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The Getting Even of Tommy Dodd

I believe the young beggar will, too!" said James, the eldest 'prentice.

They were in the glory hole of the "Lady Hannibal," and Dayrin, the youngest 'prentice, aged fourteen, and known aboard by the name of Tommy Dodd, had been expounding a plan "to get level" with everybody in general, it seemed; for Tommy had been tasting another dose of that gross injustice which is dealt out so liberally to the boys in some ships.

"I'll fairly make the old man a fool, you'll see," he said. "And as for that old bo'sun and the third mate and the steward, I'll make them wish they'd never been born. Fancy the pig breaking all the stops on the fore, main, and mizzen, just at eight bells as I was coming below to dinner, and then sending me up to put new ones on! It's taken me two hours, and now the beastly dinner's cold, and I've no time for a sleep, or anything. And he's done that every day this week for my afternoon watch below. I told him he was a bully when he did it again to-day, and look what he's done!"

And Tommy rolled up his trousers to show a great abraided bruise where the third mate had kicked him with his heavy boots. "I hit him twice in the stummick, but he held my hands, and kicked me till I was sick. Look at my shins!" And he showed his shins, cut and bruised in a dozen places by the third mate's boots.

James and the other 'prentice in the port watch bent and looked at the boy's legs, nodding their heads with a sort of savage sympathy.

"If Tommy tries that idea of his for the homeward passage, I guess I'll help him for all I'm worth," said James.

"I will say that for the old man," remarked Tommy; "he sung out to the third to go steady when he was kicking me. But all the same, he turned on me himself, and told me I deserved what I'd got. I was in such a wax I told him straight out that if I'd been even half his size I'd have wiped the deck with both him and the third mate. He kicked me bang off the poop then, down the poop ladder on to the main deck, when I said that; but when I got to the bottom I told him that, after I'd wiped the deck with them, I'd make him kiss my feet to teach him to know a man when he saw one."

"You know, Tommy," said James, "you're a plucky kid; but you'll be murdered outright one of these days if you don't mind. I wouldn't have said what you said to the old man for the value of the ship."

"Anyway," ended Tommy, "the first mate likes me. I know that."

A few days later Tommy got across the bo'sun's hawse concerning the cleaning of the pigsty, which the bo'sun had set Tommy to do every morning watch for a fortnight past, and which, properly, should have been done by the hands when they washed the decks. When the bo'sun came forrard from washing down the poop, he found, to his pained amazement, that Tommy had not touched the pigsty except with the seat portion of one of his garments, for the boy was sitting calmly on the top of the sty smoking a cigarette, his bucket and broom reclining beneath him on the deck. The bo'sun expressed fluently his distress at this condition of affairs, and suggested, with the aid of the broom-handle, that Tommy Dodd should get to work at his accustomed dirty task.

"Clean it yourself!" said Tommy the instant the bo'sun had loosed him. "Clean it yourself, you old bully, if your back ain't too fat to bend!"

He avoided further acquaintance with the broom-handle, and, catching up his bucket of water, hove the contents in the bo'sun's face, then made a sprint for the poop, dodged the broom which the bo'sun threw, and returned the bucket as interest, cracking the bo'sun on the shin, and afterwards continuing at top speed to the poop.

The bo'sun arrived almost in the same instant, and Tommy Dodd would certainly have fared very badly but for the interference of the mate, who told him that he would deal with Tommy. Later, he gave orders privately to the bo'sun that he must ease up on the boy, or he, the mate, would have something to say in the matter.

Yet, in spite of the efforts of the first mate to keep Tommy out of serious trouble, the boy had several narrow escapes from real bodily injury, for the third mate and the bo'sun were by nature bullies, and the captain, though, as I have said, not a bad man, was very hasty-tempered and hard by nature, so that when all is said and done poor Tommy had a very rough and brutal time of it on the way out.

And hence, as I have hinted, Tommy's plot to avenge himself and the others, for it must not be supposed that he had any monopoly when rough treatment was being handed out. And of the plot and its workings you will have chance to judge, as you read on.

As Tommy himself put it: "I make a spiffing girl when I've the right togs on. I've acted often at home. You'll see if I don't fool 'em all!"

From now until the "Lady Hannibal" reached Melbourne there were long and secret conferences in the 'prentices' berth, or glory hole, during which the plan was fully matured. As James remarked:

"It should go off all right, you know. The skipper's an awful old fool over any girl he can get to talk to him, an' Tommy should be able to fetch him."

"The old man'll sure to want to kiss you, Tommy," said one of the 'prentices in the other watch. "What'll you do then?"

"I'll smack his face for him, good an' hard!" said Tommy, with gusto at the thought. "Guess I'll get square with him. And I'll fix the third mate, too. You'll see!"

When Melbourne was reached the 'prentices clubbed their spare cash, and thereafter took to frequenting milliners' and other shops dedicated to the daintying of woman.

At the conclusion of their purchases the whole six of the young rascals carted the bundles into the 'prentices' berth, and, having locked the door and covered the ports, Master Tommy Dodd went through an elaborate "trying-on."

At the end of his efforts, however, a queer silence possessed the glory hole; for Tommy, when finally dressed, from pretty shoes—which his slender feet and years allowed to be surprisingly small—to his mop of naturally curly, golden hair, made so dainty a girl that his fellow 'prentices felt all at once different towards him. He looked so like a girl. It was James who voiced the general feeling, when he said abruptly, "By George, youngster, you make a pretty girl!"

As James made the remark, there came a sharp rap on the berth door, and the voice of the third mate, demanding admittance. The lads looked from one to the other, in complete dismay; but Tommy perceived suddenly that the advent of the third mate might prove helpful, rather than otherwise; moreover, it was a good chance to test the efficiency of his disguise. And he whispered to the others to let the officer in quickly, before he began to suspect that something was up. This the lads now did, and the third mate burst in roughly, with a coarse remark, and looked suspiciously round. Then he saw the girl, standing demurely quiet by the table, and at sight of her quite extraordinary prettiness, he became suddenly so polite, that Tommy nearly burst out laughing. Instead, however, he took up his part in earnest, and looked at him with a primly disgusted look, that made the whole coarse bulk of the third mate abruptly realise itself, which cannot have been pleasant for him. Then Tommy turned to James, and said aloud, but in a nicely modulated voice:

"Well then, Mr. James, when you see my cousin, Mr. Dayrin, will you tell him, please, that his cousin, Jenny Dayrin, has been down to see him, and that I should like him to come up and spend a couple of days with us, if the captain will let him."

The third mate, staring foolishly at this dainty girl of apparently near seventeen years, realised suddenly that she must be cousin to Tommy Dodd, though he had forgotten, until that moment, that the youth was properly named Dayrin. He made a resolve that as soon as Tommy came aboard, he would be nice with him. He hoped that Tommy would not blacken him to this pretty girl, who called the youngest 'prentice "cousin," and had come down to invite him up, probably to some fine house. That was the worst of these beastly 'prentices, you never knew how to treat them, or where you had them, when you got into port—they had such swagger "people."

For his part, Tommy—as he explained to the others afterwards—had killed many birds with one stone. By the simple act of letting the third mate see him, as his supposed girl-cousin, he had slain at birth any suspicions which might afterwards have arisen at the likeness of the girl, Jenny, both in face and voice, to Tommy Dodd, the 'prentice. Further, he had insured a cessation of the third mate's bullying all the time that they were in port. He had also provided means whereby he could receive invitations—from himself—to spend the day ashore; and these invitations could be easily extended to the rest of the berth; for, as the girl-cousin Jenny, Tommy Dodd felt that be could easily persuade the captain to grant such relaxations as those he now proposed to himself. Later, as he hoped, he would see other means of utilising this new and delightful power which he had created. In the mean­while, the third mate—as Tommy had already grown to expect—was "toning down" to the others, and finally asked James, in a low voice, to introduce him to Miss Jenny. This was achieved, and the third mate laid himself out in a grotesque effort to make him­self agreeable to pretty Miss Dayrin; finally offering to show her round the vessel, which offer was accepted with demure quietness.

The third mate took the supposed girl around the poop, where the skipper was enjoying a stroll before going ashore for the evening. Here, seeing the chance of becoming introduced to the captain in his new char­acter, Tommy evinced a quite extraordinary interest in the wheel, during which the skipper—perceiving that the girl was exceedingly pretty—strolled up within hearing, and finally joined the third mate—much to that man's disgust—in explaining the action of the steering-gear.

"Then this is the thing that makes the ship turn round?" said Tommy, in his clear voice, and pitching it a little near its ordinary compass, for the edification of the five other 'prentices, whose faces he saw craned round the edge of the port stairway, where it came up to the poop deck.

"Yes," said the skipper, looking at her with approving eyes. "I can see you're a clever young lady."

Tommy was aware that the watching faces had suddenly disappeared, and that there were sounds of smothered laughter down on the main deck, as his five berthmates, scuttered—shaking with wicked joy—into the glory hole, there to enjoy to their hearts' content the idea of their old "tough" of a captain telling his youngest 'prentice that he was a clever young lady—that same Tommy whom he had booted scientifically and indelicately but a few hours earlier.

Up on the poop, the skipper was still deep in explanations, which presently began to bore Tommy frightfully; so that he remem­bered suddenly that he must hurry home to tea. At this the skipper actually beamed, and, with a polite bow, asked the young lady whether he could not persuade her to honour his table with her presence. And Tommy consented so to do honour unto his captain, by condescending, for the first time, to eat some of the cabin delicacies. Truly, as Tommy thought, "this is all right, but"—as he remembered his toilet—I mustn't eat too much."

Meanwhile, the captain had called the steward up on the poop, and was busy laying the foundations for such a tea as Master Tommy had not eaten for many a long day. "And," thought Tommy, as he harked, "I'll get even with the steward before I'm done for all the gubbins he's done us out of, and for all the short whacks of sugar, and for that time he sneaked to the skipper when we threw spuds at him." And, indeed, for many another crime against the glory hole; for the steward was a disagreeable man, and the high spirits of the 'prentices' berth, which culminated in the body of Tommy Dodd, had always excited his ire and spite. Therefore, was Tommy joyful in contemplation, the while that the skipper personally conducted the remainder of his tour round the ship, having told the disgusted third mate that he could go ashore any time he liked.

Presently they came to the glory hole, and the skipper indicated the interior of the berth through the open doorway.

"Where my young gentlemen live," he said, adopting somewhat of a parental attitude to the youngsters who inhabited that gloomy but lively abode.

He was not aware yet that Tommy was claimed as cousin by the pretty girl at his side, but when this was explained to him he adopted an attitude that was even more indicative of kindliness and benevolence, which rose a wicked idea in Tommy's mind.

"I should think you are a very kind captain to them," he said, in the most girlish way possible. And the captain spared not of emphasis to insure this point being fixed in the mind of his newly-found girl friend, for he saw that along such lines lay the way to her liking and favour.

Tommy—the girl—stepped in over the washboard, and all the 'prentices rose and uncapped.

"What a quaint little place!" said Tommy, parodying a remark of his sister's, which she had made when she came down in London to see the vessel in which her brother was to sail. "And do they sleep on all those shelves? How funny!" Then, as if the idea had come suddenly: "Oh, captain, couldn't we have tea in here? We could all have it together; it would be so homely. And if my cousin comes back, he could join in with us."

Tommy clapped his hands, as if in ecstasy at the thought, and looked up at the skipper, very nicely from under the longest lashes in the world—or so that elderly reprobate thought at the moment.

"I—er—well—er——" said the skipper confusedly, and with the beginnings of a little irritation, that somehow was held in check by the daintiness of Tommy's attitude of request. "I—er—think the cabin will be nicer, Miss Jenny, don't you?"

"Perhaps you're right, captain," said Tommy thoughtfully, with his head of golden curls a little on one side, pondering.

"More room, too," added the skipper, brightening, as the danger seemed to be passing—"much more room."

"Yea," said Tommy, nodding and peering round at the gloomy little berth. "This is a pokey little place. Why don't you make your young gentlemen live with you in the cabin, captain? Then the steward could look after them properly. And it would be so nice to have them all with you."

James, away in the corner of the glory hole, nearly choked; whilst the captain turned to the doorway and got out on deck, hoping thus to change the conversation, which was becoming a practical difficulty for a sea captain troubled with paternal and benevolent instincts towards his "young gentlemen."

"Tea'll be gettin' cold, Miss Jenny," he said, and held out a large hand to help Tommy, which the boy took, to assist him over the washboard. Then the boy turned and looked back into the berth. "Come along, all of you!" he said. "The captain says it will be nicer to have tea in the cabin, as there will be more room there. Be quick, the tea's getting cold! We'll all have a jolly tea together! Come on, captain!"—this last to the distracted skipper, who had halted, as if suddenly frozen, at finding this innocent but startling interpretation put upon his attempts at evading having to join his authority to the girl's suggestion to invite the whole berth to tea.

For their part, the five 'prentices stood as still and stupid as the skipper; but presently James terminated the suspense, by asking in so many words:

"Are we to come, sir?"

"Of course," said Tommy, laughing happily. "Didn't you hear the captain saying it would be nicer to have it in the cabin?"

But James still looked at the captain, who now saw that he could not possibly evade the invitation and still retain the high opinion which Miss Jenny had formed of him. He, therefore, with a fierce attempt to sound hearty, told the boys to follow, which they did, all more or less uneasy, because they understood perfectly the skipper's attitude in the matter, yet all of them wordless with astonishment and admiration at the way in which Master Tommy Dodd was "carrying it off."

As they all sat down round the cabin table, with the captain at the head, the steward finished setting out the additional tea-cups for the five lads. Tommy noticed the way in which he was doing it, and saw how to avenge the bitter disgust which was on the man's disagreeable face.

"Oh, steward," he cried out, in his clear voice, modulating the tone, so as to suggest only the astonishment of a daintily-nurtured girl, "you shouldn't put your fingers in the cups. And your hands are dirty, you know!"

The captain turned in his chair, and saw that Miss Jenny was only too correct. He had never noticed these details before, but now they seemed rank and dreadful before this pretty girl. He grew ashamed, through the action of his servant, and turned on him, his voice making the cabin ring.

"Steward," he roared, "go and wash yourself! Take all these cups, and bring clean ones! You're only fit for hog-feedin'!"

Tommy Dodd had scored one victory over an enemy of the berth.

Throughout the meal, as befits a privileged person, he ate cake only. He took moderate bites and little sips, and remembered in time that rigid but nameless article which held his small and muscular waist so stiffly. Because he remembered, he stopped in time!

All the weeks that the vessel was in port Tommy had the most glorious time. He received numberless invitations from himself, alias Miss Jenny Dayrin, which the captain allowed him to accept; for he could refuse nothing to the girl, who often paid him a visit on those days when Tommy had been allowed to accept an invitation ashore. This coincidence alone being sufficient to insure Tommy's never having a refusal of leave from the skipper. The berth also was invited on several occasions, much to the disgust of the third mate, who found himself excluded from such privileges; yet dared not vent his anger on Tommy, whom he suspected of having "told things" to the girl, lest, after all, he should be mistaken; for Miss Jenny took care not to drive him quite hopeless, but to utilise the situation to the best advantage, so as to punish the hulking brute as far as possible with the whip of jealousy, and yet to keep him hoping faintly, so that, in her more usual character as Tommy Dodd, she should have as free a time as possible from the bullying of that particular officer.

In time, the day came for the "Lady Hannibal" to sail for home, and the skipper paced the poop in an almost tearful mood, hoping to discover the figure of Miss Jenny on the wharf, waving a good-bye. Yet in this, as you may think, he was bound to be disappointed, as was the third mate, who now realised definitely that he had no more to gain from the friendship of Master Tommy, and therefore took the first opportunity of soundly kicking the boy. The assault of the third mate resulted in his getting rather hurt; for Tommy, desperate, pulled an iron pin from the wall, and hit the third mate on the head, stunning him for a moment. Then the first mate interfered, and sent Master Tommy into the berth, to be out of the way, warning him plainly to avoid the third.

A consultation was held in the berth, among the lads, and it was agreed that, all things being taken into account, Tommy had better do his disappearing trick without delay—that very night, in fact.

It was James who saw Tommy fall overboard, and gave the warning cry, which resulted in the vessel being hove-to for something like a couple of hours, whilst the boat plied round about in circles, trying to find the boy; naturally having to return without him, to the genuine grief of the first mate, and the sorrow of the third, who would like to have kicked Tommy soundly once more before his decease. However, it could not be helped, there were still left the five others, and he expended his sorrow conscientiously upon them.

And so the "Lady Hannibal" sailed onward—minus at last that bright spirit of mischief and pluck, Tommy Dodd!

Even as it was James who saw Tommy go, it was the same shameless lad who saw Miss Jenny Dayrin come; at least, he was the one who first drew attention to the soft and persistent knocking on the coamings of the main hatch, two days after Tommy had been lost overboard. They lifted a hatch-cover, and saw the pretty face of the girl, looking up brightly at them.

"I've got tired of being down here," she assured them happily, whilst the third mate nearly fell down the hatchway, in his astonishment, delight and surprise at this unexpected wonder from the gods.

News of the find was taken to the skipper, who blossomed suddenly with joy, and ran like a lad all the way to the hatch, where with his own hands he rigged a ladder to enable the dainty maid to ascend from the hold. And Tommy, thoroughly sick of the darkness, and able to have come up in a moment like any cat, had to fight down his impatience, and finally ascend in decorous fashion, with the third mate and the captain each vying with the other to give her much unnecessary assistance.

"I always meant to be a stowaway," she explained to the group of officers who now surrounded her. She looked at the captain. "I thought I'd come in your ship," she said sweetly. She held out a bundle. "See," she added, "I've brought some clothes, and there are some more down in that nasty place. Please, Mr. Third Mate, will you get them for me?" It was obvious that Tommy was enjoying himself, and that he had not been brought up with "elder sisters" for nothing!

Later, the captain took Miss Jenny the round of the cabins, so that she might take her choice. She chose the biggest, but remarked that it smelled fusty, at which—as Tommy had intended—the captain set the steward to scrub it out thoroughly, and wash the paintwork. Then, very well satisfied, Tommy returned to the poop, and sat languidly in the captain's deck-chair, whilst the captain and the third mate, rigged up a weather cloth to windward of him, to protect him from the wind.

Needless to say again, Tommy was enjoying himself. He enjoyed especially the efforts of the five other 'prentices to obtain surreptitious views of the poop deck. Finally, the third mate also became cognisant of these efforts, and went down on to the main deck to explain in his own fashion how unsuited they were to the manners of the "captain's young gentlemen."

Tommy, much trained by painful experience, had watched the departure of the third mate, and now listened keenly. Immediately afterwards, the sound of a scuffle, and a lad crying out, told him that the third mate was indulging his feet. The girl jumped from her chair, furious. Now she would reap the real reward of her position. She raced to the break of the poop, and looked down, and the skipper came quickly after her; for he, too, had heard the muffled sounds, and was perturbed by the swift action of this pretty maid, who was staring down now on to the main deck.

"Oh, you horrible, brutal man!" the skipper heard her say, in clear-cut, passionate tones of scorn, that could be heard fore and aft. "Fancy a great, ugly coward like you kicking a boy! I couldn't have believed it, if I hadn't seen it." She turned to the skipper. "Captain," she said, tensely, and looking very pale and likable, for Tommy was truly shaken with anger, "Captain, do you allow this sort of thing?" And the skipper, who had before now, as you know, been forced to interfere between the third and his victim, though hard himself of heart, found himself, in the position of the "paternal and benevolent" captain, forced to speak both didactically and morally. Moreover, he, himself, was very angry that the third mate should have brought about this scene. He stooped over the rail of the break, and looked down at the sullen and half-shamed third, where he stood, still holding the lad he had been hammering, whilst a little way off, waited a group of the 'prentices, looking tense and excited.

"Let go that boy, mister!" said the skipper. "I'm ashamed of you, Mister Davies. I won't have this sort of thing in my ship."

The third mate stared up furiously at the skipper. He felt that his superior was being gratuitously treacherous. Never before had the skipper posed as a stickler for tenderness to the boys.

"Go to blazes!" muttered the third mate, and flung the boy he held brutally against the hatch.

"Oh, captain!" said the girl's voice, shrill with horror and anger. And the man in the captain answered to the call; besides, he had been insulted before the girl. He came down the poop ladder in two jumps, his coat dropping on the bottom step.

"You need manners, mister," he said; and hit the third mate hard in the neck. Curiously, the girl on the poop gave out no scream at this fresh scene of brutality. She seemed to take a personal delight and zest in each heavy blow which the captain got home on the lumbering carcase of the third. Indeed, she danced excitedly from foot to foot.

"That's what he's been wanting! That's what he's been wanting!" she breathed ecstatically to herself, as the skipper laid the third flat with a strong punch in the face. And not an onlooker but echoed the thing in his heart. The third was certainly not beloved in the "Lady Hannibal," nor in any other ship where he had been allowed to make himself evident.

"Captain," said Miss Jenny, when the breathless, but triumphant, skipper returned to the poop, putting on his coat. "Captain, will you shake hands. That man deserved it." She held out her hand, and the skipper, a delighted conquering hero, grasped it, and shook warmly.

"I was afraid, Miss Jenny," he said, "you'd think I'd been a bit hard. But he needed it. I've had to speak to him before," he added virtuously.

"He certainly needed it," said Miss Jenny. "I'm sure you would never strike a defenceless boy." Tommy was thinking of that bucket the skipper had thrown, besides odd and sundry kicks received in person. But the skipper replied manfully:

"Never, miss." And, somehow the young lady pardoned him the lie without contempt. He had done her heart's desire that day, and she could forgive much.

It was the following morning that Miss Jenny learned the fate of Tommy, and returned from the 'prentices berth to the poop to play mourner to her own death. "What a dreadful thing, captain," she said. "And I believe the poor boy was driven to it by the brutality of the third mate. I can never sit at table again with that man. I shall always feel he is a murderer!"

And the skipper was sufficiently alarmed at this view of the matter, and his own possible responsibility in the case, not to remove any of the latter from the shoulders of the third mate; but made that much-hammered young man sit down later to his meals alone. Thus did Tommy go forward along the path of virtue, leaving vengeance unto those best able to dispense it.

In the meantime, he shifted his attention to considering the case of the bo'sun, who had been somewhat over-attentive in the days of Tommy's 'prenticeship.

Incidentally, while he was turning this matter over in his brain, he improved the condition of the 'prentices' berth by insisting on having his tea there every evening with the watch below, to which the reluctant captain found himself forced to give consent, and to add, privately, unusual dietary luxuries to the normal bill of fare of the glory hole, so that he should not fail to stand well with his young enchanter; Certainly the skipper was not coming off scot-free in the scheme of retribution which Master Tommy Dodd had introduced. As for the steward, he groaned in his soul, or his apology for that article, for in verity the boys in the 'prentices' berth were living almost as well as the cabin. Truly, Tommy Dodd was a great man!

One day, whilst Tommy and the skipper were pacing the poop together, the latter waxed paternal. Tommy had been speaking of the 'prentices—a common topic of his— for, when not with the captain, Miss Jenny was sure to be found in the 'prentices' berth.

"You mustn't let them boys be too free with you, Miss Jenny," said the captain.

"No," said Miss Jenny demurely.

"They've never—er—any of 'em tried to kiss you, or any nonsense o' that sort?" asked the skipper, a little hesitatingly.

"Never!" said Miss Jenny emphatically, which was in every way true.

"You just tell me, Miss Jenny, if anyone ever bothers you. I'll deal with 'em!" the captain assured her fervently. And Tommy thought he might venture to put the first spoke in the bo'sun's wheel.

"I—I don't like the bo'sun," said Tommy, in a shy voice. "He looks rudely at me," which was likely enough; for it is to be doubted whether the bo'sun had ever looked otherwise at any woman.

"I'll settle him—quick!" said the captain, and began to walk towards the break of the poop. "The dirty scum! I beg pardon, miss; but the very idea!"

"No," said Tommy simply, "don't touch him, please; but I do wish you'd make him clean out that pigsty forrard. It smells horridly whenever I go past. I've told him once. I told him he ought to get inside and clean it properly himself, instead of making the boys. Don't you think it's a man's work, captain? It needs such hard scrubbing, I should think. He was so rude when I told him."

"Come along forrid with me, miss," said the captain. "I'll just have a look at that pigsty. I'll learn him to so rude!"

The captain went forrard with the girl, and together they inspected the pigsty, Like most stys, it smelled on the "strong side"; but to the infatuated skipper this was sufficient. It smelled. He sent for the bo'sun, meaning to make the pigsty an excuse for letting off his wrath at the bo'sun because that man of tar and sin had dared even to look in the direction of his pretty companion.

"Get a bucket an' broom, smart now," said the skipper, harshly, when the man arrived. "Get some of the boys to fetch water along for you, an' give that sty a proper clean out. It's a disgrace to any ship, a foul, stinkin' thing like this. Makes the young lady sick every time she passes it. An' I don't wonder!"

The bo'sun glared angrily at the girl, for whom already he had achieved a strong antipathy; but he obeyed the skipper, in silence, for the skipper was a "tough," and notorious, at that, with his fists. When the water came, the man began to clean out the sty in the usual sailor-man fashion; that is, with buckets of salt water and a long-handled deck broom.

"Why don't you go in, bo'sun, like you make the boys?" asked Miss Jenny, quietly.

"You stow it, miss," said the bo'sun, nearly bursting. "You don't understand ship work, you don't!"

"Silence, you clod-foot" roared the skipper. "The lady's right; you get inside, an' do it on your hands and knees."

The bo'sun straightened up, and Tommy, to his joy, perceived that there was going to be bad trouble. The skipper saw it in the same moment, else he had never earned his title as a bucko, and he hit the bo'sun hard and solid in the wind, then bundled him, limp and gasping, into the iron-barred sty. He shouted to a man to go aft to the steward for a padlock, and with this he secured the iron-barred door, which closed the only entrance to the sty.

"Now, my lad," said the skipper, "I'll learn you to be civil; you stays in there, 'long o' the pigs, till you've scrubbed that sty out good on your hands and knees; an' if you wants water, here's water!" And he hove a dozen buckets of salt water over the cooped man.

And as Tommy went aft and ascended the poop ladder with the skipper, he heard the sounds of stifled mirth proceeding evidently from the 'prentices' berth, and be knew that joy reigned in the glory hole, for all the ship was aware that the skipper had locked the bo'sun in the pigsty.

From now onward, so far, at least, as the 'prentices were concerned, the voyage was very pleasant, for Miss Jenny held the skipper religiously to his "paternal and benevolent" attitude towards his "young gentlemen," whilst that same captain, though the father of a large family, grew daily more enamoured of his fair passenger. One morning, when the decks were being wet down, and Miss Jenny was paddling about gaily with bare feet in the cool water, the captain's affections got the better of his discretion, for having gallantly offered to hold Miss Jenny's shoes for her, whilst she sat and dried her feet, be so far forgot himself as to stoop quickly and kiss her "pretty toes," as he termed them.

At once Miss Jenny was all dignity, and rose from the captain's chair to display this new attribute to full advantage, being the better able to act with feeling because of the snigger from the man at the wheel that had followed the skipper's act.

"I'm ashamed of you, captain!" said Miss Jenny, with superb simpleness, and, taking her shoes from his now limp hand, she descended to the cabin.

"I'd said I'd make him," said Tommy, righteously to himself, as he entered his cabin. "And I guess I'm square all round now."

It was on the day that the "Lady Hannibal" entered London docks that Miss Jenny took the captain on one side, as it were, and made known the plain, unvarnished truth.

"I'd not have told you at all, captain," she said, "for you've really been a brick, the way you hammered the third and the bo'sun, but I couldn't have you writing home to my people that I was drowned; besides there might be other complications. All the same, if you like to shake hands, and be friends, I'll not tell a soul, then no one can laugh at you. But I guess I got level with you all."

And the skipper, dumb with emotion of a strong and varied kind, shook hands, speechlessly, with this pretty girl, who assured him that she was Tommy Dodd, his youngest 'prentice.

"The other fellows will see about my chest, sir," said Tommy, "and I'll change into my ordinary togs ashore; then no one here'll know."

The skipper nodded, still silent; and Tommy went up out of the cabin.

"Lord!" muttered the skipper, maybe half an hour later. "Good Lord!" He scratched his rough head. "An' I kissed his blessed feet!"

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