The Coxswains Bride

Robert Michael Ballantyne
The Coxswain's Bride, by R.M.

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Title: The Coxswain's Bride also, Jack Frost and Sons; and, A Double
Author: R.M. Ballantyne
Release Date: June 7, 2007 [EBook #21725]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England


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
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
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