And there’s a dear little

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 girl next door that will be glad to see you. She’s to be bridesmaid, of course. It’s my belief she likes you. The sweetest mermaid in the sea, she is, except your sister.”

“She’s well enough for a mermaid,” said the merman, impatiently, for the ship was going farther and farther away.

“I think you ought to be ashamed of yourself,” said his friend, growing vexed at last. “I shall really think that absurd story of Moby Dick’s was true when he said you were in love with a wooden statue of a human being.”

“She’s not human,” snapped the merman, coloring scarlet; “she’s a nymph Jingling the change in his hand he shook his head, an immortal.”

“Let’s have a look at her,” he said.

“You are not worthy to behold her perfections,” said the merman.

“Why, a catfish may look at a congressman,” said his friend, quoting a sea proverb. “Is she on board that ship off there? Come on;” and away he went and our merman after him. They came up with the ship, and there, as usual, stood the wooden image staring over the water.

“She’s watching for me,” said the merman.
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The friend said nothing. He swam round and round, and looked up at the figure-head through his eye-glass.

“Isn’t she a goddess?” asked our merman, impatiently.

“Goddess!” said the other. “My dear fellow, it’s only wood as sure as you are alive.”

“No merman shall insult me,” said our merman, in a passion.

“Who wants to? Do open your eyes, my dear boy, and see for yourself.”


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