The Project Gutenberg eBook of Running Free

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Title: Running Free

Author: James B. Connolly

Release date: September 15, 2018 [eBook #57910]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Al Haines


"An' the bridal couple 'd be holdin' hands an' gazin' over the spanker-boom at the full moon." [Page 242.]
"An' the bridal couple 'd be holdin' hands an' gazin'
over the spanker-boom at the full moon." [Page 242.]






NEW YORK ::::::::::::::::::::: 1917

COPYRIGHT, 1913, 1915, 1917, BY

Published September, 1917



The Strategists

The Weeping Annie

The Bull-Fight

A Bale of Blankets

Breath o' Dawn

Peter Stops Ashore

The Sea-Birds

The Medicine Ship

One Wireless Night

Dan Magee: White Hope


"An' the bridal couple'd be holdin' hands an' gazin' over the spanker-boom at the full moon" _Frontispiece_

"All stand clear of the main entrance"

"It was drive, drive, drive, from midnight to daylight"

It took till the daylight was all but gone before I knocked him down for the last time

"You doubted my courage, maybe?" I asked

"'Quiscanto vascamo mirajjar,' which is Yunzano for 'I am satisfied, I can now die happy'"

The Strategists

I arrived in Santacruz in the early evening, and as I stepped out of the carriage with the children the majordomo came rushing out from under the hotel portales and said: "Meesus Trench, is it? Your suite awaits, madam. The Lieutenant Trench from the American warship has ordered, madam."

There was a girl, not too young, sitting over at a small table, and at the name Trench, pronounced in the round voice of the majordomo, she—well, she was sitting by herself, smoking a cigarette, and I did not know why she should smile and look at me—in just that way, I mean. But I can muster some poise of manner myself when I choose—I looked at her. And she looked me over and smiled again. And I did not like that smile. It was as if—as Ned would say—she had something on me.

She and I were to be enemies—already I saw that. She was making smoke rings, and she never hurried the making of a single one of them as she looked at me; nor did I hurry a particle the ushering of the two children and the maid into the hotel. But I did ask, after I had greeted Nan and her mother inside: "Auntie—or you, Nan—who is the oleander blossom smoking the cigarette out under the portales?"

It spoke volumes to me that Nan and her mother, without looking, at once knew whom I meant. She was the Carmen Whiffle of whom nearly every other American woman waiting to be taken home on the next transport had been whispering—and not always whispering—for weeks in Santacruz.

Nan, of course, had a good word for her. Is there a living creature on earth she wouldn't? "I think she is wonderfully good-looking," said Nan.

"No woman with a jaw like that," said Nan's mother, "can be good-looking. And she sat at the piano there early this evening and raved over the 'Melody in F'; but when she tried to play it, it was with fingers of wood. What she really did play with spirit, Nettie—when she thought there were none of us American women around to hear her—was: 'I Want What I Want When I Want It.'"

Auntie went on to tell then how this creature was a divorcee who had married an oil millionaire and within six months got her second divorce and a half-million alimony out of him. And as a baby she was christened—not Carmen, but Hannah! "Now, what's the psychology, Nettie," said auntie, "of a woman who changes her name from Hannah to Carmen? She wants what she wants when she wants it—and she'll come pretty near getting it, Nettie. If I had a husband within a thousand miles of her, I'd lock him up."

You may understand from the foregoing that Mrs. Wedner—Nan's mother—is a woman of convictions; and so she is. The Lady with the Wallop is what Ned tells me the men folks call her. But I am not without convictions myself.

"I have a husband within a thousand miles of her," I said, "and if you mean that for me, auntie, I won't lock him up—not even if he were the to-be-locked-up kind. When I can't hold my man, auntie, against any specimen of her species, I won't call in the police to help me. And I think I'll give her another look-over before the evening is ended."

"Don't bother your head with her," said auntie. "And sit down and have something to eat." And we did have something to eat, but up-stairs in my suite.

The children and I were eating, and Nan and auntie were giving me all the gossip since I'd seen them last, when the maid came in to say that the trunk with the children's things in it hadn't been sent up with the others. There's no use leaving such things to a maid in those countries—I went down to see about it myself; and there it was, as I expected, lying in the lobby where a lazy porter hadn't yet got around to it.

I told the fat majordomo a thing or two, and the trunk was soon on its upward way; and then—as I was down-stairs—I thought to take a glance about to see if anybody I knew had arrived in the meantime. You must remember that American refugees were coming in from the interior on every train, the revolutionary general Podesta being expected to enter the city almost any day—or hour.

I saw the back of a man's head, and I said to myself: "If that isn't Larry Trench's head as anything on earth can be!"—the shapely, overhanging back head and the uncrushable hair that went with it. There was a row of palmettos in tubs, and I walked around to make certain. It was Larry. And he was with a young woman. And the young woman was Carmen Whiffle, and her heavy-lashed agate eyes were gazing into the steady, deep-set, blue-green eyes of Larry. One look was all I needed to know what that lady's intentions were in the present case. "So!" I said to myself—"that's what you meant when you smiled at the name Trench? Perhaps you thought Larry was my husband!"

Now, I hadn't seen a single officer or man of our ships on my way from the station, nor while I had been down-stairs with Nan and auntie earlier. Which was significant in itself, for a fleet of our battleships were anchored in the harbor, my Ned's among them. I looked around now. No, there wasn't one officer of ours in the dining-room, nor in the plaza outside. So what was Larry, a young officer of our marine corps, doing all by himself ashore?

And Larry was my Ned's young brother and my own little Neddo's godfather, and long ago I had decided that Larry should marry my own chum and cousin Nan, the very best girl that ever lived. And—well, if ever a woman looked like the newspaper photographs of the other woman of a dozen celebrated cases, Carmen Whiffle was that woman.

I stood there at the end of that row of palmettos, hesitating; and while I hesitated the orchestra struck up, and I saw the lady lead Larry out for a dance.

I did not have to see Carmen Whiffle dance to know that she could dance. If they never learn to do anything else on earth, women of her kind do learn to dance. All women who have men in their minds learn to dance. She could dance. If I had never seen her lift a toe off the floor, the lines of her figure were there to prove that she could dance. But she lifted her toe. More than her toe. She danced—I have to give her credit for it—with grace; and after she warmed up to it, not only with grace but with abandon; with so much abandon that all the other women who were trying to dance with abandon ceased their feeble efforts and stood against the wall to watch her.

After that dance Carmen Whiffle never had another chance with me. I almost ran up to my room. Little Anna was already asleep; but Neddo, aged six, was wide-awake. Nan and her mother had gone to their room, which was across the hall on the same floor.

"Neddo, dear, do you know your uncle Larry is down-stains?" I asked him.

"Oh-h, mummie!" he cried, and came leaping out of his cot bed. "I must see him, mummie!"

"I'm going to let you go down-stairs all by yourself, Neddo, and see him. And then be sure to bring him up here, to have a look at sister. And then be sure to take him to the balcony at the end of the hallway and tell him to draw the lattices and wait there. It's to be a surprise, Neddo, tell him; but not a single word more than that."

I waited two minutes or so, and then followed Neddo. I was in time to see Neddo throw himself at Larry, and wrap his arms around his neck and smother him with kisses. "Uncle Larry! O Uncle Larry! Come and see who's up-stairs! No telling, you know!"

From where I was, on the screened balcony overlooking the lounging-room, I needed no ship's spy-glass to read the suspicion in Carmen Whiffle's eyes when she looked at little Neddo. I do believe she could even suspect that innocent, affectionate child with playing a game.

The tears were in Larry's eyes. "My godson, my brother's boy," he explained. "If you don't mind my running away for a few minutes, Miss Whiffle, I'll hurry back. I'll explain to Neddo's mother that you are waiting and hurry right back."

"Don't explain anything," said Miss Whiffle, just a bit tartly. "Never mind any explaining, but come back as soon as you can. I shall be waiting here."

Are you at all given to the habit of fancying in human beings the resemblance to different kinds of birds and beasts? Looking down on Carmen Whiffle just then, I could see where, if her well-cushioned features were chiselled away, she would look startlingly like a hawk.

I may be unjust, I know, but I was thinking of more than one thing just then. I was thinking of what I read in Carmen Whiffle's glance and smile at me when I passed under the portales of that hotel that evening. A devoted, slavish wife and mother was what she was thinking I was; and possibly I am. But women of her kind are altogether too quick to think that the devoted wife and mother hasn't any brains.

And more than all the brains in the world is the wisdom that comes of knowing men. Carmen Whiffle may have known several men in her day; but if she did it was to know them incompletely; and to know any number of men incompletely is never truly to know any one, while to know one man well is to know many. And when that one in my case was Larry's own brother, why, I wasn't worrying over a battle with Carmen Whiffle, superbly equipped though she doubtless thought herself.

Ned and his brother Larry were natively pretty much alike; but my Ned was trained early in a rigid profession and early assumed the responsibilities of marriage and a home; and—he told me so more than once—so saved himself more than one drift to leeward. It is no gain for us women to dodge facts in this life. To a man with a conscience, a wife and two children are better than many windward anchors, as Ned would say. Larry was Ned, minus the wife and two children, and plus a little more of youth and the not yet, perhaps, disciplined Trench temperament.

And for every child a woman bears mark her up a decade of years in human wisdom. And twice a decade in hardening resolution. It had already become marble in me—my resolution to save from the talons of this hawk this brother of my Ned's—a twenty-five-year-old man of war according to stupid bureau files, but in reality a little child playing in the garden of life with never a thought of any bird of prey hovering in the air above him.

I watched Larry go bounding up the wide staircase with Neddo, and then I waited long enough for them to get well out of sight ahead; for Neddo to lead his uncle up the second flight, to show him baby in her bed asleep; and Larry—I could picture him—time to stoop over and kiss the dear, warm, plump little face.

"And now you must hide—I'll show you, Uncle Larry—till mummie comes," said Neddo, and led him back to the hall and onto the balcony, which looked down on the patio of the hotel. And there Neddo left him, after closing him in behind the lattice, as I had told him.

I then went to get Nan, who had been sentenced to read her mother to sleep with something out of Trollope. Nan's mother carried volumes of Trollope with her as other women carry hot-water bottles. Twenty minutes of dear old Trollope and she was good for her eight hours' sleep, she would say, as she did now; but this time without keeping Nan twenty minutes.

"Nettie, the way you go around commandeering people, you ought to be a general in the army," said auntie, but with perfect good nature. "Go along with her, Nan."

I led Nan to where Neddo was waiting in his crib. "Did you tell Cousin Nan yet, mummie?" asked Neddo in what he thought was a whisper.

"Tell me what, Neddo?" asked Nan.

"Neddo!" I said, and raised a finger. "Sh-h, Neddo!" and Neddo sh-h-d, and I led Nan into the hall. "I'm dying to have a talk with you," I whispered to Nan—"out here, where Neddo won't be kept awake and the maid won't hear us."

And so, just when Larry was, no doubt, thinking of breaking out of his hiding-place, he heard a door in the hall open, and through the slats of the lattice saw two women's shadowy forms tiptoeing down the hall toward his balcony.

Nan went straight to the lattice. "Let's let the air in, Nettie."

"No, no, Nan," I cried, "don't throw open the lattice!"

"Why not?" she asked, her hands on the latch.

"Flying things! Tropical night-birds! Bats!"

"Bats! Ugh-h-h!" cried Nan, and let the lattice alone.

"Let's sit here," I said, setting our chairs almost against the lattice. Larry could not escape then if he wanted to, because it was a twenty-foot drop onto a lot of marble vases or the spiked edges of some cactus plants, and more than a twenty-foot drop to a marble walk or into the depths of some kind of a spouting fountain in the patio.

He had to stay, and, being an officer and a gentleman, of course, he was trying not to hear; but the lattice slats were loose-fitting and we were sitting not two feet from them.

"Where did you hear of Larry last, Nan?" I began.

"Oh," said Nan, "I've been getting mamma to take all kinds of trips, Nettie, and every trip with the one idea of seeing Larry somewhere. Wherever I thought any of our war-ships came, there I'd specially get mamma to go. I can draw a map of this coast-line with all its ports in their proper places with my eyes shut. And the places in the different ports I've peeked into, Nettie!—knowing how curious Larry always was to see everything going on and hoping to run across him in that way. I even got mamma to go to a bull-fight last Sunday."

"A bull-fight, Nan!" I said.

"Why not?" retorted Nan. "In our country we have prize-fights. And which is worse—for men to maul beasts or to maul each other?"

"I know, Nan, but women who have seen them——"

"I know, Nettie—and their writing articles of the horror of it, but always after they've satisfied their curiosity. The curse of our training to-day, Nettie, is hypocrisy."

Which was just like Nan—straight from the shoulder! But we just have to restrain those headstrong ones. "I wouldn't call it hypocrisy altogether, Nan," I said.

"What else is it? And what else was it when every old hen in our town went cackling from one house to another when the papers published that story about Larry losing so much money at cards one night? And some of these same women not able to afford a second maid and even doing their own fine laundering in secret—some of them playing afternoon bridge, Nettie, for a half of a cent a point, and all kinds of signalling to win. It just makes me sick. How do we know how many of them wouldn't gamble away ten thousand dollars in one night if they had it?"

And just then I heard "That's you, Nan!" in Larry's fervent voice, from behind the lattice.

Nan leaped up. I could feel her heart beating when she fell against me. "Did you hear that, Nettie?"

"I did hear something," I said—"a word from one of the cooks or maids down-stairs it must have been. They take the air in the patio of an evening when their work is done. Remember, voices carry far in the tropics—especially when it is damp."

"I never knew that, Nettie," said innocent Nan—"that voices carry farther in the tropics. And I'm sure it is clear and lovely out." And she stood up to look through the lattice.

Now, the best defense to an attack, Ned always told me, is another attack; so "But Larry did drink too much that time, Nan," I said.

"Why, Nettie Trench—from you!" cried Nan, and plumped back into her chair. "When did he drink too much? Just once—when he knew so little of wine that he had no idea how much would upset him. The trouble was that poor Larry never knew how to hide anything he ever did. No hypocrisy in him at any rate. And I'd a good deal rather have a man who did what Larry did, and own to it and be sorry right out, than a man that you never know when he is lying to you or not, or what he is likely to be doing when he is out of sight. And he gave me his promise in a letter that he would never touch another card or drink another glass of wine until I said he might. Mother wouldn't let me answer the letter. And he guessed how it was, and I don't blame him for writing her as he did. Mamma was too harsh. She paid too much attention to town gossip, and I told her that. And she said: 'I think, Nan, a little travelling and discipline won't hurt you one bit'; and then Larry went and got his appointment to the marine corps, thinking there might be a war and some fighting for him down in this country."

Now, I always have held that women, even as men of any account, are never so attractive as when they throw aside all affectation and stand forth just as they are—that is, if they're wholesome and good to begin with; and no surer way to hold the right kind of a boy to the line than to let him know that the right girl has never lost faith in him. But Nan was holding forth altogether too bravely—with the boy in the case so handy. A few little reservations—a few—at this particular time, I thought, would do no harm. And so "Sh-h, Nan!" I warned.

"I won't sh-h, Nettie Trench. It's so and you know it. I hate superior people, Nettie. Father always did, too. And you know how he liked Larry. Dear papa! One night, Nettie—I was never so surprised—mamma all at once began to cry—imagine mamma crying! She was crying for papa, who had to die, she said, before she could appreciate the gentleness and warm heart that was in him. And papa always said that no kind of people go further to the bad than those who really think they're better than others. He used to say that such beasts, for their punishment, ought to be forced to herd by themselves."

I believe in what Nan said myself, but also, thinking of the wily woman waiting below, I decided that a little chastening of the spirit of rebellious girlhood would now be in order. So I said: "But a long record of the human race, Nan, proves that if we do not intend to try to be better than the people we happen to be with, then we ought to take care whom we are with."

"You and your sermons!" exclaimed Nan. "Nettie, dear, talk with me, not at me. Oh, Nettie"—Nan threw herself on my shoulders—"I never had a chance to tell him I'm not mad with him. And I'm afraid he'll do something desperate. And if they get to fighting down here, as everybody says, he will be killed! He's that kind, Nettie—he will be killed!"

"And isn't my Ned likely to be killed at all?" I said, beginning to get frightened too; and then, seeing her so tearful: "But it will be all right, dear—don't you worry."

"But, Nettie, why shouldn't a woman let a man know—or give him a hint? 'What!' says mamma to me, 'would you run after him?' But why should I be afraid to let him know that I do care for him?"

"I don't know why not, Nan. It depends on the man, perhaps."

"Did you ever let Ned know you cared for him before he asked—did you, Nettie?"

She was so wistful I almost forgot Larry behind the lattice, but I caught myself in time. "I hope, Nan Wedner, you don't think I proposed to him?"—that was with such dignity as I could quickly assume.

"But, Nettie"—she switched her head on my shoulder—"do you suppose Ned knew, Nettie?"

"I'm afraid," I sighed—I thought of Larry listening, but I had to tell her the truth—"he would have been dull not to guess it."

"And Ned isn't dull, is he?" said Nan.

"Ned dull! I guess not!" I said.

And while I stood with Nan tearful and discouraged against my shoulder, I could hear the patter of the fountain tinkling up from the patio, and the voices of men and girls, and the music of some kind of a native instrument; and the song was of home and love by a man to a girl. And do you know?—no matter what we think of their politics and so on—those men down that country do seem to be able to put something terribly sad into their voices when they sing, and somebody somewhere has said that no man who loves but is more often sad than gay. And it made no difference—it may have been some low-built kitchen girl he was singing to, and he one of the hotel porters loafing on his job—not a mite of difference. The melody of it rose up and clutched me. And Nan clinging to me—I could feel it clutching her, too. And I knew that for Larry behind the lattice—it was hard work staying where he was; and as for myself—I hadn't seen my Ned in almost a year, and, thinking of Ned and his ways, I felt all at once terribly lonesome and like crying with Nan. And then a vision of the arrogant beauty down-stairs came suddenly to my mind. But now without my being so afraid. It would be safe enough now, I thought, to have Larry and Nan meet in her presence.

"Let us go down-stairs now, Nan," I said. "We can look at the dancing. That Miss Whiffle, they say, is a wonderful dancer."

"Yes, but let me look at the children again, Nettie," said Nan. "I love to see them asleep. Isn't it wonderful to you, Nettie, to think of your having children of your own—nobody else's but your own?"

"And Ned's," I said.

"Of course. You wouldn't give them up for anything, would you, Nettie, in all the world? Why, Nettie, I'd go down on my knees and scrub floors like the old women in the office-buildings every night of my life in thankfulness to have such lovely little babies of my own!"

"Hush, Nan!" I said, thinking of Larry in hiding.

"And Larry, Nettie—wouldn't Larry love to have children of his own!"

Before she could say any more I hurried her away to look at the children, and also to give Larry time to make his escape. And after Nan had cuddled them we headed for the stairs, I wondering just how I could let Larry see us after we got there. And while descending the stairs we heard a rifle-shot, and another, and another, and then dozens of shots.

"Podesta! Podesta!" we heard everybody calling out then, and the waiters dashed from under the portales to the corner of the plaza to see what was doing. And as we hurried downstairs we heard a voice—Larry's voice.

"This plaza is about the best-lighted place in town," Larry was saying to a group of diners. "The most exposed, but also the safest place—on the defense—in the city. Whatever they decide to do to us here, at least we can see them coming to do it."

The stout majordomo was standing near Larry. "Truly, that is so," he said.

"And these little marble-topped tables," said Larry, "won't be bad little defenses against their rifle fire. We can set them up on edge between the columns of the portales. And we will have our line of retreat open through these big doors, which we can close behind us, and so on in and back and up the stairs to the roof, if they're too strong and the women in danger. Let's get busy with the tables now."

Everybody began to clear the little tables by sweeping whatever was on them to the marble floor. The majordomo cried out: "Careful, if you please, señors!" But no one minded him, and everybody then began to pick up the marble-topped tables, Nan and I among them, and place them between the portales columns.

Larry, if he saw us, paid no attention to us; neither did he pay any attention to Carmen Whiffle when she stood at his elbow. "There's no changing nature, Nan," I said—"the male in war time is a warrior first and a lover afterward."

"Would you want him not to be?" said Nan, who had dropped grabbing tables to stand off and admire Larry; and while she was at that, her mother, in a dressing-gown of a chocolate shade, came down the wide stairs.

"Mamma, there's Larry—look!" cried Nan. "And he won't pay the least attention to us!"

"Why should he?" retorted auntie. "He has his work before him. Let him do it in peace."

By this time the tables were all piled up as Larry had ordered, and half the women in the hotel were clustering around him. You would think they had a special claim on him. But he almost rudely waved them away; among them Carmen Whiffle, who retired, I was pleased to see, in some wonderment.

"Good for you, Larry!" I said; but was myself shocked a moment later when he said, with both hands in the air warning us: "Mesdames—señoras, señoritas, ladies, demoiselles—there probably isn't the least danger, but no harm in standing clear. You, Nettie," he added, when I was going to rush over to him, in my pride to let the others know who he was and I was—"you, too, Nettie, same as the rest!"

"Larry Trench, why, what—" I began, and "O Larry!" began Nan.

"And you, Nan—you know I'm not allowed to speak to you," said Larry. "I promised your mother I wouldn't"; but he gave her a glance which sent her trembling up against me, murmuring: "O Nettie, Nettie, I'm so glad!"

"And you, too, Mrs. Wedner," said Larry—"all stand clear of the main entrance. Perhaps you'd all better go up a flight—yes, two flights, up out of the way—everybody!" And he began shooing us all toward the stairs.

"All stand clear of the main entrance."
"All stand clear of the main entrance."

"Why, Larry Trench!" I cried, "you'd think you'd been seeing us every day for the last year, instead——"

"Don't be silly," said Nan's mother. "He is right. Ladies, I think we would all do well to follow Lieutenant Trench's instructions." And she always did look the born leader—all we women followed her when she led the way up-stairs.

But we did not go up any two flights. At the head of the grand staircase we stopped, and there waited to see what would happen next.

It soon happened. A man looked through between the tables and chairs of the portales. Larry invited him in. He was one of Podesta's officers, and he came in with a pistol in his belt, but very polite; and Larry just as much so. They talked, and were still talking, when we heard the tramping of men in shoes outside in the plaza, and then—I couldn't believe my eyes—when I took another look there was my own Ned in uniform; and he stepped past the chairs and tables to where Larry and the native officer were; and there was a palavering all around. And I felt pretty proud the way Ned could talk the lingo with so many looking on.

"Ned, Ned!" I called out; and he heard me, but gave me a sign to be quiet with his hand behind his back. And by and by Ned and Larry and the native officer marched out, and then we rushed to the windows of the rooms opening on the plaza, and we saw General Podesta order his men to march off; and as they did our bluejackets and marines stacked arms in the plaza, and then we knew everything was going to be all right.

And Ned came back into the hotel with Larry to tell us that we need have no further fear—that Podesta's men were to leave the city; and Podesta came back and bowed to us, and said it was so.

And we came running down the stairs, and some of those women there acted as if they would kiss Ned, but I soon let them know who I was, especially Carmen Whiffle, who, after looking in surprise at us, turned to Larry. But auntie and Nan and Larry were already strolling over to the row of palmettos, at which Carmen Whiffle, tossing her head and swaying her waist like every Carmen of every Carmen opera I ever saw, walked over to where Podesta had sat down at a table by himself.

"Will you tell me," I asked Ned on our way up-stairs, "how Larry ever came to know Carmen Whiffle?"

"If there is a young officer in port who doesn't know Carmen Whiffle, I have not met him. She takes care of that."

"But he didn't have to talk with her by the hour—and dance with her."

"In the service, Nettie," said Ned, "we sometimes have to find out things that have nothing to do with the main engine or the turret-guns. And Carmen Whiffle knows General Podesta very well. And Larry, if somewhat young and innocent, is not without brains. Now don't ask any more."

And I did not; but I went on to tell Ned how I had planned the balcony interview. Ned could not keep it to himself—he told auntie.

"Yes," said auntie, when he had finished, "it was very clever. Nettie always is. My door was ajar when I saw Neddo running for down-stairs, and I stopped him to learn what in the world he was doing. And he told me the secret that I wasn't to tell Nan."

She is the most annoying woman. "If you knew so much, why didn't you stop it?" I asked.

"Why should I stop it?" she answered, with the most exasperating calm. "I always wanted Nan and Larry to marry. But I always believed in a little discipline, too. When young people have merely to cry for a thing to get it—it doesn't do them any lasting good."

To escape the quizzical eyes of auntie, I looked back down the stairs; and if there weren't Carmen Whiffle and General Podesta sitting at a table and the fat majordomo himself opening a bottle of wine for them!

"Well!" I gasped to Ned.

"Yes," said Ned. "The rumor is that she may be the Señora Podesta any time she pleases. And if she had learned from Ned or some other indiscreet young or old officer that we were to land to-night—it would have saved Podesta from making a rather ridiculous entry into the city, wouldn't it?"

"What a schemer!" I cried.

"Yes," smiled Ned—"everybody schemers but our own selves. I spoke a word to the flag-lieutenant to-day—he's a classmate—to put in a word for me for the landing party to the Old Man."

"Your courage and your brains," I began—"or was it your knowledge of the language——"

"The fleet," interrupted Ned, "is crowded with officers of courage and brains. And I am not alone on the language end of it. But I was the only officer with a wife and two children ashore. And, as we hadn't seen each other for a year, the Old Man thought it mightn't be a bad idea for me to come ashore and have an eye out for them."

By this time Nan and Larry had passed onto the latticed balcony, and Nan's mother to her room; and Ned was hugging Neddo and Anna together.

"Perhaps," I said, "I'm not such a strategist after all!"

"Nettie," said Ned, "cheer up. You have your share of brains. I, your husband, say it. And if your husband admits it, it must be so. But, Nettie dear, don't forget that here with the children is your bidding suit. Lead the play up to the children, Nettie, and they will sure have to hold some cards to set you."

"I haven't seen you in a year—go ahead and laugh at me," I said. But I didn't care—he was my own Ned, and I had him, and told him so.

"And haven't I you!" said Ned—and swept me with the children into his arms.

And Nan and Larry were sitting out on the balcony—I could hear their murmuring voices through an open window; and from the patio below I could make out the tinkle of a fountain and some kind of a native instrument, and a voice chanting—not of pride or glory or riches, but of love—human, humble, eternal love. And before I even knew I was crying Ned was kissing the tears from my eyes.

The Weeping Annie

We had a baby born, and when he was old enough to almost wiggle out of his baby-carriage the wife asks me if I didn't think it was time to consider seriously the future of my growing family. Well, she pretty generally told me what I ought to do, and Wheezer Mills and Scoot Schulte had been writing to me to come on South and share what looked like a good prospect to them in the wrecking line.

I went South, and even after I'd inspected what they'd picked up for a bargain I didn't reproach them; for, after all, what's an old wrecking tug beside two old friends? The Weeping Annie was her name, and she had her virtues, but not the kind to take to sea with you.

We had great hopes that fall of what we would do in the Annie. But luck was against us. It turned out a clear, mild winter, with wrecks infrequent; so coming on to spring we swapped the Annie for a self-propelling steam-lighter with a pile-driving attachment on the for'ard end, called the Happy Day.

We warned the new owner of the Annie to keep a sharp eye out for her little tricks, but he was a wise one and we were only a bunch of young fellows that maybe were willing to hustle, but in his eyes didn't know much. The new owner only waved his hand and said: "You boys watch out for the Happy and I will for the Annie."

We already guessed the Happy Day must have had her secret faults, but also we knew that if the Annie hadn't sunk under us four or five times while we had her it was owing to Scoot and his Leakitis. The first time we ever saw any of it was one morning in a pudding-dish on the galley-table while Scoot was gone up the street to get some bacon to go with eggs for breakfast.

Wheezer noticed it before I did, and we thought it was some new kind of a breakfast-food, especially when a note alongside it in Scoot's writing said: "To be tried with one part milk." We gave it two parts milk—we had milk aplenty—and sprinkled a little sugar over it. Scoot's idea was to calk it into any open seam and let the water coming in swell it up. After it swelled up it would harden till it was like concrete. But that wasn't explained to us till later. It had reached the swelling-up stage in both our stomachs when Scoot came back with the bacon for breakfast. "Heaven's greatest gift to sufferin' man—stomach-pumps!" said Wheezer when we were safe over it.

But the chap that took over the Annie didn't have any Scoot Schulte for a partner. About a week after he got her from us he went down to the dock one morning to go aboard, but he didn't see her anywhere. "I told 'em to have her here, six sharp!" he howls; "and here it's half past and no sign of her." But the Annie was there all the time, only she was resting on bottom with only the top of her smoke-stack sticking up, and he didn't know it was her smoke-stack. While her crew was sleeping she'd been sinking. The men in the top bunks got out almost in comfort, but the chaps in the lower bunks were breathing more water than air when they woke up; there was nobody drowned, though. It seems the Leakitis stuff had to be reapplied about once a month or it would soften up and float away, but Scoot forgot to tell him that.

We expected to do great things with the Happy Day in the lighterage business; but there wasn't any lighterage business to do after we took her over. After one month of it, with nothing but overhead charges, we were ready to quit. I told Wheezer and Scoot to sell her for anything they could get and send me my share. I was going North. I'd never let on in my letters to my wife but what the prospects were fine, and she'd been writing me of an option she'd got on a nice little single house with a sun-parlor that would be great for the baby to play in, and I saw where it was up to me to get back to some regular work. Besides, I'd been seven months away and I wanted to see for myself if the baby was actually walking.

To save borrowing money for my passage North, I shipped for deck-hand on an oil-ship. I wanted to ship for seaman, but I heard the skipper say to a man ahead of me: "I got all the seamen I need. What I want is a couple of men to swab decks and look after paint and brass-work and so on—deck-hands——"

He looked pretty sharp at me when I stepped up.

"My last job," I said before he could get started, "was rustling freight on a harbor lighter," and I pointed out the Happy Day to him across the harbor. "Oh," he said, "that's all right. Sign here." So I signed there, for deck-hand on the oil-ship Yucatan, Clarence Judkins, master.

Bayport wasn't a regular oil port, but a half-dozen trainloads of oil had been dumped in there to head off some of our war-ships on some manoeuvering cruise and hadn't headed 'em off; so now it was to be transshipped North. After I'd signed on I came down aboard the Happy Day to get my dunnage.

"Judkins—Clarence Judkins, did you say, is the name o' the skipper o' that oil-tanker you're goin' on?" asks Wheezer. "A well-set-up, handsome-lookin' guy, the kind to ketch a lady's eye an' lookin' like he believed in ketchin' 'em, an' a noily black piece o' whisker under his ears? Yes? Then," says Wheezer, "lemme tell you about that lad—Slick Clarence."

Wheezer generally had the asthma, but the mild winter of the South had cleaned out his speaking-tubes, so that at this time he could talk fluently. "Judkins used to go master o' big steam-yachts, but the last time I seen him I was workin' for a ship-buildin' concern on the Delaware, 'n' we was buildin' a big steam-yacht that Judkins was superintendin' the buildin' of for a mult-eye millionaire. 'Anything Captain Judkins wants let him have: anything he wants—anything and everything,' says the millionaire, who had plenty o' money an' was a good sport. I'd like to been workin' for him myself.

"When Clarence'd get a little wine in—he never touched no beer nor cheap stuff—he used to like to have people listen to him talk," goes on Wheezer. 'D'y' s'pose I'm goin' to be standin' around 'n' lookin' on at those rich loafers havin' everythin' good in life an' me pikin' along on a hundred an' seventy-five a month? Not much!' says Clarence. 'Imagine a man o' my class havin' to stand to attention to a gangway when some o' those fat-waisted mushrooms an' their families come puffin' over the side! Look at me, that's got more brains 'n' looks, more class to me, than any owner ever I sailed out with—yeh, four times as much as most of 'em. An' some of 'em—why, I wouldn't use some of 'em to swab the decks o' their own yachts! Well, I might of their own yachts,' Clarence adds after a while, 'but not o' no yacht o' mine if I owned one. An' maybe I will be ownin' one afore long,' he says.

"An' he did. Outer the extra stuff he ordered for the big steam-yacht he built a little steam-yacht for himself 'n' sold her to a party that never asked him how he come to be gettin' so fine a bargain for twenty thousand dollars. So there's Slick Clarence Judkins," winds up Wheezer. "An' will youse tell me what he's doin' master of a noil-tanker at a hundred an' fifty a month?"

I couldn't tell him. But it was time to show up aboard the oil-ship, and I did; and we lay in the harbor for two days, and when we did put out, it was in weather that any longshoreman could have told was going to be thick even if 'twouldn't be rough outside. About forty miles to the east'ard of Bayport is Horseshoe Shoal. In thick weather inbound vessels once in a while went enough out of their reckoning to fetch up there; but anything outbound generally gave it a wide berth, because there was no need to be cutting close to it. It was a long sand-spit shoaling up so easy that in smooth weather a deep-draft ship could slide up on it while she was yet a long way from where any surf showed on it.

In less than four hours out of Bayport the Yucatan's bow fetches up nice and easy on Horseshoe and stays there. It was thick by now, with no sea to speak of; but there was a long swell and we were deep loaded, which meant that we were almost down to our main deck, and we carried an open rail amidships, which meant that when a swell heaved up against our side it didn't have to roll very high to roll aboard, and after rolling aboard it just naturally kept on rolling across our deck and over on the other side. It was like seeing surf breaking over a rock in the ocean; and to men not used to a deep-loaded oil-ship, and not knowing too much of the sea anyway, it wasn't hard to understand why they might think they were in great danger. Anyway, the seamen or deck-hands or seagoing laborers—whatever it was they shipped for—soon began to pick out safe, high spots and to cling tight to them.

Any shipmaster that wanted to could, of course, have stopped all that with ten words; but says Captain Clarence, waving his hand and singing out from the bridge: "Have no fear, my lads. Trust to me. I will bring you safe out of this." Which was a new one, he being, according to Wheezer's account of him, more often given to damning their hides and blue lights and in other little ways putting the fear of the bridge into the deck of what ships he'd ever been master of. "Have no fear, my men, I'll guard your lives," says Captain Clarence. And it sounded fine, only a couple of wrecking tugs would have walked her off, and certainly her own engines ought to have backed her off, if he'd only stop making speeches and try them.

But Wheezer never said that Captain Clarence was any fool, and he probably knew what he was doing every minute. He went for'ard now and hove the lead a few times, and then hove it aft, and then came back to the bridge looking more solemn than before; and, looking up at him, there was no doubt that most of the crew thought if they didn't get off that ship, and in a hurry, they were gone.

"But fear not," says Judkins; "we shall yet escape from this peril," and blows a distress signal, and right away comes an answer; and in about a minute and a half, from almost under our stern, comes a tugboat, the Niobe, with "Parson" Davies skipper of her. I'd never met Davies, but I'd heard of him; and I'd seen the Niobe laying off Bayport Harbor when we came out, and what would be bringing her so handy now, and she not hailing from Bayport at all, but from Westport, a hundred miles farther away?

Judkins hailed the Niobe to have a line ready, and then turns to us and says: "Men, it would be a great deed for me to imperil your lives to save this valuable ship and cargo to her owners; but what a nobler, what a far nobler, deed it is to save human lives! Not my life, men, but others'—your lives, fathers of families that I know some of you are, or loving husbands, brothers, and sons of loving mothers. But can we thus save her? No, no; we cannot. In a few hours it will be dark, and these seas, which you see breaking over this noble ship, will most surely batter her and all on her before morning. It would then be too late to escape from her. Not," he says, waving his hand, "that we shall not even now make a desperate attempt to get her off. We shall. Indeed we shall!" and orders a line taken from the Niobe. I made it my business—there was no competition—to be the man making the line fast to our after-bitts, and a worn and ancient piece of hemp I saw it was. The Niobe backed off, and the line parted. She passed us another line, and that parted. The second line was rottener than the first, and while she was doing it I knew there was a store-new 200-fathom coil of a 13-inch hawser in our hold.

When the second line parts, Judkins waves his arms in despair and orders the Niobe to make fast under our high lee quarter, where it is smooth as milk and plenty of water for a tug of her tonnage. "Captain Davies," he calls out then, "what a fortunate event for us you happened along!"

"Yes, captain," responds "Parson," his head out of his pilot-house window. "A most heavenly inspiration it was which impelled me in this direction in weather like this."

"Doubtless, doubtless, the hand o' Providence," says Judkins in a downcast voice; and then, more lively: "What is your judgment of this gale, Captain Davies?"

Gale! A man could have almost gone motor-boating with a bunch of seaside hotel guests in it.

"If I know anything of weather, captain," says "Parson," rolling his head this way and that at the sky, "she's comin' on to blow a hurricane. And for you to keep your crew aboard your doomed ship durin' the fury of it would be nothin' less than criminal, captain. Not" (raising one pious hand) "that I would set my judgment over agin yours, captain, for your vast experience of the sea qualifies you to judge of these things even better than I."

By this time most of our crew had left their high roosts and were crowding the lee rail to get aboard the Niobe; and Judkins says: "All right, men—go aboard." And all went aboard the tug, Judkins checking off every man by the ship's list as we passed him at the rail. And the Niobe headed back to Bayport.

On the run back to Bayport Judkins and Davies were alone in the cabin of the tugboat. I spent all that same way back trying to figure out their little game. I didn't feel too sure I had it right, but when the Niobe hit the dock I went four bells and the jingle up the street looking for Wheezer, and found him where anybody in town could of a Wednesday or Saturday night:

25 Cents for Gents—15 for Ladies

There was the illuminated sign hanging out over the sidewalk so that even a drunken sailor couldn't miss it.

You didn't have to haul Wheezer into any dry dock to see that his lines weren't laid down for speed, but his first rush, when I told him what was in sight, carried him clear to the head of the dock.

"The salvage! O the lovely salvage! We'll get her off!" says Wheezer. "We'll charter a tug, hah?"

I wasn't strong for chartering any tugs and let everybody know about it. We had no money to be chartering tugs, anyway, and, besides, if I had Judkins and Davies's little game sized up right, there'd be no loose tugs left to charter out of Bayport that night. "We'll make it in the Happy Day," I says.

"The Happy Day!" says Wheezer; and then: "Well, all right—if you think she'll make it."

We went down to tell Scoot, and found him reading from a book he was holding up before him with one hand and eating crackers and cheese and a smoked herring from a plate atop of a galley-stove with the other.

"A wonderful, wonderful man, Confucius," says Scoot to Wheezer; and then seeing me, too: "What! Hasn't that oil-packet departed yet?"

"Wonderful maybe, but stow him, whoever the loafer is, 'n' listen to me 'n' the captain," says Wheezer. And Scoot listens, and before I was half through he stows Confucius—a fine, fat volume, with a leaf turned down to mark the place—under his mattress.

"I shall need a helper," says Scoot. "And also I think it will be wise for me to prepare some fresh applications of Leakitis if we are to put out to sea in this venerable ark to-night."

Up to the Blue Light saloon there was always a bum or two looking for a bit of change. On the way there I passed the Bayport Hotel and saw that Captain Judkins and Captain Davies had already an admiring audience to listen to the disaster to the Yucatan.

A hard-looking party was trying to hold the barkeeper up for a drink when I reached the Blue Light. He was the only being in the place who looked husky enough to lift more than the weight of his elbow to the level of his shoulder. I offered him ten dollars for the next twenty-four hours. "To work on a hurry-up job on a steam-lighter," I explained. "That's if you're tough enough for it on a windy night," I added.

"Tough work? William T. Coots is my name—and the T stands for tough."

"Come on then," I said, "here's one dollar down." It was the last dollar I had.

William T. could never leave there with that dollar in his pocket. He made a great fellow of himself by buying drinks for a bunch of bums, and then I warped him in and grappled him to me. Passing the Bayport Hotel this time, I could see Judkins and Davies still talking, only by this time some of the crew were giving out interviews, too, and the audience included two or three reporters, and all hands had moved from the lobby to the barroom.

After a peek at that cheerful party and then at the dark harbor I didn't blame William T. for wanting to go in and join them, but he had signed to go a cruise on the Happy Day. I reasoned with him till he told me for the third time that he was William T. Coots, a tough guy, and was going to have one more drink. Then I dropped fair words, walloped him back on to the sidewalk, ran him down aboard the Happy Day, and introduced him to Scoot.

We put out. The Happy Day was an ancient craft that had been built right there in Bayport, and if she'd ever been outside the harbor before, the oldest inhabitant couldn't recall it. How she was going to act outside this night none of us would bet, but we hoped she'd surprise us.

But she acted pretty much like we figured she would. She had a 65-foot hammer hoist. We couldn't see ten feet away—it was a dark, drizzly night—but we could feel the runways of that hoist waving somewhere up in the clouds above us. And no harm in that, if it didn't come down on our heads; and no harm when she wouldn't lift from a sea—she wasn't built to—but if only she'd let one pass! But not a blessed one. She'd slue around sideways, and the next one would hit her a swipe, and aboard they'd come as if all the welcome in the world was waiting them.

The Happy Day rated a deck-house amidships, with a galley and a little L that Scoot had built on, with a bunk to sleep in of nights. A sea coming aboard one side took the house along with it over the other side. "O' course," said Wheezer, "it was nachally to be espected, but if she'd waited till next week I was reckonin' to had her painted red with blue trimmin's, an' sell her along o' the rest o' the lighter."

When the house threatened to loosen up first, Scoot came up out of the hold to rescue Confucius from his bunk, with a brier pipe he'd bought years before this for a half-crown in Liverpool and a pair of custom-made pants he used to wear to parties.

A couple of tons of water in the shape of a small sea chased Scoot back down the ladder. A spry one, Scoot. He got out of the way, holding Confucius and the pants high in the air. The back of William T's neck happened to be about the middle of the region where most of that sea landed below. After he'd coughed up what he could from his insides, William T. had a word to say. Scoot had rigged up a bilge-pump which worked from the hold. William T. was told to work that as well as shovel the coal. What he wanted to say was that he'd shovel the coal or he'd stand by the pump, but not both. "What did I ship for—what for?" he demanded of Scoot.

Scoot was a little man, and he used to rig up a pair of big black horn-rimmed spectacles he owned and talk with care before strangers, but he wasn't so safe as he looked. His father, a delicatessen man, had intended him for a chemist, and then died in time to save him from it. Scoot had other notions, and only he met a Barbados negro with a head made of the same mixture as two parts in five Portland cement after it'd had two days to set—only for him Scoot said he might have been a light-weight champion riding around in his own auto. After that fight he said he'd never raise his hand to a man again. No, sir; it would be a meat-axe for him—also he was going to draw the color line. And the higher life for him thereafter.

"Only in toilsome essays to climb the heights
Does man from his baser nature rise,"

Scoot used to say. And he did essay to climb, but every once in so often his foot would slip and down he'd come and begin to claw around like anybody else.

"That big brute that toted me aboard here, and that other big brute up on deck, mebbe they c'n lick me," said William T. now; "but no red chin-whiskered, toothless runt like you kin."

Scoot wasn't shy any teeth. It was the way his under jaw was hung. When he'd take to chewing with his front teeth, that lower jaw used to come up outside the upper one. But it was true about his chin-whisker, and he didn't like it.

"That so?" says Scoot, and stows his big horn spectacles in their case and selects a nice long spanner; and when William T. came at him wide open he tapped him—once, twice—neatly.

When William came to, Scoot was waving a full-sized twenty-pound shovel before his eyes. Says Scoot: "Observe, please, this instrument. You insert the forward end of it under this pile of coal—so; and you elevate it—so: a hand here and a hand there; and you project it into the firebox—so. And so on and so on, repeating ad noshum. You savvy?" says Scoot. "Cause if you don't, then you hear me, son; I'll whale the everlastin' livers 'n' lights outer your debased hide."

"You-all are sure a bunch o' tough guys," says William T.; and thereafter Scoot went around applying Leakitis to the worst spots in peace.

We were having our own recreation up on deck. I was to the wheel, of course, and as long as I hung on there I was all right. But Wheezer had to stay forward to keep a lookout. We didn't have any lights, and we didn't want any wandering craft to be running over us in the dark and drizzle. Wheezer wanted to climb up the hammer hoist to get out of the way of the seas, but wasn't too sure he wouldn't come down and go any minute over the side with it. He wound up by lashing himself to a weather-deck bitt and letting most of the water in the Gulf of Mexico flow over him. Being, as he said, a diver by trade, 'twas no strange thing for him to be under water, but being under this way, he said he missed the air-tube. In the middle of it he remembered he forgot to say good-by to his partner at the dance-hall. "If anything happens us, I hope she won't think I came out here to get lost a-purpose to get away from her," said Wheezer.

From time to time Scoot stuck out his head to make sure we weren't yet washed overboard, and to report on the leaks; and also on William T. Scoot wouldn't call William any Olympic champion with a shovel, but—doubtless we had noticed it—he was producing steam.

Which was so. Four miles an hour was all we ever figured on driving the Happy Day across smooth harbor routes, and here she was banging out that many in a seaway on the open gulf, making fair allowance, of course, for the side slips. She was all right, the old Happy, and she brought us at daybreak to Horseshoe Shoal and the Yucatan, she still with her bow fast but her stern loose to the seas. Without wasting any time, I laid the Happy Day alongside, and Wheezer was about to go aboard her when he was met at the gangway by a cat.

Wheezer always did have a terrible respect for the laws of the sea. "Ain't there some law about ship's cats?" he asks now; and Scoot digs out his case and adjusts his glasses, and after a little meditation says: "There are, Wheezer, many superstitions and traditions connected with the sea. A marvellous vehicle of misinformation and credulous belief, the sea. Reflect on the vogue which sea-serpents have enjoyed. Reflect on how the ferocity of sharks has been exaggerated. It is doubtless the fact, Wheezer, that jaded imaginations thankfully accepted these ancient fallacies to render more startling the dénouement of their dramas. To such, doubtless, do we owe the invention of the cat on abandoned ships to frustrate the hopes of those who would claim honest salvage." Scoot took another breath. "It is usually a black cat, but even so for a cat to rank before the law as the equal of a human creature is absurd. This, I perceive" (Scoot let the back of his head settle on to his shoulder so's to have a good look) "is not a black but a gray cat, Wheezer—a lean, gray feline. In the days of the ancient Persians, Wheezer, a gray cat was a symbol of——"

"Scat, you slab-sided gray symbol!" barked Wheezer just then, and the cat scatted with a long leap from the rail of the oil-ship on to Scoot's shoulder, and from there into the hold of the Happy Day.

"Whatever the Persians thought o' cats, this cat's off her now, Scoot," said Wheezer—"she's sure abandoned now," and went aboard.

"It looked hungry passing me," said Scoot, and called down to Billie T. to feed it a little lubricating oil on a shovel. "It's nourishing and fattening," says Scoot, "and we'll keep it aboard. Every seagoing ship should have one for luck."

Wheezer reported not another soul aboard the oil-ship; and, under the laws of the sea, that made her ours to do what we pleased with. And we had our own notions of how to work her off the bar. We broke out ten or a dozen barrels of oil and poured them over the troubled waters. Then I belted and bolted Wheezer into his diving-suit, and broke out our steam-drill—left over from the Weeping Annie—and Wheezer dropped over and began to bore holes under the bow of the oil-ship.

Scoot had never been shipmates with an oil-burner before, and he went below to get acquainted with this one. I was busy wiring charges of dynamite for what we had to do next, so to William T. was left the job of pumping air to Wheezer. Twice Wheezer came up, his cheeks bulging out when I unscrewed his helmet, to ask me to explain to William T. that pumping the air ahead of time and then resting up to wait till that was used up wasn't the way of it—not if Wheezer was to stay alive. Regular and steady, that was the word, said Wheezer.

Wheezer got all his holes bored and the dynamite planted in them. This was a lot of dynamite left over when we traded the Weeping Annie; we'd kept it in the hold of the Happy Day, which was another reason for Scoot to sleep aboard her nights. He said he wasn't going to let her blow up some night and no one on board to prove who did it.

When we were all ready on deck, Scoot said he guessed he'd take a chance on her engines. He would not bet on what would happen, but he guaranteed we'd get action of some kind, even if it was no more than a cylinder-head blown through the side of the ship, if we'd only come below and help him out. So we passed him this and that, turned this jigger and that jigger to his orders, and by and by he lights a row of jets and her engines turned all right.

"Any time now," says Scoot, and I touched off the dynamite, and what looked like a million cubic yards of mixed stuff comes splattering up from under her bow. William T., who was leaning over the bow to see how it worked, got most of the oil, that being on top. Then I gave Scoot the bells, he backed her engines, and off she came smooth and easy.

While William T. was picking the oil and sand and mud and sea-water out of his eyes and ears and nose and mouth, and complaining that somebody oughter tipped him off, I called to him to shift the Happy Day's line so she could drift astern of the ship. "And whatever yuh do, son, hang onter her line," Wheezer warned him. By this time William had shed his first independent views of things and was obeying orders fine; so when the Happy Day went whirling astern, William was hanging on to the end of the line. Down the deck he went skidding on his heels, and over the rail, still hanging on to the line.

Finding himself overboard, he climbed up on the Happy Day. By this time we were well off the bank in pretty good water, and I sung out to William that I would swing around and get him, and gave the necessary bells when the time came for Scoot to back her; but Scoot, I guess, wasn't yet full shipmates with his oil-burning machinery, for we kept right on going ahead till we went clean through and over the Happy Day.

I remember seeing the cat climbing up the hammer hoist when it saw what was coming and clawing into its place up top; and how when the Happy went under and the tall hoist careened over toward us, the cat made one flying leap on to the oil-ship's deck. When Scoot heard of that later, he said: "We'll name it Confucius—a wonderful, wise cat."

When William T. saw what was coming, he took a running long dive and overboard from the other end of the Happy Day. Wheezer stove in the heads of four or five more barrels of oil and dumped them over the side so's to make it easier for William clawing around in the seaway. When he came swimming aboard, he was wanting to know wasn't there any jobs that didn't require him to swaller any more oil—shovelling coal or working bilge-pumps, he didn't care. So we let him go down to the engine-room to help out Scoot.

We ought to have seen the morning papers before we did to enjoy what happened next. Captain Davis of the Niobe was to depart at daybreak to make another desperate attempt to save the oil-ship in the teeth of the storm, the morning papers said. And he did. We met him on our way back to Bayport, and he steamed around us two or three times. Then he steamed away for Westport. He didn't say a word himself, but she carried the most eloquent stern, the Niobe, that ever I looked at through glasses when she was steaming away.

The oil-ship was down by the head a trifle where the dynamite had loosened her bow-plates a little, but nothing to hurt. We got her into port all right.

But getting a salvaged ship into port don't always end a man's troubles. There was a slick young lawyer came to us. He said he'd like to handle our case. We asked what his charge would be, and he said: "Oh, that will be all right—I'll make my price to suit you boys." We said all right, go ahead, and "Now, boys," he says then, "what's the story? Give it to me straight."

I tells him the story. He rubs his hands and chuckles, and says: "Good! Great! Nothing to it—a pipe! But listen to me, boys. When you get up there in court, don't go trying to make any joke of it the same as you just done to me. Everything is all fixed up nicely for you to play heroes' parts. Here are all the newspaper accounts—look—of Captain Davies's heroic work and seamanship, as told by Captain Judkins, and of Captain Judkins's humane and heroic work as told by Davies. Even the crew—look—give out interviews of what heroes they were. And, lemme tell you, I've seen the Happy Day many a time, and I wouldn't go outside in her for a million dollars. Now play it up, play it up—the storm, the peril, your own heroic efforts, you know."

Which was all right to say; but imagine any human being getting up to tell of our trip and leave out the funny little parts, especially when we see Judkins sitting in a back bench listening, though he didn't listen too long. He all at once got up and didn't come back.

In the old days we'd have been awarded 50 or 60 per cent for our part, and she was a million-dollar ship with her cargo; but the insurance companies don't let any loose-footed seafarers put across anything like that these days. We got thirty thousand dollars for salving the ship, and ten thousand more for the loss of the Happy Day.

Our slick lawyer said we hadn't played it up right. "But never mind," he said; "I've been allowed full damages for the Happy Day and awards for your time and some of the risk you-all ran. There's twenty thousand for you boys."

Wheezer and Scoot looked at me, and I looked at the lawyer. "Twenty thousand? Don't you think it's too much for us?" I asks.

"Why," he says, "it is a lot o' money for you boys to be carrying away for one night's work. But I generally split it that way—fifty-fifty."

We were in his office. I told Wheezer and Scoot to wait for me below. "Perhaps there'd better be no witnesses," I whispered to Scoot, and they got out.

The bright young lawyer takes another look at me after I lock the door and come back to him. "What do you mean to do?" he says.

And I said: "First, I'm going to give you one whale of a beating."

"You lay your hands on me," he says, "and I'll have you up for assault and battery. I'll show every mark in open court."

"I'm going to mark you," I said, "where you won't show them in any open court."

And I did. "And that's only the beginning," I said; but about then he agreed to call in Wheezer and Scoot; and, for instructing us to comport ourselves with dignity before the high court, we thought five hundred was about right, and after another little chat he agreed it was. We gave William T. the same for what he'd done, and he stayed drunk for a week at the Blue Light, which is what we reckoned he would do. But he was his own boss ashore.

Before I was fairly home the wife rushes me over to the little house she'd the option on. Being only two blocks south of the boulevard didn't make any hit with me, for the next thing I could see where she'd be breaking into society. But when I see the baby that I'd left kicking his legs in a baby-carriage—when I see him sprinting around the sun-parlor on his own feet, I begin to see the beauty of sun-parlors. "Take it," I said.

She certainly was tickled. "I always knew," she said, before I had time to say another word, "that all you needed was to apply yourself steadily to make your fortune."

Well, she's a great little woman, and what's the good of hurrying up to break illusions? I waited all of two hours before I told her how I made the price of the house.

The Bull-Fight

"What with these young schools aboard ship and chocolate caramels where bottled beer was one time in the cantine, 'tis a changed navy we've come to."

There was Porto Bello with its painted walls, there was the liberty boat at the gangway, and there was Monaghan with nothing but abuse for all present institutions.

"'Twas a good adventure the navy was once, but 'tis a kind of factory they would be making of it, with pay-days, not fightin' days, the grand thing to be lookin' for'ard to.

"And oh," he sighs after a breath, "the hearty arguments a liberty party would find to their elbows in any foreign port of importance in the old days! But now—puh!"

"Monaghan," I says, "is it in human nature, do you think, to alter so wonderfully in one short generation?"

"'Tisn't me," says Monaghan, "that reads shelves of books from the ship's library, includin' poetry. Go on, you; cling to your hopeful views, till some day you die of them. But for me—I'll go with you on no shore liberty this day."

So over the side I went without Monaghan, but our executive—him we called Regulations—was there to speed our going from the gangway grating.

"Remember, now," says Regulations, "no street brawlings and no ordering rounds of intoxicating drinks in cantinas. Whoever isn't there when the liberty boat leaves the landing-pier this afternoon, and whoever returns aboard here under the influence of liquor I shall send 'em to the brig. And don't think for one moment that any one of you can fool me with any cock-and-bull story of what happened you."

No great evil in Regulations, but a pity, I was thinking, he would not leave a little more to our imagination and maybe good intentions. Some of us there were, I knew, that would like to think that 'twas maybe not altogether fear of the ship's discipline would be holding us to our good behavior.

Meditating, maybe sadly, I was on the distrust of Regulations and the defection of Monaghan, when I looked up to find myself abreast of a cantina that was run by an Americanized native called Tony, the same who one time kept a fruit-stand on West Street in New York till he discovered that bananas and pineapples and lemons were not the most staple articles of diet on the water-front of a great American port. "Tony," I says, "'twould grieve a certain superior officer of my ship exceedingly were I to order one single draft of spirituous liquor on this my first day of liberty in two months. But 'tis no summer resort on the New England coast this is. Will you, in God's name, give me something to cool the blazing throat of me?"

"When I tended bar in a hotel one time in a prohibition State in your country," says West Street Tony, "we made one drink especially for temperance people. I mix one now," he says; and he did.

"Lemonado Porto Bello we call that down here," says Tony.

"'Tis satisfying," I said; and had another, and passed on my way.

'Twas truly a beautiful port—Porto Bello—in the low latitudes; and there were little children playing in the streets and long-tailed birds singing in the trees; and from one place to another I passed, having here and there along the way a lemonado Porto Bello by way of abating the heat of the hot morning. And so, until approaching noon found me under the portales of a hotel on a fine high hill.

'Twas in truth a hot morning. The Hot Coast the guide-books in the ship's library called all that country, and no misname in that; but when a waiter steps up with a negligée air and a towel and swipes a battalion of camping flies from the marble deck of my table to the scuppers of the sidewalk, and says: "Vairy gooda beer on icey—two bottlas for-r da one-a peso," like a friendly soul who would help out a thirsty and innocent foreigner, I said no.

"No," I said; "no intoxicating beverages will I order myself this day. Lemonade Porto Bello," I said: "duo"—holding up two fingers to maybe help out his lack of his own language. "One for me, one for him," I said, and pointing to a glass a young fellow with an air of preoccupation and melancholy at the next table had standing empty to his elbow.

"Bueno, bueno!" said the waiter, and in good season brought me one and replaced the empty glass of the abstracted young man with the other.

It was, as I said, a hot day. As to that, I've yet to see a morning in twenty years of cruising on that blasted coast when it wasn't hot. Sitting in the shade of the portales on that high hill and almost a breeze coming in from the waters of the Gulf—even so, all ready to soak iced Porto Bello lemonados into me, even so it was hot.

And while I'm waiting there having another lemonade, and by and by another and another, a young girl enters the shade of the portales; and no man could carry two eyes in his head and not notice the loveliness of her. Lovely and good. I could feel it in the air when I wasn't looking straight at her. Women's hats and men's cigarettes bobbed in high approval, and the watery eyes of two gray-whiskered old rounders grew almost bright and decent to look at when from over the tops of their newspapers they gazed after her in passing.

My little table was up by the main entrance, and as if for no more than to let her lovely glance rest on some manly creature who might be sitting unattached in the neighborhood, she stopped on the lowest step of the hotel doorway and her eyes were slanted in my general direction.

"Jeepers!" I said to myself, for even with a gray hair here and there impinging on the black mop above my temples—even so, I needed no ship's surgeon to testify that the pension-list was a long way from me yet. And as for the rank, 'twas well I knew that when the heart goes cruising 'tis little the rank matters. Gunner's mate, even as an admiral of the line, may well have his fair romance: that I knew.

But what man of intelligence and natively good intentions may run riot through the years of tempestuous youth and not arrive some day at a belated wisdom? After another upward glance I saw that not for me was that look of virginal yearning and distress. The line of fire of her gaze had for its target the back of the head of the young fellow who so melancholy and abstracted was gazing on the blue waters of the Gulf from the next table.

"Jeepers!" I said to myself, "is he asleep or what?" and above my lemonade I points a soft cough at him.

But no sign from him, and I coughed again—the short double cough which is the signal among all males from Kamchatka to Punta Arenas, sailing east or west, north or south, great or little circles, as you please—for all males above the age of apprentice boys to stand to attention—that 'tis lovely ladies coming over the side.

But never a sign of hearing from him, and "Mucho calero, mucho heato," I said respectfully, and with a side look of apology, meaning in that way to intimate to the lovely creature that I had gone as far as the regulations would permit a rough and simple nature who hadn't been formally introduced.

I thought she would step down onto the walk beside us there to speak, but a voice from within the hotel called out: "Marguerite! Marguerite!" A firm, commanding voice it was, and with it the lovely vision faded somewhere into the forbidding dark between-decks of the hotel.

By and by the chin of the young fellow at the next table lifted off his chest, his eyes came slowly back from the blue waters—or whatever it was they were staring at—to the white marble top of his table, and he stared, puzzled, at his full glass. "I thought I drank that," he says, and has a sip of it.

"I never ordered anything like that," he says, and shoves it from him, and then he spies me. "Excuse me," he says, "but did you speak?"

"I did," I says, "but so long ago that I've most lost the use of my tongue. But no harm; I'll speak now again," and I clapped my hands and "Muchacho! Boyo!" I calls. "Oono lemonado plaino—and oono lemonado Porto Bello with much frio—you know—mucho iceyo and hurry like helleo!"

And I explained to the young fellow how long years back my chum Monaghan had taught me how to talk these tropic languages: the way to do was to wave both hands, stick an "o" onto every other word and yell like a bo'son's mate in the morning watch, and, with the waiter maybe knowing a little American to help you out, you could get what you ordered every time.

"But I'm wondering who it was called her," I said when the lemonades had come. "There she was, sort of standing on one foot like she wanted to talk to somebody, and I know that somebody wasn't me, when 'Marguerite!' a voice called—like that—and whing! she was gone, with sighs soft as the bubbles in the wake of a torpedo to mark her going."

"Marguerite?" says the young fellow, coming wonderfully back to life. "What did she look like?"

"Queen o' the Movies—nothing less for looks, but with a touch o' home and mother and little babies clinging to her neck."

"That's Marguerite! Why didn't you call me?" he says.

He reminded me in his indignation of the rookies aboard ship when they're first shook up to go on night watch. If you don't haul 'em out of their hammocks and throw them ten feet down the passageway by their necks and ankles, they bellow to the skipper at the mast next morning how no one called them. But I would not tell him that. Let him who has never felt the sting of the barbed arrow rub salt in the wound it makes.

"I coughed so loud at you the second time that I had all the Johnnies along the row looking up over their coffee demi-tasseys, and all the stout señoras were eying me with more than ordinary female suspicion," was all I said to that.

He ran inside the hotel then. By and by he comes back. "She was here, but she's gone, the clerk doesn't know where."

"I'm sorry to hear that," I says; and, moved by my further words of sympathy, he tells me how he's been steaming in the wake of the beautiful young lady through seven European monarchies and four Central American republics, and of how, whenever he thought he was safe alongside, the mother would up anchor and leave him riding to a lonesome mooring in the dark of some foreign port.

"Just ten minutes with Marguerite and her mother together and I know I could explain how it came about I got mixed up in what they think was a disgraceful row, but I can't get the chance."

To my way of thinking the young lady at least wouldn't require much explanation; and, talking of one thing and another, we had a bite of lunch and after lunch a smoke, and we were absorbing, to abate the heat—he a plain and myself another lemonado Porto Bello—when a mahogany-tinted boy with a musical voice and his pants held up by one suspender stops in front of us to chant of a bull-fight which is to come off that afternoon.

"Maybe," I says to my new young friend, "this bull-fight would make you forget your troubles for a while." And he agrees it might. So "Boyo! Muchacho!" I hail the waiter. "Duo—two-o seatso for the bull-fighteo! You know—good seatso—the besto!"

"Bueno, señor," says the waiter, and hurries off, and pretty soon is back with two yellow tickets for three pesos each, proving again what I'd said about talking the language.

'Twas the advice of the waiter to take a blue-line trolley-car for the bull-ring, the same being quick and cheap. But it was no blue or any other colored trolley-car that I hailed from the shadow of the hotel portales. No, no. A rakish, two-horse cruiser of low freeboard—that was the craft befitting two American señors of importance to go sailing through the streets of Porto Bello on a hot day to a bull-fight, and, that the inhabitants of the benighted place might be fully informed of our high rating, I stuck both feet over the port side. "And I want to see any five-foot spig policeman try to put 'em back inboard," I said.

No policeman tried to, and in due season and good order we made entrance to a plaza that was crowded with long-legged tables piled high with chile con carnes and olla podridas and various other comestibles indigenous to the region; and under the tables, where the shade was deepest, were many cases of native beer piled high with ice.

From behind the tables men and women in green and yellow and red and blue and purple and I don't know what-all colors of clothes were crying out what they had to sell, and up and down the long lines of waiting people were men telling how they had the best seats to sell to the bull-fight.

"Beer on ice and the speculators with the best seats out on the sidewalk—it makes me almost feel that I'm back on Broadway," says my young friend. 'Twas the first sign of life he'd shown since he'd jumped into the hotel to look for the young lady of his sorrows, and the same encouraged me to hope that maybe before the afternoon was over he'd remember that 'twasn't yet the Last Day—that the blue waters of the Gulf and the golden rays of the sun was still shining and sparkling, the one to the other below and above us—glory!

'Twas a plaza of promise we had come to. On a stand over by the bull-ring entrance was a band of hill Indians trying to jam a little music out of a collection of queer-looking instruments, but making a poor job of it, not to speak of resting up too frequently to please a young American bluejacket who was standing by. A festive lad he was, and he climbed up on the band-stand and stepped a lively jig by way of speeding up the band.

But the band hadn't come there to be speeded up. It was a hot day, and after the crazy Americans were come and gone there would be other hot days—or such, I gathered, was the leader's retort.

"No hurry?" says the young bluejacket. "No hurry uppo? Then you guys watch me do an imitation of a whirlin' dervish I see one time in the Caffey dee Joy in Cairo. Watch!"

They watched and saw him revolve himself, one, two, three, four times atop of the stand, and then down the steps and on to his head in the plaza area. But he was of unquenchable spirit; without letting on that that wasn't part of it, he climbed back on to the band-stand and questioned the leader further. Did he know any American music, and would he for a peso—or two pesos, say—play some? Did he sabe Americano musico?

The leader of the band did sabe, and, the two pesos being passed, out rolled "Marching Through Georgia." Which pleased our dancing blue-jacket. "Fine!" he says. "My old man was with Sherman's outfit on that hike. Roll her out again!"

And once more was "Marching Through Georgia" rolling nobly out, and as it was so rolling, a young American marine—but looking too slim and melancholy to so much as give back talk to a scuttle-butt—detached himself from a file of his comrades, and, marching stiffly up onto the band-stand, said: "What d'you-uns mean tellin' this yer nigger to play that-a-one for? I was bawn 'n' raised in Jaw-juh. In Jaw-juh, and my daddy fit with Lee," and he whaled our dancing bluejacket under the ear.

The band-leader was playing an instrument that sounded like a currycomb rubbing across a battle-hatch. Swishy-swishy, it was going, with a loud r-r-rump-umph every few bars, and it was shaped like a long-necked pumpkin. This the young native of Jaw-juh grabbed by its long neck and bent in several places over the leader's skull. There was a platoon of native policemen standing by and another platoon within easy signal distance. With the first shriek of the band for help that first platoon came limbering up, not forgetting to pass the word for their watchmates as they came.

But waiting in line for their tickets, or sampling in their strollings the wares above and beneath the piled-up tables, were a few files and boatloads of our own marines and bluejackets, and these now came steaming up to the battle line, meaning harm to nobody in particular, but curious to know what all the ballyhooing was about and so as to be handy in case anything was doing.

The native police came galloping up and captured the outraged Georgian in the first rush, and as they did so up charged in one thin khaki wave his marine comrades to his rescue. And 'twas a gallant charge, even if all that came of it was to bury the band-stand under the falling bodies.

The mind of my young friend—it pleased me to know him for being so thoughtful—was running in much the same groove as my own. "Down under that pile that poor band-leader is still wondering what he did to get hit. That marine shouldn't have bothered him," says he.

"You're right," I said. "And this everlasting looking for trouble on shore liberty—it gives me the needles."

'Twas just then a tall policeman, with a sword and his chin stuck out belligerently before him gave signs for me to vamose from the plaza. "And what board of examiners," I says, "gave you a rating to be ordering me around?" and I relieved him of his sword and drove his chin back to front dress.

Says the young fellow with me then: "Once in New York I tried to keep some policemen from taking a couple of friends of mine into a patrol-wagon, and they took me along too, and my picture was in the paper next morning—that's what got me in wrong with Marguerite's mother, and this will probably get me in wrong again. But where a fellow's people are there's where he must be too, I suppose."

There were almost tears in the poor boy's voice but nothing like them in his eyes when beside me he waded in knee-deep, and he was a wide-shouldered, round-chested lad with quick, strong ways to him. Knee-deep, I say, for by this time the uniformed natives were threatening to roll over us like some huge, advancing wave. And such natives as weren't in uniform stood to one side and cheered, or maybe hove a doby brick or two at intervals.

But not entirely one-sided was it, for every bluejacket or marine arriving by the blue-line cars, after a quick masthead view of the situation, took a running hop, step, and a leap into the middle of it.

Our numbers were increasing, and there were other matters to aid us. The pedlers at the tables were hurrying to remove their wares from the war zones, but the quick advances of battle overtook the most of them, and tropical things to eat and drink from above and beneath the tables were soon adding a grand variety to the first plans of battle. There was the ice that had been cooling the beer. You take a lump of ice about the size of a small man's head, point the same carefully at a range of three or four feet, and hurl it with the full power of a moderately strong arm and—but 'tis a bad habit, boasting. And a thick-bottomed bottle of native beer—'tis a useful little article, too, at close quarters.

It was a hot day. "Mucho calero, mucho heato, be quiet, you!" I admonished one of the enemy lying prone at my feet, and picked up a beer-bottle, taking notice that it was not empty and that the cold beads of a late icing still clung to it. And I snapped free the patent stopper, and, for better action, loosened the blouse about my neck, giving thanks at the same time for the lucky man I was to have a blouse left on me to loosen.

Now, if Regulations had been there to see, it is a fine sermon he could have preached on the evils of strong drink—how it brings its own punishment always in its wake. And not a word but would be true. But a man exalted by the clash of battle is no man to preach to. 'Tis then he delights in confounding the precepts of his betters. And, man, the hot day it was! In all my cruisings on that abandoned coast I never knew a hotter; from the melting asphalt the heat was rising in torrid waves. I placed the cold bottle of beer to my lips and felt the first trickle of it on my swollen tongue. But no more than felt it, when the enemy—who by all rights was out of the combat at my feet—stood up, and what it was he clouted me with on the back of my head I never learned, nor does it matter now; war is war. But in falling I remember saying sad like to myself: "A man that would do that would ship his mother in the navy!"

Elbow to elbow with me all this time was my new young friend, and he had in his hand at the moment of my fall the mahogany leg of a table, that fine-grained mahogany for which, as I had so often read in the ship's library, that Hot Coast is also justly famous. With the table leg, the same being of good length and moderately thick through, the lad reached over and tapped on the temple the party who had exploded the shell, or whatever it was, on the back of my head. And as McWarrish, an eye-witness, informed me later, my would-be assassin shared no further in the glory of that day.

It had been a pleasant and not unequal prospect up to then, but by now they had routed the colonel of the barracks from his box-seat in the bull-ring, and "Fix bayonetso!" he calls to his soldiers coming on at the double, and they fixed bayonets. "Advanceo!" he says, and they advanced and continued to advance until presently, the ice being melted and the beer-bottles expended—being, as I should have poetically said, short of ammunition—such of our bluejackets and marines as were not in the need of first aid to the injured might presently be seen making the best of their way back to their liberty boats.

In good time I revived, and I could taste it even then—that one teaspoonful of cold beer on the end of my swollen tongue, and, recalling the incident, "The green-eyed spig!" I says. "Is it any wonder they have revolutions every other week or so in their God-forsaken land?"

And what did I hear then but a voice calling me, and what did I see when I turned my head but my young friend with his head in the lap of the lovely Marguerite, and the rest I knew without being told, for Marguerite's stern mother was pouring water onto her lace handkerchief and applying the same to a lump topside of the youth's ears!

A large hearty-looking party was tending to my case. McWarrish was his name, and he was Marguerite's mother's brother, who managed a silver or lead (or was it a gold?) mine on that same Hot Coast, which, according to the ship's library, was likewise rich in oil, rubber, pepper, tabasco sauce, palm-leaf fans, and all manner of vegetable and mineral resources: a fertile and auriferous country that needed only the intelligence and energy of the superior northern races to make of it a marvellous commercial asset.

I did not have to tell McWarrish about the fight. He had seen it with the ladies from the veranda of the plaza hotel. And at dinner at the hotel, where in what was left of my uniform I sat in state, it developed that McWarrish and myself were of the one mind concerning Bobbie Burns. He poured six or eight or maybe a dozen libations to the memory o' rantin' Robbie, and says McWarrish then: "Mon, mon," he says, "but 'tis inspirin' tae meet wi' sich rare friendliness," and leads me down to where he had his motor-boat ready to take me out to the ship.

"Would ye no like tae ha' been there," says McWarrish, "the rainy nicht Robbie cam' ridin' on his horse frae the tavern wi' fower or five, or eight or ten it micht be, guid measures o' usquebaugh under his shirt tae keep him wet inside, wi' his cloak doon ower his shouthers tae keep him dry ootside, the whiles he composed the grandest song ever writ by the hond o' mon? Listen!" And he rolls out:

"Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots wham Bruce has aften led—"

He was a large-boned man, McWarrish, with a voice that left no idle spaces in the air about him, and I am myself no dwarf, nor weak of lung; and singing in and out among the fleet we went, while marine guards looked over top-rails and bluejackets rolled out of their blankets to give us a cheerful word in passing and sailors on anchor watch warned us in a friendly way not to run 'em down and sink 'em—from one battleship after another—when in the silvery night they would loom surprisingly up before McWarrish, who was steering.

"Wull I gae aboard wi' ye, brither," he says to me when by and by we made my ship, "tae explain the reason o' your delay?"

"Thank you, friend," I said, "but there'll be trouble enough as it is." And I climbed up the side the while he shoved off for the beach again.

"What," says Mr. Trench, who had the deck, "shall I set down in the log for your overstaying your liberty after you were so strictly warned?"

"Yes," says Regulations, bobbing up behind him, "what's the alibi this time?"

And I gives them the log of the day from first to last, even as I've told it here, omitting, of course, the personal allusions, and all gravely and respectfully, as befitted an enlisted man to his officers.

"M—m—," says Regulations, and considered the case. "You say you bought tickets to the bull-fight, eh? And didn't use them? M—m—m—then you must have the tickets yet. Where are they?"

From the inside of my cap I pulls out two yellow tickets, and passes them to him. No great evil, as I've said, in the make-up of Regulations, and doubtless, in good time, by reason of advanced age and taking no mad chances, he will rise to be commander-in-chief of the fleet.

He looks at the tickets under the deck light. "H—m," he sniffs; "h—m," and leaves the deck.

"Just as well, Cohalan," says Mr. Trench, "you saved those two tickets."

"If I hadn't, sir," I says, "there was a hatful of them to be had for the picking up in the plaza when the battle was over. And they're to be married next Tuesday, and I'm invited."

Mr. Trench was my division officer, and this was not our first cruise together. "I'll recommend you for shore liberty," says Mr. Trench—"providing there's no bull-fight the same day."

And I'm passing on when I hear the whispering voice of Monaghan.

"I was listening to you," says Monaghan, "and thinking while I listened of what you said one day. 'Nothing like poetry,' says you, 'to develop the imagination.'"

"More beautiful than the flowers of the imagination," I says to that, "are the rocks of eternal truth. You were saying only this morning how when yourself and myself were apprentice lads together, 'twas paroquets and blue monkeys 'stead o' picture post-cards as in these degenerate days we would be sending home to show the family and neighbors how we'd been in foreign parts. And that's true, but such are only the temporary frivolities of the human creature and not to be measured as important. I tell you, Monaghan, that in its potentials human nature has not changed—not yet."

"Not yet?" says Monaghan. "How much longer of this mechanical age will you be giving it?"

"That," I said, "is to be determined. But 'tis my belief, Monaghan," I says, "that let the drums beat and the banners wave and the gonfalons and the various other palladiums and symbols of our liberty be carried in marching columns before us, and, barrin' the shell-makers and the spellbinders and the owners maybe of newspapers with increasin' circulations, 'tis my belief we would march forth to war as cheerfully and rampageously as any band of red Indians that ever danced around a red fire in the full of an autumn moon."

"If all you say is true," says Monaghan, "then it must 'a' been a grand place for an hour or two—that plaza this day. And yourself and myself and that husky bridegroom-elect standin' elbow to elbow this day—man, but 'tis talkin' of us in the cantinas they would be for a full generation to come. And, 'stead o' that, here was I, a man of my tonnage an' speed under forced draft, lyin' here useless as an old cruiser in ordinary."

From the little motor-boat, the same being navigated in devious ways back to the pier, I could hear McWarrish:

"Oh, my luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June;
Oh, my luve's like the melodie—"

Always, or so I've thought, there's something disposing to romance, or maybe melancholy, in the quiet that lies o'er great waters, and something, it may be, softening to large voices.

Anyway, 'twas a lovely, moonlit tropic night—fitting close to a blessed day.

A Bale of Blankets

They were holding what was almost a public reception in the ward-room of the Missalanna. The Honorable J. J. Flavin, having appeased his hunger and slaked his thirst, signalled the Filipino mess-boy for a smoke; and having decided as to what was the most expensive cigar on the tray, he took two, and moved on to where, through a shining air-port, a fresh sea-breeze might find its cooling way to his beaded brow, for it was a warm summer's day and at trencher-play the Honorable Flavin had been no laggard.

As the Honorable J. J. smoked, so did he take the time to observe; and, observing, he vouchsafed the opinion to a thin-faced, high-shouldered young fellow who happened to halt near him: "These navy fellows must have a fat time of it, huh, Carlin?"

Carlin flashed a glance on Flavin. "How do you figure that?"

"Why, look at the swell feed—and the champagne here to-day. And look!" He slid off for inspection the band of the cigar he was smoking. "I paid three for a dollar for that same cigar the other day at a big hotel in Washin'ton. They must have money to throw overboard to be givin' that kind away."

Carlin knew the brand. He also knew that only two, or it might be three, officers of that ward-room mess could afford to smoke that make of cigar regularly; but he did not tell Flavin that. "They get those cigars for twelve cents apiece—buying 'em by the hundred—in Cuba, J. J.," he suggested mildly.

"And the dealers stick us thirty-five cents for em up here! Anyway, a fat time they have swelling 'round in uniforms given 'em by the gover'ment for the ladies to admire 'em."

Two years of political reporting in his home city and two more as Washington correspondent for the paper of most vital circulation in that same home city had not made of Carlin a politician, and it is to be doubted if ten times four years in a political atmosphere would have so made him; because ancestrally implanted in Carlin's breast was an inextinguishable desire to speak what he thought, and usually as soon as he thought it.

He said now—sharply: "What do you know about naval officers or navy life, J. J.?"

The Honorable J. J. Flavin had never, not even when he was only ward leader and therefore much more disposed to humility than now, been able to reconcile Carlin's unworshipful tongue with his own sense of what was due a man of importance in the political world. And Judas priest, he had a tongue of his own if it came to that! "Of course, you know all about it!" he retorted.

"No, I don't," replied Carlin promptly and placidly. "But I probably know more than do you or almost anybody else who has never had the chance to live aboard ship and see some of it. This afternoon the officers of this ship are spreading themselves according to service traditions to give you and me and all aboard here a good time. To-morrow they'll be to sea and on the job, a simple-living, busy crowd—working hard, taking chances, and making no talk about it."

Flavin whoofed a funnel of doubting cigar smoke into the teeth of the air-port breeze. "Taking chances! How? And where?"

"Everywhere. Day and night—battleships, destroyers, in submarines and aeroplanes. Thirty men and officers killed in one turret explosion only last month."

"Taking chances—huh! Foolish chances!"

"Anybody who isn't living to see how long he can live takes a foolish chance once in a while. That turret crew were on the battle-range trying to make big-gun records."

"And did they make 'em?"

"They did. And their seven-inch batteries made 'em, too. Single guns and broadsides at ten thousand five hundred yards."

"I didn't hear about that," growled Flavin.

"No? That's a shame, J. J. The department ought to 've wired you about it."

Flavin eyed Carlin sidewise. No use—he would never change. Would he never get on to himself? Flavin wondered. Carlin ought to have been one of the best-advertised men in his line in the country, as everybody around Washington said, but a fellow liable to hop out any time and bat somebody that could be of use to him over the eye, how could anybody go boosting him?

"They must 'a' treated you pretty well, Carlin?" he hazarded slyly.

"They treated me well—yes," snapped Carlin. "And they're treating you pretty decently now, aren't they?"

"I'd like to see 'em treat me, or any member o' Congress, any other way!"

"A member of Congress—that's right. And as a member of Congress you're drawing down how much, J. J.?"

"Seventy-five hundred a year—and allowances," replied Flavin, looking around the wardroom and not caring particularly who might hear the figures.

"And before you were sent to Washington you never made more than fifteen dollars a week in your life," thought Carlin. Aloud he said, in as gentle a tone as he could on short-order muster: "And did you ever stop to think, J. J., that while you're being paid that seventy-five hundred a year—and allowances—the captain of this ship, with ten or eleven hundred lives and a twelve-million-dollar war-machine to look out for, gets less than five thousand a year—and that only after thirty-odd years of professional study and practice? And that almost all of these other officers you see standing around here will regularly have to go up on the bridge and take full charge of this ship and all on her, and let 'em, some night or day, make a mistake, lose their nerve, or close their eyes for an instant and—bing! All off with the ten or eleven hundred lives, not to mention the twelve-million-dollar plant! And these officers under the captain have had all the way from seven or eight to thirty years of continuous professional study and practice, and yet some of them are getting less than one-third of the money you get."

To which the Honorable J. J. responded blandly: "Well, what of it? Their pay and my pay is fixed by the same gover'ment. If they don't pay more, it's because the people who regulate their pay and my pay think they ain't worth any more."

"Fine!" said Carlin—"seeing that Congress regulates them both!"

"Huh!" Flavin hadn't foreseen that. "Here, you!" he roared to the mess-boy with the tray of cigars; and the little brown boy, with no inclining admiration for stout-waisted, loud-voiced men in splendid new gray trousers and frock coats, but always well drilled, floated himself and his tray respectfully, if not over-hurriedly, across the ward-room deck to Flavin.

"If you worked for me I'd soon learn you to move faster," growled Flavin. He began to paw through the tray. "Where's that cigar I had before? This it?" He read the name on the band. "Yes, that's it. Twelve cents apiece in Cuba, did y' say, Carlin? I wonder couldn't I get somebody to get me some of 'em? Here, ain't you having one?"

"No, I've smoked enough."

"Enough?—and swell smokes like this kind being passed round!" He took two.

Suddenly, smoking anew, Flavin cast a suspicious glance at the newspaper man. "What you getting at, Carlin—trying to drive into me all this talk about the navy? Is it because I'm a member of Congress?"

"I don't know that I've been trying to drive anything into you," retorted Carlin. "But you made a crack about the navy, and after you've been in Washington awhile longer somebody will be sure to tell you that my favorite monologue is the navy. They'll probably tell you, too, that if I couldn't get anything more intelligent to listen I'd hold up a row of trolley-poles and pump it into 'em. And so long as we are at it—take the officers' case again. As a member of Congress, J. J., you ought to know these things. When from out of his pay an officer deducts the cost of his grub and uniforms, not to speak of other items——"

"Huh!" Flavin was thinking of a new speech. Its theme was to be the soft times of certain pampered government servants, this for the undistinguished and unterrified voter of his district; but this item of grub and clothes was disturbing. "The gover'ment don't furnish 'em grub and clothes?"

"It doesn't. And the special full-dress coat of that officer standing there, or any of those younger officers, happens to cost nearly one-half of one month's pay—just the coat. And being naval officers, they have to live up to a certain standard aboard ship, as do their families, if they have any, ashore. And a lot of other items. Take this reception this afternoon—they have to pay for it out of their own pockets."

Flavin whoofed two, three funnels of smoke thoughtfully toward the air-port. That speech would sure have to be given up, or vamped up in some new way, or saved for prudent delivery before closed secret organizations—that was sure. An impressive speech, too, he could have made of it. Confound Carlin butting in with his inside information! And Carlin not being a politician either, what could a fellow do with him?

Carlin waited for the words of wisdom to flow. They flowed. "Y' know, Carlin, there's nothing to be gained in my district by voting for any naval bill."

"Is there anything to be lost?"

"Suppose I could swap a vote with somebody for a federal building or something in my district for something in his district?"

"Go ahead and swap it!" barked Carlin. "And keep on swapping till your district wakes up to you and swaps you for somebody else!"

Flavin shook his head in triumphant prophecy. "They won't—not in my district, Carlin. It's too solid. A nomination is an election in my district, and the machine says who'll be nominated. But I tell you what, Carlin—a man like you in Washin'ton could help me out a lot through your paper up home." He eyed Carlin narrowly to see how he took that. Carlin said nothing. Flavin continued: "You weren't born in the bushes yesterday, Carlin, for all you're no pol. You know enough about the game to know there's nobody giving somethin' for nothing in politics. And——"

Carlin raised a warning palm. "Pull up, pull up! You don't have to do any trading in this thing. You want to remember, J. J., that I'm a newspaper man even before I'm a navy man, and whatever you do you'll get what's coming to you from me."

The Honorable Flavin, not without doubt in his eyes, stared out of the air-port. Presently he said: "I'll take a look over the ship, I guess. See you later."

The eyes of Carlin, searching the ward-room for such officers of the ship as he had not yet greeted, encountered the quizzical and questioning glance of "Sharkey," otherwise Lieutenant Trench, United States Navy. "Who is your large and sonorous friend?" queried Trench. Being a host he did not put it in words, but being human he could not help looking it.

The spoken answer to the unspoken question would probably have horrified the Honorable Flavin. "He's a man from up my way who made himself useful to the machine, and so they sent him to Washington. He's pretty raw, Sharkey, but I suppose he could be worse. At least we know where he will always be found."

"And where, Carl, will he always be found?"

Carlin smiled with Trench. "Where the votes are. That's his idea of supreme political genius—playing for the votes of the moment. I was talking up the navy to him, with an increased navy-pay bill in mind for this session. But I don't suppose that interests you, Sharkey."

"Thanks to the thrift and thoughtfulness of an acquisitive ancestry," smiled Trench, "I suppose I could worry along if there was never a pay-day in the service. But most of the rest of the fellows would surely be interested. There's Pay Totten now. He'd——"

"Where is Pay? I haven't seen him since I came aboard."

"Nor you won't for some time again, unless you carry a longer than regulation glass, for Pay's by this time on the high seas and southward bound. That's why I spoke of him. But come into my room."

From a pigeonhole in his desk in his room Trench pulled out several typewritten pages. "Ever hear, Carl, of Pay's bale of blankets?"


"Ah-h—yours shall be the joy of hearing the tale from the lips of the poet-author himself. You may elevate your high literary eyebrows at the construction, but recalling that you, or some other competent critic, told me once that construction was, after all, subordinate—that is, physical, not psychological, construction—I venture to tell this story in my own way. Hark, now!" He smoothed out his sheets of paper and read:

"She was the war-ship Missalanna, which lay out in the stream
Of a port in Chinese waters which translated means Cold Cream.
A wireless comes from the admiral—he flew two stars on blue—
And the message read: 'At once cast free and join me in Chee Foo.
But bring along all packages, all bundles, and all mail
Our need is great, the fleet does wait, come forced draft, do not fail.'

"And says the Missalanna's commander: 'Whatever shall I do?
'Tis a two days' Chinese holiday, don't they know that in Chee Foo?
And a thousand tons of coal we'll need, and merchandise in dock
Fills half the tin-clad warehouse, and immovable as rock
Are sampan men and coolies when they've knocked off for the day—
And now 'tis snow and hail and sleet and a two days' holiday!'
"But he wakes up good old Totten
Sleeping soundly in his bed,
And showing the admiral's wireless,
Mutters: 'This is what he said.'"

Trench looked over the top of his first page. "How's it so far, Carl?"

"They've put men in the brig for less. But go ahead."

"Thanks. I proceed:

"'I was dreaming,' says good old Totten, 'I was writing to my wife
Of Chinese native customs and the joys of navy life.
But two hundred coolie men we'll need and a score of sampans wide
To get that coal aboard the ship and sail by morning tide.
No night for honest men to roam, but be sure ashore I'll go—
Mayhap in a shack on the water-side I'll find my friend Jim Joe.'

"Pay found his old-time Chinese friend and tells him what's to do.
'A thousand tons of coal I want and I'm putting it up to you.'
But Joe he looks at his Melican flend and he says: 'Me no can do—
To-night good Chinese mens they go and burn the joss-sticks—so—
And bad Chinese mens, my flend,' says Joe, with a wink or two,
'They play fan-a-tan, low-lee and mot.' Says Joe: 'Me no can do.'

        "And saying the last part over again—
        With another wink or two,
        'They play fan-a-tan, low-lee and mot.'
        Says Joe: 'Me no can do.'

"Then Pay, with a grip of Joe's pigtail, 'You mind the time—you do?—
When I pulled you out from a gunboat's snout?—and you now say: "No can do"?
Two hundred coolie boys I want and twenty sampans wide,
And twice five hundred tons aboard, so we sail by morning tide.
When I left the ship the skipper says: "Now, Pay, it's up to you!"'
Pay gives Joe's tail a gentle twitch—'Now, Joe, you must can do!'

"And Joe, with queue curled all anew, in the sleet and hail he goes
And twoscore crews of coolie boys he drags out by their toes.
'Two hundled coolie boys me want and twenty sampans wide,
And tice fi' hundled tlons on ship so she sail by morning tlide.'
And some he tore from their honest beds and some from loud wassail,
But all came out, for Joe was stout, into the sleet and hail.

        "And two hundred lusty coolie boys
        With twenty sampans wide,
        Laid twice five hundred tons to where
        The ship in stream did ride."

Trench laid down the sheets.

"That's not the end, Sharkey?"

"No, no. But that's the end of the Jim Joe part, which was hailed as so masterly a performance on Pay's part—getting those sampan men and coolies out of their beds on a night like that and to work at coaling ship for us—that I, the uncrowned poet laureate of the Asiatic squadron, was commissioned to do it in verse, which I proceeded to do one night; and got that far, swinging along fine and dandy, when the messenger called me for the mid-watch."

"And you never finished it?"

"I couldn't—not in rhyme. After that four hours' night-watch the rhymes were all gone from me. It was a rough night. A monsoon made out of the southeast——"

"Omit the professional jargon, Sharkey, and your professional troubles, and remember the first law of story-telling is to tell the story."

"Wizz!" murmured Sharkey. "But, thus encouraged, I proceed. Well, getting Jim Joe started with his twenty sampans and his two hundred coolies was only part of Pay's job that night. The big warehouse, where goods for our fleet and other craft were stored, was in charge of a Chinaman we called Hoo Ling, and he knew less English than Joe, and appreciated even less than Joe the need of quick action. The admiral's wireless message looked just like any other wireless message to this big chink, Hoo Ling. But it's a great thing to be a student of the Chinese and of Chinese customs and of Chinese mental processes. Pay wheedled Ling a little, bluffed him a little, touched on past friendships a little, on possible future business a lot, painted a picture of our warlike forces over to Chee Foo, touched—not too casually—on the so much greater love which the officers and men of the United States Navy bore for China than for Japan, and such other little subtleties as he could invoke or invent. At last the old fellow was moved to open up and let Pay pick out what packages were for the fleet.

"And so, with four yeomen of the ship roused from restful hammocks to make memoranda of the addresses as fast as he pried them loose from the main pile and called them out, and with twelve able seamen of the watch to hustle the packages along as fast as the yeomen recorded them, and with forty other bustling bluejackets to load them into the boats, Pay tore into that pile of freight, which was about as high and twice as long and wide as a three-apartment house. There were probably four or five thousand packages of various kinds to be overhauled, and they were addressed in four languages—English, German, French, and Chinese. If Pay was the only white man in that part of China who could have charmed that impassive old storekeeper out of his bamboo bed that time of night, he was probably likewise the only white man in port that night who could read those Chinese shopkeepers' addresses.

"Dry goods, wet goods, hardware, grocery stuff, butcher's stuff, jeweller's stuff, ship's stores, bales of cotton, bales of silk, curios, souvenirs, bicycles, sewing-machines, sacks of rice, sacks of coffee, sacks of potatoes, barrels of flour and of gasolene, auto tires, boxes of tea, quarters of beef and of mutton, cases of breakfast-food and of oil, packages all the way from the size of a finger-ring to packages the size of an auto-truck. You know what a big, husky chap Pay Totten is? Imagine him on a slushy, snowy night, stripped to the waist, wading into that pile—feet, shoulders, knees, hands, elbows, with his teeth almost—tearing out those packages, and from addresses in English, French, German, and especially Chinese, picking out flying such as were for our ships."

Trench paused. A reminiscent smile was parting his lips.

"Hurry up. Did you sail on time next morning?" demanded Carlin.

"We did. With our coal aboard and the packages for the fleet, we made a record run and arrived in Chee Foo hours before the admiral was looking for us. And it was the day before Christmas, and our coming made the whole fleet happy for Christmas week, and our skipper got 'Well done!' from the flag-bridge, but—" Trench looked at Carlin and smiled ruefully. "There's so often a but, isn't there, to the otherwise happy tale? Among the seven hundred and odd packages receipted for by Paymaster Totten it seems there was missing one bale of blankets. What happened to the bale of blankets? they queried Paymaster Totten, and 'Lord!' says poor Pay, 'how do I know? It might 've been stolen on the wharf, or dropped overboard between the wharf and one of the ship's boats, or lost in rowing out to the ship or hoisting it over the ship's side. There were a dozen ship's boats and two hundred ship's men coming and going, and half a mile between the ship and shore; and it was a black, blustering night of sleet and hail, and there were also hundreds of coolies and dozens of sampans on the coal. It was drive, drive, drive, from midnight to daylight—how do I know what happened to one lone bale of blankets?'

"It was drive, drive, drive, from midnight to daylight."
"It was drive, drive, drive, from midnight to daylight."

"However, Pay nor anybody else worried much about the blankets at the time. Our skipper recommended, in view of Paymaster Totten's extraordinary exertions on that night, that the bale of blankets be not charged against his accounts. And the admiral, when he heard all the story, approved and passed it along to Washington. But it came back. And by and by it was sent on to Washington again. And by and by it came back.

"And forth from us it went in due time, and for the last time, we thought, on leaving for home by way of Suez and Guantanamo. In the Mediterranean we picked up the European squadron and with them enjoyed several gala occasions, notably at Alexandria, Naples, Villefranche, and Gibraltar, at each of which ports we deemed it incumbent upon the service to spread itself a little. And during these festivities Pay was there with the rest of us, but between the gala-days going without his bottle of beer with lunch, his cigar after dinner, in order that on the great days he might be able to contribute his share toward these receptions and yet not impair that sum—three-quarters of his pay it was—which he sent home monthly, in order that Mrs. Pay and the five little Pays might have food, lodging, clothes, and otherwise maintain the little social standard of living imposed upon a naval officer's family.

"'Thank God,' says Pay on our last day in the Mediterranean, 'we are leaving here to-morrow!' and he hauls out his aged special full-dress suit, and looks it over, and says with a sigh: 'I'm afraid I'll have to lay you away, old friend; but a few thrifty months in West India winter quarters and I may be able to replace you with a grand new shining fellow, and so come up the home coast the gayly apparelled, dashing naval officer of tradition.'

"And we went on to the West Indies and put in the rest of the winter there, with Pay forgetting all about the bale of blankets, until the night before we were to go north. On that night a steamer from New York puts into where the fleet is, and in her mail for us is our old friend the letter of the indorsements as to the loss of the blankets, and now with one more indorsement since we'd last seen it, to wit: the department saw no reason to change its original ruling as to the responsibility for the loss of the bale of blankets, and Paymaster Totten's accounts would be charged with the loss thereof."

Trench paused to allow a swift hot blast from Carlin to sweep through the room. "The archaic bureaucrats!" concluded Carlin fervently.

"Yes," agreed Trench, "and yet, Carl, from their point of view——"

"A point of view which impairs high service is criminal."

Trench knitted his brows. "Maybe you're right, Carl, but—recalling your advice about story-telling—Pay Totten, foreseeing a battleship cruise along the North Atlantic coast this summer, with certain pleasant but expensive ports in sight, could see where it might well behoove him to ask for a change of venue—that is, if he ever hoped to settle for that bale of blankets. It was costing him thirty dollars on the ship for his grub, which, as you know, didn't include any smokes or an occasional bottle of beer, nor the laundry for fifteen white suits—a fresh one every day in the tropics—and a few other sundry items, not to mention other minor but inescapable items.

"So Pay thought it all over, and on his way north he put in his request, and two days ago he got his orders; and yesterday he left us. And this morning—look!"—from the pile of letters atop of his desk Trench selected one. "This came. Listen:


"We're sailing to-day for the West African coast to look into Liberian matters. And in that country, where you're likely any time to fall in with a member of the cabinet sitting barefooted in the middle of the road peeling potatoes, the wear and tear on uniforms won't probably be over-heavy. And if there should happen to be any recherché affairs when we move onto the Congo coast, I am only hoping that the natives won't inspect too closely any special full-dress paymaster's coat which should be blue but, as it happens, is green in the region of the seams. And after the West African sojourn we are bound for a little jaunt of a thousand miles or so up the Amazon, where I learn—and I've taken some trouble to learn—we won't have to wear full dress at all, not even when calling upon the tribal high chiefs. I'll come home yet with that old full-dress standby—if it isn't blown off my back during some tropical typhoon.

"It's a great thing, Sharkey, the being allowed two months' advance pay on leaving for foreign service. For me it means that Mrs. Totten and the children can have their little place and their one little maid at the little beach which did them all so much good last summer, and, if they're economical, maybe an occasional trip to the movies.

"And so I am leaving almost happy. Of course, the good-by and that two years made me feel a bit lumpy and lonesome leaving them, but the race would be too easy if we didn't carry some little extra weight, wouldn't it? As to the bale——"

Trench looked up. "There's something else, personal stuff, which doesn't concern the story." He laid down the letter and looked up. "I couldn't help hearing a word or two of what your friend the congressman was saying to-day—half the ward-room also heard it, I guess. There's a case for him, Carl, if he's the right kind—a special bill to reimburse Totten."

Carlin jumped to his feet. "You're right, Sharkey. And he isn't the worst in the world. I'll put it up to him right now, if he's still aboard."

Congressman Flavin was still aboard, but also was bursting with something to tell. "What d'y'know, Carlin—nine hundred and odd sailors aboard this ship and not home once in ten years to vote."


"And you ask me to vote for bills for a lot of people that ain't ever home to vote. I wouldn't 'a' known only I was speaking to a couple of 'em happened to live in my district, and they told me."

"That's all right, J. J., but forget that voting stuff for a minute and listen to me." And briefly, rapidly, and not without art, Carlin retold the story—retold it in prose entirely—of Paymaster Totten and the bale of blankets. When he had done he added: "Now, J. J., what do you think of a man doing a good job like that and losing out by it?"

"Always the way, Carlin—always," replied the Honorable Flavin briskly. "What most of these fellows on these ships need is a little course in practical politics. Why didn't that paymaster sit tight in his bunk, the time his captain came to him with that hurry-up message, and tell him he couldn't get any coolies or sampans? If he'd just rolled over in his bunk and said, 'Captain, it can't be done,' or if he'd gone ashore and made a bluff it couldn't be done, he wouldn't 'a' had any bale of blankets to pay for—see? This doing things you don't have to do, and nothing in it for yourself when you do do 'em—that's kid's work."

"All fine, J. J., but how about Christmas for the fleet?"

"Christmas? Let 'em look out for their own Christmas! He'd be getting his pay envelope every week just the same, wouldn't he?"

"Fine again—and as beautifully practical as you always are, J. J. But how about doing what Totten thought was his duty?"

"Duty? That ain't duty—that's foolishness. Duty's doing what you got to do, not doing something just to make a good fellow of yourself."

Slowly Carlin began to count: "One, two, three——"

"What's the matter?" demanded Flavin.

"A dream I had is taking the count—eight, nine, ten, out! Say, Flavin, did it ever occur to you that your duty included knowing something about your business—who can vote, for instance, among a thousand other things, and who can't?"

"The mistake you make and all you wise high-brows make, Carlin"—and the Honorable Flavin fixed him with a knowing eye—"is in thinking I don't know my job. My job ain't in being in Congress. A hell of a lot they'll know at home what I'm doing in Washin'ton after I get there. My job is being elected to Congress. And getting elected means to be able to get votes, and getting votes means being with the people who'll give you the votes. And your paymaster friend"—the Honorable Flavin favored Carlin with a wink and another knowing smile—"and his push, they don't swing any votes. But o' course that's for them. With you it's different. Now, you being in Washin'ton with a string o' newspapers—huh?"

Carlin had walked off.

"There he goes," muttered Flavin, "pluggin' the game of a lot of people who can never do a thing for him."

Trench was shaking his head, half-sadly and half-smilingly, at Carlin. He replaced Totten's letter on the pile on his desk. "One of the jokes of the mess is to accuse me of having so much money that I could publish my own books of foolish rhymes if I felt like it, but I haven't enough to pay for that bale of blankets for Pay Totten. Aboard ship Pay has just as much money as I have. But no matter—I'm one of those who believe that nobody beats the game in the long run. The eternal laws are against it. The people get everybody pretty near right in time. And fellows like Pay will get what's due them some time. And your congressional friend, too, I hope. But"—Trench stood up—"what d'y'say, Carl, if we get out into the ward-room country again? It's been a long watch since you and I clinked glasses together."

And outside, in the mess-room, standing almost under the air-port which opened out to sea, Trench held his glass up to Carlin's, saying: "There was a boson's mate I knew one time, named Cahalan. I used to absorb most of my philosophy from him. I was on the bridge one night, and in one of the wings was Cahalan and another lad of the watch. They were evidently having an argument about something, and Cahalan was trying to convince him. I couldn't hear what his watch-mate said, but from out of the dark all at once I heard Cahalan. Said Cahalan: 'When a man does a good job and gets rated up for it, he's a lucky geezer; when he does a good job and don't get rated up for it, he mayn't be a lucky geezer, but what th' hell, he's done a good job just the same, hasn't he?' So, Carl, what d'y'say?—to Pay Totten, sailing lonesome through the Trades—a poor politician, but a damn good officer!"

Breath o' Dawn

It was an admiral of a great navy returning a call, and hundreds of bluejackets were peeking out from the superstructure.

"Here he comes—spot me Lord Admiral, fellows!"

"Three ruffles of the drum, three pipes o' the boson's whistle——"

"—six boys an' thirteen guns——"

"—and he swellin' out like an eight-inch sponson comin' over the side, as if it was himself and not his job the guns are for!"

Young apprentice boys' voices those.

There came an older voice: "You kids talk as if it was in admirals and at sea alone. And ashore any day are bank presidents, head floor-walkers, chairmen of reception committees—yes, and bishops of the church—any of them on their great days stepping high to the salutations, as if 'twas something they had done, and not the uniform or the robe or the job they held."

Carlin had a look at the owner of the voice. Later he hunted up Trench—Lieutenant Trench—and to him he said: "Glory to the man who can wear his uniform without tempering hot convictions or coining free speech to the bureaucratic mint! But greater glory to the man who can divest high office of its shining robes and see only the man beneath. Who's your big, rangy gunner's mate with the gray-flecked, thick black hair and what the apprentice boys call go-to-hell eyes?"

"That's easy—Killorin."

"And what's his history?"

"When I first knew him—on the China station—he was stroke of the ship's racing crew, the best football player I ever saw, and among the men he had the name of being an all-big-gun ship in a fight. A medal-of-honor man, too. Later he went in for booze-fighting and hellraising generally and made a first-class job of that, too. I liked him—all the officers did—and when I was having my first dreams of the day when I should be commanding the latest dreadnought, it was Killorin, settled down and steady, who was to be my chief gunner. I told him as much one night on watch.

"'A warrant-officer and wear a sword and be called Mister?' says Killorin. 'And will you tell me, sir, what's being a warrant-officer and wearing a sword and being called Mister to being all alive when my youth is still with me?'

"I couldn't tell him; and as we grew more friendly many another question he asked me in the quiet of the night-watches I couldn't answer. He could talk the eye out of a Chinese idol himself."

Carlin peered down at Killorin. "Did you ever ask him how—despite the being all alive and having his youth—he is to-day only a gunner's mate?"

"And have him, in ten perfectly respectful words, put me back in my place? I did not—not that I wouldn't like to know."

"I think I half know," said Carlin.

That was in a tropic port. That same night Carlin found it too hot to sleep below. He rolled off his bunk, had another shower-bath, dressed lightly, and went on deck, where his friend Trench was on watch.

He patrolled the deck with Trench. The men were sleeping everywhere around the top deck. The tall form of Killorin rolled out from under the overhang of a turret and sat up. Trench's walk brought him abreast of Killorin.

"Pretty hot?" asked Trench.

"It is hot—yes, sir."

"These young lads"—Trench waved a hand toward the stretched-out shapes all around—"they don't seem to mind it."

"They're young, sir."

"Young? I didn't think there was a tougher man, young or old, in the navy than you."

"A man's body," said Killorin, "can take comfort atop of a hot galley stove—or a cold one. A man's mind—'tis not so simply eased."

"Trench," said Carlin, when they had left Killorin, "when I was a boy there was a great hero in our school. Half the girls I knew carried his picture on their bureaus. And most of the other half were suspected of hiding one away. One of those athletic heroes, a husky Apollo—this Killorin makes me think of him. But suddenly he disappeared from the middle of his glory."

"Any crime?"

"No, no crime. Wild, but straight. His name was Delaney."

"Killorin's right name," said Trench after a while, "is Delaney."

Carlin left Trench and walked around deck, in and out among the sleeping forms. Here was one in a hammock, here one on a cot, but mostly they slept on the bare deck in their blankets. Every odd corner and open space held them. They were tucked in against hatchways, under turrets, inboard of boats, outboard of boats, next the smoke-pipes, in the lee of gypsies, of winches, cook's galley. Everyhow and everywhere they slept—on their backs, their stomachs, on their sides, curled up and stretched out. Some whistled, some groaned, some snored, but mostly they slept like babes.

It was hot, as sometimes it seems to be hotter in the night than ever it can be in the day, even in the tropics.

A young bluejacket under a cluster of deck-lights tossed, rolled, tossed, sat up. A restless lad near him also sat up. Between them they produced the makings and rolled a cigarette. They lit up, inhaled, began to talk.

"How about Bar Harbor, or Rockport, or some other little place off the New England coast a night like this, with a cool, fresh breeze sweeping in from the Atlantic?" asked the first one.

"What's the matter with the little old North River?" said the other, "or the East River, with the Brooklyn trolleys clangin' and the train to Coney and a few dollars in your pocket after a visit to the paymaster? ... And your best girl, o' course," he added after a moment.

They snuffed out their cigarettes and rolled back into their blankets. Killorin was still sitting up wide awake.

"And your best girl?" repeated Carlin to Killorin.

"Yes," responded Killorin, "as if that didn't go, like an anchor to a ship, without saying."

"Isn't it always a girl?" said Killorin presently. "Whatever drives the most of us to whatever it is we do, good or bad beyond the ordinary, but a woman stowed away somewhere to see what we do at the time or read of it later?"

The Killorins of the world are not standing and delivering to men they never saw before; and so it was not that night, nor the next; but on another hot night, and the ship headed up the Gulf, with the men sleeping anyhow and everywhere about the deck, that Killorin sat outboard of the sailing-launch and, looking out over the dark waters, said:

"Progresso astern and Veracruz ahead—always a port astern and another ahead, isn't it? And so you knew old Dan Riley that kept the candy store up home? ... And Mary Riley?" he asked; and, after a while, began to talk of things that had been.

Lovely Mary Riley! No thought ever I had that girls were made for boys to notice till I saw you!

Five blocks out of my way from school her father's store was, but four times I walked past that store window the day after the first time I saw her, and more than four times many a day later—to see her again. It was three months before I got courage to go nearer to her. And then it had to be a night with snow on the ground and sleigh-bells to the horses, and in the faces of men and women a kinder look and in the heart of a boy maybe a higher hope than ordinary.

Christmas eve it was and the store all decorated—candy canes, big and little, hanging among the bright things in the window. There were other people before me, but she nodded and smiled by way of letting me know that she saw I was waiting. She nodded in the same smiling way to a poor child and a rich man of the neighborhood.

"How much for a cane?" I asked when it came my turn, and I that nervous I exploded it from me.

"Canes?" She turned to the window. They were all prices, but I didn't hear what she said. I was listening to her voice and trembling as I listened.

There was a great big brute of a cane, tied with blue ribbons and hanging from a gas fixture. "How much for that one?" I asked.

"That?" She had violet eyes. She opened them wide at me. "That is two dollars."

"Let me have it," I said.

Her thin red lips opened up and the little teeth inside them shined out at me. "But you don't want to be buying that," she said; "we keep that more for show than to sell."

To this day a thing can come to my mind and be as if it happened before my eyes. "She thinks I'm one who can't afford to spend two dollars for that cane, and she's going to stop me," I says to myself. "She thinks I am a foolish kind who would ruin himself to make a show." If there had been less truth in what she thought, maybe I would have been less upset. "I'll take it," I said. "I want it for a Christmas tree for my little nephew."

There was no nephew, little or big, and no Christmas tree, and that two dollars was every cent I had to spend for Christmas. But her eyes were still wide upon me, and I paid and walked out with the cane—without once turning at the door or peeking through the window in passing, for fear she would be looking after me, and I wouldn't have her think that a two-dollar candy cane wasn't what I could buy every day of my life if it pleased me.

I hoped she would remember me, but took care not to pass the store for a week again, for fear she would see me and think I was courting her notice because I had bought the big cane.

I was going to high school then. One Saturday afternoon there came high-school boys from all that part of the country to compete for prizes in a great hall near by. I wasn't in them. I liked to run and jump and put the shot well enough, but to go in training, to have a man tell me what time to go to bed and what time to get up, and what to eat and what not to eat, and after a couple of months of that to have to display yourself before crowds of people—that was like being a gladiator in the Colosseum I used to read about, and performing for the pleasure of the mob—patricians and the proletariat alike!

I would spend hours in the alcove of the school library reading of belted knights in the days of tourneys and crusades—but that was different. I could see myself addressing the kings of the land and the queens of the court of beauty, the while the heralds all about were proclaiming my feats of valor. A knight on a great charger in armor and helmet, with my lance stuck out before me—never anything less glorious could I be than that.

But all loyal sons of our school took a ticket for the games. I went to them; and there I saw Mary Riley waving her banner and cheering a gangling-legged young fellow that lived in the same street as myself. No special looks did he have, and no more brains than another, but he was winning a hurdle race and she was cheering him. And there came another, the winner of the high jump, and she cheered him, too.

To see a girl you are night and day thinking of—to see and hear her cheering some one else—! I went in for winning prizes. And when the season came around I played football. And my picture used to be in the papers, those same papers saying what a wonder I would be when I went to college. And all the time I wondering was she seeing the pictures and reading the words of me.

My people had no money to send me to any college, but from this college and that came men to explain to me how the money part could be arranged. And so to college I went. I paid enough attention to my studies to get by—no great attention did it take—but I paid special attention to athletics, and before long my picture was sharing space in the papers with presidents and emperors and the last man to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. And is there any surer way to spoil a nineteen-year-old boy's perspective of life than to keep telling him that well-developed muscles—whether they be in his back or his legs or inside his head—will make a great man of him?

I came home from college for the summer. I'd seen Mary a few times since that Christmas eve, but made no attempt to get acquainted. Maybe I was too shy. Maybe I was too vain, or overproud—waiting for the day when I would be of some account, when the notice of neither men nor women would I have to seek—they would be coming to me.

But pride is a poor food for heart hunger. I went to have a look into her store on my first night home. I had a wild idea that I would go in and introduce myself and she would know of me, and maybe I would walk home with her.

There was a young fellow in a navy uniform—a chief petty officer's coat and cap—leaning on the counter talking to her, and he had a red rose in the buttonhole of his uniform coat. By and by, when her father came to close up the store, the young fellow walked home with her. Standing on the opposite corner, I watched them pass. It was something serious they were talking about—no smile to either of them.

I stood on the corner after they had passed for as long as I could stand it. Then I walked up to where I knew she lived. They were standing at the steps of her house. It was a quiet street, and the sound of my footsteps caused them both to turn. The young fellow stood up straight and strong on the lowest step, but she stepped into the shadow of the doorway. I saw her eyes looking out on me as I passed. Her hat was off and there was a red rose in her hair—and none in his coat.

Some pictures fade quick, some never. The picture of Mary Riley in that doorway, with his rose in her hair—that hasn't faded yet.

They had been talking before I reached them, but as I passed on I could feel the silence between them. For many steps after I passed on I could feel that silence and their eyes following me up the street.

Next day there was an outdoor bazaar for the benefit of some flood sufferers. There was an athletic programme and I was the star of the meet, with my picture on the bill-boards.

I went. Surrounding the athletic field and track were tables for the sale of this thing and that, and behind the tables were women and girls using every female guile to coax money from men's pockets.

There were big tables and little tables. At one of the little tables was Mary Riley. Sidewise out of my eyes I saw her, standing atop of a chair behind the table to look out on the games. When the games were over and I was dressed up in my street clothes again, I walked over to her table. My three first-prize cups in their three chamois bags were carried behind me by a multi-millionaire's son named Twinney. He was an athletic rooter, with an ambition to be known as the friend of some prize-ring or football or sprinting champion. In my coat pocket were two gold prize watches.

Mary Riley was standing behind her table. The young chief petty officer was there, too—in front of the table. They were auctioning the last of the things off. With a smile and a word of thanks Mary would hand over the things as they were bought. But she wasn't taking in too much money. She was the daughter of a man of no great importance in the community, and she didn't have the grand articles that the women at the other tables had. Her little stock was made up of things that she had begged or made herself.

The auctioneer was a whiskered old man with a great flow of gab. He holds up a piece of lace—to put on a bureau or a dresser it was—made, as he put it, by beautiful Miss Riley herself. And she was beautiful! Violet eyes and blue-black hair, and—I've seen Chinese ivory since that her face was the color of, only no Chinese ivory that ever would take on the warmer waves of color as I looked at it.

"How much for this lovely lace cover?" the auctioneer was asking, and "Two dollars," some one said. And right away the chief petty officer said "Five!"

I looked at him then—for the first time fairly. He was one of those quiet-looking, thoughtful kind—of good height, well made and well set up—maybe twenty-two years old.

There was another chief petty officer with him; and this one began telling a bystander how that young fellow who'd just bid was Jack Meagher the gun-captain—the same Meagher, yes, that the papers had been talking about—who'd dropped from his turret to his handling-room and in through a fire and shut himself up in a magazine and maybe saved the ship and the whole crew from being blown up. He'd got burnt, pretty bad—yes, but was all right now.

"He's got his medal of honor for it, but he's not one to carry it around and show it," said Meagher's friend.

Meagher was bidding—some one had said six dollars for the lace. Meagher had said ten, and Mary Riley's violet eyes were glowing. I had five dollars—no more—in my pocket. But there was Twinney with his tens-of-thousands allowance in the year. He always carried plenty of money around with him.

"Twinney," I said, "how much money have you?"

"Oh, a couple of hundred or so," and pulled it out and began to count it.

"I'll bid on the lace piece," I said, "and you pay for it."

"Ten dollars I'm offered for this lovely piece of lace," the auctioneer was drooning. "Do I hear——?"

"Twenty," I said.

Meagher looks over at me and a light comes into his eyes. "Forty," says Meagher.

"Sixty," I said.

"Eighty," says Meagher.

The fat auctioneer looked from one to the other of us. He had not had a chance to speak since the bidding was at ten dollars. He was about to open his mouth now when——

"One hundred dollars!" I said and looked over at Meagher.

Meagher turns to his chum. Before he could speak the chum was emptying his pockets to him. When he had it all counted—his chum's and his own——

"Two hundred fifty dollars," he said; "we might as well throw in the change—two hundred and sixty-five dollars," and laid it down on the table before Mary Riley.

Gold of angels, but there was class to the way he did it. No millionaire's money, but the savings of an enlisted man's pay.

I turned to Twinney. "He's through—make out your check for three hundred and give to me."

"Three hundred dollars," he says, "for that piece of lace! Three hundred—why, five dollars would be enough for it!"

"Make out your check for three hundred, Twinney, and those cups you've got and the two watches in my pocket, every medal and cup I've got at home, my championship gold football—they're yours to keep."

"But three hundred dollars!"

"Yes, and three thousand if I had your money!"

"But what do you want it for?"

"Gr-r-r—!" I snarled, and shoved my spread hand into his face. He landed on his back ten feet away. The C.P.O. friend of Meagher's started to smile at me, but before he could get the smile well under way I wiped it off. He fell where he stood. Meagher looked at me and I at him.

"That wasn't right," said Meagher.

"I'll make it right," I said, "with you or him or whoever else doesn't like it, now or later."

He went white; and the kind that go white are finish fighters. And he was a good big man with more than muscle under his coat.

"Make it right now," he said. "But not here—some place where the crowd won't be."

We moved over to under the grand stand. That was at half past five o'clock and it was a long summer's day, but it took till the daylight was all but gone before I knocked him down for the last time.

It took till the daylight was all but gone before I knocked him down for the last time.
It took till the daylight was all but gone before
I knocked him down for the last time.

He couldn't talk; he couldn't get to his feet. His C.P.O. friend—a game one, too—shook his fist at me across his body. "Only a week out of the hospital and you had to beat him up. But, beaten or not beaten—go ahead, smash me again if you want to, you big brute—he's still a better man than you are or ever will be!"

A score of people had found their way in under the seats. None who cared to know but would hear a word of every blow that was passed in that fight. Going home after the fight it was borne in on me that less than ever was I the hero I was wishful to make myself out to be.

I slept little that night, and in the morning—nothing within the four walls of a house suited me any more—I slipped out into the sun and walked along the docks; and walking the docks I reached the gates to the navy-yard. I went in.

A ship!—'tis like nothing else in the world. Ships! In the romances I'd been reading since ever I could read, there had been tales of ships and of the sea. Phoenician galleys, Roman triremes, the high-prowed boats of the Vikings, carved Spanish caravels—they had carried the men who made history. Great ships were they, and yet here were ships that could take—any one of them here—could take a score, a hundred, of the ancient craft with all their shielded men at arms and stand off—a mile, two miles, ten miles off—and with one broadside blow them from the face of the waters. Dreams of what had been and what might be—what use were they? Things as they are—that was it!

What most people, maybe, would call common sense was coming to me; and maybe something finer than all the common sense in the world was flying from me. So I've often thought since of that morning.

I enlisted in the navy. And it was good for me. To look out on the wide 'waters—day or night—'tis to calm a man's soul, to widen his thought.

I had no ambition to rise. The blazing life of the four quarters of the world was soaking into me. My eyes, perhaps, were seeing too much, and my mind pondering on what I saw too much, to be breaking any ship records for efficiency.

But I was getting my rating when it was time and I was forgetting old shore troubles, when there was a warrant-officer came to our ship. His name—no matter his name—he's no longer in the navy. He was the— But you've seen the little man on the big job?—the sure sign of it being the pompous manner and the arrogant word. There he was, licking the boots of those above him and setting his own boots on the necks of those below! He strutted like a governor-general. Maybe you know what sort of talk is passed along the gun-decks when such a one is parading by!

The ridiculousness of him was too wide a target for any man with an eye in his head to miss. I was never short of an eye, nor oil for the trunnions of my tongue, and no ship's company ever lacked a messenger to carry the disturbing word. For the fun I poked at him my bold superior had me spotted for his own target later.

There was a chest of alcohol on the lower flag bridge and there was a marine sentry standing by it night and day. As much for the devilment as for the drink, four or five of the lads in our gun crew one night rushed the ladder to the bridge, stood the sentry on his head, broke open the chest, grabbed the alcohol, and got away.

My warrant-officer says he saw me among 'em. 'Twas a hot night, like to-night, and in the tropics too, and he couldn't sleep, he said, and had to leave his room and come on deck. And so it was he happened to be where he could see me. He couldn't name the others. Indeed, he would not care to name others when he was not positive, and so do possibly innocent men an injustice, and so on. But he was positive about me.

I was called. The sentry looked me over. He wouldn't swear it was me, but there was one man in the party about my height and build, and, like me, he was a very active man, judging by the way he went down the bridge ladder.

Now, I knew who did it—I had been invited to be of the party, and I wasn't a bit too good for it; but I didn't feel like going and I didn't go. The man the sentry took for me was the man who had been the heavyweight slugger of the ship before I was drafted to her. We had already had the gloves on, and I had beaten him at a ship's smoker long before this. I waited to see would he speak up. He didn't, and I took my sentence—disratement and thirty days in the brig, ten of it on bread and water.

I didn't mind the disrating, nor the brig and the bread and water; but I did mind being made out a liar.

The first liberty I made after that—in Hong Kong—I caught my boxing rival ashore. I gave him a proper beating. He took it as something coming to him, without complaint. The next liberty I made—in Nagasaki it was—I caught my warrant-officer ashore.

He was not on duty and so not in uniform, and, pretending to mistake him for somebody else, I gave him a grand beating. Six or eight of their little ju-jutsu policemen clung to my legs and back, but that didn't stop me from finishing my job on him. I left him in such a ridiculous fix that he was ashamed to complain, but the Japanese authorities weren't satisfied. I spent a night in one of their jails, and aboard ship next day I was masted and once more disrated—this time with a sermon from the captain on my disorderly ways.

I didn't mind the captain's lecture—I had rated that—but I did mind being drafted to another ship with a record as a disturber. I had not taken more than four or five drinks in my time up to then, and then more out of curiosity than desire, but on my next liberty—in Manila—I took a drink. I didn't like the taste of it—I don't yet—but there's never any use in half-doing a thing—I took another, and more than another. From then on I began making liberty records.

Officers were good to me. It is only a skunk of an officer who will take pride in crowding an enlisted man, and I've met few skunks among our officers. So long as I could hold my feet coming over the gang-plank, a friendly shipmate buckled to either side of me and I able to answer "Here!" to the roll-call—so long as I could do that, there were deck officers who looked no further. 'Twas a friendly way, but bringing no cure to me.

By and by Meagher was assigned to our ship. He had married Mary, and this was maybe a year later. He was a warrant-officer—had been for five years—a chief gunner, wearing his sword and being called Mister. And wearing it with credit—all the gun crews spoke well of him.

He never let on that he remembered me, until one day the handling-room was cleared of all but the two of us, and then it was me who spoke to him. "I'd like to have a word with you, Mr. Meagher," I said, "if you don't bear too much of a grudge."

"Why should I bear you a grudge?" he said. "You licked me, and licked me good. You left no argument as to who won that fight. If I ever bear you any grudge, it will be for the drinking and brawling record you're making, with never a thought of the manhood you're wasting."

"It's easy for you to talk so—you that won what I'd die ten times over to get."

"Die? You die? Give up your life? Why, you haven't even the courage to give up your consuming pride!"

He looked at me and I at him. I was all but leaping for him. "Go ahead," he says, "beat me up again!"

"You're my officer," I said.

"Cut the officer stuff!" He threw his cap on the deck. He took off his coat and threw that on the deck. "Now I bear no mark of the officer—come on now and beat me up! And you'll have to beat me till I can't speak or see again—and then you can leave me here, and I'm telling you now no one will ever know who did it. You're many pounds heavier and half as strong again as when you licked me before, but go ahead and turn yourself loose at me. There's no alibi left you now—go ahead, turn yourself loose at me!"

I was all that he said—a brute that felt equal to ripping the three-inch planking off the quarterdeck, and he wasn't himself near the man he had been when I fought him before—he had never got well over the burning in the handling-room fire; but he stood there telling me what some one should have told me long before.

"Jack Meagher," I said, "Mary Riley made no mistake—you're a better man than I am." And I left him and ran up the ladder—up to where winds were blowing and seas singing and the stars rolling their eternal circles. All night long I walked the deck.

It did me good—what he had said to me. But a man doesn't change his ways overnight. I stopped maybe to have a backward look more often than I used to, and friendly deck officers maybe didn't have so often to look hard at the liberty lists; but being in the same ship with Meagher did me good.

I used to take to watching him, to studying his ways—the ways of the man Mary Riley had married.

He used to come out of the after turret and look out on the sea, when maybe he'd finished up his work for the afternoon. He was there one afternoon late; and we were in the China Sea, a division of us, bound up to Cheefoo for a liberty. A monsoon was blowing, and there we were, pitching into it, taking plenty of water over ourselves forward, but so far very little aft.

Meagher was in rain-coat and rubber boots, leaning against a gypsy-head, when this big sea rolled up over our quarter-deck. She had a low quarter, our ship, and the solid water of this sea rolled turret-high. When it had passed on, Meagher and four others were gone.

I was in the lee of the superstructure. I ran onto her quarter-deck. I saw an officer's cap and took a running high jump over the rail. While I was still in the air I said to myself: "You're gone! Her starb'd propeller will get you—you're gone! ...

"And if I am, what of it?" I recalled later saying to myself; but before my head was fairly under I was kicking out hard from the ship's side.

Meagher was the only man of the five to come up. When I saw him he was struggling to unhook the metal clasps of his rain-coat. I reached him and kicked out for the life-buoy that the marine sentry had heaved over. We made the buoy and I shoved him up on it—he still trying to clear himself of his heavy rain-coat.

"I kicked off my rubber boots right away, but the buckles of this thing they don't come so easy." That was Meagher's first word, and—heavy-spoken because of weariness—he said it by way of apology for causing so much trouble. "But I'd never got clear in time—you saved me from going, that's sure." Not till then did he have a chance to look at me. When he saw who it was he went quiet.

"You're surprised, Jack Meagher?" I said.

"Yes," he said.

"You doubted my courage, maybe?" I asked.

"You doubted my courage, maybe?" I asked.
"You doubted my courage, maybe?" I asked.

"No," he said to that, "not your courage—never your courage. But your good intentions—yes."

We were lying with our chests across the buoy, and we could easily see the ship, and we knew that the ship could see us so long as our buoy light kept burning—her whistles were blowing regularly to let us know that. But she would have to have a care in manoeuvring because of the other ships so near, and it was too rough to lower a boat for us.

Then at last the blue light of our buoy burned itself out, for which we were almost thankful—it smelled so. And then night came, and darkness.

Tossing high up and then down, like a swing in the sea, we went, lying on our chests across the buoy one time and hanging on by a grip of our fingers another time. And when the sea wasn't washing over my head I would shout; though I doubt if, in the hissing of the sea and the roaring of the wind, my voice carried ten feet beyond the buoy.

By and by a search-light burned through the dark onto us. Meagher was by then in tough shape. For the last half-hour I'd been holding him onto the buoy, and it was another half-hour before they could launch a boat. We had been three hours in the water, and I was glad to be back aboard. It is one thing not to mind dying; it is another thing to fight and fight and have to keep on fighting after your strength is gone. When a man's strength goes a lot of his courage goes with it.

Meagher's courage was still with him. He protested against being taken to the sick bay, but there they took him; and when he left the sick bay, it was to take a ship for home. I went to see him the last day. On my leaving him, he said: "I'm taking back a lot I said to you. If you had been washed over I doubt if I'd gone after you."

He would have gone after me—or anybody else. And I told him so, my heart thumping as I said it, for I'd come to have a great liking for him.

"I still doubt it," he said. "Anyway, I owe my life—what there is left of it—to you."

"If you think you owe me anything," I said, "then don't tell your wife anything about me. Don't tell her where I am or what my name is now."

"I won't tell her or anybody else where you are or what your name is, but I will tell her how you saved my life."

I never saw him again. I heard they gave him a shore billet when he was discharged from the hospital; I heard, too, that within a year he was retired on a pension. But that he was dead—I never knew that till you told me to-night.

Killorin had come to a full stop.

Carlin recalled the last time he had seen Meagher—when they both knew he had not long to live. "She has been a wonderful wife to me. Not much happiness I have had that she has not made for me," Meagher had said.

"I don't doubt he told her of my going over the side after him in the gale—he wasn't a man to lie," said Killorin.

"He told her," said Carlin. "And he told me something more. That night you passed them on the steps he had proposed to her. He thought she was going to say yes. She had stuck his rose into her hair and was about to say the word—so he thought—and then you came by. And it was six years again before she said the word. If you had not left home——"

"Thank God," said Killorin, "I left home! Thank God on her account. The consuming pride—it had to burn itself out in me."

It was still dark night, but ahead of the ship a cluster of pale yellow lights could be seen.

"Veracruz?" asked Carlin.

"Veracruz, yes—the port ahead. And how was she when you saw her last?"

"A lonesome woman—more lonesome and weary than a good woman should be at her age. Her eyes are still violet and her cheeks like ivory, but the color doesn't come and go in them now."

"I had to leave home to learn," said Killorin, "that the bright color coming and going like a flood means the blood running high in the heart. Men should have a care for such. Such natures feel terribly—either joy or sorrow."

It had been night. In a moment the red sun rose up from the oily sea, and it was day. There was a moment of haze and vapor, and then emerged a city ahead—a pink-and-white city, with here and there a touch of cream and blue.

"Beautiful!" murmured Carlin.

"They're all beautiful," said Killorin, "in the dawn."

A faint breeze was stealing over the Gulf. Through the black sea little crests of white were breaking—pure white they were, and a whiff of pure air was coming from them. The sleepers around the deck began to stir, to roll over, to sit up, and, with thankful sighs, to inhale the fresh, sweet air.

"The breath o' dawn!" murmured Killorin—"like a breath o' heaven after the hot tropic night.... As you say, that port ahead is beautiful. But when that port is astern and some other one ahead! That will be the sight, man—New York harbor after all these years! The breath and the color o' dawn then—'twill be like a bride's blush and her whisper stealing over the waters o' New York Bay."

Peter Stops Ashore

The Pentle place had been closed up and the servants were gone; but Mrs. Pentle's car was still waiting at the gate, and Mrs. Pentle herself—old John Ferguson, on his way to the lookout, could see Mrs. Pentle perched up on her flat rock and looking out on Gloucester harbor and the sea.

There was a fishing-schooner sailing out. John put his glasses on her and was entering her in his book when he heard some one's step on the ladder leading to his tower, and then the hatch sliding back. It was Mrs. Pentle.

"I've heard of your book, John. May I look at it?"

"Surely, ma'am, surely." He passed it to her. "For seventeen years now I've been keeping it—the account o' the fishing-vessels sailin' out o' Gloucester, ma'am. A column for the day o' departure, one for the name o' the vessel, one for the master, and one for the day she comes back home."

She was turning the pages.

"So many never come back home, do they?"

"Nacherally—they bein' fishermen, ma'am."

"Ah-h, here's the year!" She ran her finger down the page. "And here!" and read: "'Valorous—sailed December seventeenth—and never returned.'"

"I mind her, ma'am, with the proud name—George's handlin'."

"I know. My father was one of her crew.... But here"—she stopped in her turning of the pages—"isn't this the entry of one they've just given up for lost?"

"That's her, ma'am—the Conqueror. It's queer what bad luck goes with those proud names, ma'am. Peter Crudden was master of her."

"Peter Crudden! I played with Peter Crudden when we were children together. And he's lost?"

"When they print the names o' the crew in the Gloucester papers, it's a hundred to one they're gone, ma'am. A married sister o' Peter's is a neighbor o' my married daughter's up in Boston, and they're cryin' their heart out a'ready, she writes me—Peter's sister an' her children."

Mrs. Pentle closed the book.

"We live such sheltered lives here ashore, most of us, don't we, John? And we complain at the smallest little discomfort—many of us, I mean. And those brave men sail out to the dangerous waters in their little boats, where the best of it is hardship and death comes so often. It must be born in me—I just can't help feeling different toward those fishermen from what I do toward the men I meet in my business in the city."

She left; and, watching her swing down the ladder, John Ferguson was thinking that for a woman of her build—full-bosomed and no slimling—she was cert'nly light on her feet, and wondering why a young and good-looking widow as she was—dang good-looking—why more o' those wealthy young men she must know hadn't hooked her afore that. "Must be," mused John, "none of 'em's used the right bait."

John turned, just naturally to have another look out to sea, and—"Well, you old gadabout!" muttered John and hurried to point his glasses at what he saw wabbling in.

"Dang me if she c'n be!" cried John. "Dang me, but she is!"

It was the Conqueror—her foremast gone half-way to the deck, her mainmast gone clean to the deck, and her bowsprit broken off at the knight-heads. And she was a foot thick, or more, in ice; and in her jury-rigging was her flag—at half-mast.

"That's one, ye ravenous sea, dang ye, ye didn't get!" muttered John. "And she'll have a tale to tell!" And wondering how many of 'em were gone, and who they were, he entered the month and day of her return.

The Conqueror had fitted out at Duncan's; and Duncan's wharf and store had not changed in twenty years. Mr. Duncan did not like changes.

The old shelves of canned goods in Duncan's, the long packages of blue-papered macaroni, the little green cartons of fish-hooks, the piled-up barrels of flour and boxes of hardtack—they were all of the same old reliable brands. And the woollen mitts in strings! And in back was an area of kegs of red lead and hanks of tarred ground-line and coils of stout rope, and oilskins and sou'-westers, and rubber boots and the heavy leather redjacks—the smell of them was all over Duncan's.

Fred Lichens, who had kept books for thirty years for Mr. Duncan, was looking down the wharf at the Conqueror warping into the slip when Mrs. Pentle arrived in her car. Her arrival was not surprising. She had half a dozen small charities in Gloucester, and she came regularly to Mr. Duncan's for advice about them.

Fred knew all this exactly, because he kept the books for the Gloucester end of these things—drawing a few extra dollars a month therefor—and he had known Mrs. Pentle since she was a little girl and used to come with her mother, and without her as she grew older, to Mr. Duncan's to draw, against whatever would be her father's share, the stores which the family needed to keep them alive while the father was out to sea.

Fred remembered when the girl who was now Mrs. Pentle left high school to go to work in Boston. She was a bouncingly pretty girl, and within two years married Pentle, the millionaire department-store man.

Fred dusted a chair for Mrs. Pentle and set it in her favorite spot, which was beside a window in Mr. Duncan's own office looking out on the harbor. Sitting there, she saw an iced-up wreck of a vessel and some of her crew leaping up onto the wharf, where a crowd was surrounding them. She asked what vessel it was, and Fred told her—the Conqueror, Peter Crudden; and she said No! and Fred said Yes, ma'am, it was.

"I wonder if I should know him now," she said; and then: "Which is Peter Crudden?"

"Captain Crudden," said Fred, "is the one Mr. Duncan is bending toward to hear better."

The crowd was moving up toward the store. Mrs. Pentle jumped up on her chair so as to be able to look over the glazed lights of glass between the private office and the store as they came in.

Peter Crudden was a hard-looking figure of a man, coming into Duncan's store that day. He had not shaved for days, and his thick hair looked enormous—it was so tangled. He had not slept in a week; and when he took his seat on the long store bench and let his head settle wearily back against the wall he looked old.

He was telling about the big gale coming on and how her spars went, which maybe saved her from going into the shoals and being lost right there, and how they worked her way clear o' the shoals under jury-rig, how they were lookin' for a little ease and comfort, when aboard comes this unlucky sea, with no more warning than a shooting star out of the sky, and sweeps—cleaner than ever you could sweep the floor o' the store—her deck and all, everything. And atop o' that a sea to fill her cabin full. Four of 'em makin' for the deck were thrown back into the cabin again—smashed afoul o' the stove one, and atop o' the lockers and into a looard bunk another; and how they picked themselves up and made the deckhand when they got there—as if a clean-swept deck warn't hard luck enough—there was Dave Elwell that was to the wheel, his breast smashed again' the wheel spokes and he dead.

"And the two on the deck gone—gone, sir, so quick that we never even got a sight o' them or a smothered hail from them goin'," concluded Peter. "An' cold! And ice! And—" But once more he let his head fall back against the wall.

Fred was so wrapped up in Peter's story that he forgot Mrs. Pentle till he found her beside him and heard her saying in a low voice:

"When I was a little girl I listened to fishermen on that same bench, with their stories of toil and death. And I remember how I would linger, making believe to retie my packages into a tighter bundle, to hear more of what they had to say. It was a man sitting on that bench, Mr. Lichens, in just that way, not knowing who I was, who brought word of my father's vessel gone down—and all hands with her."

"I cal'late the hard tales told from that same bench would fill more books than was ever writ about Gloucester, an' there's been a many—an' some foolish ones among 'em," said Fred.

"Those two men washed overboard"—Peter was speaking again—"some one has got to tell their people how they come to be lost. And poor Dave in the ice-house aboard the vessel—some one has got to 'tend to him."

"I'll 'tend to Dave," said Mr. Duncan.

"That'll help," said Peter. "And now—I'm through with fishin'—through with goin' to sea! I'm goin' to stop ashore!"

It was then Mrs. Pentle ran from beside Fred and into the store. "Captain Crudden——"

"This is Mrs. Pentle, captain," said Mr. Duncan.

"Celia Curtin that was," explained Mrs. Pentle. "I knew you as a boy."

"I know," said Peter. And then he almost smiled: "And no girl in Gloucester ever better able to take care of herself!"

"If I could get you something to do in my store, would you take it, captain? If it was fit work, I mean, for a man?"

"It wouldn't have to be fit—I'll trim bonnets for ladies before I go back to fishin'," said Peter, "and thank you for the chance."

Peter passed out with his crew.

Mrs. Pentle turned to Mr. Duncan.

"So that's settled! I shall telephone you, Mr. Duncan, about Captain Crudden's place in my store—the work will not be disagreeable."

Mr. Duncan and Fred watched Mrs. Pentle's car racing up the street; and then Fred said:

"Mr. Duncan, Peter didn't look like any magazine cover of a hero I've seen lately, but—sitting there on that bench awhile ago—did you take a look at Mrs. Pentle's face while he was telling the story of that wreck?"

Mr. Duncan looked at his old bookkeeper.

"Reef down your imagination, Fred. She's a woman who likes to manage things and to do good; but what I'm afraid she'll do now will be to ruin the makings of a smart young skipper with her soft job ashore."

Mr. Henston, the manager of Pentle's, brought Peter Crudden to Flaxley, the head shipper.

"Flaxley, you are to break in this man," said Henston, "and he's to go on the pay-roll at twenty dollars per week."

Flaxley wondered why a new man, who was to be only a shipper's helper, should go on the payroll for twenty dollars a week; and he wondered yet more why Henston should be telling him about the pay-roll, which was made up in the office and not in the shipping-room. He wondered, too, why the manager himself should take the trouble to introduce the new man.

"You needn't make it easy for him on my account," whispered Henston, going out.

Flaxley had seen a lot of things happen in Pentle's, where he had been so long that, when Mrs. Pentle wanted to know about anything that went back beyond the memory of even the ancient cashier Herrick, she would send down for Flaxley.

He was no older than Herrick, but he had started to work in the store younger.

Flaxley was like something that went with the store. He had privileges; and he did not like Henston and would not have minded telling him so, but that he had great respect for Mrs. Pentle and thought—what many more in the store thought—that Henston was dressing his windows so as to catch Mrs. Pentle's eye, and some day—you can't tell about women, especially young widows—some day Henston might marry her.

Flaxley looked Peter over and rather liked his make-up, and pointed out a big dry-goods case and told him what he wanted done. Flaxley saw the new man hook into the box, which weighed eight hundred pounds, up-end it, claw-hammer it, and toss the heavy bolts of cloth out onto the long table.

"Jeepers!" said Flaxley. "He did that while some o' the other young fellows here would be peeking around for help!" He studied Peter for two days more, and from then on wearied the head shippers of other emporiums, whenever he met one, with his tales of the strength and niftiness of the new man he'd "picked up."

Peter took his lunch in the basement where he worked, the same being put up by his married sister in a package made to look like a camera-box.

He had bought this lunch-box in Pentle's—he remembered it was sold to him by a pretty girl with a pleasant manner. It was just the thing for lunch—she had said—all the girls in Pentle's carried 'em; and there was ten per cent off for employees. It was the first time in his life that Peter ever got anything off on anything he'd ever bought, and he said so; and the salesgirl looked at him again and then smiled.

"You're not a city man?" she said. Peter said he wasn't; and then his change came and he went off.

It was his third day in Pentle's. He sat on a stool by the door leading into a passageway, to eat his lunch. Just across the passageway was the door into the girls' rest-room, where there were lounges and chairs and a big heater on which they set their cans of coffee to warm up.

"My new helper, girls—height five feet eleven, weight a hundred ninety, thirty-two teeth in his head and not married—look him over," said old Flaxley, making Peter blush. "And now warm his coffee for him—he's been too shy to ask," and Flaxley handed Peter's coffee across the passageway.

They looked him over, some of them saucily. And hearing Flaxley call him Peter, in a week or so some of them were calling him Peter and offering him pickles and doughnuts from their lunch-boxes; and there were always three or four ready to take his coffee from him when he reached it across the passageway to be heated.

One day a group of them, with their heads bunched in the doorway as usual, chaffed him across the passageway. Peter was looking at a lovely white neck and dark little head, back of the row of heads in the door, and wondering where he had seen that girl before. And biting into a thick corned-beef sandwich, he remembered where—it was the girl who had sold him the lunch-box.

"Ten per cent off for employees," shouted Peter; "all the girls carry 'em!" and held up the lunch-box. The others caught the idea and laughed uproariously—except the one who had sold it. She only blushed scarlet and disappeared, and did not come back.

"She must 'a' thought I was tryin' to get acquainted," said Peter later to old Flaxley, "and didn't like it."

That same afternoon Mrs. Pentle looked into the shipping-room. It was one of those warm days in winter and, of course, the steam was on. Peter was wearing only a sleeveless white jersey above his belt. Peter was wide-shouldered and trim-waisted, with the easy lines of the man who is quick as well as powerful in action.

Flaxley saw Mrs. Pentle in the doorway. Henston was with her and, because Henston was with her, Flaxley stepped quickly over to the door. If Mr. Henston had anything to say about Peter he wanted to be there to hear it.

Mrs. Pentle was watching Peter at work.

"He doesn't look like the same man," said Mrs. Pentle. "When I last saw him his jaws were set like steel, his eyes like hard lights back in his head, and his voice was rough. And his skin was like something worn raw by the beating of hammers on it. He looked like a middle-aged man then, and now—why, he doesn't look twenty-two now!"

"He ain't much more," said Flaxley.

Just then Peter up-ended a big dry-goods case, ripped off a boarded side, tore away a layer of thick paper, and tossed onto a table ten feet away a bolt of cloth that Mrs. Pentle knew weighed fifty pounds; and he did not even bend his knees to do it.

"A powerful brute," said Henston.

"Brute?" said Mrs. Pentle.

"I mean—" said Henston; but Mrs. Pentle had stepped inside the shipping-room door.

Peter was whistling; but he had to up-end another case. It took a little effort, this one, and he stopped his whistling.

"Up—up—upsie boy!" cooed Peter. It did not up. He set himself and tugged. He grew impatient. "Come here, you loafer!" he shouted, and braced and heaved. The case came up.

"When Peter takes to heavin' in earnest they generally come," said Flaxley.

While old Flaxley stood there looking from Peter to Mrs. Pentle he couldn't help thinking—much as he respected her—he couldn't help wondering if she was comparing Peter to Pentle that was dead and gone.

"If she is," thought Flaxley, "Lord help the memory o' Pentle—who was never any Apoller for build and about as much blood in him as a man'd find in four pounds of excelsior packin'."

Peter was whistling again and carolling and heaving facetious comment at anybody and everybody, when he felt the silence. He looked round and saw Mrs. Pentle.

"How do you do, captain?"

Peter shifted his cotton-hook from right hand to left and shook her extended hand.

"I'm cert'nly glad to see you again, Mrs. Pentle."

"How are you getting on, captain?"


"The work is not too hard?"

"Hard?" Peter smiled. "Often enough I think of those fellows out on the Banks turning out on a good, cold, blizzardy day in winter, Mrs. Pentle—turning out at four o'clock in the mornin' and goin' into a cold hold with the ice and baitin' up, so's to be ready to go over the side in the dory by the first o' the daylight. And then all day long it's heave and haul trawls, with maybe a sea that they don't know what minute'll get 'em. An' dressin' down a deck-load o' fish on top o' that afore they turn in of a night—an' maybe standin' watch in the night again, standin' to the wheel beatin' home in a nor'wester, when it's so cold you have to wear a woollen mask over your face with two holes to see through and another to breathe through, and your watch-mates have to relieve you—and you them—every six or eight minutes to keep from freezin' to death!

"Hard work, Mrs. Pentle!" It was too ridiculous—Peter laughed aloud this time.

"I live with my married sister, Mrs. Pentle, and goin' home these cold winter nights I sit down to supper, and after supper I slip into my slipshods, an' I get out my pipe, an' I spread my feet out before a nice, hot fire, in a rockin'-chair, an' the sister's six children they climb up all over me and we have one good time together. Some nights I take one or two of the oldest of 'em to the movies."

"You like children, then, captain?"

"The man, Mrs. Pentle, that ain't got children is bein' cheated out o' something," said Peter. "An' sittin' there after the children are put to bed, I say to myself: 'Well, Peter Crudden, you're cert'nly one lucky dog. Here's you into your warm, dry bed every night, an' work that there's about enough of to exercise you, an' no matter how the weather is—no matter about sea and wind so rough you can't fish—there's your pay-envelope every week with the same old reg'lar amount in it.'"

"I'm glad you like it here, captain, and—I'm partners with Mr. Duncan in a new vessel to be named after me."

"I hope," said Peter earnestly, "that she won't shame her name—that she'll be fast an' weatherly—and always find her way back home."

"I hope so, captain. And now—if there is anything about your work you do not like, let me know." There was a tramping of girls hurrying through the passageway. Two or three were gazing curiously in from the doorway.

"Closing-up time, is it?" Mrs. Pentle had suddenly become nervous. "Good-by." She passed out with Henston.

Old Flaxley looked kindly at Peter. "No airs to her, Peter; all men look alike to her," said old Flaxley.

"She's all right," said Peter. "But as for hard work—Lord!"

And he was chuckling over that all the while he was washing up and still smiling at the thought of it when he overhauled a girl in the passageway on his way out. He said good evening politely and was hurrying by when the figure said: "Good evening, captain."

It was something in the voice that held him. He had another look—it wasn't very light in the passageway. Well, if it wasn't the girl who had sold him the lunch-box!

Peter walked to the corner with her; when her car came along, it happened to be his car. She lived not very far from Peter's sister. He walked to her door with her. Her name was Sarah Hern.

After work next day Peter waited at the door of the shipping-room. When she came out of the girls' room he fell into step with her and they rode home together. Sarah invited him in. Peter stepped in for a minute and met Sarah's mother.

He stayed to supper. There must have been eight or nine Hern boys and girls, some grown up, with a widowed mother. And they all but the mother sat down together; and the girls kept bouncing up and down, hopping back and forth between table and kitchen when things didn't come fast enough.

Peter felt as if he had known them for years; and after supper, an older brother passed Peter a cigar and up-stairs in the living-room talked in a casually friendly way on baseball, prize-fighting, the big war, the latest movies. One of Sarah's sisters played the piano and Sarah and another sister sang. Other young men called. Peter was a good listener until a little brother of Sarah's peeked in and finally came over by Peter and shyly said:

"Won't you tell something, captain, about the big ocean?"

Peter told them a little about the big ocean, as he knew it, and stopped. He himself wanted to hear more songs—"Annie Laurie," or "The Robert E. Lee," or something like them—but they asked him to keep on. He told more—he would have told them more, in the first place, but he had no idea shore-going people, especially girls, cared much for rough fishing life. In a little while he was warmed up and going good. When he stopped this time they were all bent over and staring at him. The big brother straightened up first and pulled out his watch and said:

"What d'y'know—I'm chairman o' the house committee down to the club, and we had a meeting scheduled for an hour and a half ago!"

Sarah sang "Asthore" and "Mother Machree" and there was more playing. And they all had ice-cream and cake, and the older brother gave Peter a great grip of the hand going; and they all asked him to call again soon and waved him good night from the doorway. And Peter, walking up the street, began to think that maybe he had been sticking round his sister's too much nights.

Mrs. Pentle called into the shipping-room on a tour of inspection the next day again and regularly after that; and regularly Peter rode home with Sarah and one night he asked her if she would go to the theatre with him. She looked so pleased that he was sorry he hadn't got his courage up sooner.

It was to a musical show that Peter took Sarah. All the time he was there he felt uncomfortable—some of the people on the stage cert'nly did carry some things pretty far.

However, it was over, and Peter suggested supper at a restaurant.

Peter knew nothing of the night restaurants of the city. He picked out one he saw advertised in the theatre programme and because it also happened to be on the way to their trolley-line. He felt Sarah shrink a little going in; and after he was inside and seated he wished he had paid more attention to her shrinking. But he had been too excited to notice. He had been lashed to the wheel of his vessel steering her in a living gale and not half so much excited as he was now. It wasn't just the kind of place, maybe, to bring a young girl; but they were in there now and he guessed they would weather whatever happened. He asked Sarah if she would have a glass of beer or anything like that. He didn't want her to think him too slow. He was pleased when she said no.

What would she have to eat? Sarah picked up the card. "Suppose we try a tarble dote?" she said.

"All right. Where is it?"

Sarah pointed it out:


Peter had a notion she was trying to save his money, and he liked her for it, but he wasn't looking to save money. He pointed out various things on the other side of the bill, picking out always the high-priced ones, but Sarah shook her head. She always preferred the "tarble dote" to ordering à la carte.

The waiter approached.

"What to drink?" he asked briskly.

"Nothing to drink," answered Peter, and, pointing out the caption, Table D'Hôte $1.50, said "Two."

"Two what?" asked the waiter.

"Why, two of what it says—two tarble dotes."

"And what drinks did you say?" The waiter bent a confidential ear and scratched his head with his pencil while he waited. Peter looked up at the ear; then he stretched up and whispered into it:

"Ever hear of the Boundin' Biller, Captain Hanks?"

"The Boundin' Biller?" Well, all kinds of queer ones blow into restaurants—the waiter slewed his head round, looked at Peter, put his ear down, and whispered back: "What about it?"

And Peter whispered up into the waiting ear:

"The Boundin' Biller, Captain Hanks,
She was hove flat down on th' Western Banks."

"Huh!" The waiter slewed his head round again to have another look, which pulled his ear out of position and forced Peter to raise his voice.

"He had the greatest ear, that Captain Hanks," explained Peter. "He could hear a sound when no other mortal ever sailed a vessel could. He heard a steamer's whistle in a gale o' wind and fog one time, and—runnin' fair before the wind at the time he was—he jibed her over, and o' course you know what happens to a vessel that's runnin' with her main sheet to the knot an' somebody jibes her over all standin'?"

The waiter stared with increasing doubt at Peter.

"Captain Hanks had nothing on you for hearing," explained Peter. "I said no drinks."

"Oh, oh, excuse me! I begin to get yuh now. No drinks," and the waiter retreated and returned in silence, but with the food.

Two women on a platform, one very stout and one very thin, danced and sang; and then they half-wiggled and half-danced in and out among the tables. Here and there they chucked a chin or kissed a bald head, and one, on invitation, sat on a man's knee and had a sip of wine with him.

Sarah herself was knots prettier than either of the singing girls—Peter could see that—and she was dressed pretty, too. He didn't know what kind of stuff it was she was wearing, except that it was a kind of slaty sea-gray color and fitted snug. And she had a hat that was shaped like a little capsized dory and listed to starboard, just about the same list a vessel takes when she puts her scuppers under to a light breeze.

Peter, by and by, began to have a notion that Sarah wasn't enjoying herself. There was a party in one of the booths—Peter could not see them without turning, but he had a feeling in the back of his head that they were paying more attention to Sarah than she liked. But perhaps he was wrong about it. What with the lights and the music and the dancing, he was beginning to feel like rolling out a little song himself—a little more maybe about the Boundin' Biller—but Sarah suddenly started to draw on her gloves. And she looked tired; and Peter hurried to pay the bill and tip the waiter—fifty cents. The waiter thanked him with more respect than Peter would have thought was in him.

Peter was jumping up to put Sarah's coat on her before his waiter could do it, when a strange waiter came over with a glass of champagne and set it on the table before Sarah.

"The gentleman wishes to know if the young lady will have a glass of wine with him."

Some joker, of course. Peter smiled till he saw that Sarah was looking frightened.

"Who sent it?" asked Peter.

The waiter looked over to the booth which Peter had had in mind earlier. Peter looked over that way. A head darted out and back into the corner of the booth. Peter's eyebrows lowered and his eyes narrowed. It looked like a familiar sail.

"Did he say anything about a drink for me?" asked Peter.

The waiter started to smile and then said "No, sir," very quickly.

Peter picked up the glass delicately.

"Do you want to drink this wine, Sarah?"

"Oh, Peter!"

"It's all right—I knew you didn't," assured Peter.

He stepped over to the booth. He was right about the man in the corner—it was Henston.

More than the shipping of goods was discussed in the shipping-room, and there was more than that glass of wine in Peter's mind when he looked in on Henston in the booth. There was a sales-girl who had lost her job in Pentle's. It was Henston who had taken advantage of his position to start her on the wrong road.

"The young lady," said Peter to Henston, "don't want to drink your health."

"Too bad—she drank it before," said Henston.

Peter had hard work to keep the wine from spilling.

"If you don't believe me, ask her," said Henston.

"What's that?" Peter said that to gain time to get his balance.

"I said, Ask her."

"You—you squid, you!"

Peter whipped the glass of wine into Henston's face and with that reached across for him. The two men nearest to Peter in the booth stood up to stop him. Peter reached a hand to the collar of each, stepped back, and brought their faces crashing together.

"It's my fight and his—keep out, you!" said Peter, and swept them back and down into their seats.

A waiter attacked Peter from behind. It took Peter a few seconds to wiggle round, get the heel of his hand under the waiter's chin, and jolt him down to where, falling backward on his heels all the while, he hit solidly with the back of his head between the plump shoulders of the fat one of the singing ladies who was fervidly warbling:


to an elderly male with a proud smile on his face.

A little cloud of powder flew into the air above the singer; an ejaculation of shocked surprise from her lips. Peter felt sorry, but didn't see how he could help her just then.

It was Henston Peter wanted, and all the waiters tugging from behind warn't going to stop him. He reached across the table and took a good hold and hauled. It was like hauling a two-hundred-pound halibut over the gunnel of a dory, only he had nothing against any halibut that ever he hauled into a dory. He braced and heaved, and Henston came out of his corner and over the table, and kept on coming till he was clear over the table behind Peter and flat into the aisle beyond.

"You'll have to excuse me," said Peter to the diners at that table—all men; but they spoke right up, three of them, to say hurriedly:

"It's all right; it's all right." And the other, as if to himself: "And they're scourin' the country for White Hopes!"

"Stop him, some of you, before he smashes the place up!" roared a frantic man who came running up then; and two, four, six waiters piled onto Peter, who, having no quarrel with them, gently shoved them off and went over to get Sarah.

A pugnacious-looking, prematurely gray-haired man stood at the café door as they were passing out. Peter was wondering if he would have to fight him, too.

The man's face—it was the cafe bouncer—broke into a sudden grin.

"You're all right," he said. "I been watchin' that fuhler an' his crowd. An' you leave it to the manager to stick the damages onto him. You're all right, and that young lady—you take it from me, young fuhler—she's all right, too."

Sarah felt grateful to the bouncer for that tribute. She hoped that it would bring a smile to Peter's face. But all the way home in the trolley there was no smile from Peter; he clung grimly to his strap and stared straight at the advertising cards. At her door he only spoke to say "Good night."

"Good night, Peter." And then, with a little clutch at his sleeve: "You're not mad with me, Peter?"

"I'm mad with myself for makin' the show o' you that I did to-night; but when he said you'd drunk wine with him there—said it with a bunch o' people like himself listenin'—when he said that——"

Sarah's curling little hand had been reaching out for his. It came back flat to her side again.

"I got a bad temper, Sarah. It don't come out often, but it's there. And to-night, Sarah, when he lied about you like that, and his crowd, and maybe others round, believin' him maybe——"

Sarah shivered. She knew now that in Peter's good opinion of her lay much of what she cared for in this world. In the good opinion of some man or other lay most of what the other girls in the store cared for. Always with them was the undying note—to hold and keep men's good opinion, to keep it at no matter what sacrifice of everything else.

"What they don't know will never hurt them. A man is no better off because he knows things!" She had heard that so often; and no girl is spending eight hours a day for two years with other girls without soaking in something of what they believe—not and be human, that is.

But she had never met a man like Peter. He held her in such respect, he held all girls in such respect, that it was solemn. Only the night before she had thought one time he was going to kiss her, and she had surged toward him, with her lips soft for him, but he had only said "Good night" suddenly and had run off—almost—up the street.

But Peter was speaking.

"Men have to go out to fight for a living in places where the fighting, Sarah, is sometimes pretty fierce. And sometimes that kind o' fighting makes 'em rough, and maybe cruel in spots. But that don't mean they're bad men. Men c'n be rough sometimes, but I never knew a man—that was any good, Sarah—that wanted women to have any o' men's badness. Aboard a vessel we just nacherally expect every man in her will 'tend to his part o' the work, even if he loses his life sometimes 'tendin' to it. That's a man's part, an' it's what he owes to the other men aboard. An' every man has that, an' it's as much a part of him as the beard on his face. And so when there's a woman somewhere a man's countin' on, he expects just nacherally she'll hold out against all the world for him. That's her part. And when to-night, Sarah, that fat-faced, lyin' brute said you'd drunk wine with him, 'twas just as much as if you'd said you liked him once—liked his kind."

Sarah sat down on the step. Pretty soon—she couldn't help it—Peter heard her sobbing.

He lifted her up.

"Sarah, Sarah; what is it?"

She drew away from him; for, of course, when she told him, he, that was so good himself, would never care for her again.

"It was true what he said, Peter! I did drink wine with him, and in that same place!"

Peter stood very still. And then he moved out to the curbstone, and with little tugs at his collar kept looking up at the sky. By and by he came back to the doorway.

"I wish you hadn't, Sarah; I wish you hadn't," he said, but came no nearer.

"Wish I hadn't told you?"

"No, no; I'm glad you told me. And I know what it meant for you to tell me. I'd rather take a chance going over the side—redjacks, oilskins, and all—in a high sea after a shipmate than have to tell a girl something about myself that I know she don't want to hear. Specially when I care for her—not that I'm thinkin' you care for me so much, Sarah."

The blood came back to Sarah's heart. She hurried to tell him the rest.

"I've been wanting to tell you, Peter; you mustn't think me worse than I am. He used to come down to my counter and talk to me; and after a few days of that he asked me to go out with him. I was a little proud at first—to be noticed by the manager above the other girls. Girls like to be made much of, Peter; if it's only by a lost dog that licks their hand, they like it. I went to that place with him, after he'd asked me a dozen times, and the third time there with him I drank a glass of champagne. I wanted to know for myself what it tasted like. But I never took it with him again—nor went out with him again, because coming home in the taxi that night he tried to get fresh. A lot of men, Peter, think that if a girl isn't cold and stiff in her ways she must be bad. And I kicked the door of the taxi open and left him and came home alone."

"I'm glad you told me that. And Sarah?"

"Yes, Peter?"

"Good night, Sarah."

"You're not mad with me any more, Peter?"

"I could never stay mad with you."

"Then you must tell me you're not, Peter. A girl wants to be told these things."

Her eyes were smiling up like stars through the dark of the doorway at him. He drew back her head to him and kissed her. She lay very still against him. He patted her head.

"You'll marry me, won't you, Sarah, some day?"

"I'll ask mother. And whenever she says—will that do, Peter?"

Late every winter Mrs. Pentle took a month's trip South. She had returned from that trip South and was making the rounds of the store. She came to the shipping-room, looked round, asked Flaxley a few questions about things; and then, as she was about to go:

"I don't see Captain Crudden. He is not sick?"

"Peter's gone, ma'am," said Flaxley. "Mr. Henston and Peter had words, ma'am, and Peter put on his coat and walked out."


"Yes'm. But before he put on his coat he threw Mr. Henston into the passageway. Then he went and got married," he added.

"Peter married!"

"Yes, ma'am. He surprised us, too—that is, gettin' married so quick."

"Whom did he marry?"

"Miss Hern, from the notions counter."

"Hern? Notions? Oh—I remember her now."

Flaxley saw her cross the passageway to the rest-room and sit down on a couch. After a time she went up-stairs.

It was after two o'clock—Flaxley remembered the time very well—when Mrs. Pentle left the rest-room; so she must have ordered her car and gone to Gloucester right away, for she was in Duncan's store, according to the minutes of Fred Lichens, the old bookkeeper, before four o'clock.

"Is Captain Crudden here?" was her first question.

"He is. He's down the wharf—ready to sail in your vessel," said Mr. Duncan. "Shall I call him up?"

"Please do."

Mr. Duncan hailed from the steps of the store, and Peter came; but no smiling shipper's helper who looked like a boy was this Peter.

He was smiling enough, but there was already the hint in the set jaws, the wary, far-looking eyes of the master mariner, the ocean battler. Her confidence ebbed; she was in an atmosphere of men's work that she could never get away from in Duncan's store, and almost timidly she heard herself asking:

"Will you tell me, Captain Crudden, what was wrong with the work in the store? I thought you liked it."

"Nothing wrong, Mrs. Pentle."

"Then what, please?"

"M-m-m." Peter revolved his cloth cap on one finger but said nothing.

"One day in the shipping-room, Captain Crudden, you told me what a comfort it was for a man to be home—of the joy of the easy slippers and the warm fire, of children climbing all over you—of the warm bed every night."

"That's right; I did."

"No more danger, no more hardship, your sure pay every week!"

"I know; I know."

"Then why? Was it the work?"

"The work?" Peter clearly smiled now.

"Haddockin' in South Channel, Mrs. Pentle, workin' fourteen tubs—eight thousand hooks to a dory a day, an' dressin' our deckload o' fish on top o' that—three, four, yes an' five days an' nights runnin' sometimes, with no lookin' at our bunks till we filled her up—! Work? I cal'late I've done more work in South Channel fishin' many a day than in any ten days I ever saw in your store, Mrs. Pentle."

"Then why, please, Captain Crudden, why?"

"Why? When you went South, Mrs. Pentle, you left a man in your place to give orders."

"Mr. Henston? What of him?"

"Him!" Peter looked down at his cap, twirled it on a finger, looked at Mrs. Pentle, and then: "Him! Honest, Mrs. Pentle, if we had him out on the fishin'-grounds we wouldn't cut him up for bait!"

Peter went back to his vessel and Mrs. Pentle to her car.

"I ordered my house opened to-day. I'll run over there," she told Mr. Duncan.

It was a clear day with a fresh breeze from the west. She must have seen, when she looked, the whitecaps in the harbor as her car rolled over the road.

John Ferguson, up in his lookout, saw her car roll up to her gate. John could also see the reflection of the fresh fire in the grate in her den, the fresh pot of tea beside the window-seat. And no doubt she could see, as she sipped her tea, John Ferguson through an air-port of his aerie.

However, the Celia Pentle was sailing out to sea and John was entering her—Celia Pentle, Peter Crudden, Master, with the date, in his book—and was reading the entry over to himself when Mrs. Pentle came in.

The harbor had grown whiter under the little crests of the tossing seas, and outside the point they were rolling yet higher and higher.

"Isn't it rough weather to be sailing, John?" she asked.

"Rough? For an able fisherman and an able master and crew? No, Mrs. Pentle. The wind's fair, ma'am, as a man'd want for a run offshore—a great chance for Peter to try the new vessel out. This time to-morrow, ma'am, and if you could listen to Peter I'll bet you'd be proud to have such a wonderful vessel named after you. A new, able vessel and a new, lovely young wife—he oughter be the happy man sailin' to sea this night."

"But his wife—won't she be lonesome, John?"

"For her own good and Peter's, I cert'nly hope so, ma'am. But she won't be lonesome for too long, ma'am. Their age—an' healthy an' lovin'—they're the kind, ma'am, to have a houseful o' children. An' that'll be a good thing. Many's the day an' night, out on the wide ocean there, Peter'll be drivin' his vessel, thinkin' o' them children an' the mother to home, an' plannin' how he's ever goin' to kill fish enough to pay for the shoes an' their clothes an' their schoolin' an' the house rent, an' all the rest of it. Many a hard night out to sea he'll be thinkin' o' that, an' it'll be that'll hold him to his work an' make a full man o' him. And the mother she'll be keepin' the home, lovin' the children an' lovin' Peter that's workin' night an' day to keep 'em. I tell you, ma'am, they're the wise ones that lay their courses so that by 'n' by, whether they will or no, they got to go on with the steady drivin'."

"Look at her now, ma'am, down to the rail already an' whalin' away through it! An' there's Peter—look at him—in the oilskins up by the wind'ard bitt! An'— But there's some one callin' you, ma'am."

It was her maid, who came running over to say that there was an urgent telephone message.

"It is from Mr. Henston, madam."

Mrs. Pentle nodded that she heard, but continued to look through the glasses at the Celia sailing out to sea.

The maid coughed. She was at the foot of the tower, looking up.

"He says, madam, that the silk-buyer wishes him to go to New York for that stock of pongees, and that he is waiting for an answer to his letter before he goes."

Mrs. Pentle stood at the hatch of the tower, looking down.

"Fishermen are pretty careful of what they use for bait, aren't they, John?"

John, after consideration, said:

"Bank fishermen are maybe more careful than most, ma'am; though, when we was hard put to it, I've seen some pretty poor quality o' stuff cut up for bait."

Mrs. Pentle looked down the ladder to the maid.

"Tell Mr. Henston there is no answer. Tell him to go to New York and that, hereafter, he had better stay there and look after the silks exclusively."

For as long as the falling darkness would allow, John saw Mrs. Pentle picking out the plunging course of Peter's vessel through the green-white waters. And then, turning to him, she said:

"I've been thinking that I ought to take more interest in my young girls when they marry. On the day the Cruddens have a baby born to them I shall make over the Celia Pentle to the baby."

For all she smiled when she said that—and in John's opinion she should 'a' been a happy woman to be able to say things like that—for all that there was what John called a melancholy in her voice and a sort of vapor in her eyes when she said it; and, looking after her making her lonesome way over to the big house with all the lighted windows, he couldn't help thinking that for all they said she was such a boss of a woman—for all that—there ought to be somebody more than a lot of butlers and maids and cooks to meet her at the door.

There is the story of Peter's stop ashore, as old man Flaxley, John Ferguson, and Fred Lichens know it. Fred had to add that he couldn't see where Peter's stop ashore ever hurt him any.

"Certainly," said Fred, "since the baby came, he has been making fishing history in the Celia!" He looked over to Mr. Duncan when he said that.

Mr. Duncan wasn't deaf.

"A little stop ashore never harmed anybody," retorted Mr. Duncan—"it's the stopping ashore too long!"

The Sea-Birds

It was fine summer weather, and John asked me how about a swordfishing trip for a change. I said all right, and we got a chance in the Henriette, and went down that same morning to Duncan's Wharf to go aboard.

The Henriette lay ready to go to sea, and John and I stood on the string-piece and looked down on her deck and up at her mastheads. A lumper hanging around Duncan's was standing near us.

I never knew a dock lumper that couldn't tell you all about everything. "She is weak-built and pretty deep—I don't like to see them so deep," said this lumper. "And down by the head, too."

"Maybe you'd be deep if you were on'y thirteen tons net register an' thirty tons of ice in you," said John.

And a proper answer. A man should always have a good word—even if he don't more than half believe it himself—for the craft he's going to sea in. At the same time I was thinking that I was having an eye to a new, able fresh-halibuter—a big ninety-ton vessel—across the slip.

I like the big fellows to go to sea in. I said so to John.

"A big, able brute—yes, boy. But that big brute—Lard Gard, she'd look sweet, wouldn't she, chasin' swordfish in the shoal water south o' Georges. She's a good little boat, the Henriette—and a pretty name," said John.

It was a fresh southwesterly, and a day to make a man over, as we passed on by Eastern Point. Just to look at the young blue seas was life, and the soft salt air was a cure for whatever blue feeling a man might have had hooked into himself ashore.

A great morning. We passed two big salt fishermen bound in. From the Western Banks they were, or from Flemish Cap, half across the ocean, maybe; and the brown rocks of Cape Ann must have looked to them like mother's johnny-cake on the kitchen table that sunny morning. Swinging by like a pair of twins they went, flying both topsails the pair of them, but neither of them much more than flushing their scuppers to the fine fresh breeze. Whoo-o-sh! fifteen hundred miles we've come from the east'ard! In the name o' heaven—we could almost hear them saying it—don't stop us!

The sea was more than swishing through the little Henriette's scuppers. Our rail was good and wet as we belted across the bay, and rounding Cape Cod we rolled down till the solid water began to fill her lee gangway; rolled lower and lower, 'till it was solid between her lee rail and house; and those of us on her wind'ard quarter had our feet braced so we wouldn't take a slide down her high-slanting deck and overboard.

Our skipper was a driver. By and by we were rolling low enough for a buoy keg to go floating off our house and overboard astern. A fine half-barrel of a buoy keg it was—black and white painted, smooth and tight as a drum; a beauty of a buoy which by and by, at the end of a fifty-fathom warp, ought by rights to be towing after a fat swordfish; and so the skipper said. But now she was dancing atop of the swirling seas astern, and the skipper, looking astern after it and then at us, also said: "To hell with it now! Buy a new one out your share—and next time some o' you'll learn to lash 'em, maybe!"

It was a day to see pictures. From astern of us came bowling up one of the biggest and stiffest knockabouts sailing out o' Gloucester. She had a bow like a bulldog's jaw; and she sent that bow smashing through the white-collared seas as if she had come out for no more than to give her ugly face a wash. Stiff? She was a church on a rock.

"There's the able lady!" said Shorty. "No water sloshin' solid through her lee gangway an' washin' buoy kegs off her house—hah, John?"

John was a Newfoundlander. He told me that the earliest thing he remembered was helping bait his father's trawls on a Grand Banks fisherman.

With his arms folded over the corner of the house, his chin resting on his arms, and his eyes like two razor-edges peering out between his eyelids, there wasn't much happening up to wind'ard—or leeward either—that John wasn't seeing. And it was a great day to see things; for it was a gale o' wind blowing, the sky was still clear blue, and the air was the kind to make a man over.

A quick-acting, quick-talking, wiry little fellow was John. Big Bill couldn't keep up with him at all. Bill's right name was not Bill. Nobody knew what it was; nor cared. Bill was probably a better name, anyway. One peek at him as the big fellow hove himself aboard was enough for John. "Will ye look at Big Bill!" cried John; after that no other name would fit him. "Lard, Lard," said John, "but I be wantin' to see the look o' that bulk of a man when he jams hisself into a bosun's chair to the masthead!"

Bill never could see anything funny in John's line of talk, and said so across the supper-table that same afternoon. Breakfast was at four o'clock, dinner at half-past nine, and supper at three o'clock on the Henriette. "Somebody'll come along and set on you right hard some day," said Bill. To which John said: "So long's 'tisn't some one o' your tonnage does the settin', I callate I c'n stand it," and then, reaching over and scooping to himself another wedge of blueberry pie: "You cert'nly do make great blueberry pie, cook."

"Not so ferry bad," said the cook.

He was a good cook, who had followed the sea since he was fifteen. The big ports of the world—he knew them all, and when he wasn't too busy he would talk about them; though what he most liked to talk about was his blueberry patch in Stoneport, where he owned a nice little white house with a simment cellar—up on the hill next the isinglass factory. He had a dog at home, a part of him Skitch and the other part of him Sin Bernard. Gardner, the milkman, owned the Bernard. Who owned the collie he didn't know. Nobody knowed. And when those smart Alecks of Stoneport kids came along and tried to bemboozle those blueberry-bushes where they was hangin' in bunches as on a grapewine, why that dog— Well, he was the cleffer dog, that was all.

He had brought a few of the blueberries aboard, he said; which we very well knew—two bushels of them charged to the ship's stores at current market rates. His blueberry pies were all right; but the blueberry stews! With dumplings! There was a cook sailed out of Homburg on a barque when our cook was a cabin-boy on her, and that dumpling receipt was got out of him one night in Yokohama when the old fellow had a couple of bowls of saki into him. Saki and rice, yes. Which was how it came about that thirty-four years later we were getting dumplings noon and night with our blueberry stew aboard the Henriette. John, after maybe five hours to the masthead, would come sliding cheerily down to deck at dinner call. At the head of the forec's'le companionway he would haul up and have half a peek below. And then a sniff. A long sniff, and then a full peek. "Lard Gard, dumplin's!" John would say, and look sadly around and up at sea and sky.

But so as not to hurt the cook's feelings, John, when he sat down, would take the big fork and go sounding in the blueberry stew, and soon, bright blue and beautiful, he would gaff a half-dozen of them onto his plate. And the cook, noticing it, would smile and say: "You like tem tumplings, Chon?" And John would say: "This side o' Fortune Bay I never saw nothin' to ekal 'em." And when the cook would turn his back, John would slip them into his pocket.

After dinner John would take the dumplings aloft, and, when Big Bill would take the skipper's place out at the end of the bowsprit, John would heave the dumplings at him from the masthead. Sometimes he would heave a few astern at whoever happened to have the wheel. Generally it was Oliver at the wheel, because his eyesight was not so sharp as the others of us for seeing fish from aloft.

Oliver was the first spectacled fisherman that John had ever seen; and one day when Oliver laid his glasses down, John took them up, and set them on his own nose and picked up a newspaper. And quickly removed them. "Lard, Lard, a swordfish she'd look like a whale in them and his sword as long's a vessel's bowsprit!"

When Oliver was not to the wheel, Steve would be there. Steve was a tall fellow. To give an idea of how tall he was, John would run down the deck, leap into the air and give a grab at the sky. "Where me hand touched would maybe reach to his waist," John would say. Steve, when he turned in, had to let his feet hang over his bunkboard and onto the locker; and when he did that John came and sat on them. Steve slept in the cabin under the overhang. Big Bill slept under the overhang, too, in the opposite bunk. One of our pleasures was to watch Bill kick his way into his bunk under the low overhang, then to tell him the skipper wanted to see him on deck, and watch him wiggle his way out. Feet first he had to come. Steve could do it all right, but Bill—he weighed three hundred.

On foggy nights Bill turned in on the locker, with one arm and leg stretched out to keep him from rolling onto the floor. He had once been in a steamer collision, and he warn't of any notion to be sent to the bottom by no steamer collision—leastways not if he saw her comin'. And he callated to see her comin'. His last word to the next on watch on a foggy night was always: "Call me soon's you see any steamer lights. An' don't wait to diskiver if it be a pote or stabbid light." On watch in a fog Bill never got farther away from the fog-horn than he could make in two leaps; and he was no Olympic leaper.

With Bill and Steve in the cabin slept Oliver and the skipper. Most sword-fishermen carry an auxiliary engine to hustle after the fish in calm summer weather. The rest of us bunked in the forec's'le. She was a little creature, the Henriette, and it was pretty close sleeping for'ard on a hot night. To abate the heat nights, we rigged up a wind-sail which came down the air-port forward of the foremast; which was all right till the vessel tacked. When she did, her jumbo-boom would sweep across the deck and swipe our wind-sail over the rail. When we fellows bunking forward talked of how hot it was for'ard, the cabin gang would only say: "Hot? You want to come aft and soak in the gas off the engine for a few nights!"

We cruised four days off Block Island without seeing a sword-fin. Plenty of big sharks were loafing under the surface there, but sharks don't bring anything on the market. We stood easterly. Off Nantucket light-ship we picked up Bob Johnson of Nantucket and Bill Jackson of Maine, Bill Rice and Tom O'Brien of Gloucester, the Master and the Norma also of Gloucester, a Boston schooner, the Alarm, and a big, black brute of a sloop which nobody could name. Tom Haile was there, too—in the Esther Ray.

No fish in sight that afternoon; but even so the skipper took his station in the pulpit. John, Shorty, and I went aloft. John was topmost, and swung in his chair just under the truck. Shorty and I were just under John. When we got tired of swinging in our chairs we could stand up, one cross-line in the small of our backs, another against our chests, and balance ourselves. When the vessel dove we could wrap our arms around the topmast and hang on. There was a swell on this morning—no crested seas, but a long, smooth, black swell, enough to send the vessel's bowsprit under every little while; and sometimes to send the pulpit atop of the bowsprit under, too.

"But this skipper—he don't mind gettin' wet," explained Shorty. "I've seen him go divin' till it was over his head in the pulpit an' he still hangin' on waitin' for fish."

Bill did not stand watch at the masthead. His eyesight was good enough, but Bill's three hundred pounds climbing up the rigging four or five times a day to the masthead—the skipper said he guessed he'd take pity on the rigging. So Bill stayed on deck to go in the dory, when a fish would be ironed. Also he took the pulpit when the skipper came inboard to eat. The first time John saw Bill go into the pulpit, he let a yell of mock terror out of him from aloft. "Skipper, skipper, he's puttin' her down by the head, and Lard knows she was down by the head enough before. Let she go into a good head sea, she'll never come up an' we'll be lost, all hands!" Which made Bill turn and glare up at John; and when he did that, John hove one of the cook's bright-blue dumplings down at Bill.

That afternoon we sighted our first fish. The skipper was in the pulpit, with the pole half hitched across the pulpit rail. Bill was resting his chest across the gunnel of the top dory and with half-closed eyes studying the sea to wind'ard. Oliver was sitting on the wheel-box, motionless except when he moved an arm or a hand to roll a spoke or two up and down. Aloft, we had not seen a sign of fish, near or far, for an hour or more.

John let out a sharp little cry: "Fish-O!" The skipper stood up and balanced his long pole. Oliver straightened up at the wheel-box. Bill came out of his trance, looked to us aloft and shifted his gaze to leeward. The bright, bald head of the cook shone up the forec's'le ladder. He cast a peek aloft, said "Fish-h?" inquiringly, and stepped onto the deck, smoking his pipe.

"Fair abeam to looard!" John called, and Oliver put the wheel up. Soon they could see the curved three-cornered fin from the deck. A shark's fin is three-cornered, too, but straight-edged, not curved. And a swordfish's tail moves almost without motion through the water.

The skipper balanced his pole, but without looking down at it. His eyes were for the fish only. "Hard up!" called John, and Oliver sent our bow swinging into line.

"Stea-a-dy!" called John.

The skipper was swaying from the waist. A big-boned, rangy man the skipper, more than six feet high and wide-shouldered, with a great reach and a strong-looking back. He hefted his pole—more than a week since he had ironed a swordfish—and he looked to see that the line running from his pole to a tub in the waist of the vessel was all clear. To look after that was the cook's business, and now, meeting the skipper's look: "All clear!" he sang out, and stowed his pipe in his stern pocket.

We were within half the vessel's length of our fish when, he dived. "Port!" called John. "Stea-a-dy! stea-a-dy! Lard, man, stea-a-dy-y!" They could not see the fish from the deck, but we at the masthead could follow his course under water.

The fin and tail showed again. We swung around to head him off in his course. The skipper, to loosen up his waist and back muscles, was swaying from his hips.

We were almost on the big fish. He was cruising lazily. The skipper drew back his right arm and shoulder, but fin and tail took a sudden shoot. John was in command at the masthead. "Luff—luff!" called John. The vessel shot up, the skipper leaned far over the pulpit rail. Fin and tail were gone from his sight, but from aloft we could follow the blue-black shadow of the body under water. Suddenly the shadow turned and shot diagonally back under our bowsprit. John called a warning. The skipper rose on his toes—with that long right arm raised above and behind his head, he looked seven feet tall—and waited. We feared he was waiting too long, when whing!—a backward swoop of the arm, a downward thrust of the pole, and "Gottim!" said the cook, and tossed the bight of the warp over the rail and calmly bent on a new warp for the skipper's pole. The skipper took a backward look at the flying fish; then quickly, but with never a hurry, rigged a fresh iron and line to his pole. After a man has ironed a few thousand swordfish it is probably hard to get excited over one more.

The big fish was gone, deep down, and after him the warp was whirling out of the tub in the ship's waist. In no time the whole fifty-fathom line was gone, and atop of the sea the black-and-white-painted barrel was going a good clip. And then under it went, but not for long. Up it came, and around in a quarter-circle and then straight away again with a grand little wake after it. By this time Bill had been dropped into a dory and was rowing after the buoy.

The buoy ran round another big circle before Bill caught up with it. When he did he took the buoy into the dory and began to warp in the fish, and had him alongside and was about to lance him in the head, when whir-h-h! tail and sword beat the sea white, and Bill cast him loose.

Now, if John, or Oliver, or Shorty had ever got that fish snubbed up under the dory gunnel like that, they would have finished him. If he was as long and big around as a dory, be sure they would, or try to; but getting on to middle age was Bill, and he probably had in mind a clear picture of every doryman that was ever killed swordfishing.

Bill was going after them in his own way. He'd get 'em just the same. Just let that fish play hisself out. Which he did after an hour or so, and then Bill hauled him under the dory's quarter, and reached over and a dozen times or so drove the long lance into his head. The fish flurried around and churned white water, but the deep lance thrusts did for him at last. And then Bill hitched him around the tail and waited for the vessel; and Oliver, who had been having a windward eye to the dory all the time, put over to him, and the dory tackle was hooked under the tail-knot and the fish hauled in.

A swordfish is a handsome creature when fresh caught. Plump and tapering in body, with pointed head and big eyes, and his skin a lovely dripping blue-black, which had not faded hours later when he was lowered into the hold after being dressed. The cook had a fine large round of beef on top of the ice in the hold, but it had to come out on deck to make room for that first fish—which is how deep the Henriette was loaded.

He weighed perhaps three hundred pounds. A good-sized fellow. "Jist the size to be lively," said Bill. "And to fight—I don't take no chances with them kind."

The iron had gone diagonally through his body amidships. It was now hanging out with six inches of the line on the under side of him. A great stroke, passing through almost two feet of solid meat and just grazing the back-bone on the way. The cook explained that he had seen the skipper drive his iron clean through the backbone and then clear through the body of bigger ones than that.

By dark we had four good fish in, and all hands were pleased. The cook, before he turned in for the night, told us more about his blueberry patch. The skipper came below and broke in on the cook to talk about the weather. "A sea the same's if there was gasolene poured over it," said the skipper. "A clear sky, but a swell and near the horizon at sunset clouds piled up with gashes of green and purple and a hundred other shades. Wind there—plenty of it—we'll see to-morrow."

To-morrow came, but no breeze. The skipper felt put out. "I'd 'a' bet it," he said.

That night came an ugly sunset. No oily sea this time, but a gray tossing and murmuring, and showing behind among the clouds, long deep-red streaks paralleling the horizon, and the horizon lifting up and down like it had something the matter with it, too.

Next morning nothing, or no more than what Shorty said when he came down from his watch at eight o'clock. "Just a good liver shaker aloft," said Shorty.

Just before ten o'clock came a stirring out of the sea; but nothing much. Another stirring and the skipper took a good look around, and then came in from the pulpit. He called out to us to come from the masthead. We came, and took sail off her—all but her foresail. No word was given to hurry, but there was no loafing over it. Oliver, a great fellow to keep looking clean, said he guessed he'd take a chance to shave himself; and then he took another look around at sea and sky, and then he said he guessed he'd wait awhile.

While a man would be drawing on a pair of rubber-boots it came—oh, whistling! And four hours of it followed. Wind to blow a man's ears off. And rain! Oh, rain! Not rain in sheets—nothing so soft and easy as that; but rain which came driving in like a billion bullets at once. We could pick out where every one hit us. The wind blew maybe eighty miles an hour for four hours. And then the real thing came. For an hour or so more wind really blew. How many miles? Lord knows. John said a good hundred miles. Bill snorted: "A hunderd? Take on'y what's above a hunderd an' you'd git a gale by itself!"

With all the wind there was a high-running sea; and wind and sea together were driving us into shoal water. And the shoal water of Georges is bad—no worse anywhere. We sounded and got ten fathoms. Bad. There was nothing but to make a little more sail and get out. Put jumbo and trysail to her, was the word; as we started to do that a forepeak block came away, and the halyards and block got fouled with the jib-stay aloft. The skipper sent John and me aloft to clear it.

We went; and were lying out to get it, when we saw this sea come at us. It was a white yeast all around the vessel, but this one was a solid white, solid as marble almost. It came roaring like a mad bull at us. I took one peek at it and "Hang on, John!" I yelled. I did my best to leave the print of my fingers on the steel stay with the way I hung on myself—we were both of us to the masthead and that sea was just high enough to roll over our heads. I could just see a light-green color over my head as it passed.

As we stuck our heads through and looked at each other, John was saying something. There was a ringing in my ears. I asked him: "What? What did you say, John?"

"You told me to hang on," said John. "To hang on! Lard Gard, boy, did y' think I was goin' to dive into it?"

On deck when they saw it coming they had all jumped below and pulled the hatches after them. They began to come out now, and the skipper called for us to come down. Nothing was washed from her deck. Of course, everything before that had been double-lashed—dories and barrels of gasolene—before that. The skipper now ordered the bung pulled from a full barrel of gasolene. We stove one in and let the oil run out; and the seas calmed to leeward and we threw a dory to the lee rail, after lashing an empty gasolene barrel to each side of her.

"Whoever's handiest jump in!" yelled the skipper.

Big Bill was handy to the dory, but he never would have made it if John hadn't stopped to push him over the gunnel from behind. Shorty and Oliver leaped over the other gunnel. I waited for John; but the skipper had called "More oil and another dory!" and John had turned back.

We four—Bill, Shorty, Oliver, and myself—were hardly in when a sea came over the vessel's deck and swept our dory away—wh-f-f! like that. She all but filled to the gunnels before we were fair away from the vessel's side, but the two empty barrels kept her from sinking. And before another sea could get a fair chance at her Oliver and Bill were busy bailing her, and Shorty and I keeping her head to the sea with an oar astern. We looked back to the vessel, and could see them rigging up another dory and breaking out another barrel of oil.

We kept going in our dory—none of us could say how long, whether it was one hour or four, we were all so busy—Big Bill and Oliver with their heads down bailing her out with their sou'-westers, and Shorty and I with an oar keeping her head to windward. Bill and Oliver had to bail pretty fast. Bill kept getting out of wind and Oliver's eye-glasses kept getting wet with salt water so he couldn't see out of them.

"What d'y' want to see out of 'em for?" asks Shorty. "We're here in the stern to do the seein' an' the steerin'. Might's well heave your specks overboard."

Oliver hove them overboard.

So far as our seeing went we never saw the vessel which picked us up until after she saw us. She was the Esther Ray and she was under a jumbo and storm trysail, working off from the shoal water and having trouble enough; but they saw us, and stood down and hailed. We made out what they said, more by their signs than by what words we heard.

"I'll tack and come by close to looard of you!" called Tom Haile, her skipper; "and when I do, take your chance and come board. You'll maybe have to jump!"

He had to watch his chance to tack. He waited maybe five minutes, both hands on the spokes, waiting and watching. And then he gave her the wheel; and when he did, it was something to look at. Between seas and sky she hung for I don't know how long—maybe five seconds, maybe ten, maybe thirty seconds—between heaven and hell she hung, before she came over. And, man, when she did, she wouldn't have started a pack thread. Judgment there, boy! Then falling and rising, and falling again, she came down onto us. A sea lifted our dory straight for her; up we went and down—straight for her windward rail. We watched. We jumped—all but Bill. He was hove aboard. The dory under us was smashed on her rail as we jumped, but we could spare the dory—we were safe aboard the Esther.

Once we were aboard they gave the Esther a little more sheet, and off she went on her ear till we made twenty-five fathoms of water; and there we brought her to. And while we lay there hove to the wind moderated to fifty miles or so, and as the wind came down the seas went up. Higher and higher they kept mounting. Just to look at the height of them would make your back ache. And then the wind backed into the northwest, and the seas came two ways together. No dodging them at all now, and the little Esther Ray—stripped to her last little white shift, a corner of a storm trysail—lay to a drogue and took it.

I'd been fishing mostly in big vessels before this trip, and for the first time in my life I saw a little boat stand up and take a beating. She was a few tons bigger than the Henriette, but still little enough—the Esther. Little and deep-laden, she lay there and took it.

Little and deep-laden, yes; but, man, a stout one, too. When she was building it was Tom Haile himself who drove every bolt—every trenail—into her. He had seen to it that her timbers were heavy enough for a vessel four times her tonnage. Believe him, a vessel the Esther! A solid block of oak, yes! And like a solid block of oak she lay there, and "Come on, damn you, come on and get me!" we could almost hear her saying to the big seas.

Of course, she could not do it all herself. After all, she was no five-hundred-foot steamer, that no matter how it came all you had to do was to let her lay and no harm come to her. There were the moments when it was up to the skipper and her crew. But a capable skipper on her quarter and a quick-moving, handy crew in her waist—when your vessel is well-found leave the rest of it to them! They were all there, and there on the jump when wanted. No talk, no questioning—when the word was passed the word was carried out. By seven o'clock that night the little Esther had ridden out the gale in glory. To be sure, it was a thunderer of a night that followed, with seas pounding her solid little head, and perhaps the man in the peak bunk did not have a word to say about that in the morning! But with the morning—Glory be!—'twas a silver sunrise and a little schooner smiling and bowing like to the baffled ocean.

But not all the swordfishing fleet were there in the morning. Bill Jackson was there, and the big, ugly sloop, and we thought we could make out Bill Rice and Tom O'Brien on the horizon. But where was the Norma? And the Master? And Bob Johnson? And the Alarm of Boston? And our own little Henriette?

We made sail, and after a time the big sloop with the ugly bow also made sail. And we jogged back to where we had left the good fishing, and, the sea having moderated sufficiently, lookouts went aloft and the Esther's skipper to the pulpit. Vessels and men may be lost, but men and vessels have to keep on with the fishing just the same.

But there were no fish to be seen. The storm had scattered them. The skipper wanted to know what somebody else thought of the storm. He ran down to speak to Bill Jackson.

Bill was sitting on the wheel-box whittling a piece of red cedar when we drew alongside. Bill's half-bared chest seemed to be trying to burst through his undershirt, and above the shirt his seamed neck rose ruggedly. Neck, arms, and chest were burned red. His beard, red in the shadows and gold in the sun, was ten days old at least. Fifteen centuries ago it must have been men of Bill Jackson's style that left the marshes of the Elbe and, sailing westward across the North Sea, looted the shores of wherever they happened to beach their keels.

"How'd you make out yesterday, Bill?" asked Tom.

"Rolled our sheer-poles under," said Bill, "not once in a while, but reg'lar. An' not a stitch o' canvas on her to the time, nuther. An' washed over everything that warn't bolted. When I see it warn't lettin' up, I ran her under bare poles. Logged eight and a half knots under bare poles. Goin' some? I call it so. Glad not to be lost, we were."

"Same here. I'm worried about some o' the fleet, Bill."

"Some of 'em's gone, all right. I don't want to see another day like yesterday in a hurry, Tom."

"Nor me, Bill. A good breeze o' wind I call it, Bill."

"A damn good breeze o' wind I call it," said Bill.

"I guess by this time there's no argument 'bout it bein' a pretty good little blow," said Shorty.

We left Bill Jackson. The middle of the morning it was, a fine day, and, still hoping for fish, the Esther's lookouts were aloft. One called out something—not Fish-O!—and pointed. We looked. It was part of a drifting mast, the lower part, broken off raggedly from a foot or two above the saddle. It drifted on by.

"A white-painted saddle," said Tom Haile, looking at Shorty and me.

"The Henriette's saddles was painted white," said Shorty. "But she ain't the only vessel with white-painted saddles."

"That's right," said the Esther's crew, "she ain't."

A few minutes later a floating gasolene barrel drifted by, and soon another. Tom Haile reached out with a boat-hook and gaffed in that second barrel. There was a hole in the head of it—made by an axe. That didn't mean anything—it could have washed off the Henriette's deck, off anybody's deck. The surprise would be in a barrel staying on her deck in the shoal water she was in when we left her. Yes, that could be, agreed the Esther's crew.

From the masthead then they saw a dory—bottom up.

"A yellow dory?" Shorty and I asked.

The lookout scanned the water. "A yellow dory, yes."

The skipper put off for the yellow dory, and when he towed it back, there was the name:


on her bow planks.

"That's her other dory, all right," said Shorty. "But they still have the vessel under them." Nobody said anything to that.

Next we picked up a hatch-cover. And the hatch-cover, when we got it aboard, had a star carved on it.

"Yes, the main hatch-cover o' the Henriette had a star carved on it," said Shorty. "But there's plenty o' chances for her yet."

What looked like a watermelon came drifting up.

Shorty looked to see better. "If it's a watermelon, I give up—she's gone," said Shorty. "They's nobody heaves a watermelon overboard to lighten a vessel."

It was a watermelon; and we all gave up. Everybody knew that the Henriette's cook was a great fellow to ship a watermelon and keep it down among the ice for the passage home. As Shorty said, there was no reason ever for a watermelon being hove overboard. And it couldn't have floated out of her hold unless the vessel had broken up. The mast, the gasolene-barrel, the dory, the hatch-cover, and now the melon.

Shorty made a flying leap into the yellow dory towing astern, and, leaning far enough out to lay the dory over on her side, he spread wide his arms and the melon floated right in over the gunnel and into his arms, and he took it to his bosom.

Big Bill hurried to take the melon when Shorty passed it up over the rail. "Poor little Henriette an' the good fellers in yer—where are yer now, I wonder?" said Bill, looking down on the melon. And then he tested it for soundness. "Only one soft spot where she bumped into somethin'," announced Bill. He called for a knife and cut it up, and tasted a piece.

"Not a touch o' salt," he said, and passed slices of it around.

A good-tasting melon, everybody said; and eating it on the Esther's quarter we said all the good things we knew of the Henriette and her skipper and crew.

Two days later the Esther put into Newport. We came past Point Judith in a night of black vapor—a bad night for Big Bill. He saw steamer lights all sides of him, and never went to sleep at all.

We stood up Narragansett Bay in the dawn, and the cook of the Esther, smoking his pipe on the deck, was the boy could tell all about the big summer houses on the bluffs. There is that about cooks—they always seem to hold more gossip than anybody else aboard a vessel. Names of who owned the cottages, how many millions—and how they made the millions—was what the cook could tell us, with a few bits of flaming gossip added on.

Some big schooner-yachts from New York were anchored in Newport Harbor. One of them, as large again as any fresh halibutter that ever was launched—a great black-enamelled cruising schooner with a high free-board, perhaps fifteen times the tonnage of the Henriette—held the eyes of all. "If we'd only had her out there the other day!" was what most of us were thinking.

"She'd be the girl to walk us out o' shoal water in that breeze!" put in Shorty. "We'd had her 'nd we'd 'a' washed her face for her!"

"And mebbe a few o' them fancy skylights and brass rails off her deck, too," said Big Bill.

"Maybe. But I'd like to had her tried out, just the same."

Tied up to the other side of Long Wharf when we got in was Tom O'Brien's vessel. Big Bill, like a good gossip, waddled over to get the news, and soon came galloping back.

"She's gone!" he called out, and showed us a Boston paper with the report of how four men's bodies with a life-preserver marked Henriette had been picked up off Nantucket the day before. There was also the story in a New York paper of how a big ocean liner had been in the storm. She was six hundred foot long and bound for New York. There was a bishop aboard, and when it got too rough for the passengers, some of them wrote notes to the bishop asking him to hold a prayer-meeting in the saloon. He started to hold the prayer-meeting but it grew too rough. They had to quit.

"And they in good deep water where they were! I wonder what they'd 'a' thought if they'd been in this little one and where she was?" said Tom Haile.

"Maybe they'd held the prayer-meetin' anyway, then," said Shorty.

We had come away from the Henriette in only our oilskins and trousers and undershirts. Tom Haile and Tom O'Brien and a couple of fish-buyers on Long Wharf started a collection to get us some clothes. We took the money up Thames Street to some clothing dealer who was a brother Moccasin to Tom Haile and O'Brien. But belonging to the same order didn't make any difference. The clothing dealer wouldn't take a cent off.

"Not even for shipwrecked seamen?" asked O'Brien.

"Being shipwrecked seamen don't make the clothes cost any less to me," said the dealer.

"A hell of a fine brother Moccasin you are!" said O'Brien.

"A fine brother Moccasin yourself!" said the clothing dealer, "wantin' me to lose money on a sale."

So we went to another place, and he happened to be a Jew and not a Moccasin. Not that he wouldn't like to be a member of that noble order; which made O'Brien and Haile warm up to him, so that they forgot to argue about the price at all.

They had to saw a foot off Shorty's new pants to make them fit, and the coat came pretty low down on him; but no harm in that Bill and Oliver and I said. We got pretty good fits.

They bought tickets for us and we took the train to Gloucester, and then I went down to Tony Webber's to get a shave, and there was a young fellow in the chair next to me said to Tony: "Yer sh'd have been out in the breeze!"

"What vessel?" I asked.

"The Thunderbolt," he says.

"And what shape is she in?"

"Go down to the halibut company's wharf and see," he says.

I did go down later. She'd lost both masts to near her deck, and her bowsprit was broken off short at the knightheads—not a thing left on her except her last coat of paint and a few twisted yarns of her lower shrouds. But, thank the Lord, no men lost. They had all stayed aboard.

"They were luckier than the Hiawatha. Heard about the Hiawatha?" asked a man in the chair.

"No; what about her?"

"I had a brother on her," said this man. "She was hove down and her whole crew washed over—hove flat down and the whole crew of eight men in the water at once. Six of 'em got back—first one and then another, the first of those back aboard heavin' lines to the others still overboard. Two men never came back, though—pretty rough it was."

On his own vessel, the Thunderbolt, it was pretty rough sailing, and in the middle of it there was one of the crew—he'd never been off-shore fishing in his life before this—he came on deck with a life-preserver around him. "Seas to our masthead," said the man off the Thunderbolt, "and he comes on deck with a life-preserver. He must 'a' thought he was bein' wrecked in some swimmin'-pool in some Turkish bath 'stead of old South Shoal in a gale. If ever he'd got two feet from the deck of that vessel, he'd lasted 'bout two seconds—him and his life-preserver!"

Tony, the barber, was so interested in the man with the life-preserver that he gave me a fine cut on my right cheek.

John and the skipper and Steve and the cook were buried that same day in Gloucester, and we all went to the funeral; and coming away from the funeral: "You goin' back fishin'?" said Shorty to me.

"No more fishin' for me," I said. And Shorty and Oliver, they both said never again for them, either.

That was day before yesterday. This morning the master of the Antoinette came along with Shorty and Oliver and asked me didn't I want to make just one more swordfishing trip while the season was on.

I looked at Shorty. He was wearing a smile and had a rose on his coat some girl had given him. "I thought you said you were through fishing, Shorty?"

"So I did," said Shorty, "but a man says a lot o' things in his careless hours. I've had a couple o' good nights' sleep since."

"And you, Oliver?" I said.

"Me? Well, there's a wife and an old mother up to my house, and I never read anywhere the gover'ment was paying out money to the families of fishermen who didn't want to fish any more, did you?" said Oliver.

So I said all right I'd go along, too. "What's the use—we're sea-birds," I said. "It's our home and our living—where else should we go but to sea, at the last? But have you seen Big Bill?"

Yes, Shorty had seen Big Bill. He had hopes to get a job at the car-barn. "He's had two warnings, he says," said Shorty, "and not to wait for a third would be foolish. He's up on Main Street right now with people buying drinks for him, while he tells 'em how he managed to save himself off the Henriette."

Well, Big Bill's all right; but he's alive to-day because a better man—the same being John—shoved him into a dory when he might have gone himself instead. And Big Bill thinks of John only as an irresponsible young fellow who liked to play jokes with blueberry dumplings.

The best men don't always come back from sea. Four good men stayed aboard the Henriette, and two of them—the skipper and John—were certainly quicker and braver than any of the others of us. The skipper could have come away first, but he didn't.

Nor John. Six years I was shipmates with John and he was one good shipmate. Good shipmates—they make a long cruise short, a rough sea smooth. Good shipmates! You don't mind going with good shipmates alongside.

And the Antoinette, she's a sister ship to the Henriette—thirteen tons net and thirty tons of ice in the hold. And that same dock lumper who never left a vessel leave Duncan's without he sees her off—he says she's down by the head, too.

A fine joy-killer, that lad.

We're putting out in an hour. So fair wind, boy—I'm off.

The Medicine Ship

Old Bill Green was comin' out of Spiegel's Caffy, meanin' a place where a man can have somethin' to eat while he's havin' a drink, an' he had folded over his arm what looked like a pretty swell coat for old Bill to be wearin'.

Noticin' me, "Hulloh, Hiker!" says Bill, an' we stroll along till we come opposite to Wallie Whelan's father's store on South Street, where Bill stops. "I do like that little Whelan kid," says Bill. "I wonder is he in?"

Wallie was in, an' "Hulloh, Hiker!" an' "How do you do, Mr. Green!" he says, an' comes runnin' out when he sees us.

An' old Bill says, "Oh-h, driftin' by—driftin' by," an' spreads out to the air the coat he's carryin' on his arm. All wrinkled up it was, like somebody's slept in it, but a pretty swell coat just the same, like the kind hackmen wear to a funeral or a weddin' with a stovepipe hat. There's a pocket in one o' the coat-tails, an' old Bill slides his hand into it and out comes a case, an' when he springs open the case there's a shiny black pipe.

"Well, well," says Bill, lookin' at the pipe like he was wonderin' how it come there.

"Where did y' ever get that fine pipe, Mr. Green?" asks Wallie.

"Oh, a souveneer, a little souveneer of other days—of days I'd 'most forgot," says Bill.

"A handsome pipe!" says Wallie.

"Yes," says Bill, "if on'y I had the fillin' of it once in a while!"

"Wait!" says Wallie, an' rushes inside the store.

"Comanche Chief, if you have any in stock!" calls out Bill after him.

Mr. Whelan, who's sittin' by the open winder in his office, looks out to Bill an' then to the clerk an' smiles that it's all right to Wallie over the top of his mornin' paper, an' Wallie comes out with a plug o' Comanche Chief smokin' for Bill an' a plug o' the same of chewin' for me.

I bites into mine right away, but old Bill looks at his pipe, an' then, sayin' he didn't know's he'd baptize it yet awhile, he reaches over an' gnaws a corner off my plug o' chewin'.

An' Wallie's dyin' to know how it come to be a souveneer pipe, but is too polite to ask, on'y he can't help havin' another look at the pipe an' noticin' the picksher of a bird on the bowl an' readin' the letters on the gold band. "HRC" he reads out, an' looks at old Bill.

"I know, I know," says old Bill. "They bring me back, them initials, lad, like nothin' else could, to days that is past 'n' gone." He looks across East River over to Brooklyn mournful-like, but not forgettin' to chew an' chew, 'nd bineby, when he has his jaws well oiled up, he says: "'Tis many 'n' many a year ago, lad, an' me the cabin-boy an' the fav'rite o' the capt'n o' the good ship Tropic Zone."

"The Tropic Zone! What a corkin' name for a ship!" says Wallie.

"Ay, lad," says Bill, "a noble name an' a noble ship, a full-rigged four-master, an' one fine day we up jibs an' yanchor an' sailed out this same Yeast River an' past the Battery an' down New York Bay an' the Jersey coast, an' on an' on, bearin' s'utherly, till we came to the land o' Yunzano, which was—an' mebby is yet—down South Ameriky way, an' we went ashore, me 'n; the capt'n, to call on the noble don which them same initials stands for.

"HRC," says Bill, readin' 'em off the pipe. "How well do I remember the noble don, Hidalgo Rodreego Cazamma, who lived in r'yal splender in a most lovely an' fertyle valley. Lookin' back now through the vister of my matoored manhood, I can't say's I c'n recall in all my years o' world travellin' a more entrancin' picksher than the valley o' Yunzano when my capt'n 'n' me hove into it of that gorgeous April mornin'. There was a river gleamin' like silver—an' sometimes like gold 'n' copper—flowin' through that marvellous valley, an' above it rose the volkanous mountains with sides of the color of the purple neglijay shirts an' tops like the ruby scarf-pins that sometimes you see of a mornin' on the hot sports in Times Square. An' in that valley was forests with all the tropic trees that ever you read of, bearin' the most jul-luscious fruits—pomgrannits, cocoanuts, pineapples, limes, lemons, grapefruits, alligator-pears—any fruit ever you see to the stalls in the market was there in abundance. An' fr'm the branches o' them same trees came the most melojus birds' voices, an' the birds themselves 'd a-dazzle your eyes with the color o' their feathers. Parrakeets, marrakeets, bobalinks, nightingales, an' a little red, white, 'n' blue-spotted bird the natives called an eggleeno."

"Ah-h!" says Wallie, "and is that the picture on the bowl o' the pipe?"

"The same," says Bill; "done by a master hand, with the same round pop-eyes—see—an' the same wide, square-cut tail like the stern of a ferry-boat.

"'Dijjer ever in yer life, William, see anything more saliferous?' says the capt'n to me whilst we're ridin' up to the don hidalgo's house—a hashyender, they called it—longer 'n' wider than any two blocks on Broadway, but not so high, with a red roof, an' walls o' solid marble, an' marble columns 'n' promenades around it, with thousands o' lofty trees liftin' their heads to the sky, an' balconies outside the winders, an' spoutin' fountains in the r'yal pam garden, which was the size mebby o' Central Park. It took all of a thousand servants, I should say, in pink-'n'-old-rose knee-pants, to look arter the place; an' the old don kep' a band o' musicians in a green-an'-old-gold uniform on tap all the time. The house rules there—the same engraved in silver on ivory tablets an' hung on the wall over the head o' your bed—was that if a guest woke up in the middle o' the night an' didn't feel well enough to go back to sleep, he had on'y to poke the little Injun boy who slep' on a mat afore every door with his big toe an' say to him: 'Boyo, some musico!' An' we did one night, an' in no time the still air was rent by the entrancin' strains of 'In the Sweet By 'n' By,' which was the pop'l'ar toon o' them days, an' the one we ordered. Guitars, manderlins, violins, oboes, trombones, an' cornets they had in squads, though to my mind a native instrerment called the hooloobooloo was the most truly musical of all. Shaped like the bow of a ship it was, with a hundred strings to it, an' made a noise like a breeze o' wind tryin' to steal through a forest o' trees on a summer's night. 'Twas ravishin'.

"Arter the fatigues of our long an' tejus voy'ge, the hashyender o' the don was a most refreshin' place to pass a few days in, but we had our business to attend to. Not that the noble don would sully our ears by mentionin' the same to us. In those tropic countries the greatest insult to the stranger who happens to step in an' camp awhile with you is to ask him what's on his mind—not till he's been restin' up for at least a week. However, after six days o' restin' up, with salubrious fruits an' wines an' the most melojus concerts, my capt'n broaches the cause of why we're callin' on the Don Hidalgo Rodreego Cazamma."

"Ah-h," says Wallie, "now we'll get it, Hiker!"

"Yes," says Bill, "now we'll have it. But, lemme see now—I must tell it so it'll be clear to your young interlecks," an' he looks hard at the pipe an' then mournful-like acrost East River toward Brooklyn.

"In them days," Bill goes on at last, "no place you could go to in the whole Yunnited States—the piny woods, the rocky hills an' grassy plains, no busy city fr'm the rock-bound coast o' Maine to the golden shores where rolls the Oregon, no sleepy hamlet between the wooded hills o' Canada an' the surf-washed sands o' Florida, but you'd see in big letters on the tops o' flat rocks an' the sides o' mountains, the backs o' fences an' the roofs o' barns, in the winders o' drug-stores an' the flags o' back alleys, nowhere but you'd see: YUNZANO SWAMP ROOT, FOR COUGHS, COLDS, LUMBAGO, RUMMATIZ, GOUT, CHILBLAINS, COLD SORES, COLIC, BRIGHT'S DISEASE, AN' LIVER TROUBLE—all in high yoller letters agin black paint.

"Pints an' 'quarts in bottles, for sale at all reputable drug-stores, an' those bottles had to come all the way by sea an' fr'm the estate o' Don Hidalgo Rodreego Cazamma, who owned all the swamp-root region in Yunzano. An' when it'd come on to blow an' the ship'd take to rollin', where there was no way o' tellin' till arter you'd get to port an' counted 'em how many bottles was left that wasn't busted. Sometimes more'n half or three-quarters of 'em 'd be busted.

"An' now we come to that noble benefactor o' the human race who at that time owned the string o' drug-stores painted blue 'n' green 'n' red, with cut-rate prices up 'n' down the side of every one of 'em. 'Twas him owned the Yunnited States rights to Yunzano Swamp Root, an' he used to sell millions 'n' millions o' bottles of Yunzano every year, an' he says: 'Why do we have to have so many o' these bottles o' Yunzano busted in comin'?' An' he says: 'I have it—by Plutie, I have it. I'll build a special ship for carryin' my wondrous tropic medicines!' An' he does. He builds a ship 'special, an' in her he sets a great tank—oh, mebby four hundred foot long an' fifty foot wide an' deep—oh, deep as the ship was deep, and of all the ships ever I sailed in she was the deepest. 'There,' he says to my capt'n, 'spill the Yunzano in there 'stead of in bottles an' we'll make millions—millions, sir!' He meant he'd make millions. An' the Tropic Zone was that ship, an' so it was we come, me 'n' the capt'n, to be doin' business this lovely day with the owner o' the great Yunzano estate.

'What we want, don,' says the capt'n fr'm his chair that was made of inlaid precious woods an' the horns o' th' anzello, a beeyootiful creachure like a nantelope, of which on'y one was killed every hundred years—'what we want, don,' says my capt'n—an' four liveried servants keepin' the flies 'n' other insecks off him with wavin' pam-leaves while he's talkin'—'is to take our swamp-root home in bulk.' An' the don, a man o' most majestic figger, smokin' a fourteen-inch cheroot in another chair that was inlaid all in di'monds 'n' gold, he considers the case and finally agrees to sell us enough to fill our tank, which is two million two hundred 'n' sixty thousand gallons o' Yunzano at forty-two cents a gallon. An' we despatch a fleet messenger back to the ship, an' up comes the gold with forty men-at-arms o' the don guardin' it—a million dollars or so it was, an' all in the coin o' the realm—shiny ten an' twenty dollar gold pieces.

"Well, that's settled, so we goes back to the ship, ridin' our sumpter-mules in the dewy morn, an' down the gleamin' silver 'n' gold 'n' copper river comes the Yunzano in the skins o' wild animals on bamboo rafts, an' while they're dumpin' it inter the tank the capt'n 'n' me, by special invitation, have a look at where the don manufactured the Yunzano.

"It was dark like the sassaparilla they served out to church picnics when it oozed first from nature's bosom, an' not till it was mixed with a native liquid called poolkey did it become th' inspirin' article o' commerce which the rocks an' fences an' druggists' winders an' the advertisin' an' sometimes the readin' columns of our American journals shouted to the public. This poolkey grew on trees, in little cups like, which all you had to do was to turn upside down an' into your mouth. It was the grandest proof to me o' the wise provisions of nature. It was a white-colored stuff, an' tasted like an equal mixture o' wood alcohol an' red flame. One part swamp root to one part poolkey made up the Yunzano o' commerce that many folks preferred to tea. The poolkey kep' it fr'm spilin'. Some o' the most inveterate battlers agin the demon rum we ever had, some o' the most cel'brated politicians, platform speakers, an' drug-dealers in the land, certified over their own signatures to the component parts o' Yunzano an' indorsed the same highly.

"Well, our tank was fin'lly filled to the hatches with the two million two hundred 'n' sixty thousand gallons o' prime Yunzano, an' when we considered the sellin'-price—pints fifty cents, quarts a dollar—quarts o' the five-to-the-gallon size—up home we felt happy to think what profits was goin' to be in this v'yage, for—but lemme see—did I say his name, the owner o' the Tropic Zone an' the fleet o' drug-stores?"

"No," says Wallie. "An' I was wonderin'."

"No? Well, Nathaniel Spiggs was his name. However, to continue our tale. There we was, our cargo all aboard an' waitin' on'y for the mornin' light to leave to sea. It was a windin', tortuss channel outer that harbor, not to be navvergated at night by no ship of our size, an' the skipper was readin' the Bible in his cabin. He liked to read a few chapters afore turnin' in of a night, an' to my joy he used to invite me to sit 'n' listen to him, an' many a time in after life I'd be minded of my old skipper o' the Tropic Zone, an' the mem'ry of his monitions fr'm the Bible was surely a great bullerk to me agin terrible temptations.

"An' while he's sittin' there, balancin' his specks an' readin' to me, 'n' stoppin' to expound now 'n' agin where mebby my young intellergence couldn't assimmerlate it, the mate comes down 'n' salutes 'n' says: 'Sir, there's some people on the beach makin' signs o' distress—on horseback.' An' the skipper, arter a few cusses, which was on'y nacheral at bein' disturbed in his pious occupation, he sets the Bible back in his bunk an' goes up on deck. An' me with him.

"An' there they are. An' behold, as we look, we see—my eyes bein' young an' marvellous sharp in them days was the fust—afar up the mountainside—to descry a band o' people ridin' wildly down to the valley an' makin' what must 'a' been all manner o' loud noises, judgin' by the way they waved their arms an' guns, on'y they was too far away to be heard. An' the capt'n gets out his night-glasses."

"Excuse me, Mr. Green," says Wallie, "but what is a night-glass?"

"A glass you look through at night is a night-glass. Don't all the grand sea-stories speak o' night glasses?"

"That's why I ast. But, excuse me—please go on," says Wallie.

"An' who should they turn out to be on the beach, wavin' dolorous-like signals o' distress, but the don hidalgo an'—I forget mebby to mention her afore—the don's lovely daughter! An' with them is four sumpter-mules, an' the sumpter-mules, when we goes 'n' gets 'em off in a boat, turns out to be loaded down with gold 'n' jewels. The million dollars in gold we'd brought for the Yunzano water 'n' all the jewels the noble don's fam'ly has been savin' up for hundreds o' years is on the mules.

"When we get 'em all aboard—mules 'n' all—the don explains how there's been a revverlootion in th' interior, an' how the General Feeleepo Balbeezo, the leader o' the revverlootionists, 'd planned to capture the hashyender o' the don, includin' his beeyoocheous daughter 'n' the gold 'n' jewels. An', on'y for a cook in the employ o' the wicked general give it away, he would. The don had cured this cook's grandmother of a vi'lent attack o' tropic fever years afore this by frequent an' liberal applications o' Yunzano, an' this grandson, though he was a wild an' reckless an' dark-complected youth, who preferred to associate with evil companions, nevertheless was grateful for the don's curin' his grandmother 'n' never forgot it. An' when he overhears in the kitchen, where he's fryin' a few yoller podreedos for the general's breakfast, the general hisself tellin' of his dastardly plan to his vellay, he ups on the fav'rite war-charger o' the general's, a noble steed eighteen hands high, an' don't stop ridin', without stirrup or bridle or saddle, till he comes gallopin' in a lather o' sweat—a hundred 'n' ten miles in one night over the mountain trails—to the don an' tells him all. O' course, when later the wicked general discovers the cook's noble devotion to the don's fam'ly, he has him hung on the spot, but that's to be expected, an', the hero an' herrin' bein' saved, it don't matter.

"'Cheer up, my brave don!' says our skipper, when the don tells him the story, an' refreshes him with a drink o' vold bourbon fr'm his private stock that he kep' under lock 'n' key in his cabin. An' he has one hisself. An' then he considers, an', while he's considerin', the General Balbeezo 'n' his army, who it was I'd seen ridin' down the high mountainside, they're arrived at the beach. An' they hollers acrost the harbor to us that if we didn't give up the don hidalgo an' the seenyohreeter, his daughter, an' the gold 'n' jewels, why, he, General Balbeezo, regardless of possible international complercations, will bring his artillery to the beach 'n' blow us all outer water.

"The don 'n' his daughter is tremblin' with fear, but 'Fear not, fear not!' says our skipper, an' sends for the owner's son."

"The owner's son—aboard all the time!" says Wallie.

"Sure. I'd 'a' told y'about him afore," says Bill, "but it wasn't time yet. He'd made the passage with us so's he could study the volkanous mountains o' Yunzano, the like o' which mountains wasn't in all the world anywhere else. He was a wonderful stoodent, so abstracted in his studies that he hadn't heard a word of what we was sayin' in the cabin this night till the capt'n sent me to call him outer his room. He was sure a noble specimen o' fair young manhood to gaze upon—'twas on'y the other day I was readin' up to the Yastor Library of a hero in one o' the best-sellers just like him: seven foot tall 'n' three foot acrost the shoulders, an' nothin' but pale pink curls to below his shoulders, an' he no sooner steps inter the cabin now, his wonderful keen, blue-gray eyes still with the absent-minded look o' the stoodent o' science, than I could see the don's daughter, the seenyohreeter, was goin' to fall wild in love with him.

"The capt'n explains the situation to young Hennery. An' Hennery thinks awhile, an' by'n'by he speaks. 'Har, I have it!' he says. 'The volkaners!' an' orders h'isted up from the hold his balloon."

"A balloon, Hiker—whooh!" says Wallie, an' sits closer to Bill.

"A balloon, yes. Y' see, besides bein' brought up by his father to be a great chemist an' stoodent o' mountains, he was likewise professor of airology in one of our leadin' colleges. An' he fills up his balloon—the whole crew standin' by to help him pump the hot air inter it—an' then away he goes. 'In an hour, I promise you, you shall hear from me!' he says, an' we watch him soarin' 'n' soarin' 'n' soarin' till his balloon ain't no bigger than a sparrer an' higher than the large an' silvery moon.

"An' all this time the wicked General Balbeezo an' his bandit army is bringin' their guns down the mountainside 'n' preparin' to blow our ship outer water. An' by'n'by they're all ready to begin, when 'Car-ra-be-ee-sss-toe!' exclaims the don—'what is that sound I hear?' I forgot to say that the last thing young Hennery did afore leavin' the ship was to put in the balloon a handful o' bombs of a powerful explosive he'd invented hisself. An' the sound the don hears is the 'ruption produced when young Hennery drops the first of them bombs into the craters o' the nearest volkaner. An', while we look, the air gets dark an' the moon hides, an' fr'm outer the top of one volkaner after another comes the most monstrous explosions, an' down the mountainside comes a nocean o' fiery, flamin' lavver, with billers 'n' billers o' black smoke floatin' up off it. An' soon we hears groans o' terror an' 'Save us! Oh, save us!' from the wicked general an' his army on the beach, an' inter the harbor they plunges with their war-horses 'n' the cannon 'n' their armer still on 'em.

"An' onter the deck of our ship begins to fall just then a great shower o' yashes. An' we're in danger o' burnin' up 'n' suffercatin' an' wonderin' what to do next, when outer the black heavens comes Hennery 'n' his balloon. An' we grabs his lines that's trailin' below him when he sails over our ship an' makes 'em fast to belayin'-pins, an' he climbs down to the deck 'n' takes charge. He's on'y eighteen year old, but wonderful beyond his years. He see what to do right away, an' runs down an' peels the yasbestos off the boilers 'n' steam-pipes in her injin-room."

"What!" says Wallie. "Was she a steamer?"

"Sail 'n' steam both. Sail for the hot days to make a draft 'n' keep us cool 'n' comfortable, an' steam when there was air 'n' it was cold 'n' rainy. An' young Hennery makes fireproof coats 'n' boots an' hats outer the yasbestos linin' for the capt'n an' me an' the mate an' hisself, 'cause we're goin' to guard the deck agin the wicked general 'n' his army. All the others we puts below, so no danger'll come to them. An' when the bandits comes swimmin' alongside an' up over the rail from the backs o' their war-horses, we captures 'em an' take their weapons from 'em, an' then the capt'n says: 'Now we got 'em, what'll we do with 'em?'

"'O' course,' says Hennery, 'it would be perfeckly proper for the crool men o' the south to kill their prisoners, but as men of the north we must show a loftier example.' So spoke up our hero nobly.

"An', while we're ponderin' what to do, 'Har,' says Hennery agin, 'I have it! We will put them in the medicine-tank.'

"'But,' says our capt'n, 'they'll spile it—your father's two million two hundred 'n' odd thousand gallons o' Yunzano that we paid forty-two cents a gallon for.'

"'An',' says young Hennery Spinks to that——"

"Spiggs," says Wallie.

"Spiggs, I mean. 'Is this the time or the place,' says heroic young Hennery Spiggs then, 'to be considerin' of mere money—with the lives o' human bein's at stake? What though they be viler than dogs, they are still our fellow creatures. Cost what it may an' ruthless though the varlets be, save their lives I shall!' An' y' oughter seen him then, the fair scion of a noble sire, his pink hair flyin' in the southern wind, his pale eyes an' form in general expanded to twice their reg'lar dimensions by his righteous indignation, an' the beeyoocheous an' volupchous daughter o' the noble, wealthy don stickin' her head outer a hatchway to cast a nadorin' gaze upon him.

"An' into the tank o' Yunzano we flopped 'em, one by one as they come over the rail o' the Tropic Zone. I wouldn't want to state at this late date how many of 'em we saved from the burnin' lavver by throwin' 'em inter the tanks, but mebby three or four or five hundred souls all told. An', to keep the burnin' yashes off 'em, we makes a few yasbestos tarpaulins an' claps 'em down over the hatches o' the tank.

"All night long we patrolled the decks shovellin' the yashes off where they fell. An' when mornin' comes an' the 'ruptions is over we take the tarpaulins off the tank, an' there was every blessed one of 'em, fr'm the General Feeleepo Balbeezo down to the lowest private, 'spite of all we'd done for 'em, floatin' around drowned. Overcome with grief 'n' surprise we was o' course, but when we come to think it over—their endin' up that way, wi' the noble don 'n' his beeyoocheous daughter saved an' the revverlootion busted up—it sure did look like the hand o' Providence was hoverin' over us.

"And then," says old Bill, borrowin' another chew from me, "arter we'd cleared out the tank of the dead revverlootionists an' the old Yunzano, the don filled her up again free of charge. An' o' course Hennery married the don's daughter, an' for seven days an' seven nights there was no place yuh could cast yer eyes but you'd see pillers o' smoke by day an' columns o' flame by night, an' wherever you see one o' them it meant a barbecuin' of a carload o' goats 'n' oxen 'n' pigs. 'Twas nothin' but feastin' an' the givin' o' presents, an' then the bridal party embarked on the Tropic Zone, an' gentle tropic breezes wafted us no'therly an' westerly an' sometimes yeasterly past the shores o' Panama an' Peru an' Brazil an' Mexico an' Yucatan an' the Farrago Islands, an' the don's own band used to sit on their camp-stools under the shadder o' the great bellyin' mains'l an' plunk their guitars an' mandolins 'n' picolettes, not forgettin' the band leader who played the most amazin' solos on the hooloobooloo. An' strange ships used to sail a hundred miles out o' their course to find out who was it was sendin' them dulcet strains acrost the cam waters. An' the bridal couple 'd be holdin' hands an' gazin' over the spanker-boom at the full moon. 'Twas gorgeous an' elevatin', an' a fasset an' pipe led direct from the tank to the little kegs with brass hoops placed at frequent intervals around deck, so that whoever o' the crew wanted to could help theirselves any hour o' the day or night to a free drink o' Yunzano.

"An' thole don sits up on the poop-deck, with his hands folded acrost his stomach, an' says: 'Quiscanto vascamo mirajjar,' which is Yunzano for 'I am satisfied, I can now die happy.' But he didn't die—he lived to be ninety year old, an' before we arrives at New York he makes me a gift o' this pipe. O' course he made me other gifts, the don did, but this I value most of all, bein' made from wood of a rare tree from the heart o' the swamps o' Yunzano. An' I'll never forget him. An' so there's the story o' my youth an' Yunzano.

"'The days of our youth
Are the days of our glory—
The days of old age
Is the time for the story—'

So I read in a book o' poetry one time."

"'Quiscanto vascamo mirajjar,' which is Yunzano for 'I am satisfied, I can now die happy.'"
"'Quiscanto vascamo mirajjar,' which is Yunzano
for 'I am satisfied, I can now die happy.'"

"But young Henry and his bride," said Wallie—"what happened them later?"

"Them?" says old Bill. "Well, it was on'y the other day I met a nold friend o' mine who used to report prize-fights an' jail matters, but is now writin' about society matters for one of our great metropolitan journals, an' he shows me in the Sunday supplement a full-page picksher, in brown ink, of a solid granite buildin' that looked like a jail but wasn't. It was the Hennery Spiggs Home for Inebriates, an' built strong like that so no one could escape from it 'n' the good that was to be done 'em. An' there was another two-page picksher, in brown ink, of Hennery Spiggs, our same young hero of other days, but now a noldish gentleman with whiskers under his ears an' his child an' grandchild gamblin' on the green lawn of his million-dollar Newport cottage. A great philanthropist he is now, an' a leader of society, with wealth beyond the dreams of a movin'-picksher actor—all made outer Yunzano. Before he dies he's hopin' to see erected a fittin' monument for that world-famous chemist, that great benefactor to the cause o' humanity an' medicine, the Honorable Nathaniel Spiggs, his father. Already his best-paid foremen an' employees was bein' invited to contribute. Sometimes I think o' goin' to see him."

"You should go, of course," says Wallie. "He will be glad to see you."

"Mebby so, mebby so, lad, but why should I thrust my wuthless carcass onter him? Besides, the round-trip fare to Newport is four dollars an' more." An' Bill gazes mournful-like across East River to Brooklyn, an' Wallie's too polite to bust in on him, but I c'n see in his eyes where he's goin' to get four dollars some way for old Bill some day to pay a visit to Newport.

An' then it comes time for Wallie to hike off to school, an' he kisses his father good-by, an' says "So long, Hiker!" to me, an' thanks old Bill for his story.

"It always gives me pleasure to instruct an' edify growin' youth," says old Bill, lookin' after Wallie goin' up South Street, an' whilst he's lookin' a policeman an' a common nordinary citizen heaves into sight. An' the man looks to be excited, with a coat over one arm.

"You take some o' these young fuhlers," says Bill, "that's been drivin' a dray all his life an' invest him with a yunniform an' authority an' a club in his hand, an' two or three times more pay than ever he got before—you do that, an' I tell you there's nobody safe from 'em." An' old Bill slips the pipe back into the coat-tail pocket of the coat an' leaves it on the steps, an' scoots lightly to behind barrels o' flour three high in the back o' the store.

Mr. Whelan has a peek over his paper at Bill passin'; but he don't say anything on'y to step to the door when the policeman an' the man come along.

"Look!" the man hollers, an' dives for the coat Bill 'd left behind him. "An' look at—the pipe!" He'd hauled it out of the coat-tail pocket. "My pipe!"

An' then the policeman says: "This gentleman this morning, Mr. Whelan, dropped into Spiegel's after a little bat for a little nip and a——"

"If you please," interrupts the man, "I will tell it. A short while ago"—he faces Mr. Whelan—"I was yunnanimously elected outer sentinel o' my lodge o' Fantail Pigeons. And last night a few friends, wishin' to commemorate the honor, presented me with this pipe—a fine pipe, as you can see—of ebony. And my initials, see—HRC—Henry R. Cotton—on the gold band. And a picture of a fantail—see—engraved on the bowl. You don't happen to be"—the man steps up to Mr. Whelan an' grabs an' squeezes his hand, all the while lookin' him hard in the eye—"a Fantail?" When Mr. Whelan don't say anything, the man gives him another grip, 'most jumpin' off his feet this time to make sure it was a good one.

"No," says Mr. Whelan, wrigglin' his fingers apart after the man let go of 'em—"I'm no Fantail."

"Oh, well, it's all right—there are some good men who are not. However, I leave the chaps this morning and step into a place down the street for a cup of coffee before I go to the office, and possibly I laid my head down on the table for a minute's nap. However, when I get up to take my coat off the hook where I'd left it, the coat is gone. And in place of it is this disreputable garment—see?" an' he throws down the old coat an' wipes his feet on it.

"Spiegel's bartender, Herman," puts in the policeman, "says there was a nold bum came in an' hung his coat next to this gentleman's, an' when he went the coat went; and he must 'a' went pretty quiet, Herman says, for he didn't notice him goin'. An' his description fits an old loafer who hits the free-lunch trail pretty reg'lar 'round here, an' I think I seen him loafin' around here once or twice."

"He meant to steal that coat an' pipe," says the man.

"If he meant to steal it," says Mr. Whelan, "why d' y' s'pose he left it here?"

"Why, I dunno," says the man.

"O' course he didn't," says Mr. Whelan. "An', look here"—he sticks the mornin' paper under the man's nose an' says: "What do you think o' Marquard holdin' the Phillies down to two hits yesterday?"

"No!" says the man; "two hits? Well, say, he's some boy, hah?"

"Is he? Listen to me," says the policeman, shovin' his club between them. "Listen. All I gotter say is, with Mattie an' Jeff an' the Rube goin' right, where'll them Red Sox fit with the Giants in the world's series next month? God help 'em—that's all I gotter say."

"The Giants look like a good bet to me, too," says the man, an' soon up the street toward Spiegel's the pair of 'em go, fannin' about the Giants with Mr. Whelan.

An' when Mr. Whelan is soon back alone, Bill comes out from behind his flour-barrels an' with his plug o' Comanche Chief in his hand. "I don't s'pose yuh could swap this for chewin' o' the same brand, could yuh, Mr. Whelan?" he says.

"Why—you given up smokin'?" says Mr. Whelan.

"How'm I goin' to smoke without a pipe?" says Bill.

"That's so," says Mr. Whelan, an' goes behind the counter an' pulls down a couple o' boxes of brier pipes.

"With a middlin' good hook to the stem, if you don't mind," says Bill.

Mr. Whelan passes over the best make of French brier. Bill held it up. "She looks all right." He put it between his teeth. "An' she feels all right." He sticks it into his shirt. "An' I guess she'll smoke all right." He steps to the door an' picks up the old coat. "What good it done him to wipe his feet on my coat, I dunno," he says. Then he turns back.

"About Wallie, Mr. Whelan?"

"Why, Bill," says Mr. Whelan, "when he gets back from school of course he'll get down the chart to look up all those countries you passed on the way back from Yunzano, and o' course we'll have to make a correction or two in your jography."

"O' course," says Bill. "I useder have a good mem'ry once, but"—he taps his head—"gettin' old, gettin' old, Mr. Whelan. That coat now—it sure did look like the cut o' the coat I used to wear on the Tropic Zone. And the pipe!" an' old Bill gazes mournful-like across East River to Brooklyn, an' turns again an' says: "A good boy, your boy, Mr. Whelan—no evil suspicions o' people in his heart. An', as my old capt'n o' the Tropic Zone useder quote fr'm the Bible to me: 'It's they shall inherit all there is that's wuth inheritin'.'"

An' then Bill heaved another sigh, and put on his old coat, an' went shufflin' up South Street, on the side away from Spiegel's.

One Wireless Night

Cahalan, of the many voyages, had been reading of the latest marine near-disaster and the part played therein by the ship's wireless man; but refused to be impressed.

"The slush the papers print sometimes!" he snorted. "Here's this now about this SOS fellow—all these papers trying to make out what a wonder he was, as if it took a wizard to keep pumping out three letters till somebody heard you. And a hero, too!"

"Why not—he stood by his key, didn't he?"

"Sure he did. And if you and me were wash-women we'd probably stand by our wash-tubs, wouldn't we? If there was no more danger keeping on washing than standing around doing nothing, we surely would, wouldn't we? But nobody'd think of calling us heroes for it, would they? That SOS man now—if he didn't want to stand by his key he could 've jumped overboard—it was only a thousand miles to shore. So he stood by his key and eased his mind by having something to do, which, of course, makes him a hero."

"It's a great thing just the same, the wireless."

"Sure it is and needs no fake booming, but I like to see a little brains mixed with it. There was a fellow named Furlong—I ran across him first in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where our battle-fleet was rondayvouing for winter drill. I had a month's pay on a fight coming off in London and was wishing I knew how it came out without waiting a week or ten days for the New York papers, when Faulkner, the captain's yeoman, says: 'Why don't you ask Furlong, the wireless operator? He'll find out for you.'

"But how can he?" says I.

"You people in the deck division," says Faulkner, "you're living in the past. You fellows want to come out of your sailin'-ship dreams and steam around and see what's doin' in the world. Furlong'll pick it off from the Cape Cod station when they're gettin' it from across for the newspapers."

"From here—from off the ship?" I asks. "Why, I thought the record for picking up or sending from a ship was six or seven hundred miles."

"Maybe it is," says Faulkner, "but Furlong's specialty is breaking records."

So I step up to the wireless shack to see Furlong. Regan, the chief signal quartermaster, was there before me. Regan had a girl in Brooklyn, and Furlong was getting off Regan's regular evening message to her about how he was still in good health and still hoped to be back in the spring and so on by wireless to a station up near New York in charge of a friend of Furlong's, whose job was to pass it on to a telegraph-office in Brooklyn just across the street from where the girl lived. She would have it for breakfast in the morning, and Regan would have her answer to it some time during the day. A consolation to two loving hearts it was, and they doing it all winter without it costing either of them a copper.

I tell Furlong what I'm after. "Sure," he says, and begins to make the colored lights hop. "And have a cigarette while you're waiting," he says, "for it will take a few minutes."

I looked around for a match. "Here," says Furlong, and spills a little alcohol from a bottle onto a copper-looking switch thing and brings down on that another copper-looking switch thing with a handle—both of 'em sticking out from the bulkhead—and out flows a blue flame six inches long and I light my cigarette, watching out not to burn the end of my nose while I'm lighting it. He had the place full of little gadgets like that.

While we sat there he gives out all the latest news as fast as he grabs it off, not only about my fight in London, but how the ponies were running in New Orleans, what Congress was killing time about, which particular European country was going to war now—all the important news.

I'm not setting up Furlong for any hero, mind you, but sitting up there in his little shack on the superstructure, grabbing news like that from everywhere flying—he made a hit with me. After that if I didn't want to know any more than was there good skating in Central Park I'd ask Furlong, and he'd dig up some station or other around New York, make the blue lights hop, clap the wireless gear to his head, and soon be telling me all about it.

That spring I was transferred, and didn't see Furlong again for two years. Then it was in the East—in Hong Kong during the Russo-Japanese war, both of us paid off and both of us wondering what we'd do, but Furlong not worrying much about the money end of it. He had plenty of that, enough anyway to keep him in good clothes and stop at all the good hotels he cared to for a while. And enough to stake me after I'd gone broke, too.

In Hong Kong we struck in with another young fellow who was flourishing around as an American tourist, though Furlong knew him for a wireless man before he'd been with him an hour, and in less than another hour knew him for the wireless operator one time on the Nippon, a steamer running from our country to Japan. But he never let on he knew him.

"Suppose he is playing a little game of bluff, where is it my business to show him up?"

Furlong had come to know the daughter of a purser running on a steamer, the Plantagenet, between Hong Kong and the Japanese ports, and she was pretty as you please and he taking a great shine to her; after telling the old man, mind you, that he had been an enlisted man in the United States navy and was thinking of going back home to Chicago, but not telling him that his folks back home had bales of money, which would have put him in right, for the old man did like the chink of hard coin and was picking up his share on his own little graft—renting his room to rich passengers when the ship was crowded, picking up a little more change by doing a little smuggling, and probably in the pay of the Jap Secret Service on the side.

One evening Furlong, always a sociable chap, brings his wireless friend around, and another evening, and another. Pretty soon things don't seem to be running as smooth as they used to for Furlong, but fine for his wireless friend. "Well, that's all right, too," says Furlong, "if they like him better than me."

"But no need to give you a frost, is there?" I said.

Things kept growing cooler around the girl's house, so we made up our minds 'twas about time to get away somewhere, and war being a great place to forget your troubles, we had a look in at that. We took the Russian side. We were for the Japs in the beginning, but by this time nearly all our navy people in the East had swung over to the Russians. Why? M-m—probably because deep down inside of us we believed the Russians were nearer our own kind.

Before we left Hong Kong I found out how Furlong's wireless friend had done for him. With a few drinks in him—me buying the drinks—he gushes some confidential chatter.

Furlong was in the pay of the Russian Government, was what he told the foxy old purser. How else could a man so clever—talking and having so much money to spend as Furlong was spending—how could he have been an enlisted man in any navy? And he showed a cable—being so easy to fix up, I wondered why he hadn't made it a wireless—that no man of Furlong's father's name was living in Chicago. I didn't tell that to Furlong—not then. Why? Because to my notion he was well clear of a cheap bunch.

Later we heard she was married to the wireless chap and the pair of them living off her father. His people had lost all their money in speculation, so the young fellow told the old man; which left nothing for the old man to do but get him a job somewhere; which he did, on the Plantagenet, where the wife was aboard, too—to save expenses.

"Kind of tough on her," says Furlong, and maybe it was, though I couldn't see it. She only got what was coming to her. The woman that would look at Furlong and not see that he rated a whole division like the other chap— But trying to account for young women's judgment of young men and vice versa, as the old Romans would say, what's the use? And if we all knew as much as we ought to there would half the time be no story, would there?

We were both in Port Arthur when things were looking blue for the Russians. The Japs were hammering away at the forts and the place filling up with dead and wounded, and all kinds of sickness and fever flourishing, and medical and food supplies getting pretty low. They were wondering how they were going to make out, when some topsider said that if some of the sick and wounded could be got up to Vladivostok it might save a good many lives and be a great relief to the rest of the garrison.

There happened to be three transports in the harbor at this time. They had slipped by the blockade, which wasn't ever any too well kept, the mines outside being about as dangerous to the Japs as to anybody else. These three ships would accommodate three thousand sick people. So they were put aboard, sick and wounded, officers and men—and women, too, some officers' wives among them.

For a convoy to the transports the best they could detail was a battleship that had been in an engagement not long before. Pretty well shot up she was and much doubt would she stand the trip to Vladivostok; but she was the only one available and out we went, with Furlong as her wireless operator. There being not too many good wireless men lying around just then, they counted a lot on him.

Before we left port there was a rumor flying that the Japs had wind of what we were trying to do; and perhaps that was the reason why when the battleship had trouble with her machinery on our first day out she didn't put back to Port Arthur, but put into a little Chinese harbor on the westerly side of the Yellow Sea. You may think the Chinese officials wanted to run us out, but they didn't. Maybe they saw the shadows of the future.

We lay in there all that night, I bunking in with Furlong in the wireless shack and he on watch every minute. During the night he picked up the call of a Russian supply-ship—the Sevastopol she was—and passed the word on to the admiral, who sent back word to tell her to wait outside till next morning and then follow on, giving her the next day's course.

Next morning we went belting across the Yellow Sea at eleven knots—pretty good for us—and we began to think everything was working fine, when astern, about noon, came up a smoke. Furlong and I could see her without leaving the wireless shack, which on this Russian battleship was on the after-bridge. She drew nearer, and something about her caught my eye. I knew I had seen her somewhere, and, getting a chance at the chief quartermaster's long glass, I took a peep, and sure enough—the Plantagenet! I didn't say anything, not even when the flag-lieutenant and the executive were having a great spiel together as to her being the supply-ship which we expected was coming astern of us.

Soon a vapor comes up and the stranger fades away, and after thinking it over, I tell the flag-lieutenant what I felt sure of, and he tells the admiral, and the old man he has Furlong tell the transports to come closer, and then he signals them to steam off by the right, and once more to the right, and again to the right, which brought us after half an hour or more a couple of miles astern of where we'd been when the Plantagenet last showed. It was a day of shifting fog and vapor, and when we raised her again there she was still on the old course, but now directly ahead of us.

She came and went between puffs of fog vapor. The admiral was satisfied now that she was the Plantagenet, and as she'd long been suspected of doing secret scout work for the Japs, he began to do some thinking about her. She was a fast steamer, and all the more use to the Japs because she wasn't a Jap.

"If she could bring about the capture of this little fleet of ours, she'd make a lot of money for her owners and officers, wouldn't she?" I says to Furlong. "And that wireless friend of yours, he'll get an extra good whack, too, for they'll mostly depend on him, won't they?"

"Yes," says Furlong, "but not if I can stop him."

By and by the admiral comes into the wireless shack himself and tells Furlong to see if he couldn't raise the strange ship by wireless. But he couldn't. She wouldn't answer; which made the admiral pretty mad, and with the fog lifting and we seeing her again, he trained a big gun on her but didn't fire, though for a second I thought he would—across her bow anyway.

All that afternoon we held to our course. Another night and day we hoped to make Vladivostok all right, but coming on to dark our old wreck of a battleship broke down again. So the old man picked out another place to put into—on the northern part of the Korean coast we were now, where the Russian officers were pretty well posted and—something telling us the Koreans wouldn't bother—we felt safe for the night. We all figured we had slipped the Plantagenet, and so we had, maybe, only for that blessed supply-ship behind us. She had been sent a wireless not to anchor till a couple of hours after the rest of us—after dark.

But she had one of those yap skippers who are always bound to be in the commander-in-chief's eye, and instead of sneaking in without calling attention to himself, he comes bowling along, every light aboard her blazing, and steams like a torch-light procession around the harbor. She might just as well have lit up and kept her search-lights going, for as she passed each one of us her lights were blocked off, which told to any other ship which might be watching outside just how many ships of us there were to anchor inside. That parading skipper certainly did get in the old man's eye. If the admiral's message read anything like it sounded, then that parading skipper must have felt as good as blown from a turret-gun before he turned in that night.

Later in the night the officer that in our navy we'd call the flag-lieutenant—a decent kind who talked good English, too—ordered Furlong to turn in. He had been on continuous duty since we left Port Arthur. "You can do no more, and you are much fatigued, you require repose," says the flag-lieutenant. And Furlong thought a little repose wouldn't hurt either; but before going he thought he would give one last listen for anything that might be floating around in the wireless zone.

Right away I saw that something was doing.

"Look up K K K," he says—"quick!"

I got out the printed call-book, but no K K K there.

"Perhaps she is some new ship," says Furlong, "or an old one with a plant installed since the last list was put out. Quiet now—maybe I can recognize the sending." He listened; and "No"—he shook his head thoughtfully. "And yet—wait—Sh-h—" he jams the head-gear harder to his ears. "Well, what d'y' think o' that! It's that lobster off the old Nippon—nearly two years since I've taken him."

"That married——"

"Yes," he says.

"And still on the Plantagenet, d'y' s'pose?"

"Must be. I know him now like I'd know his voice, or his signature. And she's not far off either—coming strong!"

"Then they must 'a' seen that supply-ship and her fool skipper parading in to-night."

"That's what. Sh-h—he's using a cipher code, and merchantmen don't use cipher codes to each other. I'll ask him what his call is."

He makes the blue lights sputter again and listens. And in a few seconds almost jumps out of his chair. "We got him! He says he's the Grand Knight of the China and Indian Line, but last night while I was sitting here doing nothing I raised the Grand Knight—she was in Formosa Strait then and bound south. But I'll give him OK, and see what he does then." Which he did, and waited another while.

The Plantagenet kept pumping away, calling the cipher letter over and over, Furlong said—he listening in and trying to dope things out. By and by he made up his mind she must be trying to raise some plant ashore, probably a station on the Japanese coast in touch with Togo's fleet. "If we could only get on to her cipher," says Furlong; and, after another thinking spell: "It's sure to be something made up in a hurry. And I don't believe that Nippon chap's got overmuch invention. Here, look here, Cahalan. Three-quarters of all quick-made codes are one way, when it's an amateur makes 'em up in a hurry—it's mostly to push letters forward or back three or four or five or ten places. Here, get to work with this pad and pencil."

I take the Plantagenet's right call—P G—and slips them forward and back, and sure enough seven letters forward gives him W N, the same she'd been sending with the K K K. When I'd got that far Furlong, listening hard, said she'd got an answer and was giving her position—ten miles southeast of Hai-po Bay, which was the little place we were laying into.

Furlong kept spelling out the letters as he caught them, and I kept putting them down and pushing them forward seven till it read: Russian-battle-ship-and-three-trans-ports-are—just that far when Bing! Furlong breaks in and begins to send—nothing particular, but everything he could think of. Every minute or so he'd let up, only to hear another operator—the K K K one—calling excitedly.

"He wants to get off the rest of that message about us," said Furlong, and lets the Plantagenet start another letter or two and then breaks in again. And he kept at it with never a let-up for maybe an hour, when he notices signs of weakness in our current and sends word to the flag-lieutenant, who goes below and pretty soon comes up with the admiral to the shack.

"For how long can you restrain the Plantagenet from sending that message?" asks the admiral.

"No telling, sir," says Furlong, "but not for a great while. I've had to pump it in so fast trying to break their waves that I'm afraid I'll soon burn out our plant."

That worried the old man, who sent word to the chief engineer to rush the repairs and get up steam as soon as he could. "And if there's anything you require you have only to demand it," he says to Furlong, who never stops keeping the wireless on the hop. It was hot in the wireless shack, with everything closed up tight, and there was the steady buzzing and about fourteen colored lights flashing at one time from that bird-cage thing. All I could see were lights, and we had to yell to hear each other talk. And Furlong, who'd been up then for sixteen hours on one stretch, the wireless gear strapped to his head most of the time, was beginning to feel the strain. Nobody to relieve him either.

To break up their waves Furlong had to keep giving them all he had, and of course something had to give way. What I know of a wireless outfit wouldn't rate me heavy in a wireless fleet, but the rotary converter or something like it became so hot that Furlong said he'd have to have an electric fan to cool it. "And get it quick!" he calls out after me.

The first fan I spotted was in an officer's room that none of us admired much. He was a man who would rate a man higher for tying his neckerchief right than for laying a turret-gun on the target at twelve thousand yards. He was getting ready to turn in. It was a hot night and I knew he'd have trouble trying to sleep without a fan, his room being where it was—near the engine-room ladder—and orders being that all air-ports be kept closed that night.

Of course, he didn't want to give up his fan. I didn't waste any time on him—only to say to the flag-lieutenant that it was just the class of fan that Furlong ordered, and the flag-lieutenant tells the officer—still kicking he was—that he'd get an order from the admiral if he desired. On reflection, the officer didn't think a special order from the admiral was necessary, and in a minute or two I was pumping nice cold air on the converter with the fan.

Then the brush-holders and the brushes kept getting out of adjustment or something. They were too light to carry the extra current. Before this Furlong had passed the word to the chief electrician, and he had switched on juice enough to run a central office plant ashore. We fixed up the brushes, and everything was doing fine, I thought, when all at once Furlong looks across the table and says: "O, Lord! The condenser-plates!"

I never knew before I was shipmates with any such gadgets, but I look around and there are four glass plates about an inch thick and a foot and a half across that the current was boring through.

"Sure enough!" I says—"the condenser-plates going to hell. What'll I do with them?"

"Find out if there are any thick sheets of glass in the storeroom," says Furlong.

There was. Not a lot, for glass lying around loose doesn't stand overmuch of a chance on any battleship. We got what sheets of glass were below, but in the hurry of rushing them up topside I fell back down an iron ladder to the splinter-deck port side aft, and when I hit it—a two-and-three-quarter-inch chilled steel-plate deck—I near cracked my skull. And all because I was only trying to save the glass, holding it out from my body while I was falling. And while I'm trying to find my feet the officer I'd borrowed the electric fan from rushes out from his room and was going to put me in the brig for the noise I'd made. There happened to be enough glass left for another set of condenser-plates, and while they were cutting it to shape Furlong calls for another electric fan.

I thinks of a young officer, the freshest one ever, who had an ancestor related to Peter the Great, and an uncle or granduncle or grandmother or somebody or other in the family who was even then a general. Now, of course, there's no great harm in talking a little about your family, but when you begin to think it gives you a rating to ride over other people! And the living ancestor was such an old granny of a general, according to all accounts, and the dead one such an old robber! "Mr. Kaminoff, sir, has a specially powerful fan," says I to the flag-lieutenant.

"Yes—O yes—true!" says the flag-lieutenant and bounces down to Mr. Kaminoff's quarters himself, and Kaminoff didn't know what happened till he found himself gulping down big gobs of darkness by way of getting his breath. It was a hell of a hot night, and nobody less than a four-striper would have dared to leave his port open that night, because Kaminoffskis or Romanoffskis, the old man made them all toe the mark when he gave out an order.

The illustrious Kaminoff howled around some in the dark, but nobody minded him now the powers were sitting on him. When he came out on the gun-deck in his silk pajamas to get the air, he probably wished he was an ordinary seaman without any ancestry and owned a hammock to swing to a couple of hooks somewhere.

By letting that second fan play onto the glass plates they stayed cool for a time. But only for a time. By and by they showed signs of melting again. And the flag-lieutenant, deliberating on the possibility of the Plantagenet getting her message away and the probability of the Jap fleet bearing down on them if he did get it away, he sends a man down to the chief engineer to ask again how long before we could get up steam.

Maybe two hours, said the chief engineer, and Furlong said he'd try to hold out for two hours more.

But we were getting in a new mess every ten minutes. The keys weren't heavy enough to stand the continuous pounding under the current Furlong was giving 'em. One set of points was already burned off—he had to ship new keys. Then it was back to the new condenser-plates, which didn't seem to be of the best quality of glass and were beginning to fuse worse than the old ones. They were going fast and Furlong was puzzled—for a while. Then—"Tallow!" he hollers, and away hustles the flag-lieutenant for the paymaster, who was already turned in and sound asleep 'spite of the heat, for he had a good fan in his room—being the paymaster. He was shook up, broke out the stores, and four condenser-plates of tallow were moulded; but as soon as Furlong sees what kind of tallow it was, he says they couldn't be made to work without they were coated with tin-foil or something like it.

"Tin-foil? But where shall we obtain tin-foil?" says the flag-lieutenant. "Have you no tin-foil?" says he to the paymaster, who said no, he had no such item in his lists.

"There's a lot of tobacco in the canteen and a couple of hundred cases of tea below," says Furlong to the flag-lieutenant.

"O yes, the tobacco and the tea!" says the flag-lieutenant, and they send down three or four husky lads to break out the commissary yeoman, or whatever his rating was, out of his hammock. You could hear him yelling clear up on the superstructure when they landed him onto the deck, for by this time half of the ship's crew began to guess that something was going on, and whoever could get near enough to lay hands on that commissary yeoman was helping to hustle him along to his shack.

"Ganavitch! ganavitch!" he kept saying, or something like that; and the flag-lieutenant sent up to Furlong to ask, now they had him, what was he to do?

"Break out your tobacco and your tea!" yells Furlong, who, with the receiver strapped to his head and the fingers of one hand pounding the key and the other motioning me to hurry on the thrilling messages which I was reading from the back pages of an American magazine:

The - forty - horse - power - Camarac - is - the - machine - how - about - C. B. & Q. - corsets - to - pinch - in - your - shape - send - for - our - latest - catalogue - with - illustrations - add - an - inch - to - your - height - why - be - poor - the - best - abana - cigars - two - dollars - the - hundred - observe - that - curve - use - the - instantaneous - safety - razor - no - honing - no - strapping——

For some time before this I'd seen how foolish it was to be straining your brain inventing messages to send when there they lay ready printed to your hand, and so 'twas:

—pneumatic - soap - she - floats - why - pay - rent - don't - you - think - uneeda - wash - write - us - for - free - sample——

I kept calling it out and Furlong kept banging it away on the key.

The flag-lieutenant sticks his head in. "What shall the commissary yeoman do with the tobacco and the tea?"

Furlong hollers to tear out the tin-foil and bring it up to him. They brought it up, and a couple of Slavs, who had been working the tallow into the shape of condensing-plates—helped out by two electric fans and a stream of ice-water playing on them—they wrap the tin-foil around the tallow plates.

"Mould some more!" yells Furlong—"and keep mouldin' 'em!"

As fast as one set would melt, out they'd ship another. There was plenty of tallow—those Russian ships they're greasy with tallow—and dozens of cases of tobacco and Lord knows how many boxes of tea. It was a stirring sight below, with a dozen or so wild Slavs in their underclothes smashing things open with axes and tobacco and tea flying around regardless. Every blessed Russian that had a samovar and could get hold of hot water begins to make tea. There must have been a division of them sitting around between decks—at two in the morning—drinking hot tea and sweating like horses, for it was hotter than—oh, but it was hot that night!

"More tallow plates!" yells Furlong.

They had a carpenter's mate drafted below, a Finlander with a good eye, and he was cutting out swell plates with a chisel, and as fast as he did they would wrap them in the tin-foil and the two Slavs would squeeze them into place.

Sure-enough sea-going condensing-plates those tallow inventions of Furlong's were, and they did the business till the chief engineer reported he had steam up, and we started to put out. "And now," says the flag-lieutenant to Furlong, "your noble exertions are to be rewarded. You shall see how we shall catch that Plantagenet ship!"

"And a good job," I says to Furlong. "I hope they blow her out of water when they do get her." Which sets him to studying.

"Say, Cahalan," he asks, "you don't suppose they'd do that?"

"Why not?"

"They'd have to prove she sent the wireless messages. Even I couldn't prove that any man aboard her ever sent a wireless message," says Furlong, "let alone that they sent any to the Japs about us."

"No matter," I says. "Everybody aboard here believes she did. And you know she did. And if you'd seen those wild Slavs prancing around between decks awhile ago, I bet you some of 'em wouldn't wait too long to slip out a torpedo surreptishus-like from the torpedo chamber."

Furlong lays down his head-gear and ponders awhile. "If I thought there was any danger—say, Cahalan—suppose his wife—the wireless chap's—is aboard, as she probably is?" He reaches for the key.

"What're you goin' to do now?" I asks.

"I'm going," he says, "if those home-made, unpatented tallow condenser-plates will hold for just one more charge—I'm going to tell the Plantagenet that a Russian battle fleet is headin' her way and for her to steam to the south'ard about as fast as she can go and to keep on steaming."

He fills the bird-cage gadjet with green and blue flashes again and kept filling it till the tallow plates melted into a pool of grease.

The pool of grease hardened into a flat cone of tallow on the deck. "Did you get it away?" I asks him.

"We'll soon see," he says.

When we made steam and got well outside, all we saw, far down on the horizon, was a streak of black smoke going wide open to the south'ard. The admiral let her go—with that start and she good for twenty-one knots he had to. And while we were watching, up comes the commissary yeoman to complain to the flag-lieutenant. When he came to put the tobacco back in the boxes there was sixty-four plugs shy and thirteen more had bites out of them.

The flag-lieutenant said he did not see how he could help the commissary yeoman; and then, being pretty tired, we turned in.

When we woke up we were at anchor in Vladivostok.

They thought Furlong was all right after that, and wanted him to start right in and overhaul a wireless plant in their yard ashore. He could be an officer if he desired, they said.

"What d'y'think of it, Cahalan?" he says.

"They're good people, the Russians," I said, "and I like 'em. But I like my own people better, and I will not. I'm going back home."

"And me," he says.

And we did, or back to the nearest thing to it—a cruiser of our own which happened to be to anchor in Chee Foo.

Dan Magee: White Hope

That night in the forec's'le Tom was telling them how he got the word of the Jeffries-Johnson fight.

"I sights her smoke to the west'ard, the sun just risin'. But it came to me that mebbe a great steamer like her wouldn't like it to be held up by a couple o' Grand Bank trawlers in a dory, an' I mentions that to Jack there, but Jack says: 'You know how they all want to know aboard the vessel, 'specially the cook.'"

The cook looked up to say dejectedly: "I'd ha' forgiven you."

"Jack handed me his oil jacket for a signal o' distress, an' I lashes it to the blade of an oar an' lashes th' oar to a for'ard thwart an' sits down an' waits.

"Along she comes, an' she cert'nly was the grand sight comin'. The len'th an' height of her, and a wave to her bow an' stern would swamp a dory! An' her bridge! Miles away 'twas high as some flyin' thing. On she comes a-roarin'—twenty-six knots, no less. An' almost atop of us she stops. An' I looks up at her, an' a gold-braided lad in blue he leans over the side rail o' th' bridge an' he says: 'What's wrong with you chaps?'

"An' I looks up an' says: 'Who won?'

"An' he says: 'What d'y'mean—who won?'

"An' I says: 'God, man! where you been the last few days ashore? Who won th' fight?'

"A couple other gold-braided lads 'd joined the first, an' behind them four or five rail-polishers was bobbin' up an' down. An' then came a fat-whiskered lad an' bustles all the others out o' his way, an' one o' the others hands him a little megaphone, an' he leans over the rail an' he says: 'You Yankee beggars, do I understand that you're holdin' up a ship of our class, and we, bearin' the roy'l mails, to ask who won a bloody prize-fight?'

"An' I says: 'Ferget y'ur class an' y'ur roy'l mails—who won th' fight?'

"There was a couple o' hundred o' passengers mebbe by this time along the top rail—men an' women, in night-dresses an' bath-robes the women, the men in Chinese trousers they looked like to me. An' a lad in a blue one of 'em he sings out: 'There's sporting blood for you!' an' he grabs another lad in a pink one an' says: 'Look—those two down there want to know who won the fight'; an' then sings out to us: 'Say, you're all right, you two?' An' just then the whiskered one on the bridge, he sings out—what was it he said, Jack?"

Jack quoted: "'Will the first-cabin passengers understand that I am thoroughly capable of carrying on all the necessary conversation with these people in regard to this matter?'"

"An' I was gettin' mad, an' I says: 'To blazes with y'ur nessary conversation, you pot-bellied loafer—who won th' fight?' An' at that the passenger that'd first butted in he makes a megaphone of his hands an' he sings out: 'Johnson!'

"'Johnson?' I says—'Johnson?' an' reaches back to find somethin' t' heave at him. I was goin' to heave a cod at him, but Jack says: 'Don't waste that on him,' an' digs me out an old gray hake, an' I holds it by the tail an' I says: 'Say, you, you in the blue Chinese trousers, who'd you say won?' an' he says: 'Why, Johnson.'

"'You glue-eyed squid!' I says, an' scales th' old hake up at him, an' he dodges, but his chum in pink he didn't have time an' it ketches him fair, an' 'What in thunder's that thing!' he yells, an' takes to hoppin' up an' down an' wipin' the hake scales off his chin.

"An' the lad in blue sings out: 'Say, you, you oughter be in a big league with that arm o' yours,' an' he rushes inside the house an' comes out with a bunch of papers twisted together an' throws 'em over the side, an' Jack an' me we picks 'em up an' smooths 'em out on a thwart, an' there 'twas in letters six inches high—black letters, too—'JOHNSON WINS!' an' that's them the cook's readin' to himself now."

Tom stopped, and he who was called Professor said: "No doubt you would have wagered all you possessed if you had been home instead of out here."

"I wouldn't 'a' minded that. But Jeffries licked by a nigger! What's the white race comin' to? Say—say, but I wisht good old John L. in his prime'd been there to Reno—or Dan Magee."

There were two, both of course new to the vessel, who before this night had never heard of Dan Magee. One being from Fortune Bay, Tom was expecting no better of him; but the other (and he called Professor because of his book learning), and living in Boston, in Boston where they used to nourish champion fighters!

"But there is no record of a Dan Magee who was a heavyweight champion," argued Professor.

"A good thing for a lot of 'em there ain't," snapped Tom. "JOHNSON!!—Johnson!—Johnson——"

"I bet twenty to fifteen on Jeffries before we left Gloucester." This was from the cook, who, having read all about the fight, was now mixing a pan of bread, with his sad eyes directed to a deck beam. "Yes, twenty to— Cæsar Zippicus!" he brought his fist down bff! in the lump of dough. "And I left ten more—I just remember—with Billy Mills to bet for me at the same odds."

Professor, lying in a lower bunk, took the trouble to roll over and say: "And why did you do that?"

"Why? Why?" The cook glared at the lower bunk. "You people— Caesar Zippicus!" and, raising the bread pan high above his head, he brought it down smash atop of the galley-locker. Whang!

The cook looked ashamed. "I just remember I left another twenty with Jerry McCarty to place on Jeffries, too," he explained.

"Never mind, cook," said Tom, "you wouldn't 'a' lost nothing if it'd been Dan Magee."

"To blazes with you and Dan Magee!" whooped the cook.

"And that's what I says, too, cook." This was from Fortune Bay. "I been hearin' more o' Dan Magee this night! It's Dan Magee this an' Dan Magee that. And what did ever the man do?"

"Do?" Tom held a reverential hand high. "A book wouldn't tell th' half Dan did. Where's Jack?"

"Gone for'ard."

"Too bad—if Jack Ferris wasn't aft playin' cribbage with the skipper in the cabin, you'd hear a few things more of Dan Magee. But he'll be for'ard by'n'by for his turnin'-in mug-up, an' then——"

And by and by Jack came. "They're castin' doubt on Dan Magee," declared Tom to his dorymate. "Tell him about the time he licked th' seven p'licemen in Saint Johns or about that time in Soorey."

Jack glanced at the clock.

"There might be time for the Soorey fight. We were chasing mackerel," said Ferris, "on the Cape shore this time, and a lively southeaster coming on one day, the skipper said he guessed he'd run into Soorey to let it blow by. And as we'd been up three nights owling, after we dropped anchor all hands turned in for a good sleep.

"Late in the afternoon somebody sings out, 'Supper!' and I woke up. Looking across the cabin, I saw Dan awake, too, sitting on the locker, with his slipshods to one side and his rubber boots to the other. He was casting an eye now to one and now to the other, when he looks up and sees me. 'What d'y'say, Jackie boy?' says Dan. 'Will we slide into our slipshods and go for'ard for supper, or will we haul on our rubber boots and go ashore and eat like a pair of tourists and look the place over? What d'y'say?'

"We hadn't much of a cook that summer. He'd come off a yacht and was everlastingly making potted mackerel, which he could make good; but a pity nobody'd ever told him fishermen don't go ketching fish to be always eating 'em. And so I said: 'Me for ashore.'

"So we got into our rubber boots, hoist a dory over the side, and we're shoving off when the skipper, who we thought we'd left asleep, sticks his head up the cabin companionway and sings out: 'Where you two bound?'

"'We thought,' says Dan, 'we'd be rowing a few miles out to sea and back by way of limbering up our slack muscles.'

"'There's some people I expect'd bust wide open if they wasn't allowed to be smart,' says Captain John. 'I don' know but what I'll go ashore with you,' and he threw a mug of coffee into himself and jumps in and we start off.

"Suddenly Dan stops rowing. 'Isn't this September?' says Dan, and the skipper says yes. 'And a Monday?' asks Dan, and the skipper stops and thinks for a moment and says yes it was. 'And the first Monday?' asks Dan. 'Yes,' says the skipper, 'but what in tarnation of it?' 'Nothing,' says Dan, 'only that if we were home it would be Labor Day.' And the skipper says: 'Well, what o' that?' 'Nothing,' says Dan, 'only it'd be a holiday and all hands celebrating if we were to anchor in some port ashore.'

"'But Labor Day ain't no holiday in this country,' says the skipper.

"'No,' says Dan, 'but we c'n make a holiday of it.'

"'I don' know about that,' says the skipper. 'If it moderates at all, I cal'late to be pullin' out by daybreak.'

"'Sure, and we c'n have a celebration that'll reverber-r-ate in history by then,' says Dan.

"Now, Dan was a great reader. He'd lie in his bunk of a night when he had no watch to stand and he'd read the morning up sometimes, and now when he starts rowing again he starts talking about things he'd read.

"'I used to read about the holidays that some countries have,' says Dan, 'but I never believed it till I was in a vessel running salt fish to Cadiz one time. And the ship-loads o' salt fish they consume in that country, 'twould amaze you. But one night layin' in Cadiz harbor a big whale of a steamer cut into us, and all the topside planking she left of us to starb'd not even this new cook of ours—and God knows he's savin' enough of the raw material!—he couldn't have started a galley fire with it. We had to run her up on the railway and calk her, and after that 'twas the carpenters—nine weeks in all—and 'twas great opportunities we had to study the customs of the country. And there was a country for you! Every once in a quick while a holiday. And the days they did work no one breaking his neck to get the work done. 'Twas proof to me they must be people o' genius to get ahead at all. But then they do say the people that does the least work has the most genius, the most imagination; and imagination, they say, is the first qualification of genius, and too much work it kills the imagination. What d'y'think o' that doctrine, skipper?' says Dan.

"'I don't know nothing about imagination,' says the skipper, 'but I alwuz notices that them that does the least work c'n get off the most hot air.'

"Just then we bump into the dock, where the skipper, without even waiting to see the painter made fast, hurries up toward the street.

"'There he goes,' says Dan, 'lookin' for—what they call 'em, now?—affinities. And if he only had a little taste in the matter! There's people, they say, that all vessels look alike to—sharp-built and round-bowed, light-sparred and heavy. And he's that way with women. One looks just like any other to him. The gray-headed old rat, he has sons as old as me or you at home, Jack, and there's the widow Simmons in Gloucester with two lodging-houses at the head o' the harbor. He's courting her, too.'

"'From what I hear, Dan,' says I, 'the widow is able for him.'

"At the head of the dock was a lobster factory with a pile of cooked lobsters under a shed half as high as our masthead. 'Here's our supper, boy,' says Dan, and we go up to a man and ask how much for lobsters, and he says: 'Help yourselves for fifty cents a dozen.' And we help ourselves. I had one dozen and Dan two. 'And couldn't we get a little drop o' something to follow after these red gentry?' asks Dan, and the man calls a boy, and Dan gives the boy a five-dollar bill, and when the boy comes back with a dozen pint bottles of English ale, he tells him to keep the change, the ale looked so good to him.

"He had nine bottles and I had three, and 'That's what I call a decent little lunch,' says Dan, 'and it begins to feel more like a holiday; and how is it with you, Jackie boy?'

"I said I felt better, too, and we headed for the main street. By the time we got to the top of the hill—we'd hove-to here and there along the way, of course, with a little sociable drink in each to leave a good name behind us—and by now Dan said he could feel his side-lights burning bright; and as he said it we came abreast of a place with a window all of red glass, to port, and another, all green glass, to starboard. And over the door, shining out from a square box of a lantern, was the sign 'Snug Harbor!'

"Hard-a-lee!' says Dan, and we tacked across the street and fetched up all-standing in front of the door. 'It's a great thing, isn't it, boy, to have a vessel that answers her helm?' says Dan, and leads the way in.

"The first room had a bar running the length of it. Gay times were going on in back somewhere, but, of course, we had to stop and buy a drink or two here by way of showing our good intentions. There was one man behind the bar; but before we could order, another fellow leaves a group near the window and goes behind, too. 'What's your name, mate?' says this one to Dan.

"'I'm Dan Magee o' Skibbaree,' says Dan, and leaps a yard into the air and knocks his heels together, and when he comes down pulls a bill from his roll and throws it on the bar.

"'I thought so. I'm from Skibbaree myself. I knew your father.'

"'Then you're from a place I never heard of before this last minute,' says Dan. 'But if you did know my father you knew a good man, a better man than ever you were—or will be,' says Dan, 'and if you want to dispute it 'tis his son will prove it to you. And if you think you can come any of your come-all-ye's over me, you're mistaken. I'll be thanking you for the change of that ten-dollar bill,' says Dan.

"'A ten-dollar bill?' says the bartender, and opens one hand and says: 'Why, no—see—a dollar bill.'

"'You don't tell me now!' says Dan, and reaches over and with a twist of his fingers opens the bartender's other hand, and there was the ten-dollar bill. And he takes it and tucks it away, and doing that he lets him have another look at the roll of bills he had with him.

"'My private opinion of you,' says Dan, 'I'd hate publicly to express it, 'specially in the presence of these honorable gentlemen here,' and he points to the four or five hard-looking tickets, who had left the window and were now crowding up close. 'But you don't want to be making the mistake of thinking because a man rolls a bit in the wind that he's carrying more sail than he ought. I've seen 'em, lad, with their hatches under; but let your wheel fly and up they'd come like a spinning top. It's the ballast, lad, they have—the ballast—and don't make any mistake—if I feel like swinging all I got, the ballast's there to hold me up to it,' and with that he turns and drives his foot through the swinging-doors and into the next room with almost a flying leap. I stops to pay for the drinks and then follows Dan; but before I got through I heard one of the loafers say: 'And did you see that wild man's pile?' And I says to myself: 'If we get out of here alive, we're lucky.'

"The other room was a big room with sand on the floor, a bar and a barmaid to one side, and a counter to the other with a man behind it opening oysters. There were small tables at one end and men and women sitting to them drinking. The men were mostly seafaring hoboes, foolish lumpers, and deck-swabs—from off steamers, most likely. There was a man to the bar, and I didn't see who he was at first, he being almost hid between a big-bellied stove; but Dan spotted him right away. 'Will you look at our bold skipper!' whispers Dan—'and his wife not buried a year yet.' I takes another look and sees that so it was, and that he was talking a fourteen-knot clip to the barmaid.

"'Good evening, captain,' says Dan. The skipper turns, screws up his face, says 'Howdy' at last, and turns to the barmaid again.

"'We were for passing on to the next room, where the dancing and piano-playing were; but there'd been the noise from the room we'd just left of a bunch of men coming in off the street and stopping just long enough for a round of drinks, and now they were coming through the swinging doors; and 'Did you see 'm hit 'm that last one?' one was saying, and 'Two rounds,' says another—'not enough to exercise Alf.'

"In front of the crowd was a whale of a fellow in a red sweater and a little cap atop of his head, and beside him was our short-change bartender friend and behind him a dozen men, among 'em the same half a dozen tough lads we'd already seen out front before.

"The big prize-fighter swings himself across the floor as if nobody else was living just then except to wait on him. 'A mug of your best, Daisy dear,' he says to the barmaid; and, hearing that, the skipper whips around with a sour face, but he takes another look at the bruiser and whips back again.

"We could see the couples floating by the glass doors opening into the next room, and that's where Dan and myself were bound, and where we'd have got to, only the bartender's voice stops us. 'Say, you,' he calls out, 'how'd you like to put the gloves on and have a go with little Alf here?' Dan didn't stop. And 'You!' yells the bartender—'I mean you, you big Gloucesterm'n!'

"Dan turned then. 'What's that?'

"'How'd you like to put on the gloves with Alf here? There's a nice little bit of a ring across the way.' The big fellow himself wasn't even looking at Dan. He was elbowing the skipper to one side to get closer to the barmaid. The skipper was looking riled.

"'Why should I?' asks Dan. 'I've no quarrel with him.'

"'No, you big stiff; but if it was me, you would. You're Dan Magee of Skibbaree, are you? Why don't you leap into the air now and knock your heels together and say that to Alf? Or does his being the Soorey Giant make a difference?'

"'Hang you and your Soorey Giants!' says Dan.

"'Alf! Alf! Did y' hear 'im?' hollers the bartender. And at that a man, a fair-sized man, too, jumps into the middle of the floor and says: 'Don't you ago botherin' wi' him, Alfie—I'll take care of 'im.' He has a red sweater, too, and a little cap at the top of his head, and he takes a couple of fancy steps and spars with his hands, and by and by steps in and gives Dan a poke. And Dan he squints down at this lad and says, 'What's ailing you, man?' and the boxing chap he dashes in and pokes Dan again, and everybody laughs. But before they were done laughing, Dan, who'd never had a boxing-glove on in his life, he slaps out with his left paw and ketches the fancy boxer one on the side of his chin, and he doesn't stop falling backward till he fetches up between our skipper and the Soorey Giant.

"'Alf!' he gasps, and the Soorey Giant looks around to see who did it, and he spots Dan. 'Ho, ho!' he says—'ho!' and they all push back their chairs and tables to give him room. And he keeps looking at Dan and then steps into the clear space and fiddles around and measures his distance and lets go, and it ketches Dan fair on the chest and sends him back half a dozen feet. And as he does that somebody hits me one behind the ear and down I go. And somebody else said, 'He's one of 'em, too,' and reaches for the skipper, and down he comes, too, and the pair of us stay over to the corner where they'd knocked us and look on.

"The big fellow dances away and shapes up for Dan again. He reaches for Dan and ketches him fair again on the chest, and back goes Dan and begins to look foolish, and they all laugh and cheer, the women too, and of the women the bar-maid loudest of all. And 'He's Dan Magee o' Skibbaree!' says our old friend the bartender, and you couldn't hear a word then for laughing. And at that Dan springs a yard into the air and lets a roar out of him. 'Yes,' says he, 'I'm Dan Magee o' Skibbaree!' and comes charging across the floor. The big fellow sets himself, and when he gets Dan right he lets go. It was like hitting the big bass drum in a parade when he lands on Dan's chest. But this time Dan was coming full tilt, and he keeps on coming and makes a swipe with his left paw, and down goes Mr. Soorey Giant. But he jumps up and comes on, bellowing, and he swings, and Dan lets him swing while he reaches out himself and grabs him and whirls him around, and keeps whirling and turning with him till the Soorey champion's feet leave the floor, and then Dan lets him go and he fetches up against the door leading into the dance-hall. 'Yes,' says Dan, 'I'm Dan Magee o' Skibbaree,' and leaps a yard into the air and knocks his heels together, and grabs the big-bellied stove near the bar. There was no fire in it, but it was busting with ashes. Five feet high it was, maybe, and three feet through the middle. 'Fair Helen,' says Dan, 'I'm thinking you'd better be fleeing the plains o' windy Troy,' and the barmaid ran screaming away, and in her place behind the bar Dan drops the stove. 'Hurroo!' yells Dan, and spying a barrel full of oyster-shells, he picks it up and capsizes it on the head of the man behind the counter, who'd been yelling, 'Knock his head off, Alf!' at the top of his voice a minute before. And then Dan wades into the eight or ten real tough ones who had got after the skipper and me in a corner and were pelting us good, and he pulls them off, two or three at a time, not trying to hurt anybody, but tossing 'em right and left ten or a dozen feet away, just as they happened to come to his hand. The air was full of flying people, when the bartender came hurrying back with a mob of what looked like brass-polishers and deck-swabs from the dance-hall. Dan sees him, and 'Oh, there you are?' he says, and upsets him and grabs him by his ankles, and starts to swinging him like he was a sixteen-pound hammer, and when he has him going good he lets him go altogether. Into the crowd he'd been leading from the dance-hall he went, and those that weren't knocked over flew back to where they'd come from.

"'Hurroo!' says Dan, and throws a few chairs and tables at the mirrors and glasses and bottled goods behind the bar. 'Hurroo!' he yells, and turns and grabs the nearest man to him, whirls him back-to, grips him under the arms, jumps through the swinging-doors, and makes for the street. But the street door was locked. He spots the window with the all-red glass. 'Hurroo!' yells Dan, 'here will soon be a ship with her port light carried away,' and throws his man through the red window and jumps through after him. 'Follow me!' yells Dan, and down the hill he went with seven-league strides. And the skipper and me after him, and not a slack till we made the dock and jumped into the dory.

"The skipper rolled into the stern of the dory, and there he lay. Dan rowed out to the vessel—I was too tired—and on the way out he half whispers: 'What d'y'think of him, Jackie, that would take up with a woman of that kind and a buxom creature like the widow Simmons, with two houses clear of all debt in Gloucester, witherin' away for love of him?'

"The skipper never let on he was alive until we were alongside the vessel, and then it was all hands on deck and weigh anchor and make sail and drive her. But never a word of what had happened until Soorey Harbor was many a mile behind. And then—the middle of the afternoon it was and the Tubal running off before a good breeze—the skipper sidles up to Dan and says: 'Dannie, you sure they ain't no incumbrances on the two houses o' the widder?' And Dan says: 'Isn't it my own sister's husband's nephew is her lawyer?'"

At this point Ferris came to a full pause.

"And what became of the marvellous Magee?" asked Professor.

"What becomes of most good men?"

"I bet you I know," interposed the Newfoundlander. "Wimming!" He held one solemn finger in the air. "Wimming and the red rum o' Saint Peer, I bet you. They ruins the best o' men."

"When next I saw Dan," resumed Ferris, "he'd got married to a Boston girl and had a shore job—piano-moving—'just enough exercise to keep him soopled up,' he said. And there he was, in grand condition, sitting on the back porch and looking out on his possessions. A little white house with a porch in front and behind. And there was a garden with a little patch of cabbages, and a little patch of tomatoes, and a little patch of corn—a little patch of this and a little patch of that, not one blessed patch in the whole place as big as the bottom of a dory. And there was a school of white rabbits running around—for the children; and a fleet of pigeons sailing overhead—for the children. And the children like a fleet of little dories in the wake of Dan, and his wife washing the dishes and peeking out the kitchen window with an eye to 'em all. This was after supper one Sunday evening. And Dan would hoist up first one kid and then another, and with his pipe he'd blow rings for 'em.

"And he sat there and kept advising me to marry and settle down. I stood it for a while, and then I said: 'Dan, you remember that Fourth o' July you beat up the seven policemen in Saint Johns?' I thought he'd shake his head off at me and go blind with winking and ducking his ear toward the kitchen window. 'And that night in Soorey?' I goes on, and he looked scared, and 'Sh-h!' he says, and I stopped. But later, meaning only to make conversation, I says: 'Did ever you think o' going to sea again, Dan?' And at that—I thought she was up-stairs with the children, but she wasn't—out she bounces with my hat—a spunky little woman, no higher than a buoy keg—and says: 'I don't want to hurry you, an old friend of my husband's as you are, but the last car for the city passes by the corner in five minutes. If you hurry, you can get it.' And I took that car, only it didn't pass for thirty-five minutes, and it rained most of the time I was waiting, and I didn't have any coat."

Jack stood up and set his coffee-mug back in the grub locker and made as if to climb the companionway; but before he could escape Professor pinned him with:

"Do you or don't you approve of his marriage?"

"Wow! I set out to tell a story to please Tom here, and the first thing in telling a story is to tell it, not to stop to preach a sermon. And to finish the story, I tell you, boy"—Jack turned and fixed Fortune Bay with a solemn eye—"I tell you they'll get you—sure's wind follows an oily sea the women will get you on your weak side, if you don't watch out."

"But you hear me, too, boy," put in Tom, "if it'd been Dan Magee with a few boxin' lessons out to Reno—Dan Magee afore he was married—you bet there'd been no fresh guys in Chinese trousers leanin' over the hurricane-deck of any forty-thousand-ton steamer an' yellin' JOHNSON! JOHNSON! JOHNSON! to no lone trawler on th' Grand Banks at four o'clock in the mornin'."

"G-g-r-r—" growled Professor, and turned his face to the vessel's side.

"Ay, boy. Good night," said Tom cheerfully.

Books by James B. Connolly


"Few writers have the ability to picture sea life with the accuracy and feeling which Mr. Connolly has always shown."—Boston Herald.


Illustrated. 12mo. $1.35 net

This book is remarkable for the variety of stories it contains and their characters, which include Continental immigrants, Central American soldiery, Gloucester fishermen, Mississippi roustabouts and steamboat people, American bluejackets, and newspaper correspondents. These are among the best stories Mr. Connolly has ever written.


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"Mr. Connolly writes with a classic simplicity, an artistic directness, a seafaring virility such as may seldom be found in short stories of this day or any other."—Los Angeles Times.


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A collection of stories of the same type—breezy, fresh, vigorous—as those in his earlier books.

Some are of Gloucester fishermen, some of the men of the navy, some of the smugglers—in all such is the smack of the salt-laden wind, the rattle and creak of ships' tackle, the dull boom of pounding surf or the hissing crash of the breakers. But there are the other stories of sport and adventure ashore of which Mr. Connolly has shown his complete mastery.


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"Tales of daring and reckless deeds which make the blood run quicker and bring an admiration for the hardy Gloucester men who take their lives in their hands on nearly every trip they make. There are Martin Carr and Wesley Marrs and Tommy Clancy and others of the brave crew that Connolly loves to write about."—Chicago Post.


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"He holds our attention with these eight new stories of his, holds it in lighter mood as well as in the dramatic key which he touches oftenest, the key of man in his indomitable courage doing battle with storm and wave, with the hardships of life that have hardened him. These 'Wide Courses' are, indeed, interesting sailing with never a dull moment."—New York Tribune.


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"Sea stories of the land you can't help liking. Stirring, heart-moving yarns of the Gloucester fishermen who brave death daily in pursuit of their calling."—Chicago Record-Herald.

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"The very breath of the ocean blows in these thrilling stories of deep-sea adventure."—Albany Journal.


With frontispiece by M. J. BURNS

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"It carries the sails easily. In Tommy Clancy he has created a veritable Mulvaney of the sea."—Collier's Weekly.

"Full of vigor and song and the breath of the sea."—St. James Gazette.

"A real tale of the sea which makes one feel the whiff of the wind and taste the salt of the flying spray—such is Mr. J. B. Connolly's new book, 'The Seiners.' ... Certainly there is not a lover of the sea, man or woman, who will fail to be delighted with this breezy, stirring tale."—London Daily Telegraph.


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"His story of the straining, gruelling struggle, the heart-breaking efforts of the runners over those twenty-four miles of country roads, is soul-stirring."—Philadelphia Press.


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"It is literature. In thought, in sentiment, in rugged knowledge of rugged men, in strength and finish of writing, it is entitled to a place of permanence."—THEODORE ROOSEVELT.


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