The vast assembly dispersed under the influence of deep emotion, and at ten o'clock the passengers and crew returned on board the vessel.
CHAPTER VI AN UNEXPECTED PASSENGER
THE ladies passed the whole of the first day of the voyage in their berths, for there was a heavy swell in the sea, and toward evening the wind blew pretty fresh, and the DUNCAN tossed and pitched considerably.
But the morning after, the wind changed, and the captain ordered the men to put up the foresail, and brigantine and foretopsail, which greatly lessened the rolling of the vessel. Lady Helena and Mary Grant were able to come on deck at daybreak, where they found Lord Glenarvan, Major McNabbs and the captain.
"And how do you stand the sea, Miss Mary?" said Lord Glenarvan.
"Pretty well, my Lord. I am not very much inconvenienced by it. Besides I shall get used to it."
"And our young Robert!"
"Oh, as for Robert," said the captain, "whenever he is not poking about down below in the engine-room, he is perched somewhere aloft among the rigging. A youngster like that laughs at sea-sickness. Why, look at him this very moment! Do you see him?"
The captain pointed toward the foremast, and sure enough there was Robert, hanging on the yards of the topgallant mast, a hundred feet above in the air. Mary involuntarily gave a start, but the captain said:
"Oh, don't be afraid, Miss Mary; he is all right, take my word for it; I'll have a capital sailor to present to Captain Grant before long, for we'll find the worthy captain, depend upon it."
"Heaven grant it, Mr. John," replied the young girl.
"My dear child," said Lord Glenarvan, "there is something so providential in the whole affair, that we have every reason to hope. We are not going, we are led; we are not searching, we are guided. And then see all the brave men that have enlisted in the service of the good cause. We shall not only succeed in our enterprise, but there will be little difficulty in it. I promised Lady Helena a pleasure trip, and I am much mistaken if I don't keep my word."
"Edward," said his wife, "you are the best of men."
"Not at all," was the reply; "but I have the best of crews and the best of ships. You don't admire the DUNCAN, I suppose, Miss Mary?"
"On the contrary, my lord, I do admire her, and I'm a connoisseur in ships," returned the young girl.
"Yes. I have played all my life on my father's ships. He should have made me a sailor, for I dare say, at a push, I could reef a sail or plait a gasket easily enough."
"Do you say so, miss?" exclaimed John Mangles.
"If you talk like that you and John will be great friends, for he can't think any calling is equal to that of a seaman; he can't fancy any other, even for a woman. Isn't it true, John?"
"Quite so," said the captain, "and yet, your Lordship, I must confess that Miss Grant is more in her place on the poop than reefing a topsail. But for all that, I am quite flattered by her remarks."
"And especially when she admires the DUNCAN," replied Glenarvan.
"Well, really," said Lady Glenarvan, "you are so proud of your yacht that you make me wish to look all over it; and I should like to go down and see how our brave men are lodged."
"Their quarters are first-rate," replied John, "they are as comfortable as if they were at home."
"And they really are at home, my dear Helena," said Lord Glenarvan. "This yacht is a portion of our old Caledonia, a fragment of Dumbartonshire, making a voyage by special favor, so that in a manner we are still in our own country. The DUNCAN is Malcolm Castle, and the ocean is Loch Lomond."
"Very well, dear Edward, do the honors of the Castle then."
"At your service, madam; but let me tell Olbinett first."
The steward of the yacht was an excellent _maitre d'hotel_, and might have been French for his airs of importance, but for all that he discharged his functions with zeal and intelligence.
"Olbinett," said his master, as he appeared in answer to his summons, "we are going to have a turn before breakfast. I hope we shall find it ready when we come back."
He said this just as if it had been a walk to Tarbert or Loch Katrine they were going, and the steward bowed with perfect gravity in reply.