Now, what was Ned Land's opinion upon the question of the marine monster?
Seated on the poop, Ned Land and I were chatting of one thing and another as we looked at this mysterious sea, whose great depths had up to this time been inaccessible to the eye of man.
"Well, Ned," said I, "is it possible that you are not convinced of the existence of this cetacean that we are following?
"But, Ned, you, a whaler by profession, familiarised with all the great marine mammalia--YOU ought to be the last to doubt under such circumstances!"
"Copan," interrupted Ned. "It sounds like the name of some new floor varnish."
"I was going to say," remarked Ned with a smile, "that you were coming it rather strong on the school-book stuff."
"Oh, it's all plainly written down there," and Tom waved toward the magazine at which Ned was looking.
"What's Mayan?" asked Ned. "You see I'm going to imbibe my information by the deductive rather than the excavative process," he added with a laugh.
'My dear Ned,' returned his father, taking a pinch of snuff and pushing his box towards him, 'that is my purpose most undoubtedly.'
'I am very sorry, too, Ned, but you know that I cannot fix my mind for any long period upon one subject.
'My dear Ned,' returned his father, laying down the newspaper at which he had been glancing carelessly, and throwing himself back in the window-seat, 'I believe you know how very much I dislike what are called family affairs, which are only fit for plebeian Christmas days, and have no manner of business with people of our condition.
'You have to thank me, Ned, for being of good family; for your mother, charming person as she was, and almost broken-hearted, and so forth, as she left me, when she was prematurely compelled to become immortal--had nothing to boast of in that respect.'
The trick of saving money, begun for a purpose, was carried on after the scheme of going to the city to find Ned Currie had been given up.
She stood near the front window where she could look down the de- serted street and thought of the evenings when she had walked with Ned Currie and of what he had said.
For several years after Ned Currie went away Alice did not go into the wood with the other young people on Sunday, but one day after he had been gone for two or three years and when her loneliness seemed unbearable, she put on her best dress and set out.