King o' the Beach Part 12

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"Very well, but I believe I know."

"Not you, my lad. I tell you I'm going to make an out-and-out good job of it."

"Keeping it back so as not to go till I'm well enough to go too. That's why," said Carey, and he looked at the old sailor searchingly, and tried to catch his eye, the one that was open, the other being close shut.

But it was impossible, for Bostock made believe to have great difficulty in hitting that nail exactly on the head, and hammered away with all his might.

"Now then, are you going to own it, sir?" cried Carey.

Bostock gave seven or eight final blows with the hammer as if he were performing on an old-fashioned knocker, and finished off with a final bang, before turning round, and with both eyes open now he said defiantly:

"Own up, sir? No, I aren't, but there, she's finished now."

"Quite ready to go into the water?" said Carey.

"Yes," said the old fellow, bluntly; "she'd bear us and a load o' bricks if we had 'em."

"And that's why you've kept her back," said Carey, half-mockingly, but with a choking sensation in his throat--due to weakness perhaps.

"I aren't going to say naught," said the old fellow, gruffly.

"But you haven't polished her."

"No; I aren't," said Bostock, and he began to gather up his tools.

"But you can't be proud of such a rough thing as that."

Carey laughed at the queer look the old fellow gave.

"There," he cried, "didn't I say you were making believe?"

"Nay, that you didn't, sir. I never heard you."

"Here's Doctor Kingsmead coming up."

"Here, I say, don't you say a word to him, my lad," cried the old sailor in an anxious whisper.

"Will you own to it then?"

"Nay, that I won't," came in a growl.

"Here, doctor," cried Carey, loudly.

"Yes, what is it?"

"Oh, Master Carey, don't tell on a fellow," whispered Bostock.

"You're just in time. The raft's done. Bostock has just driven in the last nail."

"Glad to hear it," said the doctor. "Then I suppose we may get her into the water to-morrow."

"Yes, sir, she'll do now," growled the old sailor.

"That's right," said the doctor. "Look here, Carey, my lad, we'll try how she rides in the water to-morrow, and if she's all right, I think we might swing you down in a chair from a block, and you might go with us, for you need not exert yourself in the least. You would sit in the chair."

"Yes," cried the boy, eagerly. "I feel sure it wouldn't hurt me a bit."

"What do you say, Bostock? Could we manage?"

"That we could, sir; wrap him up and drop him down so as we shouldn't disturb a fly on him."

"Then we'll try," said the doctor, to the boy's great delight.

A few minutes later Bostock watched for his chance when the doctor had gone below, and went up to Carey's chair.

"Thought you was going to split on me, sir," he whispered.

"Then I was right?" said Carey.

"Well, what was the good o' us going and leaving you behind, my lad?

You wouldn't ha' liked that?"

"No," said the boy, drawing a deep breath, as he looked half-wonderingly at the rough old sailor, and thought something about good-heartedness and kindly thought, as he said aloud:

"No, Bob, I don't think I should have liked that."


The raft was not launched the next morning, and Bostock did not even begin to make preparations with the blocks and pulleys for getting it over the side.

Carey was rather restless when he went to bed, the thought of the coming change and the idea of gliding over the smooth waters of the lagoon producing in his still weak state enough excitement to keep him awake for hours, so that it was well on towards morning before he went off soundly to sleep; but when he was once off he slept as if he meant to indulge himself for eight-and-forty hours.

"Hullo!" he cried when he awoke, "anything the matter?"

For he found the doctor sitting reading close to his berth.

"Matter? No, I hope not," replied the doctor, closing his book. "Had a good rest?"

"Yes, I have been sound asleep. What made you call me so early?"

"Early, eh? What time do you suppose it is?"

Carey glanced towards the round window, which looked dim and grey, and the cabin quite gloomy.

"I don't know," he said. "Close upon sunrise, I suppose."

"Close upon mid-day. Don't you hear the rain?"

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King o' the Beach Part 12 summary

You're reading King o' the Beach. This manga has been translated by Updating. Author(s): George Manville Fenn. Already has 190 views.

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