, and it had stuck in my throat, keeping my mouth open on the stretch!
So, noticing this, father's old friend put the question to me point- blank.
"I think, youngster, you've pretty well made up your mind already in the matter, if I'm not very much mistaken," said he to me, as I unshipped my oar and stood up in the bow of the wherry, ready to fend her off from the pontoon as we ran up alongside, right under the stern of one of the Ryde steamers that was just backing out from the railway pier above us. "You'd like to go to sea, young Tom, I'm sure, eh?"
"There's nothing I should like better, sir," I answered glibly enough, catching hold of one of the piles of the pier with my boathook and bringing up the wherry easily to the landing-stage. "I only wish you'd coax my father, sir, to let me be a sailor!"
"Now, Bowling, my old friend," said this new ally of mine, who, it struck me, would turn out to be a very important factor in this decision anent my future destiny, "the matter rests
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