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“I heard, soon after we sailed, that there were cabin passengers, but had forgotten it, and I did not know that they were ladies.”
“ They are ladies in every thing but one important consideration, - that is, they can't speak English. Madame La Tourette and her daughter were placed under my care by a French mer. chant in Boston, to be landed at Marseilles. I do not know their history. The poor things have been very seasick and lonely. I took it into my head that you, being brought up a gentleman and a scholar, might find some way to amuse them. They have looked through the cabin door, though they have not been on deck, and have asked a great many questions about you."
Frank was sorely puzzled to know what he should do for the amusement of the invalid lady and her daughter, who were looking at him with much curiosity and interest, as he stood there in his sailor's dress.
“ They seemed to see at once that there was something peculiar in you, and I have tried to make them understand that you are a young gentleman,” continued the captain, “but I do not know whether I have made it out or not : you must go and shake hands with them.”
Frank was ready to laugh at this proposal ; but the captain immediately "suited the action to the word" by taking Frank's hand and placing it in one of the lady's, and then in the girl's hand.
They smiled at this peculiar introduction, and asked Frank if he spoke French. He had learned to speak it with his mother, and at school ; but felt, at first, some diffidence about replying in that language. He made the effort, however, and it seemed to give great pleasure; they immediately commenced talking with so much volubility that Frank could hardly distinguish a word.
The captain was charmed. He slapped Frank on the shoulders, clapped his hands, and exclaimed “There, I told them there was a young gentleman on board who could parley-vous with them. Poor creatures, they are so lonesome that I have determined to have you come and dine with them every day; but, as the sailors might not think it just the thing if you at the same time messed with them, you must be my clerk, and we will arrange it so that the other hands can manage without you."
“But I have no suitable clothes,” said Frank. “I have nothing but a sailor's dress of the most common kind : how should I look, sitting down to dine with ladies, as you now see me!”
“ But, my boy, you are always neat and clean; I have wondered a thousand times how you kept yourself so. No excuses.
I dare say Madame, and the pretty little dem’selle, won't need any. I 'll tell them how it is.”
So saying, the captain pointed at Frank's jacket, wide trowsers, and red flannel shirt, and shook his head, and shouted, “Can't help it, no land gear"; as if the ladies were deaf; making, at the same time, divers grimaces and shrugs, to aid himself to be understood.
“ There, now, they understand that you can't dress up smart to please them, and won't mind your sea-rig."
Frank was obliged to obey the captain's order, and remove his quarters.
The vessel was to touch at Marseilles to land the passengers ;
and from this time to their arrival Frank devoted himself to the ladies, and to the captain, as his clerk.
Joseph Brandon was not at all pleased at the change which had taken place relative to Frank. He tried to make the other sailors complain of it; but they, to a man, rejoiced in it; saying that it was not suitable that such a delicate lad should be with them and have to put up with their rough ways. They felt, always, that he was a gentleman, although he refused no part of his sailor's duty.
Madame La Tourette and Louise were exceedingly amused the first time Frank came to dine with them. His blue jacket and trowsers, his calico shirt, and morocco pumps, were all in the neatest order. Yet Madame could not help saying to herself, “ Quel drole de petit matelot!” “What a funny little sailor!” and Louise, in spite of her good-breeding, was obliged to hold her handkerchief before her mouth, to conceal a smile.
The captain thought his plan had succeeded marvellously, for in a few days his passengers appeared upon deck.
Joe had been employed in splicing and tarring ropes; and, when Frank appeared upon deck in attendance upon
Madame La Tourette and Louise, the poor fellow was sadly mortified at his appear
He would not look towards Frank to give him an opportunity to speak to him, but turned away with a sulky expression.
Frank was determined that he should not escape him; and, going up to him, said, kindly,
Joseph, do not think that new friends make me forget old ones. I should really like to intro
duce you to the agreeable acquaintances which the captain has, in a manner, forced me to make.”
“ A pretty fellow should I be,” replied Joe, " to be introduced to ladies; they never would think it possible that I had been brought up genteelly. See, they are looking at you now, and wondering how you can speak to such a dirty fellow as I am. I am so much ashamed to be seen working and looking so, that I am just ready to jump into the sea.
“ That would be a sure way to wash away the dirt," said Frank. “ But Madame calls me.”
So saying, Frank went to assist the lady in going below. From the time that he was so singularly introduced, Frank exerted himself in various ways to relieve the tedium of the
voyage. They came in sight of Gibraltar on the twentyeighth day out; and, passing through the Straits, made for Marseilles.
The Sally Ann was to remain two or three days at Marseilles, and as she sailed from Boston in the winter, and there had been no sickness on board, she would not be obliged to perform a long quarantine.
Madame La Tourette was so grateful to her young friend, Frank, that she invited him to re