WE have been trying to sell our dory. We do not expect to need it when we go where there is no water in the form of ponds or oceans, and we do not feel that we care to preserve Marthy Lizabuth simply as a souvenir. When we bought it the man who sold it to us said it was the best dory on the whole coast. There wasn't no such a craft anywhere in North America. It would go itself, and even women would find it hard work to tip it over. It was not new; it had been used two seasons, but that made it more valuable. "Why," said the man with whom we were bargaining, "I'd ruther hev a dory that had been in service; and I wouldn't tell you so if 't wa'n't so. A dory is like a horse: it's better after it's broke in some. You bein' women so, I'd tell ye if this boat had no outs. It ain't got no outs. If you was men, I might try a dodge with ye, but you don't ketch me to have no bargains with women that ain't square 'n' above-board. I ain't that kind of a feller. You need n't buy this dory now. Think it over. Ask men. There's Cap'n Asel this minute. Ask him. If ever a man knew 'bout dories, he's the man."

We turned, and there was Cap'n Asel stumping along toward the wharf on Salt Pond, where we stood.

We did not think that we had ever met with such candor, such transparent honesty, as belonged to the owner of this dory. At his request, Cap'n Asel laboriously examined the boat, and finally announced that if we got that dory at the price charged for it, we should get it cheap as a herrin'. We knew nothing whatever about the sum the dory ought to cost; but where should we find honor more undiluted than here? We did not know as much then, soon after our arrival at the South Shore, as we do now. We bought the dory and paid for it then and there. We exultingly told Marsh Yates and his wife about our purchase; they said we had paid three times too much, and Marsh even exerted himself to go out of his way to give the man a blowin'-up. "It don't do no good," he told me afterward, "only relieves my feelin's. And old Cap'n Asel got seventy-five cents for sayin' what he did. He 's done that kind o' thing to greenhorns afore, 'n' ef he wa'n't lame I'd flog him. Cap'n Asel's a mean kind of a cuss, any way. There he is now. How a feller with crutches can be everywhere to once passes me."

This was when we bought the dory. Now, as the time approaches for our departure, we wish to sell, and we have just been to the man of whom we purchased. We offered the boat for two thirds of the sum we paid, and we had spent a dollar and a half for repairs within two days after it became ours.

The man was extremely indifferent. He straddled about, and pushed the dory, and finally said he guessed he did n't want to buy. "'T was comin' winter, 'n'he had more dories 'n he wanted now." We asked him to make us an offer. Of course he knew as well as we did that we must get rid of it at some price. As we walked down to the wharf, my friend and I had agreed to accept any sum, and consider the whole transaction a dead loss; save that no one could cheat us out of the delightful hours we had spent in that old craft on the pond. We chose now to look at the boat's occasional bad behavior in the rosy light of the past.

"The long and the short of it is," said the man, "this ere dory's about the poorest one there is on the ridge."

"Two months ago," said Carlos, "you told us it was the best dory in North America."

The fellow grinned.

"Oh, wall," he responded, "you've ben a-usin' it ever sence, ain't ye? And women is awful hard on dories. If a man hed hed this, ye see, I could afford to give a little suthin' for it. Any way, I sh'll hev to keep it over till next spring. What do you calkilate it 's wuth? As I said, folks is mighty shy of buyin' boats as hev belonged to women folks. I d' know why 't is. But it's a fact. The fishermen say round here that any kind of craft as has ben owned by females gits onreliable, kind of. It'll be a dead loss to me if I buy this ere. But I should like to commydate ye. What do ye call it wuth?" he repeated.

Again we told him to make us an offer. After stepping clumsily back and forth on the wharf, and chewing several spears of salt hay, this creature finally mentioned a sum so small that, even with all this preamble, it amazed us. But what could we do? I hate to despise any one as I despised him. My friend and I interrogated each other silently, with this result. I amazed the man by telling him the dory was his. I saw his little cunning eyes sparkle with triumph. My feeling may have been very unfeminine, but I longed for the satisfaction of kicking him, or of seeing some one else kick him. We turned away; but Carlos went back. She said afterward that she had never before known what it was to want to scratch any one, and that she knew then what a cat sometimes feels.

"I wish to tell you, Mr. Tolman," she said, "that we intend to come down here every year for years; and we shall have a dory each year. If you had only cheated us reasonably this time, you would have had a chance to cheat us each season. We know you are a mean old man, and we 'll tell every stranger what you are."

Mr. Tolman flushed somewhat under his grizzled beard, which grew nearly to his eyes. He took up his fifth salt straw to masticate, and as he walked off we heard him say that "'t was comin' winter, 'n' he sh'd lose money on that dory, best he c'd do."

"The scamp!" cried Carlos hotly. "I'm glad I spoke the truth to him."

"It has n't done him any good," I said.

"It has done me good, which is more to the purpose," was her answer. "Next season we 'll put our money in a steam launch. We shouldn't spend much more."

Since this transaction we have heard that Mr. Tolman has sold the boat the second time, for half the sum we gave him first. The purchaser is a man who means to use it as a help in shooting coots in September. Probably when the gunning time is over old Tolman will buy it back again, and have it ready for another sale next summer. We wished that we might know whether this dory proved particularly unreliable, or whether it had escaped the consequence of our ownership.

This incident revived our old dislike of Cap'n Asel, whom of course we met on our way back to the tent. He stopped us, and began to tell how Maria Jane was a-fightin' agin Providunce. She would n't see the minister from over on the road. The minister called there this mornin', 'n' Maria shet the door on him. She told him she had n't no call for ministers; they could n't git Marsh alive agin. She did n't want nothin' but her husband, and him she could n't have. She's jest ben a-settin' there ever sence the funeril.

Here Cap'n Asel interrupted himself to ask if we did n't think 't was an uncommon good funeril. He thought it was good, though the widder had n't taken on as he had expected; she seemed kinder like as if she was froze. Did we think she took it as hard as them that cried a good deal?

We hurried along, and tried to get rid of him; but his crutches swung him beside us. His leather face looked more alive than I had ever seen it. He had been absolutely enjoying the awfulness of the death of Marsh Yates and the suddering of the widow; this enjoyment had been so great as to put a trifle of animation into even his countenance. I did not know but he would wink at me as a sign of mutual satisfaction between us, and I felt as if I could not speak civilly to him, and could not endure his presence a moment longer.

We were near the Yates house on the ridge, and turned abruptly away from our companion. He shouted after us to say he "b'lieved we'd sold our dory, and did we git a good price for it?" but we gave him no reply.

We hesitated somewhat before we entered this house which had given us shelter on our first night at Stony Beach. There was the mermaid in her shabby gilt; there were the clam shells scattered about in the sand among the stunted weeds. The place looked deserted, but we were sure Maria Jane was there. We went round to the back of the house, where was the big kettle for boiling lobsters One of Marsh's old hats was lying near, and a pair of enormous rubber boots with large gaps in the sides. On a line stretched from a corner of the house to a pole driven into the sand hung two dilapidated red flannel shirts. We knew that Maria Jane must have washed them to-day and put them there.

Greatly to our surprise, we saw that a white pony with a side-saddle on his back was hitched to the clothes-line pole.

We opened the back door gently and walked in, still with a fear in our hearts that we might be intruding.

The room could not look more bare than it had when we first saw it, but it could and did look more desolate.

Maria Jane was sitting perfectly still in one of the chairs: she did not look round when we entered. Close by her, on a box of some kind, was Lily Rankin, holding the woman's hand tightly in both her own, her cheeks still wet with her tears, her hair fluffing lightly about her face.

The girl turned, as we paused just within the door. She seemed to think some explanation must be made concerning her presence here.

"She sent for me," she said, in a vibrant whisper, "and I--I was glad to come."

As she spoke the last word, she turned and hid her face on Maria Jane's bosom, and began to sob.

The woman said "Sh! sh!" in a gentle way, but did not notice us.

Presently Lily lifted her head, and looked at us again.

"You know," she said, " Marsh could have come to the shore safely if he had n't stopped for me. He would have come in before that bolt struck."

The child trembled violently. Now Maria Jane opened her arms and drew Lily into them.

Silently we left them.

We walked in silence toward our tent. At the door of it stood Mrs. Marlow. She seemed full of importance, though deprecating, as usual. She said she was going by, and she thought she 'd stop and tell us that her niece Malviny and Mr. Simms were to be married at her house on the evening of the last day of August, and she knew for certain that we were to have invitations.

We said we should certainly be present.

"The last day of August will be the day before we strike our tent and leave the shore," said my companion. "How appropriate to have a wedding at the end of a summer's tenting!"

"Not so very appropriate," I answered, "as it is not the wedding of either of us."

"But there 's comfort in thinking it might have been," she returned.


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