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the open sea and
from narrow streets. I can see the spray dashing up into his eyes, and he shaking it off, laughing the while.'
Yes, yes !' said Minnie enthusiastically.
• You can see him too, Minnie. I feel that you can.
Is he not handsome and brave? I can hear him say, as he looks round upon the grand sea and up at the beautiful clouds, I can hear him say, “Dan is here with me, although I cannot see him.” He has me in his heart, as I have him. It was a compact. We were to be always together, and we are. Dear Jo! He paused awhile, and Minnie, her hands clasped in her lap, gazed before her, and saw the picture painted by Dan's words. Many such conversations they had, and the theme was always the same.
Shortly after the death of Mr. Taylor the Old Sailor came to see the children. He did not know of the loss they had sustained; and when he heard that both father and mother were dead, he was much grieved. The news so disconcerted him that he rose to go three or four times, and each time sat down again, as if he had something on his mind he wished to get rid of first. As a proof that he was mentally disturbed, he dabbed his face more frequently than usual with his blue
cotton pocket-handkerchief, folding it up carefully before he put it in the breast of his shirt, as if he were folding up his secret in it, and afterwards taking it out and unfolding it, as if he had made up his mind at last to disclose what that secret was. When he found courage to speak, Dan learnt that the bullfinches which Joshua and he had presented to the Old Sailor were dead.
Died yesterday morning, my lad,' said the Old Sailor; died just as we were beginning to understand each other. Sailor birds they were, and they could climb ropes as well as any bird in the service.'
'I am sorry they are dead, sir,' said Dan; but I can give you another pair.'
No, Dan, no. I'll not have any more; they wouldn't be safe.'
There was a mutineer in the crew, my lad,' said the Old Sailor, dropping his voice. 'It comes awkward for me to tell you ; but you ought to know—and duty before everything. The pretty birds were poisoned.'
• Who could have been so cruel as to poison the innocent creatures ?' asked Dan sorrowfully.
• That damned copper-coloured son of a thief
who cooked for me !' replied the Old Sailor excitedly. “You saw him when you were on my ship. He had rings in his ears.' 'I remember. He was a Lascar, you told
The treacherous dog!' exclaimed the Old Sailor wrathfully, dabbing his face. But I did what was right to him. I flogged him with a rope's end till he couldn't stand.'
• He knew that Joshua gave you the birds, sir ?
Ay, he knew it. To tell you the truth, my lad, I christened the birds Josh and Dan, and used to call them by their names. They were as sensible as human beings, and I gave them decent
I burial. I sewed them in canvas, and weighted it with shot, and slipped it off a plank. I'll not have any more of them, Dan. That lubberly thief would crawl on board one night and murder them too. No, no, my lad; no more birds for me.'
• Well, then, I'll tell you what we'll do,' said Dan. “I will give you another pair of birds, and I will keep them for you, and you will come here sometimes and see how they are getting along. That's a good idea, isn't it, sir ?'
The Old Sailor admitted that it was, and thus
it fell out that he became a visitor to the house. Dan bought a toy ship, with sails and masts, and slender ropes all complete, and taught the birds to climb the ropes and masts, which they did deftly, although not in sailor fashion, hand-overhand; and his thoughtful conceit filled the Old Sailor with infinite delight.
It was Susan's good fortune not to meet the Lascar for many months after the eventful occurrence in which Joshua had played so prominent a part. But one evening, when she and Ellen were returning home, she met him face to face.
Stop !' cried the Lascar, noticing Susan's agitation with secret pleasure. You don't forget me, do you ?
Ellen, raising her eyes, saw and recognised the Lascar, and was recognised by him at the same moment. Ah !' he said, “I remember you.
You came one day with a lame boy and that young thief Joshua Marvel-curse him!—to see Mr. Meddler's boat.'
Ellen tried to hurry Susan along, but the Lascar stood directly in their path.
‘Not yet, my beauty. You are about the prettiest girl I've ever seen. What's your name ?'
Ellen was not so overcome with fear as to entirely lose her self-possession. Had she been alone, she would have run away. But Susan was. clinging to her, almost fainting with terror. On the opposite side of the road she saw a man walking towards them.
'Help!' she cried; but she could have bitten her lips with vexation when she found that it was Solomon Fewster who responded to her appeal. However, there Solomon Fewster was, ready to grapple with the enemy and to die in Ellen's defence. The occasion for a display of heroism was as good as he could have desired.
• Where is he ? he cried valiantly; 'where's the villain who has dared to frighten my pretty Ellen ?'
He said this with such a presumptuous air of being her defender by natural right, that Ellen was annoyed and displeased. But she could not be uncivil to him. She thanked him for coming to their help, and he asked to be allowed to see them home. But Ellen refused, and although he pleaded hard, she was firm.
She was especially angry because of his calling her his pretty Ellen. Glad as she would have been of a protector, she rightly thought that it