Six times Ferrier had his foot on the rail ready to make his lithe, flying bound into the cockleshell; six times she was spun away like a foambell returning to crash against the side as the smack hove up high. At last the doctor fairly fell over the rail, landed astride on the boat's gunwale, and from thence took a roll to the bottom and lay in the swashing water.
Some one or other of the boys was my companion on every excursion that was made, and these were almost daily at least, every day on which the weather was calm enough to allow of it. With such a small cockleshell of a boat, we dared not go out when it was not calm; and with regard to this, I had been duly cautioned by Henry Blew himself.
"I know of that letter. Hearne showed it to me, and would make for the big house, although I told him fair not to doubt his true wife." "How did he get the letter?" "That's tellings," said Mother Cockleshell with a wink of her lively eye.
Chaldea did not show herself, so the deposed queen was accompanied to the outskirts of the wood by the elder gypsies, mourning loudly. But when they finally halted to see the last of Mother Cockleshell, she raised her hand and spoke authoritatively. "I go and I come, my children. Forget not, ye Romans, that I say so much. When the seed needs rain it falls. Sarishan, brothers and sisters all."
Home, schoolroom, nursery, all are crammed together in the little cockleshell of a boat where the little ones are packed round father and mother and tossing gaily over the waves. What endless fun in the rising and falling, the creaking of the sail, the gruff voice of the boatman, the sight of the distant cliffs, the flock of sea-gulls nestling in the wave-hollows!
And the hawk bade him say, 'The loan of thy cockleshell. The King mused, and said, 'That is much to ask, for it is that which beareth the Princess my daughter to the Lily of the Enchanted Sea, which she nourisheth; and if 'tis harmed, she will be stricken with ugliness, as was the daughter of the Vizier Feshnavat, who tended it before her. Yet is this hawk a bird of price.
We at once trundled down over the side into our cockleshell of a boat, and, getting on board the "Mouette" with all speed, roused up the anchor and dodged about well in view of the admiral, keeping a sharp lookout for the "whiff" in the mizzen-rigging, which was our especial signal for service.
Without a moment's delay the Tenor dived in after him, the cockleshell of a boat, half capsizing as he went over, took in water enough to sink her to the gunwale, and the whole thing happened so quickly that a spectator on the bank who had seen the boat and its occupants one moment might have looked in vain the next for any trace of either. The Tenor came to the surface alone.
"But you don't tell me you have come over from Saaron in that cockleshell of yours?" asked the Commandant, peering down into the darkness for a glimpse of the boat. Vashti, who was leading the way down the track, turned with a laugh. "No, and for a very good reason.
We'll not mind the doctor, he's a very jovial little fellow, but a damned bore, entre nous; and we'll have a cosy little supper at the Rue di Toledo. I know the place well. Whew, now! Get away, boy. Sit steady, Sparks; she's only a cockleshell. There; that's the Plaza de la Regna, there, to the left. There's the great cathedral, you can't see it now. Another seventy-four!