I.

ONE day there sailed into St. Gilbert’s harbor, which opens to the north, the schooner Only Son. She was of two hundred and thirty tons burthen and was painted green with a white stripe. The paint was much scratched and rust stained. A battered yawl in the same colors towed in her wake. The occasion of her arrival at St. Gilbert’s was the hard usage she had met with in a gale off the Manitous, the day before. A heavy sea had come aboard, stove her bulwarks, carried away the flying jib-boom, and burst the mainsail.

St. Gilbert’s is a high northern island to the left of the beaten track of vessels from the east to the ports of Lake Michigan, and not far from the strait of Death’s Door. Some time ago a propeller of that well-known line, the National Union Transportation Company, was in the habit of touching there once a week, and doubtless continues to do so. Other arrivals were rare. The advent of the schooner drew to Pardee’s dock what few spectators the port could furnish in the absence of almost its entire population at the fishing grounds. They regarded her, shading their eyes from the sun, as the occupants of a farm-house come to the door to observe the passage of an unwonted traveler along their lonesome by-road. The settlement at the port consisted of a cluster of cabins upon a hillside and about a dock, upon which was a warehouse and store, and of fish-houses upon a smaller dock. The houses were of logs and bark, and had rude stone chimneys. Piles of cord-wood, railroad ties, and telegraph poles, an industry of the inhabitants in winter, were prominent in the foreground. Rows of fish barrels ready for shipment, and salt barrels, lately set ashore from the Pride of the West, were ranged along the edge of the dock. Dock, warehouse, cabins, cord-wood, and the bowlders cropping here and there out of the dry grass, in which were columbines and blue-bells, were of a silvery grayness imparted by long bleaching of the elements. Above all this, but connected with it by irregular foot-paths, was a large white house with a veranda, the residence of Pardee, the owner of the store and warehouse, and principal proprietor of the island. Pardee was an affable man of thirty, who had been a jolly bachelor up to the recent date when he had married a pretty young lady eight or ten years his junior, who was now temporarily with him on the island, and had become sedate. He lived at St. Gilbert’s only during the height of the fishing season in the summer, the rest of the year having large business elsewhere. When he was away the house was occupied by his book-keeper and general manager, a middle-aged, faithful man, Mr. Copp.

The Only Son made as if she would come up to Pardee’s dock, but apparently changed her intention, possibly through fear of incommoding some other anticipated arrivals, and cast anchor at a little distance. The battered yawl was drawn alongside and a thickset man with coarse, faded beard on the lower part of his face and his upper lip shaved clean, a complexion like leather, and a velvet vest with yellow spots, came ashore. He gave an account of himself and his misadventures, secured a roll of sail cloth and other materials, went back, and he and his crew were seen to be occupied the rest of the day in repairing damages. It appeared that he was Mr. Mosely, the mate, temporarily in command, owing to an illness of the captain, that the schooner’s cargo was coal, from Buffalo for the Benedicts of Bluffburg, and that she was as good a sea-boat as ever was, and, apart from the mishaps obvious to the eye, had weathered the storm as dry as an old shoe.

Towards the cool of the afternoon an oldish man with a limp and a basket and a jug, and a portion of the rim of his straw hat missing, came up from the interior of the island for supplies. Something familiar in the appearance of the schooner seemed to engage his attention, but the unfamiliar name caused him to abate it. He went into the store, and secured there, with his week’s provision of cheese, molasses, and rye flour, what information was to be had about her. When he came out he sat upon a salt barrel and looked again. A light of satisfied recognition this time spread itself over his weather-beaten countenance.

“ I belief me I did know pooty well dot shooner,” said he, soliloquizing. He looked about for somebody to whom to impart his conclusion. The schoolmaster of St. Gilbert’s island was standing near by with a spy-glass. He was a brown, stalwart young man, hardly less rugged in appearance than the ordinary run of the fishermen, but better dressed, to the extent to which a suit of cheap ready-made clothing is better than an unrelieved flannel shirt — which he wore also — and pants tucked into the boots.

“ Dot was der same old son of a guns,” said the man on the barrel; “dot Lizzie und Lowesa, so help my gracious. She can’t fools Moritz Abendschein, I bet you.”

He got up and went and joined the schoolmaster, as two other spectators, who had come down the path from the white house above, emerged through the warehouse upon the dock. They were two young women in fresh, pretty summer toilettes, mainly white but with a faint bloom of pink and blue about them. It was Mrs. Pardee and her visitor, for the island was further favored just at present with a visitor. She had been gallantly escorted down the gang plank of the Pride of the West, three days before, by the purser, carrying her two shawls in a strap and her canvas satchel embroidered with designs of her own making, and had been welcomed with benignant politeness by Pardee, and with effusion by his wife. They had been schoolmates at an Eastern institute of high repute for its attention to the true, the good, and the beautiful, — the moral as well as the mental, — and for the stylish effect of its undergraduates’ garments.

Bertha, for such, it appeared, was her name, had come from Bluffburg, a long distance to the south, in response to an invitation, in which it was said that the island was an unheard-of place to think of making a visit to, yet it was most eligibly situated for long, old-fashioned talks, and when they tired of it, the writer said, they could go back to the mainland and finish their visit together there. The old-fashioned talks were commenced immediately upon the visitor’s arrival. They had not met since the Wedding, and you may well imagine that things of moment had transpired since then.

Their arms were about each other’s waists as they stood upon the dock. The visitor called Mrs. Pardee Emma, and pulled and pushed her a little with a levity which seemed quite astonishing to the schoolmaster, he having looked upon the married lady, wife of the principal proprietor, as a dignified personage, to be thought of gravely, and even with awe. He had not seen the visitor before at close quarters. The proximity caused him trepidation and an unusual consciousness of the inelegance of his own appearance. As Abendschein talked loudly and made gestures, the ladies glanced towards them. The schoolmaster’s diffidence was not sufficient to debar him from giving the ladies a piece of news which he thought might be for their information and entertainment, He stepped forward in answer to their glance of inquiry, touched his hat rather awkwardly, and said, —

“ Abendschein says it is the Lizzie and Louisa, the boat that ran down the Allandale years ago.”

“ Oh ! oh ! ” said Bertha.

“The Allandale ? ” said Emma reflectively. “ It seems as if I ” —

“ Why of course you do, Emma. The Hallets’ father was lost on her, you know, — May’s and Mattie’s. How does the man know ? ” she said to the schoolmaster.

“ He used to be a bridge tender down at Bluffburg, and has passed her through his bridge a great many times. He says if he had not opened his bridge in a hurry for her, after the inquest, when a mob wanted to burn and scuttle her, she would not have been floating out here so quietly,” replied the schoolmaster respectfully.

He looked at His interlocutor’s face as he talked. He thought he had never seen anything so pleasing. Her eyes were blue. She had a round chin and a piquant nose. When she talked, her short upper lip made a display of several pretty white teeth, which had a slight opening between the front two. Her hair hung in a twist behind, tied with a ribbon; in front it strayed over her forehead in the becoming style for which it is a pity that the feminine sex has been unable to invent anything better than the barbarous epithet of “ bangs.”

Women were very much out of the schoolmaster’s line; he had always had more engrossing matters to attend to. He had hardly seen any others but the cooks of vessels and the unkempt islanders’ wives, and scarcely knew whether all were as hard-favored as these or not. In the presence of this one he felt inclined to rub his eyes, as if he had been long asleep.

Bertha had not before seen the schoolmaster either, except at a distance. She had observed him passing among the gray cabins, now with a gun or an oar upon his shoulder, now with books, covered in calico, returning from school. Her friends had told her banteringly that he was the only semblance of a subject upon the island for a flirtation. “ But I am in despair,” she had said in the same spirit; “ he never comes near me.” She thought now that he talked very well. He was self-possessed too. His diffidence did not seem to be bashfulness so much as an over-punctilious respect.

“ Why, of course, the Allandale,” said Emma, “ what was I thinking of! It was a perfectly awful shipwreck! ”

“ Owful, miss, dot was it so,” said Abendschein, taking part. “More als drei hundert peeples was gone dead by dot shooner. Never did I seen myself such a times in dot Bluffburg aus. Of Moritz Abendschein he don’t open dose schwing-bridge so quick like never was, you don’t see dot Lizzie und Lowesa by Gilbert’s harbor once now already.”

“ But they did not destroy her, it seems,” said Bertha. “ Where has she been, all this time ? That was nearly fifteen years ago. And — oh, are you sure there is not some mistake ? This is the Only Son, you see, not the Lizzie and Louisa.”

As if in answer to these aspirations for accurate knowledge, Mr. Mosely was seen coming ashore after more supplies.

“ I shall ask him,” said the young lady.

“ Bertha, don’t; I would n’t,” said Emma, deprecatingly.

But the sprightly young lady went on to accost the man with a little bravado, of which she immediately repented until she was reassured by his good humor.

“ We were admiring your schooner,” said she insinuatingly.

“ She ain’t much of a beauty,” said the mate, “ still she’s a good ’un. Her lines is good. She needs overhaulin’ and paintin’. I don’t believe she’s had it for a matter of ten year.”

“ Have you been connected with her ail that time ? ”

“ Oh, no. I only come on a couple of seasons ago, since she was owned by the Trowbridges of Buffalo.”

“ We were thinking that this might be the — Lizzie and Louisa,” said Bertha bravely, “ the one that sank the Allandale, you know.”

“ Some on you knowed her, did they?” said Mr. Mosely, glancing keenly around.

Mr. Abendschein stated with a chuckling air that he should have known her among a thousand.

“ Oh, it was you as knowed her, was it, old party ? Vell, I guess it was better you look a little out mit meinself.” He mimicked the broken English rudely, in a manner that showed that the facility of memory of the other gave him anything but unalloyed satisfaction.

“ Now I ’ll show you,” he continued, “ that you would n’t know her out of twenty, no, not out of nothing. She’s been made over. She got them masts in Cork. There ain’t scarcely anything you see there that ever belonged to the Lizzie and Louisa but the bottom.”

Inasmuch as, however changed, the vessel was recognized, it was strange that the mate, even in his irritation, should have been inclined to go into argument about the matter. His irascibility seemed to extend only to the meddlesome Abendschein, however. To the ladies he comported himself with the traditional maritime gallantry.

“ You were not on board of the schooner, then, at the time of the — a — the accident ? ” said Emma, gathering courage to take part in the examination.

“ No, miss, but I learned all about it pretty much the same. I helped take charge of some of the bodies as was washed ashore. The Lizzie and Louisa, she was n’t to blame, the way I look at it. They cussed her up hill and down dale, of course; but people always do that when they ’re mad, the same as children kick a bit of pavement, or anything that way, they think has tripped ’em up. The schooner was on her course where she had a right to be, accordin’ to law. A steamer can shift when a sailin’ vessel can’t.”

“ Where were her lights ? ” inquired the schoolmaster.

“ On the pawl bit, so I’ve heerd say.

She had a lantern there with a green slide for the starboard tack and a red ’un for port.”

“ Do you carry your lights the same way now ? ”

“ Well, no, we don’t; we has ’em in the rigging. But it was n’t no question of lights nor anything else the night the Allandale was struck, except bull-headed carelessness. Everybody on the steamer was dancin’ and carryin' on down in the cabin — it was a excursion boat, you remember, miss — and not payin’ no attention to anything. When the schooner found the Allandale was n’t goin’ to give way, it was too late for her to ; she had to strike. She knocked a hole in the Allandale as big as a house. The bowsprit went clean through and raked the cabin, as it heaved about. Some was crushed agin the floor and ceiling and never even had no chance to go overboard. The water come in and put out the fires, and the steamer sunk inside of ten minutes. It was pitch dark and a heavy sea running. A thunder-storm come on in the middle of it, and the lightning showed the lake covered with hundreds of drowning people and bits of wreck.”

“ And the Lizzie and Louisa went on and never saved one of them,” said Bertha.

“ That’s what she did, miss, and that’s what made folks mad. But she could n’t ’a’ done no different to what she did. The bowsprit and bobstays and whole head-gear was gone out of her, and her masts was a-topplin’. She could n’t stay there in the trough of the sea to wait for nobody.”

“ How do you come to have the name of Only Son, instead of Lizzie and Louisa ? ”

“ There was a schooner of that name lost in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. I mind the time myself very well; so we got that name. It was done by act of Congress or act of Parliament, or some such way. You see, the schooner lit out for foreign parts after the trouble. This is only her second season back, and this here is the first trip she’s made to Bluffburg since.”

A comment of the aged Abendschein to the effect that he had supposed so, and that he certainly had not seen her during the ten succeeding years he was swinging his bridge at Bluffburg, again made him the object of the skipper’s attention.

“ You’ve got a excellent memory, old skeesix,” said he with severe sarcasm. “ You want to be particular careful of your health. You ought to be a-countin’ fraxshinil currency in some hightoned savin’s bank, with two-story glass winders, you had.”

“ Do you ever have any ghosts aboard ? ” inquired the schoolmaster, by way of diversion.

“ Nary ghost,” replied Mr. Mosely. With this the conference ended.

“ Oh, what is a pawl bit, where he said the light was ? ” said Bertha, turning back to the schoolmaster as they were about to go away. Her manner to him, as to the mate of the schooner, was deferential, yet slightly free, as to persons of a relation to herself from whom there was no fear of misconstruction and freedoms in return.

“ That square projection on the forecastle,” said he, pointing it out. “It is used in working the windlass. It is no place for a light. They are always put in the rigging, as far as I have seen. Besides the lights, in foggy weather, a horn is blown, one blast when the vessel is on the starboard tack, two on the port tack, and three when she is running free, to show where she is.”

“ Then you should think the Lizzie and Louisa was to blame ? ”

“ I do not say so. I do not pretend to know about the details. There was an investigation, but of course in such a case the only witnesses are the members of the two crews, and they are prejudiced in opposite directions. At any rate, no proceedings were taken against her.”

“But of course there ought not to have been, unless it were certain that she was to blame. That would have been highly unjust.”

“ Yes, by our laws, and now; but then there used to be different conceptions of justice. It used to be the custom, for instance, to confiscate anything that had been the occasion of death, whether it was to blame or not. It was called deodand, and supposed to be forfeited to God, and the king took it and devoted it to charitable uses. The destruction of human life was considered such an absolute and inexcusable wrong that vengeance had to be wreaked even upon the inanimate matter that was the agent of it. If the thing was in motion they took the whole; if not in motion they only took the part immediately to blame. Thus, if a man fell off the wheel of a wagon standing still, and was killed, the wheel alone was a deodand, and not the wagon.”

“ It reminds one of what the man said about the children beating the pavement for tripping them up. So by this old custom,” she continued meditatively, “ that dreadful ship, out there, would be confiscated to God, — what do you call it ? — a deo— ”

“ Deodand,” said he.

“ It makes me shiver to look at it. Just see how stolid and unfeeling it seems, after all that suffering. I would not sail in it for anything ; would you ? ”

“ Oh, yes. I am not very superstitious. She has gone along fifteen years all right, and most likely will continue to. There is no legal way now of collecting deodands.”

“Yes, but for that very reason perhaps they might be collected in more — by head-quarters.”

“ Is n’t that a little sacrilegious ? ” said the schoolmaster, smiling.

“ Well, yes,” admitted Bertha. “ I am afraid it is. I am sorry I said it.”

“ Oh, I did not mean to take the liberty to correct you,” he hastened to add.

He looked into her eyes again. He thought a kind and honest heart shone forth from them. She began to be sensible that he was a person to put upon a rather different footing from Mr. Mosely.

“ We should be glad to see you at the house, if you would come,” said Mrs. Pardee graciously as they moved away. If it amused Bertha to talk to odd persons, it would do no harm to let her have what very slight diversions the island afforded.

“ How much he knows,” said Bertha, as they remounted the path. “ Tell me about him. What did you say his name was ? ”

“ Halvorsen. He is more of a sailor than a schoolmaster. He is quite a remarkable character, my husband says.”

“Yes? how?”

“ Well, it seems to me he has educated himself sailing around the world, or some such way. He never had anybody to look after him, and never went to school. I believe he studies law nights, and has an idea of being a lawyer. He sails on the lakes usually, to get the money. I don’t know exactly how it is he happens to be teaching school here; I think he was disappointed about some vessel he expected to get the command of.”

“ He behaves very well for anybody with such a bringing up, but he is not good-looking. Where is he from ? ”

“ He was born in some English port; his father was Norwegian and his mother English, but he never scarcely saw them.”

“ I think he deserves a great deal of credit, don’t you ? ” said Bertha.

Before morning the schooner weighed anchor and pursued her course to Bluffburg. The skipper was apprehensive, from his experience at the island, of unpleasant consequences at the port from which she had so long been absent and in which she had once been the object of such bitter animosity. But whether recognized by other eyes or not, the only active interest manifested in the ex-Lizzie and Louisa was from a very obscure source.

This was a man known along the docks and at the police court, where he made a frequent appearance, as Hungry Hagan. He followed her stealthily as she moved to her moorings at Benedict’s dock, and hung over a bridge in the vicinity, regarding her with imbecile malignity and muttering. His abode was with other vagrants upon a strip of beach which had once been the site of a fishing village. The sand had been carted away by graders till the quarter was in danger of being engulfed by the lake at every gale. The constructions of the great city behind and around it pressed close upon it, and a railroad company stood ready to make solid ground of the spot for its repair shops whenever it could get a franchise. Tramps and disreputable characters had crept into the abandoned huts of the fishermen. Clad in rags of the yellowish hue which is the last stage of old clothing, they sunned themselves upon the beach, caught driftwood for their fires, and begged or stole their subsistence according to circumstances.

There was a tradition, hard to credit, that Hagan, previous to the loss of the Allandale, had been a decent, honest man. His wife and children were said to have gone down in her, and then he took to drink and abandoned courses. His besotted faculties appeared to retain their cunning for a single object at least; he recognized the craft that had been the author of his calamities. As she lay in the sluggish, yellow current, with chips floating by, as often up stream as down, and urchins playing about her in the neighboring wood-yard, it was hard to connect her with the wild sweep of angry waters and the despairing struggles of hundreds of human lives in peril. But if Hungry Hagan meditated the schooner a mischief, it was not carried into effect upon this occasion. Before night he was run into the station as a drunk and disorderly, and the next day went to the house of correction for thirty days.

“ This thing of loafing around the docks and picking and stealing from vessels has got to be stopped, Hagan,” said the judge.

“ Yes, your honor,” said Hungry Hagan.

II.

There was little in the way of regular entertainment on St. Gilbert’s island; but the ladies made great progress with their conversations, and Bertha with an afghan she was knitting, which alone, she said, was worth the price of admission. In the mornings it pleased her to follow Emma about the house, in a large gingham apron with the sleeves rolled up over her round white arms, and engage in some of the lighter domestic duties. In the afternoon they dressed themselves in toilettes which seemed to the audience about them of incomparable fashion and elegance, a judgment at which they might have laughed in secret like the sacred augurs of the classics, befooling the populace from their towers, since there was hardly a costume of all that they consented to display to the benighted intelligence of the island which was not a couple of seasons old at the least.

They took short walks; there was a rustic seat near a sun-dial, up the hillside, to which they resorted ; one day they went with Mr. Pardee to a small, green, almost perfectly circular lake in the interior. At another time they glided down in company to pay the host a visit in his store. He received them with formal courtesy, and placed a well whittled arm-chair and a high stool at their disposition. The taciturn and steady-going Copp looked over his spectacles at them. The store was cool and obscure. The door at the farther end was a bright strip of light from the sun dancing in a zig-zag upon the water off the dock. There were scythes and hoehandles between the rafters, and pails, hams, and boots depending from them. There were garden seeds and kegs of nails, coarse dry-goods and clothing, perfumery, stationery, hard-tack, powder and shot, jars of citron and candy in sticks ; up - stairs a sail loft, cordage and tackle, — in short, all that the miscellaneous needs of the island could demand from its only source of supply. The trade was largely in barter, the merchant taking products for shipment, and making payment in goods.

Bertha wished to be weighed. She turned the scale at one hundred and twenty-five pounds. She was displeased; she did not wish to be more than one hundred and twenty.

She went behind the counter and pretended to be a salesman. While she was there a customer came in for brown sugar. They let her get it. She expended an elaboration with her pretty hands upon the preparation of it in the coarse paper and the profuse tying of it with strings, that must if it were general, at the present rates of labor, add largely to the cost of the commodity.

“ It is as good as white, miss,” said the man gallantly when he had received it.

“ There, you see there are people who appreciate me,” said Bertha, returning to her friends.

The schoolmaster was in a remote corner of the store, overhauling some fishing gear, and saw this. It filled him with a vague, pleasant sentiment.

Still he did not take advantage of Mrs. Pardee’s invitation and appear at the house. “ We were altogether too supercilious, I think,” said Bertha in commenting upon it. “ You did not even introduce him to me. He is very intelligent, and probably independent, you know.”

“ Supposing we should go and see his school,” she added one day later on.

“ If we do, it will have to be very soon ; it closes at the end of June, and we are within a day or two of it.”

“ Well, this afternoon, then.”

The school-house was a log structure in the edge of the woods. There were morning-glories and lilac bushes about it, squirrels and blue-birds plainly in sight, and indications of gophers in the vicinity. Inside, a dilapidated blackboard, a chair and desk for the teacher, and two long benches occupied by a score or so of pupils, for the most part towheaded and barefooted, constituted the furnishing. At one side, in contrast to the surrounding rudeness, were shelves containing a considerable collection of books, and upon the top a bust and a German student lamp. The sailor schoolmaster was a little flustered ; he would rather have been discovered engaged in his other, bolder, and more impressive profession. He dismissed the school earlier than usual, either on this account or because the next day was Saturday and the beginning of the vacation, and it was hard to keep its attention. Before the scholars went, however, the ladies were permitted to hear something of their accomplishments in the least common multiple and pronominal adjectives, and exchanged complimentary remarks upon the faces that pleased them. Among the girls were Dagmars, Amalias, and even Brunhildas; the boys were Lars, Olaf, Gudrun, and Nefiolf. “ They are for the most part Northmen of some sort, like myself,” explained the master, “ Danes, Norwegians, and even Icelanders, though the latter are few now, most of them having moved away from the island.”

A boy in a suit of baggy blue cotton, with an entirely serious countenance, held up his hand. His name was Lars Byosling. “ Please say something to make us laugh,” said he, preferring his request to Bertha.

“ Why, how dreadfully embarrassing,” said she, turning back in whimsical consternation.

“ There, Byosling, that will do,” said the schoolmaster severely. “ We have few visitors,” he explained to the ladies, “ and most of them are of au elderly sort. They are in the habit of talking to the school, and you were probably expected to do something of the sort also. The boy meant to indicate the line they would doubtless like to have you follow.”

Mrs. Emma, as a person of gravity and settled position in the world, thought it better not to infringe upon this established usage, and made an effort at remarks on her own account.

“ You must all be very good, during the vacation,” said she, “ and — mind your mothers, and — try not to forget what you have learnt, and if you will come up to my house — to Mr. Pardee’s house, you know — to-morrow at three o’clock, there will be some little presents for you.”

With this the session was concluded, and the pupils disappeared out at the door through which the blue sky and the green leaves and the squirrels and jay-birds had been looking in at them, — the boys to whoop and toss one another’s hats over the schoolhouse, the girls to pursue their way demurely, engaged in the consideration of things which they had promised upon their word and honor not to tell one another, and had told and thereby occasioned bickerings and refusals to speak.

“ Are you going out to the fishing grounds to-morrow; I believe you usually go Saturdays ? ” asked Emma by way of conversation.

“ No, I think not. I have been helping Olafson lately, but his pound net is broken, and nothing much can be done till it is fixed.”

“ How is Olafson doing now ? ” she continued.

Meanwhile Bertha strolled daintily about with a prospecting air. She approached the books. “ Oh, perhaps you have something nice to read : Seaman’s Friend, Peters, Kent, Benedict’s Admiralty Practice, Lowndes on Collision, — all laws, — Blackstone ; here is Blackstone. I have heard so much about Blackstone. Is it interesting ? What hard workmen have to go through in their occupations,” she rattled on, partly to herself and partly to Halvorsen, when he joined her. " Do you really mean to practice law, or is it only for your own amusement ? Where shall you settle ? ”

“ I had not got as far as that yet, — somewhere where there is a good deal of shipping. Marine law is what I have especially in view. I have an idea that the practical experience I have had with navigation and my acquaintance on the lakes would give me an advantage.”

“ I should think so too. There is a good deal of shipping at Bluffburg — where I live; I think that is a pretty nice place; but of course there is more at Chicago. There must be so much hardship in sailing the lakes. You will be very glad to get through with it, of course.”

“ Well, yes,” he assented rather nonchalantly.

“Mrs. Pardee says you have sailed upon the — ocean to China and everywhere. Perhaps then you do not mind the lakes. They must be ever so much easier.”

“ Why ? ”

“ Oh, if a storm comes up you are always near the land.”

He looked at her with an amused expression. “ If you were a sailor,” he said, “ I should not have to explain that there is nothing a sailor likes so much in a storm as plenty of sea-room, and nothing he dreads so much as a lee shore. Here there is nothing else but lee shores.”

“ Oh,” said Bertha.

“ The lakes are much the worse to navigate. There are more catastrophes too, in proportion. Take up a paper any morning after a little blow and you never fail to find a list of wrecks along the coast, and any quantity of canvas gone, — bark Speedwell ashore off Forty Mile Point, Northern Light in the Grass Island Cut, schooner Tidal Wave wrecked against the Grand Haven pier, schooner Forest Belle, main sail and mizzen gaff topsail blown out of her, scow Pottawotamie, flying jib, and so on, — and then the collisions, and the ice in the season of it, and the smaller size of the vessels, and the difficulty with the crews.”

“ But you have never been wrecked ? ”

“ Yes, once. It was in a steam-barge off Point Betsey. We had a couple of other barges in tow ; their cables parted and one of them was lost, the other drifted ashore. We took to a fifteenfoot boat, were forty-eight hours drifting about without anything to eat, and finally made this island quite by chance. In fact, that is what first brought me here.”

“ And you have never since left it?”

“ Oh, yes, indeed, immediately. It is a quiet place to study and economize in, so I came back to it afterwards, but I should not be here this summer except that I have been delayed about a new bark I expected to take command of. It is not finished. I have never sailed a bark as commander, and having been promised it, I do not care to take up with anything less.”

He smiled as if he thought she would think this arrogant. She smiled at him pleasantly, too. “ I should think you would be afraid,” she said.

“ When you have to do with salt water you must expect to swallow a little,” said he.

That evening he accepted an invitation to call, which was this time much less condescendingly made. The ladies sat upon the veranda after an early tea. They remarked a notable change in his appearance ; he was much better dressed. Instead of his flannel shirt he wore a white one with a collar. It seemed of excessive whiteness in contrast with his bronzed complexion. Regarding him closer in this more civilized costume, you would say that he was not bad-looking by any means. He had a well-shaped head and a good, athletic figure. One feature which you would notice at once was his fine teeth. They did not recall pearls and the other conventional similes so much as a toothbrush and the idea of scrupulous personal neatness. He sat upon the upper step and twirled his straw hat in his hands; the ladies were engaged with fancy work. Mr. Pardee sat for a time smoking, and talked to Halvorsen, with an appearance of much confidence in his judgment, about various matters of business, and then went away.

Bertha was inclined to question the caller further about his adventurous career. He said after a while, with not at all a bad grace, that he was sure he was occupying a very disproportionate share in the talk ; that it would be fair and save his sense of modesty now to hear something of her adventures.

“ Mine ? ” said she, with a rising inflection. “ I never had any. I have led the most humdrum existence. But then I am not sorry. I do not like serious and tragic things, except to hear about. I only like things to happen to me that are just like everybody else and — silly. It shows you do not amount to anything when you feel that way, of course, but how can you help it ? Well, then, let us talk about the island. I dote on islands ; you are so contented with yourself. You can tell what they are bounded on the north and south by, and everything. It is a very different thing from being set down in one corner of a great continent. And besides, they make you think of Robinson Crusoe, and where the mango apple grows and cocoanuts for nothing, —don’t you know ? ”

So they talked about the island. He catalogued what was of note in it: the pictured rocks, the fossils, the mound of bones marked with a cross, supposed to be the remains of an Indian war party that perished in the strait. Sometimes she stopped her needles in a tangled X, and again at some interesting passage bent forward towards him, holding them back against her pretty corsage. Emma also took part, and later her husband rejoined them.

A man came out from the cabins below, washed his face in a pail of water, and sat down to strum upon a guitar. “ Why, it is French he is singing,” said Bertha, as the refrain came up to them :

“ Tant que j’entendrai chanter les oiseaux,
Tant que j’entendrai couler les ruisseaux,
Moi, je chanterai.”

“ Yes,” said Halvorsen, “we have an extremely polyglot population. He is a Canadian.”

“ I meant to ask you the other day when you spoke of it, — were they real Icelanders who used to be here ? ”

“ Oh, yes, the original article.”

“ Why have they left ? ”

“ It was too cold for them on St. Gilbert’s, and they complained of the hardship of felling timber and clearing the land. They were not used to it. At home they live chiefly by fishing. It happened during the few seasons they were here that the fishing partly failed. Most of them became discouraged and gradually straggled away to the mainland. Contrary to what one would think, they were polite, peaceable, rather small of stature, and effeminate.”

“ Real Icelanders, and too cold for them ! what erroneous impressions one gets. I have only the idea of romances, that they are great, sturdy men capable of enduring anything. Have you read Thiodolf, and Aslauga’s Knight ? They are such charming stories, and the language is so sweet and simple. There is always a gigantic hero who sails down from the North to seek his fortune, and marries Isolde in a fair castle on the coast of France, or goes and takes service under the Greeks at Constantinople and falls in love with a Byzantine princess. It seems like ice and fire mingling together.”

“Yes, I have read the Northern stories,” said Holvorsen; “ they are very beautiful.”

“ The fighting and killing does not shock you, as in some other books ; but I wonder why there is so much of it. The writers make fine characters and seem capable of appreciating and praising other things.”

“ I suppose a good deal of it is symbolical. It means to glorify men who are unsparing of themselves and unswerving in their purpose in overcoming difficulties of any sort. Perhaps that is one reason why we like it.”

Thus they talked. Every detail of the dock and the gray houses down below and the pine trees upon the lonesome shores was mirrored in the deep, clear water. As the twilight lengthened into night the sail of a belated fishingboat was seen gliding into its haven like a wandering ghost. After the company had dispersed, a light twinkled through the trees from the school-house, where the ambitious young man kept his books and his late vigils, not to disturb the humble people with whom he lodged.

A face came between him and his page. He was feeling for the first time the charm there is in that product of civilization, a well brought up, beautiful girl, with all her seductive, if conventional, graces about her. Its potency was increased by the lack of a basis for comparison, not only on the island but in his whole life. It took hold upon him like a spell of witchcraft. He had had no social experience, but he discerned true refinement by an instinct. He recognized that it was nobility and kindly sympathy in her that made this friendly treatment of himself by the daughter of elegant surroundings and leisurely circumstances possible. In early youth he had been led by the claptrap of some writings of a cheap order to believe that virtue resided alone in the honest poor, and to hold himself hostile to their assumed superiors. This was nearly his first opportunity to set himself right. He liked these conversations. Nothing new was developed ; perhaps neither said what he had not heard elsewhere ; but the subjects interested him, and the tone of light generalization. He felt with Mill, though he had not read him, that mental calibre is to be gauged by the proportion of generalities to personalities in the talk. Rather than much that passed for conversation in his experience, he would have preferred to range the woods or sail his boat indefinitely in silence. Still, with such fine accounting to himself for liking the discourse, it is not certain that he would not already have discovered a superior wisdom in anything that might fall from Bertha’s lips.

Having got on so well at his first visit he renewed it, and presently saw the young lady in some way every day. He was welcome enough on his own account, because he interested her; but, perhaps a little uncertain of this, he often made pretexts of bringing small articles for inspection,—fossils, arrowheads, or unusual plants. He brought young Byosling to the veranda one evening to dance a hornpipe. He explained to Bertha, in answer to her questions, marine matters, — which is the port side and which the starboard; how a vessel can sail within a few degrees of the very quarter from which the wind comes; how sailing on a wind is more advantageous than off it, through the greater pressure upon the canvas; why a ship, like a fish, ought to be largest forward of the centre, and many other points of equal concern.

On mornings when Emma was busy, Bertha had the habit of going to her shady seat on the hill-side near the sundial. From here some small blue islands, the Strawberries, were dotted on the horizon. In the vicinity was an apple-orchard, at present too roughly used by the climate to bear anything but gnarled, useless fruit, but which the proprietor, by Halvorsen’s advice, contemplated improving with hardy Siberian grafts. It was used for the time as a pasture. The young girl delighted to tantalize or reward with handfuls of grass the shy calves and colts who came towards her at the fence. These quiet hours alone, with the wind blowing softly upon the cheek, slight tinklings, whisperings, and the notes of katydids and grasshoppers in the air, the heated atmosphere, rising with a visible tremor in the sunshine, are filled with a languorous sentiment of pensiveness and longing. To be so alone is to be face to face with the infinite.

Once, looking up from her book at a strange snuffing sound near by, Bertha found a drove of clean little pigs approached close to her. She gave a little shoo! and a shake of a corner of her apron, and they lowered then' heads and plunged hilariously down the slope, like the scriptural swine who cast themselves into the sea.

Mr. Halvorsen was coming over the hill from above. He had a stone hatchet which had been that morning unearthed by a farmer of the interior. He displayed it. Their talk turned upon such subjects, and touched upon the pictured rocks of the south coast. She thought that he might make a considerable reputation by drawing the inscriptions or figures and sending them to some learned society, if it was true, as he said, that nobody of knowledge had seen them.

“ I have thought of that,” said he, “ but they are difficult to get at, and I have neglected it; it is only to be done by boat in pleasant weather. I am afraid I hardly have interest enough in such matters when I see how they engross other people. I have a kind of feeling as if devoting so much time to the past were dodging the present.”

They planned then an expedition to see these rocks and at the same time the interior of the island, which would be done by crossing to Larson’s place on the south shore, and taking boat from there. This was proposed to the others below and agreed to.

The intimacy must now have borne quite the aspect of a flirtation; but nobody was concerned about it. Emma believed the schoolmaster amused her guest a little more than the boy who danced the horn-pipe in his bare feet, and the Canadian with his guitar, but in the same way; he was a curiosity of the island. If Emma had understood her intimate friend to the extent she prided herself upon, possibly affairs on St. Gilbert’s island and elsewhere would have gone differently. Bertha was of a generous disposition and especially susceptible to be impressed by ambition and force. Her father, as she had often heard him tell, had conquered his own success from small beginnings, and she was as proud of him for it as he was of himself. She had been reared with every comfort and luxury, and lived in the midst of a sentiment which believed that one person was better than another on account of them ; but she knew in her inmost heart that there are things which are better.

Bertha would have considered the idea that she could fall in love with the sailor-schoolmaster absurd. If Halvorsen had known that he was to fall in love with her he would have held back and gone sturdily about his business. He knew so little about it that he did not know what falling in love implies. He did not know what it would do to him. Every softer sentiment of this kind had been kept in abeyance by his active life and his ambitious aspirations. Before the expedition to the pictured rocks took place, a large accession was made to the party to share in it. The Pride of the West landed one afternoon Mrs. Jackson Miller, and her daughter Miss Florence Miller, and Mr. Bryant, a college under-graduate who was an admirer of the latter, — all fashionable people on their way to Mackinaw, and relatives of the Pardees. They would stay till the next boat.

Mr. Halvorsen was not pleased at the irruption. It would naturally put an end to the intimacy that had been so pleasant. Still he was not a man to make much of his discontents. There was a good deal of time of late which he might have used to better advantage. He arose at daylight and went off rather doggedly in his fishing boat.

The result was not what he anticipated. He found himself in demand by the new arrivals as a guide, philosopher, and friend to the island. The undergraduate treated so good a shot and sailor with distinguished consideration. He wore his best coat therefore more than ever, and was up at the house almost every evening. Things were much livelier than they had been. There was whist, dancing, and sometimes, in calm evenings, rowing on the harbor. The under-graduate, not at all strenuous to keep to himself the peculiar advantages furnished at his institution of learning, trolled choruses on the subject of, —

“ The bull-dog on the bank,
The bull-frog in the pool ;
The bull-dog to the bull-frog said,
You blanked old water-fool! ”

and the ladies sometimes sang the preposterous words also in their delicate soprano voices.

As to dancing, Mr. Halvorsen considered it a light accomplishment, as it is, but he had not spent all these years among jolly Jack tars for nothing. It was one of the best auguries of his success that he was so quick an observer and adapter of what was good. It was thus in respect of manners. The demeanor of these well-bred people, which he had not before had so good an opportunity for observing, pleased him. The graceful bowing of the young man, the forms of address and request, the apologies for passing in front of one another, all this courteous consideration extended by habit, which one does not learn with the best heart in the world in the harsh life he had led, seemed to ennoble the details of life and fill it with new possibilities.

The only conveyance to Larson’s place, over the grass-grown, rarely used road through the woods, was a wagon drawn by a horse even less used than the road. Had he not been old the harnessing of him might have been a work of danger as well as difficulty, since each repetition of the process seemed to impress him as an entire novelty. Young Mr. Bryant bethought him to style him Bucephalus, and then by gradations Hydrocephalus. Standing up in the front of the wagon as driver he pretended to have difficulty in restraining his impetuous career, and allowed himself to fall back towards the ladies, who repulsed him with laughing shrieks.

Saplings of birch, hazel, poplar, and oak, with light foliage, skirted the road, but within the forest could be seen dark mysterious vistas full of tangled débris never touched by the hand of man. Long trunks, fallen in the fullness of time, stretched back in grave-like mounds into the obscurity. The hollow clinking of moving cow-bells was heard sometimes near, sometimes at a distance, as though sedate spirits might be walking in the wood and signaling one another. They came upon a small white church embowered in leaves by the road-side, far from any house. They canvassed one another’s knowledge of the difference between wheat and rye growing in the sparse fields of the settlers as they passed them. Then they came to the cabin, upon a knoll, beneath an oak-tree, of Abendschein, who had retired there from his bridge-tending of yore, at Bluffburg, to support the scanty wants of his declining years as a maker of wooden shoes. When Bertha asked him if he would sell her a small pair as a curiosity, he said that he would, and declared them to be equally good for a curiosity or for working in a slaughterhouse. Then they met a woman with a white cloth pinned over her head, and wearing wooden shoes, which gave her a clumsy, humping gait; and then they came to the south shore at Larson’s. But it happened, by quite an unusual chance, that Larson was absent with both of his boats. The purpose of the expedition was thus of necessity abandoned, and it was not afterwards revived.

Still a pleasant afternoon was spent upon the yellow beach, strewn here and there with fragments of timber as white as bones, from long bleaching and washing in the waves that cast them up. The student and Halvorsen swam in the lake, and the others watched them. The schoolmaster was very expert. “ You will never be drowned; that is pretty certain,” said Mrs. Jackson Miller admiringly afterwards.

“ Perhaps not,” said he with a smile, " but that does not show anything; those who are destined for a certain other ending, as the proverb says, never are.”

In another week the Millers pursued their journey to Mackinaw. In a few days thereafter Bertha went back to Bluffburg, leaving the schoolmaster to strange sensations of regret and tenderness, and she herself thinking of him very kindly.

III.

The summer went by irksomely at St. Gilbert’s island for the young man after that. The bark building for his command by the Trowbridges of Buffalo was yet delayed. It became evident towards the last that she would not be ready in time to make more than perhaps a single trip before the close of navigation. Halvorsen devoted himself to his studies with redoubled energy, in order to quell the impatience by which he was consumed. He made ready to pass in the fall the bar examination of the State to which the island belonged, He frequented Bertha’s favorite resorts. She had left a subtle aroma in the island. He was cherishing a sweet and ambitious hope. Well, why not? Body and mind had answered heretofore to the demands he made upon them; why should he not aspire to this also ? He sat in the rustic seat upon the hill-side and watched the pencil of shadow move upon the sun-dial. It reminded him of all he had yet to do.

He made a pretext of a copy of the hieroglyphics on the pictured rocks to write to her. From this a correspondence sprang up. Her family, to whom she showed some of the letters, agreed with her that there was a future before this young man, whose story she had already told them. Bertha’s letters took an almost sisterly tone; she was glad to have anything to do with encouraging the progress of a man whose achievements in the past she knew, and whom she believed destined for prominence. He was an example of innate character. With everything against him he had put aside obstacles and chosen the better part with unerring instinct; as there are those every day who fall from the midst of the most careful nurture and favorable circumstances to the lowest depths.

The gray island was grayer than ever with hoar frosts, and the first snows of winter began to sift down upon it. The expected bark was not forthcoming, even for the single trip which the prospective captain had counted upon mainly for the sake of seeing Bertha when he should touch at Bluffburg. He was not to be balked of this purpose, however, and so took the Pride of the West on her last trip down, and paid the call as a private individual. Bertha presented him to her parents, and they liked him and were impressed by him. If prophecies were anything, he was sure of success, since almost everybody with whom he came in contact made some about him that were favorable. Then he went away and passed his examination with flying colors, and then visited Buffalo to see the Trowbridges. The delay had been unavoidable. Everything was to be as he desired in the spring, and the rate of remuneration spoken of was gratifyingly beyond his anticipations. It would give him a surplus in a single season, enough to enable him to carry out his purpose of beginning the practice of his profession on shore. He spent a little time exploring which would be the most advantageous point at which to settle. If only one happy condition could be fulfilled, how transcendingly superior would Bluffburg be to all other possible localities !

The blissful condition was fulfilled, at least, to all intents and purposes. The judgment of Bertha’s father approved the connection, although his prejudices contended against it. He heard the best accounts of the suitor, and knew that, with the record he had already made, and his qualities of character, he must succeed. He said to Halvorsen that he had no objections to make to his daughter’s choice. “ Still,” said he, “ we had better wait a little. This is not, of course, a temporary enthusiasm on either side, but had we not better see? You will agree with me, I am sure. We will not call it an engagement just yet. Let us wait a short time.” But they knew that they should never change, and that the affair was settled.

Bertha had been taken much by surprise. She had been far from this point; she had supposed that it was friendship alone she entertained for him ; but his tenderness and self-possession and force, which was manifest in this as in all other situations in which she had seen him, prevailed.

“ But just think,” said she, “ that to this day you have never been formally introduced to me.”

“ I wish other of my deficiencies could be as easily remedied,” he replied.

Mrs. Emma thought this ending to the pleasant summer on the island the most astounding thing, for a girl of Bertha’s position, she ever heard of.

“ There was a girl by the name of Sally Cary,” said her husband, good-humoredly, “ that went back on George Washington. Bertha has most likely avoided a similar mistake. I should not wonder if we should become prouder to know the schoolmaster at some time than he to know us. What is there to keep him under after this ? ”

Probably the ex-schoolmaster was at this time at his best. He was cheerful, because he saw that force wins and he knew he possessed it. The world is importunate to do its work by proxy. If one only assert his ability to manage affairs with sufficient assurance, they are confided to him ; if in addition he really he competent, he need never want for remunerative employment. The young man’s taste and assiduity had given him culture, his observation manners, his hardships insight, and his successes confidence, which had not yet degenerated, as the danger is in this sort of characters, into narrowness and self-glorification.

When he went away, it was with the expectation of returning in the spring with his new vessel. Bertha was to go down to see her. This was to be quite a different thing from knocking about in the ordinary lake craft — a fine, large bark; and to be the sole manager of it, this was so respectable a thing that there was not the least objection to her friends’ knowing of it.

The coast of the great lakes is a stepmother to ships, a bleak, inhospitable stretch, in which there is little escape from the violence of the elements. Nature made no original provision for commerce. The deficiency has been remedied, to what extent it could, by the utilization of the small, but deep rivers upon which the settlements are founded, long break-water piers being extended out to deep water from their mouths, of which they form a continuation. The entrance is a narrow mark for the steersman, and is not effected without many a mishap, and even total wreck in rough weather; but when once the harassed vessel is within, she glides up to her moorings in the town as if upon a canal of oil, bridge after bridge opening and closing behind her, mocking with a superfluity of security the snarling waves without.

There was an early opening to navigation in the spring which succeeded the pleasant summer on St. Gilbert’s island. Captain Halvorsen was the first skipper reported through the straits.

An early opening is, on the whole, unfavorable. The uncertain weather more than counteracts the advantage of the lengthened freighting period. The ice, broken up but not melted, is drifted about in vast arctic fields, in which vessels are often involved and impeded, and frequently it returns again to the south to blockade the harbors from which it had long since vanished.

The young captain thought little of the accustomed obstacles. It was motion and action which brought him nearer to the dear goal upon which his fancy was fixed. With a far reminiscence of the Berserker spirit of his ancestors he relished the conflict, and perhaps heard in the storm and the darkness and the crackling ice something as of the joyous whistling of spears which Swatulf and the son of Asmundur hurled at each other across the northern waters. He thought the Isolde awaiting him as fair as any of theirs. Sometimes he found himself at night in the midst of a field of cakes sawing together like the boughs of a great forest, and shining in an atmosphere of mist penetrated by moonlight, like the scales of armor.

He had written to Bertha of the progress of his ship, her spars, her beautiful lines, the bottle of Burgundy which was broken over her head at the launching and christened her the Trowbridge Brothers, and of his fear that it was going to be harder than he had imagined for him to leave the water. But it was not the Trowbridge Brothers that was chronicled as being first through the straits, although Halvorsen was the captain named. It was the schooner Only Son.

“ Oh, I am afraid, I am afraid,” said Bertha, when she knew of it.

“It is nothing, little land-lubber,” said the captain, when he arrived. “ I do not like it myself, of course, but the bark was not fully rigged, and the Trowbridges were anxious to get the schooner around to take advantage of the first cargoes. They asked me to do it while I was waiting, and I could not very well refuse. It is only for this trip.”

“ But how could you, after what we said last summer at St. Gilbert’s island ? Oh, if anything should happen to you! ”

“ Nonsense. The difference in style is all we ought to care about. I am not superstitious ; and yet, in one respect, I am, too. You will think it arrogant, no doubt, but I cannot help believing a little in my star. I cannot realize that I can die before — well, until I have accomplished something important. Do you ever have such a feeling? I can see how other people can, you know, — how they can be run over and blown up, thrown down embankments before their time, — before they have had a chance, — but I cannot conceive it about myself. Is it not absurd ? ”

“No, it is splendid!” she said, but yet thought upon the Only Son ruefully. Her heart yearned for her lover when he went away, and his eye was moist at the evidences of it. What had he done in this short time to draw upon him the delicious tenderness of this good and charming creature ?

The Only Son was chartered for wheat to Buffalo, and loaded at once. She had been repainted and put in good order, but Hungry Hagan did not fail to recognize her through the disguise of her improved appearance, which he dimly conceived as a new injury, as if it had been devised for the purpose of throwing him off the scent. He found means of approaching her close at this time, and even, during the dinner hour, of going below. It was afterwards said that holes had been bored in her sides and partially stopped with plugs.

The captain came briskly aboard, a tug was made fast, bridges swung open, and people upon them, delayed in their passage, looked down amiably and hailed the stir in the river as tangible evidence of the ending of the inclement winter. The breeze without was light but favorable ; the tug cast off her tow-line at a sufficient distance from the pier, and the Only Son was soon hull down over the horizon. Bertha watched her from the high bluff which is the pride and favored promenade of the city. The water near the shore had a turbid appearance, as it is apt to have when stirred to the depths by the scourging storms of the spring and fall ; beyond, it rose in a broad and high blue plane, not greatly different from the bands of canvas with which it is represented in the scenery of theatres.

In the evening Bertha walked there again. The wind had shifted to the northwest, and brought back a little ice ; a ring was forming about the moon. When she went to bed a few snow-flakes were falling. She awoke later in the night. The moonlight no longer lay in a bar upon the floor of her chamber. It was pitch dark ; the wind blew a gale ; the dashing of the waves was borne to her distinctly, far as her comfortable home was from the shore. The serious and tragic things of existence which she did not like, except in tales for an idle hour, were very near to her.

At that hour the Only Son, after a vain endeavor to beat off, was driving ashore under bare poles. Her anchor, cast out half a mile from land, dragged upon the bottom, and was of no avail except perhaps to render the shock of the breaking waves upon her more savage. The decks were slippery with snow, every rope and projection coated with a mail of ice. The floating ice ground against her savagely. Her lights now were properly displayed,—green light and red light, — all the puny precautions of the code at which the elements laughed. Her fog-horn was sounded continually ; there was no help ; nothing mortal could give it in such a night.

The light-keeper saw her driving straight upon the pier and close at hand. He thought she was mad enough to be attempting to make port.

“ Hard down ! hard down ! ” he cried hoarsely, through his trumpet.

But she had no wheelsman, she was coming on stern first; he might as well have talked to his light-station, shivering and rocking upon its iron supports. She struck. The deck load rattled over the pier like hail. Her mainmast snapped off and toppled over with its rigging, breaking glass in the keeper’s house. She partially righted after the shock, beat along the side of the pier and cleared it, drove to the southward, and settled at last upon a bar in the vicinity. Some of the crew had escaped to the pier ; the rest sought safety in the rigging ; the sea swept full through it at every wave.

At the gray of daylight they were discovered, but it was nine o’clock before a scow could be drifted to them and the half dead survivors rescued.

Two had swam for the shore, the captain and the cook, but only the latter reached it. It was in evidence before the coroner’s jury that Captain Halvorsen had said to the cook, “ I can’t hold on any longer, Charley, I am going to swim for it.”

“ Them was his words,” said the cook, an evil-looking fellow, who for a long time after the wreck appeared to be in funds and did not engage in any regular occupation.

This was probable; but when the stark body of the captain was found, sorely wounded, stripped of its valuables, and yet clad in a heavy overcoat, mittens, and mufflers, of which he would certainly have divested himself if it had been his intention to swim, there were those who had grave misgivings. But what coroner’s jury of honest men, anxious to get back to their business, could pry into the doings of that wild night ? The wounds might have been produced by the floating ice, and as to valuables, it was not certain just what he had, and then again they might have been taken by those who found the body.

Bertha came in sable garments with her father to the funeral. It was held from a water-side inn frequented by mariners, with a balcony over the river, from which it had shrunk back as if with repulsion from the not over clean tide. She laid flowers upon the poor stiff face. She did not give way to demonstrative grief. The respectable man who kept the place said, “ The heart breaks me to see such a case like dose.”

The playful young girl, who was enamored only of what was sunny and light, showed now womanly qualities for which she had not been given credit. They were noble and womanly and lovable, but it was the ending of youth, the beginning of the burdens of a later stage of existence. There is a period to all things. The fruit is savory and wholesome, the sere and yellow leaf fertilizes the ground, the timber has many precious uses, the dry sticks are good to cast into the fire; but ah! why must the perfumed blossom fade ?

The sea went down ; the spring returned with a new accession of brightness. The commerce of the port came and went upon the blue flood. Curious spectators rowed peaceably about the tangled spars and rigging of the wreck. The wheat that had formed her cargo floated in long wind-rows ashore, and with it other articles of benefit to a householder in the hard winter.

Hungry Hagan gathered in with trembling alacrity as much of these gifts of Providence, cast up at his door, as he could secure from the sometimes dog-like competition of his neighbors. It was entirely in accordance with his views that the goods of the rich should be distributed now and then among the deserving poor. Could the ancient Lizzie and Louisa be put to a more charitable use than to contribute to the comfort of this honest man who had suffered so much by her ?

W. H. Bishop.