Young Si by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Mr. Bentley had just driven into the yard with the new
summer boarder. Mrs. Bentley and Agnes were peeping
at her from behind the parlour curtains with the
keen interest that they—shut in by their restricted farm
life—always felt in any visitor from the outside world
lying beyond their boundary of purple misted hills.
Mrs. Bentley was a plump, rosy-cheeked woman with
a motherly smile. Agnes was a fair, slim schoolgirl, as
tall as her mother, with a sweet face and a promise of
peach blossom prettiness in the years to come. The
arrival of a summer boarder was a great event in her
"Ain't she pretty?" whispered Mrs. Bentley admiringly,
as the girl came slowly up the green slope before
the house. "I do hope she's nice. You can generally
calculate on men boarders, but girls are doubtful. Preserve
me from a cranky boarder! I've had enough of
them. I kinder like her looks, though."
Ethel Lennox had paused at the front door as Mrs.
Bentley and Agnes came into the hall. Agnes gazed at
the stranger with shy, unenvious admiration; the latter
stood on the stone step just where the big chestnut by
the door cast flickering gleams and shadows over her
dress and shining hair.
She was tall, and gowned in some simple white
material that fell about her in graceful folds. She wore a
cluster of pale pink roses at her belt, and a big, picturesque
white hat shaded her face and the glossy, clinging
masses of her red hair—hair that was neither auburn
nor chestnut but simply red. Nor would anyone have
wished it otherwise, having once seen that glorious
mass, with all its wonderful possibilities of rippling
Her complexion was of that perfect, waxen whiteness
that goes with burnished red hair and the darkest
of dilated violet eyes. Her delicately chiselled features
wore what might have been a somewhat too decided
impress of spirit and independence, had it not been for
the sweet mouth, red and dimpled and curving, that
parted in a slow, charming smile as Mrs. Bentley came
forward with her kindly welcome.
"You must be real tired, Miss Lennox. It's a long
drive from the train down here. Agnes, show Miss
Lennox up to her room, and tea will be ready when
you come down."
Agnes came forward with the shy grace that always
won friends for her, and the two girls went slowly up
the broad, old-fashioned staircase, while Mrs. Bentley
bustled away to bring in the tea and put a goblet of
damask roses on the table.
"She looks like a picture, doesn't she, John?" she
said to her husband. "I never saw such a face—and
that hair too. Would you have believed red hair could
be so handsome? She seems real friendly—none of
your stuck-up fine ladies! I've had all I want of them, I
can tell you!"
"Sh—sh—sh!" said Mr. Bentley warningly, as Ethel
Lennox came in with her arm about Agnes.
She looked even more lovely without her hat, with
the soft red tendrils of hair lying on her forehead. Mrs.
Bentley sent a telegraphic message of admiration across
the table to her husband, who was helping the cold
tongue and feeling his way to a conversation.
"You'll find it pretty quiet here, Miss Lennox. We're
plain folks and there ain't much going and coming.
Maybe you don't mind that, though?"
"I like it. When one has been teaching school all the
year in a noisy city, quiet seems the one thing to be
desired. Besides, I like to fancy myself something of an
artist. I paint and sketch a little when I have time, and
Miss Courtland, who was here last summer, said I
could not find a more suitable spot. So I came because I
knew that mackerel fishing was carried on along the
shore, and I would have a chance to study character
among the fishermen."
"Well, the shore ain't far away, and it's pretty—though
maybe us folks here don't appreciate it rightly, being as
we're so used to it. Strangers are always going crazy
over its 'picturesqueness,' as they call it. As for 'character,'
I reckon you'll find all you want of that among the
Pointers; anyway, I never seed such critters as they be.
When you get tired of painting, maybe you can amuse
yourself trying to get to the bottom of our mystery."
"Oh, have you a mystery? How interesting!"
"Yes, a mystery—a mystery," repeated Mr. Bentley
solemnly, "that nobody hain't been able to solve so far.
I've give it up—so has everyone else. Maybe you'll
have better luck."
"But what is it?"
"The mystery," said Mr. Bentley dramatically, "is—Young
Si. He's the mystery. Last spring, just when the
herring struck in, a young chap suddenly appeared at
the Point. He appeared—from what corner of the globe
nobody hain't ever been able to make out. He bought a
boat and a shanty down at my shore and went into a
sort of mackerel partnership with Snuffy Curtis—Snuffy
supplying the experience and this young fellow the
cash, I reckon. Snuffy's as poor as Job's turkey; it was a
windfall for him. And there he's fished all summer."
"But his name—Young Si?"
"Well, of course, that isn't it. He did give himself out
as Brown, but nobody believes that's his handle—sounds
unnatteral here. He bought his establishment from 'old
Si,' who used to fish down there and was a mysterious
old critter in a way too. So when this young fellow
stepped in from goodness knows where, some of the
Pointers christened him Young Si for a joke, and he
never gets anything else. Doesn't seem to mind it. He's
a moody, keep-to-himself sort of chap. Yet he ain't
unpopular along shore, I believe. Snuffy was telling me
they like him real well, considering his unsociableness.
Anyways, he's as handsome a chap as I ever seed, and
well eddicated too. He ain't none of your ordinary
fishermen. Some of us kind of think he's a runaway—got
into some scrape or another, maybe, and is skulking
around here to keep out of jail. But wife here won't
give in to that."
"No, I never will," said Mrs. Bentley firmly. "Young
Si comes here often for milk and butter, and he's a
perfect gentleman. Nobody'll ever convince me that he
has done anything to be ashamed of, whatever's his
reason for wasting his life down there at that shore."
"He ain't wasting his life," chuckled Mr. Bentley.
"He's making money, Young Si is, though he don't
seem to care about that a mite. This has been a big year
for mackerel, and he's smart. If he didn't know much
when he begun, he's ahead of Snuffy now. And as for
work, I never saw his beat. He seems possessed. Up
afore sunrise every blessed morning and never in bed
till midnight, and just slaving away all between time. I
said to him t'other day, says I: 'Young Si, you'll have to
let up on this sort of thing and take a rest. You can't
stand it. You're not a Pointer. Pointers can stand anything,
but it'll kill you.'
"He give one of them bitter laughs of his. Says he:
'It's no difference if it does. Nobody'll care,' and off he
walks, sulky like. There's something about Young Si I
can't understand," concluded Mr. Bentley.
Ethel Lennox was interested. A melancholy, mysterious
hero in a setting of silver-rimmed sand hills and
wide blue sweeps of ocean was something that ought
to lend piquancy to her vacation.
"I should like to see this prince in disguise," she
said. "It all sounds very romantic."
"I'll take you to the shore after tea if you'd like," said
Agnes eagerly. "Si's just splendid," she continued in a
confidential aside as they rose from the table. "Pa doesn't
half like him because he thinks there's something queer
about him. But I do. He's a gentleman, as Ma says. I
don't believe he's done anything wrong."
Ethel Lennox sauntered out into the orchard to wait for
Agnes. She sat down under an apple tree and began to
read, but soon the book slipped from her hands and
the beautiful head leaned back against the grey, lichened
trunk of the old tree. The sweet mouth drooped
wistfully. There was a sad, far-away look in the violet
eyes. The face was not that of a happy girl, so thought
Agnes as she came down the apple tree avenue.
But how pretty she is! she thought. Won't the folks
around here stare at her! They always do at our boarders,
but we've never had one like her.
Ethel sprang up. "I had no idea you would be here
so soon," she said brightly. "Just wait till I get my
When she came out they started off, and presently
found themselves walking down a grassy, deep-rutted
lane that ran through mown hay fields, green with
their rich aftergrowth, and sheets of pale ripening oats
and golden-green wheat, until it lost itself in the rolling
sand hills at the foot of the slope.
Beyond the sand hills stretched the shining expanse
of the ocean, of the faint, bleached blue of hot August
seas, and reaching out into a horizon laced with long
trails of pinkish cloud. Numberless fishing boats dotted
the shimmering reaches.
"That furthest-off boat is Young Si's," said Agnes.
"He always goes to that particular spot."
"Is he really all your father says?" asked Miss Lennox
"Indeed, he is. He isn't any more like the rest of the
shore men than you are. He's queer, of course. I don't
believe he's happy. It seems to me he's worrying over
something, but I'm sure it is nothing wrong. Here we
are," she added, as they passed the sand hills and
came out on the long, level beach.
To their left the shore curved around in a semi-circle
of dazzling whiteness; at their right stood a small grey
"That's Young Si's place," said Agnes. "He lives
there night and day. Wouldn't it make anyone melancholy?
No wonder he's mysterious. I'm going to get his
spyglass. He told me I might always use it."
She pushed open the door and entered, followed by
Ethel. The interior was rough but clean. It was a small
room, lighted by one tiny window looking out on the
water. In one corner a rough ladder led up to the loft
above. The bare lathed walls were hung with fishing
jackets, nets, mackerel lines and other shore appurtenances.
A little stove bore a kettle and a frying pan. A low
board table was strewn with dishes and the cold remnants
of a hasty repast; benches were placed along the
walls. A fat, bewhiskered kitten, looking as if it were
cut out of black velvet, was dozing on the window sill.
"This is Young Si's cat," explained Agnes, patting
the creature, which purred joyously and opened its
sleepy green eyes. "It's the only thing he cares for, I
believe. Witch! Witch! How are you, Witch? Well, here's
the spyglass. Let's go out and have a look. Si's catching
mackerel," announced Agnes a few minutes later, after
she had scrutinized each boat in turn, "and he won't
be in for an hour yet. If you like, we have time for a
walk up the shore."
The sun slipped lower and lower in the creamy sky,
leaving a trail of sparkles that ran across the water and
lost itself in the west. Sea gulls soared and dipped, and
tiny "sand peeps" flitted along the beach. Just as the
red rim of the sun dipped in the purpling sea, the
boats began to come in.
"Most of them will go around to the Point," explained
Agnes, with a contemptuous sweep of her
hand towards a long headland running out before them.
"They belong there and they're a rough crowd. You
don't catch Young Si associating with the Pointers.
There, he's getting up sail. We'll just have time to get
back before he comes in."
They hurried back across the dampening sand as the
sun disappeared, leaving a fiery spot behind him. The
shore was no longer quiet and deserted. The little spot
where the fishing house stood had suddenly started
into life. Roughly clad boys were running hither and
thither, carrying fish or water. The boats were hauled
up on the skids. A couple of shaggy old tars, who had
strolled over from the Point to hear about Young Si's
catch, were smoking their pipes at the corner of his
shanty. A mellow afterlight was shining over sea and
shore. The whole scene delighted Ethel's artist eyes.
Agnes nudged her companion.
"There! If you want to see Young Si," she whispered,
pointing to the skids, where a busy figure was
discernible in a large boat, "that's him, with his back to
us, in the cream-coloured boat. He's counting out mackerel.
If you go over to that platform behind him, you'll
get a good look when he turns around. I'm going to
coax a mackerel out of that stingy old Snuffy, if I can."
She tripped off, and Ethel walked slowly over to the
boats. The men stared at her in open-mouthed admiration
as she passed them and walked out on the platform
behind Young Si. There was no one near the two.
The others were all assembled around Snuffy's boat.
Young Si was throwing out the mackerel with marvellous
rapidity, but at the sound of a footstep behind him
he turned and straightened up his tall form. They stood
face to face.
Young Si staggered back against the mast, letting
two silvery bloaters slip through his hands overboard.
His handsome, sunburned face was very white.
Ethel Lennox turned abruptly and silently and walked
swiftly across the sand. Agnes felt her arm touched,
and turned to see Ethel standing, pale and erect, beside
"Let us go home," said the latter unsteadily. "It is
very damp here—I feel chilled."
"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Agnes penitently. "I ought to
have told you to bring a shawl. It is always damp on
the shore after sunset. Here, Snuffy, give me my mackerel.
Thank you. I'm ready now, Miss Lennox."
They reached the lane before Agnes remembered to
ask the question Ethel dreaded.
"Oh, did you see Young Si? And what do you think
Ethel turned her face away and answered with studied
carelessness. "He seems to be quite a superior
fisherman so far as I could see in the dim light. It was
very dusky there, you know. Let us walk a little faster.
My shoes are quite wet."
When they reached home, Miss Lennox excused herself
on the plea of weariness and went straight to her
Back at the shore Young Si had recovered himself and
stooped again to his work. His face was set and expressionless.
A dull red burned in each bronzed cheek. He
threw out the mackerel mechanically, but his hands
Snuffy strolled over to the boat. "See that handsome
girl, Si?" he asked lazily. "One of the Bentleys' boarders,
I hear. Looks as if she might have stepped out of a
picture frame, don't she?"
"We've no time to waste, Curtis," said Young Si
harshly, "with all these fish to clean before bedtime.
Stop talking and get to work."
Snuffy shrugged his shoulders and obeyed in silence.
Young Si was not a person to be trifled with. The
catch was large and it was late before they finished.
Snuffy surveyed the full barrels complacently.
"Good day's work," he muttered, "but hard—I'm
dead beat out. 'Low I'll go to bed. In the name o'
goodness, Si, whar be you a-goin' to?"
Young Si had got into a dory and untied it. He made
no answer, but rowed out from the shore. Snuffy stared
at the dory blankly until it was lost in the gloom.
"Ef that don't beat all!" he ejaculated. "I wonder if Si
is in his right senses? He's been actin' quar right along,
and now to start off, Lord knows whar, at this hour o'
night! I really don't believe it's safe to stay here alone
Snuffy shook his unkempt head dubiously.
Young Si rowed steadily out over the dark waves.
An eastern breeze was bringing in a damp sea fog that
blurred darkly over the outlines of horizon and shore.
The young fisherman found himself alone in a world of
water and grey mist. He stopped rowing and leaned
forward on his oars.
"To see her here, of all places!" he muttered. "Not a
word, scarcely a look, after all this long heartbreak!
Well, perhaps it is better so. And yet to know she is so
near! How beautiful she is! And I love her more than
ever. That is where the sting lies. I thought that in this
rough life, amid all these rude associations, where nothing
could remind me of her, I might forget. And now—"
He clenched his hands. The mist was all around and
about him, creeping, impalpable, phantom-like. The
dory rocked gently on the swell. From afar came the
low persistent murmur of the ocean.
The next day Ethel Lennox declined to visit Si's shore.
Instead she went to the Point and sketched all day. She
went again the next day and the next. The Point was
the most picturesque part of the shore, she averred, and
the "types" among its inhabitants most interesting.
Agnes Bentley ceased to suggest another visit to Si's
shore. She had a vague perception that her companion
did not care to discuss the subject.
At the end of a week Mrs. Bentley remarked: "What
in the world can have happened to Young Si? It's a
whole week since he was here for milk or butter. He
ain't sick, is he?"
Mr. Bentley chuckled amusedly.
"I 'low I can tell you the reason of that. Si's getting
his stuff at Walden's now. I saw him going there twice
this week. 'Liza Walden's got ahead of you at last,
"Well, I never did!" said Mrs. Bentley. "Well, Young
Si is the first that ever preferred 'Liza Walden's butter
to mine. Everyone knows what hers is like. She never
works her salt half in. Well, Young Si's welcome to it,
I'm sure; I wish him joy of his exchange."
Mrs. Bentley rattled her dishes ominously. It was
plain her faith in Young Si had received a severe shock.
Upstairs in her room, Ethel Lennox, with a few
undried tears glistening on her cheeks, was writing a
letter. Her lips were compressed and her hand trembled:
"I have discovered that it is no use to run away from
fate," she wrote. "No matter how hard we try to elude
it, and how sure we are that we have succeeded, it will
rise and meet us where we least expect it. I came down
here tired and worn out, looking for peace and rest—and
lo! the most disquieting element of my life is here
to confront me.
"I'm going to confess, Helen. 'Open confession is
good for the soul,' you know, and I shall treat myself
to a good dose while the mood is on.
"You know, of course, that I was once engaged to
Miles Lesley. You also know that that engagement was
broken last autumn for unexplained reasons. Well, I
will tell you all about it and then mail this letter speedily,
before I change my mind.
"It is over a year now since Miles and I first became
engaged. As you are aware, his family is wealthy, and
noted for its exclusiveness. I was a poor school teacher,
and you may imagine with what horror his relatives
received the news of Miles's attentions to one whom
they considered his inferior. Now that I have thought
the whole matter over calmly, I scarcely blame them. It
must be hard for aristocratic parents who have lavished
every care upon a son, and cherished for him the
highest hopes, when he turns from the women of his
own order to one considered beneath him in station.
But I did not view the subject in this light then; and
instead of declining his attentions, as I perhaps should
have done, I encouraged them—I loved him so dearly,
Nell!—and in spite of family opposition, Miles soon
openly declared his attachment.
"When his parents found they could not change his
purpose, their affection for him forced them into outward
acquiescence, but their reluctant condescension
was gall and wormwood to me. I saw things only from
my own point of view, and was keenly sensitive to
their politely concealed disapprobation, and my offended
vanity found its victim in Miles. I belonged to the class
who admit and resent slights, instead of ignoring them,
as do the higher bred, and I thought he would not see
those offered to me. I grew cold and formal to him. He
was very patient, but his ways were not mine, and my
manner puzzled and annoyed him. Our relations soon
became strained, and the trifle necessary for an open
quarrel was easily supplied.
"One evening I went to a large At Home given by
his mother. I knew but few and, as Miles was necessarily
busy with his social duties to her guests, I was, after
the first hurried greeting, left unattended for a time.
Not being accustomed to such functions, I resented
this as a covert insult and, in a fit of jealous pique, I
blush to own that I took the revenge of a peasant maid
and entered into a marked flirtation with Fred Currie,
who had paid me some attention before my engagement.
When Miles was at liberty to seek me, he found
me, to all appearances, quite absorbed in my companion
and oblivious of his approach. He turned on his
heel and went away, nor did he come near me the rest
of the evening.
"I went home angry enough, but so miserable and
repentant that if Miles had been his usual patient self
when he called the following evening I would have
begged his forgiveness. But I had gone too far; his
mother was shocked by my gaucherie, and he was
humiliated and justly exasperated. We had a short,
bitter quarrel. I said a great many foolish, unpardonable
things, and finally I threw his ring at him. He gave
me a startled look then, in which there was something
of contempt, and went away without another word.
"After my anger had passed, I was wretchedly unhappy.
I realized how unworthily I had acted, how
deeply I loved Miles, and how lonely and empty my
life would be without him. But he did not come back,
and soon after I learned he had gone away—whither
no one knew, but it was supposed abroad. Well, I
buried my hopes and tears in secret and went on with
my life as people have to do—a life in which I have
learned to think, and which, I hope, has made me
nobler and better.
"This summer I came here. I heard much about a
certain mysterious stranger known as 'Young Si' who
was fishing mackerel at this shore. I was very curious.
The story sounded romantic, and one evening I went
down to see him. I met him face to face and, Helen, it
was Miles Lesley!
"For one minute earth, sky and sea reeled around
me. The next, I remembered all, and turned and walked
away. He did not follow.
"You may be sure that I now religiously avoid that
part of the shore. We have never met since, and he has
made no effort to see me. He clearly shows that he
despises me. Well, I despise myself. I am very unhappy,
Nell, and not only on my own account, for I
feel that if Miles had never met me, his mother would
not now be breaking her heart for her absent boy. My
sorrow has taught me to understand hers, and I no
longer resent her pride.
"You need hardly be told after this that I leave here
in another week. I cannot fabricate a decent excuse to
go sooner, or I would."
In the cool twilight Ethel went with Agnes Bentley to
mail her letter. As they stopped at the door of the little
country store, a young man came around the corner. It
was Young Si. He was in his rough fishing suit, with a
big herring net trailing over his shoulder, but no disguise
could effectually conceal his splendid figure. Agnes
sprang forward eagerly.
"Si, where have you been? Why have you never I
been up to see us for so long?"
Young Si made no verbal reply. He merely lifted his
cap with formal politeness and turned on his heel.
"Well, I never!" exclaimed Agnes, as soon as she
recovered her powers of speech. "If that is how Young
Si is going to treat his friends! He must have got offended
at something. I wonder what it is," she added,
her curiosity getting the better of her indignation.
When they came out they saw the solitary figure of
Young Si far adown, crossing the dim, lonely shore
fields. In the dusk Agnes failed to notice the pallor of
her companion's face and the unshed tears in her eyes.
"I've just been down to the Point," said Agnes, coming
in one sultry afternoon about a week later, "and Little
Ev said as there was no fishing today he'd take us out
for that sail tonight if you wanted to go."
Ethel Lennox put her drawing away listlessly. She
looked pale and tired. She was going away the next
day, and this was to be her last visit to the shore.
About an hour before sunset a boat glided out from
the shadow of the Point. In it were Ethel Lennox and
Agnes, together with Little Ev, the sandy-haired, undersized
Pointer who owned the boat.
The evening was fine, and an off-shore breeze was
freshening up rapidly. They did not notice the long,
dark bank of livid cloud low in the northwest.
"Isn't this glorious!" exclaimed Ethel. Her hat was
straining back from her head and the red rings of her
hair were blowing about her face.
Agnes looked about her more anxiously. Wiser in
matters of sea and shore than her companion, there
were some indications she did not like.
Young Si, who was standing with Snuffy their
skids, lowered his spyglass with a start.
"It is Agnes Bentley and—and—that boarder of
theirs," he said anxiously, "and they've gone out with
Little Ev in that wretched, leaky tub of his. Where are
their eyes that they can't see a squall coming up?"
"An' Little Ev don't know as much about managing
a boat as a cat!" exclaimed Snuffy excitedly. "Sign 'em
to come back."
Si shook his head. "They're too far out. I don't know
that the squall will amount to very much. In a good
boat, with someone who knew how to manage it, they'd
be all right. But with Little Ev—" He began walking
restlessly up and down the narrow platform.
The boat was now some distance out. The breeze
had stiffened to a slow strong wind and the dull-grey
level of the sea was whipped into white-caps.
Agnes bent towards Ethel. "It's getting too rough. I
think we'd better go back. I'm afraid we're in for a
thunder squall. Look at the clouds."
A long, sullen muttering verified her words.
"Little Ev," she shouted, "we want to go in."
Little Ev, thus recalled to things about him, looked
around in alarm. The girls questioned each other with
glances of dismay. The sky had grown very black, and
the peals of thunder came louder and more continuously.
A jagged bolt of lightning hurtled over the horizon.
Over land and sea was "the green, malignant
light of coming storm."
Little Ev brought the boat's head abruptly round as a
few heavy drops of rain fell.
"Ev, the boat is leaking!" shrieked Agnes, above the
wind. "The water's coming in!"
"Bail her out then," shouted Ev, struggling with the
sail. "There's two cans under the seat. I've got to lower
this sail. Bail her out."
"I'll help you," said Ethel.
She was very pale, but her manner was calm. Both
girls bailed energetically.
Young Si, watching through the glass, saw them. He
dropped it and ran to his boat, white and resolute.
"They've sprung a leak. Here, Curtis, launch the
boat. We've got to go out or Ev will drown them."
They shot out from the shore just as the downpour
came, blotting out sea and land in one driving sheet of
"Young Si is coming off for us," said Agnes. "We'll
be all right if he gets here in time. This boat is going to
Little Ev was completely demoralized by fear. The
girls bailed unceasingly, but the water gained every
minute. Young Si was none too soon.
"Jump, Ev!" he shouted as his boat shot alongside.
"Jump for your life!"
He dragged Ethel Lennox in as he spoke. Agnes
sprang from one boat to the other like a cat, and Little
Ev jumped just as a thunderous crash seemed to burst
above them and air and sky were filled with blue flame.
The danger was past, for the squall had few difficulties
for Si and Snuffy. When they reached the shore,
Agnes, who had quite recovered from her fright, tucked
her dripping skirts about her and announced her determination
to go straight home with Snuffy.
"I can't get any wetter than I am," she said cheerfully.
"I'll send Pa down in the buggy for Miss Lennox.
Light the fire in your shanty, Si, and let her get dry. I'll
be as quick as I can."
Si picked Ethel up in his strong arms and carried her
into the fish-house. He placed her on one of the low
benches and hurriedly began to kindle a fire. Ethel sat
up dazedly and pushed back the dripping masses of
her bright hair. Young Si turned and looked down at
her with a passionate light in his eyes. She put out her
cold, wet hands wistfully.
"Oh, Miles!" she whispered.
Outside, the wind shook the frail building and tore
the shuddering sea to pieces. The rain poured down. It
was already settling in for a night of storm. But, inside,
Young Si's fire was casting cheery flames over the rude
room, and Young Si himself was kneeling by Ethel
Lennox with his arm about her and her head on his
broad shoulder. There were happy tears in her eyes
and her voice quivered as she said, "Miles, can you
forgive me? If you knew how bitterly I have repented—"
"Never speak of the past again, my sweet. In my
lonely days and nights down here by the sea, I have
forgotten all but my love."
"Miles, how did you come here? I thought you were
"I did travel at first. I came down here by chance,
and resolved to cut myself utterly adrift from my old
life and see if I could not forget you. I was not very
successful." He smiled down into her eyes. "And you
were going away tomorrow. How perilously near we
have been to not meeting! But how are we going to
explain all this to our friends along shore?"
"I think we had better not explain it at all. I will go
away tomorrow, as I intended, and you can quietly
follow soon. Let 'Young Si' remain the mystery he has
"That will be best—decidedly so. They would never
understand if we did tell them. And I daresay they
would be very much disappointed to find I was not a
murderer or a forger or something of that sort. They
have always credited me with an evil past. And you
and I will go back to our own world, Ethel. You will be
welcome there now, sweet—my family, too, have
learned a lesson, and will do anything to promote my
Agnes drove Ethel Lennox to the station next day.
The fierce wind that had swept over land and sea
seemed to have blown away all the hazy vapours and
oppressive heats in the air, and the morning dawned
as clear and fresh as if the sad old earth with all her
passionate tears had cleansed herself from sin and stain
and come forth radiantly pure and sweet. Ethel bubbled
over with joyousness. Agnes wondered at the
change in her.
"Good-bye, Miss Lennox," she said wistfully. "You'll
come back to see us some time again, won't you?"
"Perhaps," smiled Ethel, "and if not, Agnes, you
must come and see me. Some day I may tell you a
About a week later Young Si suddenly vanished, and
his disappearance was a nine-day's talk along shore.
His departure was as mysterious as his advent. It leaked
out that he had quietly disposed of his boat and shanty
to Snuffy Curtis, sent his mackerel off and, that done,
slipped from the Pointers' lives, never more to re-enter
Little Ev was the last of the Pointers to see him tramping
along the road to the station in the dusk of the
autumn twilight. And the next morning Agnes Bentley,
going out of doors before the others, found on the
doorstep a basket containing a small, vociferous black
kitten with a card attached to its neck. On it was
written: "Will Agnes please befriend Witch in memory
of Young Si?"