It had been a hard trip, certainly, and the amount of water through which they had traveled the latter part of it almost justified its being called a "cruise." Old Captain Abner Barnes, skipper, for the twenty years before his death, of the coasting schooner T. I. Smalley, had, during his life-long seafaring, never made a much rougher voyage, all things considered, than that upon which his last will and testament had sent his niece and her young companion.
Captain Abner, a widower, had, when he died, left his house and land at East Wellmouth to his niece by marriage, Mrs. Thankful Barnes. Thankful, whose husband, Eben Barnes, was lost at sea the year after their marriage, had been living with and acting as housekeeper for an elderly woman named Pearson at South Middleboro. She, Thankful, had never visited her East Wellmouth inheritance. For four years after she inherited it she rece