With her father and her aunt to keep up round her the atmosphere of home--with Cousin Launcelot (more commonly known as "Launce") to carry out, if necessary, the medical treatment prescribed by superior authority on shore--the lovely invalid embarked on her summer cruise, and sprang up into a new existence in the life-giving breezes of the sea.
"You might fancy yourself on shore at this moment," said Launce. "The vessel is as steady as a house, and the swing-table we are eating our breakfast on is as even as your dining-room table at home."
Natalie's smartly-slippered foot felt its way cautiously inch by inch over the carpet till it touched Launce's boot.
At the same moment Natalie laid down her knife and softly touched Launce under the table.
Natalie laid down her knife again, and again touched Launce under the table.
Apparently conscious that Launce was looking at him--though he never turned his head Launce's way--he laid his elbow on the table, lifted his arm, and so rested his face on his hand, while the story went on, as to screen it effectually from the young surgeon's view.
Launce was the person who set Sir Joseph going again.
"That is just what he did, Launce. The poor wretch was too ill to work his passage.
"A lie!" cried Turlington, addressing himself, not to Sir Joseph, but to Launce.
"Are you acquainted with the circumstances?" asked Launce, quietly.
"Or possibly," said Launce, "alive, under another name, and thriving in a new way of life, with more desperate risks in it, of some other sort."
"Are you acquainted with the circumstances?" asked Turlington, retorting Launce's question on him, with a harsh ring of defiance in his brassy voice.