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A Sailor's Lass by Emma Leslie

Coomber laid down the jacket she was patching


"But where is your own mammy, who taught you to say your prayers?" asked Mrs. Coomber.

The tears came into the sweet blue eyes for a minute as she said, "See dorn up dere, to tay in Dod's house, and Tiny do too if see a dood dal."

Mrs. Coomber laid down the jacket she was patching, and kissed the serious little face. "Is your mother dead, my deary?" she asked, while the tears shone in her own eyes.

"See done to see daddy, and tell him about Tiny," answered the child; from which Mrs. Coomber gathered that mother and father were both dead; and when her husband came home she told him what she had heard, which seemed to afford the old fisherman a good deal of satisfaction.

"Then she's ours safe enough, mother," he said, rubbing his hands, "and when she gets well she'll toddle about the old boat like our own little Polly did."

"But I thought you said Peters was going to see the newspaper man to tell him to put something in the _Stamford Mercury_ about finding her, so that her friends should know she was saved, and come and fetch her."

"I said her mother or father," interrupted Coomber, sharply; "but if they're dead, there ain't anybody else likely to want such a little 'un, and so we may keep her, I take it. But Peters shall go to the newspaper man, never fear," added Coomber; "I don't want to rob anybody of the little 'un; but if nobody don't come in a week, why then, Mary----" and Coomber paused, and looked at his wife.

"Well, then, I'll get out little Polly's things; they'll just about fit her," said Mrs. Coomber, hastily wiping her eyes with her apron for fear her husband should reproach her again for her tears.

When the boys came in, the little girl said, shyly, "Tome and tell me about the nets."

Dick looked at her, and then at his mother.

"What does she mean?" he asked, drawing near the little bed where Tiny lay.

"She wants to know about the fishing," said Mrs. Coomber. "Have you had a good take, Dick?" asked his mother, rather anxiously, for she wanted some more milk for Tiny, and her little secret store of halfpence was gone now.

"Oh, it ain't much," said Dick; "Bob has taken a few plaice to Fellness, and I dessay he'll bring back some bread or some flour."

"But I want some milk for the child; she can't eat bread and fish and potatoes now she's ill. Couldn't you run up to the farm, Dick, and ask Mrs. Hayes if she wants a bit o' fish, and I'll be thankful for a drop o' milk for it."

But Dick looked dubious. "I'd like to go," he said, "if it was only to have a word with Harry Hayes, and ask him about his rabbits; but father don't like the farm people now, and he said I was never to speak to them. You know they've had a quarrel."


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