"Margaret," said the poor young fisherman, on his knees at Kitty′s feet, while Kitty kept both her hands before her tearful face, to shut out the traitor from her view,—but kept her fingers wide asunder and looked at him all the time,—"Margaret, you have suffered so much, so uncomplainingly, and are always so careful and considerate! Do take my part, for poor Hugh′s sake!"
The quiet Margaret was not appealed to in vain. "I will, Alfred," she returned, "and I do. I wish this gentleman had never come near us;" whereupon the captain laid hold of himself the tighter; "but I take your part for all that. I am sure you have some strong reason and some sufficient reason for what you do, strange as it is, and even for not saying why you do it, strange as that is. And, Kitty darling, you are bound to think so more than any one, for true love believes everything, and bears everything, and trusts everything. And, mother dear, you are bound to think so too, for you know you have been blest with good sons, whose word was always as good as their oath, and who were brought up in as true a sense of honour as any gentleman in this land. And I am sure you have no more call, mother, to doubt your living son than to doubt your dead son; and for the sake of the dear dead, I stand up for the dear living."
"Wa′al now," the captain struck in, with enthusiasm, "this I say, That whether your opinions flatter me or not, you are a young woman of sense, and spirit, and feeling; and I′d sooner have you by my side in the hour of danger, than a good half of the men I′ve ever fallen in with—or fallen out with, ayther."
Margaret did not return the captain′s compliment, or appear fully to reciprocate his good opinion, but she applied herself to the consolation of Kitty, and of Kitty′s mother-in-law that was to have been next Monday week, and soon restored the parlour to a quiet condition.
"Kitty, my darling," said the young fisherman, "I must go to your father to entreat him still to trust me in spite of this wretched change and mystery, and to ask him for some directions concerning Lanrean. Will you come home? Will you come with me, Kitty?"
Kitty answered not a word, but rose sobbing, with the end of her simple head-dress at her eyes. Captain Jorgan followed the lovers out, quite sheepishly, pausing in the shop to give an instruction to Mr. Pettifer.
"Here, Tom!" said the captain, in a low voice. "Here′s something in your line. Here′s an old lady poorly and low in her spirits. Cheer her up a bit, Tom. Cheer ′em all up."
Mr. Pettifer, with a brisk nod of intelligence, immediately assumed his steward face, and went with his quiet, helpful, steward step into the parlour, where the captain had the great satisfaction of seeing him, through the glass door, take the child in his arms (who offered no objection), and bend over Mrs. Raybrock, administering soft words of consolation.
"Though what he finds to say, unless he′s telling her that ′t′ll soon be over, or that most people is so at first, or that it′ll do her good afterward, I cannot imaginate!" was the captain′s reflection as he followed the lovers.
He had not far to follow them, since it was but a short descent down the stony ways to the cottage of Kitty′s father. But short as the distance was, it was long enough to enable the captain to observe that he was fast becoming the village Ogre; for there was not a woman standing working at her door, or a fisherman coming up or going down, who saw Young Raybrock unhappy and little Kitty in tears, but he or she instantly darted a suspicious and indignant glance at the captain, as the foreigner who must somehow be responsible for this unusual spectacle.
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