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      She had frozen into the perfect secretary. With incredible speed she had the sheaf of letters before him, and with her writing pad in her hand awaited his dictation. Twice during the next hour she, with downcast eyes, corrected some error of his, once producing an impeccable file to show him{117} that a week before he had demanded a reduction on certain wholesale terms, once to set him right in a date regarding previous correspondence. She had been five minutes late that morning, but she had saved him fifty in future correspondence. She seemed to know her files by heart: it was idle to challenge her for proof when she made a correction."The man has an obstinate spirit, your grace," returned the earl.


      "Stephen Holgrave is not a knave," returned the monk. "He is an honest man, and Margaret is betrothed to him.""'I opened my tobacco-box to take a mouthful of fine-cut to steady my nerves. I suppose my hand was a little unsteady; anyhow, I dropped some of the tobacco on the floor of the whale's stomach. It gave a convulsive jump, and I saw at once the whale wasn't used to it. I picked up a jack-knife I saw layin' on the floor, and cut a ping of tobacco into fine snuff, and scattered it around in the little wrinkles in the stomach. You should have seen how the medicine worked. The stomach began to heave as though a young earthquake had opened up under it, and then it squirmed and twisted, and finally turned wrong side out, and flopped me into the sea. The mate's boat was there picking up the men from the smashed boat, and just as they had given me up for lost they saw me and took me in. They laughed when I told them of the inside of the whale, and the printin' I saw there; but when I showed them the old jack-knife with the American eagle on one side and Jonah's name on the other, they stopped laughin' and looked serious. It is always well to have something on hand when you are tellin' a true story, and that knife was enough.'

      "By the green wax! I've got him!I've got him at lastI shall be back in half an hour!" He then darted out of the room, leaving his confederates conjecturing who the welcome auxiliary was to be that should fill the void at the oak table."Sea-sickness is a mystery," said he, "and the more you study it, the less you seem to understand it. Some persons are never disturbed by the motion of a ship, no matter how violent it may be, while others cannot endure the slightest rocking. Most of the sufferers recover in a short time, and after two or three days at sea are as well as ever, and continue so. On the other hand, there are some who never outlive its effects, and though their voyage may last a year or more, they are no better sailors at the end than at the beginning.

      Calverley had no alternative but compliance: but it was provoking almost beyond endurance to have a creature who annoyed him so much, completely, as it were, in his power, and yet be unable to avail himself of the circumstance. There was no alternative, however; for, as we have said before, he was unarmed, and, withal, no fighting man. His chamber was retired, and the extortioner a desperate, unprincipled being, and so Calverley doled out a few pieces of silver, and a piece of gold, which Black Jack snatching up, departed; but as he closed the door, a chuckling laugh, and a drawn bolt, told Calverley that he was overreached by his wily confederate.


      Chapter 11

      She spread it over the side of her bed, and in front of it proceeded to her evening devotions. In the pre-Silverdale days these were the briefest and most tepid orisons, now they were invested with sincerity and heart-felt worship. First she{110} thought over her misdoings for the day, a series of the most harmless omissions and commissions, which she set honestly before herself. She had not got up with the punctuality she had vowed: she had not kept her mind free from irritation when she went to see her grandmother: she had been guilty of gluttony with regard to jam pancakes; she had said she was tired just now when she never had felt fresher in her life. Then followed her prayers; like the rest of her vicars numerous Bible-class she read a chapter from the Gospels, and she finished up with the appointed meditation from the devotional book which Mr Silverdale had given her.

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      Calverley had no alternative but compliance: but it was provoking almost beyond endurance to have a creature who annoyed him so much, completely, as it were, in his power, and yet be unable to avail himself of the circumstance. There was no alternative, however; for, as we have said before, he was unarmed, and, withal, no fighting man. His chamber was retired, and the extortioner a desperate, unprincipled being, and so Calverley doled out a few pieces of silver, and a piece of gold, which Black Jack snatching up, departed; but as he closed the door, a chuckling laugh, and a drawn bolt, told Calverley that he was overreached by his wily confederate.


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