Every hour or so Mr. Button would shake his lethargy off, and rise and look
round for "seagulls," but the prospect was sail-less as the prehistoric sea,
wingless, voiceless. When Dick would fret now and then, the old sailor would
always devise some means of amusing him. He made him fishing tackle out of a
bent pin and some small twine that happened to be in the boat, and told him to
fish for "pinkeens"; and Dick, with the pathetic faith of childhood, fished.
Then he told them things. He had spent a year at Deal long ago, where a
cousin of his was married to a boatman.
Mr. Button had put in a year as a longshoreman at Deal, and he had got a
great lot to tell of his cousin and her husband, and more especially of one,
Hannah; Hannah was his cousin's baby--a most marvellous child, who was born with
its "buck" teeth fully developed, and whose first unnatural act on entering the
world was to make a snap at the "docther." "Hung on to his fist like a bull-dog,
and him bawlin' 'Murther!'"
"Mrs. James," said Emmeline, referring to a Boston acquaintance, "had a
little baby, and it was pink."
"Ay, ay," said Paddy; " they're mostly pink to start with, but they fade whin
"It'd no teeth," said Emmeline, "for I put my finger in to see."
"The doctor brought it in a bag," put in Dick, who was still steadily
fishing--"dug it out of a cabbage patch; an' I got a trow'l and dug all our
cabbage patch up, but there weren't any babies but there were no end of worms."
"I wish I had a baby," said Emmeline, "and Iwouldn't send it back to the
"The doctor," explained Dick, "took it back and planted it again; and Mrs.
James cried when I asked her, and daddy said it was put back to grow and turn
into an angel."
" Angels have wings," said Emmeline dreamily.
"And," pursued Dick, "I told cook, and she said to Jane [that] daddy was
always stuffing children up with--something or 'nother. And I asked daddy to let
me see him stuffing up a child--and daddy said cook'd have to go away for saying
that, and she went away next day."
"She had three big trunks and a box for her bonnet," said Emmeline, with a
far-away look as she recalled the incident.
"And the cabman asked her hadn't she any more trunks to put on his cab, and
hadn't she forgot the parrot cage," said Dick.
"I wish I had a parrot in a cage," murmured Emmeline, moving slightly so as
to get more in the shadow of the sail.
" And what in the world would you be doin' with a par't in a cage?" asked Mr.
"I'd let it out," replied Emmeline.
"Spakin' about lettin' par'ts out of cages, I remimber me grandfather had an
ould pig," said Paddy (they were all talking seriously together like equals).
"I was a spalpeen no bigger than the height of me knee, and I'd go to the sty door,
and he'd come to the door, and grunt an' blow wid his nose undher it; an' I'd
grunt back to vex him, an' hammer wid me fist on it, an' shout 'Halloo there!
halloo there!' and 'Halloo to you!' he'd say, spakin' the pigs' language. 'Let
me out,' he'd say, 'and I'll give yiz a silver shilling.'
"'Pass it under the door,' I'd answer him. Thin he'd stick the snout of him
undher the door an' I'd hit it a clip with a stick, and he'd yell murther Irish.
An' me mother'd come out an' baste me, an' well I desarved it.
"Well, wan day I opened the sty door, an' out he boulted and away and beyant,
over hill and hollo he goes till he gets to the edge of the cliff overlookin'
the say, and there he meets a billy-goat, and he and the billy-goat has a
division of opinion.
"'Away wid yiz!' says the billy-goat.
"'Away wid yourself!' says he.
"'Whose you talkin' to?' says t'other.
"'Yourself,' says him.
"'Who stole the eggs?' says the billy-goat.
"'Ax your ould grandmother!' says the pig.
"'Ax me ould which mother?' says the billy-goat.
"'Oh, ax me--' And before he could complete the sintence, ram, blam, the ould
billygoat butts him in the chist, and away goes the both of thim whirtlin' into
the say below.
"Thin me ould grandfather comes out, and collars me by the scruff, and 'Into
the sty with you!' says he; and into the sty I wint, and there they kep' me for
a fortnit on bran mash and skim milk--and well I desarved it."
They dined somewhere about eleven o'clock, and at noon Paddy unstepped the
mast and made a sort of little tent or awning with the sail in the bow of the
boat to protect the children from the rays of the vertical sun.
Then he took his place in the bottom of the boat, in the stern, stuck Dick's
straw hat over his face to preserve it from the sun, kicked about a bit to get a
comfortable position, and fell asleep.