasped Mr. Keegan's hand excitedly.

«Tell her Mr. Pennington will take her, Keegan; of course he will.»>

«Shut up, Morgan!» said Pennington, beginning to pace the floor, while Mr. Keegan spat demurely into a convenient flower-vase, and waited. Finally Pennington faced him abruptly.

"Who told you this, Keegan?»
«The lady herself told->>

« What lady?»

«Miss Inglefield,» said Mr. Keegan, in no wise abashed.

« Well? »

«The lady herself told the master-at-arms, sir. He went up to the viller this evenin' to see the seenora what does the cookin' there, and came acrost the young lady herself as she was takin' the air in the garden.»

Pennington resumed his pacing. There must be some mistake-certainly she could not have suggested such a thing. Such is the weight of prejudice, and such is the ironbound custom which, even in this nineteenth century of enlightenment, prevents a woman from speaking her mind, that Mr. Keegan's statement was divested of all probable truth by the idea that the proposition had come from Miss Inglefield. Pennington could not believe it.

« What did Miss Inglefield say to the master-at-arms, Keegan?» he asked at last.

«She said as all you had to do was to come up there to the back gate at half-past eleven, sir, and she 'd be ready,» Mr. Keegan replied, without hesitation.

By this time Morgan's patience was exhausted.

«Don't be a fool, Jack,» he said. «Can't

you see you've got all you can do now to get up there by half-past eleven? The girl has twice as much sand as you have.»

"If you don't start now, sir,» put in Mr. Keegan, «there ain't no use goin' at all.»

«Keegan,» said Pennington,—and the coolness of his speech and the command of his voice struck both the others as he spoke,-«I have known you for nearly nine years now, and you are one of the best friends I have ever had. You have pulled me out of two or three tight places when I was younger, which I am not likely to forget. In those nine years you have never deceived me, and I do not think you capable of it; but from what I know of Miss Inglefield I think it more than probable that the master-at-arms has misunderstood her. I want to thank you for this, just the same.» Then, turning to Morgan, he continued, «Can't you see, Dutchman, even if there is not a mistake, how impossible it would be to do what Keegan proposes to-night? Of course I shall wait for the next steamer now. But there are certain things to be thought of-all very necessary in their way, and very hard to get in two hours and a half.»

«Mr. Pennington,» said Mr. Keegan, gravely, if Chimmy has made a mistake on this, then I'm willin' to enlist in the marine corps to-morrow. This was more emphatic than any oath Mr. Keegan could think of. Then he concluded, with a finality which set further demur at naught: «There won't be no trouble about a sky-pilot; there's one on the ship ye 're goin' on as says he will fix things up, and keep quiet till he does. And about details, there ain't one you can mention what ain't fixed, sir.»

Whereupon Morgan picked up the traveling-case, and went out, followed by Mr. Keegan and Pennington, the latter in a state of mind difficult to describe, and one not at all within the comprehension of either Morgan or Mr. Keegan. Mr. Keegan had brought up three horses, one of which he mounted himself, while Morgan mounted another, and Pehnington mechanically got on the third. They started off at as quick a pace as the law would permit, the runners keeping silently along by their sides. Burroughs's Hotel was situated on an eminence to the west of the town, while the Inglefield villa lay on the slopes to the northward. The road led for some distance along the high cliffs which skirt the harbor, where the anchor lights of the vessels twinkled and danced. Pennington could distinguish the Denver by her white sides and her uncompromising, bulky form, revealed by the electric lights of the big

black steamer hardly a stone's throw away from her. But his thoughts were not on the Denver; he was looking at the smoke already pouring out of the pipes of the steamer; it was time-hardly two hours. And, perhaps, then-«What nonsense!» he exclaimed to himself, half aloud. It could not be possible that this girl, who had refused him with such firmness only five months ago, would even consent to such a madcap undertaking as this, much less propose one. Still Mr. Keegan seemed, as usual, to be sure of himself, and to know what he was doing. That worthy headed the column, whistling softly a rather dubious air he had picked up in a Bowery theater the year before. Mr. Keegan's horsemanship was none of the best; when the pace quickened to a trot he managed to keep on, however, and comforted himself with the reflection that it was too dark for the Dago heelers to criticize. By the time they reached the town its narrow streets were almost deserted, and the wine-shops were beginning to close. Mr. Keegan reined in his horse, and waited for the others to come up.

«That there ticket agent has got to be held, Mr. Morgan,» he said.

Morgan was wise enough to see the force of this, and also that they stood a better chance of success if Mr. Keegan went up with Pennington. Although it was a bitter disappointment to him not to take a more material part in the attempt than «holding» the agent, he acquiesced at once, and had ridden off before Pennington could expostulate.

«Now, sir,» remarked Mr. Keegan, «<we ain't got no time to burn gettin' up that hill.>>

They clattered over the stones in defiance of municipal law, and were soon on the ascent. Except for an occasional lamp at the entrance to a villa, it was so dark that they could scarcely make out the high walls on each side of them. Once or twice Pennington had almost decided to go back, but Mr. Keegan pushed ahead with such diligence, as if there could be no possible doubt of the outcome, that Pennington kept on after him. As they passed under one of the dim lights in the wall a sled shot by, in which Pennington made out, smoking with great complacency, two of the Denver's liberty party.

«You have managed this well, Keegan,» said Pennington, as he pulled up beside him.

«Chimmy is doin' that, sir,» Mr. Keegan replied modestly; «he is up there gettin' 'em started.» And then he added, with a touch of satisfaction, «Unless the old one has a rollercoaster, he ain't got much show this evenin'.»>

Pennington was not in a position to express

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