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ing to me with a haggard smile and a cold sarcastic note in his voice that was steadied, as your ear instinctively detected, by the iron resolution of his mood, as the spine stiffens the form.
"Had we not better go on deck ?" said I. “It might be useful to hear what the master of the barque has to say."
“Inch by inch, Charles. There is no hurry. I have my man safe," pointing at the vessel. “Let us briefly debate a course of action-or rather, let me leave myself in your hands. We want no “scene," as women call it, or as little as possible. There are many grinning, merely curious spectators, and Lady Monson is still my wife. What do you advise ?"
"First of all, my dear Wilfrid, what do you want?” I exclaimed, rather puzzled and not at all relishing the responsibility of offering suggestions. "You intend, of course, that Lady Monson shall come on board the Bride. But the Colonel ?”
“Oh,” cried he, sharply and fiercely, “I shall want him here too!"
"Then you don't mean to separate them ?"
“Yes, I do,” he answered; “as effectually as a bullet can manage it for me."
"Ha!” said I, and I was silent a little and then said: "If I were you, I should leave Crimp's brother to sail away with the rascal. The separation will be as complete as
He silenced me with a passionate gesture, but said, nevertheless, calmly, “I want them both on board my yacht.”
"Will they come if they are fetched, think you ?” He walked impatiently to the door. "I must plan for myself, I see,” he exclaimed. He grasped the handle and turned to me with his hand still upon it. “I see how it is with you, Charles," he said, almost gently; "you object to my fighting Colonel Hope-Kennedy."
"I do," I answered. “I object to this scoundrel being furnished with a chance of completing the injury he has done you by shooting you."
He came to me, put his hand on my shoulder, bent his face close to mine, and said in a low voice, “Do not fear for me: I shall kill him. As you value my love"his tone faltered—“do not come by so much as a hair's breadth between me and my resolution to take his life. If he will not fight me on board my yacht, he shall fight me on yonder vessel. He is a soldier-a colonel; he will not refuse my challenge. Come, my programme is arranged; we are now wasting time." He stepped from his berth and I followed him.
As I turned to ascend the companion steps, Wilfrid being in advance of me, mounting with impetuosity, I saw Miss Jennings come out of her berth. I waited for her. Her face was bloodless, yet I was glad to see something like resolution expressed in it.
"Is it true, Mr. Monson, that my sister is close to us in a ship?" she asked.
“She and the Colonel," I answered; "within eyeshot -that is to say, when they step on deck."
She put her hand to her breast, and drew several short breaths.
"Pray take courage,” I said; “it is for your sister to tremble—not you."
"How has Wilfrid received this piece of extraordinary news?" she asked, with a sort of panting in her way of speaking.
“He is as unmoved, I give you my word, as if he were of cast iron. You shall judge; he has preceded us."
I took her hand and led her up the ladder. Crimp's brother had apparently just climbed over the yacht's side. As I made my appearance he was coming aft from the gangway in company with Finn and surly old Jacob. All three rumbled with talk at once as they made, with a deep sea roll, for Wilfrid, who was standing so as to keep the mainmast of the yacht between him and the barque. Miss Jennings started and stopped on seeing the vessel, that had closed on us somewhat since she had first hove-to, so that it was almost possible now to distinguish the faces of her people. When my companion moved again she seemed to shrink-almost cower indeed, and passed to the right of me as though to hide herself. Then peeping past me at the vessel, she said, “I see no lady on board.”
“Your sister is still below, I expect," I answered.
She left me and clasped my cousin's arm, just saying, "Oh, Wilfrid !" in a tearful, pitiful voice. He gazed down at her and pressed his hand upon hers with a look of dreadful grief entering his face swiftly as a blush suffuses a woman's cheek; but the expression passed quickly. Something he said in a whisper, then lightly freed his arm from her clasp and turned to the master of the barque.
“Captain Crimp, your honour," said Finn, knuckling his forehead; "Jacob's brother, Sir Wilfrid."
Small need to mention that, I thought, for, saving that Jacob was the taller by an inch or two, whilst his brother's eyes looked straight at you, the twins were the most ludicrous, incomparable match that any lover of the uncommon could have desired to see; both of the same sulky cast of countenance, both of the exact same build, each wearing a light kind of beard similarly coloured.
“Yes, I'm Jacob's brother," answered Captain Crimp. "Heard he was out a yachtin', but didn't know the name of the vessel.”
"I'm very glad to have fallen in with you," said Wilfrid, addressing him with a coolness that I saw astonished Finn, whilst Miss Laura glanced at me with an arching of her eyebrows as eloquent amazement as if she had spoken her thoughts. “I hear that you have a lady and gentleman on board your ship."
“Ay," answered Captain Crimp bluntly, though somehow one found nothing offensive in his manner of speech; "they want to leave me, and,” added he with a surly grin, “I don't blame 'em. Gewhany ain't over choice as a smell, 'ticularly down here."
“Their names are Colonel Hope-Kennedy and Lady Monson. Is that so ?" demanded Wilfrid, speaking slowly and coldly.
Captain Crimp turned a stupid stare of wonder upon his brother, and then, addressing Wilfrid, exclaimed: "Who tould 'ee? Ye've got the gent's name right: the lady's his missus—same name as t'other's." Wilfrid set his teeth.
I looked towards the barque, but there were no signs of the Colonel or her ladyship yet.
“The lady is my wife, Captain Crimp," said Wilfrid.
"Ho, indeed," responded the man, showing no surprise whatever.
"She has run away," continued my cousin, "with the gentleman you have on board your vessel, and we," looking round upon us, "are here in pursuit of them. We
have met with them—very unexpectedly. It is likely when Colonel Hope-Kennedy discovers who we are that he
may request you to trim your sails and proceed on your voyage home, and offer you a sum of money to convey Lady Monson and himself away from us. You will not do so!” he exclaimed with sudden temper, which he instantly subdued, though it darkened his face.
"I don't want no trouble," answered Captain Crimp. “The parties have been a-wanting to get out of my wessel pretty nigh ever since we fell in with them, and here's their chance. •Only,” he added with a wooden look at his brother, “if they don't choose to quit I can't chuck 'em overboard."
“Oh yes, 'ee can, 'Arry," said Jacob. "What ye've got to do is to tell 'em they must go. No sogerin' in this business, 'Arry, so stand by. The law ain't a-going to let ye keep a lawful wife away from her wedded spouse when he tarns to and demands her of ye. Better chuck 'em overboard than have the lawyers fall foul of ye, ’Arry."
This was a long speech for Jacob, who nodded several times at his brother with energy after delivering it.
"Well, and who wants to keep a wedded woman away from her lawful spouse, as ye calls it, Jacob ?” exclaimed Captain Crimp. “What I says is, if the parties refuses to leave I can't chuck 'em overboard."
"See here, Captain," said Finn, “Jacob's right, and what you as a sensible man's got to do is to steer clear of quand'ries. His honour'll be sending for the lady and the gent, and you'll have to tell 'em to go, as Jacob says. If they refuse—but let 'em refuse first,” he continued with a look at Wilfrid.
"I don't want no trouble,” said Captain Crimp, "and