Mrs. MacStinger, at the instant when Florence made a motion with her hand towards him, reeled, and fell upon the floor.
The Captain, pale as Florence, pale in the very knobs upon his face, raised her like a baby, and laid her on the same old sofa upon which she had slumbered long ago.
`It's Heart's Delight!' said the Captain, looking intently in her face. `It's the sweet creetur grow'd a woman!'
Captain Cuttle was so respectful of her, and had such a reverence for her, in this new character, that he would not have held her in his arms, while she was unconscious, for a thousand pounds.
`My Heart's Delight!' said the Captain, withdrawing to a little distance, with the greatest alarm and sympathy depicted on his countenance. `If you can hail Ned Cuttle with a finger, do it!'
But Florence did not stir.
`My Heart's Delight!' said the trembling Captain. `For the sake of Wal'r drownded in the briny deep, turn to, and histe up something or another, if able.'
Finding her insensible to this impressive adjuration also, Captain Cuttle snatched from his breakfast- table a basin of cold water, and sprinkled some upon her face. Yielding to the urgency of the case, the Captain then, using his immense hand with extraordinary gentleness, relieved her of her bonnet, moistened her lips and forehead, put back her hair, covered her feet with his own coat which he pulled off for the purpose, patted her hand--so small in his, that he was struck with wonder when he touched it--and seeing that her eyelids quivered, and that her lips began to move, continued these restorative applications with a better heart.
`Cheerily,' said the Captain. `Cheerily! Stand by, my pretty one, stand by! There! You're better now. Steady's the word, and steady it is. Keep her so! Drink a little drop o' this here,' said the Captain. `There you are! What cheer now, my pretty, what cheer now?'
At this stage of her recovery, Captain Cuttle, with an imperfect association of a Watch with a Physician's treatment of a patient, took his own down from the mantel-shelf, and holding it out on his hook, and taking Florence's hand in his, looked steadily from one to the other, as expecting the dial to do something.
`What cheer, my pretty?' said the Captain. `What cheer now? You've done her some good, my lad, I believe,' said the Captain, under his breath, and throwing an approving glance upon his watch. `Put you back half-an-hour every morning, and about another quarter towards the afternoon, and you're a watch as can be ekalled by few and excelled by none. What cheer, my lady lass?'
`Captain Cuttle! Is it you?' exclaimed Florence, raising herself a little.
`Yes, yes, my lady lass,' said the Captain, hastily deciding in his own mind upon the superior elegance of that form of address, as the most courtly he could think of.
`Is Walter's uncle here?' asked Florence.
`Here, pretty?' returned the Captain. `He an't been here this many a long day. He an't been heerd on, since he sheered off arter poor Wal'r. But,' said the Captain, as a quotation, `Though lost to sight, to memory dear, and England, Home, and Beauty!'
`Do you live here?' asked Florence.
`Yes, my lady lass,' returned the Captain.
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