The Cromptons

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excerpt from the book...THE STRANGER AT THE BROCK HOUSEThe steamer "Hatty" which plied between Jacksonville and Enterprise waslate, and the people who had come down from the Brock House to thelanding had waited half an hour before a puff of smoke in the distancetold that she was coming. There had been many conjectures as to thecause of the delay, for she was usually on time, and those who hadfriends on the boat were growing nervous, fearing an accident, and allwere getting tired, when she appeared in the distance, the puffs ofsmoke increasing in volume as she drew nearer, and the sound of herwhistle echoing across the water, which at Enterprise spreads out into alake. She had not met with an accident, but had been detained at Palatkawaiting for a passenger of whom the captain had been apprised."He may be a trifle late, but if he is, wait. He must take your boat,"Tom Hardy had said to the captain when engaging passage for his friend,and Tom Hardy was not one whose wishes were often disregarded. "ThemHardys does more business with me in one year than ten other familiesand I can't go agin Tom, and if he says wait for his friend, why,there's nothing to do but wait," the captain said, as he walked up anddown in front of his boat, growing more and more impatient, until atlast as he was beginning to swear he'd wait no longer for all the Hardysin Christendom, two men came slowly towards the landing, talkingearnestly and not seeming to be in the least hurry, although the "Hatty"began to scream herself hoarse as if frantic to be gone.
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