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and strong physically, but very summer's practice, and a long biddable, and would gratefully winter's theories, I felt quite absorb all the information that capable of seeing the ship put always oozes, and sometimes in commission. gushes, out of Jack. Again I Skeletta was in the water all say, "Poor simple Isobel !” right, with her main features But I did not say it then ; I apparently in place ; but when went on encouraging Jack to I saw how much had been left ask the youth-and he began in the store, I could not but to feel a sort of missionary zeal fear that there were too many about him.

wheels over, as in amateur "Like all these young idiots, clock-mending. Jack, I was I suppose he would spend the sure, would find lists of vital summer dashing about the coun- things undone. I had a little try on a motor-bike, or en- list of the more probable ones dangering the moors to decent which certainly would be men; much better for him to missed, and counted on this learn a bit about a boatm to in vest me with importance though, of course, he can't in the eyes of the crew. While learn much in a month, though I was stumbling about the he'll think he knows every- yard with the Boss, Skeletta's thing."

dinghy came ashore, and I Jack proved rather nearer found myself gazing at that the mark than I, which seems wonderful, longed-for, expenstrange, but after all he must sive luxury, the crew ! The once have been a boy of eigh- Boss said they were the crew. teen himself, and remembered I could not have guessed it. it subconsciously.

In the innocence of my inex

perience I had pictured them The youth came to see us as smart naval-looking beings, -came, and conquered me at garbed in blue uniforms with least. Jack was a shade less brass buttons, or at least enthusiastic, as he found the jaunty-looking jerseys bearing boy's only experience with boats Skeletta's name proudly on their was with motors and motors chests. to a sailing enthusiast are as “ Duncan Donaldson, the worms to the dry-fly man! Skipper," said the BossBut the youth seemed a good " and Peter M'Caskin, the youth, and Jack began to look Mate." upon him as a brand worth The former, being a permasaving from the burning, the nent Highlander as well as a which he would think a suit- temporary skipper, and so on able end for the Devotees of a footing of solemn equality, the Internal Combustion God. shook hands with me, but

Jack could not get away till Peter, being but a local proJuly, so I went to Skeletta's duction, merely grinned like an seaside cupboard by myself in embarrassed sheep instead, In the middle of June. After one neither was there any sign or

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promise of yachting attire quite right," as though speaknothing could have been less ing to a delirious child. like a "snapshot from Cowes " Peter evidently considered or“ the Clyde yachting season " that they also serve who only pictures in the illustrated stand and grin, and between weeklies. Donaldson was ar- them my small stock of conrayed in a collarless flannel fidence in my nautical knowshirt of indeterminate hue, for- ledge died away. During the tunately partially covered by winter I had become quito a waistcoat with a dubious glib about garboards and strinpast, and his head-gear was a ger, and hanging knees, and depressed remnant of a “peaked suchlike; but now I began cap.”

Jack had warned me to doubt if such things were that I would know the Skipper really more probable than they from his inferior satellite by sounded ! A little more grinthis precious possession - a ning and soothing, and I fell “peaked cap”—or, in ordi- back on the Sweet Woman's nary parlance, a yachting-cap, way of describing rather than the more menial second hand cataloguing, and even reef-or the third, fourth, fifth, points were in danger of beor sixth hands, being only coming "those funny little bits adorned with round caps, no of string on the sail.” more glorious than an ordinary After my arrival the clothes sailor's !

question became less acute. No such insignia of servi- Skeletta's own name and desigtude graced the touzled head nation burned in red letters on of Peter MacCaskin—but a her servitor's chest, and the loathsome creation in checks, Skipper wore a collar, and a which made me think of the waistcoat gorgeous with those bowsprit which got mixed longed-for brass buttons with the rudder sometimes, as happier waistcoat than the last, he wore it with the peak down I hope, for it had no apparent the neck ! On his body he history. wore a yacht-hand's jersey right Jack, the Don, and the enough, but the yacht's name Youth were all to arrive towas not Skeletta, nor was it gether, and I had lengthy worn in front, but behind ! instructions beforehand from I gathered that this was from Jack to ensure everything bethe last boat he served, and if ing ready to start at once. he were not exactly off with I humbly put them before the old love before being on Tuncan,” so my recital had with the new, he had at least an obligato of turned his back on her !

chust so's." I started off on my list of We had all our provisions, questions, to each of which I knew, as I had personally Duncan answered with soothing unpacked mighty boxes from gentleness

the stores, strewing the sur“Yess, yess; that will pe rounding sea with straw, paper,


“Yess, yess,

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and empty boxes in a manner it would be quite a good subworthy of the average tripper jeot for forcible cacophonous picnicking in a private park! writing! When I could bear The sea does not really like it conjecture no more, I asked him either, I believe, but the tidy- quietly and sympathetically, ing tides are more patient and “What are you reading, Jack!”

? efficient than any keeper or The absorbed attention hardly gardener.

relaxed enough to answer; then Jack had done some of the he said grocery - ordering himself this "Notes on Bilge Disinfecyear on the principle that it tion.'" is better to go bankrupt for a I was cast down, but should sheep than a lamb, and having not have been surprised. If got the sheep disguised as a he had been reading Browning, crew, we might as well have his final comment might still what lamb we wanted to eat, have been “Bilge !” or, as he summarised it, “even To go back to the thought a s'nice s'mince-pie.” The only before last, Jack's groceries converse Jack ever seems to re- sisted of all the nicest things member arises ghost-like from we know of, in tins or jarsthe pantomine “hits” of sev. beginning with Caviare, and eral years before. I once, for going on with many more I one breathless moment, thought had never heard of, such as he was reading Browning, for Euchred figs; but no doubt he was poring over a little blue Jack would know all about book exactly the same as the them, I thought. one I was reading, “The Ring The crew and I were comand the Book.' I sat very missioned to get to Lamlash, quiet, so as not to interrupt and the others would join us him, though I longed to know there, as it is a good startingwhich of Browning's poems had place for going round the Mull 80 unexpectedly absorbed him, of Kintyre, which we intended

. Perhaps he was even thinking to do, instead of going through of my patient anxious efforts the paint - rubbing, temperto profit by all his expositions straining canal. of sea-learning as he read

To me this seemed a high

adventure ! Just myself and • Teach me, only teach Love, as I

a crew! Pretending it was all ought, I will speak thy speech, Love, think

an everyday matter is not thy thought "

merely protective colouring :

it adds to the inside joy in the -thoughts of grommets and unusual. If one let it come gaskets, and bights and hitches, to the surface it might ooze I suppose ! I tried to remem- through and evaporate ! ber if Browning had written It was a glorious day, with anything about boats, but could a nice amateur breeze, and only remember" A Last Ride" everything went so beautifully -no First Sail Together, though I could not help wondering

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what would be found to be too-near steamer's waves, and wrong! I do not mean I I had to clutch the boom in feared the jealous gods—a half my arms to keep my balance, day's sail is within the per- and she and I together must mitted dole of human happi. have looked like an absurd ness !—but I did fear the White mechanical toy! I am really Knight's first inspection of us! sorry for Skeletta when she The boat seemed to me to have suffers the indignity of being the usual number of sails and rolled. In herself she is so ropes ; but I had learned by dignified, and her movements now enough to know that when sailing so graceful in merely looking all right was a the roughest sea, that it is an small matter, and somehow insult and a libel on her when the new Skipper's inevitable her anchored peace is rudely “Yess, yess," had ceased to

had ceased to disturbed. Incidentally my reassure me. Then even if our own native dignity and grace zeal could no respite know and suffered a little too ! I am conscious of having taken Our dinghy, with both men, several respites from Skeletta), had gone to fetch the Owner could a White Knight's tender and his guests, and returned care cease towards—his pre- less saucily than she went, cious yacht?

for her ten feet of length is At Lamlash we

we anchored taxed rather heavily with five quite close to the pier, which grown men in her. We had Tuncan assured me was the not noticed that last year right place, though to me both when we paddled our Own the bottom and the incoming canoe, but a crew, though a steamers seemed too close. fine thing to have, is inconWhen the steamer with our veniently corporeal. The Don people on board arrived, they said something about her being passed within speaking dis- rather low in the water. tance, and I tried to believe ' Not a bit of it,” Jack at that some of the open ecstasy once asserted. She can stand of Jack's expression was meant lots more than this-see how for me! I leant negligently much freeboard she still has !” against the boom, and waved And he put his hand over to to them, and tried not to look demonstrate, and the water as conscious as I was of all rushed up his sleeve like an the interested passengers, while inverted waterfall. remembering very clearly what Yes ; I do see,” said the a charming picture Skeletta Don quite gravely, not dryly, makes as one approaches her except in the literal sense. like that. How all the people Jack leaped up. our flight on board must be admiring of two steps to the deck, and her and envying me! One with a perfunctory marital sort second more and they probably of kiss, said, “How are you ! did neither, for Skeletta sud- Glad to see you,” and so on; denly rolled violently to the and then in a tone of real

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6 All

interest, and almost forceful out this year, whatefer; yess, inquiry, “But, my dear girl, yess, that is how it iss." what on earth have you done Jack was not soothed by to her bowsprit ? "

this account of fair exchange, It would have been mis- but more afraid of being accused placed frivolity to have an- of robbery. swered, "I haven't touched Nice thing for us if we met the beastly thing.” Besides, I the man the beastly spar does was puzzled. What could be belong to, and we can't exwrong with her bowsprit 9 A plain, and he will suppose we

? fellow feminine feeling with helped ourselves to it. Damn!” Skeletta made me wonder -if This rather clouded the happy she had forgotten to rub the home-coming, but supper was powder off her nose. We went just ready, and was calculated to the bows, and gazed at the to soothe the savage breast. feature under discussion. It The final touch was to be still seemed all right to me, Euchred

Euchred figs. When this and I rather foolishly said so. novelty appeared in a dish, right ?"

exclaimed I asked Jack if he knew about Skeletta's Owner scornfully. them, and he said no, not

Oh, it's all right, all right; exactly, but they looked all only it's not her's.'

right in their glass, and The Skipper was summoned how about some of that Devonfrom aft, where he was being shire cream with them while peculiarly assiduous in his it's still fresh ?" supervision of Peter's efforts “A most succulent suggeswith the luggage. To get any tion," the Don said, and the information out of Tuncan be Youth opened it with such a yond “Yess, chust 80," it zest of acquiescence that it required the laborious methods spurted over everything else of the animal, vegetable, or as well. mineral game.

But at last Jack was the first to begin, we got the facts or as many as I was busy serving, and the as Tuncan considered good for Don is always behind anyhow ils. Another yacht, whose skip

--at the moment he was fishper was a friend of his, had ing under the table for his broken her bowsprit when rac- elusive table - napkin. The ing, and as we were not using Don's knees seem either more ours “chust at the time," sloping or more slippery than Skeletta's bowsprit was now other people's. . adorning the unlucky yacht- Well, Jack," I asked, and Where on earth did this what's the verdict ?” come from?" growled the out- "Oh, quite interesting," he raged Owner.

answered without enthusiasm. “I do not chust rightly Just as I was getting a nice know the name, but they were layer of cream over mine the saying she would not be fitting Don leaped to his feet, looked VOL. OOXVI.-NO. MCCCV.

A 2

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