CHAPTER XII IN WHICH CAPTAIN EBEN MAKES PORT

HALF past eight. In the vestry of the Regular church John Ellery was conducting his prayer meeting. The attendance was as large as usual. Three seats, however, were vacant, and along the settees people were wondering where Captain Elkanah Daniels and his daughter might be. They had not missed a service for many a day. And where was Keziah Coffin?

At the Come-Outer chapel the testifying and singing were in full blast. But Ezekiel Bassett was leading, for Captain Eben Hammond had not made his appearance. Neither had Grace Van Horne, for that matter, but Captain Eben's absence was the most astonishing.

"Somethin's the matter," whispered Josiah Badger to his right-hand neighbor. "Somethin's wrong d-d-d-down to the tavern, sartin' sure. I'm goin' down there just soon's meetin's over and f-f-f-find out. Eben wouldn't no more miss leadin' his meetin' from choice than I'd go without a meal's v-v-vi-vittles. Somethin's happened and I'm goin' to know what 'tis. You'll go along with me, won't ye, Lot?"

The answer was an affirmative. In fact, almost every worshiper in that chapel had determined to

-198-

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