Read CHAPTER XXV - THE “GYPSY” RETURNS of Uncle Terry A Story of the Maine Coast , free online book, by Charles Clark Munn, on

“How did ye like the prayer-meetin’?” asked Uncle Terry the next morning, as Albert stood watching him getting ready to start on his daily rounds. “Did the Widder Leach make ye feel ye was a hopeless sinner?”

“It was an interesting experience,” replied Albert, “and one I shall not soon forget.”

“Oh, it don’t do ’em no harm to git together an’ pray an’ sing, an’ most likely it divarts their minds from other troubles, but in my way o’ thinkin’, prayin’ is a good deal like a feller tryin’ to lift himself by his boot-straps. It encourages him some, but he don’t git much further.” Then, as if a load was on his mind, he added, “You haven’t thought o’ no way ter git me out o’ my scrape, hev ye?”

“I have thought a good deal about it,” replied Albert, “and the best way, it seems to me, is for you to go right to Frye and tell him you can’t afford to carry the case any further, and offer to pay whatever fee he sees fit to ask. You can tell him you will give up the case entirely, and ask him to return the proofs you want. I may decide to have a detective within hearing, so that if he refuses you these things, we can use the detective as a witness in a replevin suit. Most likely he will demand quite a sum, but it is best to pay it if we can get the proofs. I will advance money enough to cover what he is likely to ask. What I want you to do is to wait until he sends for more money; then come to me at once with the news.”

Uncle Terry looked at Albert a moment, and suddenly grasping his hand, exclaimed, “I can’t thank ye ’nough for yer offer to help me, but I kin say how sorry I am I distrusted ye at fust, and as long as I’ve a roof to cover my head, ye’r’ sure to find a welcome under it, an’ the latch-string allus out.”

“I thank you for your kindly words, Mr. Terry,” responded Albert, “and I am likely to avail myself of your invitation again before the summer is over. I expect my friends back to-day and must join them, but I assure you I would much prefer to stay here for the two weeks I have planned for my outing.”

“Ye won’t go till I see ye again, will ye?” asked Uncle Terry anxiously.

“No,” was the answer. “If the ‘Gypsy’ shows up to-day we will stay in the harbor to-night, and I should like to have you and Miss Telly visit her.” Then as the old man pushed off and pulled out of the cove with long slow strokes, Albert watched him with a new interest. “Poor old fellow,” he thought, “he is honest as the day is long, and has a heart of gold beneath his blunt speech. How hard he has to work for what he gets, and what a vile thing it was in Frye to rob him so!” When the old man was out of sight Albert strolled over to the village. On the outer side of the harbor, and opposite where the houses were, he came to some long rows of slat benches, and busy at work spreading split fish upon them was the old lady who had thanked the Lord so fervently at the prayer-meeting. As she noticed Albert she paused and stood looking at him curiously. “Good morning, madam,” he said as he neared her; “you have a nice day to dry your fish, haven’t you?”

“Yes, sir; the Lord’s bin good to me this summer,” she answered, still eyeing him, and added quickly, “you be the young man from Bosting that’s stopping with Uncle Terry, I consider? I seen ye at the meeting last night with Telly. Do you belong to the world’s people, or hev ye made yer callin’ and ’lection sure?”

It was rather a pointed query for so short an acquaintance, and Albert smiled. “I hope I have some chance of being saved at last,” he replied, “but tell me, why do you ask? Do I look wicked?”

“Looks be mainly deceivin’,” she answered, “but if your heart’s with the Lord, you’re sure o’ salvation.”

“You have a large lot of fish to care for, I see,” he replied, not wishing to discuss religion with this odd old lady, “and it must keep you busy.”

“I need it, for the winter’s comin’ an’ then there’s no work for me,” she answered sadly, resuming her labor, “I’m counted as one o’ the Lord’s poor then.”

Albert looked at the thin figure upon which hung a soiled and faded calico dress, and then at her white hair as she bent over her work, and the pitiful sight and the pathos of her words touched him. “If you are one of the Lord’s poor of this village,” he thought, “the Lord doesn’t do much for you!” Then going to her and taking a ten-dollar bill out of his pocket he said kindly, “Miss Terry told me a little about you, Mrs. Leach, and for her sake I’m going to ask you to do me a favor. Here is a little money, and please accept it as coming from the Lord.”

The old woman looked startled and as he held the money out, smiling kindly, her eyes filled with tears. “Your heart’s in the right place and the Lord’ll surely bless ye for yer goodness,” she said as she took it, and then Albert, bidding her good morning, walked away. He little realized how soon that crust of bread, cast upon the waters, would return and bless him.

For an hour he strolled around the harbor, watching the men at work on boats or fishing-gear, and sniffing the salt-sea odor of the ocean breeze, and then returned to the point and began sketching the lighthouse. He was absorbed in that when he heard a sharp whistle, and looking up, there was the “Gypsy” just entering the harbor. He ran to the cove where he had left his boat, and by the time the yacht was anchored, had pulled alongside. To his surprise no one was aboard but Frank. “Where are the rest of the boys?” he asked, as that young man grasped his boat. Frank laughed. “Well, just about now they are playing tennis and calling ‘fifteen love’ and ‘thirty love’ with a lot of girls down at Bar Harbor. The fact is, Bert,” he continued as Albert stepped aboard, “our gander cruise has come to an end. They ran into some girls they knew, and after that all the ‘Gypsy’ was good for was a place to eat and sleep in. I’ve run her up here and shall let you keep her with you until you get ready to go home. I’m going to cut stick for Bethlehem, and if I can get one of the girls to go with me, I may visit Sandgate.”

Albert laughed heartily. “Want to hear some one sing ‘Ben Bolt’ again?” he queried.

“Well, maybe,” replied Frank; “the fact of the matter is, the whole trip has gone wrong from the start. You know what I wanted, but as it couldn’t be, I did the next best thing and made up this party, and now the cruise has ended in a fizzle. The boys have got girl on the brain, and I am disgusted.”

“No girl on your brain,” observed Albert dryly.

“Well, that’s different,” was the evasive answer, and then he added suddenly, “By the way, where is the girl with the wonderful eyes you met here? What about girl on your brain?”

“Just now I imagine she’s helping her mother in the house,” answered Albert quietly; and then he added, “Well, what is the programme, and where are you going with the ’Gypsy’?”

“I want to be landed at the nearest port where I can reach a railroad,” answered Frank, “and then you can do as you please with her. My skipper will do your bidding.”

“What about the rest of the boys?” asked Albert.

“Well,” replied Frank, “you can run to Bar Harbor and dance with the girls until the rest want to come back, or you can do as you please. The ‘Gypsy’ is yours as long as you want her, after I’m ashore. I think I’ll run up to Bath and take the night train for the mountains, if there is one; if not, we will lie at Bath over night.”

“I must go ashore and leave word I am coming back,” said Albert; “the fact is, I’ve found a client in this Mr. Terry, and it’s an important matter.”

“So is the blue-eyed girl, I imagine,” observed Frank with a droll smile. When the irrepressible owner of the ‘Gypsy’ had deserted her, Albert returned to the Cape and remained there for a week. How many little trips he induced his new-found friends to take on her during that time, how much gossip it created in the village, and how many happy hours he and Telly passed together, need not be told. The last day but one of his stay he invited everybody at the Cape, old or young, to go out on a short cruise, and nearly all accepted. Mrs. Leach, however, did not come, and when Albert asked Telly the reason she answered quietly, “It’s because the poor old soul is ashamed of her clothes.”

When the morning of his departure came Uncle Terry said, “I hope we’ll see ye soon, Mr. Page, and ye’r’ sure of a welcome here, so don’t forget us,” and then he pulled away on his daily round to his traps.

As it happened, when Albert was ready to start only Telly accompanied him to the cove where his boat was, and when she bade him good-by he noticed her voice trembled a little, and as he held her hand a moment, her face was turned away. When the yacht rounded the point she was there waving an adieu and remained there until lost from sight.