he cried, “that the villain this very day walks about New York town as though he were an honest man, ruffling it with the best of us! But if we can only get hold of these log books you speak of. Go on; tell me more of this.”
When Tom Chist’s narrative was ended, Mr. Chillingsworth’s bearing was as different as daylight is from dark. He asked a thousand questions, all in the most polite and gracious tone imaginable, and not only urged a glass of his fine old Madeira upon Tom, but asked him to stay to supper. There was nobody to be there, he said, but his wife and daughter.
Tom, all in a panic at the very thought of the two ladies, sturdily refused to stay even for the dish of tea Mr. Chillingsworth offered him.
He did not know that he was destined to stay there as long as he should live.
“And now,” said Mr. Chillingsworth, “tell me about yourself.”
“I have nothing to tell, Your Honor,” said Tom, “except that I was washed up out of the sea.”
“Washed up out of the sea!” exclaimed Mr. Chillingsworth. “Why, how was that? Come, begin at the beginning, and tell me all.”
Thereupon Tom Chist did as he was bidden, beginning at the very beginning and telling everything just as Molly Abrahamson had often told it to him. As he continued, Mr. Chillingsworth’s interest changed into an appearance of stronger and stronger excitement. Suddenly he jumped up out of his chair and began to walk up and down the room.
“Stop! stop!” he cried out at last, in the midst of something Tom was saying. “Stop! stop! Tell me; do you know the name of the vessel that was wrecked, and from which you were washed ashore?”
“I’ve heard it said,” said Tom Chist, “‘twas the Bristol Merchant.”