Joel be no talker but it do seem Jo was one of the Coast-Brotherhood once when Cap'n Penfeather saved his life and that, years agone. So Joel comes home and sets up marriage, free-trade and what not, when one day lately Master Adam walks into the 'Peck o' Malt, and no whit changed for all the years save his white hair. And here comes rain, Mart'n "
"'Twas hot fight I marvel your damage was no greater," says I, glancing hither and thither for sight of my lady, and my heart throbbing with expectation. "Nay, Mart'n, 'twas guile, 'twas craft, 'twas seamanship. Lord love your eyes, pal, Cap'n Adam seized him the vantage point by means of a fore-course towing under water, and kept it.
"Never knowed there was a knot-hole, Mart'n," said he in the same hushed voice and staring at the thing, "and as for Cap'n Adam he aren't been anigh you this two days. But 'tis all one, pal, all one this ship do be haunted. And as for eyes a-watching of ye, Martin, who should it be but this here ghost as walketh the ship o'nights and makes away wi' good men." "How d'ye mean?"
But the sea aren't the land, and here on these wild wastes o' waters there's chancy things beyond any man's wisdom as any mariner'll ha, what's yon?" says he under his breath and whipping round, knife in hand. "'Twas like a shoeless foot, Mart'n ... creeping murder ... 'Tis there again!"
"How comes this, Godby!" says I, pointing to the dim shapes of the great stern lanthorns above us. "Cap'n's orders, Mart'n! We've been dark these two nights, and yet if yon craft is what we think, 'twould seem she follows us by smell, pal, smell. As how, say you?
Long after man and boat were swallowed up in the fog I sat there lost in thought, insomuch that I started to feel a hearty clap on the shoulder and, turning, beheld Godby, a pair of great gold rings in his ears, and very sailor-like in all things from sea-boots to mariner's bonnet. "Here's a ploy, Mart'n!" says he with a round oath.
"I love the good, kind earth, Mart'n, wi' its green grass and flowers a' peep, 'tis a fair resting-place for a man when all's done and said, but yonder, pal ah, there's glory for ye!
And as I hearkened, every individual timber seemed to find a voice, and what with this and the uneasy pitching and rolling of the ship I judged we were well under weigh and beyond the river-mouth. "What, Mart'n pal," says he, sitting beside me on my berth and setting down the food and drink he had brought, "are ye waking at last?" "Have I slept long, Godby?"
"To the nearest secure anchorage, Mart'n, for what wi' storm and battle we are so battered and sprung, alow and aloft and small wonder, here's four ships we've destroyed since we left Old England, battle, murder and sudden death, pal!"
"Aye," he nodded, "'tis my Lady Brandon, and mighty despondent by her looks as I told ye, Mart'n." All unconscious of me she crossed the deck slow-footed and coming to the lee bulwark, paused there, her lovely head down-bent upon her hands.