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A STORY OF THE GRAND BANKS
by Rudyard Kipling
I ploughed the land with horses
But my heart was ill at ease
For the old sea-faring men
Came to me now and then
With their sagas of the seas.
The weather door of the smoking-room had been left open to the
North Atlantic fogas the big liner rolled and liftedwhistling to
warn the fishing-fleet.
That Cheyne boy's the biggest nuisance aboard,said a man in a
frieze overcoatshutting the door with a bang. "He isn't wanted
here. He's too fresh."
A white-haired German reached for a sandwichand grunted
between bites: "I know der breed. Ameriga is full of dot kind. I dell
you you should imbort ropes' ends free under your dariff."
Pshaw! There isn't any real harm to him. He's more to be pitied
than anything,a man from New York drawledas he lay at full
length along the cushions under the wet skylight. "They've dragged
him around from hotel to hotel ever since he was a kid. I was
talking to his mother this morning. She's a lovely ladybut she
don't pretend to manage him. He's going to Europe to finish his
Education isn't begun yet.This was a Philadelphiancurled up in
a corner. "That boy gets two hundred a month pocket-moneyhe
told me. He isn't sixteen either."
Railroads, his father, aind't it?said the German.
Yep. That and mines and lumber and shipping. Built one place at
San Diego, the old man has; another at Los Angeles; owns half a
dozen railroads, half the lumber on the Pacific slope, and lets his
wife spend the money,the Philadelphian went on lazily. "The
West don't suit hershe says. She just tracks around with the boy
and her nervestrying to find out what'll amuse himI guess.
FloridaAdirondacksLakewoodHot SpringsNew Yorkand
round again. He isn't much more than a second-hand hotel clerk
now. When he's finished in Europe he'll be a holy terror."
What's the matter with the old man attending to him personally?
said a voice from the frieze ulster.
Old man's piling up the rocks. 'Don't want to be disturbed, I guess.
He'll find out his error a few years from now. 'Pity, because there's
a heap of good in the boy if you could get at it.
Mit a rope's end; mit a rope's end!growled the German.
Once more the door bangedand a slightslim-built boy perhaps
fifteen years olda hall-smoked cigarette hanging from one corner
of his mouthleaned in over the high footway. His pasty yellow
complexion did not show well on a person of his yearsand his
look was a mixture of irresolutionbravadoand very cheap
smart-ness. He was dressed in a cherry--coloured blazer
knickerbockersred stockingsand bicycle shoeswith a red
flannel cap at the back of the head. After whistling between his
teethas he eyed the companyhe said in a loudhigh voice: "Say
it's thick outside. You can hear the fish-boats squawking all around
us. Saywouldn't it be great if we ran down one?"
Shut the door, Harvey,said the New Yorker. "Shut the door and
stay outside. You're not wanted here."
Who'll stop me?he answereddeliberately. "Did you pay for my
passageMister Martin? 'Guess I've as good right here as the next
He picked up some dice from a checkerboard and began throwing
right hand against left.
Say, gen'elmen, this is deader'n mud. Can't we make a game of
poker between us?
There was no answerand he puffed his cigaretteswung his legs
and drummed on the table with rather dirty fingers. Then he pulled
out a roll of bills as if to count them.
How's your mama this afternoon?a man said. "I didn't see her at
In her state-room, I guess. She's 'most always sick on the ocean.
I'm going to give the stewardess fifteen dollars for looking after
her. I don't go down more 'n I can avoid. It makes me feel
mysterious to pass that butler's-pantry place. Say, this is the first
time I've been on the ocean.
Oh, don't apologize, Harvey.
Who's apologizing? This is the first time I've crossed the ocean,
gen'elmen, and, except the first day, I haven't been sick one little
bit. No, sir!He brought down his fist with a triumphant bang
wetted his fingerand went on counting the bills.
Oh, you're a high-grade machine, with the writing in plain sight,
the Philadelphian yawned. "You'll blossom into a credit to your
country if you don't take care."
I know it. I'm an American-first, last, and all the time. I'll show
'em that when I strike Europe. Piff! My cig's out. I can't smoke the
truck the steward sells. Any gen'elman got a real Turkish cig on
The chief engineer entered for a momentredsmilingand wet.
Say, Mac,cried Harvey cheerfullyhow are we hitting it?
Vara much in the ordinary way,was the grave reply. "The young
are as polite as ever to their eldersan' their elders are e'en tryin' to
A low chuckle came from a corner. The German opened his
cigar-case and handed a shiny black cigar to Harvey.
Dot is der broper apparatus to smoke, my young friendt,he said.
You vill dry it? Yes? Den you vill be efer so happy.
Harvey lit the unlovely thing with a flourish: he felt that he was
getting on in grownup society.
It would take more 'n this to keel me over,he saidignorant that
he was lighting that terrible articlea Wheeling "stogie'."
Dot we shall bresently see,said the German. "Where are we
Just there or thereabouts, Mr. Schaefer,said the engineer. "We'll
be on the Grand Bank to-night; but in a general way o' speaking'
we're all among the fishing-fleet now. We've shaved three dories
an' near scalped the boom off a Frenchman since noonan' that's
close sailing'ye may say."
You like my cigar, eh?the German askedfor Harvey's eyes were
full of tears.
Fine, full flavor,he answered through shut teeth.
Guess we've slowed down a little, haven't we? I'll skip out and see
what the log says.
I might if I has you,said the German.
Harvey staggered over the wet decks to the nearest rail. He was
very unhappy; but he saw the deck-steward lashing chairs together
andsince he had boasted before the man that he was never
seasickhis pride made him go aft to the second-saloon deck at the
sternwhich was finished in a turtle-back. The deck was deserted
and he crawled to the extreme end of itnear the flag-pole. There
he doubled up in limp agonyfor the Wheeling "stag" joined with
the surge and jar of the screw to sieve out his soul. His head
swelled; sparks of fire danced before his eyes; his body seemed to
lose weightwhile his heels wavered in the breeze. He was fainting
from seasicknessand a roll of the ship tilted him over the rail on
to the smooth lip of the turtle-back. Then a lowgray mother-wave
swung out of the fogtucked Harvey under one armso to speak
and pulled him off and away to leeward; the great green closed
over himand he went quietly to sleep.
He was roused by the sound of a dinner-horn such as they used to
blow at a summer-school he had once attended in the Adirondacks.
Slowly he remembered that he was Harvey Cheynedrowned and
dead in mid-oceanbut was too weak to fit things together. A new
smell filled his nostrils; wet and clammy chills ran down his back
and he was helplessly full of salt water. When he opened his eyes
he perceived that he was still on the top of the seafor it was
running round him in silver-coloured hillsand he was lying on a
pile of half-dead fishlooking at a broad human back clothed in a
It's no good,thought the boy. "I'm deadsure enoughand this
thing is in charge."
He groanedand the figure turned its headshowing a pair of little
gold rings half hidden in curly black hair.
Aha! You feel some pretty well now?it said. "Lie still so: we
With a swift jerk he sculled the flickering boat-head on to a
foamless sea that lifted her twenty full feetonly to slide her into a
glassy pit beyond. But this mountain-climbing did not interrupt
blue-jersey's talk. "Fine good jobI saythat I catch you. Eh
wha-at? Better good jobI sayyour boat not catch me. How you
come to fall out?"
I was sick,said Harvey; "sickand couldn't help it."
Just in time I blow my horn, and your boat she yaw a little. Then I
see you come all down. Eh, wha-at? I think you are cut into baits
by the screw, but you dreeft-dreeft to me, and I make a big fish of
you. So you shall not die this time.
Where am I?said Harveywho could not see that life was
particularly safe where he lay.
You are with me in the dory-Manuel my name, and I come from
schooner We're Here of Gloucester. I live to Gloucester. By-and-by
we get supper. Eh, wha-at?
He seemed to have two pairs of bands and a head of cast-ironfor
not content with blowing through a big conch-shellhe must needs
stand up to itswaying with the sway of the flat-bottomed dory
and send a grindingthuttering shriek through the fog. How long
this entertainment lastedHarvey could not rememberfor he lay
back terrified at the sight of the smoking swells. He fancied he
heard a gun and a horn and shouting. Something bigger than the
dorybut quite as livelyloomed alongside. Several voices talked
at once; he was dropped into a darkheaving holewhere men in
oilskins gave him a hot drink and took off his clothesand he fell
When he waked he listened for the first breakfast-bell on the
steamerwondering why his state-room had grown so small.
Turninghe looked into a narrowtriangular cavelit by a lamp
hung against a huge square beam. A three-cornered table within
arm's reach ran from the angle of the bows to the foremast. At the
after endbehind a well-used Plymouth stovesat a boy about his
own agewith a flat red face and a pair of twinkling gray eyes. He
was dressed in a blue jersey and high rubber boots. Several pairs of
the same sort of foot-wearan old capand some worn-out woollen
socks lay on the floorand black and yellow oilskins swayed to and
fro beside the bunks. The place was packed as full of smells as a
bale is of cotton. The oilskins had a peculiarly thick flavor of their
own which made a sort of background to the smells of fried fish
burnt greasepaintpepperand stale tobacco; but theseagain
were all hooped together by one encircling smell of ship and salt
water. Harvey saw with disgust that there were no sheets on his
bed-place. He was lying on a piece of dingy ticking full of lumps
and nubbles. Thentoothe boat's motion was not that of a
steamer. She was neither sliding nor rollingbut rather wriggling
herself about in a sillyaimless waylike a colt at the end of a
halter. Water-noises ran by close to his earand beams creaked and
whined about him. All these things made him grunt despairingly
and think of his mother.
Feelin' better?said the boywith a grin. ".Hev some coffee?" He
brought a tin cup full and sweetened it with molasses.
Isn't there milk?said Harveylooking round the dark double tier
of bunks as if he expected to find a cow there.
Well, no,said the boy. "Ner there ain't likely to be till 'baout
mid-September. 'Tain't bad coffee. I made it.'
Harvey drank in silenceand the boy handed him a plate full of
pieces of crisp fried porkwhich he ate ravenously.
I've dried your clothes. Guess they've shrunk some,said the boy.
They ain't our style much-none of 'em. Twist round an' see if
you're hurt any.
Harvey stretched himself in every directionbut could not report
That's good,the boy said heartily. "Fix yerself an' go on deck.
Dad wants to see you. I'm his son-Danthey call me-an' I'm cook's
helper an' everything else aboard that's too dirty for the men. There
ain't no boy here 'cep' me sence Otto went overboard-an' he was
only a Dutchyan' twenty year old at that. How d'you come to fall
off in a dead flat ca'am?"
'Twasn't a calm,said Harveysulkily. "It was a galeand I was
seasick. Guess I must have rolled over the rail."
There was a little common swell yes'day an' last night,said the
boy. "But ef thet's your notion of a gale----" He whistled. "You'll
know more 'fore you're through. Hurry! Dad's waitin'."
Like many other unfortunate young peopleHarvey had never in all
his life received a direct order-neverat leastwithout longand
sometimes tearfulexplanations of the advantages of. obedience
and the reasons for the request. Mrs. Cheyne lived in fear of
breaking his spiritwhichperhapswas the reason that she herself
walked on the edge of nervous prostration. He could not see why
he should be expected to hurry for any man's pleasureand said so.
Your dad can come down here. if he's so anxious to talk to me. I
want him to take me to New York right away. It'll pay him.
Dan opened his eyes as the size and beauty of this joke dawned on
him. "SayDad!" he shouted up the foc'sle hatchhe says you kin
slip down an' see him ef you're anxious that way. 'Hear, Dad?
The answer came back in the deepest voice Harvey had ever heard
from a human chest: "Quit foolin'Danand send him to me."
Dan sniggeredand threw Harvey his warped bicycle shoes. There
was something in the tones on the deck that made the boy
dissemble his extreme rage and console himself with the thought
of gradually unfolding the tale of his own and his father's wealth
on the voyage home. This rescue would certainly make him a hero
among his friends for life. He hoisted himself on deck up a
perpendicular ladderand stumbled aftover a score of
obstructionsto where a smallthick-setclean-shaven man with
gray eyebrows sat on a step that led up to the quarter-deck. The
swell had passed in the nightleaving a longoily seadotted round
the horizon with the sails of a dozen fishing-boats. Between them
lay little black specksshowing where the dories were out fishing.
The schoonerwith a triangular riding-sail on the mainmastplayed
easily at anchorand except for the man by the cabin-roof -"house"
they call. it-she was deserted.
Mornin'--Good afternoon, I should say. You've nigh slep' the
clock round, young feller,was the greeting.
Mornin',said Harvey. He did not like being called "young feller";
andas one rescued from drowningexpected sympathy. His
mother suffered agonies whenever he got his feet wet; but this
mariner did not seem excited.
Naow let's hear all abaout it. It's quite providential, first an' last,
fer all concerned. What might be your name? Where from (we
mistrust it's Noo York), an' where baound (we mistrust it's
Harvey gave his namethe name of the steamerand a short history
of the accidentwinding up with a demand to be taken back
immediately to New Yorkwhere his father would pay anything
any one chose to name.
H'm,said the shaven manquite unmoved by the end of Harvey's
speech. "I can't say we think special of any manor boy eventhat
falls overboard from that kind o' packet in a flat ca'am. Least of all
when his excuse is that he's seasick."
Excuse!cried Harvey. "D'you suppose I'd fall overboard into
your dirty little boat for fun?"
Not knowin' what your notions o' fun may be, I can't rightly say,
young feller. But if I was you, I wouldn't call the boat which, under
Providence, was the means o' savin' ye, names. In the first place,
it's blame irreligious. In the second, it's annoyin' to my feelin's-an'
I'm Disko Troop o' the We're Here o' Gloucester, which you don't
seem rightly to know.
I don't know and I don't care,said Harvey. "I'm grateful enough
for being saved and all thatof course! but I want you to
understand that the sooner you take me back to New York the
better it'll pay you."
Meanin'-haow?Troop raised one shaggy eyebrow over a
suspiciously mild blue eye.
Dollars and cents,said Harveydelighted to think that he was
making an impression. "Cold dollars and cents." He thrust a hand
into a pocketand threw out his stomach a littlewhich was his
way of being grand. "You've done the best day's work you ever did
in your life when you pulled me in. I'm all the son Harvey Cheyne
He's bin favoured,said Diskodryly.
And if you don't know who Harvey Cheyne is, you don't know
much-that's all. Now turn her around and let's hurry.
Harvey had a notion that the greater part of America was filled
with people discussing and envying his father's dollars.
Mebbe I do, an' mebbe I don't. Take a reef in your stummick,
young feller. It's full o' my vittles.
Harvey heard a chuckle from Danwho was pretending to be busy
by the stump-foremastand blood rushed to his face. "We'll pay for
that too he said. When do you suppose we shall get to New
I don't use Noo York any. Ner Boston. We may see Eastern Point
about September; an' your pa-I'm real sorry I hain't heerd tell of
him-may give me ten dollars efter all your talk. Then o' course he
Ten dollars! Why, see here, I-Harvey dived into his pocket for
the wad of bills. All he brought up was a soggy packet of
Not lawful currency; an' bad for the lungs. Heave 'em overboard,
young feller, and try agin.
It's been stolen!cried Harveyhotly.
You'll hev to wait till you see your pa to reward me, then?
A hundred and thirty-four dollars-all stolen,said Harveyhunting
wildly through his pockets. "Give them back."
A curious change flitted across old Troop's hard face. "What might
you have been doin' at your time o' life with one hundred an' thirtyfour
It was part of my pocket-money-for a month.This Harvey
thought would be a knock-down blowand it was--indirectly.
Oh! One hundred and thirty-four dollars is only part of his pocketmoney--
for one month only! You don't remember hittin' anything
when you fell over, do you? Crack agin a stanchion, le's say. Old
man Hasken o' the East Wind--Troop seemed to be talking to
himself--"he tripped on a hatch an' butted the mainmast with his
head--hardish. 'Baout three weeks afterwardsold man Hasken he
would hev it that the East Wind was a commerce-destroyin' mano'-
waran' so he declared war on Sable Island because it was
Bridishan' the shoals run aout too far. They sewed him up in a
bed-baghis head an' feet appearin'fer the rest o' the tripannow
he's to home in Essex playin' with little rag dolls."
Harvey choked with ragebut Troop went on consolingly: "We're
sorry fer you. We're very sorry fer you-an' so young. We won't say
no more abaout the moneyI guess."
'Course you won't. You stole it.
Suit yourself. We stole it ef it's any comfort to you. Naow, abaout
goin' back. Allowin' we could do it, which we can't, you ain't in no
fit state to go back to your home, an' we've jest come on to the
Banks, workin' fer our bread. We don't see the ha'af of a hundred
dollars a month, let alone pocket-money; an' with good luck we'll
be ashore again somewheres abaout the first weeks o' September.
But-but it's May now, and I can't stay here doin' nothing just
because you want to fish. I can't, I tell you!
Right an' jest; jest an' right. No one asks you to do nothin'. There's
a heap as you can do, for Otto he went overboard on Le Have. I
mistrust he lost his grip in a gale we fund there. Anyways, he never
come back to deny it. You've turned up, plain, plumb providential
for all concerned. I mistrust, though, there's ruther few things you
kin do. Ain't thet so?
I can make it lively for you and your crowd when we get ashore,
said Harveywith a vicious nodmurmuring vague threats about
piracy,at which Troop almost -not quit--smiled.
Excep' talk. I'd forgot that. You ain't asked to talk more'n you've a
mind to aboard the We're Here. Keep your eyes open, an' help Dan
to do ez he's bid, an' sechlike, an' I'll give you-you ain't wuth it, but
I'll give--ten an' a ha'af a month; say thirty-five at the end o' the
trip. A little work will ease up your head, and you kin tell us all
abaout your dad an' your ma an' your money afterwards.
She's on the steamer,said Harveyhis eyes flling with tears.
Take me to New York at once.
Poor woman--poor woman! When she has you back she'll forgit it
all, though. There's eight of us on the! We're Here, an' ef we went
back naow-it's more'n a thousand mile-we'd lose the season. The
men they wouldn't hev it, allowin' I was agreeable.
But my father would make it all right.
He'd try. I don't doubt he'd try,said Troop; "but a whole season's
catch is eight men's bread; an' you'll be better in your health when
you see him in the fall. Go forward an' help Dan. It's ten an' a ha'af
a monthe I saidan' o' courseall fundsame e the rest o' us."
Do you mean I'm to clean pots and pans and things?said Harvey.
An' other things. You've no call to shout, young feeler.
I won't! My father will give you enough to buy this dirty little
fish-kettle-Harvey stamped on the deck-"ten times overif you
take me to New York safe; and-and-you're in a hundred and thirty
Ha<,w?said Troopthe iron face darkening.
How? You know how, well enough. On top of all that, you want
me to do menial work-Harvey was very proud of that
adjective"till the Fall. I tell you I will not. You hear?"
Troop regarded the top of the mainmast with deep interest for a
whileas Harvey harangued fiercely all around him.
Hsh!he said at last. "I'm figurin' out my responsibilities in my
own mind. It's a matter o' jedgment."
Dan stole up and plucked Harvey by the elbow. "Don't go to
tamperin' with Dad any more he pleaded. You've called him a
thief two or three times overan' he don't take that from any livin'
I won't!Harvey almost shriekeddisregarding the adviceand
still Troop meditated.
Seems kinder unneighbourly,he said at lasthis eye travelling
down to Harvey. "I - don't blame younot a miteyoung feelernor
you won't blame me when the bile's out o' your systim. Be sure you
sense what I say? Ten an' a ha'af fer second boy on the
schooner-an' all found-fer to teach you an' fer the sake o' your
health. Yes or no?"
No!said Harvey. "Take me back to New York or I'll see you "
He did not exactly remember what followed. He was lying in the
scuppersholding on to a nose that bled while Troop looked down
on him serenely.
Dan,he said to his sonI was sot agin this young feeler when I
first saw him on account o' hasty jedgments. Never you be led
astray by hasty jedgments, Dan. Naow I'm sorry for him, because
he's clear distracted in his upper works. He ain't responsible fer the
names he's give me, nor fer his other statements--nor fer jumpin'
overboard, which I'm abaout ha'af convinced he did. You he gentle
with him, Dan, 'r I'll give you twice what I've give him. Them
hemmeridges clears the head. Let him sluice it off!
Troop went down solemnly into the cabinwhere he and the older
men bunkedleaving Dan to comfort the luckless heir to thirty
I warned ye,said Danas the drops fell thick and fast on the
darkoiled planking. "Dad ain't noways hastybut you fair earned
it. Pshaw! there's no sense takin' on so." Harvey's shoulders were
rising and falling in spasms of dry sobbing. "I know the feelin'.
First time Dad laid me out was the last-and that was my first trip.
Makes ye feel sickish an' lonesome. I know."
It does,moaned Harvey. "That man's either crazy or drunk
and-and I can't do anything."
Don't say that to Dad,whispered Dan. "He's set agin all liquor
an'-wellhe told me you was the madman. What in creation made
you call him a thief? He's my dad."
Harvey sat upmopped his noseand told the story of the missing
wad of bills. "I'm not crazy he wound up. Only-your father has
never seen more than a five-dollar bill at a timeand my father
could buy up this boat once a week and never miss it."
You don't know what the We're Here's worth. Your dad must hev
a pile o' money. How did he git it? Dad sez loonies can't shake out
a straight yarn. Go ahead
In gold mines and things, West.
I've read o' that kind o' business. Out West, too? Does he go
around with a pistol on a trick-pony, same ez the circus? They call
that the Wild West, and I've heard that their spurs an' bridles was
You are a chump!said Harveyamused in spite of himself. "My
father hasn't any use for ponies. When he wants to ride he takes his
No. His own private car, of course. You've seen a private car
some time in your life?
Slatin Beeman he hez one,said Dancautiously. "I saw her at the
Union Depot in Bostonwith three niggers hoggin' her run.'(Dan
meant cleaning the windows.) "But Slatin Beeman he owns 'baout
every railroad on Long Islandthey sayan' they say he's bought
'baout ha'af Noo Hampshire an' run a line fence around heran'
filled her up with lions an' tigers an' bears an' buffalo an' crocodiles
an' such all. Slatin Beeman he's a millionaire. I've seen his car.
Well, my father's what they call a multi-millionaire, and he has
two private cars. One's named for me, the Harvey, and one for my
mother, the Constance.
Hold on,said Dan. "Dad don't ever let me swearbut I guess you
can. 'Fore we go aheadI want you to say hope you may die if
Of course,said Harvey.
The ain't 'niff. Say, 'Hope I may die if I ain't speaking' truth.'
Hope I may die right here,said Harveyif every word I've
spoken isn't the cold truth.
Hundred an' thirty-four dollars an' all?said Dan. "I heard ye
talkin' to Dadan' I ha'af looked you'd be swallered upsame's
Harvey protested himself red in the face. Dan was a shrewd young
person along his own linesand ten minutes' questioning convinced
him that Harvey was not lying-much. Besideshe had hound
himself by the most terrible oath known to boyhoodand yet he
satalivewith a red-ended nosein the scuppersrecounting
marvels upon marvels.
Gosh!said Dan at last from the very bottom of his soul when
Harvey had completed an inventory of the car named in his
honour. Then a grin of mischievous delight overspread his broad
face. "I believe youHarvey. Dad's made a mistake fer once in his
He has, sure,said Harveywho was meditating an early revenge.
He'll be mad clear through. Dad jest hates to be mistook in his
jedgments.Dan lay back and slapped his thigh. "OhHarveydon't
you spile the catch by lettin' on." do with it. "That's all right he
said. Then he looked down confusedly. Seems to me that for a
fellow just saved from drowning I haven't been over and above
Well, you was shook up and silly,said Dan. "Anyway there was
only Dad an' me aboard to see it. The cook he don't count."
I might have thought about losing the bills that way,Harvey said
half to himselfinstead of calling everybody in sight a thief.
Where's your father?
In the cabin. What d' you want o' him again?
You'll see,said Harveyand he steppedrather groggilyfor his
head was still singingto the cabin steps where the little ship's
clock hung in plain sight of the wheel. Troopin the
chocolate-and-yellow painted cabinwas busy with a note-book
and an enormous black pencil which he sucked hard from time to
I haven't acted quite right,said Harveysurprised at his own
What's wrong naow?said the skipper. "Walked into Danhev
No; it's about you.
I'm here to listen.
Well, I-I'm here to take things back,said Harvey very quickly.
When a man's saved from drowning---he gulped.
Eye? You'll make a man yet ef you go on this way.
He oughtn't begin by calling people names.
Jest an' right-right an' jest,said Troopwith the ghost of a dry
So I'm here to say I'm sorry.Another big gulp.
Troop heaved himself slowly off the locker he was sitting on and
held out an eleven-inch hand. "I mistrusted 'twould do you sights o'
good; an' this shows I weren't mistook in my jedgments." A
smothered chuckle on deck caught his ear. "I am very seldom
mistook in my jedgments." The eleven-inch hand closed on
Harvey'snumbing it to the elbow. "We'll put a little more gristle to
that 'fore we've done with youyoung feller; an' I don't think any
worse of ye fer anythin' the's gone by. You wasn't fairly
responsible. Go right abaout your business an' you won't take no
You're white,said Danas Harvey regained the deckflushed to
the tips of his ears.
I don't feel it,said he.
I didn't mean that way. I heard what Dad said. When Dad allows
he don't think the worse of any man, Dad's give himself away. He
hates to be mistook in his jedgments too. Ho! ho! Onct Dad has a
jedgment, he'd sooner dip his colours to the British than change it.
I'm glad it's settled right eend up. Dad's right when he says he can't
take you back. It's all the livin' we make here-fishin'. The men'll be
back like sharks after a dead whale in ha'af an hour.
What for?said Harvey.
Supper, o' course. Don't your stummick tell you? You've a heap to
Guess I have,said Harveydolefullylooking at the tangle of
ropes and blocks overhead.
She's a daisy,said Danenthusiasticallymisunderstanding the
look. "Wait till our mainsail's bentan' she walks home with all her
salt wet. There's some work firstthough." He pointed down into
the darkness of the open main-hatch between the two masts.
What's that for? It's all empty,said Harvey.
You an' me an' a few more hev got to fill it,said Dan. "That's
where the fish goes."
Well, no. They're so's to be ruther dead-an' flat-an' salt. There's a
hundred hogshead o' salt in the bins, an' we hain't more'n covered
our dunnage to now.
Where are the fish, though?
In the sea they say, in the boats we pray,said Danquoting a
fisherman's proverb. "You come in last night with 'baout forty of
He pointed to a sort of wooden pen just in front of the
You an' me we'll sluice that out when they're through. 'Send we'll
hev full pens to-night! I've seen her down ha'af a foot with fish
waitin' to clean, an' we stood to the tables till we was splittin'
ourselves instid o' them, we was so sleepy. Yes, they're comm' in
naow.Dan looked over the low bulwarks at half a dozen dories
rowing towards them over the shiningsilky sea.
I've never seen the sea from so low down,said Harvey. "It's fine."
The low sun made the water all purple and pinkishwith golden
lights on the barrels of the long swellsand blue and green
mackerel shades in the hollows. Each schooner in sight seemed to
be pulling her dories towards her by invisible stringsand the little
black figures in the tiny boats pulled like clockwork toys. "They've
struck on good said Dan, between his half-shut eyes. Manuel
hain't room fer another fish. Low ez a lily-pad in still water
Which is Manuel? I don't see how you can tell 'em 'way off, as
Last boat to the south'ard. He fund you last night,said Dan
pointing. "Manuel rows Portugoosey; ye can't mistake him. East o'
him-he's a heap better'n he rows-is Pennsylvania. Loaded with
saleratusby the looks of him. East o' him-see how pretty they
string out all along-with the humpy shouldersis Long Jack. He's a
Galway man inhabitin' South Bostonwhere they all live mostly
an' mostly them Galway men are good in a boat. Northaway
yonder-you'll hear him tune up in a minute is Tom Platt. Man-
o'-war's man he was on the old Ohio first of our navyhe saysto
go araound the Horn. He never talks of much else'cept when he
singsbut he has fair fishin' luck. There! What did I tell you?"
A melodious bellow stole across the water from the northern dory.
Harvey heard something about somebody's hands and feet being
Bring forth the chart, the doleful chart,
See where them mountings meet!
The clouds are thick around their heads,
The mists around their feet.
Full boat,said Danwith a chuckle. "II he give us '0 Captain' it's
The bellow continued:
And naow to thee, 0 Capting,
Most earnestly I pray,
That they shall never bury me
In church or cloister gray.
Double game for Tom Platt. He'll tell you all about the old Ohio
tomorrow. 'See that blue dory behind him? He's my uncle,-Dad's
own brother,-an' ef there's any bad luck loose on the Banks she'll
fetch up agin Uncle Salters, sure. Look how tender he's rowin'. I'll
lay my wage and share he's the only man stung up to-day-an' he's
stung up good.
What'll sting him?said Harveygetting interested.
Strawberries, mostly. Pumpkins, sometimes, an' sometimes
lemons an' cucumbers. Yes, he's stung up from his elbows down.
That man's luck's perfectly paralyzin'. Naow we'll take a-bolt o' the
tackles an' hist 'em in. Is it true what you told me jest now, that you
never done a hand's turn o' work in all your born life? Must feel
kinder awful, don't it?
I'm going to try to work, anyway,Harvey replied stoutly. "Only
it's all dead new."
Lay a-holt o' that tackle, then. Behind ye!
Harvey grabbed at a rope and long iron hook dangling from one of
the stays of the mainmastwhile Dan pulled down another that ran
from something he called a 'topping-lift as Manuel drew
alongside in his loaded dory. The Portuguese smiled a brilliant
smile that Harvey learned to know well later, and with a
short-handled fork began to throw fish into the pen on deck. Two
hundred and thirty-one he shouted.
Give him the hook said Dan, and Harvey ran it into Manuel's
hands. He slipped it through a loop of rope at the dory's bow,
caught Dan's tackle, hooked it to the stern-becket, and clambered
into the schooner.
Pull!" shouted Danand Harvey pulledastonished to find how
easily the dory rose.
Hold on, she don't nest in the crosstrees!Dan laughed; and
Harvey held onfor the boat lay in the air above his head.
Lower away,Dan shoutedand as Harvey loweredDan swayed
the light boat with one hand till it landed softly just behind the
mainmast. "They don't weigh nothin' empty. The was right smart
fer a passenger.
There's more trick to it in a sea-way."
Ah ha!said Manuelholding out a brown hand. "You are some
pretty well now? This time last night the fish they fish for you.
Now you fish for fish.. Ehwha-at?"
I'm-I'm ever so grateful,Harvey stammeredand his unfortunate
hand stole to his pocket once morebut he remembered that he had
no money to offer. When he knew Manuel better the mere thought
of the mistake he might have made would cover him with hot
uneasy blushes in his bunk.
There is no to be thankful for to me!said Manuel. "How shall I
leave you dreeftdreeft all around the Banks? Now you are a
fisherman ehwha-at? Ouh! Auh!" He bent backward and forward
stiffly from the hips to get the kinks out of himself.
I have not cleaned boat to-day. Too busy. They struck on queek.
Danny, my son, clean for me.
Harvey moved forward at once. Here was something he could do
for the man who had saved his life.
Dan threw him a swaband he leaned over the dorymopping up
the slime clumsilybut with great good-will. "Hike out the
foot-boards; they slide in them grooves said Dan. Swab 'em an'
lay 'em down. Never let a foot-board jam. Ye may want her bad
some day. Here's Long Jack."
A stream of glittering fish flew into the pen from a dory alongside.
Manuel, you take the tackle. I'll fix the tables. Harvey, clear
Manuel's boat. Long Jack's nestin' on the top of her.
Harvey looked up from his swabbing at the bottom of another dory
just above his head.
Jest like the Injian puzzle-boxes, ain't they?said Danas the one
boat dropped into the other.
Takes to ut like a duck to water,said Long Jacka
grizzly-chinnedlong-lipped Galway manbending to and fro
exactly as Manuel had done. Disko in the cabin growled up the
hatchwayand they could hear him suck his pencil.
Wan hunder an' forty-nine an' a half-bad luck to ye, Discobolus!
said Long Jack. "I'm murderin' meself to fill your pockuts. Slate ut
for a bad catch. The Portugee has bate me."
Whack came another dory alongsideand more fish shot into the
Two hundred and three. let's look at the passenger!The speaker
was even larger than the Galway manand his face was made
curious by a purple Cut running slant-ways from his left eye to the
right corner of his mouth.
Not knowing what else to doHarvey swabbed each dory as it
came downpulled out the foot-boardsand laid them in the
bottom of the boat.
He's caught on good,said the scarred manwho was Toni Platt
watching him critically. "There are two ways o' doin' everything.
One's fisher-fashion-any end first ana slippery hitch over all-an'
What we did on the old Ohio!Dan interruptedbrushing into the
knot of men with a long board on legs. "Get out o' hereTom Platt
an' leave me fix the tables."
He jammed one end of the board into two nicks in the bulwarks
kicked out the legand ducked just in time to avoid a swinging
blow from the man-o'-war's man.
An' they did that on the Ohio, too, Danny. See?said Tom Platt
Guess they was swivel-eyed, then, fer it didn't git home, and I
know who'll find his boots on the main-truck ef he don't leave us
alone. Haul ahead! I'm busy, can't ye see?
Danny, ye lie on the cable an' sleep all day,said Long Jack.
You're the hoight av impidence, an' I'm persuaded ye'll corrupt
our supercargo in a week.
His name's Harvey,said Danwaving two strangely shaped
knivesan' he'll be worth five of any Sou' Boston clam-digger 'fore
long.He laid the knives tastefully on the tablecocked his head
on one sideand admired the effect
I think it's forty-two,said a small voice oversideand there was a
roar of laughter as another voice answeredThen my luck's turned
fer onct, 'caze I'm forty-five, though I be stung outer all shape.
Forty-two or forty-five. I've lost count,the small voice said.
It's Penn an' Uncle Salters caountin' catch. This beats the circus
any day,said Dan. "Jest look at 'em!"
Come in--come in!roared Long Jack. "It's. wet out yondher
Forty-two, ye said.This was Uncle Salters.
I'll count again, then,the voice replied meekly. The two dories
swung together and bunted into the schooner's side.
Patience o' Jerusalem!snapped Uncle Saltersbacking water
with a splash. "What possest a farmer like you to set foot in a boat
beats me. You've nigh stove me all up."
I am sorry, Mr. Salters. I came to sea on account of nervous
dyspepsia. You advised me, I think.
You an' your nervis dyspepsy be drowned in the Whale-hole,
roared Uncle Saltersa fat and tubby little man. "You're comin'
down on me agin. Did ye say forty-two or forty-five?"
I've forgotten, Mr. Salters. let's count.
Don't see as it could be forty-five. I'm forty-five,said Uncle
Salters. "You count keerfulPenn."
Disko Troop came out of the cabin. "Saltersyou pitch your fish in
naow at once he said in the tone of authority.
Don't spile the catchDad Dan murmured. Them two are on'y
Mother av delight! He's forkin' them wan by wan,howled Long
Jackas Uncle Salters got to work laboriously; the little man in the
other dory counting a line of notches on the gunwale.
That was last week's catch,he saidlooking up plaintivelyhis
forefinger where he had left off.
Manuel nudged Danwho darted to the after-tackleandleaning
far oversideslipped the hook into the stern-rope as Manuel made
her fast forward. The others pulled gallantly and swung the boat
One, two, four-nine,said Tom Plattcounting with a practised
eye. "Forty-seven. Pennyou're it!" Dan let the after-tackle runand
slid him out of the stern on to the deck amid a torrent of his own
Hold on!roared Uncle Saltersbobbing by the waist. "Hold on
I'm a bit mixed in my caount."
He had no time to protestbut was hove inboard and treated like
Forty-one,said Tom Platt. "Beat by a farmerSalters. An' you
sech a sailortoo!"
'Tweren't fair caount,said hestumbling out of the pen; "an' I'm
stung up all to pieces."
His thick hands were puffy and mottled purply white.
Some folks will find strawberry-bottom,said Danaddressing the
newly risen moonef they hev to dive fer it, seems to me.
An' others,said Uncle Salterseats the fat o' the land in sloth,
an' mocks their own blood-kin.
Seat ye! Seat ye!a voice Harvey had not heard called from the
foc'sle. Disko TroopTom PlattLong Jackand Salters went
forward on the word. Little Penn bent above his square deep-sea
reel and the tangled cod-lines; Manuel lay down full length on the
deckand Dan dropped into the holdwhere Harvey heard him
banging casks with a hammer.
Salt,he saidreturning. "Soon as we're through supper we git to
dressing-down. You'll pitch to Dad. Tom Platt an' Dad they stow
togetheran' you'll hear 'em arguin'. We're second ha'afyou an' me
an' Manuel an' Penn-the youth an' beauty o' the boat."
What's the good of that?said Harvey. "I'm hungry."
They'll be through in a minute. Suff! She smells good to-night.
Dad ships a good cook ef he do suffer with his brother. It's a full
catch today, Aeneid it?He pointed at the pens piled high with
cod. "What water did ye hevManuel?"
Twenty-fife father,said the Portuguesesleepily. "They strike on
good an' queek. Some day I show youHarvey."
The moon was beginning to walk on the still sea before the elder
men came aft. The cook had no need to cry "second half." Dan and
Manuel were down the hatch and at table ere Tom Plattlast and
most deliberate of the eldershad finished wiping his mouth with
the back of his hand. Harvey followed Pennand sat down before a
tin pan of cod's tongues and soundsmixed with scraps of pork and
fried potatoa loaf of hot breadand some black and powerful
coffee. Hungry as they werethey waited while "Pennsylvania"
solemnly asked a blessing. Then they stoked in silence till Dan
drew a breath over his tin cup and demanded of Harvey how he
'Most full, but there's just room for another piece.
The cook was a hugejet-black negroandunlike all the negroes
Harvey had metdid not talkcontenting himself with smiles and
dumb-show invitations to eat more.
See, Harvey,said Danrapping with his fork on the tableit's
jest as I said. The young an' handsome men-like me an' Pennsy an'
you an' Manuel-we're second ha'af, an' we eats when the first ha'af
are through. They're the old fish; an' they're mean an' humpy, an'
their stummicks has to be humoured; so they come first, which
they don't deserve. Aeneid that so, doctor?
The cook nodded.
Can't he talk?said Harvey in a whisper.
'Nough to get along. Not much o' anything we know. His natural
tongue's kinder curious. Comes from the innards of Cape Breton,
he does, where the farmers speak homemade Scotch. Cape
Breton's full o' niggers whose folk run in there durin' aour war, an'
they talk like farmers-all huffy-chuffy.
That is not Scotch,said "Pennsylvania." "That is Gaelic. So I
read in a book."
Penn reads a heap. Most of what he says is so-'cep' when it comes
to a caount o' fish-eh?
Does your father just let them say how many they've caught
without checking them?said Harvey.
Why, yes. Where's the sense of a man lyin' fer a few old cod?
Was a man once lied for his catch,Manuel put in. "Lied every
day. Fifetentwenty-fife more fish than come he say there was."
Where was that?said Dan. "None o' aour folk."
Frenchman of Anguille.
Ah! Them West Shore Frenchmen don't caount anyway. Stands to
reason they can't caount Ef you run acrost any of their soft hooks,
Harvey, you'll know why,said Danwith an awful contempt.
Always more and never less,
Every time we come to dress,
Long Jack roared down the hatchand the "second ha'af"
scrambled up at once.
The shadow of the masts and riggingwith the never-furled
riding-sailrolled to and fro on the heaving deck in the moonlight;
and the pile of fish by the stern shone like a dump of fluid silver.
In the hold there were tramplings and rumblings where Disko
Troop and Tom Platt moved among the salt-bins. Dan passed
Harvey a pitchforkand led him to the inboard end of the rough
tablewhere Uncle Salters was drumming impatiently with a
knife-haft. A tub of salt water lay at his feet.
You pitch to Dan an' Tom Platt down the hatch, an' take keer
Uncle Salters don't cut yer eye out,said Danswinging himself
into the hold. "I'll pass salt below."
Penn and Manuel stood knee deep among cod in the pen
flourishing drawn knives. Long Jacka basket at his feet and
mittens on his handsfaced Uncle Salters at the tableand Harvey
stared at the pitchfork and the tub.
Hi!shouted Manuelstooping to the fishand bringing one up
with a finger under- its gill and a finger in its eyes. He laid it on
the edge of the pen; the knife-blade glimmered with a sound of
tearingand the fishslit from throat to ventwith a nick on either
side of the neckdropped at Long Jack's feet.
Hi!said Long Jackwith a scoop of his mittened hand. The cod's
liver dropped in the basket. Another wrench and scoop sent the
head and offal flyingand the empty fish slid across to Uncle
Salterswho snorted fiercely. There was another sound of tearing
the backbone flew over the bulwarksand the fishheadless
guttedand opensplashed in the tubsending the salt water into
Harvey's astonished mouth. After the first yellthe men were
silent. The cod moved along as though they were aliveand long
ere Harvey had ceased wondering at the miraculous dexterity of it
allhis tub was full.
Pitch!grunted Uncle Salterswithout turning his headand
Harvey pitched the fish by twos and threes down the hatch.
Hi! Pitch 'em bunchy,shouted Dan. "Don't scatter!
Uncle Salters is the best splitter in the fleet. Watch him mind his
Indeedit looked a little as though the round uncle were cutting
magazine pages against time. Manuel's bodycramped over from
the hipsstayed like a statue; but his long arms grabbed the fish
without ceasing. Little Penn toiled valiantlybut it was easy to see
he was weak. Once or twice Manuel found time to help him
without breaking the chain of suppliesand once Manuel howled
because he had caught his finger in a Frenchman's hook. These
hooks are made of soft metalto be rebent after use; but the cod
very often get away with them and are hooked again elsewhere;
and that is one of the many reasons why the Gloucester boats
despise the Frenchmen.
Down belowthe rasping sound of rough salt rubbed on rough
flesh sounded like the whirring of a grindstone--steady undertune
to the "click-nick" of knives in the pen; the wrench and shloop of
torn headsdropped liverand flying offal; the "caraaah" of Uncle
Salters's knife scooping away backbones; and the flap of wetopen
bodies falling into the tub.
At the end of an hour Harvey would have given the world to rest;
for freshwet cod weigh more than you would thinkand his back
ached with the steady pitching. But he felt for the first time in his
life that he was one of the working gang of mentook pride in the
thoughtand held on sullenly.
Knife oh!shouted Uncle Salters at last. Penn doubled up
gasping among the fishManuel bowed back and forth to supple
himselfand Long Jack leaned over the bulwarks. The cook
appearednoiseless as a black shadowcollected a mass of
backbones and headsand retreated.
Blood-ends for breakfast an' head-chowder,said Long Jack
smacking his lips.
Knife oh!repeated Uncle Salterswaving the flatcurved
Look by your foot, Harve,cried Dan below.
Harvey saw half a dozen knives stuck in a cleat in the hatch
combing. He dealt these aroundtaking over the dulled ones.
Water!said Disko Troop.
Scuffle-butt's for'ard an' the dipper's alongside. Hurry, Harve,
He was back in a minute with a big dipperful of stale brown water
which tasted like nectarand loosed the jaws of Disko and Tom
These are cod,said Disko. "They ain't Damarskus figsTom
Plattnor yet silver bars. I've told you that ever single time since
we've sailed together."
A matter o' seven seasons,returned Tom Platt coolly. "Good
stowin's good stowin' all the samean' there's a right an' a wrong
way o' stowin' ballast even. If you'd ever seen four hundred ton o'
iron set into the~"
Hi!With a yell from Manuel the work began againand never
stopped till the pen was empty. The instant the last fish was down
Disko Troop rolled alt to the cabin with his brother; Manuel and
Long Jack went forward; Tom Platt only waited long enough to
slide home the hatch ere he too disappeared. In half a minute
Harvey heard deep snores in the cabinand he was staring blankly
at Dan and Penn.
I did a little better that time, Danny,said Pennwhose eyelids
were heavy with sleep. "But I think it is my duty to help clean."
'Wouldn't hev your conscience fer a thousand quintal,said Dan.
Turn in, Penn. You've no call to do boy's work. Draw a bucket,
Harvey. Oh, Penn, dump these in the gurry-butt 'fore you sleep.
Kin you keep awake that long?
Penn took up the heavy basket of fish-liversemptied them into a
cask with a hinged top lashed by the foc'sle; then he too dropped
out of sight in the cabin.
Boys clean up after dressin' down an' first watch in ca'am weather
is boy's watch on the We're Here.Dan sluiced the pen
energeticallyunshipped the tableset it up to dry in the moonlight
ran the red knife-blades through a wad of oakumand began to
sharpen them on a tiny grindstoneas Harvey threw offal and
backbones overboard under his direction.
At the first splash a silvery-white ghost rose bolt upright from the
oily water and sighed a weird whistling sigh. Harvey started back
with a shoutbut Dan only laughed.
Grampus,said he. "Beggin' fer fish-heads. They up-eend the way
when they're hungry. Breath on him like the doleful tombshain't
he?" A horrible stench of decayed fish filled the air as the pillar of
white sankand the water bubbled oilily. "Hain't ye never seen a
grampus up-eend before? You'll see 'em by hundreds 'fore ye're
through. Sayit's good to hev a boy aboard again. Otto was too old
an' a Dutchy at that. Him an' me we fought consid'ble. 'Wouldn't
ha' keered fer that ef he'd hed a Christian tongue in his head.
Dead sleepy,said Harveynodding forward.
Mustn't sleep on watch. Rouse up an' see ef our anchor-light's
bright an' shinin'. You're on watch now, Harve.
Pshaw! What's to hurt us? 'Bright's day. Sn-orrr!
Jest when things happen, Dad says. Fine weather's good sleepin',
an' 'fore you know, mebbe, you're cut in two by a liner, an'
seventeen brass-bound officers, all gen'elmen, lift their hand to it
that your lights was aout an' there was a thick fog. Harve, I've
kinder took to you, but ef you nod onet more I'll lay into you with a
The moonwho sees many strange things on the Bankslooked
down on a slim youth in knickerbockers and a red jersey
staggering around the cluttered decks of a seventy-ton schooner
while behind himwaving a knotted ropewalkedafter the manner
of an executionera boy who yawned and nodded between the
blows he dealt.
The lashed wheel groaned and kicked softlythe riding-sail slatted
a little in the shifts of the light windthe windlass creakedand the
miserable procession continued. Harvey expostulatedthreatened
whimperedand at last wept outrightwhile Danthe words
clotting on his tonguespoke of the beauty of watchfulness and
slashed away with the rope's endpunishing the dories as often as
he hit Harvey. At last the clock in the cabin struck tenand upon
the tenth stroke little Penn crept on deck. He found two boys in
two tumbled heaps side by side on the main hatchso deeply
asleep that he actually rolled them to their berths.
It was the forty-fathom slumber that clears the soul and eye and
heartand sends you to breakfast ravening. They emptied a big tin
dish of juicy fragments of fish-the blood-ends the cook had
collected overnight. They cleaned up the plates and pans of the
elder messwho were out fishingsliced pork for the midday meal
swabbed down the foc'slefilled the lampsdrew coal and water
for the cookand investigated the fore-holdwhere the boat's stores
were stacked. It was another perfect day-softmildand clear; and
Harvey breathed to the very bottom of his lungs.
More schooners had crept up in the nightand the long blue seas
were full of sails and dories. Far away on the horizonthe smoke of
some linerher hull invisiblesmudged the blueand to eastward a
big ship's top-gallant sailsjust liftingmade a square nick in it.
Disko Troop was smoking by the roof of the cabin~ne eye on the
craft aroundand the other on the little fly at the main-mast-head.
When Dad kerfiummoxes that way,said Dan in a whisperhe's
doin' some high-line thinkin' fer all hands. I'll lay my wage an'
share we'll make berth soon. Dad he knows the cod, an' the Fleet
they know Dad knows. 'See 'em comm' up one by one, lookin' fer
nothin' in particular, o' course, but scrowgin' on us all the time?
There's the Prince Leboo; she's a Chat-ham boat. She's crep' up
sence last night. An' see that big one with a patch in her foresail an'
a new jib? She's the Carrie Pitman from West Chat-ham. She won't
keep her canvas long onless her luck's changed since last season.
She don't do much 'cep' drift. There ain't an anchor made 'II hold
her. . . . When the smoke puffs up in little rings like that, Dad's
studyin' the fish. Ef we speak to him now, he'll git mad. Las' time I
did, he jest took an' hove a boot at me.
Disko Troop stared forwardthe pipe between his teethwith eyes
that saw nothing. As his son saidhe was studying the fish-pitting
his knowledge and experience on the Banks against the roving cod
in his own sea. He accepted the presence of the inquisitive
schooners on the horizon as a compliment to his powers. But now
that it was paidhe wished to draw away and make his berth alone
till it was time to go up to the Virgin and fish in the streets of that
roaring town upon the waters. So Disko Troop thought of recent
weatherand galescurrentsfood-suppliesand other domestic
arrangementsfrom the point of view of a twenty-pound cod; was
in factfor an hour a cod himselfand looked remarkably like one.
Then he removed the pipe from his teeth.
Dad,said Danwe've done our chores. Can't we go overside a
piece? It's good catchin' weather.
Not in that cherry-coloured rig ner them ha'af baked brown shoes.
Give him suthin' fit to wear.
Dad's pleased-that settles it,said Dandelightedlydragging
Harvey into the cabinwhile Troop pitched a key down the steps.
Dad keeps my spare rig where he kin overhaul it, 'cause Ma sez
I'm keerless.He rummaged through a lockerand in less than
three minutes Harvey was adorned with fisherman's rubber boots
that came half up his thigha heavy blue jersey well darned at the
elbowsa pair of nippersand a sou'wester.
Naow ye look somethin' like,said Dan. "Hurry!"
Keep nigh an' handy,said Troop "an' don't go visitin' racund the
Fleet. If any one asks you what I'm cal'latin' to dospeak the
truth-fer ye don't know."
A little red dorylabelled Hattie S.lay astern of the schooner. Dan
hauled in the painterand dropped lightly on to the bottom boards
while Harvey tumbled clumsily after.
That's no way o' gettin' into a boat,said Dan. "Ef there was any
sea you'd go to the bottomsure. You got to learn to meet her."
Dan fitted the thole-pinstook the forward thwart and watched
Harvey's work. The boy had rowedin a lady-like fashionon the
Adirondack ponds; but there is a difference between squeaking
pins and well-balanced ruflocks-light sculls and stubbyeight-foot
sea-oars. They stuck in the gentle swelland Harvey grunted.
Short! Row short!said Dan. "Ef you cramp your oar in any kind
o' sea you're liable to turn her over. Ain't she a daisy? Minetoo."
The little dory was specklessly clean. In her bows lay a tiny
anchortwo jugs of waterand some seventy fathoms of thin
brown dory-roding. A tin dinner-horn rested in cleats just under
Harvey's right handbeside an ugly-looking maula short gaffand
a shorter wooden stick. A couple of lin~with very heavy leads
and double cod-hooksall neatly coiled on square reelswere stuck
in their place by the gunwale.
Where's the sail and mast?said Harveyfor his hands were
beginning to blister.
Dan chuckled. "Ye don't sail fishin'-dories much. Ye pull; but ye
needn't pull so hard. Don't you wish you owned her?"
Well, I gtiess my father might give me one or two if I asked 'em,
Harvey replied. He had been too busy to think much of his family
That's so. I forgot your dad's a millionaire. You don't act
rnillionary any, naow. But a dory an' craft an' gear-Dan spoke as
though she were a whaleboat -"costs a heap. Think your dad 'u'd
give you one fer-fer a pet like?"
Shouldn't wonder. It would be 'most the ouly thing I haven't stuck
him for yet.
'Must be an expensive kinder kid to home. Don't slitheroo thet
wayHarve. Short's the trickbecause no sea's ever dead stillan'
the swells 'il~"
Crack! The loom of the oar kicked Harvey under the chin and
knocked him backwards.
That was what I was goin' to say. I hed to learn too, but I wasn't
more than eight years old when I got my schoolin'.
Harvey regained his seat with aching jaws and a frown.
No good gettin' mad at things, Dad says. It's our own fault ef we
can't handle 'em, he says. Le's try here. Manuel 'll give us the
The "Portugee" was rocking fully a mile awaybut when Dan
up-ended an oar he waved his left arm three times.
Thirty fathom,said Danstringing a salt clam on to the hook.
Over with the doughboys. Bait same's I do, Harvey, an' don't snarl
Dan's line was out long before Harvey had mastered the mystery of
baiting and heaving out the leads. The dory drifted along easily. It
was not worth while to anchor till they were sure of good ground.
Here we come!Dan shoutedand a shower of spray rattled on
Harvey's shoulders as a big cod flapped and kicked alongside.
Muckie, Harvey, muckle! Under your hand! Onick!
Evidently "muckle" could not be the dinner-hornso Harvey passed
over the mauland Dan scientifically stunned the fish before he
pulled it inboardand wrenched out the hook with the short
wooden stick he called a "go~stick." Then Harvey felt a tugand
pulled up zealously.
Why, these are strawberries!he shouted. "Look!"
The hook had fouled among a bunch of strawberriesred on one
side and white on the other-perfect reproductions of the land fruit
except that there were no leavesand the stem was all pipy and
Don't tech 'em. Slat 'em off. Don't
The warning came too late. Harvey had picked them from the
hook, and was admiring them.
Ouch!" he criedfor his fingers throbbed as though he had
grasped many nettles.
Nnow ye know what strawberry-bottom means. Nothin' 'cep' fish
should be teched with the naked fingers, Dad says. Slat 'em off
agin the guunel, an' bait up, Harve. Lookin' won't help any. It's all
in the wages.
Harvey smiled at the thought of his ten and a half dollars a month
and wondered what his mother would say if she could see him
hanging over the edge of a fishing-dory in mid-ocean. She suffered
agonies whenever he went out on Saranac Lake; andby the way
Harvey remembered distinctly that he used to laugh at her
annieties. Suddenly the line flashed through his handstinging
even through the "nippers the woolen cirdets supposed to protect
He's a logy. Give him room accordin' to his strength cried Dan.
I'll help ye."
No, you won't,Harvey snappedas he hung on to the line. "It's
my first fish. I~is it a whale?"
Halibut, mebbe.Dan peered down into the water alongsideand
flourished the big "muckle ready for all chances. Something
white and oval flickered and fluttered through the green. I'll lay
my wage an' share he's over a hundred. Are you so everlastin'
anxious to land him alone?"
Harvey's knuckles were raw and bleeding where they had been
hanged against the gunwale; his face was purple-blue between
excitement and exertion; he dripped with sweatand was
half-blinded from staring at the circling sunlit ripples about the
swiftly moving line. The boys were tired long ere the halibutwho
took charge of them and the dory for the next twenty minutes. But
the big flat fish was gaffed and hauled in at last.
Beginner's luck,said Danwiping his forehead. "He'~ all of a
Harvey looked at the huge gray-and-mottled creature with
unspeakable pride. He had seen halibut many times on marble
slabs ashorebut it had never occurred to him to ask how they
came inland. Now he knew; and every inch of his body ached with
Ef Dad was along,said Danhauling uphe'd read the signs
plain's print. The fish are runnin' smaller an' smaller, an' you've
took 'baout as logy a halibut's we're apt to find this trip. Yesterday's
catch-did ye notice it?-was all big fish an' no halibut. Dad he'd read
them signs right off. Dad says everythin' on the Banks is signs, an'
can be read wrong er right. Dad's deeper'n the Whale-hole.
Even as he spoke some one fired a pistol on the We're Hereand a
potato-basket was run up in the fore-rigging.
What did I say, naow? That's the call fer the whole crowd. Dad's
onter something, er he'd never break fishin' this time o' day. Reel
up, Harve, an' we'll pull back.
They were to windward of the schoonerjust ready to flirt the dory
over the still seawhen sounds of woe half a mile off led them to
Pennwho was careering around a fixed point for all the world like
a gigantic water-bug. The little man backed away and came down
again with enormous energybut at the end of each maneuver his
dory swung round and snubbed herself on her rope.
We'll hev to help him, else he'll root an' seed here,said Dan.
What's the matter?said Harvey. This was a new worldwhere he
could not lay down the law to his eldersbut had to ask questions
humbly. And the sea was horribly big and unexcited.
Anchor's fouled. Penn's always losing 'em. Lost two this trip
a'ready-on sandy bottom too-an' Dad says next one he loses, sure's
fishin', he'll give him the kelleg. That 'u'd break Penn's heart.
What's a 'kelleg'?said Harveywho had a vague idea it might be
some kind of marine torturelike keel-hauling in the storybooks.
Big stone instid of an anchor. You kin see a kelleg ridin' in the
bows fur's you can see a dory, an' all the fleet knows what it
means. They'd guy him dreadful. Penn couldn't stand that no
more'n a dog with a dipper to his tail. He's so everlastin' sensitive.
Hello, Penn! Stuck again? Don't try any more o' your patents.
Come up on her, and keep your rodin' straight up an' down.
It doesn't move,said the little manpanting. "It doesn't move at
alland instead I tried everything."
What's all this hurrah's-nest for'ard?said Danpointing to a wild
tangle of spare oars and dory-rodingall matted together by the
hand of inexperience.
Oh, that,said Penn proudlyis a Spanish windlass. Mr. Salters
showed me how to make it; but even that doesn't move her.
Dan bent low over the gunwale to hide a smiletwitched once or
twice on the rodingandbeholdthe anchor drew at once.
Haul up, Penn,he said laughinger she'll git stuck again.
They left him regarding the weed-hung flukes of the little anchor
with big, pathetic blue eyes, and thanking them profusely.
Ohsaywhile I think of itHarve said Dan when they were out
of ear-shot, Penn ain't quite all caulked.
He ain't nowise dangerousbut his mind's give out.
Is that so, or is it one of your father's judgments?
Harvey asked as he bent to his oars. He felt he was learning to
handle them more easily.
Dad ain't mistook this time. Penn's a sure 'nuff loony.
No, he ain't thet exactly, so much ez a harmless ijut. It was this
way (you're rowin' quite so, Harve), an' I tell you 'cause it's right
you orter know. He was a Moravian preacher once. Jacob Boiler
wuz his name, Dad told me, an' he lived with his wife an' four
children somewheres out Pennsylvania way. Well, Penn he took
his folks along to a Moravian meetin'camp-meetin' most like-an'
they stayed over jest one night in Johns- town. You've heered talk
Harvey considered. "YesI have. But I don't know why. It sticks in
my head same as Ashtabula."
Both was big accidents-thet's why, Harve. Well, that one single
night Penn and his folks was to the hotel Johnstown was wiped
out. 'Dam bust an' flooded her, an' the houses struck adrift an'
bumped into each other an' sunk. I've seen the pictures, an' they're
dretful.Penn he saw his folk drowned all'n a heap 'fore he rightly
knew what was comin'. His mind give out from that on. He
mistrusted somethin' hed happened up to Johnstown, but for the
poor life of him he couldn't remember what, an' he jest drifted araound
smilin' an' wonderin'. He didn't know what he was, nor yit what
he hed bin, an' thet way he run agin Uncle Salters, who was visitin'
'n Allegheny City. Ha'af my mother's folks they live scattered
inside o' Pennsylvania, an' Uncle Salters he visits araound winters.
Uncle Salters he kinder adopted Penn, well knowin' what his
trouble wuz; an' he brought him East, an' he give him work on his
farm.', WhyI heard him calling Penn a farmer last night when
the boats bumped. Is your Uncle Salters a farmer?"
Farmer!shouted Dan. "There ain't water enough 'tween here an'
Hatt'rus to wash the furrer-mold off'n his boots. He's jest everlastin'
farmer. WhyHarveI've seen thet man hitch up a bucketlong
towards sundownan' set twiddlin' the spigot to the scuttle-butt
same's ef 'twas a cow's bag. He's thet much farmer. WellPenn an'
he they ran the farm-up Exeter way 'twur. Uncle Salters he sold it
this spring to a jay from Boston as wanted to build a
summer-haousean' he got a heap for it. Wellthem two loonies
scratched along tillone dayPenn's church he'd belonged t~the
Moravians -found out where he wuz drifted an' layin'an' wrote to
Uncle Salters. 'Never heerd what they said exactly; but Uncle
Salters was mad. He's a 'piscopolian mostly-but he jest let 'em hev
it both sides o' the bow's if he was a Baptist; an' sez he warn't
goin' to give up Penn to any blame Moravian connection in
Pennsylvania or anywheres else. Then he come to Dadtowin'
Penn-thet was two trips back-an' sez he an' Penn must fish a trip
fer their health. 'Guess he thought the Moravians wouldn't hunt the
Banks fer Jacob Boiler. Dad was agreeablefer Uncle Salters he'd
been fishin' off an' on fer thirty yearswhen he warn't inventin'
patent manuresan' he took quarter-share in the We're Here; an' the
trip done Penn so much goodDad made a habit o' takin' him.
Some dayDad sezhe'll remember his wife an' kids an'
Johnstownan' thenlike as nothe'll dieDad sez. Don't ye talk
abaout Johnstown ner such things to Penn'r Uncle Salters he'll
heave ye overboard."
Poor Penn!murmured Harvey. "I shouldn't ever have thought
Uncle Salters cared for him by the look of 'em together."
I like Penn, though; we all do,said Dan. "We ought to ha' give
him a towbut I wanted to tell ye first."
They were close to the schooner nowthe other boats a little
You needn't heave in the dories till after dinner,said Troop from
the deck. "We'll dress daown right off. Fix tableboys!"
Deeper'n the Whale-deep,said Danwith a winkas he set the
gear for dressing down. "Look at them boats that hev edged up
sence mornin'. They're all waitin' on Dad. See 'emHarve?"
They are all alike to me.And indeed to a landsmanthe nodding
schooners around seemed run from the same mold.
They ain't, though. That yaller, dirty packet with her bowsprit
steeved that way, she's the Hope of Prague. Nick Brady's her
skipper, the meanest man on the Banks. We'll tell him so when we
strike the Main Ledge. 'Way off yonder's the Day's Eye. The two
Jeraulds own her. She's from Harwich; fastish, too, an' hez good
luck; but Dad he'd find fish in a graveyard. Them other three, side
along, they're the Margie Smith, Rose, and Edith S. Walen, all
from home. 'Guess we'll see the Abbie M. Deering to-morrer, Dad,
won't we? They're all slippin' over from the shaol o' 'Oueereau.
You won't see many boats to-morrow, Danny.When Troop
called his son Dannyit was a sign that the old man was pleased.
Boys, we're too crowded,he went onaddressing the crew as they
clambered inboard. "We'll leave 'em to bait big an' catch small."
He looked at the catch in the penand it was curious to see how
little and level the fish ran. Save for Harvey's halibutthere was
nothing over fifteen pounds on dec~
I'm waitin' on the weather,he added.
Ye'll have to make it yourself, Disko, for there's no sign I can
see,said Long Jacksweeping the clear horizon.
And yethalf an hour lateras they were dressing downthe Bank
fog dropped on thembetween fish and fish,as they say. It drove
steadily and in wreathscurling and smoking along the colourless
water. The men stopped dressing-down without a word. Long Jack
and Uncle Salters slipped the windlass brakes into their sockets
and began to heave up the anchor; the windlass jarring as the wet
hempen cable strained on the barrel. Manuel and Tom Platt gave a
hand at the last. The anchor came up with a soband the riding-sail
bellied as Troop steadied her at the wheel. "Up jib and foresail
Slip 'em in the smother shouted Long Jack, making fast the
jib-sheet, while the others raised the clacking, rattling rings of the
foresail; and the for~boom creaked as the We're Here looked up
into the wind and dived off into blank, whirling white.
There's wind behind this fog said Troop.
It was wonderful beyond words to Harvey; and the most wonderful
part was that he heard no orders except an occasional grunt from
Troop, ending with, That's goodmy son!"
'Never seen anchor weighed before?" said Tom Plattto Harvey
gaping at the damp canvas of the foresail.
No. Where are we going?
Fish and make berth, as you'll find out 'fore you've been a week
aboard. It's all new to you, but we never know what may come to
us. Now, take m~Tom Platt -I'd never ha' thought~
It's better than fourteen dollars a month an' a bullet in your belly,
said Troopfrom the wheel. "Ease your jumbo a grind."
Dollars an' cents better,returned the man~ -war S mandoing
something to a big jib with a wooden spar tied to it. "But we didn't
think o' that when we manned the windlass-brakes on the Miss
Jim Buck1 outside Beau-fort Harborwith Fort Macon heavin'
hot shot at our sternan' a livin' gale atop of all. Where was you
Jest here, or hereabouts,Disko repliedearnin' my bread on the
deep waters, an' dodgin' Reb privateers. Sorry I can't accommodate
you with red-hot shot, Tom Platt; but I guess we'll come aout all
right on wind 'fore we see Eastern Point.
There was an incessant slapping and chatter at the bows now
varied by a solid thud and a little spout of spray that clattered
down on the foc'sle. The rigging dripped clammy dropsand the
men lounged along the lee of the house-all save Uncle Salterswho
sat stiffly on the main-hatch nursing his stung hands.
'Guess she'd carry stays'l said Disko, rolling one eye at his
'Guess she wouldn't to any sorter profit. What's the sense o' wastin'
canvas?the farmer-sailor replied.
1 The GemsbokU.S.N.?
The wheel twitched almost imperceptibly in Disko's hands. A few
seconds later a hissing wave-top slashed diagonally across the
boatsmote Uncle Salters between the shouldersand drenched
him from head to foot. He rose sputteringand went forward only
to catch another.
See Dad chase him all around the deck,said Dan. "Uncle Salters
he thinks his quarter share's our canvas. Dad's put this duckin' act
up on him two trips runnin'. Hi! That found him where he feeds."
Uncle Salters had taken refuge by the foremastbut a wave
slapped him over the knees. Disko's face was as blank as the circle
of the wheel.
Guess she'd lie easier under stays'l, Salters,said Diskoas though
he had seen nothing.
Set your old kite, then,roared the victim through a cloud of
spray; "only don't lay it to me lf anything happens. Pennyou go
below right off an' git your coffee. You ought to hev more sense
than to bum araound on deck this weather."
Now they'll swill coffee an' play checkers till the cows come
home,said Danas Uncle Salters hustled Penn into the fore-cabin.
'Looks to me like's if we'd all be doin' so fer a spell. There's
nothin' in creation deader-limpsey-idler'n a Banker when she ain't
I'm glad ye spoke, Danny,cried Long Jackwho had been casting
round in search of amusement. "I'd dean forgot we'd a passenger
under that T-wharf hat. There's no idleness for thim that don't
know their ropes. Pass him alongTom Plattan' we'll larn him."
'Tain't my trick this time,grinned Dan. "You've got to go it alone.
Dad learned me with a rope's end."
For an hour Long Jack walked his prey up and downteachingas
he saidthings at the sea that ivry man must know, blind, dhrunk,
or asleep.There is not much gear to a seventy-ton schooner with a
stump-foremastbut Long Jack had a gift of expression. When he
wished to draw Harvey's attention to the peak-halyardshe dug his
knuckles into the back of the boy's neck and kept him at gaze for
half a minute. He emphasized the difference between fore and aft
generally by rubbing Harvey's nose along a few feet of the boom
and the lead of each rope was fixed in Harvey's mind by the end of
the rope itself.
The lesson would have been easier had the deck been at all free;
but there appeared to be a place on it for everything and anything
except a man. Forward lay the windlass and its tacklewith the
chain and hemp cablesall very unpleasant to trip over; the foc'sle
stovepipeand the gurry-butts by the foc'sle hatch to hold the
fish-livers. Aft of these the foreboom and booby of the main-hatch
took all the space that was not needed for the pumps and
dressing-pens. Then came the nests of dories lashed to ring-bolts
by the quarter-deck; the housewith tubs and oddments lashed all
around it; andlastthe sixty-foot main-boom in its crutchsplitting
things length-wiseto duck and dodge under every time.
Tom Plattof coursecould not keep his oar out of the business
but ranged alongside with enormous and unnecessary descriptions
of sails and spars on the old Ohio.
Niver mind fwhat he says; attind to me, Innocince. Tom Platt, this
bally-hoo's not the Ohio, an' you're mixing the bhoy bad.
He'll be ruined for life, beginnin' on a fore-an'-after this way,
Tom Platt pleaded. "Give him a chance to know a few leadin'
principles. Sailin's an artHarveyas I'd show you if I had ye in the
fore-top o' the-"
I know ut. Ye'd talk him dead an' cowld. Silince, Tom Platt! Now,
after all I've said, how'd you reef the foresail, Harve? Take your
Haul that in,said Harveypointing to leeward.
Fwhat? The North Atlantuc?
No, the boom. Then run that rope you showed me back there-
That's no way,Tom Platt burst in.
Quiet! He's larnin', an' has not the names good yet. Go on, Harve.
Oh, it's the reef-pennant. I'd hook the tackle on to the
reef-pennant, and then let down-
Lower the sail, child! Lower!said Tom Plattin a professional
Lower the throat and peak halyards,Harvey went on. Those
names stuck in his head.
Lay your hand on thim,said Long Jack.
Harvey obeyed. "Lower till that rope-loop-on the after-leach-kris-no
it's cringle-till the cringle was down on the boom. Then I'd tie her
up the way you saidand then I'd hoist up the peak and throat
You've forgot to pass the tack-earing, but wid time and help ye'll
larn. There's good and just reason for ivry rope aboard, or else
'twould be overboard. D'ye follow me? 'Tis dollars an' cents rm
puttin' into your pocket, ye skinny little supercargo, so that fwhin
ye've filled out ye can ship from Boston to Cuba an' tell thim Long
Jack larned you. Now I'll chase ye around a piece, callin' the ropes,
an' you'll lay your hand on thim as I call.
He beganand Harveywho was feeling rather tiredwalked slowly
to the rope named. A rope's end licked round his ribsand nearly
knocked the breath out of him.
When you own a boat,said Tom Plattwith severe. eyesyou
can walk. Till then, take all orders at the run. Once more-to make
Harvey was in a glow with the exerciseand this last cut warmed
him thoroughly. Now he was a singularly smart boythe son of a
very clever man and a very sensitive womanwith a fine resolute
temper that systematic spoiling had nearly turned to mulish
obstinacy. He looked at the other menand saw that even Dan did
not smile. It was evidently all in the day's workthough it hurt
abominably; so he swallowed the hint with a gulp and a gasp and a
grin. The same smartness that led him to take such advantage of
his mother made him very sure that no one on the boatexcept
maybePennwould stand the least nonsense. One learns a great
deal from a mere tone. Long Jack called over half a dozen ropes
and Harvey danced over the deck like an eel at ebb-tideone eye on
Ver' good. Ver' good don,said Manuel. "After supper I show you
a little schooner I makewith all her ropes. So we shall learn."
Fust-class fer-a passenger,said Dan. "Dad he's jest allowed you'll
be wuth your salt maybe 'fore you're draownded. Thet's a heap fer
Dad. I'll learn you more our next watch together."
Taller!grunted Diskopeering through the fog as it smoked over
the bows. There was nothing to be seen ten feet beyond the surging
jib-boomwhile alongside rolled the endless procession of solemn
pale waves whispering and lipping one to the other.
Now I'll learn you something Long Jack can't,shouted Tom
Plattas from a locker by the stern he produced a battered deep-sea
lead hollowed at one endsmeared the hollow from a saucer full of
mutton tallowand went forward. "I'll learn you how to fly the
Blue Pigeon. Shooo!"
Disko did something to the wheel that checked the schooner's way
while Manuelwith Harvey to help (and a proud boy was Harvey)
let down the jib in a lump on the boom. The lead sung a deep
droning song as Tom Platt whirled it round and round.
Go ahead, man,said Long Jackimpatiently. "We're not drawin'
twenty-five fut off Fire Island in a fog. There's no trick to ut."
Don't be jealous, Galway.The released lead plopped into the sea
far ahead as the schooner surged slowly forward.
Soundin' is a trick, though,said Danwhen your dipsey lead's all
the eye you're like to hev for a week. What d'you make it, Dad?
Disko's face relaxed. His skill and honour were involved in the
march he had stolen on the rest of the Fleetand he had his
reputation as a master artist who knew the Banks blindfold. "Sixty
mebbe-ef I'm any judge he replied, with a glance at the tiny
compass in the window of the house.
Sixty sung out Tom Platt, hauling in great wet coils.
The schooner gathered way once more. Heave!" said Diskoafter
a quarter of an hour.
What d'you make it?Dan whisperedand he looked at Harvey
proudly. But Harvey was too proud of his own performances to be
impressed just then.
Fifty,said the father. "I mistrust we're right over the nick o'
Green Bank on old Sixty-Fifty."
Fifty!roared Tom Platt. They could scarcely see him through the
fog. "She's bust within a yard-like the shells at Fort Macon."
Bait up, Harve,said Dandiving for a line on the reel.
The schooner seemed to be straying promiscuously through the
smotherher headsail banging wildly. The men waited and looked
at the boys who began fishing.
Heugh!Dan's lines twitched on the scored and scarred rail. "Now
haow in thunder did Dad know? Help us hereHarve. It's a big un.
Poke-hookedtoo." They hauled togetherand landed a
goggle-eyed twenty-pound cod. He had taken the bait right into his
Why, he's all covered with little crabs,cried Harveyturning him
By the great hook-block, they're lousy already,said Long Jack.
Disko, ye kape your spare eyes under the keel.
Splash went the anchorand they all heaved over the lineseach
man taking his own place at the bulwarks.
Are they good to eat?Harvey pantedas he lugged in another
Sure. When they're lousy it's a sign they've all been herdin'
together by the thousand, and when they take the bait that way
they're hungry. Never mind how the bait sets. They'll bite on the
Say, this is great!Harvey criedas the fish came in gasping and
splashing-nearly all poke-hookedas Dan had said. "Why can't we
always fish from the boat instead of from the dories?"
Allus can, till we begin to dress daown. Efter thet, the heads and
offals 'u'd scare the fish to Fundy. Boatfishin' ain't reckoned
progressive, though, unless ye know as much as dad knows. Guess
we'll run aout aour trawl to-night. Harder on the back, this, than
frum the dory, ain't it?
It was rather back-breaking workfor in a dory the weight of a cod
is water-borne till the last minuteand you areso to speakabreast
of him; but the few feet of a schooner's freeboard make so much
extra dead-haulingand stooping over the bulwarks cramps the
stomach. But it was wild and furious sport so long as it lasted; and
a big pile lay aboard when the fish ceased biting.
Where's Penn and Uncle Salters?Harvey askedslapping the
slime off his oilskinsand reeling up the line in careful imitation
of the others.
Git 's coffee and see.
Under the yellow glare of the lamp on the pawl-postthe foc'sle
table down and openedutterly unconscious of fish or weathersat
the two mena checker-board between themUncle Salters
snarling at Penn's every move.
What's the matter naow?said the formeras Harveyone hand in
the leather loop at the head of the ladderhung shouting to the
Big fish and lousy-heaps and heaps,Harvey repliedquoting
Long Jack. "How's the game?"
Little Penn's jaw dropped. " 'Tweren't none o' his fault snapped
Uncle Salters. Penn's deef."
Checkers, weren't it?said Danas Harvey staggered aft with the
steaming coffee in a tin pail. "That lets us out o' cleanin' up
to-night. Dad's a jest man. They'll have to do it."
An' two young fellers I know'll bait up a tub or so o' trawl, while
they're cleanin',said Diskolashing the wheel to his taste.
Um! Guess I'd ruther clean up, Dad.
Don't doubt it. Ye wun't, though. Dress daown! Dress daown!
Penn'll pitch while you two bait up.
Why in thunder didn't them blame boys tell us you'd struck on?
said Uncle Saltersshuffling to his place at the table. "This knife '5
Ef stickin' out cable don't wake ye, guess you'd better hire a boy
o' your own,said Danmuddling about in the dusk over the tubs
full of trawl-line lashed to windward of the house. "OhHarve
don't ye want to slip down an' git 's bait?"
Bait ez we are,said Disko. "I mistrust shag-fishin' will pay
betterez things go."
That meant the boys would bait with selected offal of the cod as
the fish were cleaned-an improvement on paddling bare-handed in
the little bait-barrels below. The tubs were full of neatly coiled line
carrying a big hook each few feet; and the testing and baiting of
every single hookwith the stowage of the baited line so that it
should run clear when shot from the dorywas a scientific
business. Dan managed it in the darkwithout lookingwhile
Harvey caught his fingers on the barbs and bewailed his fate. But
the hooks flew through Dan's fingers like tatting on an old maid's
lap. "I helped bait up trawl ashore 'fore I could well walk he said.
But it's a putterin' job all the same. OhDad!" This shouted
towards the hatchwhere Disko and Tom P1att were salting. "How
many skates you reckon we'll need?"
'Baout three. Hurry!
There's three hundred fathom to each tub,Dan explained;
more'n enough to lay out to-night. Ouch! 'Slipped up there, I did.
He stuck his finger in his mouth. "I tell youHarvethere ain't
money in Gloucester 'u'd hire me to ship on a reg'lar trawler. It may
be progressivebutbarrin' thatit's the putterin'estslimjammest
business top of earth."
I don't know what this is, if 'tisn't regular trawling,said Harvey
sulkily. "My fingers are all cut to frazzles."
Pshaw! This is just one o' Dad's blame experirnents. He don't
trawl 'less there's mighty good reason fer it. Dad knows. Thet's why
he's baitin' ez he is. We'll hev her saggin' full when we take her up
er we won't see a fin.
Penn and Uncle Salters cleaned up as Disko had ordainedbut the
boys profited little. No sooner were the tubs furnished than Tom
Platt and Long Jackwho had been exploring the inside of a dory
with a lanternsnatched them awayloaded up the tubs and some
smallpainted trawl-buoysand hove the boat overboard into what
Harvey regarded as an exceedingly rough sea. "They'll be drowned.
Whythe dory's loaded like a freight-car he cried.
We'll be back said Long Jack, an' in case you'll not be lookin'
for uswe'll lay into you both if the trawl's snarled."
The dory surged up on the crest of a waveand just when it seemed
impossible that she could avoid smashing against the schooner's
sideslid over the ridgeand was swallowed up in the damp dusk.
Take ahold here, an' keep ringin' steady,said Danpassing
Harvey the lanyard of a bell that hung just behind the windlass.
Harvey rang lustilyfor he felt two lives depended on him. But
Disko in the cabinscrawling in the log-bookdid not look like a
murdererand when he went to supper he even smiled dryly at the
This ain't no weather,said Dan. "Whyyou an' me could set thet
trawl! They've only gone out jest far 'nough so's not to foul our
cable. They don't need no bell reelly."
Clang! clang! clang!Harvey kept it upvaried with occasional
rub-a-dubsfor another half-hour. There was a bellow and a bump
alongside. Manuel and Dan raced to the hooks of the dory-tackle;
Long Jack and Tom Platt arrived on deck togetherit seemedone
half the North Atlantic at their backsand the dory followed them
in the airlanding with a clatter.
Nary snarl,said Tom Platt as he dripped. "Dannyyou'll do yet."
The pleasure av your comp'ny to the banquit,said Long Jack
squelching the water from his boots as he capered like an elephant
and stuck an oil-skinned arm into Harvey's face. "We do be
condescending to honour the second half wid our presence." And
off they all four rolled to supperwhere Harvey stuffed himself to
the brim on fish-chowder and fried piesand fell fast asleep just as
Manuel produced from a locker a lovely two-foot model of the
Lucy Holmeshis first boatand was going to show Harvey the
ropes. Harvey never even twiddled his fingers as Penn pushed him
into his bunk.
It must be a sad thing-a very sad thing,said Pennwatching the
boy's facefor his mother and his father, who think he is dead. To
lose a child-to lose a man-child!
Git out o' this, Penn,said Dan. "Go aft and finish your game
with Uncle Salters. Tell Dad I'll stand Harve's watch ef he don't
keer. He's played aout"
Ver' good boy,said Manuelslipping out of his boots and
disappearing into the black shadows of the lower bunk. "Expec' he
make good manDanny. I no see he is any so mad as your parpa he
Dan chuckledbut the chuckle ended in a snore.
It was thick weather outsidewith a rising windand the elder men
stretched their watches. The hour struck clear in the cabin; the
nosing bows slapped and scuffed with the seas; the foc'sle
stove-pipe hissed and sputtered as the spray caught it; and the boys
slept onwhile DiskoLong JackTom Plattand Uncle Salters
each in turnstumped alt to look at the wheelforward to see that
the anchor heldor to veer out a little more cable against chafing
with a glance at the dim anchor-light between each round.
Harvey waked to find the "first half" at breakfastthe foc'sle door
drawn to a crackand every square inch of the schooner singing its
own tune. The black bulk of the cook balanced behind the tiny
galley over the glare of the stoveand the pots and pans in the
pierced wooden board before it jarred and racketed to each plunge.
Up and up the foc'sle climbedyearning and surging and quivering
and thenwith a clearsickle-like swoopcame down into the seas.
He could hear the flaring bows cut and squelchand there was a
pause ere the divided waters came down on the deck abovelike a
volley of buckshot. Followed the woolly sound of the cable in the
hawse-hole; and a grunt and squeal of the windlass; a yawa punt
and a kickand the We're Here gathered herself together to repeat
Now, ashore,he heard Long Jack sayingye've chores, an' ye
must do thim in any weather. Here we're well clear of the fleet, an'
we've no chores-an' that's a blessin'. Good night, all.He passed
like a big snake from the table to his bunkand began to smoke.
Tom Platt followed his example; Uncle Salterswith Pennfought
his way up the ladder to stand his watchand the cook set for the
It came out of its bunks as the others had entered theirswith a
shake and a yawn. It ate till it could eat no more; and then Manuel
filled his pipe with some terrible tobaccocrotched himself
between the pawl-post and a forward bunkcocked his feet up on
the tableand smiled tender and indolent smiles at the smoke. Dan
lay at length in his bunkwrestling with a gaudygilt-stopped
accordionwhose tunes went up and down with the pitching of the
We're Here. The cookhis shoulders against the locker where he
kept the fried pies ([)an was fond of fried pies)peeled potatoes
with one eye on the stove in event of too much water finding its
way down the pipe; and the general smell and smother were past
Harvey considered affairswondered that he was not deathly sick
and crawled into his bunk againas the softest and safest place
while Dan struck upI don't want to play in your yard,as
accurately as the wild jerks allowed.
How long is this for?Harvey asked of Manuel.
Till she get a little quiet, and we can row to trawl. Perhaps
to-night. Perhaps two days more. You do not like? Eh, wha-at?
I should have been crazy sick a week ago, but it doesn't seem to
upset me now-much.
That is because we make you fisherman, these days. If I was you,
when I come to Gloucester I would give two, three big candles for
my good luck.
To be sure-the Virgin of our Church on the Hill. She is very good
to fishermen all the time. That is why so few of us Portugee men
ever are drowned.
You're a Roman Catholic, then?
I am a Madeira man. I am not a Porto Pico boy. Shall I be Baptist,
then? Eh, wha-at? I always give candles-two, three more when I
come to Gloucester. The good Virgin she never forgets me,
I don't sense it that way,Tom Platt put in from his bunkhis
scarred face lit up by the glare of a match as he sucked at his pipe.
It stands to reason the sea's the sea; and you'll get jest about what's
goin', candles or kerosene, fer that matter.
'Tis a mighty good thing,said Long Jackto have a find at
coort, though. I'm o' Manuel's way o' thinkin' About tin years back
I was crew to a Sou' Boston market-boat. We was off Minot's
Ledge wid a northeaster, butt first, atop of us, thicker'n burgoo.
The ould man was dhrunk, his chin waggin' on the tiller, an' I sez
to myself, 'If iver I stick my boat-huk into T-wharf again, I'll show
the saints fwhat manner o' craft they saved me out av.' Now, I'm
here, as ye can well sec, an' the model of the dhirty ould Kathleen,
that took me a month to make, I gave ut to the priest, an' he hung
ut up forninst the altar. There's more sense in givin' a model that's
by way o' bein' a work av art than any candle. Ye can buy candles
at store, but a model shows the good saints ye've tuk trouble an' are
D'you believe that, Irish?said Tom Plattturning on his elbow.
Would I do ut if I did not, Ohio?
Wa-al, Enoch Fuller he made a model o' the old Ohio, and she's
to Calem museum now. Mighty pretty model, too, but I guess
Enoch he never done it fer no sacrifice; an' the way I take it is~
There were the makings of an hour-long discussion of the kind that
fishermen lovewhere the talk runs in shouting circles and no one
proves anything at the endhad not Dan struck up this cheerful
Up jumped the mackerel with his stripe'd back.
Reef in the mainsail, and haul on the tack; For it's windy
Here Long Jack joined in:
And it's blowy weather;
When the winds begin to blowpipe all hands together!"
Dan went onwith a cautious look at Tom Plattholding the
accordion low in the bunk:
Up jumped the cod with his chuckle-head,
Went to the main-chains to heave at the lead;
For it's windy weather,etc.
Tom Platt seemed to be hunting for sometliing. Dan crouched
lowerbut sang louder:
Up jumped the flounder that swims to the ground.
Chuckle-head! Chuckle-head! Mind where ye sound!
Tom Platt's huge rubber boot whirled across the foc'sle and caught
Dan's uplifted arm. There was war between the man and the boy
ever since Dan had discovered that the mere whistling of that tune
would make him angry as he heaved the lead.
Thought I'd fetch yer,said Danreturning the gift with precision.
Ef you don't like my music, git out your fiddle. I ain't goin' to lie
here all day an' listen to you an' Long Jack arguin' 'baout candles.
Fiddle, Tom Platt; or I'll learn Harve here the tune!
Tom Platt leaned down to a locker and brought up an old white
fiddle. Manuel's eye glistenedand from somewhere behind the
pawl-post he drew out a tinyguitar-like thing with wire strings
which he called a machette.
'Tis a concert said Long Jack, beaming through the smoke. A
reg'lar Boston concert."
There was a burst of spray as the hatch openedand Diskoin
Ye're just in time, Disko. Fwhat's she doin' outside?
Jest this!He dropped on to the lockers with the push and heave
of the We're Here.
We're singin' to kape our breakfasts down. Ye'll lead, av course,
Disko,said Long Jack.
Guess there ain't more'n 'baout two old songs I know, an' ye've
heerd them both.
His excuses were cut short by Tom Platt launching into a most
dolorous tunelike unto the moaning of winds and the creaking of
masts. With his eyes fixed on the beams aboveDisko began this
ancientancient dittyTom Platt flourishing all round him to make
the tune and words fit a little:
There is a crack packet-crack packet o' fame,
She hails from Noo York, an' the Dreadnought's her
Youmay talk o' your fliers-Swallowtail and Black
But the Dreadnought's the packet that can beat them
Now the Dreadnought she lies in the River MerseyBecause of
the tug-boat to take her to sea;
But when she's off soundings you shortly will know
She's the Liverpool packet~ Lordlet her go!
Now the Dreadnought she's howlin' crost the Banks o'
Where the water's all shallow and the bottom's all sand.
Sez all the little fishes that swim to and fro:
'She's the Liverpool packet- Lord, let her go!'',
There were scores of verses, for he worked the Dreadnought every
mile of the way between Liverpool and New York as
conscientiously as though he were on her deck, and the accordion
pumped and the fiddle squeaked beside him. Tom Platt followed
with something about the rough and tough McGinnwho would
pilot the vessel in." Then they called on Harveywho felt very
flatteredto contribute to the entertainment; but all that he could
remember were some pieces of "Skipper Ireson's Ride" that he had
been taught at the camp-school in the Adirondacks. It seemed that
they might be appropriate to the time and placebut he had no
more than mentioned the title when Disko brought down one foot
with a bangand criedDon't go on, young feller. That's a
mistaken jedgment-one o' the worst kind, too, becaze it's catchin' to
I orter ha' warned you,said Dan. "Thet allus fetches Dad."
What's wrong?said Harveysurprised and a little angry.
All you're goin' to say,said Disko. "All dead wrong from start to
finishan' Whittier he's to blame. I have no special call to right any
Marblehead manbut 'tweren't no fault o' Ireson's. My father he
told me the tale time an' againan' this is the way 'twuz."
For the wan hundredth time,put in Long Jack under his breath
Ben Ireson he was skipper o' the Betty, young feller, comin' home
frum the Banks-that was before the war of 1812, but jestice is
jestice at all times. They fund the Active o' Portland, an' Gibbons
o' that town he was her skipper; they fund her leakin' off Cape Cod
Light. There was a terr'ble gale on, an' they was gettin' the Betty
home's fast as they could craowd her. Well, Ireson he said there
warn't any sense to reskin' a boat in that sea; the men they wouldn't
hev it; and he laid it before them to stay by the Active till the sea
run daown a piece. They wouldn't hev that either, hangin' aracund
the Cape in any sech weather, leak or no leak. They jest up stays'l
an' quit, nat'rally takin' Ireson with 'em. Folks to Marblehead was
mad at him not runnin' the risk, and becaze nex' day, when the sea
was ca'am (they never stopped to think o' that), some of the
Active's folks was took off by a Truro man. They come into
Marblehead with their own tale to tell, sayin' how Ireson had
shamed his town, an' so forth an' so on, an' Ireson's men they was
scared, seein' public feelin' agin' 'em, an' they went back on Ireson,
an' swore he was respons'ble for the hull act. 'Tweren't the women
neither that tarred and feathered him-Marblehead women don't act
that way-'twas a passel o' men an' boys, an' they carted him
aranund town in an old dory till the bottom fell aout, and Ireson he
told 'em they'd be sorry for it some day. Well, the facts come aout
later, same's they usually do, too late to be any ways useful to an
honest man; an' Whittier he come along an' picked up the slack
eend of a lyin' tale, an' tarred and feathered Ben Ireson all over
onct more after he was dead. 'Twas the only tune Whittier ever
slipped up, an' 'tweren't fair. I whaled Dan good when he brought
that piece back from school. You don't know no better, o' course;
but I've give you the facts, hereafter an' evermore to be
remembered. Ben Ireson weren't no sech kind o' man as Whittier
makes aout; my father he knew him well, before an' after that
business, an' you beware o' hasty jedgments, young feller. Next!
Harvey had never heard Disko talk so longand collapsed with
burning cheeks; butas Dan said promptlya boy could ouly learn
what he was taught at schooland life was too short to keep track
of every lie along the coast.
Then Manuel touched the janglingjarring little machette to a
queer tuneand sang something in Portuguese about "Nina
innocente!" ending with a full-handed sweep that brought the song
up with a jerk. Then Disko obliged with his second songto an
old-fashioned creaky tuneand all joined in the chorus. This is one
Now Aprile is over and melted the snow,
And outer Noo Bedford we shortly must tow;
Yes, out o' Noo Bedford we shortly must clear,
We're the whalers that never see wheat in the ear.'t
Here the fiddle went very softly for a while by itself, and then:
Wheat-in-the-earmy true-love's posy blowin
Wheat-in-the-earwe're goin' off to sea;
Wheat-in-the-earI left you fit for sowin
When I come back a loaf o' bread you'll be!"
That made Harvey almost weepthough he could not tell why. But
it was much worse when the cook dropped the potatoes and held
out his hands for the fiddle. Still leaning against the locker door
he struck into a tune that was like something very bad but sure to
happen whatever you did. After a little he sangin an unknown
tonguehis big chin down on the fiddle-tailhis white eyeballs
glaring in the lam~light. Harvey swung out of his bunk to hear
better; and amid the straining of the timbers and the wash of the
waters the tune crooned and moaned onlike lee surf in a blind
fogtill it ended with a wail.
Jimmy Christmas! Thet gives me the blue creevles,said Dan.
What in thunder is it?
The song of Fin McCoul,said the cookwhen he wass going to
Norway.His English was not thickbut all clear-cutas though it
came from a phonograph.
Faith, I've been to Norway, but I didn't make that unwholesim
noise. 'Tis like some of the old songs, though,said Long Jack
Don't let's hev another 'thout somethin' between,said Dan; and
the accordion struck up a rattlingcatchy tune that ended:
It's six an' twenty Sundays sence las' we saw the land,
With fifteen hunder quintal,
An' fifteen hunder quintal,
'Teen hunder toppin' quintal,
'Twix' old 'Queereau an' Grand!
Hold on!roared Tom Platt. "D'ye want to nail the tripDan?
That's Jonah sure'less you sing it after all our salt's wet."
No, 'tain't Is it, Dad? Not unless you sing the very las' verse. You
can't learn me anything on Jonahs!
What's that?said Harvey. "What's a Jonah?"
A Jonah's anything that spoils the luck. Sometimes it's a
man-sometimes it's a boy-or a bucket. I've known a splittin'-knife
Jonah two trips till we was on to her,said Tom Platt. "There's all
sorts o' Jonahs. Jim Bourke was one till he was drowned on
Georges. I'd never ship with Jim Bourkenot if I was starin'. There
wuz a green dory on the Ezra Flood. Thet was a Jonahtoothe
worst sort o' Jonah. Drowned four menshe didan' used to shine
fiery 0nights in the nest"
And you believe that?said Harveyremembering what Tom Platt
had said about candles and models. "Haven't we all got to take
A mutter of dissent ran round the bunks. "Outboardyes; inboard
things can happen said Disko. Don't you go makin' a mock of
Well, Harve ain't no Jonah. Day after we catched him,Dan cut
inwe had a toppin' good catch.
The cook threw up his head and laughed suddenly-a queerthin
laugh. He was a most disconcerting nigger.
Murder!said Long Jack. "Don't do that againdoctor. We ain't
used to ut"
What's wrong?said Dan. "Ain't he our mascotand didn't they
strike on good after we'd struck him?"
Oh! yess,said the cook. "I know thatbut the catch iss not finish
He ain't goin' to do us any harm,said Danhotly. "Where are ye
hintin' an' edgin' to? He's all right"
No harm. No. But one day he will be your master, Danny.
That all?said Danplacidly. "He wun't-not by a jugful."
Master!said the cookpointing to Harvey. "Man!" and he
pointed to Dan.
That's news. Haow soon?said Danwith a laugh.
In some years, and I shall see it. Master and man-man and
How in thunder d'ye work that out?said Tom Platt.
In my head, where I can see.
Haow?This from all the others at once.
I do not know, but so it will be.He dropped his headand went
on peeling the potatoesand not another word could they get out of
Well,said Dana heap o' things'll hev to come abaout 'fore
Harve's any master o' mine; but I'm glad the doctor ain't choosen to
mark him for a Jonah. Now, I mistrust Uncle Salters fer the
Jonerest Jonah in the Fleet regardin' his own special luck. Dunno
ef it's spreadin' same's smallpox. He ought to be on the Carrie
Pitman. That boat's her own Jonah, sure-crews an' gear made no
differ to her driftin'. Jiminy Christmas! She'll etch loose in a flat
We're well clear o' the Fleet, anyway,said Disko. "Carrie
Pitman an' all." There was a rapping on the deck.
Uncle Salters has catched his luck,said Dan as his father
It's blown clear,Disko criedand all the foc'sle tumbled up for a
bit of fresh air. The fog had gonebut a sullen sea ran in great
rollers behind it. The We're Here slidas it wereinto longsunk
avenues and ditches which felt quite sheltered and homelike if they
would only stay still; but they changed without rest or mercyand
flung up the schooner to crown one peak of a thousand gray hills
while the wind hooted through her rigging as she zigzagged down
the slopes. Far away a sea would burst into a sheet of foamand
the others would follow suit as at a signaltill Harvey's eyes swam
with the vision of interlacing whites and grays. Four or five Mother
Carey's chickens stormed round in circlesshrieking as they swept
past the bows. A rain-squall or two strayed aimlessly over the
hopeless wasteran down 'wind and back againand melted away.
Seerns to me I saw somethin' flicker jest naow over yonder,said
Uncle Salterspointing to the northeast.
Can't be any of the fleet,said Diskopeering under his eyebrows
a hand on the foc'sle gangway as the solid bows hatcheted into the
troughs. "Sea's oilin' over dretful fast. Dannydon't you want to
skip up a piece an' see how aour trawl-buoy lays?"
Dannyin his big bootstrotted rather than climbed up the main
rigging (this consumed Harvey with envy)hitched himself around
the reeling cross-treesand let his eye rove till it caught the tiny
black buoy-flag on the shoulder of a mile-away swell.
She's all right,he hailed. "Sail 0! Dead to the no'th'ardcorain'
down like smoke! Schooner she betoo.'.
They waited yet another half-houril~e sky clearing in patches
with a flicker of sickly sun from time to time that made patches of
olive-green water. Then a stump-foremast liftedduckedand
disappearedto. be followed on the next wave by a high stern with
old-fash-ioned wooden snail's-horn davits. The snails were
Frenchmen!shouted Dan. "No'tain'tneither. Daad!"
'That's no French said Disko. Saltersyour blame luck holds
tighter'n a screw in a keg-head."
I've eyes. It's Uncle Abishai.
You can't nowise tell fer sure.
The head-king of all Jonahs,groaned Tom Platt. "OhSalters
Salterswhy wasn't you abed an' asleep?"
How could I tell?said poor Saltersas the schooner swung up.
She might have been the very Flying Dutchmanso fouldraggled
and unkempt was every rope and stick aboard. Her old-style
quarterdeck was some or five feet highand her rigging flew
knotted and tangled like weed at a wharf-end. She was running
before the wind-yawing frightfully-her staysail let down to act as a
sort of extra foresail-"scandalized they call it,-and her foreboom
guyed out over the side. Her bowsprit cocked up like an
old-fashioned frigate's; her jib-boom had been fished and s~iced
and nailed and clamped beyond further repair; and as she hove
herself forward, and sat down on her broad tail, she looked for all
the world like a blouzy, frouzy, bad old woman sneering at a
That's Abishal said Salters. Full o' gin an' Judique menan' the
judgments o' Providence layin' fer him an' never takin' good holt
He's run in to baitMiquelon way."
He'll run her under,said Long Jack. "That's no rig fer this
Not he, 'r he'd'a done it long ago,Disko replied. "Looks 's if he
cal'lated to run us under. Ain't she daown by the head more 'n
Ef it's his style o' loadin' her she ain't safe,said the sailor slowly.
Ef she's spewed her oakum he'd better git to his pumps mighty
The creature threshed upwore round with a clatter and raffleand
lay head to wind within ear-shot.
A gray-beard wagged over the bulwarkand a thick voice yelled
something Harvey could not understand. But Disko's face
darkened. "He'd resk every stick he hez to carry bad news. Says
we're in fer a shift o' wind. He's in fer worse. Abishai! Abi-shai!"
He waved his arm up and down with the gesture of a man at the
pumpsand pointed forward. The crew mocked him and laughed.
Jounce ye, an' strip ye an' trip ye!yelled Uncle Abishal. "A livin'
gale-a livin' gale. Yab! Cast up fer your last tripall you Gloucester
haddocks. You won't see Gloucester no moreno more!"
Crazy full-as usual,said Tom Platt. "Wish he hadn't spied us
She drifted out of hearing while the gray-head yelled something
about a dance at the Bay of Bulls and a dead man in the foc'sle.
Harvey shuddered. He had seen the sloven tilled decks and the
An' that's a fine little floatin' hell fer her draught,said Long Jack.
I wondher what mischief he's been at ashore.
He's a trawler,Dan explained to Harveyan' he runs in fer bait
all along the coast. Oh, no, not home, he don't go. He deals along
the south an' east shore up yonder.He nodded in the direction of
the pitiless Newfoundland beaches. "Dad won't never take me
ashore there. They're a mighty tough crowd-an' Abishal's the
toughest. You saw his boat? Wellshe's nigh seventy year oldthey
say; the last o' the old Marblehead heel-tappers. They don't make
them quarterdecks any more. Abishal don't use Marblehead
though. He ain't wanted there. He jes' drif's araoundin debt
trawlin' an' cussin' like you've heard. Bin a Jonah fer years an
yearshe hez. 'Gits liquor frum the Feecamp boats fer makin' spells
an' selling winds an' such truck. CrazyI guess."
'Twon't be any use underrunnin' the trawl to-night said Tom Platt,
with quiet despair. He come alongside special to cuss us. l'd give
my wage an' share to see him at the gangway o' the old Ohio 'fore
we quit fioggin'. Jest abaout six dozenan' Sam Mocatta layin' 'em
The disheveled "heel-tapper" danced drunkenly down windand
all eyes followed her. Suddenly the cook cried in his phonograph
voice: "It wass his own death made him speak so! He iss fey-feyI
tell you! Look!" She sailed into a patch of watery sunshine three or
four miles distant. The patch dulled and faded outand even as the
light passed so did the schooner. She dropped into a hollow
Run under, by the Great Hook-Block!shouted Diskojumping
aft. "Drunk or soberwe've got to help 'em. Heave short and break
her out! Smart!"
Harvey was thrown on the deck by the shock that followed the
setting of the jib and foresailfor they hove short on the cableand
to save timejerked the anchor bodily from the bottomheaving
in~as they moved away. This is a bit of brute force seldom resorted
to except in matters of life and deathand the little We're Here
complained like a human. They ran down to where Abishal's craft
had vanished; found two or three trawl-tubsa gin-bottleand a
stove-in dorybut nothing more. "Let 'em go said Disko, though
no one had hinted at picking them up. I wouldn't hev a match that
belonged to Abishai aboard. Guess she run clear under. Must ha'
been spewin' her oakum fer a weekan' they never thought to pump
her. That's one more boat gone along o' leavin' port all hands
Glory be!said Long Jack. "We'd ha' been obliged to help 'em if
they was top o' water."
'Thinkin' o' that myself,said Tom Platt.
Fey! Fey!said the cookrolling his eyes. "He haas taken his own
luck with him."
Ver' good thing, I think, to tell the Fleet when we see. Eh,
wha-at?said Manuel. "If you runna that way before the 'windand
she work open her seams-" He threw out his hands with an
indescribable gesturewhile Penn sat down on the house and
sobbed at the sheer horror and pity of it all. Harvey could not
realize that he had seen death on the open watersbut he felt very
sick. p Then Dan went up the cross-treesand Disko steered them
back to within sight of their own trawl-buoys just before the fog
blanketed the sea once again.
We go mighty quick hereabouts when we do go,was all he said
to Harvey. "You think on that fer a spellyoung feller. That was
After dinner it was calm enough to fish from the decks,-Penn and
Uncle Salters were very zealous this time,-and the catch was large
and large fish.
Abishal has shorely took his luck with him said Salters. The
wind hain't backed ner riz ner nothin'. How abaout the trawl? I
Tom Platt insisted that they had much better haul the thing and
make a new berth. But the cook said: "The luck iss in two pieces.
You will find it so when you look. I know." This so tickied Long
Jack that he overbore Tom Platt and the two went out together.
Underrunning a trawl means pulling it in on one side of the dory
picking off the fishrebaiting the hooksand passing them back to
the sea again-something like pinning and unpinning linen on a
wash-line. It is a lengthy business and rather dangerousfor the
longsagging line may twitch a boat under in a flash. But when
they heardAnd naow to thee, 0 Capting,booming out of the fog
the crew of the We're Here took heart. The dory swirled alongside
well loadedTom Platt yelling for Manuel to act as relief-boat.
The luck's cut square in two pieces,said long Jackforking in the
fishwhile Harvey stood open-mouthed at the skill with which the
plunging dory was saved from destruction. "One half was jest
punkins. Tom Platt wanted to haul her an' ha' done wid Ut; but I
saidI'll back the doctor that has the second sight, an' the other
half come up sagging full o' big uns. Hurry, Man'nle, an' bring's a
tub o' bait. There's luck afloat to-night.
The fish bit at the newly baited hooks from which their brethren
had just been takenand Tom Platt and Long Jack moved
methodically up and down the length of the trawlthe boat's nose
surging under the wet line of hooksstripping the sea-cucumbers
that they called pumpkinsslatting off the fresh-caught cod against
the gunwalerebaitingand loading Manuel's dory till dusk.
I'll take no risks,said Disko then-"not with him floatin' around so
near. Abishal won't sink fer a week. Heave in the dories an' we'll
dress daown after supper."
That was a mighty dressing-downattended by three or four
blowing grampuses. It lasted till nine o'clockand Disko was thrice
heard to chuckle as Harvey pitched the split fish into the hold.
Say, you're haulin' ahead dretful fast,said Danwhen they
ground the knives after the men had turned m. "There's somethin'
of a sea to-nightan' I hain't heard you make no remarks on it."
Too busy,Harvey repliedtesting a blade's edge. "Come to think
of itshe is a high-kicker."
The little schooner was gambolling all around her anchor among
the silver-tipped waves. Backing with a start of affected surprise at
the sight of the strained cableshe pounced on it like a kitten
while the spray of her descent burst through the hawse-holes with
the report of a gun. Shaking her headshe would say: "WellI'm
sorry I can't stay any longer with you. I'm going North and would
sidle off, halting suddenly with a dramatic rattle of her rigging.
As I was just going to observe she would begin, as gravely as a
drunken man addressing a lamp-post. The rest of the sentence (she
acted her words in dumb-show, of course) was lost in a fit of the
fidgets, when she behaved like a puppy chewing a string, a clumsy
woman in a side-saddle, a hen with her head cut off, or a cow stung
by a hornet, exactly as the whims of the sea took her.
See her sayin' her piece. She's Patrick Henry naow said Dan.
She swung sideways on a roller, and gesticulated with her
jib~boom from port to starboard.
But-ez-fer megive me liberty-er give me-death!"
Wop! She sat down in the moon-path on the watercourtesying
with a flourish of pride impressive enough had not the wheel-gear
sniggered mockingly in its box.
Harvey laughed aloud. "Whyit's just as if she was alive he said.
She's as stiddy as a haouse an' as dry as a herrin' said Dan
enthusiastically, as he was slung across the deck in a batter of
spray. Fends 'em off an' fends 'em offan' 'Don't ye come anigh
me' she sez. Look at her-jest look at her! Sakes! You should see
one o' them toothpicks histin' up her anchor on her spike outer
What's a toothpick, Dan?
Them new haddockers an' herrin'-boats. Fine's a yacht forward,
with yacht sterns to 'em, an' spike bowsprits, an' a haouse that 'u'd
take our hold. I've heard that Burgess himself he made the models
fer three or four of 'em. Dad's sot agin 'em on account o' their
pitchin' an' joltin', but there's heaps o' money in 'em. Dad can find
fish, but he ain't no ways progressive-he don't go with the march
o' the times. They're chock-full o' labour-savin' ' ech all. 'Ever
seed the Elector o' Gloucester? She's a daisy, ef she is a
What do they cost, Dan?
Hills o' dollars. Fifteen thousand, p'haps; more, mebbe. There's
gold-leaf an' everything you kin think of.Then to himselfhalf
under his breathGuess I'd call her Hattie S., too.
That was the first of many talks with Danwho told Harvey why he
would transfer his dory's name to the imaginary Burgess-modelled
haddocker. Harvey heard a good deal about the real Hattie at
Gloucester; saw a lock of her hair-which Danfinding fair words
of no availhad "hooked" as she sat in front of him at school that
winter-and a photograph. Hattie was about fourteen years oldwith
an awful contempt for boysand had been trampling on Dan's heart
through the winter. All this was revealed under oath of solemn
secrecy on moonlit decksin the dead darkor in choking fog; the
whining wheel behind themthe climbing deck beforeand
withoutthe unrestingclamorous sea. Onceof courseas the boys
came to know each otherthere was a fightwhich raged from bow
to stern till Penn came up and separated thembut promised not to
tell Diskowho thought fighting on watch rather worse than
sleeping. Harvey was no match for Dan physicallybut it says a
great deal for his new training that he took his defeat and did not
try to get even with his conqueror by underhand methods.
That was after he had been cured of a string of boils between his
elbows and wristswhere the wet jersey and oilskins cut into the
flesh. The salt water stung them unpleasantlybut when they were
ripe Dan treated them with Disko's razorand assured Harvey that
now he was a "blooded Banker"; the affliction of gurry-sores being
the mark of the caste that claimed him.
Since he was a boy and very busyhe did not bother his head with
too much thinking. He was exceedingly sorry for his motherand
often longed to see her and above all to tell her of this wonderful
new lifeand how brilliantly he was acquitting himself in it.
Otherwise he preferred not to wonder too much how she was
bearing the shock of his supposed death. But one dayas he stood
on the foc'sle ladderguying the cookwho had accused him and
Dan of hooking fried piesit occurred to him that this was a vast
improvement on being snubbed by strangers in the smoking-room
of a hired liner.
He was a recognized part of the scheme of things on the We're
Here; had his place at the table and among the bunks; and could
hold his own in the long talks on stormy dayswhen the others
were always ready to listen to what they called his "fairy-tales" of
his life ashore. It did not take him more than two days and a
quarter to feel that if he spoke of his own life-it seemed very far
away-no one except Dan (and even Dan's belief was sorely tried)
credited him. So he invented a frienda boy he had heard ofwho
drove a miniature four-pony drag in ToledoOhioand ordered
five suits of clothes at a time and led things called "germans" at
parties where the oldest girl was not quite fifteenbut all the
presents were solid silver. Salters protested that this kind of yarn
was desperately wickedif not indeed positively blasphemousbut
he listened as greedily as the others; and their criticisms at the end
gave Harvey entirely new notions on "germans clothes, cigarettes
with gold-leaf tips, rings, watches, scent, small dinner-parties,
champagne, card-playing, and hotel accommodation. Little by little
he changed his tone when speaking of his friend whom long
Jack had christened the Crazy Kid the Gilt-edged Baby the
Suckin' Vanderpoop and other pet names; and with his
sea-booted feet cocked up on the table would even invent histories
about silk pajamas and specially imported neckwear, to the
friend's" discredit. Harvey was a very adaptable personwith a
keen eye and ear for every face and tone about him.
Before long he knew where Disko kept the old greencrusted
quadrant that they called the "hog-yoke"-under the bed-bag in his
bunk. When he took the sunand with the help of "The Old
Farmer's" almanac found the latitudeHarvey would jump down
into the cabin and scratch the reckoning and date with a nail on the
rust of the stove-pipe. Nowthe chief engineer of the liner could
have done no moreand no engineer of thirty years' service could
have assumed one half of the ancient-mariner air with which
Harveyfirst careful to spit over the sidemade public the
schooner's position for that dayand then and not till then relieved
Disko of the quadrant. There is an etiquette in all these things.
The said "hog-yoke an Eldridge chart, the farming almanac,
Blunt's Coast Pilot and Bowditch's Navigator" were all the
weapons Disko needed to guide himexcept the deep-sea lead that
was his spare eye. Harvey nearly slew Penn with it when Tom Platt
taught him first how to "fly the blue pigeon"; andthough his
strength was not equal to continuous sounding in any sort of a sea
for calm weather with a seven-pound lead on shoal water Disko
used him freely. As Dan said:
'Tain't soundin's dad wants. It's samples. Grease her up good
Harve." Harvey would tallow the cup at the ~endand carefully
bring the sandshellsludgeor whatever it might beto Disko
who fingered and smelt it and gave judgment As has been said
when Disko thought of cod he thought as a cod; and by some
long-tested mixture of instinct and experiencemoved the We~re
Here from berth to berthalways with the fishas a blindfolded
chess-player moves on the unseen board.
But Disko's board was the Grand Bank-a triangle two hundred and
fifty miles on each side-a waste of wallowing seacloaked with
dank fogvexed with galesharried with drifting icescored by the
tracks of the reckless linersand dotted with the sails of the
For days they worked in fog-Harvey at the bell-tillgrown familiar
with the thick airshe went out with Tom Platthis heart rather in
his mouth. But the fog would not liftand the fish were bitingand
no one can stay helplessly afraid for six hours at a time. Harvey
devoted himself to his lines and the gaff or gob-stick as Tom Platt
called for them; and they rowed back to the schooner guided by
the bell and Tom's instinct; Manuel's conch sounding thin and faint
beside them. But it was an unearthly experienceandfor the first
time in a monthHarvey dreamed of the shiftingsmoking floors of
water round the dorythe lines that strayed away into nothingand
the air above that melted on the sea below ten feet from his
straining eyes. A few days later he was out with Manuel on what
should have been forty-fathom bottombut the whole length of the
roding ran outand still the anchor found nothingand Harvey
grew mortally afraidfor that his last touch with earth was lost.
Whale-hole,said Manuelhauling m. "That is good joke on
Disko. Come!" and he rowed to the schooner to find Tom Platt and
the others jeering at the skipper becausefor oncehe had led them
to the edge of the barren Whale-deepthe blank hole of the Grand
Bank. They made another berth through the fogand that time the
hair of Harvey's head stood up when he went out in Manuel's dory.
A whiteness moved in the whiteness of the fog with a breath like
the breath of the graveand there was a roaringa plungingand
spouting. It was his first introduction to the dread summer berg of
the Banksand he cowered in the bottom of the boat while Manuel
laughed. There were daysthoughclear and soft and warmwhen
it seemed a sin to do anything but loaf over the hand-lines and
spank the drifting "sun-scalds" with an oar; and there were days of
light airswhen Harvey was taught how to steer the schooner from
one berth to another.
It thrilled through him when he first felt the keel answer to his
band on the spokes and slide over the long hollows as the foresail
scythed back and forth against the blue sky. That was magnificent
in spite of Disko saying that it would break a snake's back to
follow his wake. Butas usualpride ran before a fall. They were
sailing on the wind with the staysail-an old oneluckily-setand
Harvey jammed her right into it to show Dan how completely he
had mastered the art. The foresail went over with a bangand the
foregaff stabbed and ripped through the staysailwhich wasof
courseprevented from going over by the mainstay. They lowered
the wreck in awful silenceand Harvey spent his leisure hours for
the next few days under Tom Platt's leelearning to use a needle
and palm. Dan hooted with joyforas he saidhe had made the
very same blunder himself in his early days.
BoylikeHarvey imitated all the men by turnstill he had
combined Disko's peculiar stoop at the wheelLong Jack's
swinging overhand when the lines were hauledManuel's
round-shouldered but effective stroke in a doryand Tom Platt's
generous Ohio stride along the deck.
'Tis beautiful to see how he takes to ut said Long Jack, when
Harvey was looking out by the windlass one thick noon. I'll lay
my wage an' share 'tis more'n half play-actin' to himan' he
consates himself he's a bowld mariner. Watch his little bit av a
That's the way we all begin,said Tom Platt. "The boys they make
believe all the time till they've cheated 'emselves into bein' men
an' so till they die-pretendin' an' pretendin'. I done it on the old
OhioI know. Stood my first watch-harbor-watch-feelin' finer'n
Farragut. Dan's full o' the same kind o' notions. See 'em now
actin' to be genewine moss-backs-very hair a rope-yarn an' blood
Stockholm tar." He spoke down the cabin stairs. "Guess you're
mistook in your judgments fer onceDisko. What in Rome made
ye tell us all here the kid was crazy?"
He wuz,Disko replied. "Crazy ez a loon when he come aboard;
but I'll say he's sobered up consid'ble sence. I cured him."
He yarns good,said Tom Platt. "T'other night he told us abaout a
kid of his own size steerin' a cunnin' little rig an' four ponies up an'
down ToledoOhioI think 'twasan' givin' suppers to a crowd o'
sim'lar kids. Cur'us kind o' fairy-talebut blame interestin'. He
knows scores of 'em."
Guess he strikes 'em outen his own head,Disko called from the
cabinwhere he was busy with the logbook. "Stands to reason that
sort is all made up. It don't take in no one but Danan' he laughs at
it. I've heard himbehind my back."
Yever hear what Sim'on Peter Ca'honn said when they whacked
up a match 'twix' his sister Hitty an' Lorin' Jerauld, an' the boys put
up that joke on him daown to Georges?drawled Uncle Salters
who was dripping peaceably under the lee of the starboard
Tom Platt puffed at his pipe in scornful silence: he was a Cape
Cod manand had not known that tale more than twenty years.
Uncle Salters went on with a rasping chuckie:
Sim'on Peter Ca'honn he said, an' he was jest right, abaout Lorin',
'Ha'af on the taown,' he said, 'an' t'other ha'af blame fool; an' they
told me she's married a 'ich man.' Sim'on Peter Ca'honn he hedn't
no roof to his mouth, an' talked that way.
He didn't talk any Pennsylvania Dutch,Tom Platt replied. "You'd
better leave a Cape man to tell that tale. The Ca'houns was gypsies
frum 'way back."
Wal, I don't profess to be any elocutionist,Salters said. "I'm
comin' to the moral o' things. That's jest abaout what aour Harve
be! Ha'af on the taownan' t'other ha'af blame fool; an' there's
some'll believe he's a rich man. Yah!"
Did ye ever think how sweet 'twould be to sail wid a full crew o'
Salterses?said Long Jack. "Ha'af in the furrer an' other ha'af in the
muck-heapas Ca'houn did not sayan' makes out he's a
A little laugh went round at Salters's expense.
Disko held his tongueand wrought over the log-book that he kept
in a hatchet-facedsquare hand; this was the kind of thing that ran
onpage after soiled page:
July 17. This day thick fog and few fish. Made berth to
northward. So ends this day.
'July 18. This day comes in with thick fog. Caught a few fish.
July 19. This day comes in with light breeze from N.E. and fine
weather. Made a berth to eastward. Caught plenty fish.
July 20. This, the Sabbath, comes in with fog and light winds. So
ends this day. Total fish caught this week, 3,478.
They never worked on Sundaysbut shavedand washed
themselves if it were fineand Pennsylvania sang hymns. Once or
twice he suggested thatif ft was not an impertinencehe thought
he could preach a little. Uncle Salters nearly jumped down his
throat at the mere notionreminding him that he was not a
preacher and mustn't think of such things. "We'd hev him
rememberin' Johns-town next Salters explained, an' what would
happen then?" so they compromised on his reading aloud from a
book called "Josephus." It was an old leather-bound volume
smelling of a hundred voyagesvery solid and very like the Bible
but enlivened with accounts of battles and sieges; and they read it
nearly from cover to cover. Otherwise Penn was a silent little
body. He would not utter a word for three days on end sometimes
though he played checkerslistened to the songsand laughed at
the stories. When they tried to stir him uphe would answer: "I
don't wish to seem unneighbourlybut it is because I have nothing
to say. My head feels quite empty. I've almost forgotten my name."
He would turn to Uncle Salters with an expectant smile.
Why, Pennsylvania Pratt,Salters would shout "You'll fergit me
No-never,Penn would sayshutting his lips firmly.
Pennsylvania Pratt, of course,he would repeat over and over.
Sometimes it was Uncle Salters who forgotand told him he was
Haskins or Rich or McVitty; but Penn was equally content-till next
He was always very tender with Harveywhom he pitied both as a
lost child and as a lunatic; and when Salters saw that Penn liked
the boyhe relaxedtoo. Salters was not an amiable person (He
esteemed it his business to keep the boys in order); and the first
time Harveyin fear and tremblingon a still daymanaged to shin
up to the main-truck (')an was behind him ready to help)he
esteemed it his duty to hang Salters's big sea-boots up there-a sight
of shame and derision to the nearest schooner. With DiskoHarvey
took no liberties; not even when the old man dropped direct
ordersand treated himlike the rest of the crewto "Don't you
want to do so and so?" and "Guess you'd better and so forth.
There was something about the clean-shaven lips and the puckered
corners of the eyes that was mightily sobering to young blood.
Disko showed him the meaning of the thumbed and pricked chart,
which, he said, laid over any government publication whatsoever;
led him, pencil in hand, from berth to berth over the whole string
of banks-Le Have, Western, Banquereau, St. Pierre, Green, and
Grand -talking cod" meantime. Taught himtoothe principle on
which the "hog-yoke" was worked.
In this Harvey excelled Danfor he had inherited a head for
figuresand the notion of stealing information from one glimpse of
the sullen Bank sun appealed to all his keen wits. For other
sea-matters his age handicapped him. As Disko saidhe should
have begun when he was ten. Dan could bait up trawl or lay his
hand on any rope in the dark; and at a pinchwhen Uncle Salters
had a gurry-score on his palmcould dress down by sense of touch.
He could steer in anything short of half a gale from the feel of the
wind on his facehumouring the We're Here just when she needed
it These things he did as automatically as he skipped about the
riggingor made his dory a part of his own will and body. But he
could not communicate his knowledge to Harvey.
Still there was a good deal of general information flying about the
schooner on stormy dayswhen they lay up in the foc'sle or sat on
the cabin lockerswhile spare eye-boltsleadsand rings rolled and
rattled in the pauses of the talk. Disko spoke of whaling voyages in
the Fifties; of great she-whales slain beside their young; of death
agonies on the black tossing seasand blood that spurted forty feet
in the air; of boats smashed to splinters; of patent rockets that went
off wrong-end-first and bombarded the trembling crews; of
cutting-in and boiling-downand that terrible "nip" of '71when
twelve hundred men were made homeless on the ice in three
days-wonderful talesall true. But more wonderful still were his
stories of the codand how they argued and reasoned on their
private businesses deep down below the keel.
Long Jack's tastes ran more to the supernatural. He held them
silent with ghastly stories of the "Yo-hoes" on Monomoy Beach
that mock and terrify lonely clam-diggers; of sand-walkers and
dune-haunters who were never properly buried; of hidden treasure
on Fire Island guarded by the spirits of Kidd's men; of ships that
sailed in the fog straight over Truro township; of that harbor in
Maine where no one but a stranger will lie at anchor twice in a
certain place because of a dead crew who row alongside at
midnight with the anchor in the bow of their old-fashioned boat
whistling-not callinghut whistling-for the soul of the man who
broke their regt.
Harvey had a notion that the east coast of his native landfrom
Mount Desert southwas populated chiefly by people who took
their horses there in the summer and entertained in country-houses
with hardwood floors and Vantine portires. He laughed at the
ghost-tales-not as much as he would have done a month
before-but ended by sifting still and shuddering.
Tom Platt dealt with his interminable trip round the Horn on the
old Ohio in flogging dayswith a navy more extinct than the
dodo-the navy that passed away in the great war. He told them how
red-hot shot are dropped into a cannona wad of wet clay between
them and the cartridge; how they sizzle and reek when they strike
woodand how the little ship-boys of the Miss Jim Buck hove
water over them and shouted to the fort to try again. And he told
tales of blockade-long weeks of swaying at anchorvaried only by
the departure and return of steamers that had used up their coal
(there was no chance for the sailing-ships); of gales and cold~ld
that kept two hundred mennight and daypounding and chopping
at the ice on cableblocksand riggingwhen the galley was as
red-hot as the fort's shotand men drank cocoa by the bucket Tom
Platt had no use for steam. His service closed when that thing was
comparatively new. He admitted that it was a specious invention in
time of peacebut looked hope-fully for the day when sails should
come back again on ten-thousand-ton frigates with
Manuel's talk was slow and gentle-all about pretty girls in Madeira
washing clothes in the dry beds of streamsby moonlightunder
waving bananas; legends of saintsand tales of queer dances or
fights away in the cold Newfoundland baiting-ports Salters was
mainly agricultural; forthough he read "Josephus" and expounded
ithis mission in life was to prove the value of green manuresand
specially of cloveragainst every form of phosphate whatsoever.
He grew libellous about phosphates; he dragged greasy "Orange
Judd" books from his bunk and intoned themwagging his finger at
Harveyto whom it was all Greek. Little Penn was so genuinely
pained when Harvey made fun of Salters's lectures that the boy
gave it upand suffered in polite silence. That was very good for
The cook naturally did not loin in these conversations. As a rule
he spoke only when it was absolutely necessary; but at times a
queer gift of speech descended on himand he held forthhalf in
Gaelichalf in broken Englishan hour at a time. He was
especially communicative with the boysand he never withdrew
his prophecy that one day Harvey would be Dan's masterand that
he would see it. He told them of mall-carrying in the 'winter up
Cape Breton wayof the dog-train that goes to Coudrayand of the
ram-steamer Arcticthat breaks the ice between the mainland and
Prince Edward Island. Then he told them stories that his mother
had told himof life far to the southwardwhere water never froze;
and he said that when he died his soul would go to lie down on a
warm white beach of sand with palm-trees waving above. That
seemed to the boys a very odd idea for a man who had never seen a
palm in his life. Thentooregularly at each mealhe would ask
Harveyand Harvey alonewhether the cooking was to his taste;
and this always made the "second half' laugh. Yet they had a great
respect for the cook's judgmentand in their hearts considered
Harvey something of a mascot by consequence.
And while Harvey was taking in knowledge of new things at each
pore and hard health with every gulp of the good airthe We're
Here went her ways and did her business on the Bankand the
silvery-gray kenches of well-pressed fish mounted higher and
higher in the hold. No one day's work was out of commonbut the
average days were many and close together.
Naturallya man of Disko's reputation was closely
watched-"scrowged upon Dan called it-by his neighbours, but he
had a very pretty knack of giving them the slip through the
curdling, glidy fog-banks. Disko avoided company for two reasons.
He wished to make his own experirnents, in the first place; and in
the second, he objected to the mixed gatherings of a fleet of all
nations. The bulk of them were mamly Gloucester boats,
with a scattering from Provincetown, Harwich, Chatham, and
some of the Maine ports, but the crews drew from goodness knows
where. Risk breeds recklessness, and when greed is added there
are fine chances for every kind of accident in the crowded fleet,
which, like a mob of sheep, is huddled round some unrecognized
leader. Let the two Jeraulds lead 'em said Disko. We're baound
to lay among 'em for a spell on the Eastern Shoals; though ef luck
holdswe won't hev to lay long. Where we are naowHarveain't
considered noways good graound."
Ain't it?said Harveywho was drawing water (he had learned
just how to wiggle the bucket)after an unusually long
dressing-down. "Shouldn't mind striking some poor ground for a
All the graound I want to see-don't want to strike her-is Eastern
Point,said Dan. "SayDadit looks's if we wouldn't hev to lay
more'n two weeks on the Shoals. You'll meet all the comp'ny you
want thenHarve. That's the time we begin to work. No reg'lar
meals fer no one then. 'Mug-up when ye're hungryan' sleep when
ye can't keep awake. Good job you wasn't picked up a month later
than you wasor we'd never ha' had you dressed in shape fer the
Harvey understood from the Eldridge chart that the Old Virgin and
a nest of curiously named shoals were the turning-point of the
cruiseand that with good luck they would wet the balance of their
salt there. But seeing the size of the Virgin (it was one tiny dot)he
wondered how even Disko with the hog-yoke and the lead could
find her. He learned later that Disko was entirely equal to that and
any other business and could even help others. A big four-by-five
blackboard hung in the cabinand Harvey never understood the
need of it tillafter some blinding thick daysthey heard the
unmelodious tooting of a foot-power fog-horn-a machine whose
note is as that of a consumptive elephant.
They were making a short berthtowing the anchor under their
foot to save trouble. "Square-rigger bellowin' fer his latitude said
Long Jack. The dripping red head-sails of a bark glided out of the
fog, and the We're Here rang her bell thrice, using sea shorthand.
The larger boat backed her topsail with shrieks and shoutings.
Frenchman said Uncle Salters, scornfully. Miquelon boat from
St. Malo." The farmer had a weatherly sea-eye. "I'm 'most outer
Same here,said Tom Platt. "Hi! Backez vous-backez vous!
Standez awayezyou butt-ended mucho-bono! Where you from-
Ah, ha! Mucho bono! Oui! oui! Clos Poulet--St. Malo! St. Pierre
et Miquelon,cried the other crowdwaving woollen caps and
laughing. Then all togetherBord! Bord!
Bring up the board, Danny. Beats me how them Frenchmen fetch
anywheres, exceptin' America's fairish broadly. Forty-six
forty-nine's good enough fer them; an' I guess it's abaout right, too
Dan chalked the figures on the boardand they hung it in the
main-rigging to a chorus of mercis from the bark.
Seems kinder uneighbourly to let 'em swedge off like this,
Salters suggestedfeeling in his pockets
Hev ye learned French then sence last trip?said Disko. "I don't
want no more stone-ballast hove at us 'long 0' your callin'
Miquelon boats 'footy cochins' same's you did off Le Have."
Harmon Rush he said that was the way to rise 'em. Plain United
States is good enough fer me. We're all dretful short- on tearakker.
Young feller, don't you speak French?
Oh, yes,said Harvey valiantly; and he bawled:
Hi! Say! Arretez vous! Attendez! Nous sommes venant pour
Ah, tabac, tabac!they criedand laughed again.
That hit 'em. Let's heave a dory over, anyway,said Tom Platt. "I
don't exactly hold no certificates on Frenchbut I know another
lingo that goesI guess. Come onHarvean' interpret."
The raffle and confusion when he and Harvey were hauled up the
bark's black side was indescribable. Her cabin was all stuck round
with glaring coloured prints of the Virgin-the Virgin of
Newfoundlandthey called her. Harvey found his French of no
recognized Bank brandand his conversation was limited to nods and grins. But
Tom Platt waved his arms and got along swimmingly. The captain
gave him a drink of unspeakable ginand the opera-comique crew
with their hairy throatsred capsand long knivesgreeted him as a
brother. Then the trade began. They had tobaccoplenty of
it-Americanthat had never paid duty to France. They wanted
chocolate and crackers. Harvey rowed back to arrange with the
cook and Diskowho owned the storesand on his return the
cocoa-tins and cracker-bags were counted out by the Frenchman's
wheel. It looked like a piratical division of loot; but Tom Platt
came out of it roped with black pigtail and stuffed with cakes of
chewing and smoking tobacco. Then those jovial mariners swung
off into the mistand the last Harvey heard was a gay chorus:
Par derriere chez ma tante, fly a un bois joli,
Et le rossignol y chante
Et le jour et la nuit....
Que donneriez vous, belle,
Qui 1'arnenerait ici?
Je donneral Quebec,
Sorel et Saint Denis.
How was it my French didn't go, and your sign-talk did?Harvey
demanded when the batter had been distributed among the We're
Sign-talk!Platt guffawed. "Wellyes'twas sign-talkbut a heap
older'n your FrenchHarve. Them French boats are chockfull o'
Freemasonsan' that's why."
Are you a Freemason, then?
Looks that way, don't it?said the man-o'-war's manstuffing his
pipe; and Harvey had another mystery of the deep sea to brood
The thing that struck him most was the exceedingly casual way in
which some craft loafed about the broad Atlantic. Fishing-boatsas
Dan saidwere naturally dependent on the courtesy and wisdom of
their neighbours; but one expected better things of steamers. That
was alter another interesting interviewwhen they had been chased
for three miles by a big lumbering old cattle-boatall boarded over
on the upper deckthat smelt like a thousand cattle-pens. A very
excited officer yelled at them through a speaking-trumpetand she
lay and lollopped helplessly on the water while Disko ran the
We're Here under her lee and gave the skipper a piece of his mind.
Where might ye be-eh? Ye don't deserve to be anywheres. You
barn-yard tramps go hoggin' the road on the high seas with no
blame consideration fer your neighbours, an' your eyes in your
coffee-cups instid o' in your silly heads.
At this the skipper danced on the bridge and said something about
Disko's own eyes. "We haven't had an observation for three days.
D'you suppose we can run her blind?" he shouted-
Wa-al, I can,Disko retorted. "What's come to your lead? Et it?
Can't ye smell bottomor are them cattle too rank?"
What d' ye feed 'em?said Uncle Salters with intense seriousness
for the smell of the pens woke all the farmer in him. "They say
they fall off dretful on a v'yage. Dunno as it's any o' my business
but I've a kind o' notion that oil-cake broke small an' sprinkled
Thunder!said a cattle-man in a red jersey as he looked over the
side. "What asylum did they let His Whiskers out of?"
Young feller,Salters beganstanding up in the fore-rigginglet
me tell yeou 'fore we go any further that I've~
The officer on the bridge took off his cap with immense
politeness. "Excuse me he said, but I've asked for my reckoning.
If the agricultural person with the hair will kindly shut his head
the sea-green barnacle 'with the wall-eye may per-haps condescend
to enlighten us."
Naow you've made a show o' me, Salters,said Diskoangrily. He
could not stand up to that particular sort of talkand snapped out
the latitude and longitude without more lectures.
Well, that's a boat-load of lunatics, sure,said the skipperas he
rang up the engine-room and tossed a bundle of newspapers into
Of all the blamed fools, next to you, Salters, him an' his crowd are
abaout the likeliest I've ever seen,said Disko as the We're Here
slid away. "I was jest givin' him my jedgment on lullsikin' round
these waters like a lost childan' you must cut in with your fool
farmin'. Can't ye never keep things sep'rate?"
HarveyDanand the others stood backwinking one to the other
and full of joy; but Disko and Salters wrangled seriously till
eveningSalters arguing that a cattle-boat was practically a barn on
blue waterand Disko insisting thateven if this were the case
decency and fisher-pride demanded that he should have kept
things sep'rate.Long Jack stood it in silence for a time-an angry
skipper makes an unhappy crew-and then he spoke across the
table after supper:
Fwhat's the good o' bodderin' fwhat they'll say?said he.
They'll tell that tale agin us fer years-that's all,said Disko.
With salt, o' course,said SaltersImpenitentreading the
farming reports from a week-old New York paper.
It's plumb mortifyin' to all my feelin's,the skipper went on.
Can't see Ut that way,said Long Jackthe peacemaker "Look at
hereDisko! Is there another packet afloat this day in this weather
cud ha' met a tramp anover an' above givin' her her reckonin'
-over an' above thatI say-cud ha' discoorsed wid her quite intelligent
on the management av steers an' such at sea? Forgit ut! Av coorse they
will not. 'Twas the most compenjus conversation that iver accrued.
Double game an' twice runnin'-all to us." Dan kicked Harvey under
the tableand Harvey choked in his cup.
Well,said Salterswho felt that his honour had been somewhat
plasteredI said I didn't know as 'twuz any business o' mine, 'fore
An' right there,said Tom Plattexperienced in discipline and
etiquette- "right thereI take itDiskoyou should ha' asked him to
stop ef the conversation wuz likelyin your jedgmentto be
anyways-what it shouldn't."
'Dunno but that's so said Disko, who saw his way to an
honourable retreat from a fit of the dignities.
Whyo' course it was so said Salters, you bein' skipper here;
an' I'd cheerful hev stopped on a hint-not from any leadin' or
convictionbut fer the sake o' bearin' an example to these two
blame boys of aours."
Didn't I tell you, Harve, 'twould come araound to us 'fore we'd
done? Always those blame boys. But I wouldn't have missed the
show fer a half-share in a halibutter,Dan whispered.
Still, things should ha' been kep' sep'rate,said Diskoand the
light of new argument lit in Salters's eye as he crumbled cut plug
into his pipe.
There's a power av vartue in keepin' things sep'rate,said Long
Jackintent on stilling the storm. "That's fwhat Steyning of
Steyning and Hare's f'und when he sent Counahan fer skipper on
the Manila D. Kuhninstid o' Cap. Newton that was took with
inflam'try rheumatism an' couldn't go. Counahan the Navigator we
Nick Counahan he never went aboard fer a night 'thout a pond o'
rum somewheres in the manifest,said Tom Plattplaying up to
the lead. "He used to bum araound the c'mission houses to Boston
lookin' fer the Lord to make him captain of a tow-boat on his
merits. Sam Coyup to Atlantic Avenoogive him his board free
fer a year or more on account of his stories.
Counahan the Navigator! Tck! Tck! Dead these fifteen yearain't
Seventeen, I guess. He died the year the Caspar McVeagh was
built; but he could niver keep things sep'rate. Steyning tuk him fer
the reason the thief tuk the hot stove-bekaze there was nothin' else
that season. The men was all to the Banks, and Counahan he
whacked up an iverlastin' hard crowd fer crew. Rum! Ye cud ha'
floated the Manila, insurance an' all, in fwhat they stowed aboard
her. They lef' Boston Harbour for the great Grand Bank wid a
roarin' nor'wester behind 'em an' all hands full to the bung. An' the
hivens looked after thim, for divil a watch did they set, an' divil a
rope did they lay hand to, till they'd seen the bottom av a
fifteen-gallon cask o' bug-juice. That was about wan week, so far
as Counahan remembered. (If I cud only tell the tale as he told ut!)
All that whoile the wind blew like ould glory, an' the Marilla-'twas
summer, and they'd give her a foretopmast-struck her gait and kept
ut. Then Counahan tuk the hog-yoke an' thrembled over it for a
whoile, an' made out, betwix' that an' the chart an' the singin' in his
head, that they was to the south'ard o' Sable Island, gettin' along
glorious, but speakin' nothin'. Then they broached another keg, an'
quit speculatin' about anythin' fer another spell. The Marilla she
lay down whin she dropped Boston Light, and she never lufted her
lee-rail up to that time-hustlin' on one an' the same slant. But they
saw no weed, nor gulls, nor schooners; an' prisintiy they obsarved
they'd bin out a matter o' fourteen days and they mis-trusted the
Bank has suspinded payment. So they sounded, an' got sixty
fathom. 'That's me,' sez Counahan. 'That's me iv'ry time! I've run
her slat on the Bank fer you, an' when we get thirty fathom we'll
turn in like little men. Counahan is the b'y,' sez he. 'Counahan the
Nex' cast they got ninety. Sez Counahan: 'Either the lead-line's tuk
to stretchin' or else the Bank's sunk.'
They hauled ut up, bein' just about in that state when ut seemed
right an' reasonable, and sat down on the deck countin' the knots,
an' gettin' her snarled up hijjus. The Marilla she'd struck her gait,
an' she hild ut, an' prisindy along came a tramp, an' Counahan
'Hev ye seen any fishin'-boats now?' sez he, quite casual.
'There's lashin's av them off the Irish coast,' sez the tramp.
'Aah! go shake yerseif,' sez Counahan. 'Fwhat have I to do wid the
'Then fwhat are ye doin' here?' sez the tramp.
'Sufferin' Christianity!' sez Counahan (he always said that whin his
pumps sucked an' he was not feelin' good)-'Sufferin' Christianity!'
he sez'where am I at?'
'Thirty-five mile west-sou'west o' Cape Clear' sez the tramp'if
that's any consolation to you.'
Counahan fetched wan jump, four feet sivin inches, measured by
'Consolation!' sez he, bould as brass. 'D'ye take me fer a dialect?
Thirty-five mile from Cape Clear, an' fourteen days from Boston
Light. Sufferin' Christianity, 'tis a record, an' by the same token I've
a mother to Skibbereen!' Think av ut! The gall av um! But ye see
he could niver keep things sep'rate.
The crew was mostly Cork an' Kerry menbarrin' one Marylander
that wanted to go backbut they called him a mutineeran' they ran
the ould Marilla into Skibbereenan' they had an illigant time
visitin' around with frinds on the ould sod fer a week. Thin they
wint backan' it cost 'em two an' thirty days to beat to the Banks
again. 'Twas gettin' on towards falland grub was lowso
Counahan ran - her back to Bostonwid no more bones to ut."
And what did the firm say?Harvey demanded.
Fwhat could they? The fish was on the Banks, an' Counahan was
at. T-wharf talkin' av his record trip east! They tuk their
satisfaction out av that, an' ut all came av not keepin' the crew and
the rum sep'rate in the first place; an' confusin' Skibbereen wid
'Queereau, in the second. Counahan the Navigator, rest his sowi!
He was an imprompju citizen!
Once I was in the Lucy Holmes,said Manuelin his gentle voice.
They not want any of her feesh in Gloucester. Eh, wha-at? Give us
no price. So we go across the water, and think to sell to some Fayal
man. Then it blow fresh, and we cannot see well. Eh, wha-at? Then
it blow some mQre fresh, and we go down below and drive very
fast-no one know where. By and by we see a land, and it get some
hot. Then come two, three nigger in a brick. Eh, wha-at? We ask
where we are, and they say-now, what you all think?
Grand Canary,said Diskoalter a moment. Manuel shook his
Blanco,said Tom Platt.
No. Worse than that. We was below Bezagos, and the brick she
was from Liberia! So we sell our feesh there! Not bad, so? Eh,
Can a schooner like this go right across to Africa?said Harvey.
Go araound the Horn ef there's anythin' worth goin' fer, and the
grub holds aout,said Disko. "My father he run his packetan' she
was a kind o' pinkeyabaout fifty tonI guess-the Rupert-he run
her over to Greenland's icy mountains the year ha'af our fleet was
tryin' alter cod there. An' what's morehe took my mother along
with him-to show her haow the money was earnedI presoom-an'
they was all iced upan' I was born at Disko. Don't remember
nothin' abaout ito' course. We come back when the ice eased in
the springbut they named me fer the place. Kinder mean trick to
put up on a babybut we're all baound to make mistakes in aour
Sure! Sure!said Salterswagging his head. "All baound to make
mistakesan' I tell you two boys here thet alter you've made a
mistake-ye don't make fewer'n a hundred a day-the next best
thing's to own up to it like men."
Long Jack winked one tremendous wink that embraced all hands
except Disko and Saltersand the incident was closed.
Then they made berth alter berth to the northwardthe dories out
almost every dayrunning along the east edge of the Grand Bank in
thirty- to forty-fathom waterand fishing steadily.
It was here Harvey first met the squidwho is one of the best
cod-baitsbut uncertain in his moods. They
88 Rudyard Kipling
were waked out of their bunks one black night by yells of "Squid
0!" from Saltersand for an hour and a half every soul aboard hung
over his squid-jig-a piece of lead painted red and armed at the
lower end with a circle of pins bent backward like half-opened
umbrella ribs. The squid-for some unknown reason-likesand
wraps himself roundthis thingand is hauled up ere he can escape
from the pins. But as he leaves his home he squirts first water and
next ink into his captor's face; and it was curious to see the men
weaving their heads from side to side to dodge the shot. They were
as black as sweeps when the flurry ended; but a pile of fresh squid
lay on the deckand the large cod thinks very well of a little shiny
piece of squid tentacle at the tip of a clam-baited hook. Next day
they caught many fishand met the Carrie Pitmanto whom they
shouted their luckand she wanted to trade-seven cod for one
fair-sized squid; but Disko would not agree at the priceand the
Carrie dropped sullenly to leeward and anchored half a mile away
in the hope of striking on to some for herself.
Disco said nothing till after supperwhen he sent Dan and Manuel
out to buoy the We're Here's cable and announced his intention of
turning in with the broad-axe. Dan naturally repeated these
remarks to the dory from the Carriewho wanted to know why
they were buoying their cablesince they were not on rocky
Dad sez he wouldn't trust a ferryboat within five mile o' you,
Dan howled cheerfully.
Why don't he git out, then? Who's hinderin'?said the other.
'Cause you've jest the same ex lee-bowed him, an' he don't take that
from any boat, not to speak o' sech a driftin' gurry-butt as you be.
She ain't driftin' any this trip,said the man angrilyfor the Carrie
Pitman had an unsavory reputation for breaking her ground- tackle.
Then haow d'you make berths?said Dan. "It's her best p'int o'
sailin'. An' ef she's quit driftin'what in thunder are you doin' with
a new jib-boom?" That shot went home.
Hey, you Portugoosy organ-grinder, take your monkey back to
Gloucester. Go back to school, Dan Troop,was the answer.
0-ver-alls! 0-ver-alls!yelled Danwho knew that one of the
Carrie's crew had worked in an overall factory the winter before.
Shrimp! Gloucester shrimp! Git aout, you Novy!
To call a Gloucester man a Nova Scotian is not well received. Dan
answered in kind.
Novy yourself, ye Scrabble-towners! ye Chatham wreckers! Git
aout with your brick in your stockin'!And the forces separated
but Chatharn had the worst of it.
I knew haow 'twould be,said Disko. "She's drawed the wind
raound already. Some one oughter put a deesist on thet packet.
She'll snore till midnightan' jest when we're gettin' our sleep she'll
strike adrift. Good job we ain't crowded with craft hereaways. But
I ain't goin' to up anchor fer Chatham. She may hold."
The windwhich had hauled roundrose at sundown and blew
steadily. There was not enough seathoughto disturb even a
dory's tacklebut the Carrie Pitman was a law unto herself. At the
end of the boys' watch they heard the crack-crack-crack of a huge
muzzle-loading revolver aboard her.
Gory, glory, hallelujah!sung Dan. "Here she comesDad;
butt-end firstwalkin' in her sleep same's she done on 'Queereau."
Had she been any other boat Disko would have taken his chances
but now he cut the cable as the Carrie Pitmanwith all the North
Atlantic to play inlurched down directly upon them. The We're
Hereunder jib and riding-sailgave her no more room than was
absolutely necessary-Disko did not wish to spend a week hunting
for his cable-but scuttled up into the wind as the Carrie passed
within easy haila silent and angry boatat the mercy of a raking
broadside of Bank chaff.
Good evenin',said Diskoraising his head-gearan' haow does
your garden grow?
Go to Ohio an' hire a mule,said Uncle Salters. "We don't want
no farmers here."
Will I lend YOU my dory-anchor?cried Long Jack.
Unship your rudder an' stick it in the mud,Bald Tom Platt.
Say!Dan's voice rose shrill and highas he stood on the
wheel-box. "Sa-ay! Is there a strike in the o-ver-all factory; or hev
they hired girlsye Shackamaxons?"
Veer out the tiller-lines,cried Harveyand nail 'em to the
bottom~' That was a salt-flavoured jest he had been put up to by
Tom Platt. Manuel leaned over the stern and yelled: Johanna
Morgan play the organ! Ahaaaa!" He flourished his broad thumb
with a gesture of unspeakable contempt and derisionwhile little
Penn covered himself with glory by piping up: "Gee a little! Hssh!
Come here. Haw!"
They rode on their chain for the rest of the nighta shortsnappy
uneasy motionas Harvey foundand wasted half the forenoon
recovering the cable. But the boys agreed the trouble was cheap at
the price of triumph and gloryand they thought with grief over all
the beautiful things that they might have said to the discomfited
Next day they fell in with more sailsall circling slowly from the
east northerly towards the west. But just when they expected to
make the shoals by the Virgin the fog shut downand they
anchoredsurrounded by the tinklings of invisible bells. There was
not much fishingbut occasionally dory met dory in the fog and
That nighta little before dawnDan and Harveywho had been
sleeping most of the daytumbled out to "hook" fried pies. There
was no reason why they should not have taken them openly; but
they tasted better soand it made the cook angry. The heat and
smell below drove them on deck with their plunderand they
found Disko at the bellwhich he handed over to Harvey.
Keep her goin',said he. "I mistrust I hear somethin'. Ef it's
anythingI'm best where I am so's to get at things."
It was a forlorn little jingle; the thick air seemed to pinch it off
and in the pauses Harvey heard the muffled shriek of a liner's
sirenand he knew enough of the Banks to know what that meant.
It came to himwith horrible distinctnesshow a boy in a
cherry-coloured jersey-he despised fancy blazers now with all a
fisher-man's contempt-how an ignorantrowdy boy had once
said it would be "great" if a steamer ran down a fishing-boat.
That boy had a stateroom with a hot and cold bathand spent
ten minutes each morning picking over a gilt-edged bill of fare.
And that same boy-nohis very much older brother- was up at
four of the dim dawn in streamingcrackling oilskinshammering
literally for the dear lifeon a bell smaller than the steward's
breakfast-bellwhile somewhere close at hand a thirty-foot steel
stem was storming along at twenty miles an hour! The bitterest
thought of all was that there were folks asleep in dry
upholstered cabins who would never learn that. they had
massacred a boat before breakfast. So Harvey rang the bell.
Yes, they slow daown one turn o' their blame propeller,said
Danapplying himself to Manuel's conchfer to keep inside the
law, an' that's consolin' when we're all at the bottom. Hark to her!
She's a humper!
Aooo-whoo-whupp!went the siren. "Wingle-tingle-tink went
the belL Graaa-ouch!" went the conchwhile sea and
sky were all mrned up in milky fog. Then Harvey fek that
he was near a moving bodyand found himself looking up
and up at the wet edge of a cliff-like bowleapingit seemed
directly over the schooner. A jaunty little feather of water curled in
front of itand as it lifted it showed a long ladder of Roman
numerals-XV.XVI.XVII.XVIII.and sd forth-on a
salmon-coloured gleaming side. It tilted forward and downward
with a heart-stilling "Ssssooo"; the ladder disappeared; a line of
brass-rimmed port-holes flashed past; a jet of steam puffed in
Harvey's helplessly uplifted hands; a spout of hot water roared
along the rail of the We're Hereand the little schooner staggered
and shook in a rush of screw-torn wateras a liner's stern vanished
in the fog. Harvey got ready to faint or be sickor bothwhen he
heard a crack like a trunk thrown on a sidewalkandall small in
his eara far-away telephone voice drawling: "Heave to! You've
Is it us?he gasped.
No! Boat out yonder. Ring! We're goin' to look,said Dan
running out a dory.
In half a minute all except HarveyPennand the cook were
overside and away. Presently a schooner's stump-foremastsnapped
clean acrossdrifted past the bows. Then an empty green dory
came byknocking on the We're Here's sideas though she wished
to be taken in. Then followed somethingface downin a blue
jerseybut-it was not the whole of a man. Penn changed colour and
caught his breath with a click. Harvey pounded despairingly at the
bellfor he feared they
93 might be sunk at any minuteand he jumped at Dan's hail as
the crew came back.
The Jennie Cushman,said Danhystericallycut clean in
half-graound up an' trompled on at that! Not a quarter of a mile
away. Dad's got the old man. There ain't any one else, and-there
was his son, too. Oh, Harve, Harve, I can't stand it! I've seen-He
dropped his head on his arms and sobbed while the others dragged
a gray-headed man aboard.
What did you pick me up for?the stranger groaned. "Diskowhat
did you pick me up for?"
Disko dropped a heavy hand on his shoulderfor the man's eyes
were wild and his lips trembled as he stared at the silent crew.
Then up and spoke Pennsylvania Prattwho was also Haskins or
Rich or MeVitty when Uncle Salters forgot; and his face was
changed on him from the face of a fool to the countenance of an
oldwise manand he said in a strong voice: "The Lord gaveand
the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord! I was-I
am a minister of the Gospel. Leave him to me."
Oh, you be, be you?said the man. "Then pray my son back to
me! Pray back a nine-thousand-dollar boat an' a thousand quintal of
fish. If you'd left me alone my widow could ha' gone on to the
Provident an' worked fer her boardan' never known-an' never
known. Now I'll hev to tell her."
There ain't notbin' to say,said Disko. "Better lie down a piece
When a man has lost his only sonhis summer's workand his
means of livelihoodin thirty counted secondsit is hard to give
All Gloucester men, wasn't they?said Tom Plattfiddling
helplessly with a dory-becket.
Oh, that don't make no odds,said Jasonwringing the wet from
his beard. "I'll be rowin' summer boarders araound East Gloucester
this fall." He rolled heavily to the railsinging:
Happy birds that sing and fly
Round thine altars, 0 Most High!
Come with me. Come below!said Pennas though he had a right
to give orders. Their eyes met and fought for a quarter of
I dunno who you be, but I'll come,said Jason submissively.
Mebbe I'll get back some o' the-some o' the-nine thousand
dollars.Penn led him into the cabin and slid the door behind.
That ain't Penn,cried Uncle Salters. "It's Jacob Boileran'-he's
remembered Johnstown! I never seed stich eyes in any livin' man's
head. What's to do naow? What'll I do naow?"
They could hear Penn's voice and Jason's together. Then Penn's
went on aloneand Salters slipped off his hatfor Penn was
praying. Presently the little man came up the stepshuge drops of
sweat on his faceand looked at the crew. Dan was still sobbing by
He don't know us,Salters groaned. "It's all to do over again
checkers and everything-an' what'll he say to me?"
Penn spoke; they could hear that it was to strangers. "I have
prayed said he. Our people believe in prayer. I have prayed for
the life of this ma~'s son. Mine were drowned before my eyes-she
and my eldest and-the others. Shall a man be more wise than his
Maker? I prayed never for their livesbut I have prayed for this
man's sonand he will surely be sent him.
Salters looked pleadingly at Penn to see if he remembered.
How long have I been mad?Penn asked suddenly. His mouth
Pshaw, Penn! You weren't never mad,Salters began "Only a
little distracted like."
I saw the houses strike the bridge before the fires broke out. I do
not remember any more. How long ago is that?
I can't stand it! I can't stand it!cried Danand Harvey whimpered
Abaout five year,said Diskoin a shaking voice.
Then I have been a charge on some one for every day of that time.
Who was the man?
Disko pointed to Salters.
Ye hain't-ye hain't!cried the sea-farmertwisting his hands
together. "Ye've more'n earned your keep twice-told; an' there's
money owm' youPennbesides ha'af o' my quarter-share in
the boatwhich is yours fer value received."
You are good men. I can see that in your faces. But--
Mother av Mercy,whispered Long Jackan' he's been wid
us~all these trips! He's clean bewitched.
A schooner's bell struck up alongsideand a voice hailed through
the fog: "0 Disko! 'Heard abaout the Jennie Cushman?"
They have found his son,cried Penn. "Stand you still and see the
salvation of the Lord!"
Got Jason aboard here,Disko answeredbut his voice quavered.
There-warn't any one else?
We've fund one, though. 'Run acrost him snarled up in a mess o'
lumber thet might ha' bin a foc'sle. His head's cut some.
Who is he?
The We're Here's heart-beats answered one another.
Guess it's young Olley,the voice drawled.
Penn raised his hands and said something in German. Harvey
could have sworn that a bright sun was shining upon his lifted
face; but the drawl went on: "Sa-ay! You fellers guyed us
consid'rable t'other night."
We don't feel like guyin' any now,said Disko.
I know it; but to tell the honest truth we was kinder-kinder driftin'
when we run agin young Olley.
It was the irrepressible Carrie Pitmanand a roar of unsteady
laughter went up from the deck of the We're Here.
Hedn't you 'baout's well send the old man aboard? We're runnin'
in fer more bait an' graound-tackle. Guess you won't want him,
anyway, an' this blame windlass work makes us short-handed.
We'll take care of him. He married my woman's aunt.
I'll give you anything in the boat,said Troop.
Don't want nothin', 'less, mebbe, an anchor that'll hold. Say!
Young Olley's gittin' kinder baulky an' excited. Send the old man
Penn waked him from his stupor of despairand Tom Platt rowed
him over. He went away without a word
96 Rudyard Kipling of thanksnot knowing what was to come;
and the fog closed over all.
And now,said Penndrawing a deep breath as though about to
preach. "And now"-the erect body sank like a sword driven home
into the scabbard; the light faded from the overbright eyes; the
voice returned to its usual pitiful little titter- "and now said
Pennsylvania Pratt, do you think it's too early for a little game of
The very thing-the very thing I was goin' to say myself,cried
Salters promptly. "It beats allPennhow ye git on to what's in a
The little fellow blushed and meekly followed Salters forward.
Up anchor! Hurry! Let's quit these crazy waters,shouted Disko
and never was he more swiftly obeyed.
Now what in creation d'ye suppose is the meanin' o' that all?said
Long Jackwhen they were working through the fog once more
The way I sense it,said Diskoat the wheelis this: The Jennie
Cushman business comin' on an empty stummick--
H~we saw one of them go by,sobbed Harvey.
An' that, o' course, kinder hove him outer water, julluk runnin' a
craft ashore; hove him right aout, I take it, to rememberin'
Johnstown an' Jacob Boiler an' such-like reminiscences. Well,
consolin' Jason there held him up a piece, same's shorin' up a boat.
Then, bein' weak, them props slipped an' slipped, an' he slided
down the ways, an' naow he's water-borne agin. That's haow I
They decided that Disko was entirely correct
'Twould ha' bruk Salters all up said Long Jack, if Penn had
stayed Jacob Bollerin'. Did ye see his face when Penn asked who
he'd been charged on all these years? How is utSalters?"
Asleep-dead asleep. Turned in like a child,Salters replied
tiptoeing alt. "There won't be no grub till he wakesnatural. Did ye
ever see sech a gift in prayer? He everlastin'ly hiked young Olley
outer the ocean. Thet's my belief. Jason was tur'ble praoud of his
boyan' I mistrusted all along 'twas a jedgment on worshippin' vain
There's others jes as sot;said Disko.
That's dif runt,Salters retorted quickly. "Penn's not all caulked
an' I ain't only but doin' my duty by him."
They waitedthose hungry menthree hourstill Penn reappeared
with a smooth face and a blank mini He said he believed that he
had been dreaming. Then he wanted to know why they were so
silentand they could not tell him.
Disko worked all hands mercilessly for the next three or four days;
and when they could not go outturned them into the hold to stack
the ship's stores into smaller compassto make more room for the
fish. The packed mass ran from the cabin partition to the sliding
door behind the foc'sle stove; and Disko showed how there is great
art in stowing cargo so as to bring a schooner to her best draft. The
crew were thus kept lively till they recovered their spirits; and
Harvey was tickled with a rope's end by Long Jack for beingas the
Galway man saidsorrowful as a sick cat over fwhat couldn't be
helped.He did a great deal of thinking in those weary daysand
told Dan what he thoughtand Dan agreed with him-even to the
extent of asking for fried pies instead of hooking them.
But a week later the two nearly upset the Haitie S. in a wild
attempt to stab a shark with an old bayonet tied to a stick. The
grim brute rubbed alongside the dory begging for small fishand
between the three of them it was a mercy they all got off alive.
At lastafter playing blindman's-buff in the fogthere came a
morning when Disko shouted down the foc'sle: "Hurryboys!
We're in taown!"
To the end of his daysHarvey will never forget that sight. The
sun was just clear of the horizon they had not seen for nearly a
weekand his low red light struck into the riding-sails of three
fleets of anchored schooners--one to the northone to the westward
and one to the south. There must have been nearly a hundred of
themof every possible make and buildwithfar awaya
square-rigged Frenchmanall bowing and courtesying one to the
other. From every boat dories were dropping away like bees from a
crowded hiveand the clamour of voicesthe rattling of ropes and
blocksand the splash of the oars carried for miles across the
heaving water. The sails turned all coloursblackpearly-grayand
whiteas the sun mounted; and more boats swung up through the
mists to the southward.
The dories gathered in clustersseparatedreformedand broke
againall heading one way; while men hailed and whistled and
cat-called and sangand the water was speckled with rubbish
It's a town,said Harvey. "Disko was right. It U' a town!"
I've seen smaller,said Disko. "There's about a thousand men
here; an' yonder's the Virgin." He pointed to a vacant space of
greenish seawhere there were no dories.
The We're Here skirted round the northern squadronDisko
waving his hand to friend after friendand anchored as nearly as a
racing yacht at the end of the season. The Bank fleet pass good
seamanship in silence; but a bungler is jeered all along the line.
Jest in time fer the caplin,cried the Mary Chilton.
'Salt 'most wet?asked the King Philip.
Hey, Tom Platt! Come t' supper t0-night?said the Henry Clay;
and so questions and answers flew back and forth. Men had met
one another beforedory-fishing in the fogand there is no place
for gossip like the Bank fleet. They all seemed to know about
Harvey's rescueand asked if be were worth his salt yet. The young
bloods jested with Danwho had a lively tongue of his ownand
inquired alter their health by the town-nicknames they least liked.
Manuel's countrymen jabbered at him in their own language; and
even the silent cook was seen riding the jib-boom and shouting
Gaelic to a friend as black as himself. After they had buoyed the
cable--all around the Virgin is rocky bottomand carelessness
means chafed ground-tackle and danger from drifting-after they
had buoyed the cabletheir dories went forth to join the mob of
boats anchored about a mile away. The schooners rocked and
dipped at a safe distancelike mother ducks watching their brood
while the dories behaved like mannerless ducklings.
As they drove into the confusionboat banging boatHarvey's ears
tingled at the comments on his rowing. Every dialect from
Labrador to Long Islandwith PortugueseNeapolitanLingua
FrancaFrenchand Gaelicwith songs and shoutings and new
oathsrattled round himand he seemed to be the butt of it all. For
the first time in his life he felt shy-perhaps that came from living
so long with only the We're Heres-among the scores of wild faces
that rose and fell with the reeling small craft. A gentlebreathing
swellthree furlongs from trough to barrelwould quietly shoulder
up a string of variously painted dories. They hung for an instanta
wonderful frieze against the sky-lineand their men pointed and
hailed. Next moment the open mouthswaving armsand bare
chests disappearedwhile on another swell came up an entirely
new line of characters like paper figures in a toy theatre. So
Harvey stared. "Watch out!" said Danflourishing a dip-net "When
I tell you dipyou dip. The caplin'll school any time from naow on.
Where'll we layTom Platt?"
Pushingshovingand haulinggreeting old friends here and
warning old enemies thereCommodore Tom
100 Rudyard Kipling
Platt led his little fleet well to leeward of the general crowdand
immediately three or four men began to haul on their anchors with
intent to le~bow the We're Heres. But a yell of laughter went up as
a dory shot from her station with exceeding speedits occupant
pulling madly on the roding.
Give her slack!roared twenty voices. "Let him shake it out."
What's the matter?said Harveyas the boat flashed away to
the~southward. "He's anchoredisn't he?"
Anchored, sure enough, but his graound-tackle's kinder shifty,
said Danlaughing. "Whale's fouled it. . . . Dip Harve! Here they
The sea round them clouded and darkenedand then frizzed up in
showers of tiny silver fishand over a space of five or six acres the
cod began to leap like trout in May; while behind the cod three or
four broad gray-backs broke the water into boils.
Then everybody shouted and tried to haul up his anchor to get
among the schooland fouled his neighbour's line and said what
was in his heartand dipped furiously with his dip-netand shrieked
cautions and advice to his companionswhile the deep fizzed like
freshly opened soda-waterand codmenand whales together
flung in upon the luckless bait. Harvey was nearly knocked
overboard by the handle of Dan's net. But in all the wild tumult he
noticedand never forgotthe wickedset little eye-something like
a circus elephant's eye-of a whale that drove along almost level with
the waterandso be ~aidwinked at him. Three boats found their
rodings fouled by these reckless mid-sea huntersand were towed
half a mile ere their horses shook the line free.
Then the caplin moved offand five minutes later there was no
sound except the splash of the sinkers oversidethe flapping of the
codand the whack of the muckles as the men stunned them. It
was wonderful fishing. Harvey could see the glimmering cod
belowswimming slowly in drovesbiting as steadily as they
swam. Bank law strictly forbids more than one hook on one line
when the dories are on the Virgin or the Eastern Shoals; but so
close lay the boats that even single hooks snarledand Harvey
found himself in hot argument with a genflehairy Newfoundlander
on one side and a howling Portuguese on the other.
Worse than any tangle of fishing-lines was the confusion of the
dory-rodings below water. Each man had anchored where it
seemed good to himdrifting and rowing round his fixed point As
the fish struck on less quicklyeach man wanted to haul up and get
to better ground; but every third man found himself intimately
connected with some four or five neighbours. To cut another's
roding is crime unspeakable on the Banks; yet it was doneand
done without detectionthree or four times that day. Tom Platt
caught a Maine man in the black act and knocked him over the
gunwale with an oarand Manuel served a fellow- countryman in
the same way. But Harvey's anchor-line was cutand so was
Penn'sand they were turned into relief-boats to carry fish to the
We're Here as the dories filled. The caplin schooled once more at
twilightwhen the mad clamour was repeated; and at dusk they
rowed back to dress down by the light of kerosene-lamps on the
edge of the pen.
It was a huge pileand they went to sleep while they were dressing.
Next day several boats fished right above the cap of the Virgin;
and Harveywith themlooked down on the very weed of that
lonely rockwhich rises to within twenty feet of the surface. The
cod were there in legionsmarching solemnly over the leathery
kelp. When they bitthey bit all together; and so when they
stopped. There was a slack time at noonand the dories began to
search for amusement. It was Dan who sighted the Hope Of Prague
just coming upand as her boats joined the company they were
greeted with the question: "Who's the meanest man in the Fleet?"
Three hundred voices answered cheerily: "Nick Bra-ady." It
sounded like an organ chant.
Who stole the lam~wicks?That was Dan's contribution.
Nick Bra-ady,sang the boats.
Who biled the salt bait fer soup?This was an unknown backbiter
a quarter of a mile away.
Again the joyful chorus. NowBrady was not especially mean
but he had that reputationand the Fleet made the most of it.
Then they discovered a man from a Truro boat whosix years
beforehad been convicted of using a tackle with five or six
hooks-a "scrowger they call it~n the Shoals. Naturally, he had
been christened Scrowger Jim"; and though he had hidden
himself on the Georges ever sincehe found his honours waiting for
him full blown. They took it up in a sort of firecracker chorus:
Jim! 0 Jim! Jim! 0 Jim! Sssscrowger Jim!That pleased
everybody. And when a poetical Beverly man-he had been making
it up all dayand talked about it for weeks-sangThe Carrie
Pitman's anchor doesn't hold her for a centthe dories felt that they
were indeed fortunate. Then they had to ask that Beverly man how
he was off for beansbecause even poets must not have things all
their own way. Every schooner and nearly every man got it in turn.
Was there a careless or dirty cook anywhere? The dories sang
about him and his food. Was a schooner badly found? The Fleet
was told at full length. Had a man hooked tobacco from a
mess-mate? He was named in meeting; the name tossed from roller
to roller. Disko's infallible judgmentsLong Jack's market-boat that
he had sold years agoDan's sweetheart (ohbut Dan was an angry
boy!)Penn's bad luck with dory-anchorsSalter's views on
manureManuel's little slips from virtue ashoreand Harvey's
ladylike handling of the oar-all were laid before the public; and as
the fog fell around them in silvery sheets beneath the sunthe
voices sounded like a bench of invisible judges pronouncing
The dories roved and fished and squabbled till a swell underran the
sea. Then they drew more apart to save their sidesand some one
called that if the swell continued the Virgin would break. A
reckless Galway man with his nephew denied thishauled up
anchorand rowed over the very rock itself. Many voices called
them to come awaywhile others dared them to hold on. As the
smooth-backed rollers passed to the southwardthey hove the dory
high and high into the mistand dropped her in uglysucking
dimpled waterwhere she spun round her anchorwithin a foot or
two of the hidden rock. It was playing with death for mere
bravado; and the boats looked on in uneasy silence till Long
Jack rowed up behind his countrymen and quietly cut their roding.
Can't ye hear ut knockin'?he cried. "Pull for you miserable
The men swore and tried to argue as the boat drifted; but the next
swell checked a littlelike a man tripping on a carpet. There was a
deep sob and a gathering roarand the Virgin flung up a couple of
acres of foaming waterwhitefuriousand ghastly over the shoal
sea. Then all the boats greatly applauded Long Jackand the
Galway men held their tongue.
Ain't it elegant?said Danbobbing like a young seal at home.
She'll break about once every ha'af hour now, 'les the swell piles
up good. What's her reg'lar time when she's at work, Tom Platt?
Once ivry fifteen minutes, to the tick. Harve, you've seen the
greatest thing on the Banks; an' but for Long Jack you'd seen some
dead men too.
There came a sound of merriment where the fog lay thicker and
the schooners were ringing their bells. A big bark nosed cautiously
out of the mistand was received with shouts and cries ofCome
along, darlin',from the Irishry.
Another Frenchman?said Harvey.
Hain't you eyes? She's a Baltimore boat; goin' in fear an'
tremblin',said Dan. "We'll guy the very sticks out of her. Guess
it's the fust time her skipper ever met up with the Fleet this way."
She was a blackbuxomeight-hundred-ton craft. Her mainsail was
looped upand her topsail flapped undecidedly in what little wind
was moving. Now a bark is feminine beyond all other daughters of
the seaand this tallhesitating creaturewith her white and gilt
figureheadlooked just like a bewildered woman half lifting her
skirts to cross a muddy street under the jeers of bad little boys.
That was very much her situation. She knew she was somewhere
in the neighbourhood of the Virginhad caught the roar of itand
wasthereforeasking her way. This is a small part of what she
heard from the dancing dories:
The Virgin? Fwhat are you talkin' of? 'This is Le
104 Rudyard Kipling
Have on a Sunday mornin'. Go home an' sober up.
Go home, ye tarrapin! Go home an' tell 'em we're comm.
Half a dozen voices together, in a most tuneful chorus, as her stern
went down with a roll and a bubble into the troughs:
Hard up! Hard up fer your life! You're on top of her now.
Daown! Hard daown! Let go everything!
All hands to the pumps!
Daown jib an' pole her!
Here the skipper lost his temper and said things. instantly fishing
was suspended to answer himand he heard many curious facts
about his boat and her next port of call. They asked him if he were
insured; and whence he had stolen his anchorbecausethey said' it
belonged to the Carrie Pitman; they called his boat a mud-scow
and accused him of dumping garbage to frighten the fish; they
offered to tow him and charge it to his wife; and one audacious
youth slipped up almost under the countersmacked it with his
open palmand yelled: "Gid upBuck!"
The cook emptied a pan of ashes on himand he replied with
cod-heads. The bark's crew fired small coal from the galleyand
the dories threatened to come aboard and "razee" her. They would
have warned her at once had she been in real peril; butseeing her
well clear of the Virginthey made the most of their chances. The
fun was spoilt when the rock spoke againa half-mile to windward
and the tormented bark set everything that would draw and went
her ways; but the dories felt that the honours lay with them.
All that night the Virgin roared hoarsely; and next morningover
an angrywhite-headed seaHarvey saw the Fleet with flickering
masts waiting for a lead. Not a dory was hove out till ten o'clock
when the two Jeraulds of the Day's Eyeimagining a lull which did
not existset the example. In a minute half the boats were out and
bobbing in the cockly swellsbut Troop kept the We're Heres at
work dressing down. He saw no sense in "dares"; and as the storm
grew that evening they had the pleasure of receiving wet strangers
only too glad to make any refuge in the gale. The boys stood by the
dory-tackles with lanternsthe men ready to haulone eye cocked
for the sweeping wave that would make them drop everything and
hold on for dear life. Out of the dark would come a yell of "Dory
dory!" They would hook up and haul in a drenched man and a
half-sunk boattill their decks were littered down with nests of
dories and the bunks were full. Five times in their watch did
Harveywith Danjump at the foregaff where it lay lashed on the
boomand cling with armslegsand teeth to rope and spar and
sodden canvas as a big wave filled the decks. One dory was
smashed to piecesand the sea pitched the man head first on to the
deckscutting his forehead open; and about dawnwhen the racing
seas glimmered white all along their cold edgesanother manblue
and ghastlycrawled in with a broken handasking news of his
brother. Seven extra mouths sat down to breakfast: A Swede; a
Chatham skipper; a boy from HancockMaine; one Duxburyand
three Provincetown men.
There was a general sorting out among the Fleet next day; and
though no one said anythingall ate with better appetites when
boat after boat reported full crews aboard. Only a couple of
Portuguese and an old man from Gloucester were drownedbut
many were cut or bruised; and two schooners had parted their
tackle and been blown to the southwardthree days' sail. A man
died on a Frenchman-it was the same bark that had traded tobacco
with the We're Heres. She slipped away quite quietly one wet
white morningmoved to a patch of deep waterher sails all
hanging anyhowand Harvey saw the funeral through Disko's
spy-glass. It was only an oblong bundle slid overside. They did not
seem to have any form of servicebut in the nightat anchor
Harvey heard them across the star-powdered black watersinging
something that sounded like a hymn. it went to a very slow tune.
Qui va tourner,
Roule et s'incline
Oh, Vierge Marie,
Pour moi priez Dieul
Tom Platt visited herbecausehe saidthe dead man was his
brother as a Freemason. It came out that a wave had doubled the
poor fellow over the heel of the bowsprit and broken his back. The
news spread like a flashforcontrary to general customthe
Frenchman held an auction of the dead man's kit-he had no friends
at St Malo or Miquelon-and everything was spread out on the top
of the housefrom his red knitted cap to the leather belt with the
sheath-knife at the back. Dan and Harvey were out on
twenty-fathom water in the Hattie S.and naturally rowed over to
join the crowd. It was a long pulland they stayed some little time
while Dan bought the knifewhich had a curious brass handle.
When they dropped overside and pushed off into a drizzle of rain
and a lop of seait occurred to them that they might get into
trouble for neglecting the lines.
Guess 'twon't hurt us any to be warmed up,said Danshivering
under his oilskinsand they rowed on into the heart of a white fog
whichas usualdropped on them without warning.
There's too much blame tide hereabouts to trust to your instinks,
he said. "Heave over the anchorHarveand we'll fish a piece till
the thing lifts. Bend on your biggest lead. Three pound ain't any
too much in this water. See how she's tightened on her rodin'
There was quite a little bubble at the bowswhere some
irresponsible Bank current held the dory full stretch on her rope;
but they could not see a boat's length in any direction. Harvey
turned up his collar and bunched himself over his reel with the air
of a wearied navigator. Fog had no special terrors for him now.
They fished a while in silenceand found the cod struck on well.
Then Dan drew the sheath-knife and tested the edge of it on the
That's a daisy,said Harvey. "How did you get it so cheap?"
On account o' their blame Cath'lic superstitions,said Dan
jabbing with the bright blade. "They don't fancy takin'
iron from off a dead manso to speak. 'See them Arichat
Frenchmen step back when I bid?"
But an auction ain't taking anythink off a dead man. It's business.
We know it ain't, but there's no goin' in the teeth o' superstition.
That's one o' the advantages o' livin' in a progressive country.
And Dan began whistling:
Oh, Double Thatcher, how are you?
Now Eastern Point comes inter view.
The girls an' boys we soon shall see,
At anchor off Cape Ann!
Why didn't that Eastport man bid, then? He bought his boots.
Ain't Maine progressive?
Maine? Pshaw! They don't know enough, or they hain't got
money enough, to paint their haouses in Maine. I've seen 'em. The
Eastport man he told me that the knife had been used-so the
French captain told him-used up on the French coast last year.
Cut a man? Heave's the muckle.Harvey hauled in his fish
rebaitedand threw over.
Killed him! Course, when I heard that I was keener'n ever to get
Christmas! I didn't know it,said Harveyturning round. "I'll give
you a dollar for it when I-get my wages. SayI'll give you two
Honest? D'you like it as much as all that?said Danflushing.
Well, to tell the truth, I kinder got it for you-to give; but I didn't
let on till I saw how you'd take it. It's yours and welcome, Harve,
because we're dory-mates, and so on and so forth, an' so followin'.
He held it outbelt and all.
But look at here. Dan, I don't see-
Take it. 'Tain't no use to me. I wish you to hev it.The temptation
was irresistible. "Danyou're a white man said Harvey. I'll keep
it as long as I live."
That's good hearin',said Danwith a pleasant laugh; and then
anxious to change the subject: " 'Look's if your line was fast to
Fouled, I guess,said Harvetugging. Before he pulled up he
fastened the belt round himand with deep delight heard the tip of
the sheath click on the thwart. "Concern the thing!" he cried. "She
acts as though she were on strawberry-bottom. It's all sand here
Dan reached over and gave a judgmatic tweak. "Hollbut'll act that
way 'f he's sulky. Thet's no strawberry-bottom. Yank her once or
twice. She givessure. Guess we'd better haul up an' make certain."
They pulled togethermaking fast at each turn on the cleatsand
the hidden weight rose sluggishly.
Prize, oh! Haul!shouted Danbut the shout ended in a shrill
double shriek of horrorfor out of the sea cam~the body of the
dead Frenchman buried two days before! The hook had caught him
under the right armpitand he swayederect and horriblehead and
shoulders above water. His arms were tied to his sideand-he had
no face. The boys fell over each other in a heap at the bottom of
the doryand there they lay while the thing bobbed alongsideheld
on the shortened line.
The tide-the tide brought him!said Harvey with quivering lipsas
he fumbled at the clasp of the belt.
Oh, Lord! Oh, Harve!groaned Danbe quick. He's come for it.
Let him have it. Take it off.
I don't want it! 1 don't want it!cried Harvey. "I can't find the
Quick, Harve! He's on your line!
Harvey sat up to unfasten the beltfacing the head that had no face
under its streaming hair. "He's fast still he whispered to Dan, who
slipped out his knife and cut the line, as Harvey flung the belt far
overside. The body shot down with a plop, and Dan cautiously rose
to his knees, whiter than the fog.
He come for it. He come for it. I've seen a stale one hauled up on
a trawl and I didn't much carebut he come to us special."
I wish-I wish I hadn't taken the knife. Then he'd have come on
Dunno as thet would ba' made any differ. We're both scared out
o' ten years' growth. Oh, Harve, did ye see his head?
Did I? I'll never forget it. But look at here, Dan; it couldn't have
been meant. It was only the tide.
Tide! He come for it, Harve. Why, they sunk him six miles to
south'ard o' the Fleet, an' we're two miles from where she's lyin'
now. They told me he was weighted with a fathom an' a half o'
'Wonder what he did with the knife-up on the French coast?"
Something bad. 'Guess he's bound to take k with him to the
Judgment, an' so-- What are you doin' with the fish?
Heaving 'em overboard,said Harvey.
What for? We sha'n't eat 'em.
I don't care. I had to look at his face while I was takin' the belt off.
You can keep your catch if you like. I've no use for mine.
Dan said nothingbut threw his fish over again.
Guess ifs best to be on the safe side,he murmured at last. "I'd
give a month's pay if this fog 'u'd lift. Things go abaout in a fog
that ye don't see in clear weather -yo-hoes an' hollerers and such
like. I'm sorter relieved he come the way he did instid o' walkin'.
He might ha' walked."
Do~n't, Dan! We're right on top of him now. 'Wish I was safe
aboard, hem' pounded by Uncle Saltem.
They'll be lookin' fer us in a little. Gimme the tooter.Dan took
the tin dinner-hornbut paused before he blew.
Go on,said Harvey. "I don't want to stay here all night"
Question is, haow he'd take it. There was a man frurn down the
coast told me once he was in a schooner where they darsen't ever
blow a horn to the dories, becaze the skipper-not the man he was
with, but a captain that had run her five years before-he'd drowned
a boy alongside in a drunk fit; an' ever after, that boy he'd row
along-side too and shout, 'Dory! dory!' with the rest
Dory! dory!a muffled voice cried through the fog. They cowered
againand the horn dropped from Dan's hand.
Hold on!cried Harvey; "it's the cook."
Dunno what made me think o' thet fool tale, either,said Dan.
It's the doctor, sure enough.
Dan! Danny! Oooh, Dan! Harve! Harvey! Oooh, Haarveee!
We're here,sung both boys together. They heard oarsbut could
see nothing till the cookshining and drippingrowed into them.
What iss happened?said he. "You will be beaten at home."
Thet's what we want. Thet's what we're sufferin' forsaid Dan.
Anything homey's good enough fer us. We've had kinder
depressin' company.As the cook passed. them a lineDan told
him the tale.
Yess! He come for hiss knife,was all he said at the end.
Never had the little rocking We're Here looked so deliciously
home-like as when the cookborn and bred in fogsrowed them
back to her. There was a warm glow of light from the cabin and a
satisfying smell of food forwardand it was heavenly to hear Disko
and the othersall quite alive and solidleaning over the rail and
promising them a first-class pounding. But the cook was a black.
master of strategy. He did not get the dories aboard till he had
given the more striking points of the taleexplaining as he backed
and bumped round the counter how Harvey was the mascot to
destroy any possible bad luck. So the boys came override as rather
uncanny heroesand every one asked them questions instead of
pounding them for making trouble. Little Penn delivered quite a
speech on the folly of superstitions; but public opinion was against
him and in favour of Long Jackwho told the most excruciating
ghost-storiestill nearly midnight. Under that influence no one
except Salters and Penn said anything about "idolatry when the
cook put a lighted candle, a cake of flour and water, and a pinch of
salt on a shingle, and floated them out astern to keep the
Frenchman quiet in case he was still restless. Dan lit the candle
because he had bought the belt, and the cook grunted and muttered
charms as long as be could see the ducking point of flame.
Said Harvey to Dan, as they turned in after watch:
How about progress and Catholic superstitions?"
Huh! I guess I'm as enlightened and progressive as the next man,
but when it comes to a dead St Malo deck-hand scarin' a couple o'
pore boys stiff fer the sake of a thirty-cent knife, why, then, the
cook can take hold fer all o' me. I mistrust furriners, livin' or
Next morning allexcept the cookwere rather ashamed of the
ceremoniesand went to work double tidesspeaking gruffly to one
The We're Here was racing neck and neck for her last few loads
against the Parry Norman; and so close was the struggle that the
Fleet took side and betted tobacco. All hands worked at the lines
or dressing-down till they fell asleep where they stood-beginning
before dawn and ending when it was too dark to see. They even
used the cook as pitcherand turned Harvey into the hold to pass
saltwhile Dan helped to dress down. Luckily a Parry Norman man
sprained his ankle falling down the foc'sleand the We're Heres
gained. Harvey could not see how one more fish could be
crammed into herbut Disko and Tom Platt stowed and stowedand
planked the mass down with big stones from the ballastand there
was always "jest another day's work." Disko did not tell them when
all the salt was wetted. He rolled to the lazarette aft the cabin and
began hauling out the big mainsail. This was at ten in the morning.
The riding-sail was down and the main- and topsail were up by
noonand dories came alongside with letters for homeenvying
their good fortune. At last she cleared deckshoisted her flag-as is
the right of the first boat off the Banks-up~anchoredand began to
move. Disko pretended that he wished to accommodate folk who
had not sent in their mailand so worked her gracefully in and out
among the schooners. In realitythat was his little triumphant
processionand for the fifth year running it showed what kind of
mariner he was. Dan's accordion and Tom Platt's fiddle supplied
the music of the magic verse you must not sing till all the salt is
Hih! Yih'. Yoho! Send your letters raound!
All our salt is wetted, an' the anchor's off the graound!
Bend, oh, bend your mains'1, we're back to Yankeeland-
With fifteen hunder' quintal,
An' fifteen hunder' quintal,
'Teen hunder' toppin' quintal,
'Twix' old 'Queereau an' Grand.
The last letters pitched on deck wrapped round pieces of coaland
the Gloucester men shouted messages to their wives and
womenfolks and ownerswhile the We're Here finished the
musical ride through the Fleether headsails quivering like a man's
hand when he raises it to say good-by.
Harvey very soon discovered that the We're Herewith her
riding-sailstrolling from berth to berthand the We're Here
headed west by south under home canvaswere two very different
boats. There was a bite and kick to the wheel even in "boy's"
weather; he could feel the dead weight in the hold flung forward
mightily across the surgesand the streaming line of bubbles
overside made his eyes dizzy.
Disko kept them busy fiddling with the sails; and when those were
flattened like a racing yacht'sDan had to wait on the big topsail
which was put over by hand every time she went about. In spare
moments they pumpedfor the packed fish dripped brinewhich
does not improve a cargo. But since there was no fishingHarvey
had time to look at the sea from another point of view. The
low-sided schooner was naturally on most intimate terms with her
surroundings. They saw little of the horizon save when she topped
a swell; and usually she was elbowingfidgetingand coa'ing
her steadfast way through graygray-blueor black hollows l
aced across and across with streaks of shivering foam; or
rubbing herself caressingly along the flank of some bigger
water-hill. It was as if she said: "You wouldn't hurt mesurely?
I'm ouly the little We're Here." Then she would slide away
chuckling softly to herself till she was brought up by some
fresh obstacle. The dullest of folk cannot see this kind of thing
hour after hour through long days without noticing it; and Harvey
being anything but dullbegan to comprehend and enjoy the dry
chorus of wave-tops turning over with a sound of incessant
tearing; the hurry of the winds working across open spaces and
herding the purple-blue cloud-shadows; the splendid upheaval of
the red sunrise; the folding and packing away of the morning
mistswall after wall withdrawn across the white floors; the salty
glare and blaze of noon; the kiss of rain falling over thousands of
deadflat square miles; the chilly blackening of everything at the
day's end; and the million wrinkles of the sea under the moonlight
when the jib-boom solemnly poked at the low starsand Harvey
went down to get a doughnut from the cook.
But the best fun was when the boys were put on the wheel
togetherTom Platt within hailand she cuddled her lee-rail down
to the crashing blueand kept a little home-made rainbow arching
unbroken over her windlass. Then the jaws of the booms whined
against the mastsand the sheets creakedand the sails filled with
roaring; and when she slid into a hollow she trampled like a
woman tripped in her own silk dressand came outher jib wet
half-way upyearning and peering for the tall twin-lights of
They left the cold gray of the Bank seasaw the lumber-ships
making for Quebec by the Straits of St. Lawrencewith the Jersey
salt-brigs from Spain and Sicily; found a friendly northeaster off
Artimon Bank that drove them within view of the East light of
Sable Island-a sight Disko did not linger over-and stayed with
them past Western and Le Haveto the northern fringe of George's.
From there they picked up the deeper waterand let her go merrily.
Hattie's pulling on the string,Dan confided to Harvey. "Hattie an'
Ma. Next Sunday you'll be hirin' a boy to throw water on the
windows to make ye go to sleep. 'Guess you'll keep with us till
your folks come. Do you know the best of gettin' ashore again?"
Hot bath?said Harvey. His eyebrows were all white with dried
That's good, but a night-shirt's better. I've been dreamin' o'
night-shirts ever since we bent our mainsail. Ye can wiggle your
toes then. Ma'll hev a new one fer me, all washed soft. It's home,
Harve. It's home! Ye can sense it in the air. We're riurnin' into the
aidge of a hot wave naow, an' I can smell the bayberries. Wonder
if we'll get in fer supper. Port a trifle.
The hesitating sails flapped and lurched in the close air as the deep
smoothed outblue and oilyround them. When they whistled for a
wind only the rain came in spiky rodsbubbling and drumming
and behind the rain the thunder and the lightning of mid-August.
They lay on the deck with bare feet and armstelling one another
what they would order at their first meal ashore; for now the land
was in plain sight. A Gloucester swordfish-boat drifted alongside
a man in the little pulpit on the bowsprit flourished his harpoon
his bare head plastered down with the wet. "And all's well!" he
sang cheerilyas though he were watch on a big liner.
Wouverman's waiting fer you, Disko. What's the news o' the
Disko shouted it and passed onwhile the wild summer storm
pounded overhead and the lightning flickered along the capes from
four different quarters at once. It gave the low circle of hills round
Gloucester HarborTen Pound Islandthe fish-shedswith the
broken line of house-roofsand each spar and buoy on the waterin
blinding photographs that came and went a dozen times to the
minute as the We're Here crawled in on half-floodand the
whistling-buoy moaned and mourned behind her. Then the storm
died out in longseparatedvicious dags of blue-white flame
followed by a single roar like the roar of a mortar-batteryand the
shaken air tingled under the stars as it got back to silence.
The flag, the flag!said Diskosuddenlypointing upward.
What is Ut?said Long Jack.
Otto! Ha'af mast. They can see us frum shore now.
I'd clean forgot He's no folk to Gloucester, has he?
Girl he was goin' to be married to this fall.
Mary pity her!said Long Jackand lowered the little flag
half-mast for the sake of Ottoswept overboard in a gale off Le
Have three months before.
Disko wiped the wet from his eyes and led the We're Here to
Wouverman's wharfgiving his orders in whisperswhile she
swung round moored tugs and night-watchmen hailed her from the
ends of inky-black piers. Over and above the darkness and the
mystery of the processionHarvey could feel the land close round
him once morewith all its thousands of people asleepand the
smell of earth after rainand the familiar noise of a switching-engine
coughing to herself in a freight-yard; and all those things made his
heart beat and his throat dry up as he stood by the foresheet. They
heard the anchor-watch snoring on a lighthouse-tugnosed into a
pocket of darkness where a lantern glimmered on either side;
somebody waked with a gruntthrew them a ropeand they made
fast to a silent wharf flanked with great iron-roofed sheds fall of
warm emptinessand lay there without a sound.
Then Harvey sat down by the wheeland sobbed and sobbed as
though his heart would breakand a tall woman who had been
sitting on a weigh-scale dropped down into the schooner and
kissed Dan once on the cheek; for she was his motherand she had
seen the We~re Here by the lightning flashes. She took no notice
of Harvey till he had recovered himself a little and Disko had told
her his story. Then they went to Disko's house together as the dawn
was breaking; and until the telegraph office was open and he could
wire his folkHarvey Cheyne was perhaps the loneliest boy in all
America. But the curious thing was that Disko and Dan seemed to
think none the worse of him for crying.
Wouverman was not ready for Disko's prices till Diskosure that
the We're Here was at least a week ahead of any other Gloucester
boathad given him a few days to swallow them; so all hands
played about the streetsand Long Jack stopped the Rocky Neck
trolleyon principleas be saidtill the conductor let him ride free.
But Dan went about with his freckled nose in the airbung-full of
mystery and most haughty to his family.
Dan, I'll hev to lay inter you ef you act this way,said Troop
pensively. "Sence we've come ashore this time you've bin a heap
I'd lay into him naow ef he was mine,said Uncle Salterssourly.
He and Penn boarded with the Troops.
Oho!said Danshuffling with the accordion round the backyard
ready to leap the fence if the enemy advanced. "Danyou're
welcome to your own judgmentbut remember I've warned ye.
Your own flesh an' blood ha' warned ye! 'Tain't any o' my fault
ef you're mistookbut I'll be on deck to watch ye An' ez fer yeou
Uncle SaltersPharaoh's chief butler ain't in it 'longside o' you!
You watch aout an' wak. You'll be plowed under like your own
blamed clover; but me-Dan Troop-I'll flourish
like a green bay-tree because I warn't stuck on my own opinion."
Disko was smoking in all his shore dignity and a pair of beautiful
carpet-slippers. "You're gettin' ez crazy as poor Harve. You two go
araound gigglin' an' squinchin' an' kickin' each other under the
table till there's no peace in the haouse said he.
There's goin' to be a heap less-fer some folks Dan replied. You
wait an' see."
He and Harvey went out on the trolley to East Gloucesterwhere
they tramped through the bayberry bushes to the lighthouseand
lay down on the big red boulders and laughed themselves hungry.
Harvey had shown Dan a telegramand the two swore to keep
silence till the shell burst
Harve's folk?said Danwith an unruffled face after supper.
Well, I guess they don't amount to much of anything, or we'd ha'
heard from 'em by naow. His pop keeps a kind o' store out West.
Maybe he'll give you 's much as five dollars, Dad.
What did I tell ye?said Salters. "Don't sputter over your vittles
Whatever his private sorrows may bea multimillionairelike any
other workingmanshould keep abreast of his business. Harvey
Cheyneseniorhad gone East late in June to meet a woman
broken downhall madwho dreamed day and night of her son
drowning in the gray seas. He had surrounded her 'with doctors
trained nursesmassage-womenand even faith-cure companions
but they were useless. Mrs. Cheyne lay still and moanedor talked
of her boy by the hour together to any one who would listen. Hope
she had noneand who could offer it? All she needed was
assurance that drowning did not hurt; and her husband watched to
guard lest she should make the experiment. Of his own sorrow he
spoke little-hardly realized the depth of it till he caught himself
ask'ng the calendar on his writing-deskWhat's the use of going
There had always lain a pleasant notion at the back of his head
thatsome daywhen he had rounded off everything and the boy
had left collegehe would take his son to his heart and lead him
into his possessions. Then that boyhe arguedas busy fathers do
would instantly become his companionpartnerand allyand there
would follow splendid years of great works carried out
together-the old head backing the young fire. Now his boy was
dead-lost at seaas it might have been a Swede sailor from one of
Cheyne's big teaships; the wife dyingor worse; he himself was
trodden down by platoons of women and doctors and maids and
attendants; worried almost beyond endurance by the shift and
change of her poor restless whims; hopelesswith no heart to meet
his many enemies.
He had taken the wife to his raw new palace in San Diegowhere
she and her people occupied a wing of great price
and Cheynein a veranda-roombetween a secretary and a
typewriterwho was also a telegraphisttoiled along wearily from
day to day. There was a war of rates among four Western railroads
in which he was supposed to be interested; a devastating strike had
developed in his lumber camps in Oregonand the legislature of
the State of Californiawhich has no love for its makerswas
preparing open war against him.
Ordinarily he would have accepted battle ere it was offeredand
have waged a pleasant and unscrupulous campaign. But now he sat
limplyhis soft black hat pushed forward on to his nosehis big
body shrunk inside his loose clothesstaring at his boots or the
Chinese junks in the bayand assenting absently to the secretary's
questions as he opened the Saturday mail.
Cheyne was wondering how much it would cost to drop everything
and pull out. He carried huge insurancescould buy himself royal
annuitiesand between one of his places in Colorado and a little
society (that would do the wife good)say in Washington and the
South Carolina islandsa man might forget plans that had come to
nothing. On the other hand
The click of the typewriter stopped; the girl was looking at the
secretarywho had turned white.
He passed Cheyne a telegram repeated from San Francisco:
Picked up by fishing schooner We're Here having fallen off boat
great times on Banks fishing all well waiting Gloucester Mass care
Disko Troop for money or orders wire what shall do and how is
Mama Harvey N. Cheyne.
The father let it falllaid his head down on the roller-top of the
shut deskand breathed heavily. The secretary ran for Mrs.
Cheyne's doctor who found Cheyne pacing to and fro.
'~What-what d' you think of it? Is it possible? Is there any meaning
to it? I can't quite make it out he cried.
I can said the doctor. I lose seven thousand a year-that's all." He
thought of the struggling New York practice he had dropped at
Cheyne's imperious biddingand returned the telegram with a sigh.
You mean you'd tell her? 'May be a fraud?
What's the motive?said the doctorcoolly. "Detection's too
certain. It's the boy sure enough."
Enter a French maidimpudentlyas an indispensable one who is
kept on only by large wages.
Mrs. Cheyne she say you must come at once. She think you are
The master of thirty millions bowed his head meekly and followed
Suzanne; and a thinhigh voice on the upper landing of the great
white-wood square staircase cried: "What is it? What has
No doors could keep out the shriek that rang through the echoing
house a moment laterwhen her husband blurted out the news.
And that's all right,said the doctorserenelyto the typewriter.
About the only medical statement in novels with any truth to it is
that joy don't kill, Miss Kinzey.
I know it; but we've a heap to do first.Miss Kinzey was from
Milwaukeesomewhat direct of speech; and as her fancy leaned
towards the secretaryshe divined there was work in hand. He was
looking earnestly at the vast roller-map of America on the wall.
Milsom, we're going right across. Private car-straight
through-Boston. Fix the connections,shouted Cheyne down the
I thought so.
The secretary turned to the typewriterand their eyes met (out of
that was born a story-nothing to do with this story). She looked
inquiringlydoubtful of his resources. He signed to her to move to
the Morse as a general brings brigades into action. Then he swept
his hand musician-wise through his hairregarded the ceilingand
set to workwhile Miss Kinzey's white fingers called up the
Continent of America.
K. H. Wade, Los Angeles The 'Constance' is at Los Angeles, isn't
she, Miss Kinzey?
Yep.Miss Kinzey nodded between clicks as the secretary looked
at his watch.
Ready? Send 'Constance,' private car, here, and arrange for
special to leave here Sunday in time to connect with New York
Limited at Sixteenth Street, Chicago, Tuesday next.
Click~lick~lick! "Couldn't you better that?"
Not on those grades. That gives 'em sixty hours from here to
Chicago. They won't gain anything by taking a special east of that.
Ready? Also arrange with Lake Shore and Michigan Southern to
take 'Constance' on New York Central and Hudson River Buffalo
to Albany, and B. and A. the same Albany to Boston. Indispensable
I should reach Boston Wednesday evening. Be sure nothing
prevents. Have also wired Canniff, Toucey, and Barnes. --Sign,
Miss Kinzey noddedand the secretary went on.
Now then. Canniff, Toucey, and Barnes, of course. Ready?
Canniff, Chicago. Please take my private car 'Constance' from
Santa Fe' at Sixteenth Street next Tuesday p. m. on N. Y. Limited
through to Buffalo and deliver N. Y. C. for Albany.-Ever bin to N'
York, Miss Kinzey? We'll go some day.-Ready? Take car Buffalo
to Albany on Limited Tuesday p. m. That's for Toucey.
Haven't bin to Noo York, but I know that!with a toss of the
Beg pardon. Now, Boston and Albany, Barnes, same instructions
from Albany through to Boston. Leave three-five P. M. (you
needn't wire that); arrive nine-five P. M. Wednesday. That covers
everything Wade will do, but it pays to shake up the managers.
It's great,said Miss Kinzeywith a look of admiration. This was
the kind of man she understood and appreciated.
'Tisn't bad said Milsom, modestly. Nowany one but me would
have lost thirty hours and spent a week working out the run
instead of handing him over to the Santa Fe' straight through to
But see here, about that Noo York Limited. Chauncey Depew
himself couldn't hitch his car to her,Miss Kinzey suggested
Yes, but this isn't Chauncey. It's Cheyne--lightiiing. It goes.
Even so. Guess we'd better wire the boy. You've forgotten that,
When he returned with the father's message bidding Harvey meet
them in Boston at an appointed hourhe found Miss Kinzey
laughing over the keys. Then Milsom laughed toofor the frantic
clicks from Los Angeles ran: "We want to know why-why-why?
General uneasiness developed and spreading."
Ten minutes later Chicago appealed to Miss Kinzey in these
words: ~'lf crime of century is maturing please warn friends in
time. We are all getting to cover here."
This was capped by a message from Topeka (and wherein Topeka
was concerned even Milsom could not guess): "Don't shoot
Colonel. We'll come down."
Cheyne smiled grimly at the consternation of his enemies when the
telegrams were laid before him. "They think we're on the warpath.
Tell 'em we don't feel like fighting just nowMilsom. Tell 'em
what we're going for. I guess you and Miss Kinsey had better come
alongthough it isn't likely I shall do any business on the road. Tell
'em the truth-for once."
So the truth was told. Miss Kinzey clicked in the sentiment while
the secretary added the memorable quotationLet us have peace,
and in board rooms two thousand miles away the representatives
of sixty-three million dollars' worth of variously manipulated
railroad interests breathed more freely. Cheyne was flying to meet
the only sonso miraculously restored to him. The bear was
seeking his cubnot the bulls. Hard men who had their knives
drawn to fight for their financial lives put away the weapons and
wished him God-speedwhile half a dozen panic-smitten tin-pot
roads perked up their heads and spoke of the wonderful things they
would have done had not Cheyne buried the hatchet.
It was a busy week-end among the wires; for now that their anxiety
was removedmen and cities hastened to accommodate. Los
Angeles called to San Diego and Barstow that the Southern
California engineers might know and be ready in their lonely
roundhouses; Barstow passed the word to the Atlantic and Pacific;
and Albuquerque flung it the whole length of the Atchinson
Topekaand Santa Fe managementeven into Chicago. An engine
combination-car with crewand the great and gilded "Constance"
private car were to be "expedited" over those two thousand three
hundred and fifty miles. The train would take precedence of one
hundred and seventy-seven others meeting and passing; despatchers
and crews of every one of those said trains must be notified. Sixteen
locomotivessixteen engineersand sixteen firemen would be
needed-each and every one the best available. Two and one half
minutes would be allowed for changing enginesthree for
wateringand two for coaling. "Warn the menand arrange tanks
and chutes accordingly; for Harvey Cheyne is in a hurrya hurry-a
hurry sang the wires. Forty miles an hour will be expectedand
division superintendents will accompany this special over their
respective divisions. From San Diego to Sixteenth StreetChicago
let the magic carpet be laid down. Hurry! Ohhurry!"
It will be hot,said Cheyneas they rolled out of San Diego in the
dawn of Sunday. "We're going to hurryMamajust as fast as ever
we can; but I really don't think there's any good of your putting on
your bonnet and gloves yet. You'd much better lie down and take
your medicine. I'd play you a game of dominoesbut it's Sunday."
I'll be good. Oh, I will be good. Only-taking off my bonnet makes
me feel as if we'd never get there.
Try to sleep a little, Mama, and we'll be in Chicago before you
But it's Boston, Father. Tell them to hurry.
The six-foot drivers were hammering their way to San Bernardino
and the Mohave wastesbut this was no grade for speed. That
would come later. The heat of the desert followed the heat of the
hills as they turned east to the Needles and the Colorado River.
The car cracked in the utter drouth and glareand they put crushed
ice to Mrs. Cheyne's neckand toiled up the longlong gradespast
Ash Forktowards Flagstaffwhere the forests and quarries are
under the dryremote skies. The needle of the speed-indicator
flicked and wagged to and fro; the cinders rattled on the roofand
a whirl of dust sucked after the whirling wheels. The crew of the
combination sat on their bunkspanting in their shirtsleevesand
Cheyne found himself - among them shouting oldold stories of
the railroad that every trainman knowsabove the roar of the car.
He told them about his sonand how the sea had given up its dead
and they nodded and spat and rejoiced with him; asked after "her
back there and whether she could stand it if the engineer let her
out a piece and Cheyne thought she could. Accordingly, the great
fire-horse was let~ut" from Flagstaff to Winslowtill a division
But Mrs. Cheynein the boudoir stateroomwhere the French
maidsallow-white with fearclung to the silver door-handleonly
moaned a little and begged her husband to bid them "hurry." And
so they dropped the dry sands and moon-struck rocks of Arizona
behind themand grilled on till the crash of the couplings and the
wheeze of the brake-hose told them they were at Coolidge by the
Three bold and experienced men-coolconfidentand dry when
they began; whitequiveringand wet when they finished their
trick at those terrible wheels-swung her over the great lift from
Albuquerque to Glorietta and beyond Springerup and up to the
Raton Tunnel on the State linewhence they dropped rocking into
La Juntahad sight of the Arkansawand tore down the long slope
to Dodge Citywhere Cheyne took comfort once again from
setting his watch an hour ahead.
There was very little talk in the car. The secretary and typewriter
sat together on the stamped Spanish-leather cushions by the
plate-glass observation-window at the rear endwatching the surge
and ripple of the ties crowded back behind themandit is
believedmaking notes of the scenery. Cheyne moved nervously
between his own extravagant gorgeousness and the naked
necessity of the combinationan unlit cigar in his teethtill the
pitying crews forgot that he was their tribal enemyand did their
best to entertain him.
At night the bunched electrics lit up that distressful palace of all
the luxuriesand they fared sumptuouslyswinging on through the
emptiness of abject desolation.
124 Rudyard Kipling
Now they heard the swish of a water-tankand the guttural voice
of a Chinamanthe click-clink of hammers that tested the Krupp
steel wheelsand the oath of a tramp chased off the rear- platform;
now the solid crash of coal shot into the tender; and now a beating
back of noises as they flew past a waiting train. Now they looked
out into great abyssesa trestle purring beneath their treador up to
rocks that barred out half the stars. Now scaur and ravine changed
and rolled back to jagged mountains on the horizon's edgeand
now broke into hills lower and lowertill at last came the true
At Dodge City an unknown hand threw in a copy of a Kansas
paper containing some sort of an interview with Harveywho had
evidently fallen in with an enterprising reportertelegraphed on
from Boston. The joyful journalese revealed that it was beyond
question their boyand it soothed Mrs. Cheyne for a while. Her
one word "hurry" was conveyed by the crews to the engineers at
NickersonTopekaand Marcelinewhere the grades are easyand
they brushed the Continent behind them. Towns and villages were
close together nowand a man could feel here that he moved
I can't see the dial, and my eyes ache so. What are we doing?
The very best we can, Mama. There's no sense in getting in before
the Limited. We'd only have to wait.
I don't care. I want to feel we're moving. Sit down and tell me the
Cheyne sat down and read the dial for her (there were some miles
which stand for records to this day)but the seventy-foot car never
changed its long steamer-like rollmoving through the heat with
the hum of a giant bee. Yet the speed was not enough for Mrs.
Cheyne; and the heatthe remorseless August heatwas making
her giddy; the clock-hands would not moveand whenohwhen
would they be in Chicago?
It is not true thatas they changed engines at Fort MadisonCheyne
passed over to the Amalgamated Brotherhood of Locomotive
Engineers an endowment sufficient to enable them to fight him
and his fellows on equal terms for evermore. He paid his
obligations to engineers and firemen as he believed they deserved
and only his bank knows what he gave the crews who had
sympathized with him. It is on record that the last crew took entire
charge of switching operations at Sixteenth Streetbecause "she" was
in a doze at lastand Heaven was to help any one who bumped her.
Now the highly paid specialist who conveys the Lake Shore and
Michigan Southern Limited from Chicago to Elkhart is something
of an autocratand he does not approve of being told how to back
up to a car. None the less he handled the "Constance" as if she
might have been a load of dynamiteand when the crew rebuked
himthey did it in whispers and dumb show.
Pshaw!said the AtchinsonTopekaand Santa Fe men
discussing life laterwe weren't runnin' for a record. Harvey
Cheyne's wife, she were sick back, an' we didn't want to jounce
her. 'Come to think of it, our runnin' time from San~Diego to
Chicago was 57.54. You can tell that to them Eastern way-trains.
When we're tryin' for a record, we'll let you know.
To the Western man (though this would not please either city)
Chicago and Boston are cheek by jowland some railroads
encourage the delusion. The Limited whirled the "Constance" into
Buffalo and the arms of the New York Central and Hudson River
(illustrious magnates with white whiskers and gold charms on their
watch-chains boarded her here to talk a little business to Cheyne)
who slid her gracefully into Albanywhere the Boston and Albany
completed the run from tide-water to tide- water-total time
eighty-seven hours and thirty-five minutesor three daysfifteen
hours and one half. Harvey was waiting for them.
Alter violent emotion most people and all boys demand food.
They feasted the returned prodigal behind drawn curtainscut off
in their great happinesswhile the trains roared in and out around
them. Harvey atedrankand enlarged on his adventures all in one
breathand when he had a hand free his mother fondled it. His
voice was thickened with living in the opensalt air; his palms
were rough and hardhis wrists dotted with marks of gurrysores;
and a fine full flavour of codfish hung round rubber boots and blue
The fatherwell used to judging menlooked at him keenly. He did
not know what enduring harm the boy might have taken. Indeed
he caught himself thinking that he knew very little whatever of his
son; but he distinctly remembered an unsatisfieddough-faced
youth who took delight in "calling down the old man and
reducing his mother to tears-such a person as adds to the gaiety of
public rooms and hotel piazzas, where the ingenuous young of the
wealthy play with or revile the bell-boys. But this well set-up
fisher-youth did not wriggle, looked at him with eyes steady, clear,
and unflinching, and spoke in a tone distinctly, even startlingly,
respectful. There was that in his voice, too, which seemed to
promise that the change might be permanent, and that the new
Harvey had come to stay.
Some one's been coercing him thought Cheyne. Now
Constance would never have allowed that. Don't see as Europe
could have done it any better."
But why didn't you tell this man, Troop, who you were?the
mother repeatedwhen Harvey had expanded his story at least
Disko Troop, dear. The best man that ever walked a deck. I don't
care who the next is.
Why didn't you tell him to put you ashore? You know Papa would
have made it up to him ten times over.
I know it; but he thought I was crazy. I'm afraid I called him a
thief because I couldn't find the bills in my pocket.
A sailor found them by the flagstaff that-that night,sobbed Mrs.
That explains it, then. I don't blame Troop any. I just said I
wouldn't work-on a Banker, too--and of course he hit me on the
nose, and oh! I bled like a stuck hog.
My poor darling! They must have abused you horribly.
Dunno quite. Well, after that, I saw a light.
Cheyne slapped his leg and chuckled. This was going to be a boy
after his own hungry heart. He had never seen precisely that
twinkle in Harvey's eye before.
And the old man gave me ten and a half a month; he's paid me
half now; and I took hold with Dan and pitched right in. I can't do
a man's work yet. But I can handle a dory 'most as well as Dan,
and I don't get rattled in a fog-much; and I can take my trick in
light winds-that's steering, dear-and I can 'most bait up a trawl,
and I know my ropes, of course; and I can pitch fish till the cows
come home, and I'm great on old Josephus, and I'll show you how
I can clear coffee with a piece of fish-skin, and-I think I'll have
another cup, please. Say, you've no notion what a heap of work
there is in ten and a half a month!
I began with eight and a half, my son,said Cheyne.
'That so? You never told mesir."
You never asked, Harve. I'll tell you about it some day, if you care
to listen. Try a stuffed olive.
Troop says the most interesting thing in the world is to find out how the
next man gets his vittles. It's great to have a trimmed-up meal again. W
e were well fed, though. But mug on the Banks. Disko fed us first-class.
He's a great man.And Dan-that's his son-Dan's my partner. And
there's Uncle Salters and his manures, an' he reads Josephus. He's
sure I'm crazy yet. And there's poor little Penn, and he is crazy.
You mustn't talk to him about Johnstown, because-
And, oh, you must know Tom Platt and Long Jack and Manuel.
Manuel saved my life. I'm sorry he's a Portuguee. He can't talk
much, but he's an everlasting musk ian. He found me struck
adrift and drifting, and hauied me in.
I wonder your nervous system isn't completely wrecked,said
What for, Mama? I worked like a horse and I ate like a hog and I
slept like a dead man.
That was too much for Mrs. Cheynewho began to think of her
visions of a corpse rocking on the salty seas. She went to her
stateroomand Harvey curled up beside his fatherexplaining
You can depend upon me to do everything I can for the crowd,
Harve. They seem to be good men on your showing.
Best in the Fleet, sir. Ask at Gloucester,said Harvey. "But Disko
believes still he's cured me of being crazy. Dan's the only one I've
let on to about youand our private cars and all the rest of itand
I'm not quite sure Dan believes. I want to paralyze 'em to-morrow.
Saycan't they run the 'Constance' over to Gloucester? Mama don't
look fit to be movedanywayand we're bound to finish cleaning
out by tomorrow. Wouverman takes our fish. You seewe're the
first off the Banks this seasonand it's four twenty-five a quintal.
We held out till he paid it. They want it quick."
You mean you'll have to work to-morrow, then?
I told Troop I would. I'm on the scales. I've brought the tallies
with me.He looked at the greasy notebook with an air of
importance that made his father choke. "There isn't but three-
no-two ninety-four or five quintal more by my reckoning."
Hire a substitute,suggested Cheyneto see what Harvey would
Can't, sir. I'm tally-man for the schooner. Troop says I've a better
head for figures than Dan. Troop's a mighty just man.
Well, suppose I don't move the 'Constance' to-night, how'll you fix
Harvey looked at the clockwhich marked twenty past eleven.
Then I'll sleep here till three and catch the four o'clock freight.
They let us men from the Fleet ride free as a rule.
That's a notion. But I think we can get the 'Constance' around
about as soon as your men's freight. Better go to bed now.
Harvey spread himself on the sofakicked off his bootsand was
asleep before his father could shade the electrics. Cheyne sat
watching the young face under the shadow of the arm thrown over
the foreheadand among many things that occurred to him was the
notion that he might perhaps have been neglectful as a father.
One never knows when one's taking one's biggest risks,he said.
It might have been worse than drowning; but I don't think it has-I
don't think it has. If it hasn't, I haven't enough to pay Troop, that's
all; and I don't think it has.
Morning brought a fresh sea breeze through the windowsthe
Constancewas side-tracked among freight-cars at Gloucester
and Harvey had gone to his business.
Then he'll fall overboard again and he drowned,the mother said
We'll go and look, ready to throw him a rope m case. You've
never seen him working for his bread,said the father.
What nonsense! As if any one expected
Wellthe man that hired him did. He's about righttoo."
They went down between the stores full of fishermen's oilskins to
Wouverman's wharf where the We're Here rode highher Bank flag
still flyingall hands busy as beavers in the glorious morning light.
Disko stood by the main hatch superintending ManuelPennand
Uncle Salters at the tackle. Dan was swinging the loaded baskets
inboard as Long Jack and Tom Platt filled themand Harveywith
a notebookrepresented the skipper's interests before the clerk of
the scales on the salt-sprinkled wharf-edge.
Ready!cried the voices below. "Haul!" cried Disko. "Hi!" said
Manuel. "Here!" said Danswinging the basket. Then they heard
Harvey's voiceclear and freshchecking the weights.
The last of the fish had been whipped outand Harvey leaped from
the string-piece six feet to a ratlineas the shortest way to hand
Disko the tallyshoutingTwo ninety-seven, and an empty hold!
What's the total, Harve?said Disko.
Eight sixty-five. Three thousand six hundred and seventy-six
dollars and a quarter. 'Wish I'd share as well as wage.
Well, I won't go so far as to say you hevn't deserved it, Harve.
Don't you want to slip up to Wouverman's office and take him our
Who's that boy?said Cheyne to Danwell used to all manner of
questions from those idle imbeciles called summer boarders.
Well, he's kind o' supercargo,was the answer. "We picked him
up struck adrift on the Banks. Fell overboard from a linerhe sez.
He was a passenger. He's by way o' hem' a fisherman now."
Is he worth his keep?
Ye-ep. Dad, this man wants to know ef Harve's worth his keep.
Say, would you like to go aboard? We'll fix up a ladder for her.
I should very much, indeed. 'Twon't hurt you, Mama, and you'll be
able to see for yourself.
The woman who could not lift her head a week ago scrambled
down the ladderand stood aghast amid the mess and tangle aft.
Be you anyways interested in Harve?said Disko.
He's a good boy, an' ketches right hold jest as he's bid. You've
heard haow we found him? He was sufferin' from nervous
prostration, I guess, 'r else his head had hit somethin', when we
hauled him aboard. He's all over that naow. Yes, this is the cabin.
'Tain't in order, but you're quite welcome to look araound. Those
are his figures on the stove-pipe, where we keep the reckonin'
Did he sleep here?said Mrs. Cheynesitting on a yellow locker
and surveying the disorderly bunks.
No. He berthed forward, madam, an' only fer him an' my boy
hookin' fried pies an muggin' up when they ought to ha' been
asleep, I dunno as I've any special fault to find with him.
There weren't nothin' wrong with Harve,said Uncle Salters
descending the steps. "He hung my boots on the main-truckand he
ain't over an' above respectful to such as knows more'n he do
specially about farmin'; but he were mostly misled by Dan."
Dan in the meantimeprofiting by dark hints from Harvey early
that morningwas executing a war-dance on deck. "TomTom!" he
whispered down the hatch. "His folks has comean' Dad hain't
caught on yetan' they're pow-wowin' in the cabin. She's a daisy
an' he's all Harve claimed he wasby the looks of him."
Howly Smoke!said Long Jackclimbing out covered with salt
and fish-skin. "D'ye belave his tale av the kid an' the little
four-horse rig was thrue?"
I knew it all along,said Dan. "Come an' see Dad mistook in his
They came delightedlyjust in time to hear Cheyne say: "I'm glad he
has a good characterbecause-he's my son."
Disko's jaw fell-Long Jack always vowed that he heard the click
of it-and he stared alternately at the man and the woman.
I got his telegram in San Diego four days ago, and we came over.
In a private car?said Dan. "He said ye might."
In a private car, of course.
Dan looked at his father with a hurricane of irreverent winks.
There was a tale he told us av drivin' four little ponies in a rig av
his own,said Long Jack. "Was that thrue now?"
Very likely,said Cheyne. "Was itMama?"
He had a little drag when we were in Toledo, I think,said the
Long Jack whistled. "OhDisko!" said heand that was all.
I wuz-I am mistook in my jedgments-worse'n the men o'
Marblehead,said Diskoas though the words were being
windlassed out of him. "I don't mind ownin' to youMr. Cheyneas
I mistrusted the boy to he crary. He talked kinder odd about
So he told me.
Did he tell ye anything else? 'Cause I pounded him once.This
with a somewhat anxious glance at Mrs. Cheyne.
Oh, yes,Cheyne replied. "I should say it probably did him more
good than anything else in the world."
I jedged 'twuz necessary, er I wouldn't ha' done it. I don't want you
to think we abuse our boys any on this packet.
I don't think you do, Mr. Troop.
Mrs. Cheyne had been looking at the faces-Disko's ivory-yellow
hairlessiron countenance; Uncle Salters'swith its rim of
agricultural hair; Penn's bewildered simplicity; Manuel's quiet
smile; Long Jack's grin of delightand Tom Platt's scar. Roughby
her standardsthey certainly were; but she had a mother's wits in
her eyesand she rose with out-stretched hands.
Oh, tell me, which is who?said shehalf sobbing. "I want to
thank you and bless you-all of you."
Faith, that pays me a hunder time,said Long Jack.
Disko introduced them all in due form. The captain of an old-time
Chinaman could have done no betterand Mrs. Cheyne babbled
incoherently. She nearly threw herself into Manuel's arms when
she understood that he had first found Harvey.
But how shall I leave him dreeft?said poor Manuel. "What do
you yourself if you find him so? Ehwha-at? We are in one good
boyand I am ever so pleased he come to be your son."
And he told me Dan was his partner!she cried. Dan was already
sufficiently pinkbut he turned a rich crimson when Mrs. Cheyne
kissed him on both cheeks before the assembly. Then they led her
forward to show her the foc'sleat which she wept againand must
needs go down to see Harvey's identical bunkand there she found
the nigger cook cleaning up the stoveand he nodded as though
she were some one he had expected to meet for years. They tried
two at a timeto explain the boat's daily life to herand she sat by
the pawl-posther gloved hands on the greasy tablelaughing with
trembling lips and crying with dancing eyes.
And who's ever to use the We're Here after this?said Long Jack
to Tom Platt. "I feel as if she'd made a cathedral av ut all."
Cathedral!sneered Tom Platt. "Ohif it had bin even the Fish
C'mmission boat instid of this bally-hoo o' blazes. If we only hed
some decency an' order an' side-boys when she goes over! She'll
have to climb that ladder like a henan' we-we ought to be mannin'
Then Harvey was not mad,said Pennslowlyto Cheyne.
No, indeed-thank God,the big millionaire repliedstooping
It must be terrible to be mad. Except to lose your child, I do not
know anything more terrible. But your child has come back? Let us
thank God for that.
Hello!cried Harveylooking down upon them benignly from the
I wuz mistook, Harve. I wuz mistook,said Diskoswiftly
holding up a hand. "I wuz mistook in my jedgments. Ye needn't
rub in any more."
Guess I'll take care o' that,said Danunder his breath.
You'll be goin' off naow, won't ye?
Well, not without the balance of my wages, 'less you want to have
the We're Here attached.
Thet's so; I'd clean forgot; and he counted out the remaining
dollars. "You done all you contracted to doHarve; and you done it
'baout's well as if you'd been brought up-" Here Disko brought
himself up. He did not quite see where the sentence was going to
Outside of a private car?suggested Danwickedly.
Come on, and I'll show her to you,said Harvey.
Cheyne stayed to talk with Diskobut the others made a
procession to the depotwith Mrs. Cheyne at the head. The French
maid shrieked at the invasion; and Harvey laid the glories of the
Constancebefore them without a word. They took them in in
equal silence-stamped leathersilver door-handles and railscut
velvetplate-glassnickelbronzehammered ironand the rare
woods of the continent inlaid.
I told you,said Harvey; "I told you." This was his crowning
revengeand a most ample one.
Mrs. Cheyne decreed a mealand that nothing might be lacking to
the tale Long Jack told afterwards in his boarding-houseshe
waited on them herself. Men who are accustomed to eat at tiny
tables in howling gales have curiously neat and finished manners;
but Mrs. Cheynewho did not know thiswas surprised. She
longed to have Manuel for a butler; so silently and easily did he
comport himself among the frail glassware and dainty silver. Tom
Platt remembered the great days on the Ohio and the manners of
foreign potentates who dined with the officers; and Long Jack
being Irishsupplied the small talk till all were at their ease.
In the We're Here's cabin the fathers took stock of each other
behind their cigars. Cheyne knew well enough when he dealt with
a man to whom he could not offer money; equally well he knew
that no money could pay for what Disko had done. He kept his
own counsel and waited for an opening.
I hevn't done anything to your boy or fer your boy excep' make
him work a piece an' learn him how to handle the hog-yoke,said
Disko. "He has twice my boy's head for figgers."
By the way,Cheyne answered casuallywhat d'you calculate to
make of your boy?
Disko removed his cigar and waved it comprehensively round the
cabin. "Dan's jest plain boyan' he don't allow me to do any of his
thinkin'. He'll hev this able little packet when I'm laid by. He ain't
noways anxious to quit the business. I know that."
Mmm! 'Ever been West, Mr. Troop?
'Bin's fer ez Noo York once in a boat. I've no use for railroads. No
more hez Dan. Salt water's good enough fer the Troops. I've been
'most everywhere-in the nat'ral wayo' course."
I can give him all the salt water he's likely to need-till he's a
Haow's that? I thought you wuz a kinder railroad king. Harve told
me so when-I was mistook in my jedgments.
We're all apt to be mistaken. I fancied perhaps you might know I
own a line of tea-clippers~an Francisco to Yokohama-six of
'em-iron-built, about seventeen hundred and eighty tons apiece.
Blame that boy! He never told. I'd ha' listened to thatinstid o' his
truck abaout railroads an' ponycarriages."
He dldn't know.
'Little thing like that slipped his mind, I guess.
No, I only capt-took hold of the 'Blue M.' freighters -Morgan
and McQuade's old lin~this summer.Disko collapsed where he
satbeside the stove.
Great Caesar Almighty! I mistrust I've been fooled from one end
to the other. Why, Phil Airheart he went from this very town six
year back-no, seven-an' he's mate on the San Jose-- now-twenty-six
days was her time out. His sister she's livin' here yet, an' she reads
his letters to my woman. An' you own the 'Blue M.' freighters?
If I'd known that I'd ha' jerked the We're Here back to port all
standin', on the word.
Perhaps that wouldn't have been so good for Harvey.
If I'd only known! If he'd only said about the cussed Line, I'd ha'
understood! I'll never stand on my own jedgments again-never.
They're well-found packets. Phil Airheart he says so.
I'm glad to have a recommend from that quarter. Airheart's
skipper of the San Jose now. What I was getting at is to know
whether you'd lend me Dan for a year or two, and we'll see if we
can't make a mate of him. Would you trust him to Airheart?
It's a resk taking a raw boy--
I know a man who did more for me.
That's diff'runt. Look at here naow, I ain't recommendin' Dan
special because he's my own flesh an' blood. I know Bank ways
ain't clipper ways, but he hain't much to learn. Steer he can-no boy
better, if I say it-an' the rest's in our blood an' get; but I could wish
he warn't so cussed weak on navigation.
Airheart will attend to that. He'll ship as boy for a voyage or two,
and then we can put him in the way of doing better. Suppose you
take him in hand this winter, and I'll send for him early in the
spring. I know the Pacific's a long ways off
Pshaw! We Troopslivin' an' deadare all around the earth an' the
But I want you to understand-and I mean this-any time you think
you'd like to see him, tell me, and I'll attend to the transportation.
'Twon't cost you a cent.
If you'll walk a piece with me, we'll go to my house an' talk this
to my woman. I've bin so crazy mistook in all my jedgments, it
don't seem to me this was like to be real.
They went blue-trimmed of nasturtiums over to Troop's
eighteen-hundred-dollarwhite housewith a retired dory full in
the front yard and a shuttered parlour which was a museum of
oversea plunder. There sat a large womansilent and gravewith
the dim eyes of those who look long to sea for the return of their
beloved. Cheyne addressed himself to herand she gave consent
We lose one hundred a year from Gloucester only, Mr. Cheyne,
she said-"one hundred boys an' men; and I've come so's to hate the
sea as if 'twuz alive an' listenin'. God never made it fer humans to
anchor on. These packets o' yours they go straight outI take it'
and straight home again?"
As straight as the winds let 'em, and I give a bonus for record
passages. Tea don't improve by being at sea.
When he wuz little he used to play at keeping store, an' I had
hopes he might follow that up. But soon's he could paddle a dory I
knew that were goin' to be denied me.
They're square-riggers, Mother; iron-built an' well found.
Remember what Phil's sister reads you when she gits his letters.
I've never known as Phil told lies, but he's too venturesome (like
most of 'em that use the sea). If Dan sees fit, Mr. Cheyne, he can
go-fer all o' me.
She jest despises the ocean,Disko explainedan' I-I dunno haow
to act polite, I guess, er I'd thank you better.
My father-my own eldest brother-two nephews-an' my second
sister's man,she saiddropping her head on her hand. "Would you
care fer any one that took all those?"
Cheyne was relieved when Dan turned up and accepted with more
delight than he was able to put into words. Indeedthe offer meant
a plain and sure road to all desirable things; but Dan thought most
of commanding watch on broad decksand looking into far-away
Mrs. Cheyne had spoken privately to the unaccountable Manuel in
the matter of Harvey's rescue. He seemed to have no desire for
money. Pressed hardhe said that he would take five dollars
because he wanted to buy something for a girl. Otherwise-"How
shall I take money when I make so easy my eats and smokes? You
will giva some if I like or no? Ehwha-at?. Then you shall giva me
moneybut not that way. You shall giva all you can think." He
introduced her to a snuffy Portuguese priest with a list of semi-destitute
widows as long as his cassock. As a strict UnitarianMrs. Cheyne
could not sympathize with the creedbut she ended by respecting the
brownvoluble little man.
Manuelfaithful son of the Churchappropriated all the blessings
showered on her for her charity. "That letta me out said he. I
have now ver' good absolutions for six months"; and he strolled
forth to get a handkerchief for the girl of the hour and to break the
hearts of all the others.
Salters went West for a season with Pennand left no address
behind. He had a dread that these mlllionary peoplewith wasteful
private carsmight take undue interest in his companion. It was
better to visit inland relatives till the coast was clear. "Never you
be adopted by rich folkPenn he said in the cars, or I'll take 'n'
break this checker-board over your head. Ef you forgif your name
agin-which is Pratt-you remember you belong with Salters Troop
an' set down right where you are till I come fer you. Don't go
taggin' araound after them whose eyes bung out with fatness
accordin' to Scripcher."
But it was otherwise with the We're Here's silent cookfor he came
uphis kit in a handkerchiefand boarded the "Constance." Pay
was no particular objectand he did not in the least care where he
slept. His businessas revealed to him in dreamswas to follow
Harvey for the rest of his days. They tried argument andat last
persuasion; but there is a difference between one Cape Breton and
two Alabama negroesand the matter was referred to Cheyne by
the cook and porter. The millionaire only laughed. He presumed
Harvey might need a body-servant some day or otherand was sure
that one volunteer was worth five hirelings. Let the man stay
therefore; even though he called himself MacDonald and swore in
Gaelic. The car could go back to Bostonwhereif he were still of
the same mindthey would take him West.
With the "Constance which in his heart of hearts he loathed,
departed the last remnant of Cheyne's millionairedom, and he gave
himself up to an energetic idleness. This Gloucester was a new
town in a new land, and he purposed to take it in as of old he
had taken in all the cities from Snohomish to San Diego of that
world whence he hailed. They made money along the crooked
street which was half wharf and half ship's store: as a leading
professional he wished to learn how the noble game was played.
Men said that four out of every five fish-balls served at New
England's Sunday breakfast came from Gloucester, and
overwhelmed him with figures in proof-statistics of boats, gear,
wharf-frontage, capital invested, salting, packing, factories,
insurance, wages, repairs, and profits. He talked with the owners
of the large fleets whose skippers were little more than hired men,
and whose crews were almost all Swedes or Portuguese. Then he
conferred with Disko, one of the few who owned their craft, and
compared notes in his vast head. He coiled himself away on
chain-cables in marine junk-shops, asking questions with cheerful,
unslaked Western curiosity, till all the water-front wanted to know
what in thunder that man was afteranyhow." He prowled into the
Mutual Insurance roomsand demanded explanations of the mysterious
remarks chalked up on the blackboard day by day; and that brought
down upon him secretaries of every Fisherman's Widow and Orphan
Aid Society within the city limits. They begged shamelesslyeach
man anxious to beat the other institution's recordand Cheyne
tugged at his beard and handed them all over to Mrs. Cheyne.
She was resting in a boarding-house near Eastern Point-a strange
establishmentmanagedapparentlyby the boarderswhere the
table-cloths were red-and-white-checkered and the population
who seemed to have known one another intimately for yearsrose
up at midnight to make Welsh rarebits if it felt hungry. On the
second morning of her stay Mrs. Cheyne put away her diamond
solitaires before she came down to breakfast.
They're most delightful people,she confided to her husband; "so
friendly and simpletoothough they are all Bostonnearly."
That isn't simpleness, Mama,he saidlooking across the
boulders behind the apple-trees where the hammocks were slung.
It's the other thing, that w~that I haven't got.
It can't be,said Mrs. Cheyne quietly. "There isn't a woman here
owns a dress that cost a hundred dollars. Whywe~"
I know it, dear. We have~f course we have. I guess it's only the
style they wear East. Are you having a good time?
I don't see very much of Harvey; he's always with you; but I ain't
near as nervous as I was.
'7 haven't had such a good time since Willie died. I never rightly
understood that I had a son before this. Harve's got to be a great
boy. 'Anything I can fetch
140 Rudyard Kipling
youdear? 'Cushion under your head? Wellwe'll go down to the
wharf again and look around."
Harvey was his father's shadow in those daysand the two strolled
along side by sideCheyne using the grades as an excuse for laying
his hand on the boy's square shoulder. It was then that Harvey
noticed and admired what had never struck him before-his father's
curious power of getting at the heart of new matters as learned
from men in the street.
How d'you make 'em tell you everything without opening your
head?demanded the sonas they came out of a rigger's loft.
I've dealt with quite a few men In my time, Harve, and one sizes
'em up somehow, I guess. I know something about myself, too.
Thenafter a pauseas they sat down on a wharf-edge: "Men can
'most always tell when a man has handled things for himselfand
then they treat him as one of themselves."
Same as they treat me down at Wouverman's wharf. I'm one of the
crowd now. Disko has told every one I've earned my pay.Harvey
spread out his hands and rubbed the palms together. "They're all
soft again he said dolefully.
Keep 'em that way for the next few yearswhile you're getting
your education. You can harden 'em up after."
Ye-es, I suppose so,was the replyin no delighted voice.
It rests with you, Harve. You can take cover behind your mama,
of course, and put her on to fussing about your nerves and your
high-strungness and all that kind of poppycock.
Have I ever done that?said Harveyuneasily.
His father turned where he sat and thrust out a long hand. "You
know as well as I do that I can't make anything of you if you don't
act straight by me. I can handle you alone if you'll stay alonebut I
don't pretend to manage both you and Mama. Life's too short
Don't make me out much of a fellow, does it?
I guess it was my fault a good deal; but if you want the truth, you
haven't been much of anything up to date. Now, have you?
Umm! Disko thinks . . . Say, what d'you reckon it's cost you to
raise me from the start-first, last and all over?
Cheyne smiled. "I've never kept trackbut I should estimatein
dollars and centsnearer fifty than forty thousand; maybe sixty.
The young generation comes high. It has to have thingsand it tires
of 'emand-the old man foots the bill."
Harvey whistledbut at heart he was rather pleased to think that
his upbringing had cost so much. "And all that's sunk capitalisn't
Invested, Harve. Invested, I hope.
Making it only thirty thousand, the thirty I've earned is about ten
cents on the hundred. That's a mighty poor catch.Harvey wagged
his head solemnly.
Cheyne laughed till he nearly fell off the pile into the water.
Disko has got a heap more than that out of Dan since he was ten;
and Dan's at school half the year, too.
Oh, that's what you're after, is it?
No. I'm not after anything. I'm not stuck on myself any just
now-that's all. . . . I ought to be kicked.
I can't do it, old man; or I would, I presume, if I'd been made that
Then I'd have remembered it to the last day I lived-and never
forgiven you,said Harveyhis chin on his doubled fists.
Exactly. That's about what I'd do. You see?
I see. The fault's with me and no one else. All the samey,
something's got to be done about it.
Cheyne drew a cigar from his vest-pocketbit off the endand fell
to smoking. Father and son were very much alike; for the beard hid
Cheyne's mouthand Harvey had his father's slightly aquiline nose
close-set black eyesand narrowhigh cheek-bones. With a touch
of brown paint he would have made up very picturesquely as a Red
Indian of the story-books.
Now you can go on from here,said Cheyneslowlycosting me
between six or eight thousand a year till you're a voter. Well, we'll
call you a man then. You can go right on from that, living on me to
the tune of forty or fitty thousand, besides what your mother will
give you, with a valet and a yacht or a fancy-ranch where you can
pretend to raise trotting-stock and play cards with your own crowd.
Like Lorry Tuck?Harvey put in.
Yep; or the two De Vitre boys or old man McQuade's son.
California's full of 'em, and here's an Eastern sample while we're
A shiny black steam-yachtwith mahogany deck-house
nickel-plated binnaclesand pink-and-white-striped awnings
puffed up the harbourflying the burgee of some New York club.
Two young men in what they conceived to be sea costumes were
playing cards by the saloon skylight; and a couple of women with
red and blue parasols looked on and laughed noisily.
Shouldn't care to be caught out in her in any sort of a breeze. No
beam,said Harveycriticallyas the yacht slowed to pick up her
They're having what stands them for a good time. I can give you
that, and twice as much as that, Harve. How'd you like it?
Caesar! That's no way to get a dinghy overside,said Harveystill
intent on the yacht. "If I couldn't slip a tackle better than that I'd
stay ashore. . . . What if I don't?"
Stay ashore-or what?
Yacht and ranch and live on 'the old man,' and-get behind Mama
where there's trouble,said Harveywith a twinkle in his eye.
Why, in that case, you come right in with me, my son.
Ten dollars a month?Another twinkle.
Not a cent more until you're worth it, and you won't begin to
touch that for a few years.
I'd sooner begin sweeping out the office-isn't that how the big bugs
start?-and touch something now than .
I know it; we all feel that way. But I guess we can hire any
sweeping we need. I made the same mistake myself of starting in
Thirty million dollars' worth o' mistake, wasn't it? I'd risk it for
I lost some; and I gained some. I'll tell you.
Cheyne pulled his beard and smiled as he looked over the still
waterand spoke away from Harveywho presently began to be
aware that his father was telling the story of his life. He talked in a
loweven voicewithout gesture and without expression; and it
was a history for which a dozen leading journals would cheerfully
have paid many dollars-the story of forty years that was at the
same time the story of the New Westwhose story is yet to be
It began with a kinless boy turned loose in Texasand went on
fantastically through a hundred changes and chops of lifethe
scenes shifting from State after Western Statefrom cities that
sprang up m a month and- in a season utterly withered awayto
wild ventures in wilder camps that are now laboriouspaved
municipalities. It covered the building of three railroads and the
deliberate wreck of a fourth. It told of steamerstownshipsforests
and minesand the men of every nation under heavenmanning
creatinghewingand digging these. It touched on chances of
gigantic wealth flung before eyes that could not seeor missed by
the merest accident of time and travel; and through the mad shift
of thingssometimes on horsebackmore often afootnow rich
now poorin and outand back and forthdeck-handtrain-hand
speculatorcattle-manor trampmoved Harvey Cheynealert and
quietseeking his own endsandso he saidthe glory and
advancement of his country.
He told of the faith that never deserted him even when he hung on
the ragged edge of despair-the faith that comes of knowing men
and things. He enlargedas though he were talking to himselfon
his very great courage and resource at all times. The thing was so
evident in the man's mind that he never even changed his tone. He
described how he had bested his enemiesor forgiven them
exactly as they had bested or forgiven him in those careless days;
how he had entreatedcajoledand bullied townscompaniesand
syndicatesall for their enduring good; crawled roundthroughor
under mountains and ravinesdragging a string and hoop-iron railroad
after himand in the endhow he had sat still while promiscuous
communities tore the last fragments of his character to shreds.
The tale held Harvey almost breathlesshis head a little cocked to
one sidehis eyes fixed on his father's faceas the twilight
deepened and the red cigar-end lit up the furrowed cheeks and
heavy eyebrows. It seemed to him like watching a locomotive
storming across country in the dark-a mile between each glare of
the open fire-door: but this locomotive could talkand the words
shook and stirred the boy to the core of his soul. At last Cheyne
pitched away the cigar-buttand the two sat in the dark over the
I've never told that to any one before,said the father.
Harvey gasped. "It's just the greatest thing that ever was!" said he.
That's what I got. Now I'm coming to what I didn't get. It won't
sound much of anything to you, but I don't wish you to be as old as
I am before you find out. I can handle men, of course, and I'm no
fool along my own lines, but-but-I can't compete with the man who
has been taught! I've picked up as I went along, and I guess it
sticks out all over me.
I've never seen it,said the sonindignantly.
You will, though, Harve. You will-just as soon as you're through
college. Don't I know it? Don't I know the look on men's faces
when they think me a-a 'mucker,' as they call it out here? I can
break them to little pieces-yes-but I can't get back at 'em to hurt
'em where they live. I don't say they're 'way 'way up, but I feel I'm
'way, 'way, 'way off, somehow. Now you've got your chance.
You've got to soak up all the learning that's around, and you'll live
with a crowd that are doing the same thing. They'll be doing it for
a few thousand dollars a year at most; but remember you'll be
doing it for millions. You'll learn law enough to look after your
own property when I'm out o' the light, and you'll have to be solid
with the best men in the market (they are useful later); and above
all, you'll have to stow away the plain, common, sit-down-with-your
chin-on your-elbows book-learning. Nothing pays like that, Harve,
and it's bound to pay more and more each year in our country-in
business and in politics. You'll see.
There's no sugar in my end of the deal,said Harvey. "Four years
at college! 'Wish I'd chosen the valet and the yacht!"
Never mind, my son,Cheyne insisted. "You're investing your
capital where it'll bring in the best returns; and I guess you won't
find our property shrunk any when you're ready to take hold. Think
it overand let me know in the morning. Hurry! We'll be late for
As this was a business talkthere was no need for Harvey to tell his
mother about it; and Cheyne naturally took the same point of view.
But Mrs. Cheyne saw and fearedand was a little jealous. Her boy
who rode rough-shod over herwas goneand in his stead reigned a
keen-faced youthabnormally silentwho addressed most of his
conversation to his father. She understood it was businessand
therefore a matter beyond her premises. If she had any doubtsthey
were resolved when Cheyne went to Boston and brought back a
new diamond marquise ring.
What have you two been doing now?she saidwith a weak little
smileas she turned it in the light.
Talking-just talking, Mama; there's nothing mean about Harvey.
There was not. The boy had made a treaty on his own account.
Railroadshe explained gravelyinterested him as little as lumber
real estateor mining. What his soul yearned alter was control of
his father's newly purchased sailing-ship. If that could be promised
him within what he conceived to be a reasonable timehefor his
partguaranteed diligence and sobriety at college for four or five
years. In vacation he was to be allowed full access to all details
connected with the lin~he had not asked more than two thousand
questions about it-from his father's most private papers in the safe
to the tug in San Francisco harbour.
It's a deal,said Cheyne at the last. "You'll alter your mind twenty
times before you leave collegeo' course; but if you take hold of it
in proper shapeand if you don't tie it up before you're twenty-three
I'll make the thing over to you. How's thatHarve?"
Nope; never pays to split up a going concern. There's too much
competition in the world anyway, and Disko says 'blood-kin hev to
stick together.' His crowd never go back on him. That's one reason,
he says, why they make such big fares. Say, the We're Here goes
off to the Georges on Monday. They don't stay long ashore, do
Well, we ought to be going, too, I guess. I've left my business
hung up at loose ends between two oceans, and it's time to connect
again. I just hate to do it, though; haven't had a holiday like this for
We can't go without seeing Disko off,said Harvey; "and
Monday's Memorial Day. Let's stay over thatanyway."
What is this memorial business? They were talking about it at the
boarding-house,said Cheyne weakly. Hetoowas not anxious to
spoil the golden days.
Well, as far as I can make out, this business is a sort of
song-and-dance act, whacked up for the summer boarders. Disko
don't think much of it, he says, because they take up a collection
for the widows and orphans. Disko's independent. Haven't you
Well-yes. A little. In spots. Is it a town show, then?
The summer convention is. They read out the names of the
fellows drowned or gone astray since last time, and they make
speeches, and recite, and all. Then, Disko says, the secretaries of
the Aid Societies go into the back yard and fight over the catch.
The real show, he says, is in the spring. The ministers all take a
hand then, and there aren't any summer boarders around.
I see,said Cheynewith the brilliant and perfect comprehension
of one born into and bred up to city pride. "We'll stay over for
Memorial Dayand get off in the afternoon."
Guess I'll go down to Disko's and make him bring his crowd up
before they sail. I'll have to stand with them, of course.
Oh, that's it, is it,said Cheyne. "I'm only a poor summer boarder
A Banker-full-blooded Banker,Harvey called back as he boarded
a trolleyand Cheyne Went on with his blissful dreams for the
Disko had no use for public functions where appeals were made
for charitybut Harvey pleaded that the glory of the day would be
lostso far as he was concernedif the We're Heres absented
themselves. Then Disko made conditions. He had heard-it was
astonishing how all the world knew all the world's business along
the water-front-he had heard that a "Philadelphia actress-woman"
was going to take part in the exercises; and he mistrusted that she
would deliver "Skipper Ireson's Ride." Personallyhe had as little
use for actresses as for summer boarders; but justice was justice
and though he himself (here Dan giggled) had once slipped up on
a matter of judgmentthis thing must not be. So Harvey came back
to East Gloucesterand spent half a day explaining to an amused
actress with a royal reputation on two seaboards the inwardness of
the mistake she contemplated; and she admitted that it was justice
even as Disko had said.
Cheyne knew by old experience what would happen; but anything
of the nature of a public palaver as meat and drink to the man's
soul. He saw the trolleys hurrying westin the hothazy morning
full of women in light summer dressesand white-faced
straw-hatted men fresh from Boston desks; the stack of bicycles
outside the post~office; the come-and-go of busy officialsgreeting
one another; the slow flick and swash of bunting in the heavy air;
and the important man with a hose sluicing the brick sidewalk.
Mother,he said suddenlydon't you remember-after Seattle was
burned out-and they got her going again?
Mrs. Cheyne noddedand looked critically down the crooked street
Like her husbandshe understood these gatheringsall the West
overand compared them one against another. The fishermen
began to mingle with the crowd about the town-hall doors-bluejowled
Portuguesetheir women bare-headed or shawled for the
most part; clear-eyed Nova Scotiansand men of the Maritime
Provinces; FrenchItaliansSwedesand Daneswith outside crews
of coasting schooners; and everywhere women in blackwho
saluted one another with gloomy pridefor this was their day of
great days. And there were ministers of many creeds-pastors of
greatgilt-edged congregationsat the seaside for a restwith
shepherds of the regular work-from the priests of the Church on
the Hill to bush-bearded ex-sailor Lutheranshail-fellow with the
men of a score of boats. There were owners of lines of schooners
large contributors to the societiesand small mentheir few craft
pawned to the mastheadswith bankers and marine-insurance
agentscaptains of tugs and water-boatsriggersfitterslumpers
saltersboat-buildersand coopersand all the mixed population of
They drifted along the line of seats made gay with the dresses of
the summer boardersand one of the town officials patrolled and
perspired till he shone all over with pure civic pride. Cheyne had
met him for five minutes a few days beforeand between the two
there was entire understanding.
Well, Mr. Cheyne, and what d'you think of our city? -Yes,
madam, you can sit anywhere you please.-You have this kind of
thing out West, I presume?
Yes, but we aren't as old as you.
That's so, of course. You ought to have been at the exercises when
we celebrated our two hundred and fiftieth birthday. I tell you, Mr.
Cheyne, the old city did herself credit.
So I heard. It pays, too. What's the matter with the town that it
don't have a first-class hotel, though?
-Bight over there to the left, Pedro. Heaps o' room for you and
your crowd.-Why, that's what I tell 'em all the time, Mr. Cheyne.
There's big money in it, but I presume that don't affect you any.
What we want is
A heavy hand fell on his broadcloth shoulder, and the flushed
skipper of a Portland coal-and-ice coaster spun him half round.
What in thunder do you fellows mean by clappin' the law on the
town when all decent men are at sea this way? Heh? Town's dry as
a bonean' smells a sight worse sence I quit. 'Might ha' left us one
saloon for soft drinksanyway."
Don't seem to have hindered your nourishment this morning,
Carsen. I'll go into the politics of it later. Sit down by the door and
think over your arguments till I come back.
What good is arguments to me? In Miquelon champagne's
eighteen dollars a case and---The skipper lurched into his seat
as an organ-prelude silenced him.
Our new organ,said the official proudly to Cheyne.
'Cost us four thousand dollarstoo. We'll have to get back to
high-license next year to pay for it. I wasn't going to let the
ministers have all the religion at their convention. Those are some
of our orphans standing up to sing. My wife taught 'em. See you
again laterMr. Cheyne. I'm wanted on the platform."
Highclearand truechildren's voices bore down the last noise of
those settling into their places.
O all ye Works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise him and
magnify him for ever!
The women throughout the hall leaned forward to look as the
reiterated cadences filled the air. Mrs. Cheynewith some others
began to breathe short; she had hardly imagined there were so
many widows in the world; and instinctively searched for Harvey.
He had found the We're Heres at the back of the audienceand was
standingas by rightbetween Dan and Disko. Uncle Salters
returned the night before with Pennfrom Pamlico Soundreceived
Hain't your folk gone yet?he grunted. "What are you doin' here
0 ye Seas and Floods, bless ye the Lord: praise him, and magnify
him for ever!
Hain't he good right?said Dan. "He's bin theresame as the rest
Not in them clothes,Salters snarled.
Shut your head, Salters,said Disko. "Your bile's gone back on
you. Stay right where ye areHarve."
Then up and spoke the orator of the occasionanother pillar of the
municipalitybidding the world welcome to Gloucesterand
incidentally pointing out wherein Gloucester excelled the rest of
the world. Then he turned to the sea-wealth of the cityand spoke
of the price that must be paid for the yearly harvest. They would
hear later the names of their lost dead one hundred and seventeen
of them. (The widows stared a littleand looked at one another
here.) Gloucester could not boast any overwhelming mills or
factories. Her sons worked for such wage as the sea gave; and they
all knew that neither Georges nor the Banks were cow-pastures.
The utmost that folk ashore could accomplish was to help the
widows and the orphansand after a few general remarks he took
this opportunity of thankingin the name of the citythose who had
so public-spiritedly consented to participate in the excercises of
I jest despise the beggin' pieces in it,growled Disko. "It don't
give folk a fair notion of us."
Ef folk won't be fore-handed an' put by when they've the chance,
returned Saltersit stands in the nature o' things they hev to be
'shamed. You take warnin' by that, young feller. Riches endureth
but for a season, ef you scatter them araound on lugsuries--
But to lose everythingeverything said Penn. What can you do
then? Once I"-the watery blue eyes stared up and down as if
looking for something to steady them--"once I read-in a bookI
think~f a boat where every one was run down-except some
one-and he said to me-"
Shucks!said Salterscutting in. "You read a little less an' take
more int'rust in your vittlesand you'll come nearer earnin' your
Harveyjammed among the fishermenfelt a creepycrawly
tingling thrill that began in the back of his neck and ended at his
boots. He was coldtoothough it was a stifling day.
'That the actress from Philadelphia?" said Disko Troopscowling
at the platform. "You've fixed it about old man Iresonhain't ye
Harve? Ye know why naow."
It was not "Ireson's Ride" that the woman deliveredbut some sort
of poem about a fishing-port called Brixham and a fleet of trawlers
beating in against storm by nightwhile the women made a guiding
fire at the head of the quay with everything they could lay hands
They took the grandma's blanket,
Who shivered and bade them go;
They took the baby's cradle,
Who could not say them no.
Whew!said Danpeering over Long Jack's shoulder. "That's
great! Must ha' bin expensivethough."
Ground-hog case,said the Galway man. "Badly lighted port
And knew not all the while
If they were lighting a bonfire
Or only a funeral pile.
The wonderful voice took hold of people by their heartstrings; and
when she told how the drenched crews were flung ashoreliving
and deadand they carried the bodies to the glare of the fires
asking: "Childis this your father?" or "Wifeis this your man?"
you could hear hard breathing all over the benches.
And when the boats of Brixham
Go out to face the gales,
Think of the love that travels
Like light upon their sails!
There was very little applause when she finished. The women
were looking for their handkerchiefsand many of the men stared
at the ceiling with shiny eyes.
H'm,said Salters; "that 'u'd cost ye a dollar to hear at any
theatre-maybe two. Some folkI presoomcan afford it. 'Seems
downright waste to me. . . . Naowhow in Jerusalem did Cap. Bart
Edwardes strike adrift here?"
No keepin' him under,said an Eastport man behind. "He's a poet
an' he's baound to say his piece. 'Comes from daown aour way
He did not say that Captain B. Edwardes had striven for five
consecutive years to be allowed to recite a piece of his own
composition on Gloucester Memorial Day. An amused and
exhausted cornmittee had at last given him his desire. The
simplicity and utter happiness of the old manas he stood up in his
very best Sunday clotheswon the audience ere he opened his
mouth. They sat unmurmuring through seven-and-thirty
hatchet-made verses describing at fullest length the loss of the
schooner Joan Hasken off the Georges in the gale of 1867and
when he came to an end they shouted with one kindly throat.
A far-sighted Boston reporter slid away for a full copy of the epic
and an interview with the author; so that earth had nothing more to
offer Captain Bart Edwardesex-whalershipwright
master-fishermanand poetin the seventy-third year of his age.
Naow, I call that sensible,said the Eastport man. "I've bin over
that graound with his writin'jest as he read itin my two hands
and I can testily that he's got it all in."
If Dan here couldn't do better'n that with one hand before
breakfast, he ought to be switched,said Saltersupholding the
honor of Massachusetts on general principles. "Not but what I'm
free to own he's considerable litt'ery-fer Maine. Still "
Guess Uncle Salters's goin' to die this trip. Fust compliment he's
ever paid me,Dan sniggered. "What's wrong with youHarve?
You act all quiet and you look greenish. Feelin' sick?"
Don't know what's the matter with me,Harvey implied." 'Seems
if my insides were too big for my outsides. I'm all crowded up and
Dispepsy? Pshaw-too bad. We'll wait for the readin', an' then we'll
quit, an' catch the tide.
The widows-they were nearly all of that season's making-braced
themselves rigidly like people going to be shot in cold bloodfor
they knew what was coming. The summer-boarder girls in pink
and blue shirt-waists stopped tittering over Captain Edwardes's
wonderful poemand looked back to see why all was silent. The
fishermen pressed forward a~ that town official who had talked to
Cheyne bobbed up on the platform and began to read the year's list
of lossesdividing them into months. Last September's casualties
were mostly single men and strangersbut his voice rang very loud
in the stillness of the hall.
September 9th.Schooner Florrie Anderson lost, with all aboard,
off the Georges.
Reuben Pitmanmaster50singleMain StreetCity.
Emil Olsen, 19, single, 329 Hammond Street, City. Denmark.
Oscar Standbergsingle25. Sweden.
CarJ Stanberg, single, 28, Main Street. City.
Pedrosupposed MadeirasingleKeene's boardinghouse. City.
Joseph Welsh, alias Joseph Wright, 30, St. John's,
No-Augusty, Maine,a voice cried from the body of the hall.
He shipped from St. John's,said the readerlooking to see.
I know it. He belongs in Augusty. My nevvy.
The reader made a pencilled correction on the margin of the list
Same schooner, Charlie Ritchie, Liverpool, Nova Scotia, 33,
Albert May267 Rogers StreetCity27single.
September 27th.-Orvin Dollard, 30, married, drowned in dorv off
That shot went homefor one of the widows flinched where she
satclasping and unclasping her hands. Mrs. Cheynewho had
been listening with wide-opened eyesthrew up her head and
choked. Dan's mothera few seats to the rightsaw and heard and
quickly moved to her side. The reading went on. By the time they
reached the January and February wrecks the shots were falling
thick and fastand the widows drew breath between their teeth.
February l4th.-Schooner Harry Randolph dismasted on the way
home from Newfoundland; Asa Musie, married, 32, Main Street,
City, lost overboard.
February 23d.-Schooner Gilbert Hope; went astray in doryRobert
Beavon29marriednative of PubnicoNova Scotia."
But his wife was in the hall. They heard a low cryas though a
little animal had been hit. It was stifled at onceand a girl
staggered out of the hall. She had been hoping against hope for
monthsbecause some who have gone adrift in dories have been
miraculously picked up by deep-sea sailing-ships. Now she had her
certaintyand Harvey could see the policeman on the sidewalk
hailing a hack for her. "It's fifty cents to the depot"-the driver
beganbut the policeman held up his hand-"but I'm goin' there
anyway. Jump right in. Look at hereAll; you don't pull me next
time my lamps ain't lit. See?"
The side-door closed on the patch of bright sunshineand Harvey's
eyes turned again to the reader and his endless list.
April 1 9th-Schooner Mamie Douglas lost on the Banks with all
D. Hawkins, alias Williams, 34, married, Shelbourne, Nova
G. W. Claycoloured28marriedCity."
And so onand so on. Great lumps were rising in Harvey's throat
and his stomach reminded him of the day when he fell from the
May l0th.-Schooner We're Here [the blood tingled all over hi~.
Otto Svendson, 20, single, City, lost overboard.
Once more a lowtearing cry from somewhere at the back of the
She shouldn't ha' come. She shouldn't ha' come,said Long Jack
with a cluck of pity.
Don't scrowge, Harve,grunted Dan. Harvey heard that muchbut
the rest was all darkness spotted with fiery wheels. Disko leaned
forward and spoke to his wifewhere she sat with one arm round
Mrs. Cheyneand the other holding down the snatchingcatching
Lean your head daown-right daown!slie whispered. "It'll go off
in a minute."
I ca-an't! I do-don't! Oh, let me-Mrs. Cheyne did not at all know
what she said.
You must,Mrs. Troop repeated. "Your boy's jest fainted dead
away. They do that some when they're gettin' their growth. 'Wish to
tend to him? We can git aout this side. Quite quiet. You come right
along with me. Psha'my dearwe're both womenI guess. We
must tend to aour men-folk. Come!"
The We're Heres promptly went through the crowd as a
body-guardand it was a very white and shaken Harvey that they
propped up on a bench in an anteroom.
Favours his ma,was Mrs. Troop's ouly commentas the mother
bent over her boy.
How d'you suppose he could ever stand it?she cried indignantly
to Cheynewho had said nothing at all. "It was horrible-horrible!
We shouldn't have come. It's wrong and wicked! It-it isn't right!
Why-why couldn't they put these things in the paperswhere they
belong? Are you betterdarling?"
That made Harvey very properly ashamed. "OhI'm all rightI
guess he said, struggling to his feet, with a broken giggle. Must
ha' been something I ate for breakfast"
Coffee; perhaps,said Cheynewhose face was all in hard lines
as though it had been cut out of bronze. "We won't go back again."
Guess 'twould be 'baout's well to git daown to the wharf,said
Disko. "It's close in along with them Dagoesan' the fresh air will
fresh Mrs. Cheyne up."
Harvey announced that he never felt better in his life; but it was
not till he saw the We're Herefresh from the lumper's handsat
Wouverman's wharfthat he lost his all-overish feelings in a queer
mixture of pride and sorrowfulness. Other people summer
boarders and such-like-played about in cat-boats or looked at the
sea from pier-heads; but he understood things from the inside-more
things than he could begin to think about None the lesshe
could have sat down and howled because the little schooner was
going off. Mrs. Cheyne simply cried and cried every step of the
way and said most extraordinary things to Mrs. Troopwho
babiedher till Danwho had not been "babied" since he was six
And so the old crowd-Harvey felt like the most ancient of mariners
dropped into the old schooner among the battered dorieswhile
Harvey slipped the stern-fast from the pier-headand they slid her
along the wharf-side with their hands. Every one wanted to say so
much that no one said anything in particular. Harvey bade Dan
take care of Uncle Salters's sea-boots and Penn's dory-anchorand
Long Jack entreated Harvey to remember his lessons in
seamanship; but the jokes fell flat in the presence of the two
womenand it is hard to be funny with green harbour-water
widening between good friends.
Up jib and fores'l!shouted Diskogetting to the wheelas the
wind took her. " 'See you laterHarve. Dunno but I come near
thinkin' a heap o' you an' your folks."
Then she glided beyond ear-shotand they sat down to watch her
up the harbourAnd still Mrs. Cheyne wept.
Pshaw, my dear,said Mrs. Troop: "we're both womenI guess.
Like's not it'll ease your heart to hey your cry aout. God He knows
it never done me a mite o' goodbut then He knows I've had
something to cry fer!"
Now it was a few years laterand upon the other edge of America
that a young man came through the clammy sea fog up a windy
street which is flanked with most expensive houses built of wood
to imitate stone. To himas he was standing by a hammered iron
gateentered on horseback-and the horse would have been cheap at
a thousand dollars-another young man. And this is what they said:
What's the best with you?
Well, I'm so's to be that kind o' animal called second mate this
trip. Ain't you most through with that triple invoiced college of
Getting that way. I tell you, the Leland Stanford Junior, isn't a
circumstance to the old We're Here; but I'm coming into the
business for keeps next fall.
Meanin' aour packets?
Nothing else. You just wait till I get my knife into you, Dan. I'm
going to make the old line lie down and cry when I take hold.
I'll resk it,said Danwith a brotherly grinas Harvey dismounted
and asked whether he were coming in.
That's what I took the cable fer; but, say, is the doctor anywheres
aranund? I'll draown that crazy rigger some day, his one cussed
joke an' all.
There was a lowtriumphant chuckleas the ex-cook of the We're
Here came out of the fog to take the horse's bridle. He allowed no
one but himself to attend to any of Harvey's wants.
Thick as the Banks, ain't it, doctor?said Danpropitiatingly.
But the coal-black Celt with the second-sight did not see fit to
reply till he had tapped Dan on the shoulderand for the twentieth
time croaked the oldold prophecy in his ear.
Master-man. Man-master,said he. "You rememberDan Troop
what I said? On the We're Here?"
Well, I won't go so far as to deny that it do look like it as things
stand at present,said Dan. "She was a noble packetand one way
an' another I owe her a heap--her and Dad."
Me too,quoth Harvey Cheyne.