Mr. Seagrave and William were very fortunate; before the two hours were expired they had caught eight large fish, which they brought up to the house slung on the boat-hook. Tommy hallooed loudly for fish for dinner, and as they had caught so many, it was agreed that the dinner should be put off until some could be got ready, and they were not sorry to eat them instead of salt pork.
They had hardly sat down to table, when the rain came pattering down on the roof, and in a quarter of an hour the storm was as violent, and the thunder and lightning as terrific as on the day before. All outdoor labour was again suspended. Mrs. Seagrave, Juno, and Caroline took their work, for there was plenty to do with the needle and thread, and Ready soon found employment for the rest. William and Mr. Seagrave unlaid some thick rope, that Ready might make smaller and more useful rope with the yarns. Ready took up his sailing needles, and worked eyelet-holes in the canvas screens (which they had put up in a hurry), so that they might be drawn to and fro as required.
As soon as Ready had hung up the curtains, he looked under the bedsteads for a large bundle, and said, as he opened it, "I shall now decorate Madam Seagrave's sleeping-place. It ought to be handsomer than the others." The bundle was composed of the ship's ensign, which was red, and a large, square, yellow flag with the name of the ship Pacific in large black letters upon it. These two flags Ready festooned and tied up round the bed-place, so as to give it a very gay appearance, and also to hide the rough walls of the cottage.
"Indeed, Ready, I am much obliged to you," said Mrs. Seagrave, when he had finished; "it is really quite grand for this place."
"It's the best use we can put them to now, madam," said Ready.
"I am afraid so," replied Mr. Seagrave, thoughtfully.
"Ready," said William, after the candles were lighted, "you once half-promised me that you would tell me your history; I wish you would tell us some of it now, as it will pass away the evening."
"Well, William, I did say so, and I shall keep my word. When you have heard my story, you will say that I have been very foolish in my time; and so I have; but if it proves a warning to you, it will, at all events, be of some use."