The Sea Fairies HTML version

14. Cap'n Joe And Cap'n Bill
The rooms Zog had given his prisoners were as handsome as all other parts of this strange
enchanted castle. Gold was used plentifully in the decorations, and in the Rose Chamber
occupied by the mermaids and Trot golden roses formed a border around the entire room.
The sea maidens had evidently been expected, for the magician had provided couches for
them to recline upon similar to the ones used in the mermaid palaces. The frames were of
mother of pearl and the cushions of soft, white sponges. In the room were toilet tables,
mirrors, ornaments and many articles used by earth people, which they afterward learned
had been plundered by Zog from sunken ships and brought to his castle by his allies, the
sea devils.
While the mermaids were examining and admiring their room, Cap'n Bill went to the
Peony Room to see what it was like and found his quarters were very cozy and
interesting. There were pictures on the wall, portraits of grave-looking porpoises, bashful
seals, and smug and smiling walruses. Some of the wall panels were formed of mirrors
and reflected clearly the interior of the room. Around the ceiling was a frieze of imitation
peonies in silver, and the furniture was peony-shaped, the broad leaves being bent to form
seats and couches. Beside a pretty dressing table hung a bell cord with a tassel at the end.
Cap'n Bill did not know it was a bell cord, so he pulled it to see what would happen and
was puzzled to find that nothing seemed to happen at all, the bell being too far away for
him to hear it. Then he began looking at the treasures contained in this royal apartment,
and was much pleased with a golden statue of a mermaid that resembled Princess Clia in
feature. A silver flower vase upon a stand contained a bouquet of gorgeous peonies, "as
nat'ral as life," said Cap'n Bill, although he saw plainly that they must be made of metal.
Trot came in just then to see how her dear friend was located. She entered from the
doorway that connected the two rooms and said, "Isn't it pretty, Cap'n? And who'd ever
think that awful creature Zog owned such a splendid castle and kept his prisoners in such
lovely rooms?"
"I once heard tell," said the sailor, "of a foreign people that sacrificed humans to please
their pagan gods, an' before they killed 'em outright they stuffed the victims full of good
things to eat an' dressed 'em in pretty clothes an' treated 'em like princes. That's why I
don't take much comfort in our fine surroundin's, Trot. This Zog is a pagan, if ever there
was one, an' he don't mean us any good, you may depend on 't."
"No," replied Trot soberly, "I'm sure he does not expect us to be happy here. But I'm
going to fool him and have just as good a time as I can." As she spoke they both turned
around--an easy thing to do with a single flop of their flexible tails--and Cap'n Bill
uttered a cry of surprise. Just across the room stood a perfect duplicate of himself. The
round head, with its bald top and scraggly whiskers, the sailor cap and shirt, the wide
pantaloons, even the wooden leg, each and every one were exact copies of those owned
by Cap'n Bill. Even the expression in the light-blue eyes was the same, and it is no
wonder the old sailor stared at his "double" in amazement. But the next minute he