Page:Yule Logs.djvu/62

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46
VENTURE OF THE "BERTHA" WHALER

"Stingy! I believe you," said Arthur. "He declares he is as poor as a church-mouse; and mice would he poor indeed if they depended upon his offertory."

"Ah, then perhaps he had some other motive," murmured the doctor. "However," he continued aloud, "you will both go home well and fit. Reggie may still go to Cambridge, and you, Arthur, may go as you please; perhaps try the Bar, as you have private means."

"We shall see," said Arthur quietly. "But I say, doctor, somehow I can't forget that letter about the 'traitors on board.' What was it all about, I wonder? The poor old captain was enraged, but he had something to go upon, I think."

"What became of the paper?" asked Reginald. "Has the mate got it?"

"Don't know. I suspect it has been picked up somewhere," replied the doctor. "There is nothing suspicious now, at any rate."

"Isn't there?" said Arthur, nodding significantly at the last speaker. "The mate came into our berth last night very quietly, and when he saw I was awake, he mumbled something and went out."

"Why didn't you tell me?" asked Reginald. "I thought we had fastened the door."

"Perhaps you heard some one in the passage close by," said Mr. Halbrake, "or perhaps you dreamt it all."

"No, I saw the man plainly in the dim light it must have been early in the morning, I expect—and that beast Esau——"

"Meaning me, young sir? Go on! Don't mind my feelings," continued the mate sarcastically; "I am only a beast, you know!"

The three chums were perfectly dumfounded, the man had come upon them so silently and so cautiously. What had he heard?

"We are sorry that you happened to hear my young