THE CAPTAIN'S WISHES
,. By H. M. Egbert
'r "O, don't mind father. He's partly
deaf, you know, Elise, and he doesn't
,'take much notice of things. Give us
that recitation again."
" Cap't Paul's daughters were having
an afternoon party in the house on
the hillside overlooking the sea. The
captain had retired with a compe
tence ten years before, but it had
been heartbreaking work and half a
dozen times he had lost all in ship
wrecks and had started life again.
And his wife had not lived to see the
prosperity which at last came to him
as the result of a successful whaling
The captain sat dreaming on his
porch most of the time, staring out
.at the sea. He did not hear the yqung
people in general, but he had heard
"I guess I'm old and done for," he
said to himself, a little bitterly. "Well
I'm glad they won't have to struggle
along as Mary and I struggled for
He thought of their life in the little
seaport cottage, of his months'-long
absences at sea, of the lonely woman
who cared for the home and babies
when he was gone, of those home
comings, sometimes with fair pros
perity, often with nothing.
The bitterness of life had eaten'
Into his soul when be was a young
man. Now, in old age, he had noth
ing to enjoy in life.
"I wish " he muttered to himself.
And it seemed to him that the
smoke from his pipe curled in a cu
rious, hazy wreath that filled the air
and obscured the vision.
And out of the wreath emerged a
woman's form a beautiful woman,
with something in her eyes that at
once soothed and awed him.
"Cap't Paul," he fancied he heard
"Aye aye, madafcn!"
"Keep our seat, please. I am no
human woman. I am the Smoke find-
dess who comes to old men some
times. You shall have any wish you
desire. More, you shall have three
It seemed so real ,to the captain at
the time that he at once began wishing-
"Well, ma'am," he said. "I-wish I
could be a young man again, 30 years
back, and "
Cap't Paul rubbed his eyes. To his
amazement he found himself seated
Out of the Wreath Emerged a
upon the porch of a very different
house. A first he did not recognize
it; then he remembered that it was
his cottage on the Rhode -Island
shore. Something black on his breast
attracted his attention. It -was his
beard, which he had worn long in
those days, and it was jet-black in
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