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A Message From the Sea. Charles Dickens

"Well, Captain Jorgan," replied the steward, "I couldn′t say for certain where it is now; but when I saw it last,—which was last time we were outward bound,—it was at a very nice lady′s at Wapping, along with a little chest of mine which was detained for a small matter of a bill owing."

The captain, instead of paying that rapt attention to his steward which was rendered by the other three persons present, went to Church again, in respect of the steward′s hat. And a most especially agitated and memorable face the captain produced from it, after a short pause.

"Now, Tom," said the captain, "I spoke to you, when we first came here, respecting your constitutional weakness on the subject of sun-stroke."

"You did, sir."

"Will my slow friend," said the captain, "lend me his arm, or I shall sink right back′ards into this blessed steward′s cookery? Now, Tom," pursued the captain, when the required assistance was given, "on your oath as a steward, didn′t you take that desk to pieces to make a better one of it, and put it together fresh,—or something of the kind?"

"On my oath I did, sir," replied the steward.

"And by the blessing of Heaven, my friends, one and all," cried the captain, radiant with joy,—"of the Heaven that put it into this Tom Pettifer′s head to take so much care of his head against the bright sun,—he lined his hat with the original leaf in Tregarthen′s writing,—and here it is!"

With that the captain, to the utter destruction of Mr. Pettifer′s favourite hat, produced the book-leaf, very much worn, but still legible, and gave both his legs such tremendous slaps that they were heard far off in the bay, and never accounted for.

"A quarter past five p.m.," said the captain, pulling out his watch, "and that′s thirty-three hours and a quarter in all, and a pritty run!"

How they were all overpowered with delight and triumph; how the money was restored, then and there, to Tregarthen; how Tregarthen, then and there, gave it all to his daughter; how the captain undertook to go to Dringworth Brothers and re-establish the reputation of their forgotten old clerk; how Kitty came in, and was nearly torn to pieces, and the marriage was reappointed, needs not to be told. Nor how she and the young fisherman went home to the post-office to prepare the way for the captain′s coming, by declaring him to be the mightiest of men, who had made all their fortunes,—and then dutifully withdrew together, in order that he might have the domestic coast entirely to himself. How he availed himself of it is all that remains to tell.

Deeply delighted with his trust, and putting his heart into it, he raised the latch of the post-office parlour where Mrs. Raybrock and the young widow sat, and said,—

"May I come in?"

"Sure you may, Captain Jorgan!" replied the old lady. "And good reason you have to be free of the house, though you have not been too well used in it by some who ought to have known better. I ask your pardon."

"No you don′t, ma′am," said the captain, "for I won′t let you. Wa′al, to be sure!"

By this time he had taken a chair on the hearth between them.

"Never felt such an evil spirit in the whole course of my life! There! I tell you! I could a′most have cut my own connection. Like the dealer in my country, away West, who when he had let himself be outdone in a bargain, said to himself, ′Now I tell you what! I′ll never speak to you again.

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