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couldn't help it. “Seems kind of out of light burns the same on a thick night as place for society notes,
,” said I, “out it does on a fair one. Of course there's here at Seven Brothers.'
the ships, north-bound, south-boundHe was the other side of the lens, and wind - jammers, freighters, passengerwhen he looked at me he had a thousand boats full of people. In the watches at eyes, all sober. For a minute I thought night you can see their lights go by, and he was going on dusting, but then he wonder what they are, how they're came out and sat down on a sill.
laden, where they'll fetch up, and all. I “Sometimes," said he, “I get to think used to do that almost every evening ing it may be a mite dull for her out when it was my first watch, sitting out here. She's pretty young, Ray. Not on the walk-around up there with my much more'n a girl, hardly."
legs hanging over the edge and my chin “Not much more'n a girl!" It gave propped on the railing-lazy. The Bosme a turn, sir, as though I'd seen my ton boat was the prettiest to see, with aunt in short dresses.
her three tiers of port-holes lit, like a “It's a good home for her, though,” he string of pearls wrapped round and went on, slow. “I've seen a lot worse round a woman's neck—well away, too, ashore, Ray. Of course if I could get for the ledge must have made a couple a shore light”
of hundred fathoms off the Light, like a “Kingdom Come's a shore light.” white dog-tooth of a breaker, even on
He looked at me out of his deep-set the darkest night. eves, and then he turned them around Well, I was lolling there one night, as the light-room, where he'd been so long. I
say, watching the Boston boat go by, "No,” said he, wagging his head. “It not thinking of anything special, when I ain't for such as me.
heard the door on the other side of the I never saw so humble a man.
tower open and footsteps coming around “But look here," he went on, more cheerful. “As I was telling her just now, By and by I nodded toward the boat a month from yesterday's our fourth and passed the remark that she was anniversary, and I'm going to take her fetching in uncommon close to-night. ashore for the day and give her a holiday No answer. I made nothing of that, for -new hat and everything. A girl wants oftentimes Fedderson wouldn't answer, a mite of excitement now and then, and after I'd watched the lights crawling Ray.
on through the dark a spell, just to make There it was again, that "girl.” It conversation I said I guessed there'd be gave me the fidgets, sir. I had to do a bit of weather before long. something about it. It's close quarters “I've noticed,” said I, “when there's in a light for last names, and I'd taken weather coming on, and the wind in the to calling him Uncle Matt soon after I northeast, you can hear the orchestra came. Now, when I was at table that playing aboard of her just over there. noon, I spoke over to where she was
it . Do you?” standing by the stove, getting him an “Yes. Oh yes! I hear it all right!" other help of chowder.
You can imagine I started. It wasn't “I guess I'll have some, too, Aunt him, but her. And there was something Anna," said I, matter of fact.
in the way she said that speech, sirShe never said a word nor gave a sign something-well—unnatural. -just stood there kind of round-shoul- hungry animal snapping at a person's dered, dipping the chowder. And that hand. night at prayers I hitched my chair I turned and looked at her sidewise. around the table, with its back the other She was standing by the railing, leaning way.
a little outward, the top of her from the You get awful lazy in a light-house, waist picked out bright by the lens besome ways. No matter how much tink hind her. I didn't know what in the ering you've got, there's still a lot of world to say, and yet I had a feeling I time, and there's such a thing as too ought not to sit there mum. much reading. The changes in weather “I wonder,” said I, “what that capget monotonous, too, by and by; the tain's thinking of, fetching in so handy
It's no way;
I tell you, if my hands in their blood, night after 'twasn't for this light, she'd go to work night.” and pile up on the ledge some thick And do you know, sir, I saw it with night
my own eyes, her hands moving in each She turned at that and stared straight other above the rail. But it was her into the lens. I didn't like the look of voice, though. I didn't know what to her face. Somehow, with its edges cut do, or what to say, so I poked my head hard all around and its two eyes closed through the railing and looked down at down to slits, like a cat's, it made a kind the water. I don't think I'm a coward, of mask.
sir, but it was like a cold-ice-cold“And then, I went on, uneasy hand, taking hold of my beating heart. enough—"and then where'd all their When I looked up finally, she was music be of a sudden, and their goings- gone. By and by I went in and had a on and their singing
look at the lamp, hardly knowing what ‘And dancing!” She clipped me off so I was about. Then, seeing by my watch quick it took my breath.
it was time for the old man to come on “D-d-dancing?" said I.
duty, I started to go below. In the "That's dance-music,” said she. She Seven Brothers, you understand, the was looking at the boat again.
stair goes down in a spiral through a well “How do you know?” I felt I had to against the south wall, and first there's keep on talking.
the door to the keeper's room, and then Well, sir—she laughed. I looked at you come to another, and that's the her. She had on a shawl of some stuff living-room, and then down to the storeor other that shined in the light; she
And at night, if you don't carry had it pulled tight around her with her a lantern, it's as black as the pit. two hands in front at her breast, and I Well, down I went, sliding my hand saw her shoulders swaying in tune. along the rail, and as usual I stopped to
“How do I know?” she cried. Then give a rap on the keeper's door, in case she laughed again, the same kind of a he was taking a nap after supper. Somelaugh. It was queer, sir, to see' her, and times he did. to hear her. She turned, as quick as
I stood there, blind as a bat, with my that, and leaned toward me. "Don't mind still up on the walk-around. There you know how to dance, Ray?” said she. was no answer to my knock. I hadn't
“N-no," I managed, and I was going expected any, Just from habit, and to say
Aunt Anna," but the thing with my right foot already hanging choked in
she down for the next step, I reached out to looking square at me all the time with give the door one more tap for luck. her two eyes and moving with the music Do you know, sir, my hand didn't as if she didn't know it. By Heavens, fetch up on anything. The door had sir, it came over me of a sudden that she been there a second before, and now the wasn't so bad looking, after all. I guess door wasn't there. My hand just went I must have sounded like a fool.
on going through the dark, on and on, “You—you see,” said I, “she's cleared and I didn't seem to have sense or power the rip there now, and the music's gone. enough to stop it. There didn't seem You-you-hear?”
any air in the well to breathe, and my “Yes,” said she, turning back slow. ears were drumming to the surf—that's “That's where it stops every night- how scared I was. And then my hand night after night-it stops just there-at touched the flesh of a face, and some
thing in the dark said, “Oh!” no louder When she spoke again her voice was than a sigh. different. I never heard the like of it, Next thing I know, sir, I was down thin and taut as a thread. It made me in the living-room, warm and yellowshiver, sir.
lit, with Fedderson cocking his head at “I hate 'em!" That's what she said. me across the table, where he was at “I hate 'em all. I'd like to see 'em dead. that eternal Jacob's-ladder of his. I'd love to see 'em torn apart on the “What's the matter, Ray?" said he. rocks, night after night. I could bathe “Lord's sake, Ray!”
"Nothing," said I. Then I think I himself a martyr so many years, nursed told him I was sick. That night I wrote that injustice like a mother with her a letter to A. L. Peters, the grain-dealer first-born, sir; and now in his old age, so in Duxbury, asking for a job-even to speak, they weren't to rob him of it. though it wouldn't go ashore for a couple Fedderson was going to wear out his life of weeks, just the writing of it made me in a second-class light, and folks would feel better.
talk—that was his idea. I heard him It's hard to tell you how those two hailing down as the tender was casting weeks went by. I don't know why, but off: I felt like hiding in a corner all the time. "See you to-morrow, Mr. Bayliss. I had to come to meals. But I didn't Yep. Coming ashore with the wife for look at her, though, not once, unless it a spree. Anniversary. Yep.” was by accident. Fedderson thought I But he didn't sound much like a spree. was still ailing and nagged me to death They had robbed him, partly, after all. with advice and so on. One thing I took I wondered what she thought about it. care not to do, I can tell you, and that I didn't know till night. She didn't show was to knock on his door till I'd made up to supper, which Fedderson and I got certain he wasn't below in the living- ourselves—had a headache, he said. It room—though I was tempted to. was my early watch. I went and lit up
Yes, sir; that's a queer thing, and I and came back to read a spell. He was wouldn't tell you if I hadn't set out to finishing off the Jacob's-ladder, and give you the truth. Night after night, thoughtful, like a man that's lost a stopping there on the landing in that treasure. Once or twice I caught him black pit, the air gone out of my lungs looking about the room on the sly. It and the surf drumming in my ears and was pathetic, sir. sweat standing cold on my neck-and Going up the second time, I stepped one hand lifting up in the air-God for out on the walk-around to have a look give me, sir! Maybe I did wrong not to at things. She was there on the seaward look at her more, drooping about her side, wrapped in that silky thing. A work in her gingham apron, with her fair sea was running across the ledge and hair stringing.
it was coming on a little thick—not too When the Inspector came off with the thick. Off to the right the Boston boat tender, that time, I told him I was was blowing, whroom-whroom! creeping through. That's when he took the dis up on us, quarter-speed. There was anlike to me, I guess, for he looked at me other fellow behind her, and a fisherkind of sneering and said, soft as I was, man's conch farther off-shore. I'd have to put up with it till next relief. I don't know why, but I stopped beAnd then, said he, there'd be a whole side her and leaned on the rail. She house-cleaning at Seven Brothers, be didn't appear to notice me, one way or cause he'd gotten Fedderson the berth another. We stood and we stood, listenat Kingdom Come. And with that he ing to the whistles, and the longer we slapped the old man on the back. stood the more it got on my nerves, her
I wish you could have seen Fedderson, not noticing me. I suppose she'd been sir. He sat down on my cot as if his too much on my mind lately. I began knees had given 'way. Happy? You'd to be put out. I scraped my feet. I think he'd be happy, with all his dreams coughed. By and by I said out loud: come true. Yes, he was happy, beaming “Look here, I guess I better get out all over-for a minute. Then, sir, he the fog-horn and give those fellows a began to shrivel up. It was like seeing a toot. man cut down in his prime before your "Why?” said she, without moving her eyes. He began to wag his head. head-calm as that.
“No,” said he. "No, no; it's not for "Why?” It gave me a turn, sir. For such as me. I'm good enough for Seven a minute I stared at her. “Why? BeBrothers, and that's all, Mr. Bayliss. cause if she don't pick up this light That's all."
before very many minutes she'll be too And for all the Inspector could say, close in to wear-tide 'll have her on that's what he stuck to, He'd figured
He'd figured the rocks—that's why!” VOL. CXXXVI.-No. 811.-14