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The Coxswain's Bride also, Jack Frost and Sons; and, A Double Rescue   By: (1825-1894)

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The coxswain went by the name of Sturdy Bob among his mates. Among the women of the village he was better known as handsome Bob, and, looking at him, you could not help seeing that both titles were appropriate, for our coxswain was broad and strong as well as good looking, with that peculiar cast of features and calm decided manner which frequently distinguish the men who are born to lead their fellows.

Robert Massey, though quite young, was already a leader of men not only by nature but by profession being coxswain of the Greyton lifeboat, and, truly, the men who followed his lead had need to be made of good stuff, with bold, enthusiastic, self sacrificing spirits, for he often led them into scenes of wild but, hold! We must not forecast.

Well, we introduce our hero to the reader on a calm September evening, which blazed with sunshine. The sun need not have been mentioned, however, but for the fact that it converted the head of a fair haired fisher girl, seated beside Bob, into a ball of rippling gold, and suffused her young cheeks with a glow that rudely intensified her natural colour.

She was the coxswain's bride elect, and up to that date the course of their true love had run quite smoothly in spite of adverse proverbs.

"I can't believe my luck," said Bob, gravely.

He said most things gravely, though there was not a man in Greyton who could laugh more heartily than he at a good joke.

"What luck do you mean, Bob?" asked Nellie Carr, lifting her eyes from the net she was mending, and fixing them on the coxswain's bronzed face with an air of charming innocence. Then, becoming suddenly aware of what he meant without being told, she gave vent to a quick little laugh, dropped her eyes on the net, and again became intent on repairs.

"To think," continued Bob, taking two or three draws at his short pipe for our hero was not perfect, being, like so many of his class, afflicted with the delusion of tobacco! "to think that there'll be no Nellie Carr to morrow afternoon, only a Mrs Massey! The tide o' my life is risin' fast, Nellie almost at flood now. It seems too good to be true "

"Right you are, boy," interrupted a gruff but hearty voice, as a burly fisherman "rolled" round the stern of the boat, in front of which the lovers were seated on the sand. "W'en my Moggie an' me was a coortin' we thought, an' said, it was too good to be true, an' so it was; leastwise it was too true to be good, for Moggie took me for better an' wuss, though it stood to reason I couldn't be both, d'ee see? an' I soon found her wuss than better, which "

"Come, come, Joe Slag," cried Bob, "let's have none o' your ill omened growls to night. What brings you here?"

"I've comed for the key o' the lifeboat," returned Slag, with a knowing glance at Nellie. "If the glass ain't tellin' lies we may have use for her before long."

Massey pulled the key from his pocket, and gave it to Slag, who was his bowman, and who, with the exception of himself, was the best man of the lifeboat crew.

"I'll have to follow him," said Bob, rising soon after his mate had left, "so good bye, Nellie, till to morrow."

He did not stoop to kiss her, for the wide sands lay before them with fisher boys playing thereon apparently in their fathers' boots and sou' westers and knots of observant comrades scattered about.

"See that you're not late at church to morrow, Bob," said the girl, with a smile and a warning look.

"Trust me," returned Bob.

As he walked towards the lifeboat house a conspicuous little building near the pier he tried to blow off some of the joy in his capacious breast, by whistling.

"Why, Slag," he exclaimed on entering the shed, "I do believe you've been an' put on the blue ribbon!"

"That's just what I've done, Bob," returned the other. "I thought you'd 'ave noticed it at the boat; but I forgot you could see nothin' but the blue of Nellie's eyes... Continue reading book >>

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