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THE MUTINY OF THE ELSINORE

by Jack London

CHAPTER I

From the first the voyage was going wrong. Routed out of my hotel on
a bitter March morningI had crossed Baltimore and reached the pierend
precisely on time. At nine o'clock the tug was to have taken me
down the bay and put me on board the Elsinoreand with growing
irritation I sat frozen inside my taxicab and waited. On the seat
outsidethe driver and Wada sat hunched in a temperature perhaps
half a degree colder than mine. And there was no tug.

Possumthe fox-terrier puppy Galbraith had so inconsiderately
foisted upon mewhimpered and shivered on my lap inside my greatcoat
and under the fur robe. But he would not settle down. Continually
he whimpered and clawed and struggled to get out. Andonce out and
bitten by the coldwith equal insistence he whimpered and clawed to
get back.

His unceasing plaint and movement was anything but sedative to my
jangled nerves. In the first place I was uninterested in the brute.
He meant nothing to me. I did not know him. Time and againas I
drearily waitedI was on the verge of giving him to the driver.
Oncewhen two little girls--evidently the wharfinger's daughters-went
bymy hand reached out to the door to open it so that I might
call to them and present them with the puling little wretch.

A farewell surprise package from Galbraithhe had arrived at the
hotel the night beforeby express from New York. It was Galbraith's
way. Yet he might so easily have been decently like other folk and
sent fruit . . . or flowerseven. But no; his affectionate
inspiration had to take the form of a yelpingyapping two months'
old puppy. And with the advent of the terrier the trouble had begun.
The hotel clerk judged me a criminal before the act I had not even
had time to meditate. And then Wadaon his own initiative and out
of his own foolish stupidityhad attempted to smuggle the puppy into
his room and been caught by a house detective. Promptly Wada had
forgotten all his English and lapsed into hysterical Japaneseand
the house detective remembered only his Irish; while the hotel clerk
had given me to understand in no uncertain terms that it was only
what he had expected of me.

Damn the doganyway! And damn Galbraith too! And as I froze on in
the cab on that bleak pier-endI damned myself as welland the mad
freak that had started me voyaging on a sailing-ship around the Horn.

By ten o'clock a nondescript youth arrived on footcarrying a suitcase
which was turned over to me a few minutes later by the
wharfinger. It belonged to the pilothe saidand gave instructions
to the chauffeur how to find some other pier from whichat some


indeterminate timeI should be taken aboard the Elsinore by some
other tug. This served to increase my irritation. Why should I not
have been informed as well as the pilot?

An hour laterstill in my cab and stationed at the shore end of the
new pierthe pilot arrived. Anything more unlike a pilot I could
not have imagined. Here was no blue-jacketedweather-beaten son of
the seabut a soft-spoken gentlemanfor all the world the type of
successful business man one meets in all the clubs. He introduced
himself immediatelyand I invited him to share my freezing cab with
Possum and the baggage. That some change had been made in the
arrangements by Captain West was all he knewthough he fancied the
tug would come along any time.

And it didat one in the afternoonafter I had been compelled to
wait and freeze for four mortal hours. During this time I fully made
up my mind that I was not going to like this Captain West. Although
I had never met himhis treatment of me from the outset had beento
say the leastcavalier. When the Elsinore lay in Erie Basinjust
arrived from California with a cargo of barleyI had crossed over
from New York to inspect what was to be my home for many months. I
had been delighted with the ship and the cabin accommodation. Even
the stateroom selected for me was satisfactory and far more spacious
than I had expected. But when I peeped into the captain's room I was
amazed at its comfort. When I say that it opened directly into a
bath-roomand thatamong other thingsit was furnished with a big
brass bed such as one would never suspect to find at seaI have said
enough.

NaturallyI had resolved that the bath-room and the big brass bed
should be mine. When I asked the agents to arrange with the captain
they seemed non-committal and uncomfortable. "I don't know in the
least what it is worth I said. And I don't care. Whether it
costs one hundred and fifty dollars or five hundredI must have
those quarters."

Harrison and Graythe agentsdebated silently with each other and
scarcely thought Captain West would see his way to the arrangement.
Then he is the first sea captain I ever heard of that wouldn't,I
asserted confidently. "Whythe captains of all the Atlantic liners
regularly sell their quarters."

But Captain West is not the captain of an Atlantic liner,Mr.
Harrison observed gently.

Remember, I am to be on that ship many a month,I retorted. "Why
heavensbid him up to a thousand if necessary."

We'll try,said Mr. Graybut we warn you not to place too much
dependence on our efforts. Captain West is in Searsport at the
present time, and we will write him to-day.

To my astonishment Mr. Gray called me up several days later to inform
me that Captain West had declined my offer. Did you offer him up to
a thousand?" I demanded. "What did he say?"

He regretted that he was unable to concede what you asked,Mr. Gray
replied.

A day later I received a letter from Captain West. The writing and
the wording were old-fashioned and formal. He regretted not having
yet met meand assured me that he would see personally that my
quarters were made comfortable. For that matter he had already
dispatched orders to Mr. Pikethe first mate of the Elsinoreto


knock out the partition between my state-room and the spare stateroom
adjoining. Further--and here is where my dislike for Captain
West began--he informed me that ifwhen once well at seaI should
find myself dissatisfiedhe would gladlyin that caseexchange
quarters with me.

Of courseafter such a rebuffI knew that no circumstance could
ever persuade me to occupy Captain West's brass bed. And it was this
Captain Nathaniel Westwhom I had not yet metwho had now kept me
freezing on pier-ends through four miserable hours. The less I saw
of him on the voyage the betterwas my decision; and it was with a
little tickle of pleasure that I thought of the many boxes of books I
had dispatched on board from New York. Thank the LordI did not
depend on sea captains for entertainment.

I turned Possum over to Wadawho was settling with the cabmanand
while the tug's sailors were carrying my luggage on board I was led
by the pilot to an introduction with Captain West. At the first
glimpse I knew that he was no more a sea captain than the pilot was a
pilot. I had seen the best of the breedthe captains of the liners
and he no more resembled them than did he resemble the bluff-faced
gruff-voiced skippers I had read about in books. By his side stood a
womanof whom little was to be seen and who made a warm and gorgeous
blob of colour in the huge muff and boa of red fox in which she was
well-nigh buried.

My God!--his wife!I darted in a whisper at the pilot. "Going
along with him? . . . "

I had expressly stipulated with Mr. Harrisonwhen engaging passage
that the one thing I could not possibly consider was the skipper of
the Elsinore taking his wife on the voyage. And Mr. Harrison had
smiled and assured me that Captain West would sail unaccompanied by a
wife.

It's his daughter,the pilot replied under his breath. "Come to
see him offI fancy. His wife died over a year ago. They say that
is what sent him back to sea. He'd retiredyou know."

Captain West advanced to meet meand before our outstretched hands
touchedbefore his face broke from repose to greeting and the lips
moved to speechI got the first astonishing impact of his
personality. Longleanin his face a touch of race I as yet could
only sensehe was as cool as the day was coldas poised as a king
or emperoras remote as the farthest fixed staras neutral as a
proposition of Euclid. And thenjust ere our hands meta twinkle
of--oh--such distant and controlled geniality quickened the many tiny
wrinkles in the corner of the eyes; the clear blue of the eyes was
suffused by an almost colourful warmth; the facetooseemed
similarly to suffuse; the thin lipsharsh-set the instant before
were as gracious as Bernhardt's when she moulds sound into speech.

So curiously was I affected by this first glimpse of Captain West
that I was aware of expecting to fall from his lips I knew not what
words of untold beneficence and wisdom. Yet he uttered most
commonplace regrets at the delay in a voice provocative of fresh
surprise to me. It was low and gentlealmost too lowyet clear as
a bell and touched with a faint reminiscent twang of old New England.

And this is the young woman who is guilty of the delay,he
concluded my introduction to his daughter. "Margaretthis is Mr.
Pathurst."

Her gloved hand promptly emerged from the fox-skins to meet mineand


I found myself looking into a pair of gray eyes bent steadily and
gravely upon me. It was discomfitingthat coolpenetrating
searching gaze. It was not that it was challengingbut that it was
so insolently business-like. It was much in the very way one would
look at a new coachman he was about to engage. I did not know then
that she was to go on the voyageand that her curiosity about the
man who was to be a fellow-passenger for half a year was therefore
only natural. Immediately she realized what she was doingand her
lips and eyes smiled as she spoke.

As we moved on to enter the tug's cabin I heard Possum's shivering
whimper rising to a screechand went forward to tell Wada to take
the creature in out of the cold. I found him hovering about my
luggagewedging my dressing-case securely upright by means of my
little automatic rifle. I was startled by the mountain of luggage
around which mine was no more than a fringe. Ship's storeswas my
first thoughtuntil I noted the number of trunksboxessuit-cases
and parcels and bundles of all sorts. The initials on what looked
suspiciously like a woman's hat trunk caught my eye--"M.W." Yet
Captain West's first name was Nathaniel. On closer investigation I
did find several "N.W's." but everywhere I could see "M.W's." Then I
remembered that he had called her Margaret.

I was too angry to return to the cabinand paced up and down the
cold deck biting my lips with vexation. I had so expressly
stipulated with the agents that no captain's wife was to come along.
The last thing under the sun I desired in the pet quarters of a ship
was a woman. But I had never thought about a captain's daughter.
For two cents I was ready to throw the voyage over and return on the
tug to Baltimore.

By the time the wind caused by our speed had chilled me bitterlyI
noticed Miss West coming along the narrow deckand could not avoid
being struck by the spring and vitality of her walk. Her face
despite its firm mouldinghad a suggestion of fragility that was
belied by the robustness of her body. At leastone would argue that
her body must be robust from her fashion of movement of itthough
little could one divine the lines of it under the shapelessness of
the furs.

I turned away on my heel and fell moodily to contemplating the
mountain of luggage. A huge packing-case attracted my attentionand
I was staring at it when she spoke at my shoulder.

That's what really caused the delay,she said.

What is it?I asked incuriously.

Why, the Elsinore's piano, all renovated. When I made up my mind to
come, I telegraphed Mr. Pike--he's the mate, you know. He did his
best. It was the fault of the piano house. And while we waited today
I gave them a piece of my mind they'll not forget in a hurry.

She laughed at the recollectionand commenced to peep and peer into
the luggage as if in search of some particular piece. Having
satisfied herselfshe was starting backwhen she paused and said:

Won't you come into the cabin where it's warm? We won't be there
for half an hour.

When did you decide to make this voyage?I demanded abruptly.

So quick was the look she gave me that I knew she had in that moment
caught all my disgruntlement and disgust.


Two days ago,she answered. "Why?"

Her readiness for give and take took me abackand before I could
speak she went on:

Now you're not to be at all silly about my coming, Mr. Pathurst. I
probably know more about long-voyaging than you do, and we're all
going to be comfortable and happy. You can't bother me, and I
promise you I won't bother you. I've sailed with passengers before,
and I've learned to put up with more than they ever proved they were
able to put up with. So there. Let us start right, and it won't be
any trouble to keep on going right. I know what is the matter with
you. You think you'll be called upon to entertain me. Please know
that I do not need entertainment. I never saw the longest voyage
that was too long, and I always arrive at the end with too many
things not done for the passage ever to have been tedious, and . . .
I don't play Chopsticks.

CHAPTER II

The Elsinorefresh-loaded with coallay very deep in the water when
we came alongside. I knew too little about ships to be capable of
admiring her linesandbesidesI was in no mood for admiration. I
was still debating with myself whether or not to chuck the whole
thing and return on the tug. From all of which it must not be taken
that I am a vacillating type of man. On the contrary.

The trouble was that at no timefrom the first thought of ithad I
been keen for the voyage. Practically the reason I was taking it was
because there was nothing else I was keen on. For some time now life
had lost its savour. I was not jadednor was I exactly bored. But
the zest had gone out of things. I had lost taste for my fellow-men
and all their foolishlittleserious endeavours. For a far longer
period I had been dissatisfied with women. I had endured thembut I
had been too analytic of the faults of their primitivenessof their
almost ferocious devotion to the destiny of sexto be enchanted with
them. And I had come to be oppressed by what seemed to me the
futility of art--a pompous legerdemaina consummate charlatanry that
deceived not only its devotees but its practitioners.

In shortI was embarking on the Elsinore because it was easier to
than not; yet everything else was as equally and perilously easy.
That was the curse of the condition into which I had fallen. That
was whyas I stepped upon the deck of the ElsinoreI was half of a
mind to tell them to keep my luggage where it was and bid Captain
West and his daughter good-day.

I almost think what decided me was the welcominghospitable smile
Miss West gave me as she started directly across the deck for the
cabinand the knowledge that it must be quite warm in the cabin.

Mr. Pikethe mateI had already metwhen I visited the ship in
Erie Basin. He smiled a stiffcrack-faced smile that I knew must be
painfulbut did not offer to shake handsturning immediately to
call orders to half-a-dozen frozen-looking youths and aged men who
shambled up from somewhere in the waist of the ship. Mr. Pike had
been drinking. That was patent. His face was puffed and
discolouredand his large gray eyes were bitter and bloodshot.


I lingeredwith a sinking heart watching my belongings come aboard
and chiding my weakness of will which prevented me from uttering the
few words that would put a stop to it. As for the half-dozen men who
were now carrying the luggage aft into the cabinthey were unlike
any concept I had ever entertained of sailors. Certainlyon the
linersI had observed nothing that resembled them.

Onea most vivid-faced youth of eighteensmiled at me from a pair
of remarkable Italian eyes. But he was a dwarf. So short was he
that he was all sea-boots and sou'wester. And yet he was not
entirely Italian. So certain was I that I asked the matewho
answered morosely:

Him? Shorty? He's a dago half-breed. The other half's Jap or
Malay.

One old manwho I learned was a bosunwas so decrepit that I
thought he had been recently injured. His face was stolid and oxlike
and as he shuffled and dragged his brogans over the deck he
paused every several steps to place both hands on his abdomen and
execute a queerpressinglifting movement. Months were to passin
which I saw him do this thousands of timesere I learned that there
was nothing the matter with him and that his action was purely a
habit. His face reminded me of the Man with the Hoesave that it
was unthinkably and abysmally stupider. And his nameas I was to
learnof all names was Sundry Buyers. And he was bosun of the fine
American sailing-ship Elsinore--rated one of the finest sailing-ships
afloat!

Of this group of aged men and boys that moved the luggage along I saw
only onecalled Henrya youth of sixteenwho approximated in the
slightest what I had conceived all sailors to be like. He had come
off a training shipthe mate told meand this was his first voyage
to sea. His face was keen-cutalertas were his bodily movements
and he wore sailor-appearing clothes with sailor-seeming grace. In
factas I was to learnhe was to be the only sailor-seeming
creature fore and aft.

The main crew had not yet come aboardbut was expected at any
momentthe mate vouchsafed with a snarl of ominous expectancy.
Those already on board were the miscellaneous ones who had shipped
themselves in New York without the mediation of boarding-house
masters. And what the crew itself would be like God alone could
tell--so said the mate. Shortythe Japanese (or Malay) and Italian
half-castethe mate told mewas an able seamanthough he had come
out of steam and this was his first sailing voyage.

Ordinary seamen!Mr. Pike snortedin reply to a question. "We
don't carry Landsmen!--forget it! Every clodhopper an' cow-walloper
these days is an able seaman. That's the way they rank and are paid.
The merchant service is all shot to hell. There ain't no more
sailors. They all died years agobefore you were born even."

I could smell the raw whiskey on the mate's breath. Yet he did not
stagger nor show any signs of intoxication. Not until afterward was
I to know that his willingness to talk was most unwonted and was
where the liquor gave him away.

It'd a-ben a grace had I died years ago,he saidrather than to
a-lived to see sailors an' ships pass away from the sea.

But I understand the Elsinore is considered one of the finest,I
urged.


So she is . . . to-day. But what is she?--a damned cargo-carrier.
She ain't built for sailin', an' if she was there ain't no sailors
left to sail her. Lord! Lord! The old clippers! When I think of
'em!--The Gamecock, Shootin' Star, Flyin' Fish, Witch o' the Wave,
Staghound, Harvey Birch, Canvas-back, Fleetwing, Sea Serpent,
Northern Light! An' when I think of the fleets of the tea-clippers
that used to load at Hong Kong an' race the Eastern Passages. A fine
sight! A fine sight!

I was interested. Here was a mana live man. I was in no hurry to
go into the cabinwhere I knew Wada was unpacking my thingsso I
paced up and down the deck with the huge Mr. Pike. Huge he was in
all consciencebroad-shoulderedheavy-bonedanddespite the
profound stoop of his shouldersfully six feet in height.

You are a splendid figure of a man,I complimented.

I was, I was,he muttered sadlyand I caught the whiff of whiskey
strong on the air.

I stole a look at his gnarled hands. Any finger would have made
three of mine. His wrist would have made three of my wrist.

How much do you weigh?I asked.

Two hundred an' ten. But in my day, at my best, I tipped the scales
close to two-forty.

And the Elsinore can't sail,I saidreturning to the subject which
had roused him.

I'll take you even, anything from a pound of tobacco to a month's
wages, she won't make it around in a hundred an' fifty days,he
answered. "Yet I've come round in the old Flyin' Cloud in eightynine
days--eighty-nine dayssirfrom Sandy Hook to 'Frisco. Sixty
men for'ard that WAS menan' eight boysan' drive! drive! drive!
Three hundred an' seventy-four miles for a day's run under
t'gallantsailsan' in the squalls eighteen knots o' line not enough
to time her. Eighty-nine days--never beatan' tied once by the old
Andrew Jackson nine years afterwards. Them was the days!"

When did the Andrew Jackson tie her?I askedbecause of the
growing suspicion that he was "having" me.

In 1860,was his prompt reply.

And you sailed in the Flying Cloud nine years before that, and this
is 1913--why, that was sixty-two years ago,I charged.

And I was seven years old,he chuckled. "My mother was stewardess
on the Flyin' Cloud. I was born at sea. I was boy when I was
twelveon the Herald o' the Mornwhen she made around in ninetynine
days--half the crew in irons most o' the timefive men lost
from aloft off the Hornthe points of our sheath-knives broken
square offknuckle-dusters an' belayin'-pins flyin'three men shot
by the officers in one daythe second mate killed dead an' no one to
know who done itan' drive! drive! drive! ninety-nine days from land
to landa run of seventeen thousand milesan' east to west around
Cape Stiff!"

But that would make you sixty-nine years old,I insisted.

Which I am,he retorted proudlyan' a better man at that than the
scrubby younglings of these days. A generation of 'em would die


under the things I've been through. Did you ever hear of the Sunny
South?--she that was sold in Havana to run slaves an' changed her
name to Emanuela?

And you've sailed the Middle Passage!I criedrecollecting the old
phrase.

I was on the Emanuela that day in Mozambique Channel when the Brisk
caught us with nine hundred slaves between-decks. Only she wouldn't
a-caught us except for her having steam.

I continued to stroll up and down beside this massive relic of the
pastand to listen to his hints and muttered reminiscences of old
man-killing and man-driving days. He was too real to be trueand
yetas I studied his shoulder-stoop and the age-drag of his huge
feetI was convinced that his years were as he asserted. He spoke
of a Captain Sonurs.

He was a great captain,he was saying. "An' in the two years I
sailed mate with him there was never a port I didn't jump the ship
goin' in an' stay in hiding until I sneaked aboard when she sailed
again."

But why?

The men, on account of the men swearin' blood an' vengeance and
warrants against me because of my ways of teachin' them to be
sailors. Why, the times I was caught, and the fines the skipper paid
for me--and yet it was my work that made the ship make money.''

He held up his huge paws, and as I stared at the battered, malformed
knuckles I understood the nature of his work.

But all that's stopped now he lamented. A sailor's a gentleman
these days. You can't raise your voice or your hand to them."

At this moment he was addressed from the poop-rail above by the
second matea medium-sizedheavily builtclean-shavenblond man.

The tug's in sight with the crew, sir,he announced.

The mate grunted an acknowledgmentthen addedCome on down, Mr.
Mellaire, and meet our passenger.

I could not help noting the air and carriage with which Mr. Mellaire
came down the poop-ladder and took his part in the introduction. He
was courteous in an old-world waysoft-spokensuaveand
unmistakably from south of Mason and Dixon.

A Southerner,I said.

Georgia, sir.He bowed and smiledas only a Southerner can bow
and smile.

His features and expression were genial and gentleand yet his mouth
was the cruellest gash I had ever seen in a man's face. It was a
gash. There is no other way of describing that harshthin-lipped
shapeless mouth that uttered gracious things so graciously.
Involuntarily I glanced at his hands. Like the mate'sthey were
thick-bonedbroken-knuckledand malformed. Back into his blue eyes
I looked. On the surface of them was a film of lighta gloss of
gentle kindness and cordialitybut behind that gloss I knew resided
neither sincerity nor mercy. Behind that gloss was something cold
and terriblethat lurked and waited and watched--something catlike


something inimical and deadly. Behind that gloss of soft light and
of social sparkle was the livefearful thing that had shaped that
mouth into the gash it was. What I sensed behind in those eyes
chilled me with its repulsiveness and strangeness.

As I faced Mr. Mellaireand talked with himand smiledand
exchanged amenitiesI was aware of the feeling that comes to one in
the forest or jungle when he knows unseen wild eyes of hunting
animals are spying upon him. Frankly I was afraid of the thing
ambushed behind there in the skull of Mr. Mellaire. One so as a
matter of course identifies form and feature with the spirit within.
But I could not do this with the second mate. His face and form and
manner and suave ease were one thinginside which hean entirely
different thinglay hid.

I noticed Wada standing in the cabin doorevidently waiting to ask
for instructions. I noddedand prepared to follow him inside. Mr.
Pike looked at me quickly and said:

Just a moment, Mr. Pathurst.

He gave some orders to the second matewho turned on his heel and
started for'ard. I stood and waited for Mr. Pike's communication
which he did not choose to make until he saw the second mate well out
of ear-shot. Then he leaned closely to me and said:

Don't mention that little matter of my age to anybody. Each year I
sign on I sign my age one year younger. I am fifty-four, now, on the
articles.

And you don't look a day older,I answered lightlythough I meant
it in all sincerity.

And I don't feel it. I can outwork and outgame the huskiest of the
younglings. And don't let my age get to anybody's ears, Mr.
Pathurst. Skippers are not particular for mates getting around the
seventy mark. And owners neither. I've had my hopes for this ship,
and I'd a-got her, I think, except for the old man decidin' to go to
sea again. As if he needed the money! The old skinflint!

Is he well off?I inquired.

Well off! If I had a tenth of his money I could retire on a chicken
ranch in California and live like a fighting cock--yes, if I had a
fiftieth of what he's got salted away. Why, he owns more stock in
all the Blackwood ships . . . and they've always been lucky and
always earned money. I'm getting old, and it's about time I got a
command. But no; the old cuss has to take it into his head to go to
sea again just as the berth's ripe for me to fall into.

Again I started to enter the cabinbut was stopped by the mate.

Mr. Pathurst? You won't mention about my age?

No, certainly not, Mr. Pike,I said.

CHAPTER III

Quite chilled throughI was immediately struck by the warm comfort
of the cabin. All the connecting doors were openmaking what I


might call a large suite of rooms or a whale house. The main-deck
entranceon the port sidewas into a widewell-carpeted hallway.
Into this hallwayfrom the port sideopened five rooms: firston
enteringthe mate's; nextthe two state-rooms which had been
knocked into one for me; then the steward's room; andadjoining his
completing the rowa state-room which was used for the slop-chest.

Across the hall was a region with which I was not yet acquainted
though I knew it contained the dining-roomthe bath-roomsthe cabin
properwhich was in truth a spacious living-roomthe captain's
quartersandundoubtedlyMiss West's quarters. I could hear her
humming some air as she bustled about with her unpacking. The
steward's pantryseparated by crosshalls and by the stairway leading
into the chart-room above on the poopwas placed strategically in
the centre of all its operations. Thuson the starboard side of it
were the state-rooms of the captain and Miss Westfor'ard of it were
the dining-room and main cabin; while on the port side of it was the
row of rooms I have describedtwo of which were mine.

I ventured down the hall toward the sternand found it opened into
the stern of the Elsinoreforming a single large apartment at least
thirty-five feet from side to side and fifteen to eighteen feet in
depthcurvedof courseto the lines of the ship's stern. This
seemed a store-room. I noted wash-tubsbolts of canvasmany
lockershams and bacon hanginga step-ladder that led up through a
small hatch to the poopandin the flooranother hatch.

I spoke to the stewardan old Chinesesmooth-faced and brisk of
movementwhose name I never learnedbut whose age on the articles
was fifty-six.

What is down there?I askedpointing to the hatch in the floor.

Him lazarette,he answered.

And who eats there?I indicated a table with two stationary seachairs.


Him second table. Second mate and carpenter him eat that table.

When I had finished giving instructions to Wada for the arranging of
my things I looked at my watch. It was early yetonly several
minutes after three so I went on deck again to witness the arrival of
the crew.

The actual coming on board from the tug I had missedbut for'ard of
the amidship house I encountered a few laggards who had not yet gone
into the forecastle. These were the worse for liquorand a more
wretchedmiserabledisgusting group of men I had never seen in any
slum. Their clothes were rags. Their faces were bloatedbloody
and dirty. I won't say they were villainous. They were merely
filthy and vile. They were vile of appearanceof speechand
action.

Come! Come! Get your dunnage into the fo'c's'le!

Mr. Pike uttered these words sharply from the bridge above. A light
and graceful bridge of steel rods and planking ran the full length of
the Elsinorestarting from the poopcrossing the amidship house and
the forecastleand connecting with the forecastle-head at the very
bow of the ship.

At the mate's command the men reeled about and glowered up at him
one or two starting clumsily to obey. The others ceased their


drunken yammerings and regarded the mate sullenly. One of themwith
a face mashed by some mad god in the makingand who was afterwards
to be known by me as Larryburst into a guffawand spat insolently
on the deck. Thenwith utmost deliberationhe turned to his
fellows and demanded loudly and huskily:

Who in hell's the old stiff, anyways?

I saw Mr. Pike's huge form tense convulsively and involuntarilyand
I noted the way his huge hands strained in their clutch on the
bridge-railing. Beyond that he controlled himself.

Go on, you,he said. "I'll have nothing out of you. Get into the
fo'c's'le."

And thento my surprisehe turned and walked aft along the bridge
to where the tug was casting off its lines. So this was all his high
and mighty talk of kill and driveI thought. Not until afterwards
did I recollectas I turned aft down the deckthat I saw Captain
West leaning on the rail at the break of the poop and gazing for'ard.

The tug's lines were being cast offand I was interested in watching
the manoeuvre until she had backed clear of the shipat which
momentfrom for'ardarose a queer babel of howling and yelpingas
numbers of drunken voices cried out that a man was overboard. The
second mate sprang down the poop-ladder and darted past me along the
deck. The matestill on the slenderwhite-painted bridgethat
seemed no more than a spider threadsurprised me by the activity
with which he dashed along the bridge to the 'midship houseleaped
upon the canvas-covered long-boatand swung outboard where he might
see. Before the men could clamber upon the rail the second mate was
among themand it was he who flung a coil of line overboard.

What impressed me particularly was the mental and muscular
superiority of these two officers. Despite their age--the mate
sixty-nine and the second mate at least fifty--their minds and their
bodies had acted with the swiftness and accuracy of steel springs.
They were potent. They were iron. They were perceiverswillers
and doers. They were as of another species compared with the sailors
under them. While the latterwitnesses of the happening and
directly on the spothad been crying out in befuddled helplessness
and with slow wits and slower bodies been climbing upon the railthe
second mate had descended the steep ladder from the poopcovered two
hundred feet of decksprung upon the railgrasped the instant need
of the situationand cast the coil of line into the water.

And of the same nature and quality had been the actions of Mr. Pike.
He and Mr. Mellaire were masters over the wretched creatures of
sailors by virtue of this remarkable difference of efficiency and
will. Trulythey were more widely differentiated from the men under
them than were the men under them differentiated from Hottentots--ay
and from monkeys.

Itooby this timewas standing on the big hawser-bitts in a
position to see a man in the water who seemed deliberately swimming
away from the ship. He was a dark-skinned Mediterranean of some
sortand his facein a clear glimpse I caught of itwas distorted
by frenzy. His black eyes were maniacal. The line was so accurately
flung by the second mate that it fell across the man's shouldersand
for several strokes his arms tangled in it ere he could swim clear.
This accomplishedhe proceeded to scream some wild harangue and
onceas he uptossed his arms for emphasisI saw in his hand the
blade of a long knife.


Bells were jangling on the tug as it started to the rescue. I stole
a look up at Captain West. He had walked to the port side of the
poopwherehands in pocketshe was glancingnow for'ard at the
struggling mannow aft at the tug. He gave no ordersbetrayed no
excitementand appearedI may well saythe most casual of
spectators.

The creature in the water seemed now engaged in taking off his
clothes. I saw one bare armand then the otherappear. In his
struggles he sometimes sank beneath the surfacebut always he
emergedflourishing the knife and screaming his addled harangue. He
even tried to escape the tug by diving and swimming underneath.

I strolled for'ardand arrived in time to see him hoisted in over
the rail of the Elsinore. He was stark nakedcovered with blood
and raving. He had cut and slashed himself in a score of places.
From one wound in the wrist the blood spurted with each beat of the
pulse. He was a loathsomenon-human thing. I have seen a scared
orang in a zooand for all the world this bestial-facedmowing
gibbering thing reminded me of the orang. The sailors surrounded
himlaying hands on himwithstraining himthe while they guffawed
and cheered. Right and left the two mates shoved them awayand
dragged the lunatic down the deck and into a room in the 'midship
house. I could not help marking the strength of Mr. Pike and Mr.
Mellaire. I had heard of the superhuman strength of madmenbut this
particular madman was as a wisp of straw in their hands. Once into
the bunkMr. Pike held down the struggling fool easily with one hand
while he dispatched the second mate for marlin with which to tie the
fellow's arms.

Bughouse,Mr. Pike grinned at me. "I've seen some bughouse crews
in my timebut this one's the limit."

What are you going to do?I asked. "The man will bleed to death."

And good riddance,he answered promptly. "We'll have our hands
full of him until we can lose him somehow. When he gets easy I'll
sew him upthat's allif I have to ease him with a clout of the
jaw."

I glanced at the mate's huge paw and appreciated its anaesthetic
qualities. Out on deck againI saw Captain West on the poophands
still in pocketsquite uninterestedgazing at a blue break in the
sky to the north-east. More than the mates and the maniacmore than
the drunken callousness of the mendid this quiet figurehands in
pocketsimpress upon me that I was in a different world from any I
had known.

Wada broke in upon my thoughts by telling me he had been sent to say
that Miss West was serving tea in the cabin.

CHAPTER IV

The contrastas I entered the cabinwas startling. All contrasts
aboard the Elsinore promised to be startling. Instead of the cold
hard deck my feet sank into soft carpet. In place of the mean and
narrow roombuilt of naked ironwhere I had left the lunaticI was
in a spacious and beautiful apartment. With the bawling of the men's
voices still in my earsand with the pictures of their drink-puffed
and filthy faces still vivid under my eyelidsI found myself greeted


by a delicate-facedprettily-gowned woman who sat beside a lacquered
oriental table on which rested an exquisite tea-service of Canton
china. All was repose and calm. The stewardnoiseless-footed
expressionlesswas a shadowscarcely noticedthat drifted into the
room on some service and drifted out again.

Not at once could I relaxand Miss Westserving my tealaughed and
said:

You look as if you had been seeing things. The steward tells me a
man has been overboard. I fancy the cold water must have sobered
him.

I resented her unconcern.

The man is a lunatic,I said. "This ship is no place for him. He
should be sent ashore to some hospital."

I am afraid, if we begin that, we'd have to send two-thirds of our
complement ashore--one lump?

Yesplease I answered. But the man has terribly wounded
himself. He is liable to bleed to death."

She looked at me for a momenther gray eyes serious and
scrutinizingas she passed me my cup; then laughter welled up in her
eyesand she shook her head reprovingly.

Now please don't begin the voyage by being shocked, Mr. Pathurst.
Such things are very ordinary occurrences. You'll get used to them.
You must remember some queer creatures go down to the sea in ships.
The man is safe. Trust Mr. Pike to attend to his wounds. I've never
sailed with Mr. Pike, but I've heard enough about him. Mr. Pike is
quite a surgeon. Last voyage, they say, he performed a successful
amputation, and so elated was he that he turned his attention on the
carpenter, who happened to be suffering from some sort of
indigestion. Mr. Pike was so convinced of the correctness of his
diagnosis that he tried to bribe the carpenter into having his
appendix removed.She broke off to laugh heartilythen added:
They say he offered the poor man just pounds and pounds of tobacco
to consent to the operation.

But is it safe . . . for the . . . the working of the ship,I
urgedto take such a lunatic along?

She shrugged her shouldersas if not intending to replythen said:

This incident is nothing. There are always several lunatics or
idiots in every ship's company. And they always come aboard filled
with whiskey and raving. I remember, once, when we sailed from
Seattle, a long time ago, one such madman. He showed no signs of
madness at all; just calmly seized two boarding-house runners and
sprang overboard with them. We sailed the same day, before the
bodies were recovered.

Again she shrugged her shoulders.

What would you? The sea is hard, Mr. Pathurst. And for our sailors
we get the worst type of men. I sometimes wonder where they find
them. And we do our best with them, and somehow manage to make them
help us carry on our work in the world. But they are low . . . low.

As I listenedand studied her facecontrasting her woman's
sensitivity and her soft pretty dress with the brute faces and rags


of the men I had noticedI could not help being convinced
intellectually of the rightness of her position. NeverthelessI was
hurt sentimentally--chieflyI do believebecause of the very
hardness and unconcern with which she enunciated her view. It was
because she was a womanand so different from the sea-creatures
that I resented her having received such harsh education in the
school of the sea.

I could not help remarking your father's--er, er sang froid during
the occurrence.I ventured.

He never took his hands from his pockets!she cried.

Her eyes sparkled as I nodded confirmation.

I knew it! It's his way. I've seen it so often. I remember when I
was twelve years old--mother was alone--we were running into San
Francisco. It was in the Dixie, a ship almost as big as this. There
was a strong fair wind blowing, and father did not take a tug. We
sailed right through the Golden Gate and up the San Francisco waterfront.
There was a swift flood tide, too; and the men, both watches,
were taking in sail as fast as they could.

Now the fault was the steamboat captain's. He miscalculated our
speed and tried to cross our bow. Then came the collisionand the
Dixie's bow cut through that steamboatcabin and hull. There were
hundreds of passengersmenwomenand children. Father never took
his hands from his pockets. He sent the mate for'ard to superintend
rescuing the passengerswho were already climbing on to our bowsprit
and forecastle-headand in a voice no different from what he'd use
to ask some one to pass the butter he told the second mate to set all
sail. And he told him which sails to begin with."

But why set more sails?I interrupted.

Because he could see the situation. Don't you see, the steamboat
was cut wide open. All that kept her from sinking instantly was the
bow of the Dixie jammed into her side. By setting more sail and
keeping before the wind, he continued to keep the bow of the Dixie
jammed.

I was terribly frightened. People who had sprung or fallen
overboard were drowning on each side of usright in my sightas we
sailed along up the water-front. But when I looked at fatherthere
he wasjust as I had always known himhands in pocketswalking
slowly up and downnow giving an order to the wheel--you seehe had
to direct the Dixie's course through all the shipping--now watching
the passengers swarming over our bow and along our decknow looking
ahead to see his way through the ships at anchor. Sometimes he did
glance at the poordrowning onesbut he was not concerned with
them.

Of course, there were numbers drowned, but by keeping his hands in
his pockets and his head cool he saved hundreds of lives. Not until
the last person was off the steamboat--he sent men aboard to make
sure--did he take off the press of sail. And the steamboat sank at
once.

She ceasedand looked at me with shining eyes for approbation.

It was splendid,I acknowledged. "I admire the quiet man of power
though I confess that such quietness under stress seems to me almost
unearthly and beyond human. I can't conceive of myself acting that
wayand I am confident that I was suffering more while that poor


devil was in the water than all the rest of the onlookers put
together."

Father suffers!she defended loyally. "Only he does not show it."

I bowedfor I felt she had missed my point.

CHAPTER V

I came out from tea in the cabin to find the tug Britannia in sight.
She was the craft that was to tow us down Chesapeake Bay to sea.
Strolling for'ard I noted the sailors being routed out of the
forecastle by Sundry Buyersfor ever tenderly pressing his abdomen
with his hands. Another man was helping Sundry Buyers at routing out
the sailors. I asked Mr. Pike who the man was.

Nancy--my bosun; ain't he a peach?was the answer I gotand from
the mate's manner of enunciation I was quite aware that "Nancy" had
been used derisively.

Nancy could not have been more than thirtythough he looked as if he
had lived a very long time. He was toothless and sad and weary of
movement. His eyes were slate-coloured and muddyhis shaven face
was sickly yellow. Narrow-shoulderedsunken-chestedwith cheeks
cavernously hollowhe looked like a man in the last stages of
consumption. Little life as Sundry Buyers showedNancy showed even
less life. And these were bosuns!--bosuns of the fine American
sailing-ship Elsinore! Never had any illusion of mine taken a more
distressing cropper.

It was plain to me that the pair of themspineless and spunkless
were afraid of the men they were supposed to boss. And the men!
Dore could never have conjured a more delectable hell's broth. For
the first time I saw them alland I could not blame the two bosuns
for being afraid of them. They did not walk. They slouched and
shambledsome even totteredas from weakness or drink.

But it was their faces. I could not help remembering what Miss West
had just told me--that ships always sailed with several lunatics or
idiots in their crews. But these looked as if they were all lunatic
or feeble-minded. And Itoowondered where such a mass of human
wreckage could have been obtained. There was something wrong with
all of them. Their bodies were twistedtheir faces distortedand
almost without exception they were under-sized. The several quite
fairly large men I marked were vacant-faced. One manhoweverlarge
and unmistakably Irishwas also unmistakably mad. He was talking
and muttering to himself as he came out. A littlecurvedlop-sided
manwith his head on one side and with the shrewdest and wickedest
of faces and pale blue eyesaddressed an obscene remark to the mad
Irishmancalling him O'Sullivan. But O'Sullivan took no notice and
muttered on. On the heels of the little lop-sided man appeared an
overgrown dolt of a fat youthfollowed by another youth so tall and
emaciated of body that it seemed a marvel his flesh could hold his
frame together.

Nextafter this perambulating skeletoncame the weirdest creature I
have ever beheld. He was a twisted oaf of a man. Face and body were
twisted as with the pain of a thousand years of torture. His was the
face of an ill-treated and feeble-minded faun. His large black eyes
were brighteagerand filled with pain; and they flashed


questioningly from face to face and to everything about. They were
so pitifully alertthose eyesas if for ever astrain to catch the
clue to some perplexing and threatening enigma. Not until afterwards
did I learn the cause of this. He was stone deafhaving had his
ear-drums destroyed in the boiler explosion which had wrecked the
rest of him.

I noticed the stewardstanding at the galley door and watching the
men from a distance. His keenAsiatic facequick with
intelligencewas a relief to the eyeas was the vivid face of
Shortywho came out of the forecastle with a leap and a gurgle of
laughter. But there was something wrong with himtoo. He was a
dwarfandas I was to come to knowhis high spirits and low
mentality united to make him a clown.

Mr. Pike stopped beside me a moment and while he watched the men I
watched him. The expression on his face was that of a cattle-buyer
and it was plain that he was disgusted with the quality of cattle
delivered.

Something the matter with the last mother's son of them,he
growled.

And still they came: onepallidfurtive-eyedthat I instantly
adjudged a drug fiend; anothera tinywizened old manpinch-faced
and wrinkledwith beadymalevolent blue eyes; a thirda small
well-fleshed manwho seemed to my eye the most normal and least
unintelligent specimen that had yet appeared. But Mr. Pike's eye was
better trained than mine.

What's the matter with YOU?he snarled at the man.

Nothing, sir,the fellow answeredstopping immediately.

What's your name?

Mr. Pike never spoke to a sailor save with a snarl.

Charles Davis, sir.

What are you limping about?

I ain't limpin', sir,the man answered respectfullyandat a nod
of dismissal from the matemarched off jauntily along the deck with
a heodlum swing to the shoulders.

He's a sailor all right,the mate grumbled; "but I'll bet you a
pound of tobacco or a month's wages there's something wrong with
him."

The forecastle now seemed emptybut the mate turned on the bosuns
with his customary snarl.

What in hell are you doing? Sleeping? Think this is a rest cure?
Get in there an' rustle 'em out!

Sundry Buyers pressed his abdomen gingerly and hesitatedwhile
Nancyhis face one doggedlong-suffering bleaknessreluctantly
entered the forecastle. Thenfrom insidewe heard oathsvile and
filthyurgings and expostulations on the part of Nancymeekly and
pleadingly uttered.

I noted the grim and savage look that came on Mr. Pike's faceand
was prepared for I knew not what awful monstrosities to emerge from


the forecastle. Insteadto my surprisecame three fellows who were
strikingly superior to the ruck that had preceded them. I looked to
see the mate's face soften to some sort of approval. On the
contraryhis blue eyes contracted to narrow slitsthe snarl of his
voice was communicated to his lipsso that he seemed like a dog
about to bite.

But the three fellows. They were small menall; and young men
anywhere between twenty-five and thirty. Though roughly dressed
they were well dressedand under their clothes their bodily
movements showed physical well-being. Their faces were keen cut
intelligent. And though I felt there was something queer about them
I could not divine what it was.

Here were no ill-fedwhiskey-poisoned mensuch as the rest of the
sailorswhohaving drunk up their last pay-dayshad starved ashore
until they had received and drunk up their advance money for the
present voyage. These threeon the other hand were supple and
vigorous. Their movements were spontaneously quick and accurate.
Perhaps it was the way they looked at mewith incurious yet
calculating eyes that nothing escaped. They seemed so worldly wise
so indifferentso sure of themselves. I was confident they were not
sailors. Yetas shore-dwellersI could not place them. They were
a type I had never encountered. Possibly I can give a better idea of
them by describing what occurred.

As they passed before us they favoured Mr. Pike with the same
indifferentkeen glances they gave me.

What's your name--you?Mr. Pike barked at the first of the trio
evidently a hybrid Irish-Jew. Jewish his nose unmistakably was.
Equally unmistakable was the Irish of his eyesand jawand upper
lip.

The three had immediately stoppedandthough they did not look
directly at one anotherthey seemed to be holding a silent
conference. Another of the trioin whose veins ran God alone knows
what SemiticBabylonish and Latin strainsgave a warning signal.
Ohnothing so crass as a wink or a nod. I almost doubted that I had
intercepted itand yet I knew he had communicated a warning to his
fellows. More a shade of expression that had crossed his eyesor a
glint in them of sudden light--or whatever it wasit carried the
message.

Murphy,the other answered the mate.

Sir!Mr. Pike snarled at him.

Murphy shrugged his shoulders in token that he did not understand.
It was the poise of the manof the three of themthe cool poise
that impressed me.

When you address any officer on this ship you'll say 'sir,'Mr.
Pike explainedhis voice as harsh as his face was forbidding. "Did
you get THAT?"

Yes . . sir,'' Murphy drawled with deliberate slowness. I
gotcha."

Sir!Mr. Pike roared.

Sir,Murphy answeredso softly and carelessly that it irritated
the mate to further bullyragging.


Well, Murphy's too long,he announced. "Nosey'll do you aboard
this craft. Got THAT?"

I gotcha . . . sir,came the replyinsolent in its very softness
and unconcern. "Nosey Murphy goes . . . sir."

And then he laughed--the three of them laughedif laughter it might
be called that was laughter without sound or facial movement. The
eyes alone laughedmirthlessly and cold-bloodedly.

Certainly Mr. Pike was not enjoying himself with these baffling
personalities. He turned upon the leaderthe one who had given the
warning and who looked the admixture of all that was Mediterranean
and Semitic.

What's YOUR name?

Bert Rhine . . . sir,was the replyin tones as soft and careless
and silkily irritating as the other's.

And YOU?--this to the remaining onethe youngest of the trioa
dark-eyedolive-skinned fellow with a face most striking in its
cameo-like beauty. American-bornI placed himof immigrants from
Southern Italy--from Naplesor even Sicily.

Twist . . . sir,he answeredprecisely in the same manner as the
others.

Too long,the mate sneered. "The Kid'll do you. Got THAT?"

I gotcha . . . sir. Kid Twist'll do me . . . sir.

Kid'll do!

Kid . . . sir.

And the three laughed their silentmirthless laugh. By this time
Mr. Pike was beside himself with a rage that could find no excuse for
action.

Now I'm going to tell you something, the bunch of you, for the good
of your health.The mate's voice grated with the rage he was
suppressing. "I know your kind. You're dirt. D'ye get THAT?
You're dirt. And on this ship you'll be treated as dirt. You'll do
your work like menor I'll know the reason why. The first time one
of you bats an eyeor even looks like batting an eyehe gets his.
D'ye get that? Now get out. Get along for'ard to the windlass."

Mr. Pike turned on his heeland I swung alongside of him as he moved
aft.

What do you make of them?I queried.

The limit,he grunted. "I know their kidney. They've done time
the three of them. They're just plain sweepings of hell--"

Here his speech was broken off by the spectacle that greeted him on
Number Two hatch. Sprawled out on the hatch were five or six men
among them Larrythe tatterdemalion who had called him "old stiff"
earlier in the afternoon. That Larry had not obeyed orders was
patentfor he was sitting with his back propped against his sea-bag
which ought to have been in the forecastle. Alsohe and the group
with him ought to have been for'ard manning the windlass.


The mate stepped upon the hatch and towered over the man.

Get up,he ordered.

Larry made an effortgroanedand failed to get up.

I can't,he said.

Sir!

I can't, sir. I was drunk last night an' slept in Jefferson Market.
An' this mornin' I was froze tight, sir. They had to pry me loose.

Stiff with the cold you were, eh?the mate grinned.

It's well ye might say it, sir,Larry answered.

And you feel like an old stiff, eh?

Larry blinked with the troubledquerulous eyes of a monkey. He was
beginning to apprehend he knew not whatand he knew that bending
over him was a man-master.

Well, I'll just be showin' you what an old stiff feels like,
anyways.Mr. Pike mimicked the other's brogue.

And now I shall tell what I saw happen. Please remember what I have
said of the huge paws of Mr. Pikethe fingers much longer than mine
and twice as thickthe wrists massive-bonedthe arm-bones and the
shoulder-bones of the same massive order. With one flip of his right
handwith what I might call an open-handedliftingupward slap
save that it was the ends of the fingers only that touched Larry's
facehe lifted Larry into the airsprawling him backward on his
back across his sea-bag.

The man alongside of Larry emitted a menacing growl and started to
spring belligerently to his feet. But he never reached his feet.
Mr. Pikewith the back of same right handopensmote the man on
the side of the face. The loud smack of the impact was startling.
The mate's strength was amazing. The blow looked so easyso
effortless; it had seemed like the lazy stroke of a good-natured
bearbut in it was such a weight of bone and muscle that the man
went down sidewise and rolled off the hatch on to the deck.

At this momentlurching aimlessly alongappeared O'Sullivan. A
sudden access of mutteringon his partreached Mr. Pike's earand
Mr. Pikeinstantly keen as a wild animalhis paw in the act of
striking O'Sullivanwhipped out like a revolver shotWhat's that?
Then he noted the sense-struck face of O'Sullivan and withheld the
blow. "Bug-house Mr. Pike commented.

Involuntarily I had glanced to see if Captain West was on the poop,
and found that we were hidden from the poop by the 'midship house.

Mr. Pike, taking no notice of the man who lay groaning on the deck,
stood over Larry, who was likewise groaning. The rest of the
sprawling men were on their feet, subdued and respectful. I, too,
was respectful of this terrific, aged figure of a man. The
exhibition had quite convinced me of the verity of his earlier
driving and killing days.

Who's the old stiff now?" he demanded.

'Tis me, sir,Larry moaned contritely.


Get up!

Larry got up without any difficulty at all.

Now get for'ard to the windlass! The rest of you!

And they wentsullenlyshamblinglylike the cowed brutes they
were.

CHAPTER VI

I climbed the ladder on the side of the for'ard house (which house
containedas I discoveredthe forecastlethe galleyand the
donkey-engine room)and went part way along the bridge to a position
by the foremastwhere I could observe the crew heaving up anchor.
The Britannia was alongsideand we were getting under way.

A considerable body of men was walking around with the windlass or
variously engaged on the forecastle-head. Of the crew proper were
two watches of fifteen men each. In addition were sailmakersboys
bosunsand the carpenter. Nearly forty men were theybut such men!
They were sad and lifeless. There was no vimno gono activity.
Every step and movement was an effortas if they were dead men
raised out of coffins or sick men dragged from hospital beds. Sick
they were--whiskey-poisoned. Starved they wereand weak from poor
nutrition. And worst of allthey were imbecile and lunatic.

I looked aloft at the intricate ropesat the steel masts rising and
carrying huge yards of steelrising higher and higheruntil steel
masts and yards gave way to slender spars of woodwhile ropes and
stays turned into a delicate tracery of spider-thread against the
sky. That such a wretched muck of men should be able to work this
magnificent ship through all storm and darkness and peril of the sea
was beyond all seeming. I remembered the two matesthe superefficiency
mental and physicalof Mr. Mellaire and Mr. Pike--could
they make this human wreckage do it? Theyat leastevinced no
doubts of their ability. The sea? If this feat of mastery were
possiblethen clear it was that I knew nothing of the sea.

I looked back at the misshapenstarvedsickstumbling hulks of men
who trod the dreary round of the windlass. Mr. Pike was right.
These were not the briskdevilishable-bodied men who manned the
ships of the old clipper-ship days; who fought their officerswho
had the points of their sheath-knives broken offwho killed and were
killedbut who did their work as men. These menthese shambling
carcasses at the windlass--I lookedand lookedand vainly I strove
to conjure the vision of them swinging aloft in rack and storm
clearing the raffle,as Kipling puts itwith their clasp knives
in their teeth.Why didn't they sing a chanty as they hove the
anchor up? In the old daysas I had readthe anchor always came up
to the rollicking sailor songs of sea-chested men.

I tired of watching the spiritless performanceand went aft on an
exploring trip along the slender bridge. It was a beautiful
structurestrong yet lighttraversing the length of the ship in
three aerial leaps. It spanned from the forecastle-head to the
forecastle-housenext to the 'midship houseand then to the poop.
The poopwhich was really the roof or deck over all the cabin space
belowand which occupied the whole after-part of the shipwas very


large. It was broken only by the half-round and half-covered wheelhouse
at the very stern and by the chart-house. On either side of
the latter two doors opened into a tiny hallway. Thisin turngave
access to the chart-room and to a stairway that led down into the
cabin quarters beneath.

I peeped into the chart-room and was greeted with a smile by Captain
West. He was lolling back comfortably in a swing chairhis feet
cocked on the desk opposite. On a broadupholstered couch sat the
pilot. Both were smoking cigars; andlingering for a moment to
listen to the conversationI grasped that the pilot was an ex-seacaptain.


As I descended the stairsfrom Miss West's room came a sound of
humming and bustlingas she settled her belongings. The energy she
displayedto judge by the cheerful noises of itwas almost
perturbing.

Passing by the pantryI put my head inside the door to greet the
steward and courteously let him know that I was aware of his
existence. Herein his little realmit was plain that efficiency
reigned. Everything was spotless and in orderand I could have
wished and wished vainly for a more noiseless servant than he ashore.
His faceas he regarded mehad as little or as much expression as
the Sphinx. But his slantblack eyes were brightwith
intelligence.

What do you think of the crew?I askedin order to put words to my
invasion of his castle.

Buggy-house,he answered promptlywith a disgusted shake of the
head. "Too much buggy-house. All crazy. You see. No good.
Rotten. Down to hell."

That was allbut it verified my own judgment. While it might be
trueas Miss West had saidthat every ship's crew contained several
lunatics and idiotsit was a foregone conclusion that our crew
contained far more than several. In factand as it was to turn out
our creweven in these degenerate sailing dayswas an unusual crew
in so far as its helplessness and worthlessness were beyond the
average.

I found my own room (in reality it was two rooms) delightful. Wada
had unpacked and stored away my entire outfit of clothingand had
filled numerous shelves with the library I had brought along.
Everything was in order and placefrom my shaving outfit in the
drawer beside the wash-basinand my sea-boots and oilskins hung
ready to handto my writing materials on the deskbefore which a
swing arm-chairleather-upholstered and screwed solidly to the
floorinvited me. My pyjamas and dressing-gown were out. My
slippersin their accustomed place by the bedalso invited me.

Hereaftall was fitnessintelligence. On deck it was what I have
described--a nightmare spawn of creaturesassumably humanbut
malformedmentally and physicallyinto caricatures of men. Yesit
was an unusual crew; and that Mr. Pike and Mr. Mellaire could whip it
into the efficient shape necessary to work this vast and intricate
and beautiful fabric of a ship was beyond all seeming of possibility.

Depressed as I was by what I had just witnessed on deckthere came
to meas I leaned back in my chair and opened the second volume of
George Moore's Hail and Farewella premonition that the voyage was
to be disastrous. But thenas I looked about the roommeasured its
generous spacerealized that I was more comfortably situated than I


had ever been on any passenger steamerI dismissed foreboding
thoughts and caught a pleasant vision of myselfthrough weeks and
monthscatching up with all the necessary reading which I had so
long neglected.

OnceI asked Wada if he had seen the crew. Nohe hadn'tbut the
steward had said that in all his years at sea this was the worst crew
he had ever seen.

He say, all crazy, no sailors, rotten,Wada said. "He say all big
fools and bime by much trouble. 'You see' he say all the time.
'You seeYou see.' He pretty old man--fifty-five yearshe say.
Very smart man for Chinaman. Just nowfirst time for long timehe
go to sea. Beforehe have big business in San Francisco. Then he
get much trouble--police. They say he opium smuggle. Ohbigbig
trouble. But he catch good lawyer. He no go to jail. But long time
lawyer workand when trouble all finish lawyer got all his business
all his moneyeverything. Then he go to sealike before. He make
good money. He get sixty-five dollars a month on this ship. But he
don't like. Crew all crazy. When this time finish he leave shipgo
back start business in San Francisco."

Laterwhen I had Wada open one of the ports for ventilationI could
hear the gurgle and swish of water alongsideand I knew the anchor
was up and that we were in the grip of the Britanniatowing down the
Chesapeake to sea. The idea suggested itself that it was not too
late. I could very easily abandon the adventure and return to
Baltimore on the Britannia when she cast off the Elsinore. And then
I heard a slight tinkling of china from the pantry as the steward
proceeded to set the tableandalsoit was so warm and
comfortableand George Moore was so irritatingly fascinating.

CHAPTER VII

In every way dinner proved up beyond my expectationsand I
registered a note that the cookwhoever or whatever he might bewas
a capable man at his trade. Miss West servedandthough she and
the steward were strangersthey worked together splendidly. I
should have thoughtfrom the smoothness of the servicethat he was
an old house servant who for years had known her every way.

The pilot ate in the chart-houseso that at table were the four of
us that would always be at table together. Captain West and his
daughter faced each otherwhile Ion the captain's rightfaced Mr.
Pike. This put Miss West across the corner on my right.

Mr. Pikehis dark sack coat (put on for the meal) bulging and
wrinkling over the lumps of muscles that padded his stooped
shouldershad nothing at all to say. But he had eaten too many
years at captains' tables not to have proper table manners. At first
I thought he was abashed by Miss West's presence. LaterI decided
it was due to the presence of the captain. For Captain West had a
way with him that I was beginning to learn. Far removed as Mr. Pike
and Mr. Mellaire were from the sailorsindividuals as they were of
an entirely different and superior breedyet equally as different
and far removed from his officers was Captain West. He was a serene
and absolute aristocrat. He neither talked "ship" nor anything else
to Mr. Pike.

On the other handCaptain West's attitude toward me was that of a


social equal. But thenI was a passenger. Miss West treated me the
same waybut unbent more to Mr. Pike. And Mr. Pikeanswering her
with "YesMiss and NoMiss ate good-manneredly and with his
shaggy-browed gray eyes studied me across the table. I, too, studied
him. Despite his violent past, killer and driver that he was, I
could not help liking the man. He was honest, genuine. Almost more
than for that, I liked him for the spontaneous boyish laugh he gave
on the occasions when I reached the points of several funny stories.
No man could laugh like that and be all bad. I was glad that it was
he, and not Mr. Mellaire, who was to sit opposite throughout the
voyage. And I was very glad that Mr. Mellaire was not to eat with us
at all.

I am afraid that Miss West and I did most of the talking. She was
breezy, vivacious, tonic, and I noted again that the delicate, almost
fragile oval of her face was given the lie by her body. She was a
robust, healthy young woman. That was undeniable. Not fat--heaven
forbid!--not even plump; yet her lines had that swelling roundness
that accompanies long, live muscles. She was full-bodied, vigorous;
and yet not so full-bodied as she seemed. I remember with what
surprise, when we arose from table, I noted her slender waist. At
that moment I got the impression that she was willowy. And willowy
she was, with a normal waist and with, in addition, always that
informing bodily vigour that made her appear rounder and robuster
than she really was.

It was the health of her that interested me. When I studied her face
more closely I saw that only the lines of the oval of it were
delicate. Delicate it was not, nor fragile. The flesh was firm, and
the texture of the skin was firm and fine as it moved over the firm
muscles of face and neck. The neck was a beautiful and adequate
pillar of white. Its flesh was firm, its skin fine, and it was
muscular. The hands, too, attracted me--not small, but well-shaped,
fine, white and strong, and well cared for. I could only conclude
that she was an unusual captain's daughter, just as her father was an
unusual captain and man. And their noses were alike, just the hinttouch
of the beak of power and race.

While Miss West was telling of the unexpectedness of the voyage, of
how suddenly she had decided to come--she accounted for it as a whim-
and while she told of all the complications she had encountered in
her haste of preparation, I found myself casting up a tally of the
efficient ones on board the Elsinore. They were Captain West and his
daughter, the two mates, myself, of course, Wada and the steward,
and, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the cook. The dinner vouched for
him. Thus I found our total of efficients to be eight. But the
cook, the steward, and Wada were servants, not sailors, while Miss
West and myself were supernumeraries. Remained to work, direct, do,
but three efficients out of a total ship's company of forty-five. I
had no doubt that other efficients there were; it seemed impossible
that my first impression of the crew should be correct. There was
the carpenter. He might, at his trade, be as good as the cook. Then
the two sailmakers, whom I had not yet seen, might prove up.

A little later during the meal I ventured to talk about what had
interested me and aroused my admiration, namely, the masterfulness
with which Mr. Pike and Mr. Mellaire had gripped hold of that woeful,
worthless crew. It was all new to me, I explained, but I appreciated
the need of it. As I led up to the occurrence on Number Two hatch,
when Mr. Pike had lifted up Larry and toppled him back with a mere
slap from the ends of his fingers, I saw in Mr. Pike's eyes a
warning, almost threatening, expression. Nevertheless, I completed
my description of the episode.


When I had quite finished there was a silence. Miss West was busy
serving coffee from a copper percolator. Mr. Pike, profoundly
occupied with cracking walnuts, could not quite hide the wicked,
little, half-humorous, half-revengeful gleam in his eyes. But
Captain West looked straight at me, but from oh! such a distance-millions
and millions of miles away. His clear blue eyes were as
serene as ever, his tones as low and soft.

It is the one rule I ask to be observedMr. Pathurst--we never
discuss the sailors."

It was a facer to meand with quite a pronounced fellow-feeling for
Larry I hurriedly added:

It was not merely the discipline that interested me. It was the
feat of strength.

Sailors are trouble enough without our hearing about them, Mr.
Pathurst,Captain West went onas evenly and imperturbably as if I
had not spoken. "I leave the handling of the sailors to my officers.
That's their businessand they are quite aware that I tolerate no
undeserved roughness or severity."

Mr. Pike's harsh face carried the faintest shadow of an amused grin
as he stolidly regarded the tablecloth. I glanced to Miss West for
sympathy. She laughed franklyand said:

You see, father never has any sailors. And it's a good plan, too.

A very good plan,Mr. Pike muttered.

Then Miss West kindly led the talk away from that subjectand soon
had us laughing with a spirited recital of a recent encounter of hers
with a Boston cab-driver.

Dinner overI stepped to my room in quest of cigarettesand
incidentally asked Wada about the cook. Wada was always a great
gatherer of information.

His name Louis,he said. "He Chinamantoo. No; only half
Chinaman. Other half Englishman. You know one island Napoleon he
stop long time and bime by die that island?"

St. Helena,I prompted.

Yes, that place Louis he born. He talk very good English.

At this momententering the hall from the deckMr. Mellairejust
relieved by the matepassed me on his way to the big room in the
stern where the second table was set. His "Good eveningsir was
as stately and courteous as any southern gentleman of the old days
could have uttered it. And yet I could not like the man. His
outward seeming was so at variance with the personality that resided
within. Even as he spoke and smiled I felt that from inside his
skull he was watching me, studying me. And somehow, in a flash of
intuition, I knew not why, I was reminded of the three strange young
men, routed last from the forecastle, to whom Mr. Pike had read the
law. They, too, had given me a similar impression.

Behind Mr. Mellaire slouched a self-conscious, embarrassed
individual, with the face of a stupid boy and the body of a giant.
His feet were even larger than Mr. Pike's, but the hands--I shot a
quick glance to see--were not so large as Mr. Pike's.


As they passed I looked inquiry to Wada.

He carpenter. He sat second table. His name Sam Lavroff. He come
from New York on ship. Steward say he very young for carpenter
maybe twenty-twothree years old."

As I approached the open port over my desk I again heard the swish
and gurgle of water and again realized that we were under way. So
steady and noiseless was our progressthatsay seated at tableit
never entered one's head that we were moving or were anywhere save on
the solid land. I had been used to steamers all my lifeand it was
difficult immediately to adjust myself to the absence of the
propeller-thrust vibration.

Well, what do you think?I asked Wadawholike myselfhad never
made a sailing-ship voyage.

He smiled politely.

Very funny ship. Very funny sailors. I don't know. Mebbe all
right. We see.

You think trouble?I asked pointedly.

I think sailors very funny,he evaded.

CHAPTER VIII

Having lighted my cigaretteI strolled for'ard along the deck to
where work was going on. Above my head dim shapes of canvas showed
in the starlight. Sail was being madeand being made slowlyas I
might judgewho was only the veriest tyro in such matters. The
indistinguishable shapes of menin long linespulled on ropes.
They pulled in sick and dogged silencethough Mr. Pikeubiquitous
snarled out orders and rapped out oaths from every angle upon their
miserable heads.

Certainlyfrom what I had readno ship of the old days ever
proceeded so sadly and blunderingly to sea. Ere long Mr. Mellaire
joined Mr. Pike in the struggle of directing the men. It was not yet
eight in the eveningand all hands were at work. They did not seem
to know the ropes. Time and againwhen the half-hearted suggestions
of the bosuns had been of no availI saw one or the other of the
mates leap to the rail and put the right rope in the hands of the
men.

Theseon the deckI concludedwere the hopeless ones. Up aloft
from sounds and criesI knew were other menundoubtedly those who
were at least a little seaman-likeloosing the sails.

But on deck! Twenty or thirty of the poor devilstailed on a rope
that hoisted a yardwould pull without concerted effort and with
painfully slow movements. "Walk away with it!" Mr. Pike would yell.
And perhaps for two or three yards they would manage to walk with the
rope ere they came to a halt like stalled horses on a hill. And yet
did either of the mates spring in and add his strengththey were
able to move right along the deck without stopping. Either of the
matesold men that they werewas muscularly worth half-a-dozen of
the wretched creatures.


This is what sailin's come to,Mr. Pike paused to snort in my ear.
This ain't the place for an officer down here pulling and hauling.
But what can you do when the bosuns are worse than the men?


I thought sailors sang songs when they pulled,I said.


Sure they do. Want to hear 'em?


I knew there was malice of some sort in his voicebut I answered
that I'd like to very much.


Here, you bosun!Mr. Pike snarled. "Wake up! Start a song!
Topsail halyards!"


In the pause that followed I could have sworn that Sundry Buyers was
pressing his hands against his abdomenwhile Nancyinfinite
bleakness freezing upon his facewas wetting his lips to begin.


Nancy it was who beganfor from no other manI was confidentcould
have issued so sepulchral a plaint. It was unmusicalunbeautiful
unlivelyand indescribably doleful. Yet the words showed that it
should have ripped and crackled with high spirits and lawlessness
for the words poor Nancy sang were:


Away, way, way, yar,
We'll kill Paddy Doyle for bus boots.


Quit it! Quit it!Mr. Pike roared. "This ain't a funeral! Ain't
there one of you that can sing? Come onnow! It's a topsail-yard--



He broke off to leap in to the pin-rail and get the wrong ropes out
of the men's hands to put into them the right rope.


Come onbosun! Break her out!"


Then out of the gloom arose Sundry Buyers' voicecracked and crazy
and even more lugubrious than Nancy's:


Then up aloft that yard must go,
Whiskey for my Johnny.


The second line was supposed to be the chorusbut not more than two
men feebly mumbled it. Sundry Buyers quavered the next line:


Oh, whiskey killed my sister Sue.


Then Mr. Pike took a handseizing the hauling-part next to the pin
and lifting his voice with a rare snap and devilishness:


And whiskey killed the old man, too,
Whiskey for my Johnny.


He sang the devil-may-care lines on and onlifting the crew to the
work and to the chorused emphasis of "Whiskey for my Johnny."



And to his voice they pulledthey movedthey sangand were alive
until he interrupted the song to cry "Belay!"

And then all the life and lilt went out of themand they were again
maundering and futile thingsgetting in one another's waystumbling
and shuffling through the darknesshesitating to grasp ropesand
when they did take holdinvariably taking hold of the wrong rope
first. Skulkers there were among themtoo; and oncefrom for'ard
of the 'midship houseI heard smacksand cursesand groansand
out of the darkness hurriedly emerged two menon their heels Mr.
Pikewho chanted a recital of the distressing things that would
befall them if he caught them at such tricks again.

The whole thing was too depressing for me to care to watch further
so I strolled aft and climbed the poop. In the lee of the charthouse
Captain West and the pilot were pacing slowly up and down.
Passing on aftI saw steering at the wheel the weazened little old
man I had noted earlier in the day. In the light of the binnacle his
small blue eyes looked more malevolent than ever. So weazened and
tiny was heand so large was the brass-studded wheelthat they
seemed of a height. His face was witheredscorchedand wrinkled
and in all seeming he was fifty years older than Mr. Pike. He was
the most remarkable figure of a burnt-outaged man one would expect
to find able seaman on one of the proudest sailing-ships afloat.
Laterthrough WadaI was to learn that his name was Andy Fay and
that he claimed no more years than sixty-three.

I leaned against the rail in the lee of the wheel-houseand stared
up at the lofty spars and myriad ropes that I could guess were there.
NoI decided I was not keen on the voyage. The whole atmosphere of
it was wrong. There were the cold hours I had waited on the pierends.
There was Miss West coming along. There was the crew of
broken men and lunatics. I wondered if the wounded Greek in the
'midship house still gibberedand if Mr. Pike had yet sewed him up;
and I was quite sure I would not care to witness such a transaction
in surgery.

Even Wadawho had never been in a sailing-shiphad his doubts of
the voyage. So had the stewardwho had spent most of a life-time in
sailing-ships. So far as Captain West was concernedcrews did not
exist. And as for Miss Westshe was so abominably robust that she
could not be anything else than an optimist in such matters. She had
always lived; her red blood sang to her only that she would always
live and that nothing evil would ever happen to her glorious
personality.

Ohtrust meI knew the way of red blood. Such was my condition
that the red-blood health of Miss West was virtually an affront to
me--for I knew how unthinking and immoderate such blood could be.
And for five months at least--there was Mr. Pike's offered wager of a
pound of tobacco or a month's wages to that effect--I was to be pent
on the same ship with her. As sure as cosmic sap was cosmic sap
just that sure was I that ere the voyage was over I should be
pestered by her making love to me. Please do not mistake me. My
certainty in this matter was duenot to any exalted sense of my own
desirableness to womenbut to my anything but exalted concept of
women as instinctive huntresses of men. In my experience women
hunted men with quite the same blind tropism that marks the pursuit
of the sun by the sunflowerthe pursuit of attachable surfaces by
the tendrils of the grapevine.

Call me blase--I do not mindif by blase is meant the worldweariness
intellectualartisticsensationalwhich can come to a
young man of thirty. For I was thirtyand I was weary of all these


things--weary and in doubt. It was because of this state that I was
undertaking the voyage. I wanted to get away by myselfto get away
from all these thingsandwith proper perspectivemull the matter
over.

It sometimes seemed to me that the culmination of this world-sickness
had been brought about by the success of my play--my first playas
every one knows. But it had been such a success that it raised the
doubt in my own mindjust as the success of my several volumes of
verse had raised doubts. Was the public right? Were the critics
right? Surely the function of the artist was to voice lifeyet what
did I know of life?

So you begin to glimpse what I mean by the world-sickness that
afflicted me. ReallyI had beenand wasvery sick. Mad thoughts
of isolating myself entirely from the world had hounded me. I had
even canvassed the idea of going to Molokai and devoting the rest of
my years to the lepers--Iwho was thirty years oldand healthy and
strongwho had no particular tragedywho had a bigger income than I
knew how to spendwho by my own achievement had put my name on the
lips of men and proved myself a power to be reckoned with--I was that
mad that I had considered the lazar house for a destiny.

Perhaps it will be suggested that success had turned my head. Very
well. Granted. But the turned head remains a factan
incontrovertible fact--my sicknessif you willand a real sickness
and a fact. This I knew: I had reached an intellectual and artistic
climacterica life-climacteric of some sort. And I had diagnosed my
own case and prescribed this voyage. And here was the atrociously
healthy and profoundly feminine Miss West along--the very last
ingredient I would have considered introducing into my prescription.

A woman! Woman! Heaven knows I had been sufficiently tormented by
their persecutions to know them. I leave it to you: thirty years of
agenot entirely unhandsomean intellectual and artistic place in
the worldand an income most dazzling--why shouldn't women pursue
me? They would have pursued me had I been a hunchbackfor the sake
of my artistic place alonefor the sake of my income alone.

Yes; and love! Did I not know love--lyricpassionatemadromantic
love? Thattoowas of old time with me. Itoohad throbbed and
sung and sobbed and sighed--yesand known griefand buried my dead.
But it was so long ago. How young I was--turned twenty-four! And
after that I had learned the bitter lesson that even deathless grief
may die; and I had laughed again and done my share of philandering
with the prettyferocious moths that fluttered around the light of
my fortune and artistry; and after thatin turnI had retired
disgusted from the lists of womanand gone on long lance-breaking
adventures in the realm of mind. And here I wason board the
Elsinoreunhorsed by my encounters with the problems of the
ultimatecarried off the field with a broken pate.

As I leaned against the raildismissing premonitions of disasterI
could not help thinking of Miss West belowbustling and humming as
she made her little nest. And from her my thought drifted on to the
everlasting mystery of woman. YesIwith all the futuristic
contempt for womanam ever caught up afresh by the mystery of woman.

Ohno illusionsthank you. Womanthe love-seekerobsessing and
possessingfragile and fiercesoft and venomousprouder than
Lucifer and as pridelessholds a perpetualalmost morbid
attraction for the thinker. What is this flame of herblazing
through all her contradictions and ignobilities?--this ruthless
passion for lifealways for lifemore life on the planet? At times


it seems to me brazenand awfuland soulless. At times I am made
petulant by it. And at other times I am swayed by the sublimity of
it. No; there is no escape from woman. Alwaysas a savage returns
to a dark glen where goblins are and gods may beso do I return to
the contemplation of woman.

Mr. Pike's voice interrupted my musings. From for'ardon the main
deckI heard him snarl:

On the main-topsail-yard, there!--if you cut that gasket I'll split
your damned skull!

Again he calledwith a marked change of voiceand the Henry he
called to I concluded was the training-ship boy.

You, Henry, main-skysail-yard, there!he cried. "Don't make those
gaskets up! Fetch 'em in along the yard and make fast to the tye!"

Thus routed from my reverieI decided to go below to bed. As my
hand went out to the knob of the chart-house door again the mate's
voice rang out:

Come on, you gentlemen's sons in disguise! Wake up! Lively now!

CHAPTER IX

I did not sleep well. To begin withI read late. Not till two in
the morning did I reach up and turn out the kerosene reading-lamp
which Wada had purchased and installed for me. I was asleep
immediately--perfect sleep being perhaps my greatest gift; but almost
immediately I was awake again. And thereafterwith dozings and catnaps
and restless tossingsI struggled to win to sleepthen gave it
up. For of all thingsin my state of jangled nervesto be
afflicted with hives! And still againto be afflicted with hives in
cold winter weather!

At four I lighted up and went to readingforgetting my irritated
skin in Vernon Lee's delightful screed against William Jamesand his
will to believe.I was on the weather side of the shipand from
overheadthrough the deckcame the steady footfalls of some officer
on watch. I knew that they were not the steps of Mr. Pikeand
wondered whether they were Mr. Mellaire's or the pilot's. Somebody
above there was awake. The work was going onthe vigilant seeing
and overseeingthatI could plainly concludewould go on through
every hour of all the hours on the voyage.

At half-past four I heard the steward's alarm go offinstantly
suppressedand five minutes later I lifted my hand to motion him in
through my open door. What I desired was a cup of coffeeand Wada
had been with me through too many years for me to doubt that he had
given the steward precise instructions and turned over to him my
coffee and my coffee-making apparatus.

The steward was a jewel. In ten minutes he served me with a perfect
cup of coffee. I read on until daylightand half-past eight found
mebreakfast in bed finisheddressed and shavedand on deck. We
were still towingbut all sails were set to a light favouring breeze
from the north. In the chart-room Captain West and the pilot were
smoking cigars. At the wheel I noted what I decided at once was an
efficient. He was not a large man; if anything he was undersized.


But his countenance was broad-browed and intelligently formed. Tom
I later learnedwas his name--Tom Spinkan Englishman. He was
blue-eyedfair-skinnedwell-grizzledandto the eyea hale fifty
years of age. His reply of "Good morningsir" was cheeryand he
smiled as he uttered the simple phrase. He did not look sailor-like
as did Henrythe training-ship boy; and yet I felt at once that he
was a sailorand an able one.

It was Mr. Pike's watchand on asking him about Tom he grudgingly
admitted that the man was the "best of the boiling."

Miss West emerged from the chart-housewith a rosy morning face and
her vitalspringy limb-movementand immediately began establishing
her contacts. On asking how I had sleptand when I said wretchedly
she demanded an explanation. I told her of my affliction of hives
and showed her the lumps on my wrists.

Your blood needs thinning and cooling,she adjudged promptly.
Wait a minute. I'll see what can be done for you.

And with that she was away and below and back in a tricein her hand
a part glass of water into which she stirred a teaspoonful of cream
of tartar.

Drink it,she orderedas a matter of course.

I drank it. And at eleven in the morning she came up to my deckchair
with a second dose of the stuff. Also she reproached me
soundly for permitting Wada to feed meat to Possum. It was from her
that Wada and I learned how mortal a sin it was to give meat to a
young puppy. Furthermoreshe laid down the law and the diet for
Possumnot alone to me and Wadabut to the stewardthe carpenter
and Mr. Mellaire. Of the latter twobecause they ate by themselves
in the big after-room and because Possum played thereshe was
especially suspicious; and she was outspoken in voicing her
suspicions to their faces. The carpenter mumbled embarrassed
asseverations in broken English of pastpresentand future
innocencethe while he humbly scraped and shuffled before her on his
huge feet. Mr. Mellaire's protestations were of the same nature
save that they were made with the grace and suavity of a
Chesterfield.

In shortPossum's diet raised quite a tempest in the Elsinore
teapotand by the time it was over Miss West had established this
particular contact with me and given me a feeling that we were the
mutual owners of the puppy. I noticedlater in the daythat it was
to Miss West that Wada went for instructions as to the quantity of
warm water he must use to dilute Possum's condensed milk.

Lunch won my continued approbation of the cook. In the afternoon I
made a trip for'ard to the galley to make his acquaintance. To all
intents he was a Chineseuntil he spokewhereuponmeasured by
speech alonehe was an Englishman. In factso cultured was his
speech that I can fairly say it was vested with an Oxford accent.
Hetoowas oldfully sixty--he acknowledged fifty-nine. Three
things about him were markedly conspicuous: his smilethat embraced
all of his clean-shaven Asiatic face and Asiatic eyes; his evenrowed
whiteand perfect teethwhich I deemed false until Wada
ascertained otherwise for me; and his hands and feet. It was his
handsridiculously small and beautifully modelledthat led my
scrutiny to his feet. Theytoowere ridiculously small and very
neatlyalmost dandifiedlyshod.

We had put the pilot off at middaybut the Britannia towed us well


into the afternoon and did not cast us off until the ocean was wide
about us and the land a faint blur on the western horizon. Hereat
the moment of leaving the tugwe made our "departure"--that is to
saytechnically began the voyagedespite the fact that we had
already travelled a full twenty-four hours away from Baltimore.

It was about the time of casting offwhen I was leaning on the pooprail
gazing for'ardwhen Miss West joined me. She had been busy
below all dayand had just come upas she put itfor a breath of
air. She surveyed the sky in weather-wise fashion for a full five
minutesthen remarked:

The barometer's very high--30 degrees 60. This light north wind
won't last. It will either go into a calm or work around into a
north-east gale.

Which would you prefer?I asked.

The gale, by all means. It will help us off the land, and it will
put me through my torment of sea-sickness more quickly. Oh, yes,
she addedI'm a good sailor, but I do suffer dreadfully at the
beginning of every voyage. You probably won't see me for a couple of
days now. That's why I've been so busy getting settled first.

Lord Nelson, I have read, never got over his squeamishness at sea,
I said.

And I've seen father sea-sick on occasion,she answered. "Yesand
some of the strongesthardest sailors I have ever known."

Mr. Pike here joined us for a momentceasing from his everlasting
pacing up and down to lean with us on the poop-rail.

Many of the crew were in evidencepulling on ropes on the main deck
below us. To my inexperienced eye they appeared more unprepossessing
than ever.

A pretty scraggly crew, Mr. Pike,Miss West remarked.

The worst ever,he growledand I've seen some pretty bad ones.
We're teachin' them the ropes just now--most of 'em.

They look starved,I commented.

They are, they almost always are,Miss West answeredand her eyes
roved over them in the same appraisingcattle-buyer's fashion I had
marked in Mr. Pike. "But they'll fatten up with regular hoursno
whiskeyand solid food--won't theyMr. Pike?"

Oh, sure. They always do. And you'll see them liven up when we get
'em in hand . . . maybe. They're a measly lot, though.

I looked aloft at the vast towers of canvas. Our four masts seemed
to have flowered into all the sails possibleyet the sailors beneath
usunder Mr. Mellaire's directionwere setting triangular sails
like jibsbetween the mastsand there were so many that they
overlapped one another. The slowness and clumsiness with which the
men handled these small sails led me to ask:

But what would you do, Mr. Pike, with a green crew like this, if you
were caught right now in a storm with all this canvas spread?

He shrugged his shouldersas if I had asked what he would do in an
earthquake with two rows of New York skyscrapers falling on his head


from both sides of a street.

Do?Miss West answered for him. "We'd get the sail off. Ohit
can be doneMr. Pathurstwith any kind of a crew. If it couldn't
I should have been drowned long ago."

Sure,Mr. Pike upheld her. "So would I."

The officers can perform miracles with the most worthless sailors,
in a pinch,Miss West went on.

Again Mr. Pike nodded his head and agreedand I noted his two big
pawsrelaxed the moment before and drooping over the railquite
unconsciously tensed and folded themselves into fists. AlsoI noted
fresh abrasions on the knuckles. Miss West laughed heartilyas from
some recollection.

I remember one time when we sailed from San Francisco with a most
hopeless crew. It was in the Lallah Rookh--YOU remember her, Mr.
Pike?

Your father's fifth command,he nodded. "Lost on the West Coast
afterwards--went ashore in that big earthquake and tidal wave.
Parted her anchorsand when she hit under the cliffthe cliff fell
on her."

That's the ship. Well, our crew seemed mostly cow-boys, and
bricklayers, and tramps, and more tramps than anything else. Where
the boarding-house masters got them was beyond imagining. A number
of them were shanghaied, that was certain. You should have seen them
when they were first sent aloft.Again she laughed. "It was better
than circus clowns. And scarcely had the tug cast us offoutside
the Headswhen it began to blow up and we began to shorten down.
And then our mates performed miracles. You remember Mr. Harding--
Silas Harding?"

Don't I though!Mr. Pike proclaimed enthusiastically. "He was some
manand he must have been an old man even then."

He was, and a terrible man,she concurredand addedalmost
reverently: "And a wonderful man." She turned her face to me. "He
was our mate. The men were sea-sick and miserable and green. But
Mr. Harding got the sail off the Lallah Rookh just the same. What I
wanted to tell you was this:

I was on the poop, just like I am now, and Mr. Harding had a lot of
those miserable sick men putting gaskets on the main-lower-topsail.
How far would that be above the deck, Mr. Pike?

Let me see . . . the Lallah Rookh.Mr. Pike paused to consider.
Oh, say around a hundred feet.

I saw it myself. One of the green hands, a tramp--and he must
already have got a taste of Mr. Harding--fell off the lower-topsailyard.
I was only a little girl, but it looked like certain death,
for he was falling from the weather side of the yard straight down on
deck. But he fell into the belly of the mainsail, breaking his fall,
turned a somersault, and landed on his feet on deck and unhurt. And
he landed right alongside of Mr. Harding, facing him. I don't know
which was the more astonished, but I think Mr. Harding was, for he
stood there petrified. He had expected the man to be killed. Not so
the man. He took one look at Mr. Harding, then made a wild jump for
the rigging and climbed right back up to that topsail-yard.


Miss West and the mate laughed so heartily that they scarcely heard
me say:

Astonishing! Think of the jar to the man's nervesfalling to
apparent death that way."

He'd been jarred harder by Silas Harding, I guess,was Mr. Pike's
remarkwith another burst of laughterin which Miss West joined.

Which was all very well in a way. Ships were shipsand judging by
what I had seen of our present crew harsh treatment was necessary.
But that a young woman of the niceness of Miss West should know of
such things and be so saturated in this side of ship life was not
nice. It was not nice for methough it interested meI confess-and
strengthened my grip on reality. Yet it meant a hardening of
one's fibresand I did not like to think of Miss West being so
hardened.

I looked at her and could not help marking again the fineness and
firmness of her skin. Her hair was darkas were her eyebrowswhich
were almost straight and rather low over her long eyes. Gray her
eyes werea warm grayand very steady and direct in expression
intelligent and alive. Perhapstaking her face as a wholethe most
noteworthy expression of it was a great calm. She seemed always in
reposeat peace with herself and with the external world. The most
beautiful feature was her eyesframed in lashes as dark as her brows
and hair. The most admirable feature was her nosequite straight
very straightand just the slightest trifle too long. In this it
was reminiscent of her father's nose. But the perfect modelling of
the bridge and nostrils conveyed an indescribable advertisement of
race and blood.

Hers was a slender-lippedsensitivesensibleand generous mouth-generous
not so much in sizewhich was quite averagebut generous
rather in tolerancein powerand in laughter. All the health and
buoyancy of her was in her mouthas well as in her eyes. She rarely
exposed her teeth in smilingfor which purpose she seemed chiefly to
employ her eyes; but when she laughed she showed strong white teeth
evennot babyish in their smallnessbut just the firmsensible
normal size one would expect in a woman as healthy and normal as she.

I would never have called her beautifuland yet she possessed many
of the factors that go to compose feminine beauty. She had all the
beauty of colouringa white skin that was healthy white and that was
emphasized by the darkness of her lashesbrowsand hair. Andin
the same waythe darkness of lashes and brows and the whiteness of
skin set off the warm gray of her eyes. The forehead waswell
medium-broad and medium highand quite smooth. No lines nor hints
of lines were theresuggestive of nervousnessof blue days of
depression and white nights of insomnia. Ohshe bore all the marks
of the healthyhuman femalewho never worried nor was vexed in the
spirit of herand in whose body every process and function was
frictionless and automatic.

Miss West has posed to me as quite a weather prophet,I said to the
mate. "Now what is your forecast of our coming weather?"

She ought to be,was Mr. Pike's reply as he lifted his glance
across the smooth swell of sea to the sky. "This ain't the first
time she's been on the North Atlantic in winter." He debated a
momentas he studied the sea and sky. "I should sayconsidering
the high barometerwe ought to get a mild gale from the north-east
or a calmwith the chances in favour of the calm."


She favoured me with a triumphant smileand suddenly clutched the
rail as the Elsinore lifted on an unusually large swell and sank into
the trough with a roll from windward that flapped all the sails in
hollow thunder.

The calm has it,Miss West saidwith just a hint of grimness.
And if this keeps up I'll be in my bunk in about five minutes.

She waved aside all sympathy. "Ohdon't bother about meMr.
Pathurst. Sea-sickness is only detestable and horridlike sleet
and muddy weatherand poison ivy; besidesI'd rather be sea-sick
than have the hives."

Something went wrong with the men below us on the decksome
stupidity or blunder that was made aware to us by Mr. Mellaire's
raised voice. Like Mr. Pikehe had a way of snarling at the sailors
that was distinctly unpleasant to the ear.

On the faces of several of the sailors bruises were in evidence.
Onein particularhad an eye so swollen that it was closed.

Looks as if he had run against a stanchion in the dark,I observed.

Most eloquentand most unconsciouswas the quick flash of Miss
West's eyes to Mr. Pike's big pawswith freshly abraded knuckles
resting on the rail. It was a stab of hurt to me. SHE KNEW.

CHAPTER X

That evening the three men of us had dinner alonewith racks on the
tablewhile the Elsinore rolled in the calm that had sent Miss West
to her room.

You won't see her for a couple of days,Captain West told me. "Her
mother was the same way--a born sailorbut always sick at the outset
of a voyage.''

It's the shaking down.Mr. Pike astonished me with the longest
observation I had yet heard him utter at table. "Everybody has to
shake down when they leave the land. We've got to forget the good
times on shoreand the good things money'll buyand start watch and
watchfour hours on deck and four below. And it comes hardand all
our tempers are strung until we can make the change. Did it happen
that you heard Caruso and Blanche Arral this winter in New YorkMr.
Pathurst?"

I noddedstill marvelling over this spate of speech at table.

Well, think of hearing them, and Homer, and Witherspoon, and Amato,
every night for nights and nights at the Metropolitan; and then to
give it the go-by, and get to sea and shake down to watch and watch.

You don't like the sea?I queried.

He sighed.

I don't know. But of course the sea is all I know--

Except music,I threw in.


Yes, but the sea and all the long-voyaging has cheated me out of
most of the music I oughta have had coming to me.

I suppose you've heard Schumann Heink?

Wonderful, wonderful!he murmured ferventlythen regarded me with
an eager wistfulness. "I've half-a-dozen of her recordsand I've
got the second dog-watch below. If Captain West don't mind . . . "
(Captain West nodded that he didn't mind). "And if you'd want to
hear them? The machine is a good one."

And thento my amazementwhen the steward had cleared the table
this hoary old relic of man-killing and man-driving daysbattered
waif of the sea that he wascarried in from his room a most splendid
collection of phonograph records. Theseand the machinehe placed
on the table. The big doors were openedmaking the dining-room and
the main cabin into one large room. It was in the cabin that Captain
West and I lolled in big leather chairs while Mr. Pike ran the
phonograph. His face was in a blaze of light from the swinging
lampsand every shade of expression was visible to me.

In vain I waited for him to start some popular song. His records
were only of the bestand the care he took of them was a revelation.
He handled each one reverentlyas a sacred thinguntying and
unwrapping it and brushing it with a fine camel's hair brush while it
revolved and ere he placed the needle on it. For a time all I could
see was the huge brute hands of a brute-driverwith skin off the
knucklesthat expressed love in their every movement. Each touch on
the discs was a caressand while the record played he hovered over
it and dreamed in some heaven of music all his own.

During this time Captain West lay back and smoked a cigar. His face
was expressionlessand he seemed very far awayuntouched by the
music. I almost doubted that he heard it. He made no remarks
between whilesbetrayed no sign of approbation or displeasure. He
seemed preternaturally serenepreternaturally remote. And while I
watched him I wondered what his duties were. I had not seen him
perform any. Mr. Pike had attended to the loading of the ship. Not
until she was ready for sea had Captain West come on board. I had
not seen him give an order. It looked to me that Mr. Pike and Mr.
Mellaire did the work. All Captain West did was to smoke cigars and
keep blissfully oblivious of the Elsinore's crew.

When Mr. Pike had played the "Hallelujah Chorus" from the Messiah
and "He Shall Feed His Flock he mentioned to me, almost
apologetically, that he liked sacred music, and for the reason,
perhaps, that for a short period, a child ashore in San Francisco, he
had been a choir boy.

And then I hit the dominie over the head with a baseball bat and
sneaked off to sea again he concluded with a harsh laugh.

And thereat he fell to dreaming while he played Meyerbeer's King of
Heaven and Mendelssohn's O Rest in the Lord."

When one bell struckat quarter to eighthe carried his musicall
carefully wrappedback into his room. I lingered with him while he
rolled a cigarette ere eight bells struck.

I've got a lot more good things,he said confidentially: "Coenen's
'Come Unto Me' and Faure's 'Crucifix'; and there's 'O Salutaris'
and 'LeadKindly Light' by the Trinity Choir; and 'JesuLover of My
Soul' would just melt your heart. I'll play 'em for you some night."


Do you believe in them?I was led to ask by his rapt expression and
by the picture of his brute-driving hands which I could not shake
from my consciousness.

He hesitated perceptiblythen replied:

I do . . . when I'm listening to them.

My sleep that night was wretched. Short of sleep from the previous
nightI closed my book and turned my light off early. But scarcely
had I dropped into slumber when I was aroused by the recrudescence of
my hives. All day they had not bothered me; yet the instant I put
out the light and sleptthe damnable persistent itching set up.
Wada had not yet gone to bedand from him I got more cream of
tartar. It was uselesshoweverand at midnightwhen I heard the
watch changingI partially dressedslipped into my dressing-gown
and went up on to the poop.

I saw Mr. Mellaire beginning his four hours' watchpacing up and
down the port side of the poop; and I slipped away aftpast the man
at the wheelwhom I did not recognizeand took refuge in the lee of
the wheel-house.

Once again I studied the dim loom and tracery of intricate rigging
and loftysail-carrying sparsthought of the madimbecile crew
and experienced premonitions of disaster. How could such a voyage be
possiblewith such a crewon the huge Elsinorea cargo-carrier
that was only a steel shell half an inch thick burdened with five
thousand tons of coal? It was appalling to contemplate. The voyage
had gone wrong from the first. In the wretched unbalance that loss
of sleep brings to any good sleeperI could decide only that the
voyage was doomed. Yet how doomed it wasin truthneither I nor a
madman could have dreamed.

I thought of the red-blooded Miss Westwho had always lived and had
no doubts but what she would always live. I thought of the killing
and driving and music-loving Mr. Pike. Many a haler remnant than he
had gone down on a last voyage. As for Captain Westhe did not
count. He was too neutral a beingtoo far awaya sort of favoured
passenger who had nothing to do but serenely and passively exist in
some Nirvana of his own creating.

Next I remembered the self-wounded Greeksewed up by Mr. Pike and
lying gibbering between the steel walls of the 'midship-house. This
picture almost decided mefor in my fevered imagination he typified
the whole madhelplessidiotic crew. Certainly I could go back to
Baltimore. Thank God I had the money to humour my whims. Had not
Mr. Pike told mein reply to a questionthat he estimated the
running expenses of the Elsinore at two hundred dollars a day? I
could afford to pay two hundred a dayor two thousandfor the
several days that might be necessary to get me back to the landto a
pilot tugor any inbound craft to Baltimore.

I was quite wholly of a mind to go down and rout out Captain West to
tell him my decisionwhen another presented itself: THEN ARE YOU
THE THINKER AND PHILOSOPHERTHE WORLD-SICK ONEAFRAID TO GO DOWN
TO CEASE IN THE DARKNESS? Bah! My own pride in my lifepridelessness
saved Captain West's sleep from interruption. Of
course I would go on with the adventureif adventure it might be
calledto go sailing around Cape Horn with a shipload of fools and
lunatics--and worse; for I remembered the three Babylonish and
Semitic ones who had aroused Mr. Pike's ire and who had laughed so
terribly and silently.


Night thoughts! Sleepless thoughts! I dismissed them all and
started belowchilled through by the cold. But at the chart-room
door I encountered Mr. Mellaire.

A pleasant evening, sir,he greeted me. "A pity there's not a
little wind to help us off the land."

What do you think of the crew?I askedafter a moment or so.

Mr. Mellaire shrugged his shoulders.

I've seen many queer crews in my time, Mr. Pathurst. But I never
saw one as queer as this--boys, old men, cripples and--you saw Tony
the Greek go overboard yesterday? Well, that's only the beginning.
He's a sample. I've got a big Irishman in my watch who's going bad.
Did you notice a little, dried-up Scotchman?

Who looks mean and angry all the time, and who was steering the
evening before last?

The very one--Andy Fay. Well, Andy Fay's just been complaining to
me about O'Sullivan. Says O'Sullivan's threatened his life. When
Andy Fay went off watch at eight he found O'Sullivan stropping a
razor. I'll give you the conversation as Andy gave it to me:

'Says O'Sullivan to meMr. Fay, I'll have a word wid yeh?
Certainly,says I; "what can I do for you?" "Sell me your seaboots
Mr. Fay says O'Sullivan, polite as can be. But what will
you be wantin' of them?" says I. "'Twill be a great favour says
O'Sullivan. But it's my only pair says I; and you have a pair of
your own says I. Mr. FayI'll be needin' me own in bad weather
says O'Sullivan. Besides says I, you have no money." "I'll pay
for them when we pay off in Seattle says O'Sullivan. I'll not do
it says I; besidesyou're not tellin' me what you'll be doin'
with them." "But I will tell yeh says O'Sullivan; I'm wantin' to
throw 'em over the side." And with that I turns to walk awaybut
O'Sullivan saysvery polite and seducin'-likestill a-stroppin' the
razorMr. Fay,says hewill you kindly step this way an' have
your throat cut?And with that I knew my life was in dangerand I
have come to make report to yousirthat the man is a violent
lunatic.'

Or soon will be,I remarked. "I noticed him yesterdaya big man
muttering continually to himself?"

That's the man,Mr. Mellaire said.

Do you have many such at sea?I asked.

More than my share, I do believe, sir.

He was lighting a cigarette at the momentand with a quick movement
he pulled off his capbent his head forwardand held up the blazing
match that I might see.

I saw a grizzled headthe full crown of which was not entirely bald
but partially covered with a few sparse long hairs. And full across
this crowndisappearing in the thicker fringe above the earsran
the most prodigious scar I had ever seen. Because the vision of it
was so fleetingere the match blew outand because of the scar's
very prodigiousnessI may possibly exaggeratebut I could have
sworn that I could lay two fingers deep into the horrid cleft and
that it was fully two fingers broad. There seemed no bone at all


just a great fissurea deep valley covered with skin; and I was
confident that the brain pulsed immediately under that skin.

He pulled his cap on and laughed in an amusedreassuring way.

A crazy sea cook did that, Mr. Pathurst, with a meat-axe. We were
thousands of miles from anywhere, in the South Indian Ocean at the
time, running our Easting down, but the cook got the idea into his
addled head that we were lying in Boston Harbour, and that I wouldn't
let him go ashore. I had my back to him at the time, and I never
knew what struck me.

But how could you recover from so fearful an injury?I questioned.
There must have been a splendid surgeon on board, and you must have
had wonderful vitality.

He shook his head.

It must have been the vitality . . . and the molasses.

Molasses!

Yes; the captain had old-fashioned prejudices against antiseptics.
He always used molasses for fresh wound-dressings. I lay in my bunk
many weary weeks--we had a long passage--and by the time we reached
Hong Kong the thing was healed, there was no need for a shore
surgeon, and I was standing my third mate's watch--we carried third
mates in those days.

Not for many a long day was I to realize the dire part that scar in
Mr. Mellaire's head was to play in his destiny and in the destiny of
the Elsinore. Had I known at the timeCaptain West would have
received the most unusual awakening from sleep that he ever
experienced; for he would have been routed out by a very determined
partially-dressed passenger with a proposition capable of going to
the extent of buying the Elsinore outright with all her cargoso
that she might be sailed straight back to Baltimore.

As it wasI merely thought it a very marvellous thing that Mr.
Mellaire should have lived so many years with such a hole in his
head.

We talked onand he gave me many details of that particular
happeningand of other happenings at sea on the part of the lunatics
that seem to infest the sea.

And yet I could not like the man. In nothing he saidnor in the
manner of saying thingscould I find fault. He seemed generous
broad-mindedandfor a sailorvery much of a man of the world. It
was easy for me to overlook his excessive suavity of speech and
super-courtesy of social mannerism. It was not that. But all the
time I was distressinglyandI supposeintuitively awarethough
in the darkness I couldn't even see his eyesthat therebehind
those eyesinside that skullwas ambuscaded an alien personality
that spied upon memeasured mestudied meand that said one thing
while it thought another thing.

When I said good night and went below it was with the feeling that I
had been talking with the one half of some sort of a dual creature.
The other half had not spoken. Yet I sensed it therefluttering and
quickbehind the mask of words and flesh.


CHAPTER XI

But I could not sleep. I took more cream of tartar. It must be the
heat of the bed-clothesI decidedthat excited my hives. And yet
whenever I ceased struggling for sleepand lighted the lamp and
readmy skin irritation decreased. But as soon as I turned out the
lamp and closed my eyes I was troubled again. So hour after hour
passedthrough whichbetween vain attempts to sleepI managed to
wade through many pages of Rosny's Le Termite--a not very cheerful
proceedingI must sayconcerned as it is with the microscopic and
over-elaborate recital of Noel Servaise's tortured nervesbodily
painsand intellectual phantasma. At last I tossed the novel aside
damned all analytical Frenchmenand found some measure of relief in
the more genial and cynical Stendhal.

Over my head I could hear Mr. Mellaire steadily pace up and down. At
four the watches changedand I recognized the age-lag in Mr. Pike's
promenade. Half an hour laterjust as the steward's alarm went off
instantly checked by that light-sleeping Asiaticthe Elsinore began
to heel over on my side. I could hear Mr. Pike barking and snarling
ordersand at times a trample and shuffle of many feet passed over
my head as the weird crew pulled and hauled. The Elsinore continued
to heel over until I could see the water against my portand then
she gathered way and dashed ahead at such a rate that I could hear
the stinging and singing of the foam through the circle of thick
glass beside me.

The steward brought me coffeeand I read till daylight and after
when Wada served me breakfast and helped me dress. Hetoo
complained of inability to sleep. He had been bunked with Nancy in
one of the rooms in the 'midship-house. Wada described the
situation. The tiny roommade of steelwas air-tight when the
steel door was closed. And Nancy insisted on keeping the door
closed. As a result Wadain the upper bunkhad stifled. He told
me that the air had got so bad that the flame of the lampno matter
how high it was turnedguttered down and all but refused to burn.
Nancy snored beautifully through it allwhile he had been unable to
close his eyes.

He is not clean,quoth Wada. "He is a pig. No more will I sleep
in that place."

On the poop I found the Elsinorewith many of her sails furled
slashing along through a troubled sea under an overcast sky. Also I
found Mr. Mellaire marching up and downjust as I had left him hours
beforeand it took quite a distinct effort for me to realize that he
had had the watch off between four and eight. Even thenhe told me
he had slept from four until half-past seven.

That is one thing, Mr. Pathurst, I always sleep like a baby . . .
which means a good conscience, sir, yes, a good conscience.

And while he enunciated the platitude I was uncomfortably aware that
that alien thing inside his skull was watching mestudying me.

In the cabin Captain West smoked a cigar and read the Bible. Miss
West did not appearand I was grateful that to my sleeplessness the
curse of sea-sickness had not been added.

Without asking permission of anybodyWada arranged a sleeping place
for himself in a far corner of the big after-roomscreening the
corner with a solidly lashed wall of my trunks and empty book boxes.


It was a dreary enough dayno sunwith occasional splatters of rain
and a persistent crash of seas over the weather rail and swash of
water across the deck. With my eyes glued to the cabin portswhich
gave for'ard along the main deckI could see the wretched sailors
whenever they were given some task of pull and haulwet through and
through by the boarding seas. Several times I saw some of them taken
off their feet and rolled about in the creaming foam. And yet
erectunstaggeringwith certitude of weight and strengthamong
these rolled menthese clutchingcowering onesmoved either Mr.
Pike or Mr. Mellaire. They were never taken off their feet. They
never shrank away from a splash of spray or heavier bulk of downfalling
water. They had fed on different foodwere informed with a
different spiritwere of iron in contrast with the poor miserables
they drove to their bidding.

In the afternoon I dozed for half-an-hour in one of the big chairs in
the cabin. Had it not been for the violent motion of the ship I
could have slept there for hoursfor the hives did not trouble.
Captain Weststretched out on the cabin sofahis feet in carpet
slippersslept enviably. By some instinctI might sayin the deep
of sleephe kept his place and was not rolled off upon the floor.
Alsohe lightly held a half-smoked cigar in one hand. I watched him
for an hourand knew him to be asleepand marvelled that he
maintained his easy posture and did not drop the cigar.

After dinner there was no phonograph. The second dog-watch was Mr.
Pike's on deck. Besidesas he explainedthe rolling was too
severe. It would make the needle jump and scratch his beloved
records.

And no sleep! Another weary night of tormentand another dreary
overcast day and leadentroubled sea. And no Miss West. Wadatoo
is sea-sickalthough heroically he kept his feet and tried to tend
on me with glassyunseeing eyes. I sent him to his bunkand read
through the endless hours until my eyes were tiredand my brain
between lack of sleep and over-usewas fuzzy.

Captain West is no conversationalist. The more I see of him the more
I am baffled. I have not yet found a reason for that first
impression I received of him. He has all the poise and air of a
remote and superior beingand yet I wonder if it be not poise and
air and nothing else. Just as I had expectedthat first meeting
ere he spoke a wordto hear fall from his lips words of untold
beneficence and wisdomand then heard him utter mere social
commonplacesso I now find myself almost forced to conclude that his
touch of raceand beak of powerand all the tallaristocratic
slenderness of him have nothing behind them.

And yeton the other handI can find no reason for rejecting that
first impression. He has not shown any strengthbut by the same
token he has not shown any weakness. Sometimes I wonder what resides
behind those clear blue eyes. Certainly I have failed to find any
intellectual backing. I tried him out with William James' Varieties
of Religious Experience. He glanced at a few pagesthen returned it
to me with the frank statement that it did not interest him. He has
no books of his own. Evidently he is not a reader. Then what is he?
I dared to feel him out on politics. He listened courteouslysaid
sometimes yes and sometimes noandwhen I ceased from very
discouragementsaid nothing.

Aloof as the two officers are from the menCaptain West is still
more aloof from his officers. I have not seen him address a further
word to Mr. Mellaire than "Good morning" on the poop. As for Mr.


Pikewho eats three times a day with himscarcely any more
conversation obtains between them. And I am surprised by what seems
the very conspicuous awe with which Mr. Pike seems to regard his
commander.

Another thing. What are Captain West's duties? So far he has done
nothingsave eat three times a daysmoke many cigarsand each day
stroll a total of one mile around the poop. The mates do all the
workand hard work it isfour hours on deck and four belowday and
night with never a variation. I watch Captain West and am amazed.
He will loll back in the cabin and stare straight before him for
hours at a timeuntil I am almost frantic to demand of him what are
his thoughts. Sometimes I doubt that he is thinking at all. I give
him up. I cannot fathom him.

Altogether a depressing day of rain-splatter and wash of water across
the deck. I can seenowthat the problem of sailing a ship with
five thousand tons of coal around the Horn is more serious than I had
thought. So deep is the Elsinore in the water that she is like a log
awash. Her tallsix-foot bulwarks of steel cannot keep the seas
from boarding her. She has not the buoyancy one is accustomed to
ascribe to ships. On the contraryshe is weighted down until she is
deadso thatfor this one day aloneI am appalled at the thought
of how many thousands of tons of the North Atlantic have boarded her
and poured out through her spouting scuppers and clanging ports.

Yesa depressing day. The two mates have alternated on deck and in
their bunks. Captain West has dozed on the cabin sofa or read the
Bible. Miss West is still sea-sick. I have tired myself out with
readingand the fuzziness of my unsleeping brain makes for
melancholy. Even Wada is anything but a cheering spectaclecrawling
out of his bunkas he does at stated intervalsand with sick
glassy eyes trying to discern what my needs may be. I almost wish I
could get sea-sick myself. I had never dreamed that a sea voyage
could be so unenlivening as this one is proving.

CHAPTER XII

Another morning of overcast sky and leaden seaand of the Elsinore
under half her canvasclanging her deck portsspouting water from
her scuppersand dashing eastward into the heart of the Atlantic.
And I have failed to sleep half-an-hour all told. At this ratein a
very short time I shall have consumed all the cream of tartar on the
ship. I never have had hives like these before. I can't understand
it. So long as I keep my lamp burning and read I am untroubled. The
instant I put out the lamp and drowse off the irritation starts and
the lumps on my skin begin to form.

Miss West may be sea-sickbut she cannot be comatosebecause at
frequent intervals she sends the steward to me with more cream of
tartar.

I have had a revelation to-day. I have discovered Captain West. He
is a Samurai.--You remember the Samurai that H. G. Wells describes in
his Modern Utopia--the superior breed of men who know things and are
masters of life and of their fellow-men in a super-benevolentsuperwise
way? Wellthat is what Captain West is. Let me tell it to
you.

We had a shift of wind to-day. In the height of a south-west gale


the wind shiftedin the instanteight pointswhich is equivalent
to a quarter of the circle. Imagine it! Imagine a gale howling from
out of the south-west. And then imagine the windin a heavier and
more violent galeabruptly smiting you from the north-west. We had
been sailing through a circular stormCaptain West vouchsafed to me
before the eventand the wind could be expected to box the compass.

Clad in sea-bootsoilskins and sou'westerI had for some time been
hanging upon the rail at the break of the poopstaring down
fascinated at the poor devils of sailorsrepeatedly up to their
necks in wateror submergedor dashed like straws about the deck
while they pulled and hauledstupidlyblindlyand in evident fear
under the orders of Mr. Pike.

Mr. Pike was with themworking them and working with them. He took
every chance they tookyet somehow he escaped being washed off his
feetthough several times I saw him entirely buried from view.
There was more than luck in the matter; for I saw himtwiceat the
head of a line of the menhimself next to the pin. And twicein
this positionI saw the North Atlantic curl over the rail and fall
upon them. And each time he alone remainedholding the turn of the
rope on the pinwhile the rest of them were rolled and sprawled
helplessly away.

Almost it seemed to me good funas at a circuswatching their
antics. But I did not apprehend the seriousness of the situation
untilthe wind screaming higher than ever and the sea a-smoke and
white with wrathtwo men did not get up from the deck. One was
carried away for'ard with a broken leg--it was Iare Jacobsona dullwitted
Scandinavian; and the otherKid Twistwas carried away
unconsciouswith a bleeding scalp.

In the height of the gustsin my high positionwhere the seas did
not breakI found myself compelled to cling tightly to the rail to
escape being blown away. My face was stung to severe pain by the
high-driving spindriftand I had a feeling that the wind was blowing
the cobwebs out of my sleep-starved brain.

And all the timeslenderaristocraticgraceful in streaming
oilskinsin apparent unconcerngiving no orderseffortlessly
accommodating his body to the violent rolling of the Elsinore
Captain West strolled up and down.

It was at this stage in the gale that he unbent sufficiently to tell
me that we were going through a circular storm and that the wind was
boxing the compass. I did notice that he kept his gaze pretty
steadily fixed on the overcastcloud-driven sky. At lastwhen it
seemed the wind could not possibly blow more fiercelyhe found in
the sky what he sought. It was then that I first heard his voice--a
sea-voiceclear as a belldistinct as silverand of an ineffable
sweetness and volumeas it might be the trump of Gabriel. That
voice!--effortlessdominating! The mighty threat of the stormmade
articulate by the resistance of the Elsinoreshouted in all the
staysbellowed in the shroudsthrummed the taut ropes against the
steel mastsand from the myriad tiny ropes far aloft evoked a
devil's chorus of shrill pipings and screechings. And yetthrough
this bedlam of noisecame Captain West's voiceas of a spirit
visitantdistinctunrelatedmellow as all music and mighty as an
archangel's call to judgment. And it carried understanding and
command to the man at the wheeland to Mr. Pikewaist-deep in the
wash of sea below us. And the man at the wheel obeyedand Mr. Pike
obeyedbarking and snarling orders to the poor wallowing devils who
wallowed on and obeyed him in turn. And as the voice was the face.
This face I had never seen before. It was the face of the spirit


visitantchaste with wisdomlighted by a splendour of power and
calm. Perhaps it was the calm that smote me most of all. It was as
the calm of one who had crossed chaos to bless poor sea-worn men with
the word that all was well. It was not the face of the fighter. To
my thrilled imagination it was the face of one who dwelt beyond all
strivings of the elements and broody dissensions of the blood.

The Samurai had arrivedin thunders and lightningsriding the wings
of the stormdirecting the giganticlabouring Elsinore in all her
intricate massivenesscommanding the wisps of humans to his will
which was the will of wisdom.

And thenthat wonderful Gabriel voice of hissilent (while his
creatures laboured his will)unconcerneddetached and casualmore
slenderly tall and aristocratic than ever in his streaming oilskins
Captain West touched my shoulder and pointed astern over our weather
quarter. I lookedand all that I could see was a vague smoke of sea
and air and a cloud-bank of sky that tore at the ocean's breast. And
at the same moment the gale from the south-west ceased. There was no
galeno moving zephyrsnothing but a vast quietude of air.

What is it?I gaspedout of equilibrium from the abrupt cessation
of wind.

The shift,he said. "There she comes."

And it camefrom the north-westa blast of winda blowan
atmospheric impact that bewildered and stunned and again made the
Elsinore harp protest. It forced me down on the rail. I was like a
windle-straw. As I faced this new abruptness of gale it drove the
air back into my lungsso that I suffocated and turned my head aside
to breathe in the lee of the draught. The man at the wheel again
listened to the Gabriel voice; and Mr. Pikeon the deck below
listened and repeated the will of the voice; and Captain Westin
slender and stately balanceleaned into the face of the wind and
slowly paced the deck.

It was magnificent. Nowand for the first timeI knew the seaand
the men who overlord the sea. Captain West had vindicated himself
exposited himself. At the height and crisis of storm he had taken
charge of the Elsinoreand Mr. Pike had becomewhat in truth was
all he wasthe foreman of a gang of menthe slave-driver of slaves
serving the one from beyond--the Samurai.

A minute or so longer Captain West strolled up and downleaning
easily into the face of this new and abominable gale or resting his
back against itand then he went belowpausing for a momenthis
hand on the knob of the chart-room doorto cast a last measuring
look at the storm-white sea and wrath-sombre sky he had mastered.

Ten minutes laterbelowpassing the open cabin doorI glanced in
and saw him. Sea-boots and storm-trappings were gone; his feetin
carpet slippersrested on a hassock; while he lay back in the big
leather chair smoking dreamilyhis eyes wide openabsorbednonseeing--
orif they sawseeing things beyond the reeling cabin walls
and beyond my ken. I have developed an immense respect for Captain
Westthough now I know him less than the little I thought I knew him
before.

CHAPTER XIII


Small wonder that Miss West remains sea-sick on an ocean like this
which has become a factory where the veering gales manufacture the
selectest and most mountainous brands of cross-seas. The way the
poor Elsinore pitchesplungesrollsand shiverswith all her
lofty spars and masts and all her five thousand tons of dead-weight
cargois astonishing. To me she is the most erratic thing
imaginable; yet Mr. Pikewith whom I now pace the poop on occasion
tells me that coal is a good cargoand that the Elsinore is wellloaded
because he saw to it himself.

He will pause abruptlyin the midst of his interminable pacingin
order to watch her in her maddest antics. The sight is very pleasant
to himfor his eyes glisten and a faint glow seems to irradiate his
face and impart to it a hint of ecstasy. The Elsinore has a snug
place in his heartI am confident. He calls her behaviour
admirableand at such times will repeat to me that it was he who saw
to her loading.

It is very curiousthe habituation of this manthrough a long life
on the seato the motion of the sea. There IS a rhythm to this
chaos of crossingbuffeting waves. I sense this rhythmalthough I
cannot solve it. But Mr. Pike KNOWS it. Again and againas we
paced up and down this afternoonwhen to me nothing unusually antic
seemed impendinghe would seize my arm as I lost balanceand as the
Elsinore smashed down on her side and heeled over and over with a
colossal roll that seemed never to endand that always ended with an
abruptsnap-of-the-whip effect as she began the corresponding roll
to windward. In vain I strove to learn how Mr. Pike forecasts these
anticsand I am driven to believe that he does not consciously
forecast them at all. He FEELS them; he knows them. Theyand the
seaare ingrained in him.

Toward the end of our little promenade I was guilty of impatiently
shaking off a sudden seizure of my arm in his big paw. If everin
an hourthe Elsinore had been less gymnastic than at that momentI
had not noticed it. So I shook off the sustaining clutchand the
next moment the Elsinore had smashed down and buried a couple of
hundred feet of her starboard rail beneath the seawhile I had shot
down the deck and smashed myself breathless against the wall of the
chart-house. My ribs and one shoulder are sore from it yet. Now how
did he know?

And he never staggers nor seems in danger of being rolled away. On
the contrarysuch a surplus of surety of balance has he that time
and again he lent his surplus to me. I begin to have more respect
not for the seabut for the men of the seaand not for the
sweepings of seamen that are as slaves on our decksbut for the real
seamen who are their masters--for Captain Westfor Mr. Pikeyes
and for Mr. Mellairedislike him as I do.

As early as three in the afternoon the windstill a galewent back
to the south-west. Mr. Mellaire had the deckand he went below and
reported the change to Captain West.

We'll wear ship at four, Mr. Pathurst,the second mate told me when
he came back. "You'll find it an interesting manoeuvre."

But why wait till four?I asked.

The Captain's orders, sir. The watches will be changing, and we'll
have the use of both of them, without working a hardship on the watch
below by calling it out now.


And when both watches were on deck Captain Westagain in oilskins
came out of the chart-house. Mr. Pikeout on the bridgetook
charge of the many men whoon deck and on the poopwere to manage
the mizzen-braceswhile Mr. Mellaire went for'ard with his watch to
handle the fore-and main-braces. It was a pretty manoeuvrea play
of leveragesby which they cased the force of the wind on the after
part of the Elsinore and used the force of the wind on the for'ard
part.

Captain West gave no orders whateverandto all intentswas quite
oblivious of what was being done. He was again the favoured
passengertaking a stroll for his health's sake. And yet I knew
that both his officers were uncomfortably aware of his presence and
were keyed to their finest seamanship. I knownowCaptain West's
position on board. He is the brains of the Elsinore. He is the
master strategist. There is more in directing a ship on the ocean
than in standing watches and ordering men to pull and haul. They are
pawnsand the two officers are pieceswith which Captain West plays
the game against seaand windand seasonand ocean current. He is
the knower. They are his tongueby which he makes his knowledge
articulate.

A bad night--equally bad for the Elsinore and for me. She is
receiving a sharp buffeting at the hands of the wintry North
Atlantic. I fell asleep earlyexhausted from lack of sleepand
awoke in an hourfrantic with my lumped and burning skin. More
cream of tartarmore readingmore vain attempts to sleepuntil
shortly before fivewhen the steward brought me my coffeeI wrapped
myself in my dressing-gownand like a being distracted prowled into
the cabin. I dozed in a leather chair and was thrown out by a
violent roll of the ship. I tried the sofasinking to sleep
immediatelyand immediately thereafter finding myself precipitated
to the floor. I am convinced that when Captain West naps on the sofa
he is only half asleep. How else can he maintain so precarious a
position?--unlessin himtoothe sea and its motion be ingrained.

I wandered into the dining-roomwedged myself into a screwed chair
and fell asleepmy head on my armsmy arms on the table. And at
quarter past seven the steward roused me by shaking my shoulders. It
was time to set table.

Heavy with the brief heaviness of sleep I had hadI dressed and
stumbled up on to the poop in the hope that the wind would clear my
brain. Mr. Pike had the watchand with sureage-lagging step he
paced the deck. The man is a marvel--sixty-nine years olda life of
hardshipand as sturdy as a lion. Yet of the past night alone his
hours had been: four to six in the afternoon on deck; eight to
twelve on deck; and four to eight in the morning on deck. In a few
minutes he would be relievedbut at midday he would again be on
deck.

I leaned on the poop-rail and stared for'ard along the dreary waste
of deck. Every port and scupper was working to ease the weight of
North Atlantic that perpetually fell on board. Between the rush of
the cascadesstreaks of rust showed everywhere. Some sort of a
wooden pin-rail had carried away on the starboard-rail at the foot of
the mizzen-shroudsand an amazing raffle of ropes and tackles washed
about. Here Nancy and half-a-dozen men worked sporadicallyand in
fear of their livesto clear the tangle.

The long-suffering bleakness was very pronounced on Nancy's faceand
when the walls of waterin impending downfallreared above the
Elsinore's railhe was always the first to leap for the life-line


which had been stretched fore and aft across the wide space of deck.

The rest of the men were scarcely less backward in dropping their
work and springing to safety--if safety it might be calledto grip a
rope in both hands and have legs sweep out from underand be
wrenched full-length upon the boiling surface of an ice-cold flood.
Small wonder they look wretched. Bad as their condition was when
they came aboard at Baltimorethey look far worse nowwhat of the
last several days of wet and freezing hardship.

From time to timecompleting his for'ard pace along the poopMr.
Pike would pauseere he retraced his stepsand snort sardonic glee
at what happened to the poor devils below. The man's heart is
callous. A thing of ironhe has endured; and he has no patience nor
sympathy with these creatures who lack his own excessive iron.

I noticed the stone-deaf manthe twisted oaf whose face I have
described as being that of an ill-treated and feeble-minded faun.
His brightliquidpain-filled eyes were more filled with pain than
everhis face still more lean and drawn with suffering. And yet his
face showed an excess of nervousnesssensitivenessand a pathetic
eagerness to please and do. I could not help observing thatdespite
his dreadful sense-handicap and his wreckedfrail bodyhe did the
most workwas always the last of the group to spring to the lifeline
and always the first to loose the life-line and slosh knee-deep
or waist-deep through the churning water to attack the immense and
depressing tangle of rope and tackle.

I remarked to Mr. Pike that the men seemed thinner and weaker than
when they came on boardand he delayed replying for a moment while
he stared down at them with that cattle-buyer's eye of his.

Sure they are,he said disgustedly. "A weak breedthat's what
they are--nothing to build onno stamina. The least thing drags
them down. Whyin my day we grew fat on work like that--only we
didn't; we worked so hard there wasn't any chance for fat. We kept
in fighting trimthat was all. But as for this scum and slum--say
you rememberMr. Pathurstthat man I spoke to the first daywho
said his name was Charles Davis?"

The one you thought there was something the matter with?

Yes, and there was, too. He's in that 'midship room with the Greek
now. He'll never do a tap of work the whole Voyage. He's a hospital
case, if there ever was one. Talk about shot to pieces! He's got
holes in him I could shove my fist through. I don't know whether
they're perforating ulcers, or cancers, or cannon-shot wounds, or
what not. And he had the nerve to tell me they showed up after he
came on board!

And he had them all the time?I asked.

All the time! Take my word, Mr. Pathurst, they're years old. But
he's a wonder. I watched him those first days, sent him aloft, had
him down in the fore-hold trimming a few tons of coal, did everything
to him, and he never showed a wince. Being up to the neck in the
salt water finally fetched him, and now he's reported off duty--for
the voyage. And he'll draw his wages for the whole time, have all
night in, and never do a tap. Oh, he's a hot one to have passed over
on us, and the Elsinore's another man short.

Another!I exclaimed. "Is the Greek going to die?"

No fear. I'll have him steering in a few days. I refer to the


misfits. If we rolled a dozen of them together they wouldn't make
one real man. I'm not saying it to alarm you, for there's nothing
alarming about it; but we're going to have proper hell this voyage.
He broke off to stare reflectively at his broken knucklesas if
estimating how much drive was left in themthen sighed and
concludedWell, I can see I've got my work cut out for me.

Sympathizing with Mr. Pike is futile; the only effect is to make his
mood blacker. I tried itand he retaliated with:

You oughta see the bloke with curvature of the spine in Mr.
Mellaire's watch. He's a proper hobo, too, and a land lubber, and
don't weigh more'n a hundred pounds, and must be fifty years old, and
he's got curvature of the spine, and he's able seaman, if you please,
on the Elsinore. And worse than all that, he puts it over on you;
he's nasty, he's mean, he's a viper, a wasp. He ain't afraid of
anything because he knows you dassent hit him for fear of croaking
him. Oh, he's a pearl of purest ray serene, if anybody should slide
down a backstay and ask you. If you fail to identify him any other
way, his name is Mulligan Jacobs.

After breakfastagain on deckin Mr. Mellaire's watchI discovered
another efficient. He was at the wheela smallwell-knitmuscular
man of say forty-fivewith black hair graying on the templesa big
eagle-faceswarthywith keenintelligent black eyes.

Mr. Mellaire vindicated my judgment by telling me the man was the
best sailor in his watcha proper seaman. When he referred to the
man as the Maltese Cockneyand I asked whyhe replied:

First, because he is Maltese, Mr. Pathurst; and next, because he
talks Cockney like a native. And depend upon it, he heard Bow Bells
before he lisped his first word.

And has O'Sullivan bought Andy Fay's sea-boots yet?I queried.

It was at this moment that Miss West emerged upon the poop. She was
as rosy and vital as everand certainlyif she had been sea-sick
she flew no signals of it. As she came toward megreeting meI
could not help remarking again the lithe and springy limb-movement
with which she walkedand her finefirm skin. Her neckfree in a
sailor collarwith white sweater open at the throatseemed almost
redoubtably strong to my sleeplessjaundiced eyes. Her hairunder
a white knitted capwas smooth and well-groomed. In factthe
totality of impression she conveyed was of a well-groomedness one
would not expect of a sea-captain's daughtermuch less of a woman
who had been sea-sick. Life!--that is the key of herthe essential
note of her--life and health. I'll wager she has never entertained a
morbid thought in that practicalbalancedsensible head of hers.

And how have you been?she askedthen rattled on with sheer
exuberance ere I could answer. "Had a lovely night's sleep. I was
really over my sickness yesterdaybut I just devoted myself to
resting up. I slept ten solid hours--what do you think of that?"

I wish I could say the same,I replied with appropriate dejection
as I swung in beside herfor she had evinced her intention of
promenading.

Oh, then you've been sick?

On the contrary,I answered dryly. "And I wish I had been. I
haven't had five hours' sleep all told since I came on board. These


pestiferous hives.

I held up a lumpy wrist to show. She took one glance at ithalted
abruptlyandneatly balancing herself to the rolltook my wrist in
both her hands and gave it close scrutiny.

Mercy!she cried; and then began to laugh.

I was of two minds. Her laughter was delightful to the earthere
was such a mellownessand healthinessand frankness about it. On
the other handthat it should be directed at my misfortune was
exasperating. I suppose my perplexity showed in my facefor when
she had eased her laughter and looked at me with a sobering
countenanceshe immediately went off into more peals.

You poor child,she gurgled at last. "And when I think of all the
cream of tartar I made you consume!"

It was rather presumptuous of her to poor-child meand I resolved to
take advantage of the data I already possessed in order to ascertain
just how many years she was my junior. She had told me she was
twelve years old the time the Dixie collided with the river steamer
in San Francisco Bay. Very wellall I had to do was to ascertain
the date of that disaster and I had her. But in the meantime she
laughed at me and my hives.

I suppose it is--er--humorous, in some sort of way,I said a bit
stifflyonly to find that there was no use in being stiff with Miss
Westfor it only set her off into more laughter.

What you needed,she announcedwith fresh gurglingswas an
exterior treatment.

Don't tell me I've got the chicken-pox or the measles,I protested.

No.She shook her head emphatically while she enjoyed another
paroxysm. "What you are suffering from is a severe attack . . . "

She paused deliberatelyand looked me straight the eyes.

Of bedbugs,she concluded. And thenall seriousness and
practicalityshe went on: "But we'll have that righted in a jiffy.
I'll turn the Elsinore's after-quarters upside downthough I know
there are none in father's room or mine. And though this is my first
voyage with Mr. Pike I know he's too hard-bitten" (here I laughed at
her involuntary pun) "an old sailor not to know that his room is
clean. Yours" (I was perturbed for fear she was going to say that I
had brought them on board) "have most probably drifted in from
for'ard. They always have them for'ard.

And now, Mr. Pathurst, I am going down to attend to your case.
You'd better get your Wada to make up a camping kit for you. The
next couple of nights you'll spend in the cabin or chart-room. And
be sure Wada removes all silver and metallic tarnishable stuff from
your rooms. There's going to be all sorts of fumigating, and tearing
out of woodwork, and rebuilding. Trust me. I know the vermin.

CHAPTER XIV

Such a cleaning up and turning over! For two nights, one in the


chart-room and one on the cabin sofa, I have soaked myself in sleep,
and I am now almost stupid with excess of sleep. The land seems very
far away. By some strange quirk, I have an impression that weeks, or
months, have passed since I left Baltimore on that bitter March
morning. And yet it was March 28, and this is only the first week in
April.

I was entirely right in my first estimation of Miss West. She is the
most capable, practically masterful woman I have ever encountered.
What passed between her and Mr. Pike I do not know; but whatever it
was, she was convinced that he was not the erring one. In some
strange way, my two rooms are the only ones which have been invaded
by this plague of vermin. Under Miss West's instructions bunks,
drawers, shelves, and all superficial woodwork have been ripped out.
She worked the carpenter from daylight till dark, and then, after a
night of fumigation, two of the sailors, with turpentine and white
lead, put the finishing touches on the cleansing operations. The
carpenter is now busy rebuilding my rooms. Then will come the
painting, and in two or three more days I expect to be settled back
in my quarters.

Of the men who did the turpentining and white-leading there have been
four. Two of them were quickly rejected by Miss West as not being up
to the work. The first one, Steve Roberts, which he told me was his
name, is an interesting fellow. I talked with him quite a bit ere
Miss West sent him packing and told Mr. Pike that she wanted a real
sailor.

This is the first time Steve Roberts has ever seen the sea. How he
happened to drift from the western cattle-ranges to New York he did
not explain, any more than did he explain how he came to ship on the
Elsinore. But here he is, not a sailor on horseback, but a cowboy on
the sea. He is a small man, but most powerfully built. His
shoulders are very broad, and his muscles bulge under his shirt; and
yet he is slender-waisted, lean-limbed, and hollow-cheeked. This
last, however, is not due to sickness or ill-health. Tyro as he is
on the sea, Steve Roberts is keen and intelligent . . . yes, and
crooked. He has a way of looking straight at one with utmost
frankness while he talks, and yet it is at such moments I get most
strongly the impression of crookedness. But he is a man, if trouble
should arise, to be reckoned with. In ways he suggests a kinship
with the three men Mr. Pike took so instant a prejudice against--Kid
Twist, Nosey Murphy, and Bert Rhine. And I have already noticed, in
the dog-watches, that it is with this trio that Steve Roberts chums.

The second sailor Miss West rejected, after silently watching him
work for five minutes, was Mulligan Jacobs, the wisp of a man with
curvature of the spine. But before she sent him packing other things
occurred in which I was concerned. I was in the room when Mulligan
Jacobs first came in to go to work, and I could not help observing
the startled, avid glance he threw at my big shelves of books. He
advanced on them in the way a robber might advance on a secret hoard
of gold, and as a miser would fondle gold so Mulligan Jacobs fondled
these book-titles with his eyes.

And such eyes! All time bitterness and venom Mr. Pike had told me
the man possessed was there in his eyes. They were small, pale-blue,
and gimlet-pointed with fire. His eyelids were inflamed, and but
served to ensanguine the bitter and cold-blazing intensity of the
pupils. The man was constitutionally a hater, and I was not long in
learning that he hated all things except books.

Would you care to read some of them?" I said hospitably.


All the caress in his eyes for the books vanished as he turned his
head to look at meand ere he spoke I knew that Itoowas hated.

It's hell, ain't it?--you with a strong body and servants to carry
for you a weight of books like this, and me with a curved spine that
puts the pot-hooks of hell-fire into my brain?

How can I possibly convey the terrible venomousness with which he
uttered these words? I know that Mr. Pikedragging his feet down
the hall past my open doorgave me a very gratifying sense of
safety. Being alone in the room with this man seemed much the same
as if I were locked in a cage with a tiger-cat. The devilishness
the wickednessandabove allthe pitch of glaring hatred with
which the man eyed me and addressed mewere most unpleasant. I
swear I knew fear--not calculated cautionnot timid apprehension
but blindpanicunreasoned terror. The malignancy of the creature
was blood curdling; nor did it require words to convey it: it poured
from himout of his red-rimmedblazing eyesout of his withered
twistedtortured faceout of his broken-nailedcrooked talons of
hands. And yetin that very moment of instinctive startle and
repulsionthe thought was in my mind that with one hand I could take
the throat of the weazened wisp of a crippled thing and throttle the
malformed life out of it.

But there was little encouragement in such thought--no more than a
man might feel in a cave of rattlesnakes or a pit of centipedesfor
crush them with his very bulknevertheless they would first sink
their poison into him. And so with this Mulligan Jacobs. My fear of
him was the fear of being infected with his venom. I could not help
it; for I caught a quick vision of the black and broken teeth I had
seen in his mouth sinking into my fleshpolluting meeating me with
their aciddestroying me.

One thing was very clear. In the creature was no fear. Absolutely
he did not know fear. He was as devoid of it as the fetid slime one
treads underfoot in nightmares. LordLord! that is what the thing
wasa nightmare.

You suffer pain often?I askedattempting to get myself in hand by
the calculated use of sympathy.

The hooks are in me, in the brain, white-hot hooks that burn an'
burn,was his reply. "But by what damnable right do you have all
these booksand time to read 'eman' all night in to read 'eman'
soak in themwhen me brain's on fireand I'm watch and watchan'
me broken spine won't let me carry half a hundredweight of books
about with me?"

Another madmanwas my conclusion; and yet I was quickly compelled to
modify itforthinking to play with a rattle-brainI asked him
what were the books up to half a hundredweight he carriedand what
were the writers he preferred. His libraryhe told meamong other
things includedfirst and f ore-mosta complete Byron. Next was a
complete Shakespeare; also a complete Browning in one volume. A full
hall-dozen he had in the forecastle of Renana stray volume of
LeckyWinwood Reade's Martyrdom of Manseveral of Carlyleand
eight or ten of Zola. Zola he swore bythough Anatole France was a
prime favourite.

He might be madwas my revised judgmentbut he was most differently
mad from any madman I had ever encountered. I talked on with him
about books and bookmen. He was most universal and particular. He
liked O. Henry. George Moore was a cad and a four--flusher. Edgar
Saltus' Anatomy of Negation was profounder than Kant. Maeterlinck


was a mystic frump. Emerson was a charlatan. Ibsen's Ghosts was the
stuffthough Ibsen was a bourgeois lickspittler. Heine was the real
goods. He preferred Flaubert to de Maupassantand Turgenieff to
Tolstoy; but Gorky was the best of the Russian boiling. John
Masefield knew what he was writing aboutand Joseph Conrad was
living too fat to turn out the stuff he first turned out.

And so it wentthe most amazing running commentary on literature I
had ever heard. I was hugely interestedand I quizzed him on
sociology. Yeshe was a Redand knew his Kropotkinbut he was no
anarchist. On the other handpolitical action was a blind-alley
leading to reformism and quietism. Political socialism had gone to
potwhile industrial unionism was the logical culmination of
Marxism. He was a direct actionist. The mass strike was the thing.
Sabotagenot merely as a withdrawal of efficiencybut as a keen
destruction-of-profits policywas the weapon. Of course he believed
in the propaganda of the deedbut a man was a fool to talk about it.
His job was to do it and keep his mouth shutand the way to do it
was to shoot the evidence. Of courseHE talked; but what of it?
Didn't he have curvature of the spine? He didn't care when he got
hisand woe to the man who tried to give it to him.

And while he talked he hated me. He seemed to hate the things he
talked about and espoused. I judged him to be of Irish descentand
it was patent that he was self-educated. When I asked him how it was
he had come to seahe replied that the hooks in his brain were as
hot one place as another. He unbent enough to tell me that he had
been an athletewhen he was a young mana professional foot-racer
in Eastern Canada. And then his disease had come upon himand for a
quarter of a century he had been a common tramp and vagabondand he
bragged of a personal acquaintance with more city prisons and county
jails than any man that ever existed.

It was at this stage in our talk that Mr. Pike thrust his head into
the doorway. He did not address mebut he favoured me with a most
sour look of disapprobation. Mr. Pike's countenance is almost
petrified. Any expression seems to crack it--with the exception of
sourness. But when Mr. Pike wants to look sour he has no difficulty
at all. His hard-skinnedhard-muscled face just flows to sourness.
Evidently he condemned my consuming Mulligan Jacobs's time. To
Mulligan Jacobs he said in his customary snarl:

Go on an' get to your work. Chew the rag in your watch below.

And then I got a sample of Mulligan Jacobs. The venom of hatred I
had already seen in his face was as nothing compared with what now
was manifested. I had a feeling thatlike stroking a cat in cold
weatherdid I touch his face it would crackle electric sparks.

Aw, go to hell, you old stiff,said Mulligan Jacobs.

If ever I had seen murder in a man s eyesI saw it then in the
mate's. He lunged into the roomhis arm tensed to strikethe hand
not open but clenched. One stroke of that bear's paw and Mulligan
Jacobs and all the poisonous flame of him would have been quenched in
the everlasting darkness. But he was unafraid. Like a cornered rat
like a rattlesnake on the trailunflinchingsneeringsnarlinghe
faced the irate giant. More than that. He even thrust his face
forward on its twisted neck to meet the blow.

It was too much for Mr. Pike; it was too impossible to strike that
frailcrippledrepulsive thing.

It's me that can call you the stiff,said Mulligan Jacobs. "I


ain't no Larry. G'wan an' hit me. Why don't you hit me?"

And Mr. Pike was too appalled to strike the creature. Hewhose
whole career on the sea had been that of a bucko driver in a
shamblescould not strike this fractured splinter of a man. I swear
that Mr. Pike actually struggled with himself to strike. I saw it.
But he could not.

Go on to your work,he ordered. "The voyage is young yet
Mulligan. I'll have you eatin' outa my hand before it's over."

And Mulligan Jacobs's face thrust another inch closer on its twisted
neckwhile all his concentrated rage seemed on the verge of bursting
into incandescence. So immense and tremendous was the bitterness
that consumed him that he could find no words to clothe it. All he
could do was to hawk and guttural deep in his throat until I should
not have been surprised had he spat poison in the mate's face.

And Mr. Pike turned on his heel and left the roombeatenabsolutely
beaten.

I can't get it out of my mind. The picture of the mate and the
cripple facing each other keeps leaping up under my eyelids. This is
different from the books and from what I know of existence. It is
revelation. Life is a profoundly amazing thing. What is this bitter
flame that informs Mulligan Jacobs? How dare he--with no hope of any
profitnot a heronot a leader of a forlorn hope nor a martyr to
Godbut a mere filthymalignant rat--how dare heI ask myselfbe
so defiantso death-inviting? The spectacle of him makes me doubt
all the schools of the metaphysicians and the realists. No
philosophy has a leg to stand on that does not account for Mulligan
Jacobs. And all the midnight oil of philosophy I have burned does
not enable me to account for Mulligan Jacobs . . . unless he be
insane. And then I don't know.

Was there ever such a freight of human souls on the sea as these
humans with whom I am herded on the Elsinore?

And nowworking in my roomswhite-leading and turpentiningis
another one of them. I have learned his name. It is Arthur Deacon.
He is the pallidfurtive-eyed man whom I observed the first day when
the men were routed out of the forecastle to man the windlass--the
man I so instantly adjudged a drug-fiend. He certainly looks it.

I asked Mr. Pike his estimate of the man.

White slaver,was his answer. "Had to skin outa New York to save
his skin. He'll be consorting with those other three larrakins I
gave a piece of my mind to."

And what do you make of them?I asked.

A month's wages to a pound of tobacco that a district attorney, or a
committee of some sort investigating the New York police is lookin'
for 'em right now. I'd like to have the cash somebody's put up in
New York to send them on this get-away. Oh, I know the breed.

Gangsters?I queried.

That's what. But I'll trim their dirty hides. I'll trim 'em. Mr.
Pathurst, this voyage ain't started yet, and this old stiff's a long
way from his last legs. I'll give them a run for their money. Why,


I've buried better men than the best of them aboard this craft. And
I'll bury some of them that think me an old stiff.

He paused and looked at me solemnly for a full half minute.

Mr. Pathurst, I've heard you're a writing man. And when they told
me at the agents' you were going along passenger, I made a point of
going to see your play. Now I'm not saying anything about that play,
one way or the other. But I just want to tell you, that as a writing
man you'll get stuff in plenty to write about on this voyage. Hell's
going to pop, believe me, and right here before you is the stiff
that'll do a lot of the poppin'. Some several and plenty's going to
learn who's an old stiff.

CHAPTER XV

How I have been sleeping! This relief of renewed normality is
delicious--thanks to Miss West. Now why did not Captain Westor Mr.
Pikeboth experienced mendiagnose my trouble for me? And then
there was Wada. But no; it required Miss West. Again I contemplate
the problem of woman. It is just such an incident among a million
others that keeps the thinker's gaze fixed on woman. They truly are
the mothers and the conservers of the race.

Rail as I will at Miss West's red-blood complacency of lifeyet I
must bow my head to her life-giving to me. Practicalsensible
hard-headeda comfort-maker and a nest-builderpossessing all the
distressing attributes of the blind-instinctive race-mother
nevertheless I must confess I am most grateful that she is along.
Had she not been on the Elsinoreby this time I should have been so
overwrought from lack of sleep that I would be biting my veins and
howling--as mad a hatter as any of our cargo of mad hatters. And so
we come to it--the everlasting mystery of woman. One may not be able
to get along with her; yet is it patentas of old timethat one
cannot get along without her. Butregarding Miss WestI do
entertain one fervent hopenamelythat she is not a suffragette.
That would be too much.

Captain West may be a Samuraibut he is also human. He was really a
bit fluttery this morningin his reservedcontrolled waywhen he
regretted the plague of vermin I had encountered in my rooms. It
seems he has a keen sense of hospitalityand that he is my host on
the Elsinoreand thatalthough he is oblivious of the existence of
the crewhe is not oblivious of my comfort. By his few expressions
of regret it appears that he cannot forgive himself for his careless
acceptance of the erroneous diagnosis of my affliction. Yes; Captain
West is a real human man. Is he not the father of the slender-faced
strapping-bodied Miss West?

Thank goodness that's settled,was Miss West's exclamation this
morningwhen we met on the poop and after I had told her how
gloriously I had slept.

And thenthat nightmare episode dismissed becauseforsoothfor all
practical purposes--it was settledshe next said:

Come on and see the chickens.

And I accompanied her along the spidery bridge to the top of the
'midship-houseto look at the one rooster and the four dozen fat


hens in the ship's chicken-coop.

As I accompanied hermy eyes dwelling pleasurably on that vital gait
of hers as she preceded meI could not help reflecting thatcoming
down on the tug from Baltimoreshe had promised not to bother me nor
require to be entertained.

COME AND SEE THE CHICKENS!--Ohthe sheer female possessiveness of
that simple invitation! For effrontery of possessiveness is there
anything that can exceed the nest-makingplanet-populatingfemale
human woman?--COME AND SEE THE CHICKENS! Ohwellthe sailors
for'ard may be hard-bittenbut I can promise Miss West that here
aftis one male passengerunmarried and never marriedwho is an
equally hard-bitten adventurer on the sea of matrimony. When I go
over the census I remember at least several womensuperior to Miss
Westwho trilled their song of sex and failed to shipwreck me.

As I read over what I have written I notice how the terminology of
the sea has stolen into my mental processes. Involuntarily I think
in terms of the sea. Another thing I notice is my excessive use of
superlatives. But theneverything on board the Elsinore is
superlative. I find myself continually combing my vocabulary in
quest of just and adequate words. Yet am I aware of failure. For
exampleall the words of all the dictionaries would fail to
approximate the exceeding terribleness of Mulligan Jacobs.

But to return to the chickens. Despite every precautionit was
evident that they had had a hard time during the past days of storm.
It was equally evident that Miss Westeven during her sea-sickness
had not neglected them. Under her directions the steward had
actually installed a small oil-stove in the big coopand she now
beckoned him up to the top of the house as he was passing for'ard to
the galley. It was for the purpose of instructing him further in the
matter of feeding them.

Where were the grits? They needed grits. He didn't know. The sack
had been lost among the miscellaneous storesbut Mr. Pike had
promised a couple of sailors that afternoon to overhaul the
lazarette.

Plenty of ashes,she told the steward. "Remember. And if a sailor
doesn't clean the coop each dayyou report to me. And give them
only clean food--no spoiled scrapsmind. How many eggs yesterday?"

The steward's eyes glistened with enthusiasm as he said he had got
nine the day before and expected fully a dozen to-day.

The poor things,said Miss West--to me. "You've no idea how bad
weather reduces their laying." She turned back upon the steward.
Mind now, you watch and find out which hens don't lay, and kill them
first. And you ask me each time before you kill one.

I found myself neglectedout there on top the draughty housewhile
Miss West talked chickens with the Chinese ex-smuggler. But it gave
me opportunity to observe her. It is the length of her eyes that
accentuates their steadiness of gaze--helpedof courseby the dark
brows and lashes. I noted again the warm gray of her eyes. And I
began to identify herto locate her. She is a physical type of the
best of the womanhood of old New England. Nothing spare nor meagre
nor bred outbut generously strongand yet not quite what one would
call robust. When I said she was strapping-bodied I erred. I must
fall back on my other wordwhich will have to be the last: Miss
West is vital-bodied. That is the key-word.


When we had regained the poopand Miss West had gone belowI
ventured my customary pleasantry with Mr. Mellaire of:

And has O'Sullivan bought Andy Fay's sea-boots yet?

Not yet, Mr. Pathurst,was the replythough he nearly got them
early this morning. Come on along, sir, and I'll show you.

Vouchsafing no further informationthe second mate led the way along
the bridgeacross the 'midship-house and the for'ard-house. From
the edge of the latterlooking down on Number One hatchI saw two
Japanesewith sail-needles and twinesewing up a canvas-swathed
bundle that unmistakably contained a human body.

O'Sullivan used a razor,said Mr. Mellaire.

And that is Andy Fay?I cried.

No, sir, not Andy. That's a Dutchman. Christian Jespersen was his
name on the articles. He got in O'Sullivan's way when O'Sullivan
went after the boots. That's what saved Andy. Andy was more active.
Jespersen couldn't get out of his own way, much less out of
O'Sullivan's. There's Andy sitting over there.

I followed Mr. Mellaire's gazeand saw the burnt-outaged little
Scotchman squatted on a spare spar and sucking a pipe. One arm was
in a sling and his head was bandaged. Beside him squatted Mulligan
Jacobs. They were a pair. Both were blue-eyedand both were
malevolent-eyed. And they were equally emaciated. It was easy to
see that they had discovered early in the voyage their kinship of
bitterness. Andy FayI knewwas sixty-three years oldalthough he
looked a hundred; and Mulligan Jacobswho was only about fiftymade
up for the difference by the furnace-heat of hatred that burned in
his face and eyes. I wondered if he sat beside the injured bitter
one in some sense of sympathyor if he were there in order to gloat.

Around the corner of the house strolled Shortyflinging up to me his
inevitable clown-grin. One hand was swathed in bandages.

Must have kept Mr. Pike busy,was my comment to Mr. Mellaire.

He was sewing up cripples about all his watch from four till eight.

What?I asked. "Are there any more?"

One more, sir, a sheeny. I didn't know his name before, but Mr.
Pike got it--Isaac B. Chantz. I never saw in all my life at sea as
many sheenies as are on board the Elsinore right now. Sheenies don't
take to the sea as a rule. We've certainly got more than our share
of them. Chantz isn't badly hurt, but you ought to hear him
whimper.

Where's O'Sullivan?I inquired.

In the 'midship-house with Davis, and without a mark. Mr. Pike got
into the rumpus and put him to sleep with one on the jaw. And now
he's lashed down and talking in a trance. He's thrown the fear of
God into Davis. Davis is sitting up in his bunk with a marlin-spike,
threatening to brain O'Sullivan if he starts to break loose, and
complaining that it's no way to run a hospital. He'd have padded
cells, straitjackets, night and day nurses, and violent wards, I
suppose--and a convalescents' home in a Queen Anne cottage on the
poop.


Oh dearoh dear Mr. Mellaire sighed. This is the funniest
voyage and the funniest crew I've ever tackled. It's not going to
come to a good end. Anybody can see that with half an eye. It'll be
dead of winter off the Hornand a fo'c's'le full of lunatics and
cripples to do the work.--Just take a look at that one. Crazy as a
bedbug. He's likely to go overboard any time.''

I followed his glance and saw Tony the Greekthe one who had sprung
overboard the first day. He had just come around the corner of the
houseandbeyond one arm in a slingseemed in good condition. He
walked easily and with strengtha testimonial to the virtues of Mr.
Pike's rough surgery.

My eyes kept returning to the canvas-covered body of Christian
Jespersenand to the Japanese who sewed with sail-twine his sailor's
shroud. One of them had his right hand in a huge wrapping of cotton
and bandage.

Did he get hurt, too?I asked.

No, sir. He's the sail-maker. They're both sail-makers. He's a
good one, too. Yatsuda is his name. But he's just had bloodpoisoning
and lain in hospital in New York for eighteen months. He
flatly refused to let them amputate. He's all right now, but the
hand is dead, all except the thumb and fore-finger, and he's teaching
himself to sew with his left hand. He's as clever a sail-maker as
you'll find at sea.

A lunatic and a razor make a cruel combination,I remarked.

It's put five men out of commission,Mr. Mellaire sighed. "There's
O'Sullivan himselfand Christian Jespersen goneand Andy Fayand
Shortyand the sheeny. And the voyage not started yet. And there's
Lars with the broken legand Davis laid off for keeps--whysir
we'll soon be that weak it'll take both watches to set a staysail."

Neverthelesswhile I talked in a matter-of-fact way with Mr.
MellaireI was shocked--no; not because death was aboard with us. I
have stood by my philosophic guns too long to be shocked by deathor
by murder. What affected me was the utterstupid bestiality of the
affair. Even murder--murder for cause--I can understand. It is
comprehensible that men should kill one another in the passion of
loveof hatredof patriotismof religion. But this was different.
Here was killing without causean orgy of blind-brutishnessa thing
monstrously irrational.

Later onstrolling with Possum on the main deckas I passed the
open door of the hospital I heard the muttering chant of O'Sullivan
and peeped in. There he laylashed fast on his back in the lower
bunkrolling his eyes and raving. In the top bunkdirectly above
lay Charles Daviscalmly smoking a pipe. I looked for the marlinspike.
There it wasready to handon the bedding beside him.

It's hell, ain't it, sir?was his greeting. "And how am I goin' to
get any sleep with that baboon chattering away there. He never lets
up--keeps his chin-music goin' right along when he's asleeponly
worse. The way he grits his teeth is something awful. Now I leave
it to yousiris it right to put a crazy like that in with a sick
man? And I am a sick man.''

While he talked the massive form of Mr. Pike loomed beside me and
halted just out of sight of the man in the bunk. And the man talked
on.


By rights, I oughta have that lower bunk. It hurts me to crawl up
here. It's inhumanity, that's what it is, and sailors at sea are
better protected by the law than they used to be. And I'll have you
for a witness to this before the court when we get to Seattle.

Mr. Pike stepped into the doorway.

Shut up, you damned sea-lawyer, you,he snarled. "Haven't you
played a dirty trick enough comin' on board this ship in your
condition? And if I have anything more out of you . . . "

Mr. Pike was so angry that he could not complete the threat. After
spluttering for a moment he made a fresh attempt.

You . . . you . . . well, you annoy me, that's what you do.

I know the law, sir,Davis answered promptly. "I worked full able
seaman on this here ship. All hands can testify to that. I was
aloft from the start. Yessirand up to my neck in salt water day
and night. And you had me below trimmin' coal. I did full duty and
moreuntil this sickness got me--"

You were petrified and rotten before you ever saw this ship,Mr.
Pike broke in.

The court'll decide that, sir,replied the imperturbable Davis.

And if you go to shoutin' off your sea-lawyer mouth,Mr. Pike
continuedI'll jerk you out of that and show you what real work
is.

An' lay the owners open for lovely damages when we get in,Davis
sneered.

Not if I bury you before we get in,was the mate's quickgrim
retort. "And let me tell youDavisyou ain't the first sea-lawyer
I've dropped over the side with a sack of coal to his feet."

Mr. Pike turnedwith a final "Damned sea-lawyer!" and started along
the deck. I was walking behind him when he stopped abruptly.

Mr. Pathurst.

Not as an officer to a passenger did he thus address me. His tone
was imperativeand I gave heed.

Mr. Pathurst. From now on the less you see aboard this ship the
better. That is all.

And again he turned on his heel and went his way.

CHAPTER XVI

Nothe sea is not a gentle place. It must be the very hardness of
the life that makes all sea-people hard. Of courseCaptain West is
unaware that his crew existsand Mr. Pike and Mr. Mellaire never
address the men save to give commands. But Miss Westwho is more
like myselfa passengerignores the men. She does not even say
good-morning to the man at the wheel when she first comes on deck.
Nevertheless I shallat least to the man at the wheel. Am I not a


passenger?

Which reminds me. Technically I am not a passenger. The Elsinore
has no licence to carry passengersand I am down on the articles as
third mate and am supposed to receive thirty-five dollars a month.
Wada is down as cabin boyalthough I paid a good price for his
passage and he is my servant.

Not much time is lost at sea in getting rid of the dead. Within an
hour after I had watched the sail-makers at work Christian Jespersen
was slid overboardfeet firsta sack of coal to his feet to sink
him. It was a mildcalm dayand the Elsinorelogging a lazy two
knotswas not hove to for the occasion. At the last moment Captain
West came for'ardprayer-book in handread the brief service for
burial at seaand returned immediately aft. It was the first time I
had seen him for'ard.

I shall not bother to describe the burial. All I shall say of it is
that it was as sordid as Christian Jespersen's life had been and as
his death had been.

As for Miss Westshe sat in a deck-chair on the poop busily engaged
with some sort of fancy work. When Christian Jespersen and his coal
splashed into the sea the crew immediately dispersedthe watch below
going to its bunksthe watch on deck to its work. Not a minute
elapsed ere Mr. Mellaire was giving orders and the men were pulling
and hauling. So I returned to the poop to be unpleasantly impressed
by Miss West's smiling unconcern.

Well, he's buried,I observed.

Oh,she saidwith all the tonelessness of disinterestand went on
with her stitching.

She must have sensed my frame of mindforafter a momentshe
paused from her sewing and looked at me

Your first sea funeralMr. Pathurst?

Death at sea does not seem to affect you,I said bluntly.

Not any more than on the land.She shrugged her shoulders. "So
many people dieyou know. And when they are strangers to you . . .
wellwhat do you do on the land when you learn that some workers
have been killed in a factory you pass every day coming to town? It
is the same on the sea."

It's too bad we are a hand short,I said deliberately.

It did not miss her. Just as deliberately she replied:

Yes, isn't it? And so early in the voyage, too.She looked at me
and when I could not forbear a smile of appreciation she smiled back.

Oh, I know very well, Mr. Pathurst, that you think me a heartless
wretch. But it isn't that it's . . . it's the sea, I suppose. And
yet, I didn't know this man. I don't remember ever having seen him.
At this stage of the voyage I doubt if I could pick out half-a-dozen
of the sailors as men I had ever laid eyes on. So why vex myself
with even thinking of this stupid stranger who was killed by another
stupid stranger? As well might one die of grief with reading the
murder columns of the daily papers.

And yet, it seems somehow different,I contended.


Oh, you'll get used to it,she assured me cheerfullyand returned
to her sewing.

I asked her if she had read Moody's Ship of Soulsbut she had not.
I searched her out further. She liked Browningand was especially
fond of The Ring and the Book. This was the key to her. She cared
only for healthful literature--for the literature that exposits the
vital lies of life.

For instancethe mention of Schopenhauer produced smiles and
laughter. To her all the philosophers of pessimism were laughable.
The red blood of her would not permit her to take them seriously. I
tried her out with a conversation I had had with De Casseres shortly
before leaving New York. De Casseresafter tracing Jules de
Gaultier's philosophic genealogy back to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche
had concluded with the proposition that out of their two formulas de
Gaultier had constructed an even profounder formula. The "Will-to-
Live" of the one and the "Will-to-Power" of the other wereafter
allonly parts of de Gaultier's supreme generalizationthe "Willto-
Illusion."

I flatter myself that even De Casseres would have been pleased with
the way I repeated his argument. And when I had concluded itMiss
West promptly demanded if the realists might not be fooled by their
own phrases as often and as completely as were the poor common
mortals with the vital lies they never questioned.

And there we were. An ordinary young womanwho had never vexed her
brains with ultimate problemshears such things stated for the first
timeand immediatelyand with a laughsweeps them all away. I
doubt not that De Casseres would have agreed with her.

Do you believe in God?I asked rather abruptly. She dropped her
sewing into her laplooked at me meditativelythen gazed on and
away across the flashing sea and up into the azure dome of sky. And
finallywith true feminine evasionshe replied:

My father does.

But you?I insisted.

I really don't know. I don't bother my head about such things. I
used to when I was a little girl. And yet . . . yes, surely I
believe in God. At times, when I am not thinking about it at all, I
am very sure, and my faith that all is well is just as strong as the
faith of your Jewish friend in the phrases of the philosophers.
That's all it comes to, I suppose, in every case--faith. But, as I
say, why bother?

Ah, I have you now, Miss West!I cried. "You are a true daughter
of Herodias."

It doesn't sound nice,she said with a moue.

And it isn't,I exulted. "Neverthelessit is what you are. It is
Arthur Symon's poemThe Daughters of Herodias. Some day I shall
read it to youand you will answer. I know you will answer that
youtoohave looked often upon the stars."

We had just got upon the subject of musicof which she possesses a
surprisingly solid knowledgeand she was telling me that Debussy and
his school held no particular charm for herwhen Possum set up a
wild yelping.


The puppy had strayed for'ard along the bridge to the 'midship-house
and had evidently been investigating the chickens when his disaster
came upon him. So shrill was his terror that we both stood up. He
was dashing along the bridge toward us at full speedyelping at
every jump and continually turning his head back in the direction
whence he came.

I spoke to him and held out my handand was rewarded with a snap and
clash of teeth as he scuttled past. Still with head turned backhe
went on along the poop. Before I could apprehend his dangerMr.
Pike and Miss West were after him. The mate was the nearerand with
a magnificent leap gained the rail just in time to intercept Possum
who was blindly going overboard under the slender railing. With a
sort of scooping kick Mr. Pike sent the animal rolling half across
the poop. Howling and snapping more violentlyPossum regained his
feet and staggered on toward the opposite railing.

Don't touch him!Mr. Pike criedas Miss West showed her intention
of catching the crazed little animal with her hands. "Don't touch'm!
He's got a fit."

But it did not deter her. He was half-way under the railing when she
caught him up and held him at arm's length while he howled and barked
and slavered.

It's a fit,said Mr. Pikeas the terrier collapsed and lay on the
deck jerking convulsively.

Perhaps a chicken pecked him,said Miss West. "At any rateget a
bucket of water."

Better let me take him,I volunteered helplesslyfor I was
unfamiliar with fits.

No; it's all right,she answered. "I'll take charge of him. The
cold water is what he needs. He got too close to the coopand a
peck on the nose frightened him into the fit."

First time I ever heard of a fit coming that way,Mr. Pike
remarkedas he poured water over the puppy under Miss West's
direction. "It's just a plain puppy fit. They all get them at sea."

I think it was the sails that caused it,I argued. "I've noticed
that he is very afraid of them. When they flaphe crouches down in
terror and starts to run. You noticed how he ran with his head
turned back?"

I've seen dogs with fits do that when there was nothing to frighten
them,Mr. Pike contended.

It was a fit, no matter what caused it,Miss West stated
conclusively. "Which means that he has not been fed properly. From
now on I shall feed him. You tell your boy thatMr. Pathurst.
Nobody is to feed Possum anything without my permission."

At this juncture Wada arrived with Possum's little sleeping boxand
they prepared to take him below.

It was splendid of you, Miss West,I saidand rash, as well, and
I won't attempt to thank you. But I tell you what-you take him.
He's your dog now.

She laughed and shook her head as I opened the chart-house door for


her to pass.

No; but I'll take care of him for you. Now don't bother to come
below. This is my affair, and you would only be in the way. Wada
will help me.

And I was rather surprisedas I returned to my deck chair and sat
downto find how affected I was by the little episode. I
rememberedat the firstthat my pulse had been distinctly
accelerated with the excitement of what had taken place. And
somehowas I leaned back in my chair and lighted a cigarettethe
strangeness of the whole voyage vividly came to me. Miss West and I
talk philosophy and art on the poop of a stately ship in a circle of
flashing seawhile Captain West dreams of his far homeand Mr. Pike
and Mr. Mellaire stand watch and watch and snarl ordersand the
slaves of men pull and hauland Possum has fitsand Andy Fay and
Mulligan Jacobs burn with hatred unconsumableand the small-handed
half-caste Chinese cooks for alland Sundry Buyers perpetually
presses his abdomenand O'Sullivan raves in the steel cell of the
'midship-houseand Charles Davis lies about him nursing a marlinspike
and Christian Jespersenmiles asternis deep sunk in the sea
with a sack of coal at his feet.

CHAPTER XVII

Two weeks out to-dayon a balmy seaunder a cloud-flecked skyand
slipping an easy eight knots through the water to a light easterly
wind. Captain West said he was almost convinced that it was the
north-east trade. AlsoI have learned that the Elsinorein order
to avoid being jammed down on Cape San Roqueon the Brazil coast
must first fight eastward almost to the coast of Africa. On
occasionon this traversethe Cape Verde Islands are raised. No
wonder the voyage from Baltimore to Seattle is reckoned at eighteen
thousand miles.

I found Tonythe suicidal Greeksteering this morning when I came
on deck. He seemed sensible enoughand quite rationally took off
his hat when I said good morning to him. The sick men are improving
nicelywith the exceptions of Charles Davis and O'Sullivan. The
latter still is lashed to his bunkand Mr. Pike has compelled Davis
to attend on him. As a resultDavis moves about the deckbringing
food and water from the galley and grumbling his wrongs to every
member of the crew.

Wada told me a strange thing this morning. It seems that hethe
stewardand the two sail-makers foregather each evening in the
cook's room--all being Asiatics--where they talk over ship's gossip.
They seem to miss littleand Wada brings it all to me. The thing
Wada told me was the curious conduct of Mr. Mellaire. They have sat
in judgment on him and they do not approve of his intimacy with the
three gangsters for'ard.

But, Wada,I saidhe is not that kind of a man. He is very hard
and rough with all the sailors. He treats them like dogs. You know
that.

Sure,assented Wada. "Other sailors he do that. But those three
very bad men he make good friends. Louis say second mate belong aft
like first mate and captain. No good for second mate talk like
friend with sailors. No good for ship. Bime by trouble. You see.


Louis say Mr. Mellaire crazy do that kind funny business."

All of whichif it were trueand I saw no reason to doubt itled
me to inquire. It seems that the gangstersKid TwistNosey Murphy
and Bert Rhinehave made themselves cocks of the forecastle.
Standing togetherthey have established a reign of terror and are
ruling the forecastle. All their training in New York in ruling the
slum brutes and weaklings in their gangs fits them for the part. As
near as I could make out from Wada's talethey first began on the
two Italians in their watchGuido Bombini and Mike Cipriani. By
means I cannot guessthey have reduced these two wretches to
trembling slaves. As an instancethe other nightaccording to the
ship's gossipBert Rhine made Bombini get out of bed and fetch him a
drink of water.

Isaac Chantz is likewise under their rulethough he is treated more
kindly. Herman Lunkenheimera good-natured but simple-minded dolt
of a Germanreceived a severe beating from the three because he
refused to wash some of Nosey Murphy's dirty garments. The two
bosuns are in fear of their lives with this cliquewhich is growing;
for Steve Robertsthe ex-cowboyand the white-slaverArthur
Deaconhave been admitted to it.

I am the only one aft who possesses this informationand I confess I
don't know what to do with it. I know that Mr. Pike would tell me to
mind my own business. Mr. Mellaire is out of the question. And
Captain West hasn't any crew. And I fear Miss West would laugh at me
for my pains. BesidesI understand that every forecastle has its
bullyor group of bullies; so this is merely a forecastle matter and
no concern of the afterguard. The ship's work goes on. The only
effect I can conjecture is an increase in the woes of the
unfortunates who must bow to this petty tyranny for'ard.

-Ohand another thing Wada told me. The gangster clique has
established its privilege of taking first cut of the salt-beef in the
meat-kids. After thatthe rest take the rejected pieces. But I
will saycontrary to my expectationsthe Elsinore's forecastle is
well found. The men are not on whack. They have all they want to
eat. A barrel of good hardtack stands always open in the forecastle.
Louis bakes fresh bread for the sailors three times a week. The
variety of food is excellentif not the quality. There is no
restriction in the amount of water for drinking purposes. And I can
only say that in this good weather the men's appearance improves
daily.
Possum is very sick. Each day he grows thinner. Scarcely can I call
him a perambulating skeletonbecause he is too weak to walk. Each
dayin this delightful weatherWadaunder Miss West's
instructionsbrings him up in his box and places him out of the wind
on the awninged poop. She has taken full charge of the puppyand
has him sleep in her room each night. I found her yesterdayin the
chart-roomreading up the Elsinore's medical library. Later on she
overhauled the medicine-chest. She is essentially the life-giving
life-conserving female of the species. All her waysfor herself and
for othersmake toward life.

And yet--and this is so curious it gives me pause--she shows no
interest in the sick and injured for'ard.

They are to her cattleor less than cattle. As the life-giver and
race-conserverI should have imagined her a Lady Bountifultripping
regularly into that ghastly steel-walled hospital room of the
midship-house and dispensing gruelsunshineand even tracts. On
the contraryas with her fatherthese wretched humans do not exist.


And still againwhen the steward jammed a splinter under his nail
she was greatly concernedand manipulated the tweezers and pulled it
out. The Elsinore reminds me of a slave plantation before the war;
and Miss West is the lady of the plantationinterested only in the
house-slaves. The field slaves are beyond her ken or consideration
and the sailors are the Elsinore's field slaves. Whyseveral days
backwhen Wada suffered from a severe headacheshe was quite
perturbedand dosed him with aspirin. WellI suppose this is all
due to her sea-training. She has been trained hard.

We have the phonograph in the second dog-watch every other evening in
this fine weather. On the alternate evenings this period is Mr.
Pike's watch on deck. But when it is his evening beloweven at
dinnerhe betrays his anticipation by an eagerness ill suppressed.
And yeton each such occasionhe punctiliously waits until we ask
if we are to be favoured with music. Then his hard-bitten face
lights upalthough the lines remain hard as everhiding his
ecstasyand he remarks grufflyoff-handedlythat he guesses he can
play over a few records. And soevery other eveningwe watch this
killer and driverwith lacerated knuckles and gorilla pawsbrushing
and caressing his beloved discsravished with the music of them
andas he told me early in the voyageat such moments believing in
God.

A strange experience is this life on the Elsinore. I confesswhile
it seems that I have been here for long monthsso familiar am I with
every detail of the little round of livingthat I cannot orient
myself. My mind continually strays from things non-understandable to
things incomprehensible--from our Samurai captain with the exquisite
Gabriel voice that is heard only in the tumult and thunder of storm;
on to the ill-treated and feeble-minded faun with the brightliquid
pain-filled eyes; to the three gangsters who rule the forecastle and
seduce the second mate; to the perpetually muttering O'Sullivan in
the steel-walled hole and the complaining Davis nursing the marlinspike
in the upper bunk; and to Christian Jespersen somewhere adrift
in this vastitude of ocean with a coal-sack at his feet. At such
moments all the life on the Elsinore becomes as unreal as life to the
philosopher is unreal.

I am a philosopher. Thereforeit is unreal to me. But is it unreal
to Messrs. Pike and Mellaire? to the lunatics and idiots? to the
rest of the stupid herd for'ard? I cannot help remembering a remark
of De Casseres. It was over the wine in Mouquin's. Said he: "The
profoundest instinct in man is to war against the truth; that is
against the Real. He shuns facts from his infancy. His life is a
perpetual evasion. Miraclechimera and to-morrow keep him alive.
He lives on fiction and myth. It is the Lie that makes him free.
Animals alone are given the privilege of lifting the veil of Isis;
men dare not. The animalawakehas no fictional escape from the
Real because he has no imagination. Manawakeis compelled to seek
a perpetual escape into HopeBeliefFableArtGodSocialism
ImmortalityAlcoholLove. From Medusa-Truth he makes an appeal to
Maya-Lie."

Ben will agree that I have quoted him fairly. And sothe thought
comes to methat to all these slaves of the Elsinore the Real is
real because they fictionally escape it. One and all they are
obsessed with the belief that they are free agents. To me the Real
is unrealbecause I have torn aside the veils of fiction and myth.
My pristine fictional escape from the Realmaking me a philosopher
has bound me absolutely to the wheel of the Real. Ithe superrealist
am the only unrealist on board the Elsinore. Therefore I
who penetrate it deepestin the whole phenomena of living on the


Elsinore see it only as phantasmagoria.

Paradoxes? I admit it. All deep thinkers are drowned in the sea of
contradictions. But all the others on the Elsinoresheer surface
swimmerskeep afloat on this sea--forsoothbecause they have never
dreamed its depth. And I can easily imagine what Miss West's
practicalhard-headed judgment would be on these speculations of
mine. After allwords are traps. I don't know what I knownor
what I think I think.

This I do know: I cannot orient myself. I am the maddest and most
sea-lost soul on board. Take Miss West. I am beginning to admire
her. WhyI know notunless it be because she is so abominably
healthy. And yetit is this very health of herthe absence of any
shred of degenerative geniusthat prevents her from being great . .
. for instancein her music.

A number of timesnowI have come in during the day to listen to
her playing. The piano is goodand her teaching has evidently been
of the best. To my astonishment I learn that she is a graduate of
Bryn Mawrand that her father took a degree from old Bowdoin long
ago. And yet she lacks in her music.

Her touch is masterful. She has the firmness and weight (without
sharpness or pounding) of a man's playing--the strength and surety
that most women lack and that some women know they lack. When she
makes a slip she is ruthless with herselfand replays until the
difficulty is overcome. And she is quick to overcome it.

Yesand there is a sort of temperament in her workbut there is no
sentimentno fire. When she plays Chopinshe interprets his
sureness and neatness. She is the master of Chopin's techniquebut
she never walks where Chopin walks on the heights. Somehowshe
stops short of the fulness of music.

I did like her method with Brahmsand she was not unwillingat my
suggestionto go over and over the Three Rhapsodies. On the Third
Intermezzo she was at her bestand a good best it was.

You were talking of Debussy,she remarked. "I've got some of his
stuff here. But I don't get into it. I don't understand itand
there is no use in trying. It doesn't seem altogether like real
music to me. It fails to get hold of mejust as I fail to get hold
of it."

Yet you like MacDowell,I challenged.

Y. . . es,she admitted grudgingly. "His New England Idylls and
Fireside Tales. And I like that Finnish man's stuffSibeliustoo
although it seems to me too softtoo richly softtoo beautifulif
you know what I mean. It seems to cloy."

What a pityI thoughtthat with that noble masculine touch of hers
she is unaware of the deeps of music. Some day I shall try to get
from her just what Beethovensayand Chopinmean to her. She has
not read Shaw's Perfect Wagneritenor had she ever heard of
Nietzsche's Case of Wagner. She likes Mozartand old Boccherini
and Leonardo Leo. Likewise she is partial to Schumannespecially
Forest Scenes. And she played his Papillons most brilliantly. When
I closed my eyes I could have sworn it was a man's fingers on the
keys.

And yetI must say itin the long run her playing makes me nervous.
I am continually led up to false expectations. Alwaysshe seems


just on the verge of achieving the big thingthe super-big thing
and always she just misses it by a shade. Just as I am prepared for
the culminating flash and illuminationI receive more perfection of
technique. She is cold. She must be cold . . . Or elseand the
theory is worth consideringshe is too healthy.

I shall certainly read to her The Daughters of Herodias.

CHAPTER XVIII

Was there ever such a voyage! This morningwhen I came on deckI
found nobody at the wheel. It was a startling sight--the great
Elsinoreby the windunder an Alpine range of canvasevery sail
set from skysails to try-sails and spankerslipping across the
surface of a mild trade-wind seaand no hand at the wheel to guide
her.

No one was on the poop. It was Mr. Pike's watchand I strolled
for'ard along the bridge to find him. He was on Number One hatch
giving some instructions to the sail-makers. I awaited my chance
until he glanced up and greeted me.

Good morning,I answered. "And what man is at the wheel now?"

That crazy Greek, Tony,he replied.

A month's wages to a pound of tobacco he isn't,I offered.

Mr. Pike looked at me with quick sharpness.

Who is at the wheel?

Nobody,I replied.

And then he exploded into action. The age-lag left his massive
frameand he bounded aft along the deck at a speed no man on board
could have exceeded; and I doubt if very many could have equalled it.
He went up the poop-ladder three steps at a time and disappeared in
the direction of the wheel behind the chart-house.

Next came a promptitude of bellowed ordersand all the watch was
slacking away after braces to starboard and pulling on after braces
to port. I had already learned the manoeuvre. Mr. Pike was wearing
ship.

As I returned aft along the bridge Mr. Mellaire and the carpenter
emerged from the cabin door. They had been interrupted at breakfast
for they were wiping their mouths. Mr. Pike came to the break of the
poopcalled down instructions to the second matewho proceeded
for'ardand ordered the carpenter to take the wheel.

As the Elsinore swung around on her heel Mr. Pike put her on the back
track so as to cover the water she had just crossed over. He lowered
the glasses through which he was scanning the sea and pointed down
the hatchway that opened into the big after-room beneath. The ladder
was gone.

Must have taken the lazarette ladder with him,said Mr. Pike.

Captain West strolled out of the chart-room. He said good morning in


his customary waycourteously to me and formally to the mateand
strolled on along the poop to the wheelwhere he paused to glance
into the binnacle. Turninghe went on leisurely to the break of the
poop. Again he came back to us. Fully two minutes must have elapsed
ere he spoke.

What is the matter, Mr. Pike? Man overboard?

Yes, sir,was the answer.

And took the lazarette ladder along with him?Captain West queried.

Yes, sir. It's the Greek that jumped over at Baltimore.

Evidently the affair was not serious enough for Captain West to be
the Samurai. He lighted a cigar and resumed his stroll. And yet he
had missed nothingnot even the absence of the ladder.

Mr. Pike sent look-outs aloft to every skysail-yardand the Elsinore
slipped along through the smooth sea. Miss West came up and stood
beside mesearching the ocean with her eyes while I told her the
little I knew. She evidenced no excitementand reassured me by
telling me how difficult it was to lose a man of Tony's suicidal
type.

Their madness always seems to come upon them in fine weather or
under safe circumstances,she smiledwhen a boat can be lowered or
a tug is alongside. And sometimes they take life--preservers with
them, as in this case.

At the end of an hour Mr. Pike wore the Elsinore aroundand again
retraced the course she must have been sailing when the Greek went
over. Captain West still strolled and smokedand Miss West made a
brief trip below to give Wada forgotten instructions about Possum.
Andy Pay was called to the wheeland the carpenter went below to
finish his breakfast.

It all seemed rather callous to me. Nobody was much concerned for
the man who was overboard somewhere on that lonely ocean. And yet I
had to admit that everything possible was being done to find him. I
talked a little with Mr. Pikeand he seemed more vexed than anything
else. He disliked to have the ship's work interrupted in such
fashion.

Mr. Mellaire's attitude was different.

We are short-handed enough as it is,he told mewhen he joined us
on the poop. "We can't afford to lose him even if he is crazy. We
need him. He's a good sailor most of the time."

The hail came from the mizzen-skysail-yard. The Maltese Cockney it
was who first sighted the man and called down the information. The
matelooking to windwardssuddenly lowered his glassesrubbed his
eyes in a puzzled wayand looked again. Then Miss Westusing
another pair of glassescried out in surprise and began to laugh.

What do you make of it, Miss West?the mate asked.

He doesn't seem to be in the water. He's standing up.

Mr. Pike nodded.

He's on the ladder,he said. "I'd forgotten that. It fooled me at
first. I couldn't understand it." He turned to the second mate.


Mr. Mellaire, will you launch the long boat and get some kind of a
crew into it while I back the main-yard? I'll go in the boat. Pick
men that can pull an oar.

You go, too,Miss West said to me. "It will be an opportunity to
get outside the Elsinore and see her under full sail."

Mr. Pike nodded consentso I went alongsitting near him in the
stern-sheets where he steeredwhile half a dozen hands rowed us
toward the suicidewho stood so weirdly upon the surface of the sea.
The Maltese Cockney pulled the stroke oarand among the other five
men was one whose name I had but recently learned--Ditman Olansena
Norwegian. A good seamanMr. Mellaire had told mein whose watch
he was; a good seamanbut "crank-eyed." When pressed for an
explanation Mr. Mellaire had said that he was the sort of man who
flew into blind ragesand that one never could tell what little
thing would produce such a rage. As near as I could grasp itDitman
Olansen was a Berserker type. Yetas I watched him pulling in good
time at the oarhis largepale-blue eyes seemed almost bovine--the
last man in the worldin my judgmentto have a Berserker fit.

As we drew close to the Greek he began to scream menacingly at us and
to brandish a sheath-knife. His weight sank the ladder until the
water washed his kneesand on this submerged support he balanced
himself with wild writhing and outflinging of arms. His face
grimacing like a monkey'swas not a pretty thing to look upon. And
as he continued to threaten us with the knife I wondered how the
problem of rescuing him would be solved.

But I should have trusted Mr. Pike for that. He removed the boatstretcher
from under the Maltese Cockney's feet and laid it close to
hand in the stern-sheets. Then he had the men reverse the boat and
back it upon the Greek. Dodging a sweep of the knifeMr. Pike
awaited his chanceuntil a passing wave lifted the boat's stern
highwhile Tony was sinking toward the trough. This was the moment.
Again I was favoured with a sample of the lightning speed with which
that aged man of sixty-nine could handle his body. Timed precisely
and delivered in a flash and with weightthe boat-stretcher came
down on the Greek's head. The knife fell into the seaand the
demented creature collapsed and followed itknocked unconscious.
Mr. Pike scooped him outquite effortlessly it seemed to meand
flung him into the boat's bottom at my feet.

The next moment the men were bending to their oars and the mate was
steering back to the Elsinore. It was a stout rap Mr. Pike had
administered with the boat-stretcher. Thin streaks of blood oozed on
the dampplastered hair from the broken scalp. I could but stare at
the lump of unconscious flesh that dripped sea-water at my feet. A
manall life and movement one momentdefying the universereduced
the next moment to immobility and the blackness and blankness of
deathis always a fascinating object for the contemplative eye of
the philosopher. And in this case it had been accomplished so
simplyby means of a stick of wood brought sharply in contact with
his skull.

If Tony the Greek be accounted an APPEARANCEwhat was he now?--a
DISAPPEARANCE? And if sowhither had he disappeared? And whence
would he journey back to reoccupy that body when what we call
consciousness returned to him? The first wordmuch less the last
of the phenomena of personality and consciousness yet remains to be
uttered by the psychologists.

Pondering thusI chanced to lift my eyesand the glorious spectacle
of the Elsinore burst upon me. I had been so long on boardand in


board of herthat I had forgotten she was a white-painted ship. So
low to the water was her hullso delicate and slenderthat the
tallsky-reaching spars and masts and the hugeness of the spread of
canvas seemed preposterous and impossiblean insolent derision of
the law of gravitation. It required effort to realize that that slim
curve of hull inclosed and bore up from the sea's bottom five
thousand tons of coal. And againit seemed a miracle that the mites
of men had conceived and constructed so stately and magnificent an
element-defying fabric--mites of menmost woefully like the Greek at
my feetprone to precipitation into the blackness by means of a rap
on the head with a piece of wood.

Tony made a struggling noise in his throatthen coughed and groaned.
From somewhere he was reappearing. I noticed Mr. Pike look at him
quicklyas if apprehending some recrudescence of frenzy that would
require more boat-stretcher. But Tony merely fluttered his big black
eyes open and stared at me for a long minute of incurious amaze ere
he closed them again.

What are you going to do with him?I asked the mate.

Put 'm back to work,was the reply. "It's all he's good forand
he ain't hurt. Somebody's got to work this ship around the Horn."

When we hoisted the boat on board I found Miss West had gone below.
In the chart-room Captain West was winding the chronometers. Mr.
Mellaire had turned in to catch an hour or two of sleep ere his watch
on deck at noon. Mr. Mellaireby the wayas I have forgotten to
statedoes not sleep aft. He shares a room in the 'midship-house
with Mr. Pike's Nancy.

Nobody showed sympathy for the unfortunate Greek. He was bundled out
upon Number Two hatch like so much carrion and left there unattended
to recover consciousness as he might elect. Yesand so inured have
I become that I make free to admit I felt no sympathy for him myself.
My eyes were still filled with the beauty of the Elsinore. One does
grow hard at sea.

CHAPTER XIX

One does not mind the trades. We have held the north-east trade for
days nowand the miles roll off behind us as the patent log whirls
and tinkles on the taffrail. Yesterdaylog and observation
approximated a run of two hundred and fifty-two miles; the day before
we ran two hundred and fortyand the day before that two hundred and
sixty-one. But one does not appreciate the force of the wind. So
balmy and exhilarating is it that it is so much atmospheric wine. I
delight to open my lungs and my pores to it. Nor does it chill. At
any hour of the nightwhile the cabin lies asleepI break off from
my reading and go up on the poop in the thinnest of tropical pyjamas.

I never knew before what the trade wind was. And now I am infatuated
with it. I stroll up and down for an hour at a timewith whichever
mate has the watch. Mr. Mellaire is always full-garmentedbut Mr.
Pikeon these delicious nightsstands his first watch after
midnight in his pyjamas. He is a fearfully muscular man. Sixty-nine
years seem impossible when I see his singleslimpsy garments pressed
like fleshings against his form and bulged by heavy bone and huge
muscle. A splendid figure of a man! What he must have been in the
hey-day of youth two score years and more ago passes comprehension.


The daysso filled with simple routinepass as in a dream. Here
where time is rigidly measured and emphasized by the changing of the
watcheswhere every hour and half-hour is persistently brought to
one's notice by the striking of the ship's bells fore and afttime
ceases. Days merge into daysand weeks slip into weeksand Ifor
onecan never remember the day of the week or month.

The Elsinore is never totally asleep. Day and nightalwaysthere
are the men on watchthe look-out on the forecastle headthe man at
the wheeland the officer of the deck. I lie reading in my bunk
which is on the weather sideand continually over my head during the
long night hours impact the footsteps of one mate or the other
pacing up and downandas I well knowthe man himself is for ever
peering for'ard from the break of the poopor glancing into the
binnacleor feeling and gauging the weight and direction of wind on
his cheekor watching the cloud-stuff in the sky adrift and a-scud
across the stars and the moon. Alwaysalwaysthere are wakeful
eyes on the Elsinore.

Last nightor this morningratherabout two o'clockas I lay with
the printed page swimming drowsily before meI was aroused by an
abrupt outbreak of snarl from Mr. Pike. I located him as at the
break of the poop; and the man at whom he snarled was Larry
evidently on the main deck beneath him. Not until Wada brought me
breakfast did I learn what had occurred.

Larrywith his funny pug nosehis curiously flat and twisted face
and his querulousplaintive chimpanzee eyeshad been moved by some
unlucky whim to venture an insolent remark under the cover of
darkness on the main deck. But Mr. Pikefrom aboveat the break of
the poophad picked the offender unerringly. This was when the
explosion occurred. Then the unfortunate Larrytruly half-devil and
all childhad waxed sullen and retorted still more insolently; and
the next he knewthe matedescending upon him like a hurricanehad
handcuffed him to the mizzen fife-rail.

Imagineon Mr. Pike's partthat this was one for Larry and at least
ten for Kid TwistNosey Murphyand Bert Rhine. I'll not be so
absurd as to say that the mate is afraid of those gangsters. I doubt
if he has ever experienced fear. It is not in him. On the other
handI am confident that he apprehends trouble from these menand
that it was for their benefit he made this example of Larry.

Larry could stand no more than an hour in ironsat which time his
stupid brutishness overcame any fear he might have possessedbecause
he bellowed out to the poop to come down and loose him for a fair
fight. Promptly Mr. Pike was there with the key to the handcuffs.
As if Larry had the shred of a chance against that redoubtable aged
man! Wada reported that Larryamongst other thingshad lost a
couple of front teeth and was laid up in his bunk for the day. When
I met Mr. Pike on deck after eight o'clock I glanced at his knuckles.
They verified Wada's tale.

I cannot help being amused by the keen interest I take in little
events like the foregoing. Not only has time ceasedbut the world
has ceased. Strange it iswhen I come to think of itin all these
weeks I have received no letterno telephone callno telegramno
visitor. I have not been to the play. I have not read a newspaper.
So far as I am concernedthere are no plays nor newspapers. All
such things have vanished with the vanished world. All that exists
is the Elsinorewith her queer human freightage and her cargo of
coalcleaving a rotund of ocean of which the skyline is a dozen
miles away.


I am reminded of Captain Scottfrozen on his south-polar venture
who for ten months after his death was believed by the world to be
alive. Not until the world learned of his death was he anything but
alive to the world. By the same tokenwas he not alive? And by the
same tokenhere on the Elsinorehas not the land-world ceased? May
not the pupil of one's eye benot merely the centre of the world
but the world itself? Trulyit is tenable that the world exists
only in consciousness. "The world is my idea said Schopenhauer.
Said Jules de Gaultier, The world is my invention." His dogma was
that imagination created the Real. AhmeI know that the practical
Miss West would dub my metaphysics a depressing and unhealthful
exercise of my wits.


To-dayin our deck chairs on the poopI read The Daughters of
Herodias to Miss West. It was superb in its effect--just what I had
expected of her. She hemstitched a fine white linen handkerchief for
her father while I read. (She is never idlebeing so essentially a
nest-maker and comfort-producer and race-conserver; and she has a
whole pile of these handkerchiefs for her father.)


She smiledhow shall I say?--ohincredulouslytriumphantlyoh
with all the sure wisdom of all the generations of women in her warm
long gray eyeswhen I read:


But they smile innocently and dance on,
Having no thought but this unslumbering thought:
'Am I not beautiful? Shall I not be loved?'
Be patient, for they will not understand,
Not till the end of time will they put by
The weaving of slow steps about men's hearts.


But it is well for the world that it is so,was her comment.


AhSymons knew women! His perfect knowledge she attested when I
read that magnificent passage:


They do not understand that in the world
There grows between the sunlight and the grass
Anything save themselves desirable.
It seems to them that the swift eyes of men
Are made but to be mirrors, not to see
Far-off, disastrous, unattainable things.
'For are not we,' they say, 'the end of all?
Why should you look beyond us? If you look
Into the night, you will find nothing there:
We also have gazed often at the stars.'


It is true,said Miss Westin the pause I permitted in order to
see how she had received the thought. "We also have gazed often at
the stars."


It was the very thing I had predicted to her face that she would say.


But wait,I cried. "Let me read on." And I read:


'We, we alone among all beautiful things,
We only are real: for the rest are dreams.
Why will you follow after wandering dreams



When we await you? And you can but dream
Of us, and in our image fashion them.'

True, most true,she murmuredwhile all unconsciously pride and
power mounted in her eyes.

A wonderful poem,she conceded--nayproclaimed--when I had done.

But do you not see . . .I began impulsivelythen abandoned the
attempt. For how could she seebeing womanthe "far-off
disastrousunattainable things when she, as she so stoutly
averred, had gazed often on the stars?

She? What could she see, save what all women see--that they only are
real, and that all the rest are dreams.

I am proud to be a daughter of Herodias said Miss West.

Well I admitted lamely, we agree. You remember it is what I told
you you were."

I am grateful for the compliment,she said; and in those long gray
eyes of hers were limned and coloured all the satisfactionand selfcertitude
and answering complacency of power that constitute so large
a part of the seductive mystery and mastery that is possessed by
woman.

CHAPTER XX

Heavens!--how I read in this fine weather. I take so little exercise
that my sleep need is very small; and there are so few interruptions
such as life teems with on the landthat I read myself almost
stupid. Recommend me a sea-voyage any time for a man who is behind
in his reading. I am making up years of it. It is an orgya
debauch; and I am sure the addled sailors adjudge me the queerest
creature on board.

At timesso fuzzy do I get from so much readingthat I am glad for
any diversion. When we strike the doldrumswhich lie between the
north-east and the south-east tradesI shall have Wada assemble my
little twenty-two automatic rifle and try to learn how to shoot. I
used to shootwhen I was a wee lad. I can remember dragging a shotgun
around with me over the hills. AlsoI possessed an air-rifle
with whichon great occasionI was even able to slaughter a robin.

While the poop is quite large for promenadingthe available space
for deck-chairs is limited to the awnings that stretch across from
either side of the chart-house and that are of the width of the
chart-house. This space again is restricted to one side or the other
according to the slant of the morning and afternoon sun and the
freshness of the breeze. WhereforeMiss West's chair and mine are
most frequently side by side. Captain West has a chairwhich he
infrequently occupies. He has so little to do in the working of the
shiptaking his regular observations and working them up with such
celeritythat he is rarely in the chart-room for any length of time.
He elects to spend his hours in the main cabinnot readingnot
doing anything save dream with eyes wide open in the draught of wind
that pours through the open ports and door from out the huge crojack
and the jigger staysails.


Miss West is never idle. Belowin the big after-roomshe does her
own laundering. Nor will she let the steward touch her father's fine
linen. In the main cabin she has installed a sewing-machine. All
hand-stitchingand embroideringand fancy work she does in the
deck-chair beside me. She avers that she loves the sea and the
atmosphere of sea-lifeyetverilyshe has brought her home-things
and land-things along with her--even to her pretty china for
afternoon tea.

Most essentially is she the woman and home-maker. She is a born
cook. The steward and Louis prepare dishes extraordinary and de luxe
for the cabin table; yet Miss West is able at a moment's notice to
improve on these dishes. She never lets any of their dishes come on
the table without first planning them or passing on them. She has
quick judgmentan unerring tasteand is possessed of the needful
steel of decision. It seems she has only to look at a dishno
matter who has cooked itand immediately divine its lack or its
surplusageand prescribe a treatment that transforms it into
something indescribably different and delicious--Myhow I do eat! I
am quite dumbfounded by the unfailing voracity of my appetite.
Already am I quite convinced that I am glad Miss West is making the
voyage.

She has sailed "out East as she quaintly calls it, and has an
enormous repertoire of tasty, spicy, Eastern dishes. In the cooking
of rice Louis is a master; but in the making of the accompanying
curry he fades into a blundering amateur compared with Miss West. In
the matter of curry she is a sheer genius. How often one's thoughts
dwell upon food when at sea!

So in this trade-wind weather I see a great deal of Miss West. I
read all the time, and quite a good part of the time I read aloud to
her passages, and even books, with which I am interested in trying
her out. Then, too, such reading gives rise to discussions, and she
has not yet uttered anything that would lead me to change my first
judgment of her. She is a genuine daughter of Herodias.

And yet she is not what one would call a cute girl. She isn't a
girl, she is a mature woman with all the freshness of a girl. She
has the carriage, the attitude of mind, the aplomb of a woman, and
yet she cannot be described as being in the slightest degree stately.
She is generous, dependable, sensible--yes, and sensitive; and her
superabundant vitality, the vitality that makes her walk so
gloriously, discounts the maturity of her. Sometimes she seems all
of thirty to me; at other times, when her spirits and risibilities
are aroused, she scarcely seems thirteen. I shall make a point of
asking Captain West the date of the Dixie's collision with that river
steamer in San Francisco Bay. In a word, she is the most normal, the
most healthy, natural woman I have ever known.

Yes, and she is feminine, despite, no matter how she does her hair,
that it is as invariably smooth and well-groomed as all the rest of
her. On the other hand, this perpetual well-groomedness is relieved
by the latitude of dress she allows herself. She never fails of
being a woman. Her sex, and the lure of it, is ever present.
Possibly she may possess high collars, but I have never seen her in
one on board. Her blouses are always open at the throat, disclosing
one of her choicest assets, the muscular, adequate neck, with its
fine-textured garmenture of skin. I embarrass myself by stealing
long glances at that bare throat of hers and at the hint of fine,
firm-surfaced shoulder.

Visiting the chickens has developed into a regular function. At


least once each day we make the journey for'ard along the bridge to
the top of the 'midship-house. Possum, who is now convalescent,
accompanies us. The steward makes a point of being there so as to
receive instructions and report the egg-output and laying conduct of
the many hens. At the present time our four dozen hens are laying
two dozen eggs a day, with which record Miss West is greatly elated.

Already she has given names to most of them. The cock is Peter, of
course. A much-speckled hen is Dolly Varden. A slim, trim thing
that dogs Peter's heels she calls Cleopatra. Another hen--the
mellowest-voiced one of all--she addresses as Bernhardt. One thing I
have noted: whenever she and the steward have passed death sentence
on a non-laying hen (which occurs regularly once a week), she takes
no part in the eating of the meat, not even when it is metamorphosed
into one of her delectable curries. At such times she has a special
curry made for herself of tinned lobster, or shrimp, or tinned
chicken.

Ah, I must not forget. I have learned that it was no man-interest
(in me, if you please) that brought about her sudden interest to come
on the voyage. It was for her father that she came. Something is
the matter with Captain West. At rare moments I have observed her
gazing at him with a world of solicitude and anxiety in her eyes.

I was telling an amusing story at table yesterday midday, when my
glance chanced to rest upon Miss West. She was not listening. Her
food on her fork was suspended in the air a sheer instant as she
looked at her father with all her eyes. It was a stare of fear. She
realized that I was observing, and with superb control, slowly, quite
naturally, she lowered the fork and rested it on her plate, retaining
her hold on it and retaining her father's face in her look.

But I had seen. Yes; I had seen more than that. I had seen Captain
West's face a transparent white, while his eyelids fluttered down and
his lips moved noiselessly. Then the eyelids raised, the lips set
again with their habitual discipline, and the colour slowly returned
to his face. It was as if he had been away for a time and just
returned. But I had seen, and guessed her secret.

And yet it was this same Captain West, seven hours later, who
chastened the proud sailor spirit of Mr. Pike. It was in the second
dog-watch that evening, a dark night, and the watch was pulling away
on the main deck. I had just come out of the chart-house door and
seen Captain West pace by me, hands in pockets, toward the break of
the poop. Abruptly, from the mizzen-mast, came a snap of breakage
and crash of fabric. At the same instant the men fell backward and
sprawled over the deck.

A moment of silence followed, and then Captain West's voice went out:

What carried awayMr. Pike?"

The halyards, sir,came the reply out of the darkness.

There was a pause. Again Captain West's voice went out.

Next time slack away on your sheet first.

Now Mr. Pike is incontestably a splendid seaman. Yet in this
instance he had been wrong. I have come to know himand I can well
imagine the hurt to his pride. And more--he has a wickedresentful
primitive natureand though he answered respectfully enoughYes,
sir,I felt safe in predicting to myself that the poor devils under
him would receive the weight of his resentment in the later watches


of the night.

They evidently did; for this morning I noted a black eye on John
Hackeya San Francisco hoodlumand Guido Bombini was carrying a
freshly and outrageously swollen jaw. I asked Wada about the matter
and he soon brought me the news. Quite a bit of beating up takes
place for'ard of the deck-houses in the night watches while we of the
after-guard peacefully slumber.

Even to-day Mr. Pike is going around sullen and morosesnarling at
the men more than usualand barely polite to Miss West and me when
we chance to address him. His replies are grunted in monosyllables
and his face is set in superlative sourness. Miss West who is
unaware of the occurrencelaughs and calls it a "sea grouch"--a
phenomenon with which she claims large experience.

But I know Mr. Pike now--the stubbornwonderful old sea-dog. It
will be three days before he is himself again. He takes a terrible
pride in his seamanshipand what hurts him most is the knowledge
that he was guilty of the blunder.

CHAPTER XXI

To-daytwenty-eight days outin the early morningwhile I was
drinking my coffeestill carrying the north-east tradewe crossed
the line. And Charles Davis signalized the event by murdering
O'Sullivan. It was Boneythe lanky splinter of a youth in Mr.
Mellaire's watchwho brought the news. The second mate and I had
just arrived in the hospital roomwhen Mr. Pike entered.

O'Sullivan's troubles were over. The man in the upper bunk had
completed the madsad span of his life with the marlin-spike.

I cannot understand this Charles Davis. He sat up calmly in his
bunkand calmly lighted his pipe ere he replied to Mr. Mellaire. He
certainly is not insane. Yet deliberatelyin cold bloodhe has
murdered a helpless man.

What'd you do it for?Mr. Mellaire demanded.

Because, sir,said Charles Davisapplying a second match to his
pipebecause--puffpuff--"he bothered my sleep." Here he caught
Mr. Pike's glowering eye. "Because"--puffpuff--"he annoyed me.
The next time"--puffpuff--"I hope better judgment will be shown in
what kind of a man is put in with me. Besides"--puffpuff--"this
top bunk ain't no place for me. It hurts me to get into it"--puff
puff--"an' I'm gem' back to that lower bunk as soon as you get
O'Sullivan out of it."

But what'd you do it for?Mr. Pike snarled.

I told you, sir, because he annoyed me. I got tired of it, an' so,
this morning, I just put him out of his misery. An' what are you
goin' to do about it? The man's dead, ain't he? An' I killed 'm in
self-defence. I know the law. What right'd you to put a ravin'
lunatic in with me, an' me sick an' helpless?

By God, Davis!the mate burst forth. "You'll never draw your payday
in Seattle. I'll fix you out for thiskilling a crazy lashed
down in his bunk an' harmless. You'll follow 'm oversidemy


hearty."

If I do, you'll hang for it, sir,Davis retorted. He turned his
cool eyes on me. "An' I call on yousirto witness the threats
he's made. An' you'll testify to themtooin court. An' he'll
hang as sure as I go over the side. OhI know his record. He's
afraid to face a court with it. He's been up too many a time with
charges of man-killin' an' brutality on the high seas. An' a man
could retire for life an live off the interest of the fines he's
paidor his owners paid for him--"

Shut your mouth or I'll knock it out of your face!Mr. Pike roared
springing toward him with clenchedup-raised fist.

Davis involuntarily shrank away. His flesh was weakbut not so his
spirit. He got himself promptly in hand and struck another match.

You can't get my goat, sir,he sneeredunder the shadow of the
impending blow. "I ain't scared to die. A man's got to die once
anywayan' it's none so hard a trick to do when you can't help it.
O'Sullivan died so easy it was amazin'. BesidesI ain't goin' to
die. I'm goin' to finish this voyagean' sue the owners when I get
to Seattle. I know my rights an' the law. An' I got witnesses."

TrulyI was divided between admiration for the courage of this
wretched sailor and sympathy for Mr. Pike thus bearded by a sick man
he could not bring himself to strike.

Nevertheless he sprang upon the man with calculated furygripped him
between the base of the neck and the shoulders with both gnarled
pawsand shook him back and forthviolently and frightfullyfor a
full minute. It was a wonder the man's neck was not dislocated.

I call on you to witness, sir,Davis gasped at me the instant he
was free.

He coughed and strangledfelt his throatand made wry neckmovements
indicative of injury.

The marks'll begin to show in a few minutes,he murmured
complacently as his dizziness left him and his breath came back.

This was too much for Mr. Pikewho turned and left the room
growling and cursing incoherentlydeep in his throat. When I made
my departurea moment laterDavis was refilling his pipe and
telling Mr. Mellaire that he'd have him up for a witness in Seattle.

So we have had another burial at sea. Mr. Pike was vexed by it
because the Elsinoreaccording to sea traditionwas going too fast
through the water for a proper ceremony. Thus a few minutes of the
voyage were lost by backing the Elsinore's main-topsail and deadening
her way while the service was read and O'Sullivan was slid overboard
with the inevitable sack of coal at his feet.

Hope the coal holds out,Mr. Pike grumbled morosely at me five
minutes later.

And we sit on the poopMiss West and Itended on by servants
sipping afternoon teasewing fancy workdiscussing philosophy and
artwhile a few feet away from uson this tiny floating worldall
the grimysordid tragedy of sordidmalformedbrutish life plays
itself out. And Captain Westremoteuntroubledsits dreaming in


the twilight cabin while the draught of wind from the crojack blows
upon him through the open ports. He has no doubtsno worries. He
believes in God. All is settled and clear and well as he nears his
far home. His serenity is vast and enviable. But I cannot shake
from my eyes that vision of him when life forsook his veinsand his
mouth slackedand his eyelids closedwhile his face took on the
white transparency of death.

I wonder who will be the next to finish the game and depart with a
sack of coal.

Oh, this is nothing, sir,Mr. Mellaire remarked to me cheerfully as
we strolled the poop during the first watch. "I was once on a voyage
on a tramp steamer loaded with four hundred Chinks--I beg your
pardonsir--Chinese. They were cooliescontract labourerscoming
back from serving their time.

And the cholera broke out. We hove over three hundred of them
overboard, sir, along with both bosuns, most of the Lascar crew, and
the captain, the mate, the third mate, and the first and third
engineers. The second and one white oiler was all that was left
below, and I was in command on deck, when we made port. The doctors
wouldn't come aboard. They made me anchor in the outer roads and
told me to heave out my dead. There was some tall buryin' about that
time, Mr. Pathurst, and they went overboard without canvas, coal, or
iron. They had to. I had nobody to help me, and the Chinks below
wouldn't lift a hand.

I had to go down myselfdrag the bodies on to the slingsthen
climb on deck and heave them up with the donkey. And each trip I
took a drink. I was pretty drunk when the job was done."

And you never caught it yourself?I queried. Mr. Mellaire held up
his left hand. I had often noted that the index finger was missing.

That's all that happened to me, sir. The old man'd had a foxterrier
like yours. And after the old man passed out the puppy got
real, chummy with me. Just as I was making the hoist of the last
sling-load, what does the puppy do but jump on my leg and sniff my
hand. I turned to pat him, and the next I knew my other hand had
slipped into the gears and that finger wasn't there any more.

Heavens!" I cried. "What abominable luck to come through such a
terrible experience like that and then lose your finger!"

That's what I thought, sir,Mr. Mellaire agreed.

What did you do?I asked.

Oh, just held it up and looked at it, and said 'My goodness
gracious!' and took another drink.

And you didn't get the cholera afterwards?

No, sir. I reckon I was so full of alcohol the germs dropped dead
before they could get to me.He considered a moment. "Candidly
Mr. PathurstI don't know about that alcohol theory. The old man
and the mates died drunkand so did the third engineer. But the
chief was a teetotallerand he diedtoo."

Never again shall I wonder that the sea is hard. I walked apart from
the second mate and stared up at the magnificent fabric of the
Elsinore sweeping and swaying great blotting curves of darkness


across the face of the starry sky.

CHAPTER XXII

Something has happened. But nobody knowseither fore or aftexcept
the interested personsand they will not say anything. Yet the ship
is abuzz with rumours and guesses.

This I do know: Mr. Pike has received a fearful blow on the head.
At tableyesterdayat middayI arrived lateandpassing behind
his chairI saw a prodigious lump on top of his head. When I was
seatedfacing himI noted that his eyes seemed dazed; yesand I
could see pain in them. He took no part in the conversationate
perfunctorilybehaved stupidly at timesand it was patent that he
was controlling himself with an iron hand.

And nobody dares ask him what has happened. I know I don't dare ask
himand I am a passengera privileged person. This redoubtable old
sea-relic has inspired me with a respect for him that partakes half
of timidity and half of awe.

He acts as if he were suffering from concussion of the brain. His
pain is evidentnot alone in his eyes and the strained expression of
his facebut by his conduct when he thinks he is unobserved. Last
nightjust for a breath of air and a moment's gaze at the starsI
came out of the cabin door and stood on the main deck under the break
of the poop. From directly over my head came a low and persistent
groaning. My curiosity was arousedand I retreated into the cabin
came out softly on to the poop by way of the chart-houseand
strolled noiselessly for'ard in my slippers. It was Mr. Pike. He
was leaning collapsed on the railhis head resting on his arms. He
was giving voice in secret to the pain that racked him. A dozen feet
away he could not be heard. Butclose to his shoulderI could hear
his steadysmothered groaning that seemed to take the form of a
chant. Alsoat regular intervalshe would mutter:

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.Always he repeated
the phrase five timesthen returned to his groaning. I stole away
as silently as I had come.

Yet he resolutely stands his watches and performs all his duties of
chief officer. OhI forgot. Miss West dared to quiz himand he
replied that he had a toothacheand that if it didn't get better
he'd pull it out.

Wada cannot learn what has happened. There were no eye-witnesses.
He says that the Asiatic cliquediscussing the affair in the cook's
roomthinks the three gangsters are responsible. Bert Rhine is
carrying a lame shoulder. Nosey Murphy is limping as from some
injury in the hips. And Kid Twist has been so badly beaten that he
has not left his bunk for two days. And that is all the data to
build on. The gangsters are as close-mouthed as Mr. Pike. The
Asiatic clique has decided that murder was attempted and that all
that saved the mate was his hard skull.

Last eveningin the second dog-watchI got another proof that
Captain West is not so oblivious of what goes on aboard the Elsinore
as he seems. I had gone for'ard along the bridge to the mizzen-mast
in the shadow of which I was leaning. From the main deckin the
alley-way between the 'midship-house and the railcame the voices of


Bert RhineNosey Murphyand Mr. Mellaire. It was not ship's work.
They were having a friendlyeven sociable chatfor their voices
hummed geniallyand now and again one or another laughedand
sometimes all laughed.

I remembered Wada's reports on this unseamanlike intimacy of the
second mate with the gangstersand tried to make out the nature of
the conversation. But the gangsters were low-voicedand all I could
catch was the tone of friendliness and good-nature.

Suddenlyfrom the poopcame Captain West's voice. It was the
voicenot of the Samurai riding the stormbut of the Samurai calm
and cold. It was clearsoftand mellow as the mellowest bell ever
cast by eastern artificers of old time to call worshippers to prayer.
I know I slightly chilled to it--it was so exquisitely sweet and yet
as passionless as the ring of steel on a frosty night. And I knew
the effect on the men beneath me was electrical. I could FEEL them
stiffen and chill to it as I had stiffened and chilled. And yet all
he said was:

Mr. Mellaire.

Yes, sir,answered Mr. Mellaireafter a moment of tense silence.

Come aft here,came Captain West's voice.

I heard the second mate move along the deck beneath me and stop at
the foot of the poop-ladder.

Your place is aft on the poop, Mr. Mellaire,said the cold
passionless voice.

Yes, sir,answered the second mate.

That was all. Not another word was spoken. Captain West resumed his
stroll on the weather side of the poopand Mr. Mellaireascending
the ladderwent to pacing up and down the lee side.

I continued along the bridge to the forecastle head and purposely
remained there half an hour ere I returned to the cabin by way of the
main deck. Although I did not analyze my motiveI knew I did not
desire any one to know that I had overheard the occurrence.

I have made a discovery. Ninety per cent. of our crew is brunette.
Aftwith the exception of Wada and the stewardwho are our
servantswe are all blonds. What led me to this discovery was
Woodruff's Effects of Tropical Light on White Menwhich I am just
reading. Major Woodruff's thesis is that the white-skinnedblueeyed
Aryanborn to government and commandever leaving his
primevalovercast and foggy homeever commands and governs the rest
of the world and ever perishes because of the too-white light he
encounters. It is a very tenable hypothesisand will bear looking
into.

But to return. Every one of us who sits aft in the high place is a
blond Aryan. For'ardleavened with a ten per centof degenerate
blondsthe remaining ninety per centof the slaves that toil for us
are brunettes. They will not perish. According to Woodruffthey
will inherit the earthnot because of their capacity for mastery and
governmentbut because of their skin-pigmentation which enables
their tissues to resist the ravages of the sun.

And I look at the four of us at table--Captain Westhis daughter


Mr. Pikeand myself--all fair-skinnedblue-eyedand perishingyet
mastering and commandinglike our fathers before usto the end of
our type on the earth. Ahwellours is a lordly historyand
though we may be doomed to passin our time we shall have trod on
the faces of all peoplesdisciplined them to obediencetaught them
governmentand dwelt in the palaces we have compelled them by the
weight of our own right arms to build for us.

The Elsinore depicts this in miniature. The best of the food and all
spacious and beautiful accommodation is ours. For'ard is a pig-sty
and a slave-pen.

As a kingCaptain West sits above all. As a captain of soldiers
Mr. Pike enforces his king's will. Miss West is a princess of the
royal house. And I? Am I not an honourablenoble-lineaged
pensioner on the deeds and achievements of my fatherwhoin his
daycompelled thousands of the lesser types to the building of the
fortune I enjoy?

CHAPTER XXIII

The north-west trade carried us almost into the south-east tradeand
then left us for several days to roll and swelter in the doldrums.

During this time I have discovered that I have a genius for rifleshooting.
Mr. Pike swore I must have had long practice; and I
confess I was myself startled by the ease of the thing. Of course
it's the knack; but one must be so madeI supposein order to be
able to acquire the knack.

By the end of half an hourstanding on the heaving deck and shooting
at bottles floating on the rolling swellI found that I broke each
bottle at the first shot. The supply of empty bottles giving out
Mr. Pike was so interested that he had the carpenter saw me a lot of
small square blocks of hard wood. These were more satisfactory. A
well-aimed shot threw them out of the water and spinning into the
airand I could use a single block until it had drifted out of
range. In an hour's time I couldshooting quickly and at short
rangeempty my magazine at a block and hit it nine timesandon
occasionten timesout of eleven.

I might not have judged my aptitude as unusualhad I not induced
Miss West and Wada to try their hands. Neither had luck like mine.
I finally persuaded Mr. Pikeand he went behind the wheel-house so
that none of the crew might see how poor a shot he was. He was never
able to hit the markand was guilty of the most ludicrous misses.

I never could get the hang of rifle-shooting,he announced
disgustedlybut when it comes to close range with a gat I'm right
there. I guess I might as well overhaul mine and limber it up.

He went below and came back with a huge '44 automatic pistol and a
handful of loaded clips.

Anywhere from right against the body up to ten or twelve feet away,
holding for the stomach, it's astonishing, Mr. Pathurst, what you can
do with a weapon like this. Now you can't use a rifle in a mix-up.
I've been down and under, with a bunch giving me the boot, when I
turned loose with this. Talk about damage! It ranged them the full
length of their bodies. One of them'd just landed his brogans on my


face when I let'm have it. The bullet entered just above his knee,
smashed the collarbone, where it came out, and then clipped off an
ear. I guess that bullet's still going. It took more than a fullsized
man to stop it. So I say, give me a good handy gat when
something's doing.

Ain't you afraid you'll use all your ammunition up?he asked
anxiously half an hour lateras I continued to crack away with my
new toy.

He was quite reassured when I told him Wada had brought along fifty
thousand rounds for me.

In the midst of the shootingtwo sharks came swimming around. They
were quite largeMr. Pike saidand he estimated their length at
fifteen feet. It was Sunday morningso that the crewexcept for
working the shiphad its time to itselfand soon the carpenter
with a rope for a fish-line and a great iron hook baited with a chunk
of salt pork the size of my headcaptured first oneand then the
otherof the monsters. They were hoisted in on the main deck. And
then I saw a spectacle of the cruelty of the sea.

The full crew gathered about with sheath kniveshatchetsclubsand
big butcher knives borrowed from the galley. I shall not give the
detailssave that they gloated and lustedand roared and bellowed
their delight in the atrocities they committed. Finallythe first
of the two fish was thrown back into the ocean with a pointed stake
thrust into its upper and lower jaws so that it could not close its
mouth. Inevitable and prolonged starvation was the fate thus meted
out to it.

I'll show you something, boys,Andy Fay criedas they prepared to
handle the second shark.

The Maltese Cockney had been a most capable master of ceremonies with
the first one. More than anything elseI thinkwas I hardened
against these brutes by what I saw them do. In the endthe
maltreated fish thrashed about the deck entirely eviscerated.
Nothing remained but the mere flesh-shell of the creatureyet it
would not die. It was amazing the life that lingered when all the
vital organs were gone. But more amazing things were to follow.

Mulligan Jacobshis arms a butcher's to the elbowswithout as much
as "by your leave suddenly thrust a hunk of meat into my hand. I
sprang back, startled, and dropped it to the deck, while a gleeful
howl went up from the two-score men. I was shamed, despite myself.
These brutes held me in little respect; and, after all, human nature
is so strange a compound that even a philosopher dislikes being held
in disesteem by the brutes of his own species.

I looked at what I had dropped. It was the heart of the shark, and
as I looked, there under my eyes, on the scorching deck where the
pitch oozed from the seams, the heart pulsed with life.

And I dared. I would not permit these animals to laugh at any
fastidiousness of mine. I stooped and picked up the heart, and while
I concealed and conquered my qualms I held it in my hand and felt it
beat in my hand.

At any rate, I had won a mild victory over Mulligan Jacobs; for he
abandoned me for the more delectable diversion of torturing the shark
that would not die. For several minutes it had been lying quite
motionless. Mulligan Jacobs smote it a heavy blow on the nose with
the flat of a hatchet, and as the thing galvanized into life and


flung its body about the deck the little venomous man screamed in
ecstasy:

The hooks are in it!--the hooks are in it!--and burnin' hot!"

He squirmed and writhed with fiendish delightand again he struck it
on the nose and made it leap.

This was too muchand I beat a retreat--feigning boredomor
cessation of interestof course; and absently carrying the still
throbbing heart in my hand.

As I came upon the poop I saw Miss Westwith her sewing basket
emerging from the port door of the chart-house. The deck-chairs were
on that sideso I stole around on the starboard side of the charthouse
in order to fling overboard unobserved the dreadful thing I
carried. Butdrying on the surface in the tropic heat and still
pulsing insideit stuck to my handso that it was a bad cast.
Instead of clearing the railingit struck on the pin-rail and stuck
there in the shadeand as I opened the door to go below and wash my
handswith a last glance I saw it pulse where it had fallen.

When I came back it was still pulsing. I heard a splash overside
from the waist of the shipand knew the carcass had been flung
overboard. I did not go around the chart-house and join Miss West
but stood enthralled by the spectacle of that heart that beat in the
tropic heat.

Boisterous shouts from the sailors attracted my attention. They had
all climbed to the top of the tall rail and were watching something
outboard. I followed their gaze and saw the amazing thing. That
long-eviscerated shark was not dead. It movedit swamit thrashed
aboutand ever it strove to escape from the surface of the ocean.
Sometimes it swam down as deep as fifty or a hundred feetand then
still struggling to escape the surfacestruggled involuntarily to
the surface. Each failure thus to escape fetched wild laughter from
the men. But why did they laugh? The thing was sublimehorrible
but it was not humorous. I leave it to you. What is there laughable
in the sight of a pain-distraught fish rolling helplessly on the
surface of the sea and exposing to the sun all its essential
emptiness?

I was turning awaywhen renewed shouting drew my gaze. Half a dozen
other sharks had appearedsmaller onesnine or ten feet long. They
attacked their helpless comrade. They tore him to pieces they
destroyed himdevoured him. I saw the last shred of him disappear
down their maws. He was gonedisintegratedentombed in the living
bodies of his kindand already entering into the processes of
digestion. And yettherein the shade on the pin-railthat
unbelievable and monstrous heart beat on.

CHAPTER XXIV

The voyage is doomed to disaster and death. I know Mr. Pikenow
and if ever he discovers the identity of Mr. Mellairemurder will be
done. Mr. Mellaire is not Mr. Mellaire. He is not from Georgia. He
is from Virginia. His name is Waltham--Sidney Waltham. He is one of
the Walthams of Virginiaa black sheeptruebut a Waltham. Of
this I am convincedjust as utterly as I am convinced that Mr. Pike
will kill him if he learns who he is.


Let me tell how I have discovered all this. It was last night
shortly before midnightwhen I came up on the poop to enjoy a whiff
of the south-east trades in which we are now bowling alongclosehauled
in order to weather Cape San Roque. Mr. Pike had the watch
and I paced up and down with him while he told me old pages of his
life. He has often done thiswhen not "sea-grouched and often he
has mentioned with pride--yes, with reverence--a master with whom he
sailed five years. Old Captain Somers he called him--the finest
squarestnoblest man I ever sailed undersir."

Welllast night our talk turned on lugubrious subjectsand Mr.
Pikewicked old man that he isdescanted on the wickedness of the
world and on the wickedness of the man who had murdered Captain
Somers.

He was an old man, over seventy years old,Mr. Pike went on. "And
they say he'd got a touch of palsy--I hadn't seen him for years. You
seeI'd had to clear out from the coast because of trouble. And
that devil of a second mate caught him in bed late at night and beat
him to death. It was terrible. They told me about it. Right in San
Franciscoon board the Jason Harrisonit happenedeleven years
ago.

And do you know what they did? First, they gave the murderer life,
when he should have been hanged. His plea was insanity, from having
had his head chopped open a long time before by a crazy sea-cook.
And when he'd served seven years the governor pardoned him. He
wasn't any good, but his people were a powerful old Virginian family,
the Walthams--I guess you've heard of them--and they brought all
kinds of pressure to bear. His name was Sidney Waltham.

At this moment the warning bella single stroke fifteen minutes
before the change of watchrang out from the wheel and was repeated
by the look-out on the forecastle head. Mr. Pikeunder his stress
of feelinghad stopped walkingand we stood at the break of the
poop. As chance would have itMr. Mellaire was a quarter of an hour
ahead of timeand he climbed the poop-ladder and stood beside us
while the mate concluded his tale.

I didn't mind it,Mr. Pike continuedas long as he'd got life and
was serving his time. But when they pardoned him out after only
seven years I swore I'd get him. And I will. I don't believe in God
or devil, and it's a rotten crazy world anyway; but I do believe in
hunches. And I know I'm going to get him.

What will you do?I queried.

Do?Mr. Pike's voice was fraught with surprise that I should not
know. "Do? Wellwhat did he do to old Captain Somers? Yet he's
disappeared these last three years now. I've heard neither hide nor
hair of him. But he's a sailorand he'll drift back to the seaand
some day . . . "

In the illumination of a match with which the second mate was
lighting his pipe I saw Mr. Pike's gorilla arms and huge clenched
paws raised to heavenand his face convulsed and working. Alsoin
that brief moment of lightI saw that the second mate's hand which
held the match was shaking.

And I ain't never seen even a photo of him,Mr. Pike added. "But
I've got a general idea of his looksand he's got a mark
unmistakable. I could know him by it in the dark. All I'd have to
do is feel it. Some day I'll stick my fingers into that mark."


What did you say, sir, was the captain's name?Mr. Mellaire asked
casually.

Somers--old Captain Somers,Mr. Pike answered.

Mr. Mellaire repeated the name aloud several timesand then
hazarded:

Didn't he command the Lammermoor thirty years ago?

That's the man.

I thought I recognized him. I lay at anchor in a ship next to his
in Table Bay that time ago.

Oh, the wickedness of the world, the wickedness of the world,Mr.
Pike muttered as he turned and strode away.

I said good-night to the second mate and had started to go below
when he called to me in a low voiceMr. Pathurst!

I stoppedand then he saidhurriedly and confusedly:

Never mind, sir . . . I beg your pardon . . . I--I changed my mind.

Belowlying in my bunkI found myself unable to read. My mind was
bent on returning to what had just occurred on deckandagainst my
willthe most gruesome speculations kept suggesting themselves.

And then came Mr. Mellaire. He had slipped down the booby hatch into
the big after-room and thence through the hallway to my room. He
entered noiselesslyon clumsy tiptoesand pressed his finger
warningly to his lips. Not until he was beside my bunk did he speak
and then it was in a whisper.

I beg your pardon, sir, Mr. Pathurst . . . I--I beg your pardon;
but, you see, sir, I was just passing, and seeing you awake I . . . I
thought it would not inconvenience you to . . . you see, I thought I
might just as well prefer a small favour . . . seeing that I would
not inconvenience you, sir . . . I . . . I . . .

I waited for him to proceedand in the pause that ensuedwhile he
licked his dry lips with his tonguethe thing ambushed in his skull
peered at me through his eyes and seemed almost on the verge of
leaping out and pouncing upon me.

Well, sir,he began againthis time more coherentlyit's just a
little thing--foolish on my part, of course--a whim, so to say--but
you will remember, near the beginning of the voyage, I showed you a
scar on my head . . . a really small affair, sir, which I contracted
in a misadventure. It amounts to a deformity, which it is my fancy
to conceal. Not for worlds, sir, would I care to have Miss West, for
instance, know that I carried such a deformity. A man is a man, sir-
you understand--and you have not spoken of it to her?

No,I replied. "It just happens that I have not."

Nor to anybody else?--to, say, Captain West?--or, say, Mr. Pike?

No, I haven't mentioned it to anybody,I averred.

He could not conceal the relief he experienced. The perturbation
went out of his face and mannerand the ambushed thing drew back


deeper into the recess of his skull.

The favour, sir, Mr. Pathurst, that I would prefer is that you will
not mention that little matter to anybody. I suppose(he smiled
and his voice was superlatively suave) "it is vanity on my part--you
understandI am sure."

I noddedand made a restless movement with my book as evidence that
I desired to resume my reading.

I can depend upon you for that, Mr. Pathurst?His whole voice and
manner had changed. It was practically a commandand I could almost
see fangsbared and menacingsprouting in the jaws of that thing I
fancied dwelt behind his eyes.

Certainly,I answered coldly.

Thank you, sir--I thank you,he saidandwithout more ado
tiptoed from the room.

Of course I did not read. How could I? Nor did I sleep. My mind
ran onand onand not until the steward brought my coffeeshortly
before fivedid I sink into my first doze.

One thing is very evident. Mr. Pike does not dream that the murderer
of Captain Somers is on board the Elsinore. He has never glimpsed
that prodigious fissure that clefts Mr. Mellaire'sorrather
Sidney Waltham'sskull. And Ifor oneshall never tell Mr. Pike.
And I knownowwhy from the very first I disliked the second mate.
And I understand that live thingthat other thingthat lurks within
and peers out through the eyes. I have recognized the same thing in
the three gangsters for'ard. Like the second matethey are prison
birds. The restraintthe secrecyand iron control of prison life
has developed in all of them terrible other selves.

Yesand another thing is very evident. On board this shipdriving
now through the South Atlantic for the winter passage of Cape Horn
are all the elements of sea tragedy and horror. We are freighted
with human dynamite that is liable at any moment to blow our tiny
floating world to fragments.

CHAPTER XXV

The days slip by. The south-east trade is brisk and small splashes
of sea occasionally invade my open ports. Mr. Pike's room was soaked
yesterday. This is the most exciting thing that has happened for
some time. The gangsters rule in the forecastle. Larry and Shorty
have had a harmless FIGHT. The hooks continue to burn in Mulligan
Jacobs's brain. Charles Davis resides alone in his little steel
roomcoming out only to get his food from the galley. Miss West
plays and singsdoctors Possumlaundersand is for ever otherwise
busy with her fancy work. Mr. Pike runs the phonograph every other
evening in the second dog-watch. Mr. Mellaire hides the cleft in his
head. I keep his secret. And Captain Westmore remote than ever
sits in the draught of wind in the twilight cabin.

We are now thirty-seven days at seain which timeuntil to-daywe
have not sighted a vessel. And to-dayat one timeno less than six
vessels were visible from the deck. Not until I saw these ships was
I able thoroughly to realize how lonely this ocean is.


Mr. Pike tells me we are several hundred miles off the South American
coast. And yetonly the other dayit seemswe were scarcely more
distant from Africa. A big velvety moth fluttered aboard this
morningand we are filled with conjecture. How possibly could it
have come from the South American coast these hundreds of miles in
the teeth of the trades?

The Southern Cross has been visibleof coursefor weeks; the North
Star has disappeared behind the bulge of the earth; and the Great
Bearat its highestis very low. Soon ittoowill be gone and we
shall be raising the Magellan Clouds.

I remember the fight between Larry and Shorty. Wada reports that Mr.
Pike watched it for some timeuntilbecoming incensed at their
awkwardnesshe clouted both of them with his open hands and made
them stopannouncing that until they could make a better showing he
intended doing all the fighting on the Elsinore himself.

It is a feat beyond me to realize that he is sixty-nine years old.
And when I look at the tremendous build of him and at his fearful
man-handling handsI conjure up a vision of him avenging Captain
Somers's murder.

Life is cruel. Amongst the Elsinore's five thousand tons of coal are
thousands of rats. There is no way for them to get out of their
steel-walled prisonfor all the ventilators are guarded with stout
wire-mesh. On her previous voyageloaded with barleythey
increased and multiplied. Now they are imprisoned in the coaland
cannibalism is what must occur among them. Mr. Pike says that when
we reach Seattle there will be a dozen or a score of survivorshuge
fellowsthe strongest and fiercest. Sometimespassing the mouth of
one ventilator that is in the after wall of the chart-houseI can
hear their plaintive squealing and crying from far beneath in the
coal.

Other and luckier rats are in the 'tween decks for'ardwhere all the
spare suits of sails are stored. They come out and run about the
deck at nightsteal food from the galleyand lap up the dew. Which
reminds me that Mr. Pike will no longer look at Possum. It seems
under his suggestionthat Wada trapped a rat in the donkey-engine
room. Wada swears that it was the father of all ratsand thatby
actual measurementit scaled eighteen inches from nose to the tip of
tail. Alsoit seems that Mr. Pike and Wadawith the door shut in
the former's roompitted the rat against Possumand that Possum was
licked. They were compelled to kill the rat themselveswhile
Possumwhen all was overlay down and had a fit.

Now Mr. Pike abhors a cowardand his disgust with Possum is
profound. He no longer plays with the puppynor even speaks to him
andwhenever he passes him on the deckglowers sourly at him.

I have been reading up the South Atlantic Sailing Directionsand I
find that we are now entering the most beautiful sunset region in the
world. And this evening we were favoured with a sample. I was in my
quartersoverhauling my bookswhen Miss West called to me from the
foot of the chart-house stairs:

Mr. Pathurst!--Come quick! Oh, do come quick! You can't afford to
miss it!

Half the skyfrom the zenith to the western sea-linewas an
astonishing sheet of purepaleeven gold. And through this sheen
on the horizonburned the suna disc of richer gold. The gold of


the sky grew more goldenthen tarnished before our eyes and began to
glow faintly with red. As the red deepeneda mist spread over the
whole sheet of gold and the burning yellow sun. Turner was never
guilty of so audacious an orgy in gold-mist.

Presentlyalong the horizonentirely completing the circle of sea
and skythe tight-packed shapes of the trade wind clouds began to
show through the mist; and as they took form they spilled with rosecolour
at their upper edgeswhile their bases were a pulsing
bluish-white. I say it advisedly. All the colours of this display
PULSED.

As the gold-mist continued to clear awaythe colours became garish
bold; the turquoises went into greens and the roses turned to the red
of blood. And the purple and indigo of the long swells of sea were
bronzed with the colour-riot in the skywhile across the waterlike
gigantic serpentscrawled red and green sky-reflections. And then
all the gorgeousness quickly dulledand the warmtropic darkness
drew about us.

CHAPTER XXVI

The Elsinore is truly the ship of soulsthe world in miniature; and
because she is such a small worldcleaving this vastitude of ocean
as our larger world cleaves spacethe strange juxtapositions that
continually occur are startling.

For instancethis afternoon on the poop. Let me describe it. Here
was Miss Westin a crisp duck sailor suitimmaculately whiteopen
at the throatwhereunder the broad collarwas knotted a man-ofwar
black silk neckerchief. Her smooth-groomed haira trifle
rebellious in the breezewas glorious. And here was Iin white
duckswhite shoesand white silk shirtas immaculate and welltended
as she. The steward was just bringing the pretty tea-service
for Miss Westand in the background Wada hovered.

We had been discussing philosophy--orratherI had been feeling her
out; and from a sketch of Spinoza's anticipations of the modern mind
through the speculative interpretations of the latest achievements in
physics of Sir Oliver Lodge and Sir William RamsayI had comeas
usualto De Cassereswhom I was quotingwhen Mr. Pike snarled
orders to the watch.

'In this rise into the azure of pure perception, attainable only by
a very few human beings, the spectacular sense is born,'.I was
quoting. "'Life is no longer good or evil. It is a perpetual play
of forces without beginning or end. The freed Intellect merges
itself with the World-Will and partakes of its essencewhich is not
a moral essence but an aesthetic essence . . . "

And at this moment the watch swarmed on to the poop to haul on the
port-braces of the mizzen-sky-sailroyal and topgallant-sail. The
sailors passed usor toiled close to uswith lowered eyes. They
did not look at usso far removed from them were we. It was this
contrast that caught my fancy. Here were the high and lowslaves
and mastersbeauty and uglinesscleanness and filth. Their feet
were bare and scaled with patches of tar and pitch. Their unbathed
bodies were garmented in the meanest of clothesdingydirty
raggedand sparse. Each one had on but two garments--dungaree
trousers and a shoddy cotton shirt.


And wein our comfortable deck-chairsour two servants at our
backsthe quintessence of elegant leisuresipped delicate tea from
beautifulfragile cupsand looked on at these wretched ones whose
labour made possible the journey of our little world. We did not
speak to themnor recognize their existenceany more than would
they have dared speak to us.

And Miss Westwith the appraising eye of a plantation mistress for
the condition of her field slaveslooked them over.

You see how they have fleshed up,she saidas they coiled the last
turns of the ropes over the pins and faded away for'ard off the poop.
It is the regular hours, the good weather, the hard work, the open
air, the sufficient food, and the absence of whisky. And they will
keep in this fettle until they get off the Horn. And then you will
see them go down from day to day. A winter passage of the Horn is
always a severe strain on the men.

But thenonce we are around and in the good weather of the Pacific
you will see them gain again from day to day. And when we reach
Seattle they will be in splendid shape. Only they will go ashore
drink up their wages in several daysand ship away on other vessels
in precisely the same soddenmiserable condition that they were in
when they sailed with us from Baltimore."

And just then Captain West came out the chart-house doorstrolled by
for a single turn up and downand with a smile and a word for us and
an all-observant eye for the shipthe trim of her sailsthe wind
and the skyand the weather promisewent back through the charthouse
door--the blond Aryan masterthe kingthe Samurai.

And I finished sipping my tea of delicious and most expensive aroma
and our slant-eyeddark-skinned servitors carried the pretty gear
awayand I readcontinuing De Casseres:

'Instinct wills, creates, carries on the work of the species. The
Intellect destroys, negatives, satirizes and ends in pure nihilism,
instinct creates life, endlessly, hurling forth profusely and blindly
its clowns, tragedians and comedians. Intellect remains the eternal
spectator of the play. It participates at will, but never gives
itself wholly to the fine sport. The Intellect, freed from the
trammels of the personal will, soars into the ether of perception,
where Instinct follows it in a thousand disguises, seeking to draw it
down to earth.'

CHAPTER XXVII

We are now south of Rio and working south. We are out of the
latitude of the tradesand the wind is capricious. Rain squalls and
wind squalls vex the Elsinore. One hour we may be rolling
sickeningly in a dead calmand the next hour we may be dashing
fourteen knots through the water and taking off sail as fast as the
men can clew up and lower away. A night of calmwhen sleep is wellnigh
impossible in the sultrymuggy airmay be followed by a day of
blazing sun and an oily swell from the south'ardconnoting great
gales in that area of ocean we are sailing toward--or all day long
the Elsinoreunder an overcast skyroyals and sky sails furledmay
plunge and buck under wind-pressure into a short and choppy head-sea.


And all this means work for the men. Taking Mr. Pike's judgment
they are very inadequatethough by this time they know the ropes.
He growls and grumblesand snorts and sneers whenever he watches
them doing anything. To-dayat eleven in the morningthe wind was
so violentcontinuing in greater gusts after having come in a great
gustthat Mr. Pike ordered the mainsail taken off. The great
crojack was already off. But the watch could not clew up the
mainsailandafter much vain sing-songing and pull-haulingthe
watch below was routed out to bear a hand.

My God!Mr. Pike groaned to me. "Two watches for a rag like that
when half a decent watch could do it! Look at that preventer bosun
of mine!"

Poor Nancy! He looked the saddestsickestbleakest creature I had
ever seen. He was so wretchedso miserableso helpless. And
Sundry Buyers was just as impotent. The expression on his face was
of pain and hopelessnessand as he pressed his abdomen he lumbered
futilely aboutever seeking something he might do and ever failing
to find it. He pottered. He would stand and stare at one rope for a
minute or so at a timefollowing it aloft with his eyes through the
maze of ropes and stabs and gears with all the intentness of a man
working out an intricate problem. Thenholding his hand against his
stomachhe would lumber on a few steps and select another rope for
study.

Oh dear, oh dear,Mr. Pike lamented. "How can one drive with
bosuns like that and a crew like that? Just the sameif I was
captain of this ship I'd drive 'em. I'd show 'em what drive wasif
I had to lose a few of them. And when they grow weak off the Horn
what'll we do? It'll be both watches all the timewhich will weaken
them just that much the faster."

Evidently this winter passage of the Horn is all that one has been
led to expect from reading the narratives of the navigators. Iron
men like the two mates are very respectful of "Cape Stiff as they
call that uttermost tip of the American continent. Speaking of the
two mates, iron-made and iron-mouthed that they are, it is amusing
that in really serious moments both of them curse with Oh dearoh
dear."

In the spells of calm I take great delight in the little rifle.
have already fired away five thousand roundsand have come to
consider myself an expert. Whatever the knack of shooting may be
I've got it. When I get back I shall take up target practice. It is
a neatdeft sport.

Not only is Possum afraid of the sails and of ratsbut he is afraid
of rifle-fireand at the first discharge goes yelping and ki-yi-ing
below. The dislike Mr. Pike has developed for the poor little puppy
is ludicrous. He even told me that if it were his dog he'd throw it
overboard for a target. Just the samehe is an affectionateheartwarming
little rascaland has already crept so deep into my heart
that I am glad Miss West did not accept him.

And--oh!--he insists on sleeping with me on top the bedding; a
proceeding which has scandalized the mate. "I suppose he'll be using
your toothbrush next Mr. Pike growled at me. But the puppy loves
my companionship, and is never happier than when on the bed with me.
Yet the bed is not entirely paradise, for Possum is badly frightened
when ours is the lee side and the seas pound and smash against the
glass ports. Then the little beggar, electric with fear to every
hair tip, crouches and snarls menacingly and almost at the same time
whimpers appeasingly at the storm-monster outside.


Father KNOWS the sea Miss West said to me this afternoon. He
understands itand he loves it."

Or it may be habit,I ventured.

She shook her head.

He does know it. And he loves it. That is why he has come back to
it. All his people before him were sea folk. His grandfather,
Anthony West, made forty-six voyages between 1801 and 1847. And his
father, Robert, sailed master to the north-west coast before the gold
days and was captain of some of the fastest Cape Horn clippers after
the gold discovery. Elijah West, father's great-grandfather, was a
privateersman in the Revolution. He commanded the armed brig New
Defence. And, even before that, Elijah's father, in turn, and
Elijah's father's father, were masters and owners on long-voyage
merchant adventures.

Anthony Westin 1813 and 1814commanded the David Brucewith
letters of marque. He was half-ownerwith Gracie & Sons as the
other half-owners. She was a two-hundred-ton schoonerbuilt right
up in Maine. She carried a long eighteen-poundertwo ten-pounders
and ten six-poundersand she sailed like a witch. She ran the
blockade off Newport and got away to the English Channel and the Bay
of Biscay. Anddo you knowthough she only cost twelve thousand
dollars all toldshe took over three hundred thousand dollars of
British prizes. A brother of his was on the Wasp.

So, you see, the sea is in our blood. She is our mother. As far
back as we can trace all our line was born to the sea.She laughed
and went on. "We've pirates and slavers in our familyand all sorts
of disreputable sea-rovers. Old Ezra Westjust how far back I don't
rememberwas executed for piracy and his body hung in chains at
Plymouth.

The sea is father's blood. And he knows, well, a ship, as you would
know a dog or a horse. Every ship he sails has a distinct
personality for him. I have watched him, in high moments, and SEEN
him think. But oh! the times I have seen him when he does not think-
when he FEELS and knows everything without thinking at all. Really,
with all that appertains to the sea and ships, he is an artist.
There is no other word for it.

You think a great deal of your father,I remarked.

He is the most wonderful man I have ever known,she replied.
Remember, you are not seeing him at his best. He has never been the
same since mother's death. If ever a man and woman were one, they
were.She broke offthen concluded abruptly. "You don't know him.
You don't know him at all."

CHAPTER XXVIII

I think we are going to have a fine sunset,Captain West remarked
last evening.

Miss West and I abandoned our rubber of cribbage and hastened on
deck. The sunset had not yet comebut all was preparing. As we
gazed we could see the sky gathering the materialsgrouping the gray


clouds in long lines and towering massesspreading its palette with
slow-growingglowing tints and sudden blobs of colour.

It's the Golden Gate!Miss West criedindicating the west. "See!
We're just inside the harbour. Look to the south there. If that
isn't the sky-line of San Francisco! There's the Call Buildingand
therefar downthe Ferry Towerand surely that is the Fairmount."
Her eyes roved back through the opening between the cloud massesand
she clapped her hands. "It's a sunset within a sunset! See! The
Farallones!"--swimming in a miniature orange and red sunset all their
own. "Isn't it the Golden Gateand San Franciscoand the
Farallones?" She appealed to Mr. Pikewholeaning nearon the
poop-railwas divided between gazing sourly at Nancy pottering on
the main deck and sourly at Possumwhoon the bridgecrouched with
terror each time the crojack flapped emptily above him.

The mate turned his head and favoured the sky picture with a solemn
stare.

Oh, I don't know,he growled. "It may look like the Farallones to
youbut to me it looks like a battleship coming right in the Gate
with a bone in its teeth at a twenty-knot clip."

Sure enough. The floating Farallones had metamorphosed into a giant
warship.

Then came the colour riotthe dominant tone of which was green. It
was greengreengreen--the blue-green of the springing yearand
sere and yellow green and tawny-brown green of autumn. There were
orange greengold greenand a copper green. And all these greens
were rich green beyond description; and yet the richness and the
greenness passed even as we gazed upon itgoing out of the gray
clouds and into the seawhich assumed the exquisite golden pink of
polished copperwhile the hollows of the smooth and silken ripples
were touched by a most ethereal pea green.

The gray clouds became a longlow swathe of ruby redor garnet red-
such as one sees in a glass of heavy burgundy when held to the
light. There was such depth to this red! Andbelow itseparated
from the main colour-mass by a line of gray-white fogor line of
seawas another and smaller streak of ruddy-coloured wine.

I strolled across the poop to the port side.

Oh! Come back! Look! Look!Miss West cried to me.

What's the use?I answered. "I've something just as good over
here."

She joined meand as she did so I noteda sour grin on Mr. Pike's
face.

The eastern heavens were equally spectacular. That quarter of the
sky was sheer and delicate shell of bluethe upper portions of which
fadedchangedthrough every harmonyinto a paleyet warmrose
all tremblingpalpitatingwith misty blue tinting into pink. The
reflection of this coloured sky-shell upon the water made of the sea
a glimmering watered silkall changeableblueNile-greenand
salmon-pink. It was silkysilkena wonderful silk that veneered
and flossed the softly movingwavy water.

And the pale moon looked like a wet pearl gleaming through the tinted
mist of the sky-shell.


In the southern quadrant of the sky we discovered an entirely
different sunset--what would be accounted a very excellent orangeand-
red sunset anywherewith grey clouds hanging low and lighted and
tinted on all their under edges.

Huh!Mr. Pike muttered grufflywhile we were exclaiming over our
fresh discovery. "Look at the sunset I got here to the north. It
ain't doing so badly nowI leave it to you."

And it wasn't. The northern quadrant was a great fen of colour and
cloudthat spread ribs of feathery pinkfleece-frilledfrom the
horizon to the zenith. It was all amazing. Four sunsets at the one
time in the sky! Each quadrant glowedand burnedand pulsed with a
sunset distinctly its own.

And as the colours dulled in the slow twilightthe moonstill
mistywept tears of brilliantheavy silver into the dim lilac sea.
And then came the hush of darkness and the nightand we came to
ourselvesout of reveriesated with beautyleaning toward each
other as we leaned upon the rail side by side.

I never grow tired of watching Captain West. In a way he bears a
sort of resemblance to several of Washington's portraits. He is six
feet of aristocratic thinnessand has a very definiteleisurely and
stately grace of movement. His thinness is almost ascetic. In
appearance and manner he is the perfect old-type New England
gentleman.

He has the same gray eyes as his daughteralthough his are genial
rather than warm; and his eyes have the same trick of smiling. His
skin is pinker than hersand his brows and lashes are fairer. But
he seems removed beyond passionor even simple enthusiasm. Miss
West is firmlike her father; but there is warmth in her firmness.
He is cleanhe is sweet and courteous; but he is coolly sweet
coolly courteous. With all his certain graciousnessin cabin or on
deckso far as his social equals are concernedhis graciousness is
coolelevatedthin.

He is the perfect master of the art of doing nothing. He never
readsexcept the Bible; yet he is never bored. OftenI note him in
a deck-chairstudying his perfect finger-nailsandI'll swearnot
seeing them at all. Miss West says he loves the sea. And I ask
myself a thousand timesBut how?He shows no interest in any phase
of the sea. Although he called our attention to the glorious sunset
I have just describedhe did not remain on deck to enjoy it. He sat
belowin the big leather chairnot readingnot dozingbut merely
gazing straight before him at nothing.

The days passand the seasons pass. We left Baltimore at the tailend
of winterwent into spring and on through summerand now we are
in fall weather and urging our way south to the winter of Cape Horn.
And as we double the Cape and proceed northwe shall go through
spring and summer--a long summer--pursuing the sun north through its
declination and arriving at Seattle in summer. And all these seasons
have occurredand will have occurredin the space of five months.

Our white ducks are goneandin south latitude thirty-fivewe are
wearing the garments of a temperate clime. I notice that Wada has
given me heavier underclothes and heavier pyjamasand that Possum
of nightsis no longer content with the top of the bed but must
crawl underneath the bed-clothes.


We are now off the Platea region notorious for stormsand Mr. Pike
is on the lookout for a pampero. Captain West does not seem to be on
the lookout for anything; yet I notice that he spends longer hours on
deck when the sky and barometer are threatening.

Yesterday we had a hint of Plate weatherand to-day an awesome
fiasco of the same. The hint came last evening between the twilight
and the dark. There was practically no windand the Elsinorejust
maintaining steerage way by means of intermittent fans of air from
the northfloundered exasperatingly in a huge glassy swell that
rolled up as an echo from some blown-out storm to the south.

Ahead of usarising with the swiftness of magicwas a dense slateblackness.
I suppose it was cloud-formationbut it bore no
semblance to clouds. It was merely and sheerly a blackness that
towered higher and higher until it overhung uswhile it spread to
right and leftblotting out half the sea.

And still the light puffs from the north filled our sails; and still
as the Elsinore floundered on the hugesmooth swells and the sails
emptied and flapped a hollow thunderwe moved slowly towards that
ominous blackness. In the castin what was quite distinctly an
active thunder cloudthe lightning fairly winkedwhile the
blackness in front of us was rent with blobs and flashes of
lightning.

The last puffs left usand in the hushesbetween the rumbles of the
nearing thunderthe voices of the men aloft on the yards came to
one's ear as if they were right beside one instead of being hundreds
of feet away and up in the air. That they were duly impressed by
what was impending was patent from the earnestness with which they
worked. Both watches toiled under both matesand Captain West
strolled the poop in his usual casual wayand gave no orders at all
save in low conventional toneswhen Mr. Pike came upon the poop and
conferred with him.

Miss Westhaving deserted the scene five minutes beforereturneda
proper sea-womanclad in oil-skinssou'westerand long sea-boots.
She ordered mequite peremptorilyto do the same. But I could not
bring myself to leave the deck for fear of missing somethingso I
compromised by having Wada bring my storm-gear to me.

And then the wind camesmack out of the blacknesswith the
abruptness of thunder and accompanied by the most diabolical thunder.
And with the rain and thunder came the blackness. It was tangible.
It drove past us in the bellowing wind like so much stuff that one
could feel. Blackness as well as wind impacted on us. There is no
other way to describe it than by the oldancient oldway of saying
one could not see his hand before his face.

Isn't it splendid!Miss West shouted into my earclose beside me
as we clung to the railing of the break of the poop.

Superb!I shouted backmy lips to her earso that her hair
tickled my face.

AndI know not why--it must have been spontaneous with both of us-in
that shouting blackness of windas we clung to the rail to avoid
being blown awayour hands went out to each other and my hand and
hers gripped and pressed and then held mutually to the rail.

Daughter of Herodias,I commented grimly to myself; but my hand did
not leave hers.


What is happening?I shouted in her ear.

We've lost way,came her answer. "I think we're caught aback! The
wheel's upbut she could not steer!"

The Gabriel voice of the Samurai rang out. "Hard over?" was his
mellow storm-call to the man at the wheel. "Hard oversir came
the helmsman's reply, vague, cracked with strain, and smothered.

Came the lightning, before us, behind us, on every side, bathing us
in flaming minutes at a time. And all the while we were deafened by
the unceasing uproar of thunder. It was a weird sight--far aloft the
black skeleton of spars and masts from which the sails had been
removed; lower down, the sailors clinging like monstrous bugs as they
passed the gaskets and furled; beneath them the few set sails, filled
backward against the masts, gleaming whitely, wickedly, evilly, in
the fearful illumination; and, at the bottom, the deck and bridge and
houses of the Elsinore, and a tangled riff-raff of flying ropes, and
clumps and bunches of swaying, pulling, hauling, human creatures.

It was a great moment, the master's moment--caught all aback with all
our bulk and tonnage and infinitude of gear, and our heaven-aspiring
masts two hundred feet above our heads. And our master was there, in
sheeting flame, slender, casual, imperturbable, with two men--one of
them a murderer--under him to pass on and enforce his will, and with
a horde of inefficients and weaklings to obey that will, and pull,
and haul, and by the sheer leverages of physics manipulate our
floating world so that it would endure this fury of the elements.

What happened next, what was done, I do not know, save that now and
again I heard the Gabriel voice; for the darkness came, and the rain
in pouring, horizontal sheets. It filled my mouth and strangled my
lungs as if I had fallen overboard. It seemed to drive up as well as
down, piercing its way under my sou'wester, through my oilskins, down
my tight-buttoned collar, and into my sea-boots. I was dizzied,
obfuscated, by all this onslaught of thunder, lightning, wind,
blackness, and water. And yet the master, near to me, there on the
poop, lived and moved serenely in all, voicing his wisdom and will to
the wisps of creatures who obeyed and by their brute, puny strength
pulled braces, slacked sheets, dragged courses, swung yards and
lowered them, hauled on buntlines and clewlines, smoothed and
gasketed the huge spreads of canvas.

How it happened I know not, but Miss West and I crouched together,
clinging to the rail and to each other in the shelter of the
thrumming weather-cloth. My arm was about her and fast to the
railing; her shoulder pressed close against me, and by one hand she
held tightly to the lapel of my oilskin.

An hour later we made our way across the poop to the chart-house,
helping each other to maintain footing as the Elsinore plunged and
bucked in the rising sea and was pressed over and down by the weight
of wind on her few remaining set sails. The wind, which had lulled
after the rain, had risen in recurrent gusts to storm violence. But
all was well with the gallant ship. The crisis was past, and the
ship lived, and we lived, and with streaming faces and bright eyes we
looked at each other and laughed in the bright light of the chartroom.


Who can blame one for loving the sea?" Miss West cried out
exultantlyas she wrung the rain from her ropes of hair which had
gone adrift in the turmoil. "And the men of the sea!" she cried.
The masters of the sea! You saw my father . . .


He is a king,I said.

He is a king,she repeated after me.

And the Elsinore lifted on a cresting sea and flung down on her side
so that we were thrown together and brought up breathless against the
wall.

I said good-night to her at the foot of the stairsand as I passed
the open door to the cabin I glanced in. There sat Captain West
whom I had thought still on deck. His storm-trappings were removed
his sea-boots replaced by slippers; and he leaned back in the big
leather chaireyes wide openbeholding visions in the curling smoke
of a cigar against a background of wildly reeling cabin wall.

It was at eleven this morning that the Plate gave us a fiasco. Last
night's was a real pampero--though a mild one. To-day's promised to
be a far worse oneand then laughed at us as a proper cosmic joke.
The windduring the nighthad so eased that by nine in the morning
we had all our topgallant-sails set. By ten we were rolling in a
dead calm. By eleven the stuff began making up ominously in the
south'ard.

The overcast sky closed down. Our lofty trucks seemed to scrape the
cloud-zenith. The horizon drew in on us till it seemed scarcely half
a mile away. The Elsinore was embayed in a tiny universe of mist and
sea. The lightning played. Sky and horizon drew so close that the
Elsinore seemed on the verge of being absorbedsucked in by it
sucked up by it.

Then from zenith to horizon the sky was cracked with forked
lightningand the wet atmosphere turned to a horrid green. The
rainbeginning gentlyin dead calmgrew into a deluge of enormous
streaming drops. It grew darker and darkera green darknessand in
the cabinalthough it was middayWada and the steward lighted
lamps. The lightning came closer and closeruntil the ship was
enveloped in it. The green darkness was continually a-tremble with
flamethrough which broke greater illuminations of forked lightning.
These became more violent as the rain lessenedandso absolutely
were we centred in this electrical maelstromthere was no connecting
any chain or flash or fork of lightning with any particular thunderclap.
The atmosphere all about us paled and flamed. Such a crashing
and smashing! We looked every moment for the Elsinore to be struck.
And never had I seen such colours in lightning. Although from moment
to moment we were dazzled by the greater boltsthere persisted
always a tremulouspulsing lesser play of lightsometimes softly
blueat other times a thin purple that quivered on into a thousand
shades of lavender.

And there was no wind. No wind came. Nothing happened. The
Elsinorenaked-sparredunder only lower-topsailswith spanker and
crojack furledwas prepared for anything. Her lower-topsails hung
in limp emptiness from the yardsheavy with rain and flapping
soggily when she rolled. The cloud mass thinnedthe day brightened
the green blackness passed into gray twilightthe lightning eased
the thunder moved along away from usand there was no wind. In half
an hour the sun was shiningthe thunder muttered intermittently
along the horizonand the Elsinore still rolled in a hush of air.

You can't tell, sir,Mr. Pike growled to me. "Thirty years ago I
was dismasted right here off the Plate in a clap of wind that come on
just as that come on."


It was the changing of the watchesand Mr. Mellairewho had come on
the poop to relieve the matestood beside me.

One of the nastiest pieces of water in the world,he concurred.
Eighteen years ago the Plate gave it to me--lost half our sticks,
twenty hours on our beam-ends, cargo shifted, and foundered. I was
two days in the boat before an English tramp picked us up. And none
of the other boats ever was picked up.

The Elsinore behaved very well last night,I put in cheerily.

Oh, hell, that wasn't nothing,Mr. Pike grumbled. "Wait till you
see a real pampero. It's a dirty stretch hereaboutsand Ifor one
'll be glad when we get across It. I'd sooner have a dozen Cape Horn
snorters than one of these. How about youMr. Mellaire?"

Same here, sir,he answered. "Those sou'-westers are honest. You
know what to expect. But here you never know. The best of shipmasters
can get tripped up off the Plate."

'As I've found out . .
Beyond a doubt,

Mr. Pike hummed from Newcomb's Celesteas he went down the ladder.

CHAPTER XXIX

The sunsets grow more bizarre and spectacular off this coast of the
Argentine. Last evening we had high cloudsbroken white and golden
flung disorderlygenerouslyover the western half of the skywhile
in the east was painted a second sunset--a reflectionperhapsof
the first. At any ratethe eastern sky was a bank of pale clouds
that shed softspread rays of blue and white upon a blue-grey sea.

And the evening before last we had a gorgeous Arizona riot in the
west. Bastioned upon the ocean cloud-tier was piled upon cloud-tier
spacious and loftyuntil we gazed upon a Grand Canyon a myriad times
vaster and more celestial than that of the Colorado. The clouds took
on the same stratifiedserratedrose-rock formationand all the
hollows were filled with the opal blues and purple hazes of the
Painted Lands.

The Sailing Directions say that these remarkable sunsets are due to
the dust being driven high into the air by the winds that blow across
the pampas of the Argentine.

And our sunset to-night--I am writing this at midnightas I sit
propped in my blanketswedged by pillowswhile the Elsinore wallows
damnably in a dead calm and a huge swell rolling up from the Cape
Horn regionwhereit does seemgales perpetually blow. But our
sunset. Turner might have perpetrated it. The west was as if a
painter had stood off and slapped brushfuls of gray at a green
canvas. On this green background of sky the clouds spilled and
crumpled.

But such a background! Such an orgy of green! No shade of green was
missing in the intersticeslarge and smallbetween the milky
curdled clouds--Nile-green high upand thenin ordereach with a


thousand shadesblue-greenbrown-greengrey-greenand a wonderful
olive-green that tarnished into a rich bronze-green.

During the display the rest of the horizon glowed with broad bands of
pinkand blueand pale greenand yellow. A little laterwhen the
sun was quite downin the background of the curdled clouds
smouldered a wine-red mass of colourthat faded to bronze and tinged
all the fading greens with its sanguinary hue. The clouds themselves
flushed to rose of all shadeswhile a fan of gigantic streamers of
pale rose radiated toward the zenith. These deepened rapidly into
flaunting rose-flame and burned long in the slow-closing twilight.

And with all this wonder of the beauty of the world still glowing in
my brain hours afterwardI hear the snarling of Mr. Pike above my
headand the trample and drag of feet as the men move from rope to
rope and pull and haul. More weather is makingand from the way
sail is being taken in it cannot be far off.

Yet at daylight this morning we were still wallowing in the same dead
calm and sickly swell. Miss West says the barometer is downbut
that the warning has been too longfor the Plateto amount to
anything. Pamperos happen quickly hereand though the Elsinore
under bare poles to her upper-topsailsis prepared for anythingit
may well be that they will be crowding on canvas in another hour.

Mr. Pike was so fooled that he actually had set the topgallant-sails
and the gaskets were being taken off the royalswhen the Samurai
came on deckstrolled back and forth a casual five minutesthen
spoke in an undertone to Mr. Pike. Mr. Pike did not like it. To me
a tyroit was evident that he disagreed with his master.
Neverthelesshis voice went out in a snarl aloft to the men on the
royal-yards to make all fast again. Then it was clewlines and
buntlines and lowering of yards as the topgallant-sails were stripped
off. The crojack was taken inand some of the outer fore-and-aft
handsailswhose order of names I can never remember.

A breeze set in from the south-westblowing briskly under a clear
sky. I could see that Mr. Pike was secretly pleased. The Samurai
had been mistaken. And each time Mr. Pike glanced aloft at the naked
topgallant- and royal-yardsI knew his thought was that they might
well be carrying sail. I was quite convinced that the Plate had
fooled Captain West. So was Miss West convincedandbeing a
favoured person like myselfshe frankly told me so.

Father will be setting sail in half an hour,she prophesied.

What superior weather-sense Captain West possesses I know notsave
that it is his by Samurai right. The skyas I have saidwas clear.
The air was brittle--sparkling gloriously in the windy sun. And yet
beholdin a brief quarter of an hourthe change that took place. I
had just returned from a trip belowand Miss West was venting her
scorn on the River Plate and promising to go below to the sewingmachine
when we heard Mr. Pike groan. It was a whimsical groan of
disgustcontritionand acknowledgment of inferiority before the
master.

Here comes the whole River Plate,was what he groaned.

Following his gaze to the south-westwe saw it coming. It was a
cloud-mass that blotted out the sunlight and the day. It seemed to
swell and belch and roll over and over on itself as it advanced with
a rapidity that told of enormous wind behind it and in it. Its speed
was headlongterrific; andbeneath itcovering the seaadvancing


with itwas a gray bank of mist.

Captain West spoke to the matewho bawled the order alongand the
watchreinforced by the watch belowbegan dewing up the mainsail
and foresail and climbing into the rigging.

Keep off! Put your wheel over! Hard over!Captain West called
gently to the helmsman.

And the big wheel spun aroundand the Elsinore's bow fell off so
that she might not be caught aback by the onslaught of wind.

Thunder rode in that rushingrolling blackness of cloud; and it was
rent by lightning as it fell upon us.

Then it was rainwindobscureness of gloomand lightning. I
caught a glimpse of the men on the lower-yards as they were blotted
from view and as the Elsinore heeled over and down. There were
fifteen men of them to each yardand the gaskets were well passed
ere we were struck. How they regained the deck I do not knowI
never saw; for the Elsinoreunder only upper- and lower-topsails
lay down on her sideher port-rail buried in the seaand did not
rise.

There was no maintaining an unsupported upright position on that
acute slant of deck. Everybody held on. Mr. Pike frankly gripped
the poop-rail with both handsand Miss West and I made frantic
clutches and scrambled for footing. But I noticed that the Samurai
poised lightlylike a bird on the verge of flightmerely rested one
hand on the rail. He gave no orders. As I divinedthere was
nothing to be done. He waited--that was all--in tranquillity and
repose. The situation was simple. Either the masts would goor the
Elsinore would rise with her masts intactor she would never rise
again.

In the meantime she lay deadher lee yardarms almost touching the
seathe sea creaming solidly to her hatch-combings across the
buriedunseen rail.

The minutes were as centuriesuntil the bow paid off and the
Elsinoreturned tail before itrighted to an even keel.
Immediately this was accomplished Captain West had her brought back
upon the wind. And immediatelythereuponthe big foresail went
adrift from its gaskets. The shockor succession of shocksto the
shipfrom the tremendous buffeting that followedwas fearful. It
seemed she was being racked to pieces. Master and mate were side by
side when this happenedand the expressions on their faces typified
them. In neither face was apprehension. Mr. Pike's face bore a sour
sneer for the worthless sailors who had botched the job. Captain
West's face was serenely considerative.

Stillnothing was to be donecould be done; and for five minutes
the Elsinore was shaken as in the maw of some gigantic monsteruntil
the last shreds of the great piece of canvas had been torn away.

Our foresail has departed for Africa,Miss West laughed in my ear.

She is like her fatherunaware of fear.

And now we may as well go below and be comfortable,she said five
minutes later. "The worst is over. It will only be blowblow
blowand a big sea making."


All day it blew. And the big sea that arose made the Elsinore's
conduct almost unlivable. My only comfort was achieved by taking to
my bunk and wedging myself with pillows buttressed against the bunk's
sides by empty soap-boxes which Wada arranged. Mr. Pikeclinging to
my door-casing while his legs sprawled adrift in a succession of
terrific rollspaused to tell me that it was a new one on him in the
pampero line. It was all wrong from the first. It had not come on
right. It had no reason to be.

He paused a little longerandin a casual waythat under the
circumstances was ridiculously transparentexposed what was at
ferment in his mind.

First of all he was absurd enough to ask if Possum showed symptoms of
sea-sickness. Nexthe unburdened his wrath for the inefficients who
had lost the foresailand sympathized with the sail-makers for the
extra work thrown upon them. Then he asked permission to borrow one
of my booksandclinging to my bunkselected Buchner's Force and
Matter from my shelfcarefully wedging the empty space with the
doubled magazine I use for that purpose.

Still he was loth to departandcudgelling his brains for a
pretexthe set up a rambling discourse on River Plate weather. And
all the time I kept wondering what was behind it all. At last it
came.

By the way, Mr. Pathurst,he remarkeddo you happen to remember
how many years ago Mr. Mellaire said it was that he was dismasted and
foundered off here?

I caught his drift on the instant.

Eight years ago, wasn't it?I lied.

Mr. Pike let this sink in and slowly digested itwhile the Elsinore
was guilty of three huge rolls down to port and back again.

Now I wonder what ship was sunk off the Plate eight years ago?he
communedas if with himself. "I guess I'll have to ask Mr. Mellaire
her name. You can search me for all any I can recollect."

He thanked me with unwonted elaborateness for Force and Matterof
which I knew he would never read a lineand felt his way to the
door. Here he hung on for a momentas if struck by a new and most
accidental idea.

Now it wasn't, by any chance, that he said eighteen years ago?he
queried.

I shook my head.

Eight years ago,I said. "That's the way I remember itthough why
I should remember it at all I don't know. But that is what he said
I went on with increasing confidence. Eight years ago. I am sure
of it."

Mr. Pike looked at me ponderinglyand waited until the Elsinore had
fairly righted for an instant ere he took his departure down the
hall.

I think I have followed the working of his mind. I have long since
learned that his memory of shipsofficerscargoesgalesand
disasters is remarkable. He is a veritable encyclopaedia of the sea.
Alsoit is patent that he has equipped himself with Sidney Waltham's


history. As yethe does not dream that Mr. Mellaire is Sidney
Walthamand he is merely wondering if Mr. Mellaire was a ship-mate
of Sidney Waltham eighteen years ago in the ship lost off the Plate.

In the meantimeI shall never forgive Mr. Mellaire for this slip he
has made. He should have been more careful.

CHAPTER XXX

An abominable night! A wonderful night! Sleep? I suppose I did
sleepin catnapsbut I swear I heard every bell struck until threethirty.
Then came a changean easement. No longer was it a
stubbornloggy fight against pressures. The Elsinore moved. I
could feel her slipand slideand sendand soar. Whereas before
she had been flung continually down to portshe now rolled as far to
one side as to the other.

I knew what had taken place. Instead of remaining hove-to on the
pamperoCaptain West had turned tail and was running before it.
ThisI understoodmeant a really serious stormfor the north-east
was the last direction in which Captain West desired to go. But at
any rate the movementthough wilderwas easierand I slept. I was
awakened at five by the thunder of seas that fell aboardrushed down
the main deckand crashed against the cabin wall. Through my open
door I could see water swashing up and down the hallwhile half a
foot of water creamed and curdled from under my bunk across the floor
each time the ship rolled to starboard.

The steward brought me my coffeeandwedged by boxes and pillows
like an equilibristI sat up and drank it. Luckily I managed to
finish it in timefor a succession of terrific rolls emptied one of
my book-shelves. Possumcrawling upward from my feet under the
covered way of my bedyapped with terror as the seas smashed and
thundered and as the avalanche of books descended upon us. And I
could not but grin when the Paste Board Crown smote me on the head
while the puppy was knocked gasping with Chesterton's What's Wrong
with the World?

Well, what do you think?I queried of the steward who was helping
to set us and the books to rights.

He shrugged his shouldersand his bright slant eyes were very bright
as he replied:

Many times I see like this. Me old man. Many times I see more bad.
Too much wind, too much work. Rotten dam bad.

I could guess that the scene on deck was a spectacleand at six
o'clockas gray light showed through my ports in the intervals when
they were not submergedI essayed the side-board of my bunk like a
gymnastcaptured my careering slippersand shuddered as I thrust my
bare feet into their chill sogginess. I did not wait to dress.
Merely in pyjamas I headed for the poopPossum wailing dismally at
my desertion.

It was a feat to travel the narrow halls. Time and again I paused
and held on until my finger-tips hurt. In the moments of easement I
made progress. Yet I miscalculated. The foot of the broad stairway
to the chart-house rested on a cross-hall a dozen feet in length.
Over-confidence and an unusually violent antic of the Elsinore caused


the disaster. She flung down to starboard with such suddenness and
at such a pitch that the flooring seemed to go out from under me and
I hustled helplessly down the incline. I missed a frantic clutch at
the newel-postflung up my arm in time to save my faceandmost
fortunatelywhirled half aboutandstill fallingimpacted with my
shoulder muscle-pad on Captain West's door.

Youth will have its way. So will a ship in a sea. And so will a
hundred and seventy pounds of a man. The beautiful hardwood doorpanel
splinteredthe latch fetched awayand I broke the nails of
the four fingers of my right hand in a futile grab at the flying
doormarring the polished surface with four parallel scratches. I
kept right onerupting into Captain West's spacious room with the
big brass bed.

Miss Westswathed in a woollen dressing-gownher eyes heavy still
with sleepher hair glorious and for the once ungroomedclinging in
the doorway that gave entrance on the main cabinmet my startled
gaze with an equally startled gaze.

It was no time for apologies. I kept right on my mad waycaught the
foot stanchionand was whipped around in half a circle flat upon
Captain West's brass bed.

Miss West was beginning to laugh.

Come right in,she gurgled.

A score of retortsall deliciously inadvisabletickled my tongue
so I said nothingcontenting myself with holding on with my left
hand while I nursed my stinging right hand under my arm-pit. Beyond
heracross the floor of the main cabinI saw the steward in pursuit
of Captain West's Bible and a sheaf of Miss West's music. And as she
gurgled and laughed at mebeholding her in this intimacy of storm
the thought flashed through my brain:

SHE IS A WOMAN. SHE IS DESIRABLE.

Now did she sense this fleetingunuttered flash of mine? I know
notsave that her laughter left herand long conventional training
asserted itself as she said:

I just knew everything was adrift in father's room. He hasn't been
in it all night. I could hear things rolling around . . . What is
wrong? Are you hurt?

Stubbed my fingers, that's all,I answeredlooking at my broken
nails and standing gingerly upright.

My, that WAS a roll,she sympathized.

Yes; I'd started to go upstairs,I saidand not to turn into your
father's bed. I'm afraid I've ruined the door.

Came another series of great rolls. I sat down on the bed and held
on. Miss Westsecure in the doorwaybegan gurgling againwhile
beyondacross the cabin carpetthe steward shot pastembracing a
small writing-desk that had evidently carried away from its
fastenings when he seized hold of it for support. More seas smashed
and crashed against the for'ard wall of the cabin; and the steward
failing of lodgmentshot back across the carpetstill holding the
desk from harm.

Taking advantage of favouring spellsI managed to effect my exit and


gain the newel-post ere the next series of rolls came. And as I
clung on and waitedI could not forget what I had just seen.
Vividly under my eyelids burned the picture of Miss West's sleepladen
eyesher hairand all the softness of her. A WOMAN AND
DESIRABLE kept drumming in my brain.

But I forgot all thiswhennearly at the topI was thrown up the
hill of the stairs as if it had suddenly become downhill. My feet
flew from stair to stair to escape fallingand I flewor fell
apparently upwarduntilat the topI hung on for dear life while
the stern of the Elsinore flung skyward on some mighty surge.

Such antics of so huge a ship! The old stereotyped "toy" describes
her; for toy she wasthe sheerest splinter of a plaything in the
grip of the elements. And yetdespite this overwhelming sensation
of microscopic helplessnessI was aware of a sense of surety. There
was the Samurai. Informed with his will and wisdomthe Elsinore was
no cat's-paw. Everything was orderedcontrolled. She was doing
what he ordained her to doandno matter what storm-Titans bellowed
about her and buffeted hershe would continue to do what he ordained
her to do.

I glanced into the chart-room. There he satleaned back in a screwchair
his sea-booted legswedged against the setteeholding him in
place in the most violent rolls. His black oilskin coat glistened in
the lamplight with a myriad drops of ocean that advertised a recent
return from deck. His sou'westerblack and glisteningwas like the
helmet of some legendary hero. He was smoking a cigarand he smiled
and greeted me. But he seemed very tired and very old--old with
wisdomhowevernot weakness. The flesh of his facethe pink
pigment quite washed and worn awaywas more transparent than ever;
and yet never was he more serenenever more the master absolute of
our tinyfragile world. The age that showed in him was not a matter
of terrestrial years. It was agelesspassionlessbeyond human.
Never had he appeared so great to meso far remoteso much a spirit
visitant.

And he cautioned and advised mein silver-mellow beneficent voice
as I essayed the venture of opening the chart-house door to gain
outside. He knew the momentalthough I never could have guessed it
for myselfand gave the word that enabled me to win the poop.

Water was everywhere. The Elsinore was rushing through a blurring
whirr of water. Seas creamed and licked the poop-deck edgenow to
starboardnow to port. High in the airover-towering and
perilously down-topplingfollowing-seas pursued our stern. The air
was filled with spindrift like a fog or spray. No officer of the
watch was in sight. The poop was desertedsave for two helmsmen in
streaming oilskins under the half-shelter of the open wheel-house. I
nodded good morning to them.

One was Tom Spinkthe elderly but keen and dependable English
sailor. The other was Bill Quigleyone of a forecastle group of
three that herded uniquely togetherthough the other twoFrank
Fitzgibbon and Richard Oilerwere in the second mate's watch. The
three had proved handy with their fistsand clannish; they had
fought pitched forecastle battles with the gangster clique and won a
sort of neutrality of independence for themselves. They were not
exactly sailors--Mr. Mellaire sneeringly called them the
bricklayers--but they had successfully refused subservience to the
gangster crowd.

To cross the deck from the chart-house to the break of the poop was
no slight featbut I managed it and hung on to the railing while the


wind stung my flesh with the flappings of my pyjamas. At this
momentand for the momentthe Elsinore righted to an even keeland
dashed along and down the avalanching face of a wave. And as she
thus righted her deck was filled with water level from rail to rail.
Above this floodor knee-deep in itMr. Pike and half-a-dozen
sailors were bunched on the fife-rail of the mizzen-mast. The
carpentertoowas therewith a couple of assistants.

The next roll spilled half a thousand tons of water outboard sheer
over the starboard-railwhile all the starboard ports opened
automatically and gushed huge streams. Then came the opposite roll
to portwith a clanging shut of the iron doors; and a hundred tons
of sea sloshed outboard across the port-railwhile all the iron
doors on that side opened wide and gushed. And all this timeit
must not be forgottenthe Elsinore was dashing ahead through the
sea.

The only sail she carried was three upper-topsails. Not the tiniest
triangle of headsail was on her. I had never seen her with so little
wind-surfaceand the three narrow strips of canvasbellied to the
seemingness of sheet-iron with the pressure of the winddrove her
before the gale at astonishing speed.

As the water on the deck subsided the men on the fife-rail left their
refuge. One groupled by the redoubtable Mr. Pikestrove to
capture a mass of planks and twisted steel. For the moment I did not
recognize what it was. The carpenterwith two mensprang upon
Number Three hatch and worked hurriedly and fearfully. And I knew
why Captain West had turned tail to the storm. Number Three hatch
was a wreck. Among other things the great timbercalled the
strong-back,was broken. He had had to runor founder. Before
our decks were swept again I could make out the carpenter's emergency
repairs. With fresh timbers he was boltinglashingand wedging
Number Three hatch into some sort of tightness.

When the Elsinore dipped her port-rail under and scooped several
hundred tons of South Atlanticand thenimmediately rolling her
starboard-rail underhad another hundred tons of breaking sea fall
in board upon herall the men forsook everything and scrambled for
life upon the fife-rail. In the bursting spray they were quite
hidden; and then I saw them and counted them all as they emerged into
view. Again they waited for the water to subside.

The mass of wreckage pursued by Mr. Pike and his men ground a hundred
feet along the deck for'ardandas the Elsinore's stern sank down
in some abyssground back again and smashed up against the cabin
wall. I identified this stuff as part of the bridge. That portion
which spanned from the mizzen-mast to the 'midship-house was missing
while the starboard boat on the 'midship-house was a splintered mess.

Watching the struggle to capture and subdue the section of bridgeI
was reminded of Victor Hugo's splendid description of the sailor's
battle with a ship's gun gone adrift in a night of storm. But there
was a differenceI found that Hugo's narrative had stirred me more
profoundly than was I stirred by this actual struggle before my eyes.

I have repeatedly said that the sea makes one hard. I now realized
how hard I had become as I stood there at the break of the poop in my
wind-shippedspray-soaked pyjamas. I felt no solicitude for the
forecastle humans who struggled in peril of their lives beneath me.
They did not count. Ah--I was even curious to see what might happen
did they get caught by those crashing avalanches of sea ere they
could gain the safety of the fife-rail.


And I saw. Mr. Pikein the leadof courseup to his waist in
rushing waterdashed incaught the flying wreckage with a turn of
ropeand fetched it up short with a turn around one of the port
mizzen-shrouds. The Elsinore flung down to portand a solid wall of
down-toppling green upreared a dozen feet above the rail. The men
fled to the fife-rail. But Mr. Pikeholding his turnheld on
looked squarely into the wall of the waveand received the downfall.
He emergedstill holding by the turn the captured bridge.

The feeble-minded faun (the stone-deaf man) led the way to Mr. Pike's
assistancefollowed by Tonythe suicidal Greek. Paddy was next
and in order came ShortyHenry the training-ship boyand Nancy
lastof courseand looking as if he were going to execution.

The deck-water was no more than knee-deepthough rushing with
torrential forcewhen Mr. Pike and the six men lifted the section of
bridge and started for'ard with it. They swayed and staggeredbut
managed to keep going.

The carpenter saw the impending ocean-mountain first. I saw him cry
to his own men and then to Mr. Pike ere he fled to the fife-rail.
But Mr. Pike's men had no chance. Abreast of the 'midship-houseon
the starboard sidefully fifteen feet above the rail and twenty
above the deckthe sea fell on board. The top of the 'midship-house
was swept clean of the splintered boat. The waterimpacting against
the side of the housespouted skyward as high as the crojack-yard.
And all thisin addition to the main bulk of the waveswept and
descended upon Mr. Pike and his men.

They disappeared. The bridge disappeared. The Elsinore rolled to
port and dipped her deck full from rail to rail. Nextshe plunged
down by the headand all this mass of water surged forward. Through
the creamingfoaming surface now and then emerged an armor a head
or a backwhile cruel edges of jagged plank and twisted steel rods
advertised that the bridge was turning over and over. I wondered
what men were beneath it and what mauling they were receiving.

And yet these men did not count. I was aware of anxiety only for Mr.
Pike. Hein a waysociallywas of my caste and class. He and I
belonged aft in the high place; ate at the same table. I was acutely
desirous that he should not be hurt or killed. The rest did not
matter. They were not of my world. I imagine the old-time skippers
on the middle passagefelt much the same toward their slave-cargoes
in the fetid 'tween decks.

The Elsinore's bow tilted skyward while her stern fell into a foaming
valley. Not a man had gained his feet. Bridge and men swept back
toward me and fetched up against the mizzen-shrouds. And then that
prodigiousincredible old man appeared out of the wateron his two
legsuprightdragging with hima man in each handthe helpless
forms of Nancy and the Faun. My heart leapt at beholding this mighty
figure of a man-killer and slave-driverit is truebut who sprang
first into the teeth of danger so that his slaves might followand
who emerged with a half-drowned slave in either hand.

I knew augustness and pride as I gazed--pride that my eyes were blue
like his; that my skin was blondlike his; that my place was aft
with himand with the Samuraiin the high place of government and
command. I nearly wept with the chill of pride that was akin to awe
and that tingled and bristled along my spinal column and in my brain.
As for the rest--the weaklings and the rejectedand the darkpigmented
thingsthe half-castesthe mongrel-bloodsand the dregs
of long-conquered races--how could they count? My heels were iron as
I gazed on them in their peril and weakness. Lord! Lord! For ten


thousand generations and centuries we had stamped upon their faces
and enslaved them to the toil of our will.

Again the Elsinore rolled to starboard and to portwhile the spume
spouted to our lower-yards and a thousand tons of South Atlantic
surged across from rail to rail. And again all were down and under
with jagged plank and twisted steel overriding them. And again that
amazing blond-skinned giant emergedon his two legs upstandinga
broken waif like a rat in either hand. He forced his way through
rushingwaist-high waterdeposited his burdens with the carpenter
on the fife-railand returned to drag Larry reeling to his feet and
help him to the fife-rail. Out of the washTonythe Greekcrawled
on hands and knees and sank down helplessly at the fife-rail. There
was nothing suicidal now in his mood. Struggle as he wouldhe could
not lift himself until the mategripping his oilskin at the collar
with one hand flung him through the air into the carpenter's arms.

Next came Shortyhis face streaming bloodone arm hanging useless
his sea-boots stripped from him. Mr. Pike pitched him into the fiferail
and returned for the last man. It was Henrythe training-ship
boy. Him I had seenunstrugglingmotionlessshow at the surface
like a drowned man and sink again as the flood surged aft and smashed
him against the cabin. Mr. Pikeshoulder-deeptwice beaten to his
knees and under by bursting seascaught the ladshouldered himand
carried him away for'ard.

An hour laterin the cabinI encountered Mr. Pike going into
breakfast. He had changed his clothesand he had shaved! Now how
could one treat a hero such as he save as I treated him when I
remarked off-handedly that he must have had a lively watch?

My,he answeredequally off-handedlyI did get a prime soaking.

That was all. He had had no time to see me at the poop-rail. It was
merely the day's workthe ship's workthe MAN'S work--all capitals
if you pleasein MAN. I was the only one aft who knewand I knew
because I had chanced to see. Had I not been on the poop at that
early hour no one aft ever would have known those graystorm-morning
deeds of his.

Anybody hurt?I asked.

Oh, some of the men got wet. But no bones broke. Henry'll be laid
off for a day. He got turned over in a sea and bashed his head. And
Shorty's got a wrenched shoulder, I think.--But, say, we got Davis
into the top bunk! The seas filled him full and he had to climb for
it. He's all awash and wet now, and you oughta seen me praying for
more.He paused and sighed. "I'm getting oldI guess. I oughta
wring his neckbut somehow I ain't got the gumption. Just the same
he'll be overside before we get in."

A month's wages against a pound of tobacco he won't,I challenged.

No,said Mr. Pike slowly. "But I'll tell you what I will do. I'll
bet you a pound of tobacco evenor a month's wages eventhat I'll
have the pleasure of putting a sack of coal to his feet that never
will come off."

Done,said I.

Done,said Mr. Pike. "And now I guess I'll get a bite to eat."


CHAPTER XXXI


The more I see of Miss West the more she pleases me. Explain it in
terms of propinquityor isolationor whatever you will; Iat
leastdo not attempt explanation. I know only that she is a woman
and desirable. And I am rather proudin a wayto find that I am
just a man like any man. The midnight oiland the relentless
pursuit I have endured in the past from the whole tribe of women
have notI am glad to sayutterly spoiled me.


I am obsessed by that phrase--a WOMAN AND DESIRABLE. It beats in my
brainin my thought. I go out of my way to steal a glimpse of Miss
West through a cabin door or vista of hall when she does not know I
am looking. A woman is a wonderful thing. A woman's hair is
wonderful. A woman's softness is a magic.--OhI know them for what
they areand yet this very knowledge makes them only the more
wonderful. I know--I would stake my soul--that Miss West has
considered me as a mate a thousand times to once that I have so
considered her. And yet--she is a woman and desirable.


And I find myself continually reminded of Richard Le Gallienne's
inimitable quatrain:


Were I a woman, I would all day long
Sing my own beauty in some holy song,
Bend low before it, hushed and half afraid,
And say 'I am a woman' all day long.


Let me advise all philosophers suffering from world-sickness to take
a long sea voyage with a woman like Miss West.


In this narrative I shall call her "Miss West" no more. She has
ceased to be Miss West. She is Margaret. I do not think of her as
Miss West. I think of her as Margaret. It is a pretty worda
woman-word. What poet must have created it! Margaret! I never tire
of it. My tongue is enamoured of it. Margaret West! What a name to
conjure with! A name provocative of dreams and mighty connotations.
The history of our westward-faring race is written in it. There is
pride in itand dominionand adventureand conquest. When I
murmur it I see visions of leanbeaked shipsof winged helmetsand
heels iron-shod of restless menroyal loversroyal adventurers
royal fighters. Yesand even nowin these latter days when the sun
consumes usstill we sit in the high seat of government and command.


Oh--and by the way--she is twenty-four years old. I asked Mr. Pike
the date of the Dixie's collision with the river steamer in San
Francisco Bay. This occurred in 1901. Margaret was twelve years old
at the time. This is 1913. Blessings on the head of the man who
invented arithmetic! She is twenty-four. Her name is Margaretand
she is desirable.


There are so many things to tell about. Where and how this mad
voyagewith a mad crewwill end is beyond all surmise. But the
Elsinore drives onand day by day her history is bloodily written.
And while murder is doneand while the whole floating drama moves
toward the bleak southern ocean and the icy blasts of Cape HornI
sit in the high place with the mastersunafraidI am proud to say
in an ecstasyI am proud to sayand I murmur over and over to
MYSELF--MARGARETA WOMAN; MARGARETAND DESIRABLE.



But to resume. It is the first day of June. Ten days have passed
since the pampero. When the strong back on Number Three hatch was
repaired Captain West came back on the windhove toand rode out
the gale. Since thenin calmand fogand dampand stormwe have
won south until to-day we are almost abreast of the Falklands. The
coast of the Argentine lies to the Westbelow the sea-lineand some
time this morning we crossed the fiftieth parallel of south latitude.
Here begins the passage of Cape Hornfor so it is reckoned by the
navigators--fifty south in the Atlantic to fifty south in the
Pacific.

And yet all is well with us in the matter of weather. The Elsinore
slides along with favouring winds. Daily it grows colder. The great
cabin stove roars and is white-hotand all the connecting doors are
openso that the whole after region of the ship is warm and
comfortable. But on the deck the air bitesand Margaret and I wear
mittens as we promenade the poop or go for'ard along the repaired
bridge to see the chickens on the 'midship-house. The poorwretched
creatures of instinct and climate! Beholdas they approach the
southern mid-winter of the Hornwhen they have need of all their
feathersthey proceed to moultbecauseforsooththis is the
summer time in the land they came from. Or is moulting determined by
the time of year they happen to be born? I shall have to look into
this. Margaret will know.

Yesterday ominous preparations were made for the passage of the Horn.
All the braces were taken from the main deck pin-rails and geared and
arranged so that they may be worked from the tops of the houses.

Thusthe fore-braces run to the top of the forecastlethe mainbraces
to the top of the 'midship-houseand the mizzen-braces to the
poop. It is evident that they expect our main deck frequently to be
filled with water. So evident is it that a laden ship when in big
seas is like a log awashthat fore and afton both sidesalong the
deckshoulder-highlife-lines have been rigged. Alsothe two iron
doorson port and starboardthat open from the cabin directly upon
the main deckhave been barricaded and caulked. Not until we are in
the Pacific and flying north will these doors open again.

And while we prepare to battle around the stormiest headland in the
world our situation on board grows darker. This morning Petro
Marinkovicha sailor in Mr. Mellaire's watchwas found dead on
Number One hatch. The body bore several knife-wounds and the throat
was cut. It was palpably done by some one or several of the
forecastle hands; but not a word can be elicited. Those who are
guilty of it are silentof course; while others who may chance to
know are afraid to speak.

Before midday the body was overside with the customary sack of coal.
Already the man is a past episode. But the humans for'ard are tense
with expectancy of what is to come. I strolled for'ard this
afternoonand noted for the first time a distinct hostility toward
me. They recognize that I belong with the after-guard in the high
place. Ohnothing was said; but it was patent by the way almost
every man looked at meor refused to look at me. Only Mulligan
Jacobs and Charles Davis were outspoken.

Good riddance,said Mulligan Jacobs. "The Guinea didn't have the
spunk of a louse. And he's better offain't he? He lived dirty
an' he died dirtyan' now he's over an' done with the whole dirty
game. There's men on board that oughta wish they was as lucky as
him. Theirs is still a-coming to 'em."


You mean . . . ?I queried.

Whatever you want to think I mean,the twisted wretch grinned
malevolently into my face.

Charles Daviswhen I peeped into his iron roomwas exuberant.

A pretty tale for the court in Seattle,he exulted. "It'll only
make my case that much stronger. And wait till the reporters get
hold of it! The hell-ship Elsinore! They'll have pretty pickin's!"

I haven't seen any hell-ship,I said coldly.

You've seen my treatment, ain't you?he retorted. "You've seen the
hell I've gotain't you?"

I know you for a cold-blooded murderer,I answered.

The court will determine that, sir. All you'll have to do is to
testify to facts.

I'll testify that had I been in the mate's place I'd have hanged you
for murder.

His eyes positively sparkled.

I'll ask you to remember this conversation when you're under oath,
sir,he cried eagerly.

I confess the man aroused in me a reluctant admiration. I looked
about his meaniron-walled room. During the pampero the place had
been awash. The white paint was peeling off in huge scabsand ironrust
was everywhere. The floor was filthy. The place stank with the
stench of his sickness. His pannikin and unwashed eating-gear from
the last meal were scattered on the floor: His blankets were wet
his clothing was wet. In a corner was a heterogeneous mass of soggy
dirty garments. He lay in the very bunk in which he had brained
O'Sullivan. He had been months in this vile hole. In order to live
he would have to remain months more in it. And while his rat-like
vitality won my admirationI loathed and detested him in very
nausea.

Aren't you afraid?I demanded. "What makes you think you will last
the voyage? Don't you know bets are being made that you won't?"

So interested was he that he seemed to prick up his ears as he raised
on his elbow.

I suppose you're too scared to tell me about them bets,he sneered.

Oh, I've bet you'll last,I assured him.

That means there's others that bet I won't,he rattled on hastily.
An' that means that there's men aboard the Elsinore right now
financially interested in my taking-off.

At this moment the stewardbound aft from the galleypaused in the
doorway and listenedgrinning. As for Charles Davisthe man had
missed his vocation. He should have been a land-lawyernot a sealawyer.


Very well, sir,he went on. "I'll have you testify to that in
Seattleunless you're lying to a helpless sick manor unless you'll
perjure yourself under oath."


He got what he was seekingfor he stung me to retort:

Oh, I'll testify. Though I tell you candidly that I don't think
I'll win my bet.

You loose 'm bet sure,the steward broke innodding his head.
That fellow him die damn soon.

Bet with'm, sir,David challenged me. "It's a straight tip from
mean' a regular cinch."

The whole situation was so gruesome and grotesqueand I had been
swept into it so absurdlythat for the moment I did not know what to
do or say.

It's good money,Davis urged. "I ain't goin' to die. Look here
stewardhow much you want to bet?"

Five dollar, ten dollar, twenty dollar,the steward answeredwith
a shoulder-shrug that meant that the sum was immaterial.

Very well then, steward. Mr. Pathurst covers your money, say for
twenty. Is it a go, sir?

Why don't you bet with him yourself?I demanded.

Sure I will, sir. Here, you steward, I bet you twenty even I don't
die.

The steward shook his head.

I bet you twenty to ten,the sick man insisted. "What's eatin'
youanyway?"

You live, me lose, me pay you,the steward explained. "You dieI
winyou dead; no pay me."

Still grinning and shaking his headhe went his way.

Just the same, sir, it'll be rich testimony,David chuckled. "An'
can't you see the reporters eatin' it up?"

The Asiatic clique in the cook's room has its suspicions about the
death of Marinkovichbut will not voice them. Beyond shakings of
heads and dark mutteringsI can get nothing out of Wada or the
steward. When I talked with the sail-makerhe complained that his
injured hand was hurting him and that he would be glad when he could
get to the surgeons in Seattle. As for the murderwhen pressed by
mehe gave me to understand that it was no affair of the Japanese or
Chinese on boardand that he was a Japanese.

But Louisthe Chinese half-caste with the Oxford accentwas more
frank. I caught him aft from the galley on a trip to the lazarette
for provisions.

We are of a different race, sir, from these men,he said; "and our
safest policy is to leave them alone. We have talked it overand we
have nothing to saysirnothing whatever to say. Consider my
position. I work for'ard in the galley; I am in constant contact
with the sailors; I even sleep in their section of the ship; and I am
one man against many. The only other countryman I have on board is
the stewardand he sleeps aft. Your servant and the two sail-makers
are Japanese. They are only remotely kin to usthough we've agreed


to stand together and apart from whatever happens."

There is Shorty,I saidremembering Mr. Pike's diagnosis of his
mixed nationality.

But we do not recognize him, sir,Louis answered suavely. "He is
Portuguese; he is Malay; he is Japanesetrue; but he is a mongrel
sira mongrel and a bastard. Alsohe is a fool. And pleasesir
remember that we are very fewand that our position compels us to
neutrality."

But your outlook is gloomy,I persisted. "How do you think it will
end?"

We shall arrive in Seattle most probably, some of us. But I can
tell you this, sir: I have lived a long life on the sea, but I have
never seen a crew like this. There are few sailors in it; there are
bad men in it; and the rest are fools and worse. You will notice I
mention no names, sir; but there are men on board whom I do not care
to antagonize. I am just Louis, the cook. I do my work to the best
of my ability, and that is all, sir.

And will Charles Davis arrive in Seattle?I askedchanging the
topic in acknowledgment of his right to be reticent.

No, I do not think so, sir,he answeredalthough his eyes thanked
me for my courtesy. "The steward tells me you have bet that he will.
I thinksirit is a poor bet. We are about to go around the Horn.
I have been around it many times. This is midwinterand we are
going from east to west. Davis' room will be awash for weeks. It
will never be dry. A strong healthy man confined in it could well
die of the hardship. And Davis is far from well. In shortsirI
know his conditionand he is in a shocking state. Surgeons might
prolong his lifebut here in a wind-jammer it is shortened very
rapidly. I have seen many men die at sea. I knowsir. Thank you
sir."

And the Eurasian Chinese-Englishman bowed himself away.

CHAPTER XXXII

Things are worse than I fancied. Here are two episodes within the
last seventy-two hours. Mr. Mellairefor instanceis going to
pieces. He cannot stand the strain of being on the same vessel with
the man who has sworn to avenge Captain Somers's murderespecially
when that man is the redoubtable Mr. Pike.

For several days Margaret and I have been remarking the second mate's
bloodshot eyes and pain-lined face and wondering if he were sick.
And to-day the secret leaked out. Wada does not like Mr. Mellaire
and this morningwhen he brought me breakfastI saw by the wicked
gleeful gleam in his almond eyes that he was spilling over with some
freshdelectable ship's gossip.

For several daysI learnedhe and the steward have been solving a
cabin mystery. A gallon can of wood alcoholstanding on a shelf in
the after-roomhad lost quite a portion of its contents. They
compared notes and then made of themselves a Sherlock Holmes and a
Doctor Watson. Firstthey gauged the daily diminution of alcohol.
Next they gauged it several times dailyand learned that the


diminutionwhenever it occurredwas first apparent immediately
after meal-time. This focussed their attention on two suspects--the
second mate and the carpenterwho alone sat in the after-room. The
rest was easy. Whenever Mr. Mellaire arrived ahead of the carpenter
more alcohol was missing. When they arrived and departed together
the alcohol was undisturbed. The carpenter was never alone in the
room. The syllogism was complete. And now the steward stores the
alcohol under his bunk.

But wood alcohol is deadly poison. What a constitution this man of
fifty must have! Small wonder his eyes have been bloodshot. The
great wonder is that the stuff did not destroy him.

I have not whispered a word of this to Margaret; nor shall I whisper
it. I should like to put Mr. Pike on his guard; and yet I know that
the revealing of Mr. Mellaire's identity would precipitate another
killing. And still we drive southclose-hauled on the windtoward
the inhospitable tip of the continent. To-day we are south of a line
drawn between the Straits of Magellan and the Falklandsand tomorrow
if the breeze holdswe shall pick up the coast of Tierra del
Fuego close to the entrance of the Straits of Le Mairethrough which
Captain West intends to pass if the wind favours.

The other episode occurred last night. Mr. Pike says nothingyet he
knows the crew situation. I have been watching some time nowever
since the death of Marinkovich; and I am certain that Mr. Pike never
ventures on the main deck after dark. Yet he holds his tongue
confides in no manand plays out the bitter perilous game as a
commonplace matter of course and all in the day's work.

And now to the episode. Shortly after the close of the second dogwatch
last evening I went for'ard to the chickens on the 'midshiphouse
on an errand for Margaret. I was to make sure that the steward
had carried out her orders. The canvas covering to the big chicken
coop had to be downthe ventilation insuredand the kerosene stove
burning properly. When I had proved to my satisfaction the
dependableness of the stewardand just as I was on the verge of
returning to the poopI was drawn aside by the weird crying of
penguins in the darkness and by the unmistakable noise of a whale
blowing not far away.

I had climbed around the end of the port boatand was standing
therequite hidden in the darknesswhen I heard the unmistakable
age-lag step of the mate proceed along the bridge from the poop. It
was a dim starry nightand the Elsinorein the calm ocean under the
lee of Tierra del Fuegowas slipping gently and prettily through the
water at an eight-knot clip.

Mr. Pike paused at the for'ard end of the housetop and stood in a
listening attitude. From the main deck belownear Number Two hatch
across the mumbling of various voicesI could recognize Kid Twist
Nosey Murphyand Bert Rhine--the three gangsters. But Steve
Robertsthe cow-boywas also thereas was Mr. Mellaireboth of
whom belonged in the other watch and should have been turned in; for
at midnightit would be their watch on deck. Especially wrong was
Mr. Mellaire's presenceholding social converse with members of the
crew--a breach of ship ethics most grievous.

I have always been cursed with curiosity. Always have I wanted to
know; andon the ElsinoreI have already witnessed many a little
scene that was a clean-cut dramatic gem. So I did not discover
myselfbut lurked behind the boat.

Five minutes passed. Ten minutes passed. The men still talked. I


was tantalized by the crying of the penguinsand by the whale
evidently playfulwhich came so close that it spouted and splashed a
biscuit-toss away. I saw Mr. Pike's head turn at the sound; he
glanced squarely in my directionbut did not see me. Then he
returned to listening to the mumble of voices from beneath.

Now whether Mulligan Jacobs just happened alongor whether he was
deliberately scoutingI do not know. I tell what occurred. Up-anddown
the side of the 'midship-house is a ladder. And up this ladder
Mulligan Jacobs climbed so noiselessly that I was not aware of his
presence until I heard Mr. Pike snarl

What the hell you doin' here?

Then I saw Mulligan Jacobs in the gloomwithin two yards of the
mate.

What's it to you?Mulligan Jacobs snarled back. The voices below
hushed. I knew every man stood there tense and listening. No; the
philosophers have not yet explained Mulligan Jacobs. There is
something more to him than the last word has said in any book. He
stood there in the darknessa fragile creature with curvature of the
spinefacing alone the first mateand he was not afraid.

Mr. Pike cursed him with fearfulunrepeatable wordsand again
demanded what he was doing there.

I left me plug of tobacco here when I was coiling down last,said
the little twisted man--no; he did not say it. He spat it out like
so much venom.

Get off of here, or I'll throw you off, you and your tobacco,raged
the mate.

Mulligan Jacobs lurched closer to Mr. Pikeand in the gloom and with
the roll of the ship swayed in the other's face.

By God, Jacobs!was all the mate could say.

You old stiff,was all the terrible little cripple could retort.

Mr. Pike gripped him by the collar and swung him in the air.

Are you goin' down?--or am I goin' to throw you down?the mate
demanded.

I cannot describe their manner of utterance. It was that of wild
beasts.

I ain't ate outa your hand yet, have I?was the reply.

Mr. Pike tried to say somethingstill holding the cripple suspended
but he could do no more than strangle in his impotence of rage.

You're an old stiff, an old stiff, an old stiff,Mulligan Jacobs
chantedequally incoherent and unimaginative with brutish fury.

Say it again and over you go,the mate managed to enunciate
thickly.

You're an old stiff,gasped Mulligan Jacobs. He was flung. He
soared through the air with the might of the flingand even as he
soared and fell through the darkness he reiterated:


Old stiff! Old stiff !

He fell among the men on Number Two hatchand there were confusion
and movement belowand groans.

Mr. Pike paced up and down the narrow house and gritted his teeth.
Then he paused. He leaned his arms on the bridge-railrested his
head on his arms for a full minutethen groaned:

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.That was all. Then he went
aftslowlydragging his feet along the bridge.

CHAPTER XXXIII

The days grow gray. The sun has lost its warmthand each noonat
meridianit is lower in the northern sky. All the old stars have
long since goneand it would seem the sun is following them. The
world--the only world I know--has been left behind far there to the
northand the hill of the earth is between it and us. This sad and
solitary oceangray and coldis the end of all thingsthe fallingoff
place where all things cease. Only it grows colderand grayer
and penguins cry in the nightand huge amphibians moan and slubber
and great albatrossesgray with storm-battling of the Hornwheel
and veer.

Land ho!was the cry yesterday morning. I shivered as I gazed at
thisthe first land since Baltimore a few centuries ago. There was
no sunand the morning was damp and cold with a brisk wind that
penetrated any garment. The deck thermometer marked 30--two degrees
below freezing-point; and now and then easy squalls of snow swept
past.

All of the land that was to be seen was snow. Longlow chains of
peakssnow-coveredarose out of the ocean. As we drew closer
there were no signs of life. It was a sheersavagebleakforsaken
land. By elevenoff the entrance of Le Maire Straitsthe squalls
ceasedthe wind steadiedand the tide began to make through in the
direction we desired to go.

Captain West did not hesitate. His orders to Mr. Pike were quick and
tranquil. The man at the wheel altered the coursewhile both
watches sprang aloft to shake out royals and skysails. And yet
Captain West knew every inch of the risk he took in this graveyard of
ships.

When we entered the narrow straitunder full sail and gripped by a
tremendous tidethe rugged headlands of Tierra del Fuego dashed by
with dizzying swiftness. Close we were to themand close we were to
the jagged coast of Staten Island on the opposite shore. It was
herein a wild bightbetween two black and precipitous walls of
rock where even the snow could find no lodgmentthat Captain West
paused in a casual sweep of his glasses and gazed steadily at one
place. I picked the spot up with my own glasses and was aware of an
instant chill as I saw the four masts of a great ship sticking out of
the water. Whatever craft it wasit was as large as the Elsinore
and it had been but recently wrecked.

One of the German nitrate ships,said Mr. Pike. Captain West
noddedstill studying the wreckthen said:


She looks quite deserted. Just the same, Mr. Pike, send several of
your best-sighted sailors aloft, and keep a good lookout yourself.
There may be some survivors ashore trying to signal us.

But we sailed onand no signals were seen. Mr. Pike was delighted
with our good fortune. He was guilty of walking up and downrubbing
his hands and chuckling to himself. Not since 1888he told mehad
he been through the Straits of Le Maire. Alsohe said that he knew
of shipmasters who had made forty voyages around the Horn and had
never once had the luck to win through the straits. The regular
passage is far to the east around Staten Islandwhich means a loss
of westingand hereat the tip of the worldwhere the great west
windunobstructed by any landsweeps round and around the narrow
girth of earthwesting is the thing that has to be fought for mile
by mile and inch by inch. The Sailing Directions advise masters on
the Horn passage: Make Westing. WHATEVER YOU DOMAKE WESTING.

When we emerged from the straits in the early afternoon the same
steady breeze continuedand in the calm water under the lee of
Tierra del Fuegowhich extends south-westerly to the Hornwe
slipped along at an eight-knot clip.

Mr. Pike was beside himself. He could scarcely tear himself from the
deck when it was his watch below. He chuckledrubbed his handsand
incessantly hummed snatches from the Twelfth Mass. Alsohe was
voluble.

To-morrow morning we'll be up with the Horn. We'll shave it by a
dozen or fifteen miles. Think of it! We'll just steal around! I
never had such luck, and never expected to. Old girl Elsinore,
you're rotten for'ard, but the hand of God is at your helm.

Onceunder the weather clothI came upon him talking to himself.
It was more a prayer.

If only she don't pipe up,he kept repeating. "If only she don't
pipe up."

Mr. Mellaire was quite different.

It never happens,he told me. "No ship ever went around like this.
You watch her come. She always comes a-smoking out of the sou'west."

But can't a vessel ever steal around?I asked.

The odds are mighty big against it, sir,he answered. "I'll give
you a line on them. I'll wager evensirjust a nominal bet of a
pound of tobaccothat inside twenty-four hours we'll he hove to
under upper-topsails. I'll wager ten pounds to five that we're not
west of the Horn a week from now; andfifty to fifty being the
passagetwenty pounds to five that two weeks from now we're not up
with fifty in the Pacific."

As for Captain Westthe perils of Le Maire behindhe sat belowhis
slippered feet stretched before himsmoking a cigar. He had nothing
to say whateveralthough Margaret and I were jubilant and dared
duets through all of the second dog-watch.

And this morningin a smooth sea and gentle breezethe Horn bore
almost due north of us not more than six miles away. Here we were
well abreast and reeling off westing.


What price tobacco this morning?I quizzed Mr. Mellaire.

Going up,he came back. "Wish I had a thousand bets like the one
with yousir."

I glanced about at sea and sky and gauged the speed of our way by the
foambut failed to see anything that warranted his remark. It was
surely fine weatherand the stewardin token of the samewas
trying to catch fluttering Cape pigeons with a bent pin on a piece of
thread.

For'ardon the poopI encountered Mr. Pike. It WAS an encounter
for his salutation was a grunt.

Well, we're going right along,I ventured cheerily.

He made no replybut turned and stared into the gray south-west with
an expression sourer than any I had ever seen on his face. He
mumbled something I failed to catchandon my asking him to repeat
ithe said:

It's breeding weather. Can't you see it?

I shook my head.

What d'ye think we're taking off the kites for?he growled.

I looked aloft. The skysails were already furled; men were furling
the royals; and the topgallant-yards were running down while
clewlines and buntlines bagged the canvas. Yetif anythingour
northerly breeze fanned even more gently.

Bless me if I can see any weather,I said.

Then go and take a look at the barometer,he gruntedas he turned
on his heel and swung away from me.

In the chart-room was Captain Westpulling on his long sea-boots.
That would have told me had there been no barometerthough the
barometer was eloquent enough of itself. The night before it had
stood at 30.10. It was now 28.64. Even in the pampero it had not
been so low as that.

The usual Cape Horn programme,Captain West smiled to meas he
stood up in all his lean and slender gracefulness and reached for his
long oilskin coat.

Still I could scarcely believe.

Is it very far away?I inquired.

He shook his headand forebore in the act of speaking to lift his
hand for me to listen. The Elsinore rolled uneasilyand from
without came the soft and hollow thunder of sails emptying themselves
against the masts and gear.

We had chatted a bare five minuteswhen again he lifted his head.
This time the Elsinore heeled over slightly and remained heeled over
while the sighing whistle of a rising breeze awoke in the rigging.

It's beginning to make,he saidin the good old Anglo-Saxon of the
sea.

And then I heard Mr. Pike snarling out ordersand in my heart


discovered a growing respect for Cape Horn--Cape Stiffas the
sailors call it.

An hour later we were hove to on the port tack under upper-topsails
and foresail. The wind had come out of the south-westand our
leeway was setting us down upon the land. Captain West gave orders
to the mate to stand by to wear ship. Both watches had been taking
in sailso that both watches were on deck for the manoeuvre.

It was astoundingthe big sea that had arisen in so short a time.
The wind was blowing a gale that everin recurring gustsincreased
upon itself. Nothing was visible a hundred yards away. The day had
become black-gray. In the cabin lamps were burning. The view from
the poopalong the length of the great labouring shipwas
magnificent. Seas burst and surged across her weather-rail and kept
her deck half filleddespite the spouting ports and gushing
scuppers.

On each of the two houses and on the poop the ship's complementall
in oilskinswas in groups. For'ardMr. Mellaire had charge. Mr.
Pike took charge of the 'midship-house and the poop. Captain West
strolled up and downsaw everythingsaid nothing; for it was the
mate's affair.

When Mr. Pike ordered the wheel hard uphe slacked off all the
mizzen-yardsand followed it with a partial slacking of the mainyards
so that the after-pressures were eased. The foresail and
fore-lower- and-upper-topsails remained flat in order to pay the head
off before the wind. All this took time. The men were slownot
strongand without snap. They reminded me of dull oxen by the way
they moved and pulled. And the galeever snorting hardernow
snorted diabolically. Only at intervals could I glimpse the group on
top the for'ard-house. Again and againleaning to it and holding
their heads downthe men on the 'midship-house were obliterated by
the drive of crested seas that burst against the railspouted to the
lower-yardsand swept in horizontal volumes across to leeward. And
Mr. Pikelike an enormous spider in a wind-tossed webwent back and
forth along the slender bridge that was itself a shaken thread in the
blast of the storm.

So tremendous were the gusts that for the time the Elsinore refused
to answer. She lay down to it; she was swept and racked by it; but
her head did not pay off before itand all the while we drove down
upon that bitteriron coast. And the world was black-grayand
violentand very coldwith the flying spray freezing to ice in
every lodgment.

We waited. The groups of menhead down to itwaited. Mr. Pike
restlessangryhis blue eyes as bitter as the coldhis mouth as
much a-snarl as the snarl of the elements with which he fought
waited. The Samurai waitedtranquilcasualremote. And Cape Horn
waitedthere on our leefor the bones of our ship and us.

And then the Elsinore's bow paid off. The angle of the beat of the
gale changedand soonwith dreadful speedwe were dashing straight
before it and straight toward the rocks we could not see. But all
doubt was over. The success of the manoeuvre was assured. Mr.
Mellaireinformed by messenger along the bridge from Mr. Pike
slacked off the head-yards. Mr. Pikehis eye on the helmsmanhis
hand signalling the orderhad the wheel put over to port to check
the Elsinore's rush into the wind as she came up on the starboard
tack. All was activity. Main- and mizzen-yards were braced upand
the Elsinoresnugged down and hove tohad a lee of thousands of
miles of Southern Ocean.


And all this had been accomplished in the stamping ground of storm
at the end of the worldby a handful of wretched weaklingsunder
the drive of two strong mateswith behind them the placid will of
the Samurai.

It had taken thirty minutes to wear shipand I had learned how the
best of shipmasters can lose their ships without reproach. Suppose
the Elsinore had persisted in her refusal to payoff? Suppose
anything had carried away? And right here enters Mr. Pike. It is
his task ever to see that every rope and block and all the myriad
other things in the vast and complicated gear of the Elsinore are in
strength not to carry away. Always have the masters of our race
required henchmen like Mr. Pikeand it seems the race has well
supplied those henchmen.

Ere I went below I heard Captain West tell Mr. Pike that while both
watches were on deck it would be just as well to put a reef in the
foresail before they furled it. The mainsail and the crojack being
offI could see the men black on the fore-yard. For half-an-hour I
lingeredwatching them. They seemed to make no progress with the
reef. Mr. Mellaire was with themhaving direct supervision of the
jobwhile Mr. Pikeon the poopgrowled and grumbled and spat
endless blasphemies into the flying air.

What's the matter?I asked.

Two watches on a single yardarm and unable to put a reef in a
handkerchief like that!he snorted. "What'll it be if we're off
here a month?"

A month!I cried.

A month isn't anything for Cape Stiff,he said grimly. "I've been
off here seven weeks and then turned tail and run around the other
way."

Around the world?I gasped.

It was the only way to get to 'Frisco,he answered. "The Horn's
the Hornand there's no summer seas that I've ever noticed in this
neighbourhood."

My fingers were numb and I was chilled through when I took a last
look at the wretched men on the fore-yard and went below to warm up.

A little lateras I went in to tablethrough a cabin port I stole a
look for'ard between seas and saw the men still struggling on the
freezing yard.

The four of us were at tableand it was very comfortablein spite
of the Elsinore's violent antics. The room was warm. The stormracks
on the table kept each dish in its place. The steward served
and moved about with ease and apparent unconcernalthough I noticed
an occasional anxious gleam in his eyes when he poised some dish at a
moment when the ship pitched and flung with unusual wildness.

And now and again I thought of the poor devils on the yard. Well
they belonged there by rightjust as we belonged here by right in
this oasis of the cabin. I looked at Mr. Pike and wagered to myself
that half-a-dozen like him could master that stubborn foresail. As
for the SamuraiI was convinced that alonenot moving from his
seatby a tranquil exertion of willhe could accomplish the same
thing.


The lighted sea-lamps swung and leaped in their gimbalsever
battling with the dancing shadows in the murky gray. The wood-work
creaked and groaned. The jiggermasta huge cylinder of hollow steel
that perforated the apartment through deck above and floor beneath
was hideously vocal with the storm. Far abovetaut ropes beat
against it so that it clanged like a boiler-shop. There was a
perpetual thunder of seas falling on our deck and crash of water
against our for'ard wall; while the ten thousand ropes and gears
aloft bellowed and screamed as the storm smote them.

And yet all this was from without. Hereat this well-appointed
tablewas no draught nor breath of windno drive of spray nor wash
of sea. We were in the heart of peace in the midmost centre of the
storm. Margaret was in high spiritsand her laughter vied with the
clang of the jiggermast. Mr. Pike was gloomybut I knew him well
enough to attribute his gloomnot to the elementsbut to the
inefficients futilely freezing on the yard. As for meI looked
about at the four of us--blue-eyedgray-eyedall fair-skinned and
royal blond--and somehow it seemed that I had long since lived this
and that with me and in me were all my ancestorsand that their
lives and memories were mineand that all this vexation of the sea
and air and labouring ship was of old time and a thousand times
before.

CHAPTER XXXIV

How are you for a climb?Margaret asked meshortly after we had
left the table.

She stood challengingly at my open doorin oilskinssou'westerand
sea-boots.

I've never seen you with a foot above the deck since we sailed,she
went on. "Have you a good head?"

I marked my bookrolled out of my bunk in which I had been wedged
and clapped my hands for Wada.

Will you?she cried eagerly.

If you let me lead,I answered airilyand if you will promise to
hold on tight. Whither away?

Into the top of the jigger. It's the easiest. As for holding on,
please remember that I have often done it. It is with you the doubt
rests.

Very well,I retorted; "do you lead then. I shall hold on tight."

I have seen many a landsman funk it,she teased. "There are no
lubber-holes in our tops."

And most likely I shall,I agreed. "I've never been aloft in my
lifeand since there is no hole for a lubber."

She looked at mehalf believing my confession of weaknesswhile I
extended my arms for the oilskin which Wada struggled on to me.

On the poop it was magnificentand terribleand sombre. The


universe was very immediately about us. It blanketed us in storming
wind and flying spray and grayness. Our main deck was impassable
and the relief of the wheel came aft along the bridge. It was two
o'clockand for over two hours the frozen wretches had laid out upon
the fore-yard. They were still thereweakfeeblehopeless.
Captain Weststepping out in the lee of the chart-housegazed at
them for several minutes.

We'll have to give up that reef,he said to Mr. Pike. "Just make
the sail fast. Better put on double gaskets."

And with lagging feetfrom time to time pausing and holding on as
spray and the tops of waves swept over himthe mate went for'ard
along the bridge to vent his scorn on the two watches of a fourmasted
ship that could not reef a foresail.

It is true. They could not do itdespite their willingnessfor
this I have learned: THE MEN DO THEIR WEAK BEST WHENEVER THE ORDER
IS GIVEN TO SHORTEN SAIL. It must be that they are afraid. They
lack the iron of Mr. Pikethe wisdom and the iron of Captain West.
Alwayshave I noticedwith all the alacrity of which they are
capabledo they respond to any order to shorten down. That is why
they are for'ardin that pigsty of a forecastlebecause they lack
the iron. WellI can say only this: If nothing else could have
prevented the funk hinted at by Margaretthe sorry spectacle of
these ironlessspineless creatures was sufficient safeguard. How
could I funk in the face of their weakness--Iwho lived aft in the
high place?

Margaret did not disdain the aid of my hand as she climbed upon the
pin-rail at the foot of the weather jigger-rigging. But it was
merely the recognition of a courtesy on her partfor the next moment
she released her mittened hand from mineswung boldly outboard into
the face of the galeand around against the ratlines. Then she
began to climb. I followedalmost unaware of the ticklishness of
the exploit to a tyroso buoyed up was I by her example and by my
scorn of the weaklings for'ard. Where men could goI could go.
What men could doI could do. And no daughter of the Samurai could
out-game me.

Yet it was slow work. In the windward rolls against the storm-gusts
one was pinned helplesslylike a butterflyagainst the rigging. At
such timesso great was the pressure one could not lift hand nor
foot. Alsothere was no need for holding on. As I have saidone
was pinned against the rigging by the wind.

Through the snow beginning to drive the deck grew small beneath me
until a fall meant a broken back or deathunless one landed in the
seain which case the result would be frigid drowning. And still
Margaret climbed. Without pause she went out under the overhanging
platform of the topshifted her holds to the rigging that went aloft
from itand swung around this riggingeasilycarelesslytiming
the action to the rolland stood safely upon the top.

I followed. I breathed no prayersknew no qualmsas I presented my
back to the deck and climbed out under the overhangfeeling with my
hands for holds I could not see. I was in an ecstasy. I could dare
anything. Had she sprung into the airstretched out her armsand
soared away on the breast of the galeI should have unhesitatingly
followed her.

As my head outpassed the edge of the top so that she came into view
I could see she was looking at me with storm-bright eyes. And as I
swung around the rigging lightly and joined herI saw approval in


her eyes that was quickly routed by petulance.

Oh, you've done this sort of thing before,she reproachedcalling
loudlyso that I might hearher lips close to my ear.

I shook a denial with my head that brightened her eyes again. She
nodded and smiledand sat downdangling her sea-boots into snowswirled
space from the edge of the top. I sat beside herlooking
down into the snow that hid the deck while it exaggerated the depth
out of which we had climbed.

We were all alone therea pair of storm petrels perched in mid air
on a steel stick that arose out of snow and that vanished above into
snow. We had come to the tip of the worldand even that tip had
ceased to be. But no. Out of the snowdown windwith motionless
wingsdriving fully eighty or ninety miles an hourappeared a huge
albatross. He must have been fifteen feet from wing-tip to wing-tip.
He had seen his danger ere we saw himandtilting his body on the
blasthe carelessly veered clear of collision. His head and neck
were rimed with age or frost--we could not tell which--and his bright
bead-eye noted us as he passed and whirled away on a great circle
into the snow to leeward.

Margaret's hand shot out to mine.

It alone was worth the climb!she cried. And then the Elsinore
flung downand Margaret's hand clutched tighter for holdingwhile
from the hidden depths arose the crash and thunder of the great west
wind drift upon our decks.

Quickly as the snow-squall had comeit passed with the same sharp
quicknessand as in a flash we could see the lean length of the ship
beneath us--the main deck full with boiling floodthe forecastlehead
buried in a bursting seathe lookoutstationed for very life
back on top the for'ard-househanging onhead downto the winddrive
of oceananddirectly under usthe streaming poop and Mr.
Mellairewith a handful of menrigging relieving tackles on the
tiller. And we saw the Samurai emerge in the lee of the chart-house
swaying with casual surety on the mad deckas he spoke what must
have been instructions to Mr. Pike.

The gray circle of the world had removed itself from us for several
hundred yardsand we could see the mighty sweep of sea. Shaggy
gray-beardssixty feet from trough to crestleapt out of the
windward murky grayand in unending procession rushed upon the
Elsinoreone moment overtoppling her slender frailnessthe next
moment splashing a hundred tons of water on her deck and flinging her
skyward as they passed beneath and foamed and crested from sight in
the murky gray to leeward. And the great albatrosses veered and
circled about usbeating up into the bitter violence of the gale and
sweeping grandly away before it far faster than it blew.

Margaret forbore from looking to challenge me with eloquent
questioning eyes. With numb fingers inside my thick mittenI drew
aside the ear-flap of her sou'wester and shouted:

It is nothing new. I have been here before. In the lives of all my
fathers have I been here. The frost is on my cheek, the salt bites
my nostrils, the wind chants in my ears, and it is an old happening.
I know, now, that my forbears were Vikings. I was seed of them in
their own day. With them I have raided English coasts, dared the
Pillars of Hercules, forayed the Mediterranean, and sat in the high
place of government over the soft sun-warm peoples. I am Hengist and
Horsa; I am of the ancient heroes, even legendary to them. I have


bearded and bitten the frozen seas, and, aforetime of that, ere ever
the ice-ages came to be, I have dripped my shoulders in reindeer
gore, slain the mastodon and the sabre-tooth, scratched the record of
my prowess on the walls of deep-buried caves--ay, and suckled shewolves
side by side with my brother-cubs, the scars of whose fangs
are now upon me.

She laughed deliciouslyand a snow-squall drove upon us and cut our
cheeksand the Elsinore flung over and down as if she would never
rise againwhile we held on and swept through the air in a dizzying
arc. Margaret released a handstill laughingand pressed aside my
ear-flap.

I don't know anything about it,she cried. "It sounds like poetry.
But I believe it. It has to befor it has been. I have heard it
aforetimewhen skin-clad men sang in fire-circles that pressed back
the frost and night."

And the books?she queried maliciouslyas we prepared to descend.

They can go hang, along with all the brain-sick, world-sick fools
that wrote them,I replied.

Again she laughed deliciouslythough the wind tore the sound away as
she swung out into spacemuscled herself by her arms while she
caught footholds beneath her which she could not seeand passed out
of my sight under the perilous overhang of the top.

CHAPTER XXXV

What price tobacco?was Mr. Mellaire's greetingwhen I came on
deck this morningbruised and wearyaching in every bone and muscle
from sixty hours of being tossed about.

The wind had fallen to a dead calm toward morningand the Elsinore
her several spread sails booming and slattingrolled more miserably
than ever. Mr. Mellaire pointed for'ard of our starboard beam. I
could make out a bleak land of white and jagged peaks.

Staten Island, the easterly end of it,said Mr. Mellaire.

And I knew that we were in the position of a vessel just rounding
Staten Island preliminary to bucking the Horn. Andyetfour days
agowe had run through the Straits of Le Maire and stolen along
toward the Horn. Three days ago we had been well abreast of the Horn
and even a few miles past. And here we were nowstarting all over
again and far in the rear of where we had originally started.

The condition of the men is truly wretched. During the gale the
forecastle was washed out twice. This means that everything in it
was afloat and that every article of clothingincluding mattresses
and blanketsis wet and will remain wet in this bitter weather until
we are around the Horn and well up in the good-weather latitudes.
The same is true of the 'midship-house. Every room in itwith the
exception of the cook's and the sail-makers' (which open for'ard on
Number Two hatch)is soaking. And they have no fires in their rooms
with which to dry things out.

I peeped into Charles Davis's room. It was terrible. He grinned to


me and nodded his head.

It's just as well O'Sullivan wasn't here, sir,he said. "He'd adrowned
in the lower bunk. And I want to tell you I was doing some
swimmin' before I could get into the top one. And salt water's bad
for my sores. I oughtn't to be in a hole like this in Cape Horn
weather. Look at the icethereon the floor. It's below freezin'
right now in this roomand my blankets are wetand I'm a sick man
as any man can tell that's got a nose."

If you'd been decent to the mate you might have got decent treatment
in return,I said.

Huh!he sneered. "You needn't think you can lose mesir. I can
grow fat on this sort of stuff. Whysirwhen I think of the court
doin's in Seattle I just couldn't die. An' if you'll listen to me
siryou'll cover the steward's money. You can't lose. I'm advisin'
yousirbecause you're a sort of decent sort. Anybody that bets on
my going over the side is a sure loser."

How could you dare ship on a voyage like this in your condition?I
demanded.

Condition?he queried with a fine assumption of innocence. "Why
that is why I did ship. I was in tiptop shape when I sailed. All
this come out on me afterward. You remember seem' me aloftan' up
to my neck in water. And I trimmed coal belowtoo. A sick man
couldn't do it. And remembersiryou'll have to testify to how I
did my duty at the beginning before I took down."

I'll bet with you myself if you think I'm goin' to die,he called
after me.

Already the sailors show marks of the hardship they are enduring. It
is surprisingin so short a timehow lean their faces have grown
how lined and seamed. They must dry their underclothing with their
body heat. Their outer garmentsunder their oilskinsare soggy.
And yetparadoxicallydespite their leandrawn facesthey have
grown very stout. Their walk is a waddleand they bulge with
seaming corpulency. This is due to the amount of clothing they have
on. I noticed Larryto-dayhad on two veststwo coatsand an
overcoatwith his oilskin outside of that. They are elephantine in
their gait forin addition to everything elsethey have wrapped
their feetoutside their sea-bootswith gunny sacking.

It IS coldalthough the deck thermometer stood at thirty-three today
at noon. I had Wada weigh the clothing I wear on deck. Omitting
oilskins and bootsit came to eighteen pounds. And yet I am not any
too warm in all this gear when the wind is blowing. How sailors
after having once experienced the Horncan ever sign on again for a
voyage around is beyond me. It but serves to show how stupid they
must be.

I feel sorry for Henrythe training-ship boy. He is more my own
kindand some day he will make a henchman of the afterguard and a
mate like Mr. Pike. In the meantimealong with Buckwheatthe other
boy who berths in the 'midship-house with himhe suffers the same
hardship as the men. He is very fair-skinnedand I noticed this
afternoonwhen he was pulling on a bracethat the sleeves of his
oil-skinsassisted by the salt waterhave chafed his wrists till
they are raw and bleeding and breaking out in sea-boils. Mr.
Mellaire tells me that in another week there will be a plague of
these boils with all hands for'ard.


When do you think we'll be up with the Horn again?I innocently
queried of Mr. Pike.

He turned upon me in a rageas if I had insulted himand positively
snarled in my face ere he swung away without the courtesy of an
answer. It is evident that he takes the sea seriously. That is why
I fancyhe is so excellent a seaman.

The days pass--if the interval of sombre gray that comes between the
darknesses can be called day. For a weeknowwe have not seen the
sun. Our ship's position in this waste of storm and sea is
conjectural. Onceby dead reckoningwe gained up with the Horn and
a hundred miles south of it. And then came another sou'west gale
that tore our f ore-topsail and brand new spencer out of the beltropes
and swept us away to a conjectured longitude east of Staten
Island.

OhI know now this Great West Wind that blows for ever around the
world south of 55. And I know why the chart-makers have capitalized
itasfor instancewhen I read "The Great West Wind Drift." And I
know why the Sailing Directions advise: "WHATEVER YOU DOMAKE
WESTING! MAKE WESTING!"

And the West Wind and the drift of the West Wind will not permit the
Elsinore to make westing. Gale follows galealways from the west
and we make easting. And it is bitter coldand each gale snorts up
with a prelude of driving snow.

In the cabin the lamps burn all day long. No more does Mr. Pike run
the phonographnor does Margaret ever touch the piano. She
complains of being bruised and sore. I have a wrenched shoulder from
being hurled against the wall. And both Wada and the steward are
limping. Reallythe only comfort I can find is in my bunkso
wedged with boxes and pillows that the wildest rolls cannot throw me
out. Theresave for my meals and for an occasional run on deck for
exercise and fresh airI lie and read eighteen and nineteen hours
out of the twenty-four. But the unending physical strain is very
wearisome.

How it must be with the poor devils for'ard is beyond conceiving.
The forecastle has been washed out several timesand everything is
soaking wet. Besidesthey have grown weakerand two watches are
required to do what one ordinary watch could do. Thusthey must
spend as many hours on the sea-swept deck and aloft on the freezing
yards as I do in my warmdry bunk. Wada tells me that they never
undressbut turn into their wet bunks in their oil-skins and seaboots
and wet undergarments.

To look at them crawling about on deck or in the rigging is enough.
They are truly weak. They are gaunt-cheeked and haggard-gray of
skinwith great dark circles under their eyes. The predicted plague
of sea-boils and sea-cuts has comeand their hands and wrists and
arms are frightfully afflicted. Now oneand now anotherand
sometimes severaleither from being knocked down by seas or from
general miserablenesstake to the bunk for a day or so off. This
means more work for the othersso that the men on their feet are not
tolerant of the sick onesand a man must be very sick to escape
being dragged out to work by his mates.

I cannot but marvel at Andy Fay and Mulligan Jacobs. Old and fragile
as they areit seems impossible that they can endure what they do.
For that matterI cannot understand why they work at all. I cannot
understand why any of them toil on and obey an order in this freezing


hell of the Horn. Is it because of fear of death that they do not
cease work and bring death to all of us? Or is it because they are
slave-beastswith a slave-psychologyso used all their lives to
being driven by their masters that it is beyond their mental power to
refuse to obey?

And yet most of themin a week after we reach Seattlewill be on
board other ships outward bound for the Horn. Margaret says the
reason for this is that sailors forget. Mr. Pike agrees. He says
give them a week in the south-east trades as we run up the Pacific
and they will have forgotten that they have ever been around the
Horn. I wonder. Can they be as stupid as this? Does pain leave no
record with them? Do they fear only the immediate thing? Have they
no horizons wider than a day? Then indeed do they belong where they
are.

They ARE cowardly. This was shown conclusively this morning at two
o'clock. Never have I witnessed such panic fearand it was fear of
the immediate thing--fearstupid and beast-like. It was Mr.
Mellaire's watch. As luck would have itI was reading Boas's Mind
of Primitive Man when I heard the rush of feet over my head. The
Elsinore was hove to on the port tack at the timeunder very short
canvas. I was wondering what emergency had brought the watch upon
the poopwhen I heard another rush of feet that meant the second
watch. I heard no pulling and haulingand the thought of mutiny
flashed across my mind.

Still nothing happenedandgrowing curiousI got into my seaboots
sheepskin coatand oilskinput on my sou'wester and mittens
and went on deck. Mr. Pike had already dressed and was ahead of me.
Captain Westwho in this bad weather sleeps in the chart-roomstood
in the lee doorway of the housethrough which the lamplight streamed
on the frightened faces of the men.

Those of the 'midship-house were not presentbut every man Jack of
the forecastlewith the exception of Andy Fay and Mulligan Jacobs
as I afterwards learnedhad joined in the flight aft. Andy Faywho
belonged in the watch belowhad calmly remained in his bunkwhile
Mulligan Jacobs had taken advantage of the opportunity to sneak into
the forecastle and fill his pipe.

What is the matter, Mr. Pike?Captain West asked.

Before the mate could replyBert Rhine snickered:

The devil's come aboard, sir.

But his snicker was palpably an assumption of unconcern he did not
possess. The more I think over it the more I am surprised that such
keen men as the gangsters should have been frightened by what had
occurred. But frightened they werethe three of themout of their
bunks and out of the precious surcease of their brief watch below.

So fear-struck was Larry that he chattered and grimaced like an ape
and shouldered and struggled to get away from the dark and into the
safety of the shaft of light that shone out of the chart-house.
Tonythe Greekwas just as badmumbling to himself and continually
crossing himself. He was joined in thisas a sort of chorusby the
two ItaliansGuido Bombini and Mike Cipriani. Arthur Deacon was
almost in collapseand he and Chantzthe Jewshamelessly clung to
each other for support. Bobthe fat and overgrown youthwas
sobbingwhile the other youthBony the Splinterwas shivering and
chattering his teeth. Yesand the two best sailors for'ardTom
Spink and the Maltese Cockneystood in the backgroundtheir backs


to the darktheir faces yearning toward the light.

More than all other contemptible things in this world there are two
that I loathe and despise: hysteria in a woman; fear and cowardice
in a man. The first turns me to ice. I cannot sympathize with
hysteria. The second turns my stomach. Cowardice in a man is to me
positively nauseous. And this fear-smitten mass of human animals on
our reeling poop raised my gorge. Trulyhad I been a god at that
momentI should have annihilated the whole mass of them. No; I
should have been merciful to one. He was the Faun. His bright
pain-liquidand flashing-eager eyes strained from face to face with
desire to understand. He did not know what had occurredandbeing
stone-deafhad thought the rush aft a response to a call for all
hands.

I noticed Mr. Mellaire. He may be afraid of Mr. Pikeand he is a
murderer; but at any rate he has no fear of the supernatural. With
two men above him in authorityalthough it was his watchthere was
no call for him to do anything. He swayed back and forth in balance
to the violent motions of the Elsinore and looked on with eyes that
were amused and cynical.

What does the devil look like, my man?Captain West asked.

Bert Rhine grinned sheepishly.

Answer the captain!Mr. Pike snarled at him.

Ohit was murdersheer murderthat leapt into the gangster's eyes
for the instantin acknowledgment of the snarl. Then he replied to
Captain West:

I didn't wait to see, sir. But it's one whale of a devil.

He's as big as a elephant, sir,volunteered Bill Quigley. "I
seen'm face to facesir. He almost got me when I run out of the
fo'c's'le."

Oh, Lord, sir!Larry moaned. "The way he hit the housesir. It
was the call to Judgment."

Your theology is mixed, my man,Captain West smiled quietlythough
I could not help seeing how tired was his face and how tired were his
wonderful Samurai eyes.

He turned to the mate.

Mr. Pike, will you please go for'ard and interview this devil?
Fasten him up and tie him down and I'll take a look at him in the
morning.

Yes, sir,said Mr. Pike; and Kipling's line came to me:

Woman, Man, or God or Devil, was there anything we feared?

And as I went for'ard through the wall of darkness after Mr. Pike and
Mr. Mellaire along the freezingslendersea-swept bridge--not a
sailor dared to accompany us--other lines of "The Galley Slave"
drifted through my brainsuch as:

Our bulkheads bulged with cotton and our masts were stepped in gold


-
We ran a mighty merchandise of niggers in the hold. . .


And:


By the brand upon my shoulder, by the gall of clinging steel,
By the welts the whips have left me, by the scars that never heal . .
.


And:


Battered chain-gangs of the orlop, grizzled draughts of years gone
by . . .


And I caught my greatradiant vision of Mr. Pikegalley slave of
the raceand a driver of men under men greater than he; the faithful
henchmanthe able sailormanbattered and grizzledbranded and
galledthe servant of the sweep-head that made mastery of the sea.
I know him now. He can never again offend me. I forgive him
everything--the whiskey raw on his breath the day I came aboard at
Baltimorehis moroseness when sea and wind do not favourhis
savagery to the menhis snarl and his sneer.


On top the 'midship-house we got a ducking that makes me shiver to
recall. I had dressed too hastily properly to fasten my oilskin
about my neckso that I was wet to the skin. We crossed the next
span of bridge through driving sprayand were well upon the top of
the for'ard-house when something adrift on the deck hit the for'ard
wall a terrific smash.


Whatever it is, it's playing the devil,Mr. Pike yelled in my ear
as he endeavoured to locate the thing by the dry-battery light-stick
which he carried.


The pencil of light travelled over dark waterwhite with foamthat
churned upon the deck.


There it goes!Mr. Pike criedas the Elsinore dipped by the head
and hurtled the water for'ard.


The light went out as the three of us caught holds and crouched to a
deluge of water from overside. As we emergedfrom under the
forecastle-head we heard a tremendous thumping and battering. Then
as the bow liftedfor an instant in the pencil of light that
immediately lost itI glimpsed a vague black object that bounded
down the inclined deck where no water was. What became of it we
could not see.


Mr. Pike descended to the deckfollowed by Mr. Mellaire. Againas
the Elsinore dipped by the head and fetched a surge of sea-water from
aft along the runwayI saw the dark object bound for'ard directly at
the mates. They sprang to safety from its chargethe light went
outwhile another icy sea broke aboard.


For a time I could see nothing of the two men. Nextin the light
flashed from the stickI guessed that Mr. Pike was in pursuit of the
thing. He evidently must have captured it at the rail against the
starboard rigging and caught a turn around it with a loose end of
rope. As the vessel rolled to windward some sort of a struggle



seemed to be going on. The second mate sprang to the mate's
assistanceandtogetherwith more loose endsthey seemed to
subdue the thing.

I descended to see. By the light-stick we made it out to be a large
barnacle-crusted cask.

She's been afloat for forty years,was Mr. Pike's judgment. "Look
at the size of the barnaclesand look at the whiskers."

And it's full of something,said Mr. Mellaire. "Hope it isn't
water."

I rashly lent a hand when they started to work the cask for'ard
between seas and taking advantage of the rolls and pitchesto the
shelter under the forecastle-head. As a resulteven through my
mittensI was cut by the sharp edges of broken shell.

It's liquor of some sort,said the matebut we won't risk
broaching it till morning.

But where did it come from?I asked.

Over the side's the only place it could have come from.Mr. Pike
played the light over it. "Look at it! It's been afloat for years
and years."

The stuff ought to be well-seasoned,commented Mr. Mellaire.

Leaving them to lash the cask securelyI stole along the deck to the
forecastle and peered in. The menin their headlong flighthad
neglected to close the doorsand the place was afloat. In the
flickering light from a small and very smoky sea-lamp it was a dismal
picture. No self-respecting cave-manI am surewould have lived in
such a hole.

Even as I looked a bursting sea filled the runway between the house
and railand through the doorway in which I stood the freezing water
rushed waist-deep. I had to hold on to escape being swept inside the
room. From a top bunklying on his sideAndy Fay regarded me
steadily with his bitter blue eyes. Seated on the rough table of
heavy plankshis sea-booted feet swinging in the waterMulligan
Jacobs pulled at his pipe. When he observed me he pointed to pulpy
book-pages that floated about.

Me library's gone to hell,he mourned as he indicated the flotsam.
There's me Byron. An' there goes Zola an' Browning with a piece of
Shakespeare runnin' neck an' neck, an' what's left of Anti-Christ
makin' a bad last. An' there's Carlyle and Zola that cheek by jowl
you can't tell 'em apart.

Here the Elsinore lay down to starboardand the water in the
forecastle poured out against my legs and hips. My wet mittens
slipped on the iron workand I swept down the runway into the
scupperswhere I was turned over and over by another flood that had
just boarded from windward.

I know I was rather confusedand that I had swallowed quite a deal
of salt waterere I got my hands on the rungs of the ladder and
climbed to the top of the house. On my way aft along the bridge I
encountered the crew coming for'ard. Mr. Mellaire and Mr. Pike were
talking in the lee of the chart-houseand insideas I passed below
Captain West was smoking a cigar.


After a good rub downin dry pyjamasI was scarcely back in my bunk
with the Mind of Primitive Man before mewhen the stampede over my
head was repeated. I waited for the second rush. It cameand I
proceeded to dress.

The scene on the poop duplicated the previous onesave that the men
were more excitedmore frightened. They were babbling and
chattering all together.

Shut up!Mr. Pike was snarling when I came upon them. "One at a
timeand answer the captain's question."

It ain't no barrel this time, sir,Tom Spink said. "It's alive.
An' if it ain't the devil it's the ghost of a drownded man. I see 'm
plain an' clear. He's a manor was a man once--"

They was two of 'em, sir,Richard Gillerone of the "bricklayers
broke in.

I think he looked like Petro Marinkovichsir Tom Spink went on.

An' the other was Jespersen--I seen 'm Giller added.

They was three of 'emsir said Nosey Murphy. O'Sullivansir
was the other one. They ain't devilssir. They're drownded men.
They come aboard right over the bowsan' they moved slow like
drownded men. Sorensen seen the first one first. He caught my arm
an' pointedan' then I seen 'm. He was on top the for'ard-house.
And Olansen seen 'man' Deaconsiran' Hackey. We all seen 'm
sir . . . an' the second one; an' when the rest run away I stayed
long enough to see the third one. Mebbe there's more. I didn't wait
to see."

Captain West stopped the man.

Mr. Pike,he said wearilywill you straighten this nonsense out.

Yes, sir,Mr. Pike respondedthen turned on the man. "Come on
all of you! There's three devils to tie down this time."

But the men shrank away from the order and from him.

For two cents . . . I heard Mr. Pike growl to himselfthen choke
off utterance.

He flung about on his heel and started for the bridge. In the same
order as on the previous tripMr. Mellaire secondand I bringing up
the rearwe followed. It was a similar journeysave that we caught
a ducking midway on the first span of bridge as well as a ducking on
the 'midship-house.

We halted on top the for'ard-house. In vain Mr. Pike flashed his
light-stick. Nothing was to be seen nor heard save the white-flecked
dark water on our deckthe roar of the gale in our riggingand the
crash and thunder of seas falling aboard. We advanced half-way
across the last span of bridge to the f ore-castle headand were
driven to pause and hang on at the foremast by a bursting sea.

Between the drives of spray Mr. Pike flashed his stick. I heard him
exclaim something. Then he went on to the forecastle-headfollowed
by Mr. Mellairewhile I waited by the foremastclinging tightand
endured another ducking. Through the emergencies I could see the
pencil of lightappearing and disappearingdarting here and there.
Several minutes later the mates were back with me.


Half our head-gear's carried away,Mr. Pike told me. "We must have
run into something."

I felt a jar, right after you' went below, sir, last time,said Mr.
Mellaire. "Only I thought it was a thump of sea."

So did I feel it,the mate agreed. "I was just taking off my
boots. I thought it was a sea. But where are the three devils?"

Broaching the cask,the second mate suggested.

We made the forecastle-headdescended the iron ladderand went
for'ardinsideunderneathout of the wind and sea. There lay the
casksecurely lashed. The size of the barnacles on it was
astonishing. They were as large as apples and inches deep. A downfling
of bow brought a foot of water about our boots; and as the bow
lifted and the water drained awayit drew out from the shell-crusted
cask streamers of seaweed a foot or so in length.

Led by Mr. Pike and watching our chance between seaswe searched the
deck and rails between the forecastle-head and the for'ard-house and
found no devils. The mate stepped into the forecastle doorwayand
his light-stick cut like a dagger through the dim illumination of the
murky sea-lamp. And we saw the devils. Nosey Murphy had been right.
There were three of them.

Let me give the picture: A drenched and freezing room of rusty
paint-scabbed ironlow-roofeddouble-tiered with bunksreeking
with the filth of thirty mendespite the washing of the sea. In a
top bunkon his sidein sea-boots and oilskinsstaring steadily
with bluebitter eyesAndy Fay; on the tablepulling at a pipe
with hanging legs dragged this way and that by the churn of water
Mulligan Jacobssolemnly regarding three mensea-booted and bloody
who stand side by sideof a height and not duly tallswaying in
unison to the Elsinore's down-flinging and up-lifting.

But such men! I know my East Side and my East Endand I am
accustomed to the faces of all the ruck of racesyet with these
three men I was at fault. The Mediterranean had surely never bred
such a breed; nor had Scandinavia. They were not blonds. They were
not brunettes. Nor were they of the Brownor Blackor Yellow.
Their skin was white under a bronze of weather. Wet as was their
hairit was plainly a colourlesssandy hair. Yet their eyes were
dark--and yet not dark. They were neither bluenor graynor green
nor hazel. Nor were they black. They were topazpale topaz; and
they gleamed and dreamed like the eyes of great cats. They regarded
us like walkers in a dreamthese pale-haired storm-waifs with pale
topaz eyes. They did not bowthey did not smilein no way did they
recognize our presence save that they looked at us and dreamed.

But Andy Fay greeted us.

It's a hell of a night an' not a wink of sleep with these goingson,
he said.

Now where did they blow in from a night like this?Mulligan Jacobs
complained.

You've got a tongue in your mouth,Mr. Pike snarled. "Why ain't
you asked 'em?"

As though you didn't know I could use the tongue in me mouth, you
old stiff,Jacobs snarled back.


But it was no time for their private feud. Mr. Pike turned on the
dreaming new-comers and addressed them in the mangled and aborted
phrases of a dozen languages such as the world-wandering Anglo-Saxon
has had every opportunity to learn but is too stubborn-brained and
wilful-mouthed to wrap his tongue about.

The visitors made no reply. They did not even shake their heads.
Their faces remained peculiarly relaxed and placidincurious and
pleasantwhile in their eyes floated profounder dreams. Yet they
were human. The blood of their injuries stained them and clotted on
their clothes.

Dutchmen,snorted Mr. Pikewith all due contempt for other breeds
as he waved them to make themselves at home in any of the bunks.

Mr. Pike's ethnology is narrow. Outside his own race he is aware of
only three races: niggersDutchmenand Dagoes.

Again our visitors proved themselves human. They understood the
mate's invitationandglancing first at one anotherthey climbed
into three top-bunks and closed their eyes. I could swear the first
of them was asleep in half a minute.

We'll have to clean up for'ard, or we'll be having the sticks about
our ears,the mate saidalready starting to depart. "Get the men
alongMr. Mellaireand call out the carpenter."

CHAPTER XXXVI

And no westing! We have been swept back three degrees of casting
since the night our visitors came on board. They are the great
mysterythese three men of the sea. "Horn Gypsies Margaret calls
them; and Mr. Pike dubs them Dutchmen." One thing is certainthey
have a language of their own which they talk with one another. But
of our hotch-potch of nationalities fore and aft there is no person
who catches an inkling of their language or nationality.

Mr. Mellaire raised the theory that they were Finns of some sortbut
this was indignantly denied by our big-footed youth of a carpenter
who swears he is a Finn himself. Louisthe cookavers that
somewhere over the worldon some forgotten voyagehe has
encountered men of their type; but he can neither remember the voyage
nor their race. He and the rest of the Asiatics accept their
presence as a matter of course; but the crewwith the exception of
Andy Fay and Mulligan Jacobsis very superstitious about the newcomers
and will have nothing to do with them.

No good will come of them, sir,Tom Spinkat the wheeltold us
shaking his head forebodingly.

Margaret's mittened hand rested on my arm as we balanced to the easy
roll of the ship. We had paused from our promenadewhich we now
take each dayreligiouslyas a constitutionalbetween eleven and
twelve.

Why, what is the matter with them?she queriednudging me privily
in warning of what was coming.

Because they ain't men, Miss, as we can rightly call men. They


ain't regular men.

It was a bit irregular, their manner of coming on board,she
gurgled.

That's just it, Miss,Tom Spink exclaimedbrightening perceptibly
at the hint of understanding. "Where'd they come from? They won't
tell. Of course they won't tell. They ain't men. They're spirits-ghosts
of sailors that drowned as long ago as when that cask went
adrift from a sinkin' shipan' that's years an' yearsMissas
anybody can seelookin' at the size of the barnacles on it."

Do you think so?Margaret queried.

We all think so, Miss. We ain't spent our lives on the sea for
nothin'. There's no end of landsmen don't believe in the Flyin'
Dutchman. But what do they know? They're just landsmen, ain't they?
They ain't never had their leg grabbed by a ghost, such as I had, on
the Kathleen, thirty-five years ago, down in the hole 'tween the
water-casks. An' didn't that ghost rip the shoe right off of me?
An' didn't I fall through the hatch two days later an' break my
shoulder?

Now, Miss, I seen 'em makin' signs to Mr. Pike that we'd run into
their ship hove to on the other tack. Don't you believe it. There
wasn't no ship.

But how do you explain the carrying away of our head-gear?I
demanded.

There's lots of things can't be explained, sir,was Tom Spink's
answer. "Who can explain the way the Finns plays tom-fool tricks
with the weather? Yet everybody knows it. Why are we havin' a hard
passage around the Hornsir? I ask you that. Whysir?"

I shook my head.

Because of the carpenter, sir. We've found out he's a Finn. Why
did he keep it quiet all the way down from Baltimore?

Why did he tell it?Margaret challenged.

He didn't tell it, Miss--leastways, not until after them three
others boarded us. I got my suspicions he knows more about 'm than
he's lettin' on. An' look at the weather an' the delay we're
gettin'. An' don't everybody know the Finns is regular warlocks an'
weather-breeders?

My ears pricked up.

Where did you get that word warlock?I questioned.

Tom Spink looked puzzled.

What's wrong with it, sir?he asked.

Nothing. It's all right. But where did you get it?

I never got it, sir. I always had it. That's what Finns is-warlocks.


And these three new-comers--they aren't Finns?asked Margaret.

The old Englishman shook his head solemnly.


No, Miss. They're drownded sailors a long time drownded. All you
have to do is look at 'm. An' the carpenter could tell us a few if
he was minded.

Neverthelessour mysterious visitors are a welcome addition to our
weakened crew. I watch them at work. They are strong and willing.
Mr. Pike says they are real sailormeneven if he doesn't understand
their lingo. His theory is that they are from some small old-country
or outlander shipwhichhove to on the opposite tack to the
Elsinorewas run down and sunk.

I have forgotten to say that we found the barnacled cask nearly
filled with a most delicious wine which none of us can name. As soon
as the gale moderated Mr. Pike had the cask brought aft and broached
and now the steward and Wada have it all in bottles and spare
demijohns. It is beautifully agedand Mr. Pike is certain that it
is some sort of a mild and unheard-of brandy. Mr. Mellaire merely
smacks his lips over itwhile Captain WestMargaretand I
steadfastly maintain that it is wine.

The condition of the men grows deplorable. They were always poor at
pulling on ropesbut now it takes two or three to pull as much as
one used to pull. One thing in their favour is that they are well
though grosslyfed. They have all they want to eatsuch as it is
but it is the cold and wetthe terrible condition of the forecastle
the lack of sleepand the almost continuous toil of both watches on
deck. Either watch is so weak and worthless that any severe task
requires the assistance of the other watch. As an instancewe
finally managed a reef in the fore-sail in the thick of a gale. It
took both watches two hoursyet Mr. Pike tells me that under similar
circumstanceswith an average crew of the old dayshe has seen a
single watch reef the foresail in twenty minutes.

I have learned one of the prime virtues of a steel sailing-ship.
Such a craftheavily ladendoes not strain her seams open in bad
weather and big seas. Except for a tiny leak down in the fore-peak
with which we sailed from Baltimore and which is bailed out with a
pail once in several weeksthe Elsinore is bone-dry. Mr. Pike tells
me that had a wooden ship of her size and cargo gone through the
buffeting we have enduredshe would be leaking like a sieve.

And Mr. Mellaireout of his own experiencehas added to my respect
for the Horn. When he was a young man he was once eight weeks in
making around from 50 in the Atlantic to 50 in the Pacific. Another
time his vessel was compelled to put back twice to the Falklands for
repairs. And still another timein a wooden ship running back in
distress to the Falklandshis vessel was lost in a shift of gale in
the very entrance to Port Stanley. As he told me:

And after we'd been there a month, sir, who should come in but the
old Lucy Powers. She was a sight!--her foremast clean gone out of
her and half her spars, the old man killed from one of the spars
falling on him, the mate with two broken arms, the second mate sick,
and what was left of the crew at the pumps. We'd lost our ship, so
my skipper took charge, refitted her, doubled up both crews, and we
headed the other way around, pumping two hours in every watch clear
to Honolulu.

The poor wretched chickens! Because of their ill-judged moulting
they are quite featherless. It is a marvel that one of them
survivesyet so far we have lost only six. Margaret keeps the
kerosene stove goingandthough they have ceased layingshe


confidently asserts that they are all layers and that we shall have
plenty of eggs once we get fine weather in the Pacific.

There is little use to describe these monotonous and perpetual
westerly gales. One is very like anotherand they follow so fast on
one another's heels that the sea never has a chance to grow calm. So
long have we rolled and tossed about that the thoughtsayof a
solidunmoving billiard-table is inconceivable. In previous
incarnations I have encountered things that did not movebut . . .
they were in previous incarnations.

We have been up to the Diego Ramirez Rocks twice in the past ten
days. At the present momentby vague dead reckoningwe are two
hundred miles east of them. We have been hove down to our hatches
three times in the last week. We have had six stout sailsof the
heaviest canvasfurled and double-gasketedtorn loose and stripped
from the yards. Sometimesso weak are our mennot more than half
of them can respond to the call for all hands.

Lars Jacobsonwho had his leg broken early in the voyagewas
knocked down by a sea several days back and had the leg rebroken.
Ditman Olansenthe crank-eyed Norwegianwent Berserker last night
in the second dog-watch and pretty well cleaned out his half of the
forecastle. Wada reports that it required the bricklayers
Fitzgibbon and Gilderthe Maltese Cockneyand Steve Robertsthe
cowboyfinally to subdue the madman. These are all men of Mr.
Mellaire's watch. In Mr. Pike's watch John Hackeythe San Francisco
hoodlumwho has stood out against the gangstershas at last
succumbed and joined them. And only this morning Mr. Pike dragged
Charles Davis by the scruff of the neck out of the forecastlewhere
he had caught him expounding sea-law to the miserable creatures. Mr.
MellaireI notice on occasionremains unduly intimate with the
gangster clique. And yet nothing serious happens.

And Charles Davis does not die. He seems actually to be gaining in
weight. He never misses a meal. From the break of the poopin the
shelter of the weather clothour decks a thunder and rush of
freezing waterI often watch him slip out of his room between seas
mug and plate in handand hobble for'ard to the galley for his food.
He is a keen judge of the ship's motionsfor never yet have I seen
him get a serious ducking. Sometimesof coursehe may get
splattered with spray or wet to the kneesbut he manages to be out
of the way whenever a big graybeard falls on board.

CHAPTER XXXVII

A wonderful event to-day! For five minutesat noonthe sun was
actually visible. But such a sun!--a pale and cold and sickly orb
that at meridian was only 90 degrees 18 minutes above the horizon.
And within the hour we were taking in sail and lying down to the
snow-gusts of a fresh south-west gale.

WHATEVER YOU DOMAKE WESTING! MAKE WESTING!--this sailing rule of
the navigators for the Horn has been bitten out of iron. I can
understand why shipmasterswith a favouring slant of windhave left
sailorsfallen overboardto drown without heaving-to to lower a
boat. Cape Horn is ironand it takes masters of iron to win around
from east to west.

And we make easting! This west wind is eternal. I listen


incredulously when Mr. Pike or Mr. Mellaire tells of times when
easterly winds have blown in these latitudes. It is impossible.
Always does the west wind blowgale upon gale and gales everlasting
else why the "Great West Wind Drift" printed on the charts! We of
the afterguard are weary of this eternal buffeting. Our men have
become pulpywashed-outsore-corroded shadows of men. I should not
be surprisedin the endto see Captain West turn tail and run
eastward around the world to Seattle. But Margaret smiles with
suretyand nods her headand affirms that her father will win
around to 50 in the Pacific.

How Charles Davis survives in that wetfreezingpaint-scabbed room
of iron in the 'midship-house is beyond me--just as it is beyond me
that the wretched sailors in the wretched forecastle do not lie down
in their bunks and dieorat leastrefuse to answer the call of
the watches.

Another week has passedand we are to-dayby observationsixty
miles due south of the Straits of Le Maireand we are hove-toin a
driving galeon the port tack. The glass is down to 28.58and even
Mr. Pike acknowledges that it is one of the worst Cape Horn snorters
he has ever experienced.

In the old days the navigators used to strive as far south as 64
degrees or 65 degreesinto the Antarctic drift icehopingin a
favouring spellto make westing at a prodigious rate across the
extreme-narrowing wedges of longitude. But of late years all
shipmasters have accepted the hugging of the land all the way around.
Out of ten times ten thousand passages of Cape Stiff from east to
westthisthey have concludedis the best strategy. So Captain
West hugs the land. He heaves-to on the port tack until the leeward
drift brings the land into perilous proximitythen wears ship and
heaves-to on the port tack and makes leeway off shore.

I may be weary of all this bitter movement of a labouring ship on a
frigid seabut at the same time I do not mind it. In my brain burns
the flame of a great discovery and a great achievement. I have found
what makes all the books go glimmering; I have achieved what my very
philosophy tells me is the greatest achievement a man can make. I
have found the love of woman. I do not know whether she cares for
me. Nor is that the point. The point is that in myself I have risen
to the greatest height to which the human male animal can rise.

I know a woman and her name is Margaret. She is Margareta woman
and desirable. My blood is red. I am not the pallid scholar I so
proudly deemed myself to be. I am a manand a loverdespite the
books. As for De Casseres--if ever I get back to New Yorkequipped
as I now amI shall confute him with the same ease that he has
confuted all the schools. Love is the final word. To the rational
man it alone gives the super-rational sanction for living. Like
Bergson in his overhanging heaven of intuitionor like one who has
bathed in Pentecostal fire and seen the New Jerusalemso I have trod
the materialistic dictums of science underfootscaled the last peak
of philosophyand leaped into my heavenwhichafter allis within
myself. The stuff that composes methat is Iis so made that it
finds its supreme realization in the love of woman. It is the
vindication of being. Yesand it is the wages of beingthe payment
in full for all the brittleness and frailty of flesh and breath.

And she is only a womanlike any womanand the Lord knows I know
what women are. And I know Margaret for what she is--mere woman; and
yet I knowin the lover's soul of methat she is somehow different.
Her ways are not as the ways of other womenand all her ways are
delightful to me. In the endI supposeI shall become a nest



builderfor of a surety nest-building is one of her pretty ways.
And who shall say which is the worthier--the writing of a whole
library or the building of a nest?

The monotonous daysbleak and gray and soggy colddrag by. It is
now a month since we began the passage of the Hornand here we are
not so well forward as a month agobecause we are something like a
hundred miles south of the Straits of Le Maire. Even this position
is conjecturalbeing arrived at by dead reckoningbased on the
leeway of a ship hove-tonow on the one tacknow on the otherwith
always the Great West Wind Drift making against us. It is four days
since our last instrument-sight of the sun.

This storm-vexed ocean has become populous. No ships are getting
roundand each day adds to our number. Never a brief day passes
without our sighting from two or three to a dozen hove-to on port
tack or starboard tack. Captain West estimates there must be at
least two hundred sail of us. A ship hove-to with preventer tackles
on the rudder-head is unmanageable. Each night we take our chance of
unavoidable and disastrous collision. And at timesglimpsed through
the snow-squallswe see and curse the shipseast-boundthat drive
past us with the West Wind and the West Wind Drift at their backs.
And so wild is the mind of man that Mr. Pike and Mr. Mellaire still
aver that on occasion they have known gales to blow ships from east
to west around the Horn. It surely has been a year since we of the
Elsinore emerged from under the lee of Tierra Del Fuego into the
snorting south-west gales. A centuryat leasthas elapsed since we
sailed from Baltimore.

And I don't give a snap of my fingers for all the wrath and fury of
this dim-gray sea at the tip of the earth. I have told Margaret that
I love her. The tale was told in the shelter of the weather cloth
where we clung together in the second dog-watch last evening. And it
was told againand by both of usin the bright-lighted chart-room
after the watches had been changed at eight bells. Yesand her face
was storm-brightand all of her was very proudsave that her eyes
were warm and soft and fluttered with lids that just would flutter
maidenly and womanly. It was a great hour--our great hour.

A poor devil of a man is most lucky whenlovinghe is loved.
Grievous indeed must be the fate of the lover who is unloved. And I
for oneand for still other reasonscongratulate myself upon the
vastitude of my good fortune. For seewere Margaret any other sort
of a womanwere she . . . welljust the lovely and lovable and
adorably snuggly sort who seem made just precisely for love and
loving and nestling into the strong arms of a man--whythere
wouldn't be anything remarkable or wonderful about her loving me.
But Margaret is Margaretstrongself-possessedserenecontrolled
a very mistress of herself. And there's the miracle--that such a
woman should have been awakened to love by me. It is almost
unbelievable. I go out of my way to get another peep into those
longcoolgray eyes of hers and see them grow melting soft as she
looks at me. She is no Julietthank the Lord; and thank the Lord I
am no Romeo. And yet I go up alone on the freezing poopand under
my breath chant defiantly at the snorting galeand at the graybeards
thundering down on usthat I am a lover. And I send messages to the
lonely albatrosses veering through the murk that I am a lover. And I
look at the wretched sailors crawling along the spray-swept bridge
and know that never in ten thousand wretched lives could they
experience the love I experienceand I wonder why God ever made
them.


And the one thing I had firmly resolved from the start,Margaret
confessed to me this morning in the cabinwhen I released her from
my armswas that I would not permit you to make love to me.

True daughter of Herodias,I gaily gibedso such was the drift of
your thoughts even as early as the very start. Already you were
looking upon me with a considerative female eye.

She laughed proudlyand did not reply.

What possibly could have led you to expect that I would make love to
you?I insisted.

Because it is the way of young male passengers on long voyages,she
replied.

Then others have . . . ?

They always do,she assured me gravely.

And at that instant I knew the first ridiculous pang of jealousy; but
I laughed it away and retorted:

It was an ancient Chinese philosopher who is first recorded as
having said, what doubtlessly the cave men before him gibbered,
namely, that a woman pursues a man by fluttering away in advance of
him.

Wretch!she cried. "I never fluttered. When did I ever flutter!"

It is a delicate subject . . . I began with assumed hesitancy.

When did I ever flutter?she demanded.

I availed myself of one of Schopenhauer's ruses by making a shift.

From the first you observed nothing that a female could afford to
miss observing,I charged. "I'll wager you knew as quickly as I the
very instant when I first loved you."

I knew the first time you hated me,she evaded.

Yes, I know, the first time I saw you and learned that you were
coming on the voyage,I said. "But now I repeat my challenge. You
knew as quickly as I the first instant I loved you."

Ohher eyes were beautifuland the repose and certitude of her were
tremendousas she rested her hand on my arm for a moment and in a
lowquiet voice said:

Yes, I . . . I think I know. It was the morning of that pampero off
the Plate, when you were thrown through the door into my father's
stateroom. I saw it in your eyes. I knew it. I think it was the
first time, the very instant.

I could only nod my head and draw her close to me. And she looked up
at me and added:

You were very ridiculous. There you sat, on the bed, holding on
with one hand and nursing the other hand under your arm, staring at
me, irritated, startled, utterly foolish, and then . . . how, I don't
know . . . I knew that you had just come to know . . .

And the very next instant you froze up,I charged ungallantly.


And that was why,she admitted shamelesslythen leaned away from
meher hands resting on my shoulderswhile she gurgled and her lips
parted from over her beautiful white teeth.

One thing IJohn Pathurstknow: that gurgling laughter of hers is
the most adorable laughter that was ever heard.

CHAPTER XXXVIII

I wonder. I wonder. Did the Samurai make a mistake? Or was it the
darkness of oncoming death that chilled and clouded that star-cool
brain of hisand made a mock of all his wisdom? Or was it the
blunder that brought death upon him beforehand? I do not knowI
shall never know; for it is a matter no one of us dreams of hinting
atmuch less discussing.

I shall begin at the beginning--yesterday afternoon. For it was
yesterday afternoonfive weeks to a day since we emerged from the
Straits of Le Maire into this gray storm-oceanthat once again we
found ourselves hove to directly off the Horn. At the changing of
the watches at four o'clockCaptain West gave the command to Mr.
Pike to wear ship. We were on the starboard tack at the timemaking
leeway off shore. This manoeuvre placed us on the port tackand the
consequent leewayto meseemed on shorethough at an acute angle
to be sure.

In the chart-roomglancing curiously at the chartI measured the
distance with my eye and decided that we were in the neighbourhood of
fifteen miles off Cape Horn.

With our drift we'll be close up under the land by morning, won't
we?I ventured tentatively.

Yes,Captain West nodded; "and if it weren't for the West Wind
Driftand if the land did not trend to the north-eastwe'd be
ashore by morning. As it iswe'll be well under it at daylight
ready to steal around if there is a changeready to wear ship if
there is no change."

It did not enter my head to question his judgment. What he said had
to be. Was he not the Samurai?

And yeta few minutes laterwhen he had gone belowI noticed Mr.
Pike enter the chart-house. After several paces up and downand a
brief pause to watch Nancy and several men shift the weather cloth
from lee to weatherI strolled aft to the chart-house. Prompted by
I know not whatI peeped through one of the glass ports.

There stood Mr. Pikehis sou'wester doffedhis oilskins streaming
rivulets to the floorwhile hedividers and parallel rulers in
handbent over the chart. It was the expression of his face that
startled me. The habitual sourness had vanished. All that I could
see was anxiety and apprehension . . . yesand age. I had never
seen him look so old; for thereat that momentI beheld the wastage
and weariness of all his sixty-nine years of sea-battling and seastaring.


I slipped away from the port and went along the deck to the break of
the poopwhere I held on and stood staring through the gray and


spray in the conjectural direction of our drift. Somewherethere
in the north-east and northI knew was a brokeniron coast of rocks
upon which the graybeards thundered. And therein the chart-rooma
redoubtable sailorman bent anxiously over a chart as he measured and
calculatedand measured and calculated againour position and our
drift.

And I knew it could not be. It was not the Samurai but the henchman
who was weak and wrong. Age was beginning to tell upon him at last
which could not be otherwise than expected when one considered that
no man in ten thousand had weathered age so successfully as he.

I laughed at my moment's qualm of foolishness and went belowwell
content to meet my loved one and to rest secure in her father's
wisdom. Of course he was right. He had proved himself right too
often already on the long voyage from Baltimore.

At dinner Mr. Pike was quite distrait. He took no part whatever in
the conversationand seemed always to be listening to something from
without--to the vexing clang of taut ropes that came down the hollow
jiggermastto the muffled roar of the gale in the riggingto the
smash and crash of the seas along our decks and against our iron
walls.

Again I found myself sharing his apprehensionalthough I was too
discreet to question him thenor afterwards aloneabout his
trouble. At eight he went on deck again to take the watch till
midnightand as I went to bed I dismissed all forebodings and
speculated as to how many more voyages he could last after this
sudden onslaught of old age.

I fell asleep quicklyand awoke at midnightmy lamp still burning
Conrad's Mirror of the Sea on my breast where it had dropped from my
hands. I heard the watches changeand was wide awake and reading
when Mr. Pike came below by the booby-hatch and passed down my hail
by my open dooron his way to his room.

In the pause I had long since learned so well I knew he was rolling a
cigarette. Then I heard him coughas he always didwhen the
cigarette was lighted and the first inhalation of smoke flushed his
lungs.

At twelve-fifteenin the midst of Conrad's delightful chapterThe
Weight of the Burden,I heard Mr. Pike come along the hall.

Stealing a glance over the top of my bookI saw him go byseabooted
oilskinnedsou'westered. It was his watch belowand his
sleep was meagre in this perpetual bad weatheryet he was going on
deck.

I read and waited for an hourbut he did not return; and I knew that
somewhere up above he was staring into the driving dark. I dressed
fullyin all my heavy storm-gearfrom sea-boots and sou'-wester to
sheepskin under my oilskin coat. At the foot of the stairs I noted
along the hall that Margaret's light was burning. I peeped in--she
keeps her door open for ventilation--and found her reading.

Merely not sleepy,she assured me.

Nor in the heart of me do I believe she had any apprehension. She
does not know even nowI am confidentthe Samurai's blunder--if
blunder it was. As she saidshe was merely not sleepyalthough
there is no telling in what occult ways she may have received though
not recognized Mr. Pike's anxiety.


At the head of the stairspassing along the tiny hall to go out the
lee door of the chart-houseI glanced into the chart-room. On the
couchlying on his backhis head uncomfortably highI thought
slept Captain West. The room was warm from the ascending heat of the
cabinso that he lay unblanketedfully dressed save for oilskins
and boots. He breathed easily and steadilyand the leanascetic
lines of his face seemed softened by the light of the low-turned
lamp. And that one glance restored to me all my surety and faith in
his wisdomso that I laughed at myself for having left my warm bed
for a freezing trip on deck.

Under the weather cloth at the break of the poop I found Mr.
Mellaire. He was wide awakebut under no strain. Evidently it had
not entered his mind to considermuch less questionthe manoeuvre
of wearing ship the previous afternoon.

The gale is breaking,he told mewaving his mittened hand at a
starry segment of sky momentarily exposed by the thinning clouds.

But where was Mr. Pike? Did the second mate know he was on deck? I
proceeded to feel Mr. Mellaire out as we worked our way aftalong
the mad poop toward the wheel. I talked about the difficulty of
sleeping in stormy weatherstated the restlessness and semi-insomnia
that the violent motion of the ship caused in meand raised the
query of how bad weather affected the officers.

I noticed Captain West, in the chart-room, as I came up, sleeping
like a baby,I concluded.

We leaned in the lee of the chart-house and went no farther.

Trust us to sleep just the same way, Mr. Pathurst,the second mate
laughed. "The harder the weather the harder the demand on usand
the harder we sleep. I'm dead the moment my head touches the pillow.
It takes Mr. Pike longerbecause he always finishes his cigarette
after he turns in. But he smokes while he's undressingso that he
doesn't require more than a minute to go deado. I'll wager he hasn't
movedright nowsince ten minutes after twelve."

So the second mate did not dream the first was even on deck. I went
below to make sure. A small sea-lamp was burning in Mr. Pike's room
and I saw his bunk unoccupied. I went in by the big stove in the
dining-room and warmed upthen again came on deck. I did not go
near the weather clothwhere I was certain Mr. Mellaire was; but
keeping along the lee of the poopI gained the bridge and started
for'ard.

I was in no hurryso I paused often in that coldwet journey. The
gale was breakingfor again and again the stars glimmered through
the thinning storm-clouds. On the 'midship-house was no Mr. Pike. I
crossed itstung by the freezingflying sprayand carefully
reconnoitred the top of the for'ard-housewherein such bad
weatherI knew the lookout was stationed. I was within twenty feet
of themwhen a wider clearance of starry sky showed me the figures
of the lookoutwhoever he wasand of Mr. Pikeside by side. Long
I watched themnot making my presence knownand I knew that the old
mate's eyes were boring like gimlets into the windy darkness that
separated the Elsinore from the thunder-surfed iron coast he sought
to find.

Coming back to the poop I was caught by the surprised Mr. Mellaire.

Thought you were asleep, sir,he chided.


I'm too restless,I explained. "I've read until my eyes are tired
and now I'm trying to get chilled so that I can fall asleep while
warming up in my blankets."

I envy you, sir,he answered. "Think of it! So much of all night
in that you cannot sleep. Some dayif ever I make a lucky strikeI
shall make a voyage like this as a passengerand have all watches
below. Think of it! All blessed watches below! And I shalllike
yousirbring a Jap servant alongand I'll make him call me at
every changing of the watchesso thatwide awakeI can appreciate
my good fortune in the several minutes before I roll over and go to
sleep again."

We laughed good night to each other. Another peep into the chartroom
showed me Captain West sleeping as before. He had not moved in
generalthough all his body moved with every roll and fling of the
ship. BelowMargaret's light still burnedbut a peep showed her
asleepher book fallen from her hands just as was the so frequent
case with my books.

And I wondered. Half the souls of us on the Elsinore slept. The
Samurai slept. Yet the old first matewho should have sleptkept a
bitter watch on the for'ard-house. Was his anxiety right? Could it
be right? Or was it the crankiness of ultimate age? Were we
drifting and leewaying to destruction? Or was it merely an old man
being struck down by senility in the midst of his life-task?

Too wide awake to think of sleepingI ensconced myself with The
Mirror of the Sea at the dining-table. Nor did I remove aught of my
storm-gear save the soggy mittenswhich I wrung out and hung to dry
by the stove. Four bells struckand six bellsand Mr. Pike had not
returned below. At eight bellswith the changing of the watchesit
came upon me what a night of hardship the old mate was enduring.
Eight to twelve had been his own watch on deck. He had now completed
the four hours of the second mate's watch and was beginning his own
watchwhich would last till eight in the morning--twelve consecutive
hours in a Cape Horn gale with the mercury at freezing.

Next--for I had dozed--I heard loud cries above my head that were
repeated along the poop. I did not know till afterwards that it was
Mr. Pike's command to hard-up the helmpassed along from for'ard by
the men he had stationed at intervals on the bridge.

All that I knew at this shock of waking was that something was
happening above. As I pulled on my steaming mittens and hurried my
best up the reeling stairsI could hear the stamp of men's feet that
for once were not lagging. In the chart-house hall I heard Mr. Pike
who had already covered the length of the bridge from the for'ardhouse
shouting:

Mizzen-braces! Slack, damn you! Slack on the run! But hold a
turn! Aft, here, all of you! Jump! Lively, if you don't want to
swim! Come in, port-braces! Don't let 'm get away! Lee-braces!--if
you lose that turn I'll split your skull! Lively! Lively!--Is that
helm hard over! Why in hell don't you answer?

All this I heard as I dashed for the lee door and as I wondered why I
did not hear the Samurai's voice.

Thenas I passed the chart-room doorI saw him.

He was sitting on the couchwhite-facedone sea-boot in his hands
and I could have sworn his hands were shaking. That much I sawand


the next moment was out on deck.

At firstjust emerged from the lightI could see nothingalthough
I could hear men at the pin-rails and the mate snarling and shouting
commands. But I knew the manoeuvre. With a weak crewin the big
tail-end sea of a broken galebreakers and destruction under her
leethe Elsinore was being worn around. We had been under lowertopsails
and a reefed foresail all night. Mr. Pike's first action
after putting the wheel uphad been to square the mizzen-yards.
With the wind-pressure thus eased aftthe stern could more easily
swing against the wind while the wind-pressure on the for'ard-sails
paid the bow off.

But it takes time to wear a shipunder short canvasin a big sea.
Slowlyvery slowlyI could feel the direction of the wind altering
against my cheek. The moondim at firstshowed brighter and
brighter as the last shreds of a flying cloud drove away from before
it. In vain I looked for any land.

Main-braces!--all of you!--jump!Mr. Pike shoutedhimself leading
the rush along the poop. And the men really rushed. Not in all the
months I had observed them had I seen such swiftness of energy.

I made my way to the wheelwhere Tom Spink stood. He did not notice
me. With one hand holding the idle wheelhe was leaning out to one
sidehis eyes fixed in a fascinated stare. I followed its
directionon between the chart-house and the port-jigger shrouds
and on across a mountain sea that was very vague in the moonlight.
And then I saw it! The Elsinore's stern was flung skywardand
across that cold ocean I saw land--black rocks and snow-covered
slopes and crags. And toward this land the Elsinorenow almost
before the windwas driving.

From the 'midship-house came the snarls of the mate and the cries of
the sailors. They were pulling and hauling for very life. Then came
Mr. Pikeacross the poopleaping with incredible swiftnesssending
his snarl before him.

Ease that wheel there! What the hell you gawkin' at? Steady her as
I tell you. That's all you got to do!

From for'ard came a cryand I knew Mr. Mellaire was on top of the
for'ard-house and managing the fore-yards.

Now!--from Mr. Pike. "More spokes! Steady! Steady! And be ready
to check her!"

He bounded away along the poop againshouting for men for the
mizzen-braces. And the men appearedsome of his watchothers of
the second mate's watchrouted from sleep--men coatlessand
hatlessand bootless; men ghastly-faced with fear but eager for once
to spring to the orders of the man who knew and could save their
miserable lives from miserable death. Yes--and I noted the delicatehanded
cookand Yatsudathe sail-makerpulling with his one
unparalysed hand. It was all hands to save shipand all hands knew
it. Even Sundry Buyerswho had drifted aft in his stupidity instead
of being for'ard with his own officerforebore to stare about and to
press his abdomen. For the nonce he pulled like a youngling of
twenty.

The moon covered againand it was in darkness that the Elsinore
rounded up on the wind on the starboard tack. Thisin her case
under lower-topsails onlymeant that she lay eight points from the
windorin land termsat right angles to the wind.


Mr. Pike was splendidmarvellous. Even as the Elsinore was rounding
to on the windwhile the head-yards were still being bracedand
even as he was watching the ship's behaviour and the wheelin
between his commands to Tom Spink of "A spoke! A spoke or two!
Another! Steady! Hold her! Ease her!" he was ordering the men
aloft to loose sail. I had thoughtthe manoeuvre of wearing
achievedthat we were savedbut this setting of all three uppertopsails
unconvinced me.

The moon remained hiddenand to leeward nothing could be seen. As
each sail was setthe Elsinore was pressed farther and farther over
and I realized that there was plenty of wind leftdespite the fact
that the gale had broken or was breaking. Alsounder this
additional canvasI could feel the Elsinore moving through the
water. Pike now sent the Maltese Cockney to help Tom Spink at the
wheel. As for himselfhe took his stand beside the booby-hatch
where he could gauge the Elsinoregaze to leewardand keep his eye
on the helmsmen.

Full and by,was his reiterated command. "Keep her a good full--a
rap-full; but don't let her fall away. Hold her to itand drive
her."

He took no notice whatever of mealthough Ion my way to the lee of
the chart-housestood at his shoulder a full minuteoffering him a
chance to speak. He knew I was therefor his big shoulder brushed
my arm as he swayed and turned to warn the helmsmen in the one breath
to hold her up to it but to keep her full. He had neither time nor
courtesy for a passenger in such a moment.

Sheltering by the chart-houseI saw the moon appear. It grew
brighter and brighterand I saw the landdead to leeward of usnot
three hundred yards away. It was a cruel sight--black rock and
bitter snowwith cliffs so perpendicular that the Elsinore could
have laid alongside of them in deep waterwith great gashes and
fissuresand with great surges thundering and spouting along all the
length of it.

Our predicament was now clear to me. We had to weather the bight of
land and islands into which we had driftedand sea and wind worked
directly on shore. The only way out was to drive through the water
to drive fast and hardand this was borne in upon me by Mr. Pike
bounding past to the break of the poopwhere I heard him shout to
Mr. Mellaire to set the mainsail.

Evidently the second mate was dubiousfor the next cry of Mr. Pike's
was:

Damn the reef! You'd be in hell first! Full mainsail! All hands
to it!

The difference was appreciable at once when that huge spread of
canvas opposed the wind. The Elsinore fairly leaped and quivered as
she sprang to itand I could feel her eat to windward as she at the
same time drove faster ahead. Alsoin the rolls and gustsshe was
forced down till her lee-rail buried and the sea foamed level across
to her hatches. Mr. Pike watched her like a hawkand like certain
death he watched the Maltese Cockney and Tom Spink at the wheel.

Land on the lee bow!came a cry from for'ardthat was carried on
from mouth to mouth along the bridge to the poop.

I saw Mr. Pike nod his head grimly and sarcastically. He had already


seen it from the lee-poopand what he had not seen he had guessed.
A score of times I saw him test the weight of the gusts on his cheek
and with all the brain of him study the Elsinore's behaviour. And I
knew what was in his mind. Could she carry what she had? Could she
carry more?

Small wonderin this tense passage of timethat I had forgotten the
Samurai. Nor did I remember him until the chart-house door swung
open and I caught him by the arm. He steadied and swayed beside me
while he watched that cruel picture of rock and snow and spouting
surf.

A good full!Mr. Pike snarled. "Or I'll eat your heart out. God
damn you for the farmer's hound you areTom Spink!. Ease her! Ease
her! Ease her into the big onesdamn you! Don't let her head fall
off! Steady! Where in hell did you learn to steer? What cow-farm
was you raised on?"

Here he bounded for'ard past us with those incredible leaps of his.

It would be good to set the mizzen-topgallant,I heard Captain West
mutter in a weakquavery voice. "Mr. Pathurstwill you please tell
Mr. Pike to set the mizzen-topgallant?"

And at that very instant Mr. Pike's voice rang out from the break of
the poop:

Mr. Mellaire!--the mizzen-topgallant!

Captain West's head drooped until his chin rested on his breastand
so low did he mutter that I leaned to hear.

A very good officer,he said. "An excellent officer. Mr.
Pathurstif you will kindly favour meI should like to go in. I .
. . I haven't got on my boots."

The muscular feat was to open the heavy iron door and hold it open in
the rolls and plunges. This I accomplished; but when I had helped
Captain West across the high threshold he thanked me and waived
further services. And I did not know even then he was dying.

Never was a Blackwood ship driven as was the Elsinore during the next
half-hour. The full-jib was also setandas it departed in shreds
the fore-topmast staysail was being hoisted. For'ard of the
'midship-house it was made unlivable by the bursting seas. Mr.
Mellairewith half the crewclung on somehow on top the 'midshiphouse
while the rest of the crew was with us in the comparative
safety of the poop. Even Charles Davisdrenched and shiveringhung
on beside me to the brass ring-handle of the chart-house door.

Such sailing! It was a madness of speed and motionfor the Elsinore
drove over and through and under those huge graybeards that thundered
shore-ward. There were timeswhen rolls and gusts worked against
her at the same momentwhen I could have sworn the ends of her
lower-yardarms swept the sea.

It was one chance in ten that we could claw off. All knew itand
all knew there was nothing more to do but await the issue. And we
waited in silence. The only voice was that of the mate
intermittently cursingthreateningand ordering Tom Spink and the
Maltese Cockney at the wheel. Between whilesand all the whilehe
gauged the gustsand ever his eyes lifted to the main-topgallantyard.
He wanted to set that one more sail. A dozen times I saw him
half-open his mouth to give the order he dared not give. And as I


watched himso all watched him. Hard-bittenbitter-naturedsourfeatured
and snarling-mouthedhe was the one manthe henchman of
the racethe master of the moment. "And where was my thought, O
where was the Samurai?"

One chance in ten? It was one in a hundred as we fought to weather
the last bold tooth of rock that gashed into sea and tempest between
us and open ocean. So close were we that I looked to see our farreeling
skysail-yards strike the face of the rock. So close were we
no more than a biscuit toss from its iron buttressthat as we sank
down into the last great trough between two seas I can swear every
one of us held breath and waited for the Elsinore to strike.

Instead we drove free. And as if in very rage at our escapethe
storm took that moment to deal us the mightiest buffet of all. The
mate felt that monster sea comingfor he sprang to the wheel ere the
blow fell. I looked for'ardand I saw all for'ard blotted out by
the mountain of water that fell aboard. The Elsinore righted from
the shock and reappeared to the eyefull of water from rail to rail.
Then a gust caught her sails and heeled her overspilling half the
enormous burden outboard again.

Along the bridge came the relayed cry of "Man overboard!"

I glanced at the matewho had just released the wheel to the
helmsmen. He shook his headas if irritated by so trivial a
happeningwalked to the corner of the half-wheelhouseand stared at
the coast he had escapedwhite and black and cold in the moonlight.

Mr. Mellaire came aftand they met beside me in the lee of the
chart-house.

All hands, Mr. Mellaire,the mate saidand get the mainsail off
of her. After that, the mizzen-topgallant.

Yes, sir,said the second.

Who was it?the mate askedas Mr. Mellaire was turning away.

Boney--he was no good, anyway,came the answer.

That was all. Boney the Splinter was goneand all hands were
answering the command of Mr. Mellaire to take in the mainsail. But
they never took it in; for at that moment it started to blow away out
of the bolt-ropesand in but few moments all that was left of it was
a few shortslatting ribbons.

Mizzen-topgallant-sail!Mr. Pike ordered. Thenand for the first
timehe recognized my existence.

Well rid of it,he growled. "It never did set properly. I was
always aching to get my hands on the sail-maker that made it."

On my way below a glance into the chart-room gave me the cue to the
Samurai's blunder--if blunder it can be calledfor no one will ever
know. He lay on the floor in a loose heaprolling willy-nilly with
every roll of the Elsinore.

CHAPTER XXXIX


There is so much to write about all at once. In the first place
Captain West. Not entirely unexpected was his death. Margaret tells
me that she was apprehensive from the start of the voyage--and even
before. It was because of her apprehension that she so abruptly
changed her plans and accompanied her father.

What really happened we do not knowbut the agreed surmise is that
it was some stroke of the heart. And yetafter the strokedid he
not come out on deck? Or could the first stroke have been followed
by another and fatal one after I had helped him inside through the
door? And even soI have never heard of a heart-stroke being
preceded hours before by a weakening of the mind. Captain West's
mind seemed quite clearand must have been quite clearthat last
afternoon when he wore the Elsinore and started the lee-shore drift.
In which case it was a blunder. The Samurai blunderedand his heart
destroyed him when he became aware of the blunder.

At any rate the thought of blunder never enters Margaret's head. She
acceptsas a matter of coursethat it was all a part of the
oncoming termination of his sickness. And no one will ever undeceive
her. Neither Mr. PikeMr. Mellairenor Iamong ourselvesmention
a whisper of what so narrowly missed causing disaster. In factMr.
Pike does not talk about the matter at all.--And thenagainmight
it not have been something different from heart disease? Or heart
disease complicated with something else that obscured his mind that
afternoon before his death? Wellno one knowsand Ifor one
shall not siteven in secret judgmenton the event.

At midday of the day we clawed off Tierra Del Fuego the Elsinore was
rolling in a dead calmand all afternoon she rollednot a score of
miles off the land. Captain West was buried at four o'clockand at
eight bells that evening Mr. Pike assumed command and made a few
remarks to both watches. They were straight-from-the-shoulder
remarksoras he called themthey were "brass tacks."

Among other things he told the sailors that they had another boss
and that they would toe the mark as they never had before. Up to
this time they had been loafing in an hotelbut from this time on
they were going to work.

On this hooker, from now on,he peroratedit's going to be like
old times, when a man jumped the last day of the voyage as well as
the first. And God help the man that don't jump. That's all.
Relieve the wheel and lookout.

And yet the men are in terribly wretched condition. I don't see how
they can jump. Another week of westerly galesalternating with
brief periods of calmhas elapsedmaking a total of six weeks off
the Horn. So weak are the men that they have no spirit left in them-
not even the gangsters. And so afraid are they of the mate that
they really do their best to jump when he drives themand he drives
them all the time. Mr. Mellaire shakes his head.

Wait till they get around and up into better weather,he astonished
me by telling me the other afternoon. "Wait till they get dried out
and rested upwith more sleepand their sores healedand more
flesh on their bonesand more spunk in their blood--then they won't
stand for this driving. Mr. Pike can't realize that times have
changedsirand laws have changedand men have changed. He's an
old manand I know what I am talking about."

You mean you've been listening to the talk of the men?I challenged


rashlyall my gorge rising at the unofficerlike conduct of this
ship's officer.

The shot went homeforin a flashthat suave and gentle film of
light vanished from the surface of the eyesand the watching
fearful thing that lurked behind inside the skull seemed almost to
leap out at mewhile the cruel gash of mouth drew thinner and
crueller. And at the same timeon my inner sightwas grotesquely
limned a picture of a brain pulsing savagely against the veneer of
skin that covered that cleft of skull beneath the dripping sou'wester.
Then he controlled himselfthe mouth-gash relaxedand the
suave and gentle film drew again across the eyes.

I mean, sir,he said softlythat I am speaking out of a long sea
experience. Times have changed. The old driving days are gone. And
I trust, Mr. Pathurst, that you will not misunderstand me in the
matter, nor misinterpret what I have said.

Although the conversation drifted on to other and calmer topicsI
could not ignore the fact that he had not denied listening to the
talk of the men. And yeteven as Mr. Pike grudgingly admitshe is
a good sailorman and second mate save for his unholy intimacy with
the men for'ard--an intimacy which even the Chinese cook and the
Chinese steward deplore as unseamanlike and perilous.

Even though men like the gangsters are so worn down by hardship that
they have no heart of rebellionthere remain three of the frailest
for'ard who will not dieand who are as spunky as ever. They are
Andy FayMulligan Jacobsand Charles Davis. What strangeabysmal
vitality informs them is beyond all speculation. Of courseCharles
Davis should have been overside with a sack of coal at his feet long
ago. And Andy Fay and Mulligan Jacobs are onlyand have always
beenwrecked and emaciated wisps of men. Yet far stronger men than
they have gone over the sideand far stronger men than they are laid
up right now in absolute physical helplessness in the soggy
forecastle bunks. And these two bitter flames of shreds of things
stand all their watches and answer all calls for both watches.

Yes; and the chickens have something of this same spunk of life in
them. Featherlesssemi-frozen despite the oil-stovesprayed
dripping on occasion by the frigid seas that pound by sheer weight
through canvas tarpaulinsnevertheless not a chicken has died. Is
it a matter of selection? Are these the iron-vigoured ones that
survived the hardships from Baltimore to the Hornand are fitted to
survive anything? Then for a De Vries to take themsave themand
out of them found the hardiest breed of chickens on the planet! And
after this I shall always query that phrasemost ancient in our
language--"chicken-hearted." Measured by the Elsinore's chickensit
is a misnomer.

Nor are our three Horn Gypsiesthe storm-visitors with the dreaming
topaz eyesspunkless. Held in superstitious abhorrence by the rest
of the crewaliens by lack of any word of common speech
nevertheless they are good sailors and are always first to spring
into any enterprise of work or peril. They have gone into Mr.
Mellaire's watchand they are quite apart from the rest of the
sailors. And when there is a delayor waitwith nothing to do for
long minutesthey shoulder togetherand stand and sway to the heave
of deckand dream far dreams in those paletopaz eyesof a
countryI am surewhere motherswith paletopaz eyes and sandy
hairbirth sons and daughters that breed true in terms of topaz eyes
and sandy hair.

But the rest of the crew! Take the Maltese Cockney. He is too


keenly intelligenttoo sharply sensitivesuccessfully to endure.
He is a shadow of his former self. His cheeks have fallen in. Dark
circles of suffering are under his eyeswhile his eyesLatin and
English intermingledare cavernously sunken and as bright-burning as
if aflame with fever.

Tom Spinkhard-fibred Anglo-Saxongood seaman that he islong
tried and always provedis quite wrecked in spirit. He is whining
and fearful. So broken is hethough he still does his workthat he
is prideless and shameless.

I'll never ship around the Horn again, sir,he began on me the
other day when I greeted him good morning at the wheel. "I've sworn
it beforebut this time I mean it. Never againsir. Never again."

Why did you swear it before?I queried.

It was on the Nahoma, sir, four years ago. Two hundred and thirty
days from Liverpool to 'Frisco. Think of it, sir. Two hundred and
thirty days! And we was loaded with cement and creosote, and the
creosote got loose. We buried the captain right here off the Horn.
The grub gave out. Most of us nearly died of scurvy. Every man Jack
of us was carted to hospital in 'Frisco. It was plain hell, sir,
that's what it was, an' two hundred and thirty days of it.

Yet here you are,I laughed; "signed on another Horn voyage."

And this morning Tom Spink confided the following tome:

If only we'd lost the carpenter, sir, instead of Boney.

I did not catch his drift for the moment; then I remembered. The
carpenter was the Finnthe Jonahthe warlock who played tricks with
the winds and despitefully used poor sailormen.

Yesand I make free to confess that I have grown well weary of this
eternal buffeting by the Great West Wind. Nor are we alone in our
travail on this desolate ocean. Never a day does the gray thinor
the snow-squalls cease that we do not sight shipswest-bound like
ourselveshove-to and trying to hold on to the meagre westing they
possess. And occasionallywhen the gray clears and liftswe see a
lucky shipbound eastrunning before it and reeling off the miles.
I saw Mr. Pikeyesterdayshaking his fist in a fury of hatred at
one such craft that flew insolently past us not a quarter of a mile
away.

And the men are jumping. Mr. Pike is driving with those block-square
fists of hisas many a man's face attests. So weak are theyand so
terrible is hethat I swear he could whip either watch singlehanded.
I cannot help but note that Mr. Mellaire refuses to take
part in this driving. Yet I know that he is a trained driverand
that he was not averse to driving at the outset of the voyage. But
now he seems bent on keeping on good terms with the crew. I should
like to know what Mr. Pike thinks of itfor he cannot possibly be
blind to what is going on; but I am too well aware of what would
happen if I raised the question. He would insult mesnap my head
offand indulge in a three-days' sea-grouch. Things are sad and
monotonous enough for Margaret and me in the cabin and at table
without invoking the blight of the mate's displeasure.

CHAPTER XL


Another brutal sea-superstition vindicated. From now on and for
always these imbeciles of ours will believe that Finns are Jonahs.
We are west of the Diego de Ramirez Rocksand we are running west at
a twelve-knot clip with an easterly gale at our backs. And the
carpenter is gone. His passingand the coming of the easterly wind
were coincidental.

It was yesterday morningas he helped me to dressthat I was struck
by the solemnity of Wada's face. He shook his head lugubriously as
he broke the news. The carpenter was missing. The ship had been
searched for him high and low. There just was no carpenter.

What does the steward think?I asked. "What does Louis think?--and
Yatsuda?"

The sailors, they kill 'm carpenter sure,was the answer. "Very
bad ship this. Very bad hearts. Just the same pigjust the same
dog. All the time kill. All the time kill. Bime-by everybody kill.
You see."

The old stewardat work in his pantrygrinned at me when I
mentioned the matter.

They make fool with me, I fix 'em,he said vindictively. "Mebbe
they kill meall right; but I kill sometoo."

He threw back his coatand I sawstrapped to the left side of his
bodyin a canvas sheathso that the handle was ready to handa
meat knife of the heavy sort that butchers hack with. He drew it
forth- it was fully two feet long--andto demonstrate its razoredge
sliced a sheet of newspaper into many ribbons.

Huh!he laughed sardonically. "I am Chinkmonkeydamn fooleh?-
no goodeh? all rotten damn to hell. I fix 'emthey make fool
with me."

And yet there is not the slightest evidence of foul play. Nobody
knows what happened to the carpenter. There are no cluesno traces.
The night was calm and snowy. No seas broke on board. Without doubt
the clumsybig-footedover-grown giant of a boy is overside and
dead. The question is: did he go over of his own accordor was he
put over?

At eight o'clock Mr. Pike proceeded to interrogate the watches. He
stood at the break of the poopin the high placeleaning on the
rail and gazing down at the crew assembled on the main deck beneath
him.

Man after man he questionedand from each man came the one story.
They knew no more about it than did we--or so they averred.

I suppose you'll be chargin' next that I hove that big lummux
overboard with me own hands,Mulligan Jacobs snarledwhen he was
questioned. "An' mebbe I didbein' that husky an' rampagin' bulllike."


The mate's face grew more forbidding and sourbut without comment he
passed on to John Hackeythe San Francisco hoodlum.

It was an unforgettable scene--the mate in the high placethe men
sullen and irresponsivegrouped beneath. A gentle snow drifted


straight down through the windless airwhile the Elsinorewith
hollow thunder from her sailsrolled down on the quiet swells so
that the ocean lapped the mouths of her scuppers with long-drawn
shuddering sucks and sobs. And all the men swayed in unison to the
rollstheir hands in mittenstheir feet in sack-wrapped sea-boots
their faces worn and sick. And the three dreamers with the topaz
eyes stood and swayed and dreamed togetherincurious of setting and
situation.

And then it came--the hint of easterly air. The mate noted it first.
I saw him start and turn his cheek to the almost imperceptible
draught. Then I felt it. A minute longer he waiteduntil assured
whenthe dead carpenter forgottenhe burst out with orders to the
wheel and the crew. And the men jumpedthough in their weakness the
climb aloft was slow and toilsome; and when the gaskets were off the
topgallant-sails and the men on deck were hoisting yards and sheeting
homethose aloft were loosing the royals.

While this work went onand while the yards were being braced
aroundthe Elsinoreher bow pointing to the westbegan moving
through the water before the first fair wind in a month and a half.

Slowly that light air fanned to a gentle breeze while all the time
the snow fell steadily. The barometerdown to 28.80continued to
falland the breeze continued to grow upon itself. Tom Spink
passing by me on the poop to lend a hand at the final finicky
trimming of the mizzen-yardsgave me a triumphant look.
Superstition was vindicated. Events had proved him right. Fair wind
had come with the going of the carpenterwhich said warlock had
incontestably taken with him overside his bag of wind-tricks.

Mr. Pike strode up and down the pooprubbing his handswhich he was
too disdainfully happy to mittenchuckling and grinning to himself
glancing at the draw of every sailstealing adoring looks astern
into the gray of snow out of which blew the favouring wind. He even
paused beside me to gossip for a moment about the French restaurants
of San Francisco and howthereinthe delectable California fashion
of cooking wild duck obtained.

Throw 'em through the fire,he chanted. "That's the way--throw 'em
through the fire--a hot ovensixteen minutes--I take mine fourteen
to the second--an' squeeze the carcasses."

By midday the snow had ceased and we were bowling along before a
stiff breeze. At three in the afternoon we were running before a
growing gale. It was across a mad ocean we torefor the mounting
sea that made from eastward bucked into the West End Drift and
battled and battered down the huge south-westerly swell. And the big
grinning dolt of a Finnish carpenteralready food for fish and bird
was astern there somewhere in the freezing rack and drive.

Make westing! We ripped it off across these narrowing degrees of
longitude at the southern tip of the planet where one mile counts for
two. And Mr. Pikestaring at his bending topgallant-yardsswore
that they could carry away for all he cared ere he eased an inch of
canvas. More he did. He set the huge crojackbiggest of all sails
and challenged God or Satan to start a seam of it or all its seams.

He simply could not go below. In such auspicious occasions all
watches were hisand he strode the poop perpetually with all age-lag
banished from his legs. Margaret and I were with him in the chartroom
when he hurrahed the barometerdown to 28.55 and falling. And
we were near himon the poopwhen he drove by an east-bound limejuicer
hove-to under upper-topsails. We were a biscuit-toss away


and he sprang upon the rail at the jigger-shrouds and danced a wardance
and waved his free armand yelled his scorn and joy at their
discomfiture to the several oilskinned figures on the stranger
vessel's poop.

Through the pitch-black night we continued to drive. The crew was
sadly frightenedand I sought in vainin the two dog-watchesfor
Tom Spinkto ask him if he thought the carpenterasternhad opened
wide the bag-mouth and loosed all his tricks. For the first time I
saw the steward apprehensive.

Too much,he told mewith ominous rolling head. "Too much sail
rotten bad damn all to hell. Bime-bypretty quickall finish. You
see."

They talk about running the easting down,Mr. Pike chortled to me
as we clung to the poop-rail to keep from fetching away and breaking
ribs and necks. "Wellthis is running your westing down if anybody
should ride up in a go-devil and ask you."

It was a wretchedglorious night. Sleep was impossible--for meat
any rate. Nor was there even the comfort of warmth. Something had
gone wrong with the big cabin stovedue to our wild runningI
fancyand the steward was compelled to let the fire go out. So we
are getting a taste of the hardship of the forecastlethough in our
case everything is dry instead of soggy or afloat. The kerosene
stoves burned in our state roombut so smelly was mine that I
preferred the cold.

To sail on one's nerve in an over-canvassed harbour cat-boat is all
the excitement any glutton can desire. But to sailin the same
fashionin a big ship off the Hornis incredible and terrible. The
Great West Wind Driftsetting squarely into the teeth of the
easterly galekicked up a tideway sea that was monstrous. Two men
toiled at the wheelrelieving in pairs every half-hourand in the
face of the cold they streamed with sweat long ere their half-hour
shift was up.

Mr. Pike is of the elder race of men. His endurance is prodigious.
Watch and watchand all watcheshe held the poop.

I never dreamed of it,he told meat midnightas the great gusts
tore by and as we listened for our lighter spars to smash aloft and
crash upon the deck. "I thought my last whirling sailing was past.
And here we are! Here we are!

Lord! Lord! I sailed third mate in the little Vampire before you
were born. Fifty-six men before the mast, and the last Jack of 'em
an able seaman. And there were eight boys, an' bosuns that was
bosuns, an' sail-makers an' carpenters an' stewards an' passengers to
jam the decks. An' three driving mates of us, an' Captain Brown, the
Little Wonder. He didn't weigh a hundredweight, an' he drove us--he
drove US, three drivin' mates that learned from him what drivin' was.

It was knock down and drag out from the start. The first hour of
puttin' the men to fair perished our knuckles. I've got the smashed
joints yet to show. Every sea-chest broke openevery sea-bag turned
outand whiskey bottlesknuckle-dusterssling-shotsbowie-knives
an' guns chucked overside by the armful. An' when we chose the
watcheseach man of fifty-six of 'em laid his knife on the mainhatch
an' the carpenter broke the point square off.-Yesan' the
little Vampire only eight hundred tons. The Elsinore could carry her
on her deck. But she was shipall shipan' them was men's days."


Margaretsave for inability to sleepdid not mind the driving
although Mr. Mellaireon the other handadmitted apprehension.

He's got my goat,he confided to me. "It isn't right to drive a
cargo-carrier this way. This isn't a ballasted yacht. It's a coalhulk.
I know what driving wasbut it was in ships made to drive.
Our iron-work aloft won't stand it. Mr. PathurstI tell you frankly
that it is criminalit is sheer murderto run the Elsinore with
that crojack on her. You can see yourselfsir. It's an after-sail.
All its tendency is to throw her stern off and her bow up to it. And
if it ever happenssirif she ever gets away from the wheel for two
seconds and broaches to . . . "

Then what?I askedorrathershouted; for all conversation had
to be shouted close to ear in that blast of gale.

He shrugged his shouldersand all of him was eloquent with the
unutteredunmistakable word-finish."

At eight this morning Margaret and I struggled up to the poop. And
there was that indomitableiron old man. He had never left the deck
all night. His eyes were brightand he appeared in the pink of
well-being. He rubbed his hands and chuckled greeting to usand
took up his reminiscences.

In '51, on this same stretch, Miss West, the Flying Cloud, in
twenty-four hours, logged three hundred and seventy-four miles under
her topgallant-sails. That was sailing. She broke the record, that
day, for sail an' steam.

And what are we averaging, Mr. Pike?Margaret queriedwhile her
eyes were fixed on the main deckwhere continually one rail and then
the other dipped under the ocean and filled across from rail to rail
only to spill out and take in on the next roll.

Thirteen for a fair average since five o'clock yesterday afternoon,
he exulted. "In the squalls she makes all of sixteenwhich is going
somefor the Elsinore."

I'd take the crojack off if I had charge,Margaret criticised.

So would I, so would I, Miss West,he replied; "if we hadn't been
six weeks already off the Horn."

She ran her eyes aloftspar by sparpast the spars of hollow steel
to the wooden royalswhich bent in the gusts like bows in some
invisible archer's hands.

They're remarkably good sticks of timber,was her comment.

Well may you say it, Miss West,he agreed. "I'd never a-believed
they'd a-stood it myself. But just look at 'm! Just look at 'm!"

There was no breakfast for the men. Three times the galley had been
washed outand the menin the forecastle awashcontented
themselves with hard tack and cold salt horse. Aftwith usthe
steward scalded himself twice ere he succeeded in making coffee over
a kerosene-burner.

At noon we picked up a ship aheada lime-juicertravelling in the
same directionunder lower-topsails and one upper-topsail. The only
one of her courses set was the foresail.

The way that skipper's carryin' on is shocking Mr. Pike sneered.


He should be more cautiousand remember Godthe ownersthe
underwritersand the Board of Trade."

Such was our speed that in almost no time we were up with the
stranger vessel and passing her. Mr. Pike was like a boy just loosed
from school. He altered our course so that we passed her a hundred
yards away. She was a gallant sightbutsuch was our speedshe
appeared standing still. Mr. Pike jumped upon the rail and insulted
those on her poop by extending a rope's end in invitation to take a
tow.

Margaret shook her head privily to me as she gazed at our bending
royal-yardsbut was caught in the act by Mr. Pikewho cried out:

What kites she won't carry she can drag!

An hour later I caught Tom Spinkjust relieved from his shift at the
wheel and weak from exhaustion.

What do you think now of the carpenter and his bag of tricks?
queried.

Lord lumme, it should a-ben the mate, sir,was his reply.

By five in the afternoon we had logged 314 miles since five the
previous daywhich was two over an average of thirteen knots for
twenty-four consecutive hours.

Now take Captain Brown of the little Vampire,Mr. Pike grinned to
mefor our sailing made him good-natured. "He never would take in
until the kites an' stu'n'sails was about his ears. An' when she was
blown' her worst an' we was half-fairly shortened downhe'd turn in
for a snoozean' say to us'Call me if she moderates.' Yesand
I'll never forget the night when I called him an' told him that
everything on top the houses had gone adriftan' that two of the
boats had been swept aft and was kindling-wood against the break of
the cabin. 'Very wellMr. Pike' he saysbattin' his eyes and
turnin' over to go to sleep again. 'Very wellMr. Pike' says he.
'Watch her. An' Mr. Pike . . .' 'Yessir' says I. 'Give me a
callMr. Pikewhen the windlass shows signs of comin' aft.' That's
what he saidhis very wordsan' the next momentdammehe was
snorin'."

It is now midnightandcunningly wedged into my bunkunable to
sleepI am writing these lines with flying dabs of pencil at my pad.
And no more shall I writeI swearuntil this gale is blown outor
we are blown to Kingdom Come.

CHAPTER XLI

The days have passed and I have broken my resolve; for here I am
again writing while the Elsinore surges along across a magnificent
smokydusty sea. But I have two reasons for breaking my word.
Firstand minorwe had a real dawn this morning. The gray of the
sea showed a streaky blueand the cloud-masses were actually pinktipped
by a really and truly sun.

Secondand majorWE ARE AROUND THE HORN! We are north of 50 in the
Pacificin Longitude 80.49with Cape Pillar and the Straits of


Magellan already south of east from usand we are heading northnorth-
west. WE ARE AROUND THE HORN! The profound significance of
this can be appreciated only by one who has wind-jammed around from
east to west. Blow highblow lownothing can happen to thwart us.
No ship north of 50 was ever blown back. From now on it is plain
sailingand Seattle suddenly seems quite near.

All the ship's companywith the exception of Margaretis better
spirited. She is quietand a little downthough she is anything
but prone to the wastage of grief. In her robustvital philosophy
God's always in heaven. I may describe her as being merely subdued
and gentleand tender. And she is very wistful to receive gentle
consideration and tenderness from me. She isafter allthe genuine
woman. She wants the strength that man has to giveand I flatter
myself that I am ten times a stronger man than I was when the voyage
beganbecause I am a thousand times a more human man since I told
the books to go hang and began to revel in the human maleness of the
man that loves a woman and is loved.

Returning to the ship's company. The rounding of the Hornthe
better weather that is continually growing betterthe easement of
hardship and toil and dangerwith the promise of the tropics and of
the balmy south-east trades before them--all these factors contribute
to pick up our men again. The temperature has already so moderated
that the men are beginning to shed their surplusage of clothingand
they no longer wrap sacking about their sea-boots. Last eveningin
the second dog-watchI heard a man actually singing.

The steward has discarded the hugehacking knife and relaxed to the
extent of engaging in an occasional sober romp with Possum. Wada's
face is no longer solemnly longand Louis' Oxford accent is more
mellifluous than ever. Mulligan Jacobs and Andy Fay are the same
venomous scorpions they have always been. The three gangsterswith
the clique they leadhave again asserted their tyrrany and thrashed
all the weaklings and feeblings in the forecastle. Charles Davis
resolutely refuses to diethough how he survived that wet and
freezing room of iron through all the weeks off the Horn has elicited
wonder even from Mr. Pikewho has a most accurate knowledge of what
men can stand and what they cannot stand.

How Nietzschewith his eternal slogan of "Be hard! Be hard!" would
have delighted in Mr. Pike!

And--oh!--Larry has had a tooth removed. For some days distressed
with a jumping toothachehe came aft to the mate for relief. Mr.
Pike refused to "monkey" with the "fangled" forceps in the medicinechest.
He used a tenpenny nail and a hammer in the good old way to
which he was brought up. I vouch for this. I saw it done. One blow
of the hammer and the tooth was outwhile Larry was jumping around
holding his jaw. It is a wonder it wasn't fractured. But Mr. Pike
avers he has removed hundreds of teeth by this method and never known
a fractured jaw. Alsohe avers he once sailed with a skipper who
shaved every Sunday morning and never touched a razornor any
cutting-edgeto his face. What he usedaccording to Mr. Pikewas
a lighted candle and a damp towel. Another candidate for Nietzsche's
immortals who are hard!

As for Mr. Pike himselfhe is the highest-spiritedbest-conditioned
man on board. The driving to which he subjected the Elsinore was
meat and drink. He still rubs his hands and chuckles over the memory
of it.

Huh!he said to mein reference to the crew; "I gave 'em a taste
of real old-fashioned sailing. They'll never forget this hooker--at


least them that don't take a sack of coal overside before we reach
port."

You mean you think we'll have more sea-burials?I inquired.

He turned squarely upon meand squarely looked me in the eyes for
the matter of five long seconds.

Huh!he repliedas he turned on his heel. "Hell ain't begun to
pop on this hooker."

He still stands his mate's watchalternating with Mr. Mellairefor
he is firm in his conviction that there is no man for'ard fit to
stand a second mate's watch. Alsohe has kept his old quarters.
Perhaps it is out of delicacy for Margaret; for I have learned that
it is the invariable custom for the mate to occupy the captain's
quarters when the latter dies. So Mr. Mellaire still eats by himself
in the big after-roomas he has done since the loss of the
carpenterand bunks as before in the 'midship-house with Nancy.

CHAPTER XLII

Mr. Mellaire was right. The men would not accept the driving when
the Elsinore won to easier latitudes. Mr. Pike was right. Hell had
not begun to pop. But it has popped nowand men are overboard
without even the kindliness of a sack of coal at their feet. And yet
the menthough ripe for itdid not precipitate the trouble. It was
Mr. Mellaire. Orratherit was Ditman Olansenthe crank-eyed
Norwegian. Perhaps it was Possum. At any rateit was an accident
in which the several-namedincluding Possumplayed their respective
parts.

To begin at the beginning. Two weeks have elapsed since we crossed
50and we are now in 37--the same latitude as San Franciscoorto
be correctwe are as far south of the equator as San Francisco is
north of it. The trouble was precipitated yesterday morning shortly
after nine o'clockand Possum started the chain of events that
culminated in downright mutiny. It was Mr. Mellaire's watchand he
was standing on the bridgedirectly under the mizzen-topgiving
orders to Sundry Buyerswhowith Arthur Deacon and the Maltese
Cockneywas doing rigging work aloft.

Get the picture and the situation in all its ridiculousness. Mr.
Pikethermometer in handwas coming back along the bridge from
taking the temperature of the coal in the for'ard hold. Ditman
Olansen was just swinging into the mizzen-top as he went up with
several turns of rope over one shoulder. Alsoin some wayto the
end of this rope was fastened a sizable block that might have weighed
ten pounds. Possumrunning freewas fooling around the chickencoop
on top the 'midship-house. And the chickensfeatherless but
indomitablewere enjoying the milder weather as they pecked at the
grain and grits which the steward had just placed in their feedingtrough.
The tarpaulin that covered their pen had been off for
several days.

Now observe. I am at the break of the poopleaning on the rail and
watching Ditman Olansen swing into the top with his cumbersome
burden. Mr. Pikeproceeding afthas just passed Mr. Mellaire.
Possumwhoon account of the Horn weather and the tarpaulinhas
not seen the chickens for many weeksis getting reacquaintedand is


investigating them with that keen nose of his. And a hen's beak
equally though differently keenimpacts on Possum's nosewhich is
as sensitive as it is keen.

I may well saynow that I think it overthat it was this particular
hen that started the mutiny. The menwell-driven by Mr. Pikewere
ripe for an explosionand Possum and the hen laid the train.

Possum fell away backwards from the coop and loosed a wild cry of
pain and indignation. This attracted Ditman Olansen's attention. He
paused and craned his neck out in order to seeandin this moment
of carelessnessthe block he was carrying fetched away from him
along with the several turns of rope around his shoulder. Both the
mates sprang away to get out from under. The ropefast to the block
and following itlashed about like a blacksnakeandthough the
block fell clear of Mr. Mellairethe bight of the rope snatched off
his cap.

Mr. Pike had already started an oath aloft when his eyes caught sight
of the terrible cleft in Mr. Mellaire's head. There it wasfor all
the world to readand Mr. Pike's and mine were the only eyes that
could read it. The sparse hair upon the second mate's crown served
not at all to hide the cleft. It began out of sight in the thicker
hair above the earsand was exposed nakedly across the whole dome of
head.

The stream of abuse for Ditman Olansen was choked in Mr. Pike's
throat. All he was capable of for the moment was to stare
petrifiedat that enormous fissure flanked at either end with a
thatch of grizzled hair. He was in a dreama trancehis great
hands knotting and clenching unconsciously as he stared at the mark
unmistakable by which he had said that he would some day identify the
murderer of Captain Somers. And in that moment I remembered having
heard him declare that some day he would stick his fingers in that
mark.

Still as in a dreammoving slowlyright hand outstretched like a
talonwith the fingers drawn downwardhe advanced on the second
mate with the evident intention of thrusting his fingers into that
cleft and of clawing and tearing at the brain-life beneath that
pulsed under the thin film of skin.

The second mate backed away along the bridgeand Mr. Pike seemed
partially to come to himself. His outstretched arm dropped to his
sideand he paused.

I know you,he saidin a strangeshaky voiceblended of age and
passion. "Eighteen years ago you were dismasted off the Plate in the
Cyrus Thompson. She founderedafter you were on your beam ends and
lost your sticks. You were in the only boat that was saved. Eleven
years agoon the Jason Harrisonin San FranciscoCaptain Somers
was beaten to death by his second mate. This second mate was a
survivor of the Cyrus Thompson. This second mate'd had his skull
split by a crazy sea-cook. Your skull is split. This second mate's
name was Sidney Waltham. And if you ain't Sidney Waltham . . . "

At this point Mr. MellaireorratherSidney Walthamdespite his
fifty yearsdid what only a sailor could do. He went over the
bridge-rail side-wisecaught the running gear up-and-down the
mizzen-mastand landed lightly on his feet on top of Number Three
hatch. Nor did he stop there. He ran across the hatch and dived
through the doorway of his room in the 'midship-house.

Such must have been Mr. Pike's profundity of passionthat he paused


like a somnambulistactually rubbed his eyes with the back of his
handand seemed to awaken.

But the second mate had not run to his room for refuge. The next
moment he emergeda thirty-two Smith and Wesson in his handand the
instant he emerged he began shooting.

Mr. Pike was wholly himself againand I saw him perceptibly pause
and decide between the two impulses that tore at him. One was to
leap over the bridge-rail and down at the man who shot at him; the
other was to retreat. He retreated. And as he bounded aft along the
narrow bridge the mutiny began. Arthur Deaconfrom the mizzen-top
leaned out and hurled a steel marlin-spike at the fleeing mate. The
thing flashed in the sunlight as it hurtled down. It missed Mr. Pike
by twenty feet and nearly impaled Possumwhoafraid of firearms
was wildly rushing and ki-yi-ing aft. It so happened that the sharp
point of the marlin-spike struck the wooden floor of the bridgeand
it penetrated the planking with such force that after it had fetched
to a standstill it vibrated violently for long seconds.

I confess that I failed to observe a tithe of what occurred during
the next several minutes. Piece together as I willafter the event
I know that I missed much of what took place. I know that the men
aloft in the mizzen descended to the deckbut I never saw them
descend. I know that the second mate emptied the chambers of his
revolverbut I did not hear all the shots. I know that Lars Johnson
left the wheeland on his broken legrebroken and not yet really
mendedlimped and scuttled across the poopdown the ladderand
gained for'ard. I know he must have limped and scuttled on that bad
leg of his; I know that I must have seen him; and yet I swear that I
have no impression of seeing him.

I do know that I heard the rush of feet of men from for'ard along the
main deck. And I do know that I saw Mr. Pike take shelter behind the
steel jiggermast. Alsoas the second mate manoeuvred to port on top
of Number Three hatch for his last shotI know that I saw Mr. Pike
duck around the corner of the chart-house to starboard and get away
aft and below by way of the booby-hatch. And I did hear that last
futile shotand the bullet also as it ricochetted from the corner of
the steel-walled chart-house.

As for myselfI did not move. I was too interested in seeing. It
may have been due to lack of presence of mindor to lack of
habituation to an active part in scenes of quick action; but at any
rate I merely retained my position at the break of the poop and
looked on. I was the only person on the poop when the mutineersled
by the second mate and the gangstersrushed it. I saw them swarm up
the ladderand it never entered my head to attempt to oppose them.
Which was just as wellfor I would have been killed for my pains
and I could never have stopped them.

I was alone on the poopand the men were quite perplexed to find no
enemy in sight. As Bert Rhine went pasthe half fetched up in his
strideas if to knife me with the sheath knifesharp-pointedwhich
he carried in his right hand; thenand I know I correctly measured
the drift of his judgmenthe unflatteringly dismissed me as
unimportant and ran on.

Right here I was impressed by the lack of clear-thinking on any of
their parts. So spontaneously had the ship's company exploded into
mutiny that it was dazed and confused even while it acted. For
instancein the months since we left Baltimore there had never been
a momentday or nighteven when preventer tackles were riggedthat
a man had not stood at the wheel. So habituated were they to this


that they were shocked into consternation at sight of the deserted
wheel. They paused for an instant to stare at it. Then Bert Rhine
with a quick word and gesturesent the ItalianGuido Bombini
around the rear of the half-wheelhouse. The fact that he completed
the circuit was proof that nobody was there.

Againin the swift rush of eventsI must confess that I saw but
little. I was aware that more of the men were climbing up the ladder
and gaining the poopbut I had no eyes for them. I was watching
that sanguinary group aft near the wheel and noting the most
important thingnamelythat it was Bert Rhinethe gangsterand
not the second matewho gave orders and was obeyed.

He motioned to the JewIsaac Chantzwho had been wounded earlier in
the voyage by O'Sullivanand Chantz led the way to the starboard
chart-house door. While this was going onall in flashing fractions
of secondsBert Rhine was cautiously inspecting the lazarette
through the open booby-hatch.

Isaac Chantz jerked open the chart-house doorwhich swung outward.
Things did happen so swiftly! As he jerked the iron door open a twofoot
hacking butcher knifeat the end of a witheredyellow hand
flashed out and down on him. It missed head and neckbut caught him
on top of the left shoulder.

All hands recoiled before thisand the Jew reeled across to the
railhis right hand clutching at his woundand between the fingers
I could see the blood welling darkly. Bert Rhine abandoned his
inspection of the booby-hatchandwith the second matethe latter
still carrying his empty Smith & Wessonsprang into the press about
the chart-house door.

O wiseclevercautiousold Chinese steward! He made no emergence.
The door swung emptily back and forth to the rolling of the Elsinore
and no man knew but whatjust insidewith that heavyhacking knife
upraisedlurked the steward. And while they hesitated and stared at
the aperture that alternately closed and opened with the swinging of
the doorthe booby-hatchsituated between chart-house and wheel
erupted. It was Mr. Pikewith his .44 automatic Colt.

There were shots firedother than by him. I know I heard themlike
red-headsat an old-time Fourth of July; but I do not know who
discharged them. All was mess and confusion. Many shots were being
firedand through the uproar I heard the reiterantmonotonous
explosions from the Colt's .44

I saw the ItalianMike Ciprianiclutch savagely at his abdomen and
sink slowly to the deck. Shortythe Japanese half-casteclown that
he wasdancing and grinning on the outskirts of the strugglewith a
final grimace and hysterical giggle led the retreat across the poop
and down the poop-ladder. Never had I seen a finer exemplification
of mob psychology. Shortythe most unstable-minded of the
individuals who composed this mobby his own instability
precipitated the retreat in which the mob joined. When he broke
before the steady discharge of the automatic in the hand of the mate
on the instant the rest broke with him. Least-balancedhis balance
was the balance of all of them.

Chantzbleeding prodigiouslywas one of the first on Shorty's
heels. I saw Nosey Murphy pause long enough to throw his knife at
the mate. The missile went widewith a metallic clang struck the
brass tip of one of the spokes of the Elsinore's wheeland clattered
on the deck. The second matewith his empty revolverand Bert
Rhine with his sheath-knifefled past me side by side.


Mr. Pike emerged from the booby-hatch and with an unaimed shot
brought down Bill Quigleyone of the "bricklayers who fell at my
feet. The last man off the poop was the Maltese Cockney, and at the
top of the ladder he paused to look back at Mr. Pike, who, holding
the automatic in both hands, was taking careful aim. The Maltese
Cockney, disdaining the ladder, leaped through the air to the main
deck. But the Colt merely clicked. It was the last bullet in it
that had fetched down Bill Quigley.

And the poop was ours.

Events still crowded so closely that I missed much. I saw the
steward, belligerent and cautious, his long knife poised for a slash,
emerge from the chart-house. Margaret followed him, and behind her
came Wada, who carried my .22 Winchester automatic rifle. As he told
me afterwards, he had brought it up under instructions from her.

Mr. Pike was glancing with cool haste at his Colt to see whether it
was jammed or empty, when Margaret asked him the course.

By the wind he shouted to her, as he bounded for'ard. Put your
helm hard up or we'll be all aback."

Ah!--yeoman and henchman of the racehe could not fail in his
fidelity to the ship under his command. The iron of all his years of
iron training was there manifest. While mutiny spread redand death
was on the winghe could not forget his chargethe shipthe
Elsinorethe insensate fabric compounded of steel and hemp and woven
cotton that was to him glorious with personality.

Margaret waved Wada in my direction as she ran to the wheel. As Mr.
Pike passed the corner of the chart-housesimultaneously there was a
report from amidships and the ping of a bullet against the steel
wall. I saw the man who fired the shot. It was the cowboySteve
Roberts.

As for the matehe ducked in behind the sheltering jiggermastand
even as he ducked his left hand dipped into his side coat-pocketso
that when he had gained shelter it was coming out with a fresh clip
of cartridges. The empty clip fell to the deckthe loader clip
slipped up the hollow buttand he was good for eight more shots.

Wada turned the little automatic rifle over to mewhere I still
stood under the weather cloth at the break of the poop.

All ready,he said. "You take off safety."

Get Roberts,Mr. Pike called to me. "He's the best shot for'ard.
If you can't get 'mjolt the fear of God into him anyway."

It was the first time I had a human targetand let me sayhere and
nowthat I am convinced I am immune to buck fever. There he was
before meless than a hundred feet distantin the gangway between
the door to Davis' room and the starboard-railmanoeuvring for
another shot at Mr. Pike.

I must have missed Steve Roberts that first timebut I came so near
him that he jumped. The next instant he had located me and turned
his revolver on me. But he had no chance. My little automatic was
discharging as fast as I could tickle the trigger with my forefinger.
The cowboy's first shot went wild of mebecause my bullet
arrived ere he got his swift aim. He swayed and stumbled backward
but the bullets--ten of them--poured from the muzzle of my Winchester


like water from a garden hose. It was a stream of lead I played upon
him. I shall never know how many times I hit himbut I am confident
that after he had begun his long staggering fall at least three
additional bullets entered him ere he impacted on the deck. And even
as he was fallingaimlessly and mechanicallystricken then with
deathhe managed twice again to discharge his weapon.

And after he struck the deck he never moved. I do believe he died in
the air.

As I held up my gun and gazed at the abruptly-deserted main-deck I
was aware of Wada's touch on my arm. I looked. In his hand were a
dozen little .22 longsoft-nosedsmokeless cartridges. He wanted
me to reload. I threw on the safetyopened the magazineand tilted
the rifle so that he could let the fresh cartridges of themselves
slide into place.

Get some more,I told him.

Scarcely had he departed on the errand when Bill Quigleywho lay at
my feetcreated a diversion. I jumped--yesand I freely confess
that I yelled--with startle and surprisewhen I felt his paws clutch
my ankles and his teeth shut down on the calf of my leg.

It was Mr. Pike to the rescue. I understand now the Western
hyperbole of "hitting the high places." The mate did not seem in
contact with the deck. My impression was that he soared through the
air to melanding beside meandin the instant of landingkicking
out with one of those big feet of his. Bill Quigley was kicked clear
away from meand the next moment he was flying overboard. It was a
clean throw. He never touched the rail.

Whether Mike Ciprianiwhotill thenhad lain in a welterbegan
crawling aft in quest of safetyor whether he intended harm to
Margaret at the wheelwe shall never know; for there was no
opportunity given him to show his purpose. As swiftly as Mr. Pike
could cross the deck with those giant boundsjust that swiftly was
the Italian in the air and following Bill Quigley overside.

The mate missed nothing with those eagle eyes of his as he returned
along the poop. Nobody was to be seen on the main deck. Even the
lookout had deserted the forecastle-headand the Elsinoresteered
by Margaretslipped a lazy two knots through the quiet sea. Mr.
Pike was apprehensive of a shot from ambushand it was not until
after a scrutiny of several minutes that he put his pistol into his
side coat-pocket and snarled for'ard:

Come out, you rats! Show your ugly faces! I want to talk with
you!

Guido Bombinigesticulating peaceable intentions and evidently
thrust out by Bert Rhinewas the first to appear. When it was
observed that Mr. Pike did not firethe rest began to dribble into
view. This continued till all were there save the cookthe two
sail-makersand the second mate. The last to come out were Tom
Spinkthe boy Buckwheatand Herman Lunkenheimerthe good-natured
but simple-minded German; and these three came out only after
repeated threats from Bert Rhinewhowith Nosey Murphy and Kid
Twistwas patently in charge. Alsolike a faithful dogGuido
Bombini fawned close to him.

That will do--stop where you are,Mr. Pike commandedwhen the crew
was scattered abreastto starboard and to portof Number Three
hatch.


It was a striking scene. MUTINY ON THE HIGH SEAS! That phrase
learned in boyhood from my Marryatt and Cooperrecrudesced in my
brain. This was it--mutiny on the high seas in the year nineteen
thirteen--and I was part of ita perishing blond whose lot was cast
with the perishing but lordly blondsand I had already killed a man.

Mr. Pikein the high placeaged and indomitable; leaned his arm on
the rail at the break of the poop and gazed down at the mutineers
the like of which I'll wager had never been assembled in mutiny
before. There were the three gangsters and ex-jailbirdsanything
but seamenyet in control of this affair that was peculiarly an
affair of the sea. With them was the Italian houndBombiniand
beside them were such strangely assorted men as Anton SorensenLars
JacobsenFrank Fitzgibbonand Richard Giller--also Arthur Deacon
the white slaverJohn Hackey the San Francisco hoodlumthe Maltese
Cockneyand Tony the suicidal Greek.

I noticed the three strange onesshouldering together and standing
apart from the others as they swayed to the lazy roll and dreamed
with their paletopaz eyes. And there was the Faunstone deaf but
observantstraining to understand what was taking place. Yesand
Mulligan Jacobs and Andy Fay were bitterly and eagerly side by side
and Ditman Olansencrank-eyedas if drawn by some affinity of
bitternessstood behind themhis head appearing between their
heads. Farthest advanced of all was Charles Davisthe man who by
all rights should long since be deadhis face with its wax-like
pallor startlingly in contrast to the weathered faces of the rest.

I glanced back at Margaretwho was coolly steeringand she smiled
to meand love was in her eyes--shetooof the perishing and
lordly race of blondsher place the high placeher heritage
government and command and mastery over the stupid lowly of her kind
and over the ruck and spawn of the dark-pigmented breeds.

Where's Sidney Waltham?the mate snarled. "I want him. Bring him
out. After thatthe rest of you filth get back to workor God have
mercy on you."

The men moved about restlesslyshuffling their feet on the deck.

Sidney Waltham, I want you--come out!Mr. Pike calledaddressing
himself beyond them to the murderer of the captain under whom once he
had sailed.

The prodigious old hero! It never entered his head that he was not
the master of the rabble there below him. He had but one ideaan
idea of passionand that was his desire for vengeance on the
murderer of his old skipper.

You old stiff!Mulligan Jacobs snarled back.

Shut up, Mulligan!was Bert Rhine's commandin receipt of which he
received a venomous stare from the cripple.

Oh, ho, my hearty,Mr. Pike sneered at the gangster. "I'll take
care of your casenever fear. In the meantimeand right nowfetch
out that dog."

Whereupon he ignored the leader of the mutineers and began calling
Waltham, you dog, come out! Come out, you sneaking cur! Come out!

ANOTHER LUNATICwas the thought that flashed through my mind;
another lunaticthe slave of a single idea. He forgets the mutiny


his fidelity to the shipin his personal thirst for vengeance.

But did he? Even as he forgot and called his heart's desirewhich
was the life of the second mateeven thenwithout intention
mechanicallyhis sailor's considerative eye lifted to note the draw
of the sails and roved from sail to sail. Thereuponso remindedhe
returned to his fidelity.

Well?he snarled at Bert Rhine. "Go on and get for'ard before I
spit on youyou scum and slum. I'll give you and the rest of the
rats two minutes to return to duty."

And the leaderwith his two fellow-gangsterslaughed their weird
silent laughter.

I guess you'll listen to our talk, first, old horse,Bert Rhine
retorted. "--Davisget up now and show what kind of a spieler you
are. Don't get cold feet. Spit it out to Foxy Grandpa an' tell 'm
what's doin'."

You damned sea-lawyer!Mr. Pike snarled as Davis opened his mouth
to speak.

Bert Rhine shrugged his shouldersand half turned on his heel as if
to departas he said quietly:

Oh, well, if you don't want to talk . . .

Mr. Pike conceded a point.

Go on!he snarled. "Spit the dirt out of your systemDavis; but
remember one thing: you'll pay for thisand you'll pay through the
nose. Go on!"

The sea-lawyer cleared his throat in preparation.

First of all, I ain't got no part in this,he began.

I'm a sick man, an' I oughta be in my bunk right now. I ain't fit
to be on my feet. But they've asked me to advise 'em on the law, an'
I have advised 'em--

And the law--what is it?Mr. Pike broke in.

But Davis was uncowed.

The law is that when the officers is inefficient, the crew can take
charge peaceably an' bring the ship into port. It's all law an' in
the records. There was the Abyssinia, in eighteen ninety-two, when
the master'd died of fever and the mates took to drinkin'--Go on!"
Mr. Pike shut him off. "I don't want your citations. What d'ye
want? Spit it out."

Well--and I'm talkin' as an outsider, as a sick man off duty that's
been asked to talk--well, the point is our skipper was a good one,
but he's gone. Our mate is violent, seekin' the life of the second
mate. We don't care about that. What we want is to get into port
with our lives. An' our lives is in danger. We ain't hurt nobody.
You've done all the bloodshed. You've shot an' killed an' thrown two
men overboard, as witnesses'll testify to in court. An' there's
Roberts, there, dead, too, an' headin' for the sharks--an' what for?
For defendin' himself from murderous an' deadly attack, as every man
can testify an' tell the truth, the whole truth, an' nothin' but the
truth, so help 'm, God--ain't that right, men?


A confused murmur of assent arose from many of them.

You want my job, eh?Mr. Pike grinned. "An' what are you goin' to
do with me?"

You'll be taken care of until we get in an' turn you over to the
lawful authorities,Davis answered promptly. "Most likely you can
plead insanity an' get off easy."

At this moment I felt a stir at my shoulder. It was Margaretarmed
with the long knife of the stewardwhom she had put at the wheel.

You've got another guess comin', Davis,Mr. Pike said. "I've got
no more talk with you. I'm goin' to talk to the bunch. I'll give
you fellows just two minutes to chooseand I'll tell you your
choices. You've only got two choices. You'll turn the second mate
over to me an' go back to duty and take what's comin' to youor
you'll go to jail with the stripes on you for long sentences. You've
got two minutes. The fellows that want jail can stand right where
they are. The fellows that don't want jail and are willin' to work
faithfulcan walk right back to me here on the poop. Two minutes
an' you can keep your jaws stopped while you think over what it's
goin' to be."

He turned his head to me and said in an undertoneBe ready with
that pop-gun for trouble. An' don't hesitate. Slap it into 'em--the
swine that think they can put as raw a deal as this over on us.

It was Buckwheat who made the first move; but so tentative was it
that it got no farther than a tensing of the legs and a sway forward
of the shoulders. Nevertheless it was sufficient to start Herman
Lunkenheimerwho thrust out his foot and began confidently to walk
aft. Kid Twist gained him in a single springand Kid Twisthis
wrist under the German's throat from behind; his knee pressed into
the German's backbent the man backward and held him. Even as the
rifle came to my shoulderthe hound Bombini drew his knife directly
beneath Kid Twist's wrist across the up-stretched throat of the man.

It was at this instant that I heard Mr. Pike's "Plug him!" and pulled
the trigger; and of all ungodly things the bullet missed and caught
the Faunwho staggered backsat down on the hatchand began to
cough. And even as he coughed he still strained with pain-eloquent
eyes to try to understand.

No other man moved. Herman Lunkenheimerreleased by Kid Twistsank
down on the deck. Nor did I shoot again. Kid Twist stood again by
the side of Bert Rhine and Guido Bombini fawned near.

Bert Rhine actually visibly smiled.

Any more of you guys want to promenade aft?he queried in velvet
tones.

Two minutes up,Mr. Pike declared.

An' what are you goin' to do about it, Grandpa?Bert Rhine sneered.

In a flash the big automatic was out of the mate's pocket and he was
shooting as fast as he could pull triggerwhile all hands fled to
shelter. Butas he had long since told mehe was no shot and could
effectively use the weapon only at close range--muzzle to stomach
preferably.


As we stared at the main deckdeserted save for the dead cowboy on
his back and for the Faun who still sat on the hatch and coughedan
eruption of men occurred over the for'ard edge of the 'midship-house.

Shoot!Margaret cried at my back.

Don't!Mr. Pike roared at me.

The rifle was at my shoulder when I desisted. Louisthe cookled
the rush aft to us across the top of the house and along the bridge.
Behind himin single file and not wasting any timecame the
Japanese sail-makersHenry the training-ship boyand the other boy
Buckwheat. Tom Spink brought up the rear. As he came up the ladder
of the 'midship-house somebody from beneath must have caught him by a
leg in an effort to drag him back. We saw half of him in sight and
knew that he was struggling and kicking. He fetched clear abruptly
gained the top of the house in a surgeand raced aft along the
bridge until he overtook and collided with Buckwheatwho yelled out
in fear that a mutineer had caught him.

CHAPTER XLIII

We who are aftbesieged in the high placeare stronger in numbers
than I dreamed until nowwhen I have just finished taking the ship's
census. Of course MargaretMr. Pikeand myself are apart. We
alone represent the ruling class. With us are servants and serfs
faithful to their saltwho look to us for guidance and life.

I use my words advisedly. Tom Spink and Buckwheat are serfs and
nothing else. Henrythe training-ship boyoccupies an anomalous
classification. He is of our kindbut he can scarcely be called
even a cadet of our kind. He will some day win to us and become a
mate or a captainbut in the meantimeof coursehis past is
against him. He is a candidaterising from the serf class to our
class. Alsohe is only a youththe iron of his heredity not yet
tested and proven.

WadaLouisand the steward are servants of Asiatic breed. So are
the two Japanese sail-makers--scarcely servantsnot to be called
slavesbut something in between.

Soall toldthere are eleven of us aft in the citadel. But our
followers are too servant-like and serf-like to be offensive
fighters. They will help us defend the high place against all
attack; but they are incapable of joining with us in an attack on the
other end of the ship. They will fight like cornered rats to
preserve their lives; but they will not advance like tigers upon the
enemy. Tom Spink is faithful but spirit-broken. Buckwheat is
hopelessly of the stupid lowly. Henry has not yet won his spurs. On
our side remain MargaretMr. Pikeand myself. The rest will hold
the wall of the poop and fight thereon to the deathbut they are not
to be depended upon in a sortie.

At the other end of the ship--and I may as well give the rosterare:
the second mateeither to be called Mellaire or Walthama strong
man of our own breed but a renegade; the three gangsterskillers and
jackalsBert RhineNosey Murphyand Kid Twist; the Maltese Cockney
and Tony the crazy Greek; Frank Fitzgibbon and Richard Gillerthe
survivors of the trio of "bricklayers"; Anton Sorensen and Lars
Jacobsenstupid Scandinavian sailor-men; Ditman Olansenthe crank



eyed Berserk; John Hackey and Arthur Deaconrespectively hoodlum and
white slaver; Shortythe mixed-breed clown; Guido Bombinithe
Italian hound; Andy Pay and Mulligan Jacobsthe bitter ones; the
three topaz-eyed dreamerswho are unclassifiable; Isaac Chantzthe
wounded Jew; Bobthe overgrown dolt; the feeble-minded Faunlungwounded;
Nancy and Sundry Buyersthe two hopelesshelpless bosuns;
andfinallythe sea-lawyerCharles Davis.

This makes twenty-seven of them against the eleven of us. But there
are menstrong in viciousnessamong them. Theytoohave their
serfs and bravos. Guido Bombini and Isaac Chantz are certainly
bravos. And weaklings like Sorensenand Jacobsenand Bobcannot
be anything else than slaves to the men who compose the gangster
clique.

I failed to tell what happened yesterdayafter Mr. Pike emptied his
automatic and cleared the deck. The poop was indubitably oursand
there was no possibility of the mutineers making a charge on us in
broad daylight. Margaret had gone belowaccompanied by Wadato see
to the security of the port and starboard doors that open from the
cabin directly on the main deck. These are still caulked and tight
and fastened on the insideas they have been since the passage of
Cape Horn began.

Mr. Pike put one of the sail-makers at the wheeland the steward
relieved and starting belowwas attracted to the port quarterwhere
the patent log that towed astern was made fast. Margaret had
returned his knife to himand he was carrying it in his hand when
his attention was attracted astern to our wake. Mike Cipriani and
Bill Quigley had managed to catch the lazily moving log-line and were
clinging to it. The Elsinore was moving just fast enough to keep
them on the surface instead of dragging them under. Above them and
about them circled curious and hungry albatrossesCape hensand
mollyhawks. Even as I glimpsed the situation one of the big birdsa
ten-footer at leastwith a ten-inch beak to the foredropped down
on the Italian. Releasing his hold with one handhe struck with his
knife at the bird. Feathers flewand the albatrossdeflected by
the blowfell clumsily into the water.

Quite methodicallyjust as part of the day's workthe steward
chopped down with his knifecatching the log-line between the steel
edge and the rail. At onceno longer buoyed up by the Elsinore's
two-knot drag aheadthe wounded men began to swim and flounder. The
circling hosts of huge sea-birds descended upon themwith
carnivorous beaks striking at their heads and shoulders and arms. A
great screeching and squawking arose from the winged things of prey
as they strove for the living meat. And yetsomehowI was not very
profoundly shocked. These were the men whom I had seen eviscerate
the shark and toss it overboardand shout with joy as they watched
it devoured alive by its brethren. They had played a violentcruel
game with the things of lifeand the things of life now played upon
them the same violentcruel game. As they that rise by the sword
perish by the swordjust so did these two men who had lived cruelly
die cruelly.

Oh, well,was Mr. Pike's commentwe've saved two sacks of mighty
good coal.

Certainly our situation might be worse. We are cooking on the coalstove
and on the oil-burners. We have servants to cook and serve for
us. Andmost important of allwe are in possession of all the food
on the Elsinore.


Mr. Pike makes no mistake. Realizing that with our crowd we cannot
rush the crowd at the other end of the shiphe accepts the siege
whichas he saysconsists of the besieged holding all food supplies
while the besiegers are on the imminent edge of famine.

Starve the dogs,he growls. "Starve 'm until they crawl aft and
lick our shoes. Maybe you think the custom of carrying the stores
aft just happened. Only it didn't. Before you and I were born it
was long-established and it was established on brass tacks. They
knew what they were aboutthe old cusseswhen they put the grub in
the lazarette."

Louis says there is not more than three days' regular whack in the
galley; that the barrel of hard-tack in the forecastle will quickly
go; and that our chickenswhich they stole last night from the top
of the 'midship-houseare equivalent to no more than an additional
day's supply. In shortat the outside limitwe are convinced the
men will be keen to talk surrender within the week.

We are no longer sailing. In last night's darkness we helplessly
listened to the men loosing headsail-halyards and letting yards go
down on the run. Under orders of Mr. Pike I shot blindly and many
times into the darkbut without resultsave that we heard the
bullets of answering shots strike against the chart-house. So to-day
we have not even a man at the wheel. The Elsinore drifts idly on an
idle seaand we stand regular watches in the shelter of chart-house
and jiggermast. Mr. Pike says it is the laziest time he has had on
the whole voyage.

I alternate watches with himalthough when on duty there is little
to be donesavein the daytimeto stand rifle in hand behind the
jiggermastandin the nightto lurk along the break of the poop.
Behind the chart-houseready to repel assaultare my watch of four
men: Tom SpinkWadaBuckwheatand Louis. Henrythe two Japanese
sail-makersand the old steward compose Mr. Pike's watch.

It is his orders that no one for'ard is to be allowed to show
himselfsoto-daywhen the second mate appeared at the corner of
the 'midship-houseI made him take a quick leap back with the thud
of my bullet against the iron wall a foot from his head. Charles
David tried the same game and was similarly stimulated.

Alsothis eveningafter darkMr. Pike put block-and-tackle on the
first section of the bridgeheaved it out of placeand lowered it
upon the poop. Likewise he hoisted in the ladder at the break of the
poop that leads down to the main deck. The men will have to do some
climbing if they ever elect to rush us.

I am writing this in my watch below. I came off duty at eight
o'clockand at midnight I go on deck to stay till four to-morrow
morning. Wada shakes his head and says that the Blackwood Company
should rebate us on the first-class passage paid in advance. We are
working our passagehe contends.

Margaret takes the adventure joyously. It is the first time she has
experienced mutinybut she is such a thorough sea-woman that she
appears like an old hand at the game. She leaves the deck to the
mate and me; butstill acknowledging his leadershipshe has taken
charge below and entirely manages the commissarythe cookingand
the sleeping arrangements. We still keep our old quartersand she
has bedded the new-comers in the big after-room with blankets issued
from the slop-chest.

In a wayfrom the standpoint of her personal welfarethe mutiny is


the best thing that could have happened to her. It has taken her
mind off her father and filled her waking hours with work to do.
This afternoonstanding above the open booby-hatchI heard her
laugh ring out as in the old days coming down the Atlantic. Yesand
she hums snatches of songs under her breath as she works. In the
second dog-watch this eveningafter Mr. Pike had finished dinner and
joined us on the poopshe told him that if he did not soon re-rig
his phonograph she was going to start in on the piano. The reason
she advanced was the psychological effect such sounds of revelry
would have on the starving mutineers.

The days passand nothing of moment happens. We get nowhere. The
Elsinorewithout the steadying of her canvasrolls emptily and
drifts a lunatic course. Sometimes she is bow on to the windand at
other times she is directly before it; but at all times she is
circling vaguely and hesitantly to get somewhere else than where she
is. As an illustrationat daylight this morning she came up into
the wind as if endeavouring to go about. In the course of half an
hour she worked off till the wind was directly abeam. In another
half hour she was back into the wind. Not until evening did she
manage to get the wind on her port bow; but when she didshe
immediately paid offaccomplished the complete circle in an hour
and recommenced her morning tactics of trying to get into the wind.

And there is nothing for us to do save hold the poop against the
attack that is never made. Mr. Pikemore from force of habit than
anything elsetakes his regular observations and works up the
Elsinore's position. This noon she was eight miles east of
yesterday's positionyet to-day's positionin longitudewas within
a mile of where she was four days ago. On the other hand she
invariably makes nothing at the rate of seven or eight miles a day.

Aloftthe Elsinore is a sad spectacle. All is confusion and
disorder. The sailsunfurledare a slovenly mess along the yards
and many loose ends sway dismally to every roll. The only yard that
is loose is the main-yard. It is fortunate that wind and wave are
mildelse would the iron-work carry away and the mutineers find the
huge thing of steel about their ears.

There is one thing we cannot understand. A week has passedand the
men show no signs of being starved into submission. Repeatedly and
in vain has Mr. Pike interrogated the hands aft with us. One and
allfrom the cook to Buckwheatthey swear they have no knowledge of
any food for'ardsave the small supply in the galley and the barrel
of hardtack in the forecastle. Yet it is very evident that those
for'ard are not starving. We see the smoke from the galley-stove and
can only conclude that they have food to cook.

Twice has Bert Rhine attempted a trucebut both times his white
flagas soon as it showed above the edge of the 'midship-housewas
fired upon by Mr. Pike. The last occurrence was two days ago. It is
Mr. Pike's intention thoroughly to starve them into submissionbut
now he is beginning to worry about their mysterious food supply.

Mr. Pike is not quite himself. He is obsessedI know beyond any
doubtwith the idea of vengeance on the second mate. On divers
occasionsnowI have come unexpectedly upon him and found him
muttering to himself with grim set faceor clenching and unclenching
his big square fists and grinding his teeth. His conversation
continually runs upon the feasibility of our making a night attack
for'ardand he is perpetually questioning Tom Spink and Louis on
their ideas of where the various men may be sleeping--the point of
which always is: WHERE IS THE SECOND MATE LIKELY TO BE SLEEPING?


No later than yesterday afternoon did he give me most positive proof
of his obsession. It was four o'clockthe beginning of the first
dog-watchand he had just relieved me. So careless have we grown
that we now stand in broad daylight at the exposed break of the poop.
Nobody shoots at usandoccasionallyover the top of the for'ardhouse
Shorty sticks up his head and grins or makes clownish faces at
us. At such times Mr. Pike studies Shorty's features through the
telescope in an effort to find signs of starvation. Yet he admits
dolefully that Shorty is looking fleshed-up.

But to return. Mr. Pike had just relieved me yesterday afternoon
when the second mate climbed the forecastle-head and sauntered to the
very eyes of the Elsinorewhere he stood gazing overside.

Take a crack at 'm,Mr. Pike said.

It was a long shotand I was taking slow and careful aimwhen he
touched my arm.

No; don't,he said.

I lowered the little rifle and looked at him inquiringly.

You might hit him,he explained. "And I want him for myself."

Life is never what we expect it to be. All our voyage from Baltimore
south to the Horn and around the Horn has been marked by violence and
death. And now that it has culminated in open mutiny there is no
more violencemuch less death. We keep to ourselves aftand the
mutineers keep to themselves for'ard. There is no more harshnessno
more snarling and bellowing of commands; and in this fine weather a
general festival obtains.

AftMr. Pike and Margaret alternate with phonograph and piano; and
for'ardalthough we cannot see thema full-fledged "foo-foo" band
makes most of the day and night hideous. A squealing accordion that
Tom Spink says was the property of Mike Cipriani is played by Guido
Bombiniwho sets the pace and seems the leader of the foo-foo.
There are two broken-reeded harmonicas. Someone plays a jew's-harp.
Then there are home-made fifes and whistles and drumscombs covered
with paperextemporized trianglesand bones made from ribs of salt
horse such as negro minstrels use.

The whole crew seems to compose the bandandlike a lot of monkeyfolk
rejoicing in rude rhythmemphasizes the beat by hammering
kerosene cansfrying-pansand all sorts of things metallic or
reverberant. Some genius has rigged a line to the clapper of the
ship's bell on the forecastle-head and clangs it horribly in the big
foo-foo crisesthough Bombini can be heard censuring him severely on
occasion. And to cap it allthe fog-horn machine pumps in at the
oddest moments in imitation of a big bass viol.

And this is mutiny on the high seas! Almost every hour of my deckwatches
I listen to this infernal dinand am maddened into desire to
join with Mr. Pike in a night attack and put these rebellious and
inharmonious slaves to work.

Yet they are not entirely inharmonious. Guido Bombini has a
respectable though untrained tenor voiceand has surprised me by a
variety of selectionsnot only from Verdibut from Wagner and
Massenet. Bert Rhine and his crowd are full of rag-time junkand
one phrase that has caught the fancy of all handsand which they


roar out at all timesis: "IT'S A BEAR! IT'S A BEAR! IT'S A
BEAR!" This morning Nancyevidently very strongly urgedgave a
doleful rendering of Flying Cloud. Yesand in the second dog-watch
last evening our three topaz-eyed dreamers sang some folk-song
strangely sweet and sad.

And this is mutiny! As I write I can scarcely believe it. Yet I
know Mr. Pike keeps the watch over my head. I hear the shrill
laughter of the steward and Louis over some ancient Chinese joke.
Wada and the sail-makersin the pantryareI knowtalking
Japanese politics. And from across the cabinalong the narrow
hallsI can hear Margaret softly humming as she goes to bed.

But all doubts vanish at the stroke of eight bellswhen I go on deck
to relieve Mr. Pikewho lingers a moment for a "gain as he calls
it.

Say he said confidentially, you and I can clean out the whole
gang. All we got to do is sneak for'ard and turn loose. As soon as
we begin to shoot uphalf of 'em'll bolt aft--lobsters like Nancy
an' Sundry Buyersan' Jacobsenan' Boban' Shortyan' them three
castawaysfor instance. An' while they're doin' thatan' our bunch
on the poop is takin' 'em inyou an' me can make a pretty big hole
in them that's left. What d'ye say?"

I hesitatedthinking of Margaret.

Why, say,he urgedonce I jumped into that fo'c's'le, at close
range, I'd start right in, blim-blam-blim, fast as you could wink,
nailing them gangsters, an' Bombini, an' the Sheeny, an' Deacon, an'
the Cockney, an' Mulligan Jacobs, an' . . . an' . . . Waltham.

That would be mine,I smiled. "You've only eight shots in your
Colt."

Mr. Pike considered a momentand revised his list. "All right he
agreed, I guess I'll have to let Jacobs go. What d'ye say? Are you
game?"

Still I hesitatedbut before I could speak he anticipated me and
returned to his fidelity.

No, you can't do it, Mr. Pathurst. If by any luck they got the both
of us . . . No; we'll just stay aft and sit tight until they're
starved to it . . . But where they get their tucker gets me. For'ard
she's as bare as a bone, as any decent ship ought to be, and yet look
at 'em, rolling hog fat. And by rights they ought to a-quit eatin' a
week ago.

CHAPTER XLIV

Yesit is certainly mutiny. Collecting water from the leaders of
the chart-house in a shower of rain this morningBuckwheat exposed
himselfand a longlucky revolver-shot from for'ard caught him in
the shoulder. The bullet was small-calibre and spent ere it reached
himso that he received no more than a flesh-woundthough he
carried on as if he were dying until Mr. Pike hushed his noise by
cuffing his ears.

I should not like to have Mr. Pike for my surgeon. He probed for the


bullet with his little fingerwhich was far too big for the
aperture; and with his little fingerwhile with his other hand he
threatened another ear-clouthe gouged out the leaden pellet. Then
he sent the boy belowwhere Margaret took him in charge with
antiseptics and dressings.

I see her so rarely that a half-hour alone with her these days is an
adventure. She is busy morning to night in keeping her house in
order. As I write thisthrough my open door I can hear her laying
the law down to the men in the after-room. She has issued
underclothes all around from the slop-chestand is ordering them to
take a bath in the rain-water just caught. And to make sure of their
thoroughness in the mattershe has told off Louis and the steward to
supervise the operation. Alsoshe has forbidden them smoking their
pipes in the after-room. Andto cap everythingthey are to scrub
wallsceilingeverythingand then start to-morrow morning at
painting. All of which serves to convince me almost that mutiny does
not obtain and that I have imagined it.

But no. I hear Buckwheat blubbering and demanding how he can take a
bath in his wounded condition. I wait and listen for Margaret's
judgment. Nor am I disappointed. Tom Spink and Henry are told off
to the taskand the thorough scrubbing of Buckwheat is assured.

The mutineers are not starving. To-day they have been fishing for
albatrosses. A few minutes after they caught the first one its
carcase was flung overboard. Mr. Pike studied it through his seaglasses
and I heard him grit his teeth when he made certain that it
was not the mere feathers and skin but the entire carcass. They had
taken only its wing-bones to make into pipe-stems. The inference was
obvious: STARVING MEN WOULD NOT THROW MEAT AWAY IN SUCH FASHION.

But where do they get their food? It is a sea-mystery in itself
although I might not so deem it were it not for Mr. Pike.

I think, and think, till my brain is all frazzled out,he tells me;
and yet I can't get a line on it. I know every inch of space on the
Elsinore, and know there isn't an ounce of grub anywhere for'ard, and
yet they eat! I've overhauled the lazarette. As near as I can make
it out, nothing is missing. Then where do they get it? That's what
I want to know. Where do they get it?

I know that this morning he spent hours in the lazarette with the
steward and the cookoverhauling and checking off from the lists of
the Baltimore agents. And I know that they came up out of the
lazarettethe three of themdripping with perspiration and baffled.
The steward has raised the hypothesis thatfirst of allthere were
extra stores left over from the previous voyageor from previous
voyagesandnextthat the stealing of these stores must have taken
place during the night-watches when it was Mr. Pike's turn below.

At any ratethe mate takes the food mystery almost as much to heart
as he takes the persistent and propinquitous existence of Sidney
Waltham.

I am coming to realize the meaning of watch-and-watch. To begin
withI spend on deck twelve hoursand a fraction moreof each
twenty-four. A fair portion of the remaining twelve is spent in
eatingin dressingand in undressingand with Margaret. As a
resultI feel the need for more sleep than I am getting. I scarcely
read at allnow. The moment my head touches the pillow I am asleep.
OhI sleep like a babyeat like a navvyand in years have not
enjoyed such physical well-being. I tried to read George Moore last


nightand was dreadfully bored. He may be a realistbut I solemnly
aver he does not know reality on that tightlittlesheltered-life
archipelago of his. If he could wind-jam around the Horn just one
voyage he would be twice the writer.

And Mr. Pikefor practically all of his sixty-nine yearshas stood
his watch-and-watchwith many a spill-over of watches into watches.
And yet he is iron. In a struggle with him I am confident that he
would break me like so much straw. He is truly a prodigy of a man
andso far as to-day is concernedan anachronism.

The Faun is not deaddespite my unlucky bullet. Henry insisted that
he caught a glimpse of him yesterday. To-day I saw him myself. He
came to the corner of the 'midship-house and gazed wistfully aft at
the poopstraining and eager to understand. In the same way I have
often seen Possum gaze at me.

It has just struck me that of our eight followers five are Asiatic
and only three are our own breed. Somehow it reminds me of India and
of Clive and Hastings.

And the fine weather continuesand we wonder how long a time must
elapse ere our mutineers eat up their mysterious food and are starved
back to work.

We are almost due west of Valparaiso and quite a bit less than a
thousand miles off the west coast of South America. The light
northerly breezesvarying from north-east to westwouldaccording
to Mr. Pikework us in nicely for Valparaiso if only we had sail on
the Elsinore. As it issaillessshe drifts around and about and
makes nowhere save for the slight northerly drift each day.

Mr. Pike is beside himself. In the past two days he has displayed
increasing possession of himself by the one idea of vengeance on the
second mate. It is not the mutinyirksome as it is and helpless as
it makes him; it is the presence of the murderer of his old-time and
admired skipperCaptain Somers.

The mate grins at the mutinycalls it a snapspeaks gleefully of
how his wages are running upand regrets that he is not ashore
where he would be able to take a hand in gambling on the reinsurance.
But the sight of Sidney Walthamcalmly gazing at sea and sky from
the forecastle-heador astride the far end of the bowsprit and
fishing for sharkssaddens him. Yesterdaycoming to relieve mehe
borrowed my rifle and turned loose the stream of tiny pellets on the
second matewho coolly made his line secure ere he scrambled inboard.
Of courseit was only one chance in a hundred that Mr. Pike
might have hit himbut Sidney Waltham did not care to encourage the
chance.

And yet it is not like mutiny--not like the conventional mutiny I
absorbed as a boyand which has become classic in the literature of
the sea. There is no hand-to-hand fightingno crash of cannon and
flash of cutlassno sailors drinking grogno lighted matches held
over open powder-magazines. Heavens!--there isn't a single cutlass
nor a powder-magazine on board. And as for grognot a man has had a
drink since Baltimore.

Wellit is mutiny after all. I shall never doubt it again. It may
be nineteen-thirteen mutiny on a coal-carrierwith feeblings and
imbeciles and criminals for mutineers; but at any rate mutiny it is
and at least in the number of deaths it is reminiscent of the old


days. For things have happened since last I had opportunity to write
up this log. For that matterI am now the keeper of the Elsinore's
official log as wellin which work Margaret helps me.

And I might have known it would happen. At four yesterday morning I
relieved Mr. Pike. When in the darkness I came up to him at the
break of the poopI had to speak to him twice to make him aware of
my presence. And then he merely grunted acknowledgment in an absent
sort of way.

The next moment he brightened upand was himself save that he was
too bright. He was making an effort. I felt thisbut was quite
unprepared for what followed.

I'll be back in a minute,he saidas he put his leg over the rail
and lightly and swiftly lowered himself down into the darkness.

There was nothing I could do. To cry out or to attempt to reason
with him would only have drawn the mutineers' attention. I heard his
feet strike the deck beneath as he let go. Immediately he started
for'ard. Little enough precaution he took. I swear that clear to
the 'midship-house I heard the dragging age-lag of his feet. Then
that ceasedand that was all.

I repeat. That was all. Never a sound came from for'ard. I held my
watch till daylight. I held it till Margaret came on deck with her
cheery "What ho of the nightbrave mariner?" I held the next watch
(which should have been the mate's) till middayeating both
breakfast and lunch behind the sheltering jiggermast. And I held all
afternoonand through both dog-watchesmy dinner served likewise on
the deck.

And that was all. Nothing happened. The galley-stove smoked three
timesadvertising the cooking of three meals. Shorty made faces at
me as usual across the rim of the for'ard-house. The Maltese Cockney
caught an albatross. There was some excitement when Tony the Greek
hooked a shark off the jib-boomso big that half a dozen tailed on
to the line and failed to land it. But I caught no glimpse of Mr.
Pike nor of the renegade Sidney Waltham.

In shortit was a lazyquiet day of sunshine and gentle breeze.
There was no inkling to what had happened to the mate. Was he a
prisoner? Was he already overside? Why were there no shots? He had
his big automatic. It is inconceivable that he did not use it at
least once. Margaret and I discussed the affair till we were well aweary
but reached no conclusion.

She is a true daughter of the race. At the end of the second dogwatch
armed with her father's revolvershe insisted on standing the
first watch of the night. I compromised with the inevitable by
having Wada make up my bed on the deck in the shelter of the cabin
skylight just for'ard of the jiggermast. Henrythe two sail-makers
and the stewardvariously equipped with knives and clubswere
stationed along the break of the poop.

And right here I wish to pass my first criticism on modern mutiny.
On ships like the Elsinore there are not enough weapons to go around.
The only firearms now aft are Captain West's .38 Colt revolverand
my .22 automatic Winchester. The old stewardwith a penchant for
hacking and choppinghas his long knife and a butcher's cleaver.
Henryin addition to his sheath-knifehas a short bar of iron.
Louisdespite a most sanguinary array of butcher-knives and a big
pokerpins his cook's faith on hot water and sees to it that two
kettles are always piping on top the cabin stove. Buckwheatwho on


account of his wound is getting all night in for a couple of nights
cherishes a hatchet.

The rest of our retainers have knives and clubsalthough Yatsuda
the first sail-makercarries a hand-axeand Uchinothe second
sail-makersleeping or wakingnever parts from a claw-hammer. Tom
Spink has a harpoon. Wadahoweveris the genius. By means of the
cabin stove he has made a sharp pike-point of iron and fitted it to a
pole. To-morrow be intends to make more for the other men.

It is rather shudderyhoweverto speculate on the terrible
assortment of cuttinggougingjabbing and slashing weapons with
which the mutineers are able to equip themselves from the carpenter's
shop. If it ever comes to an assault on the poop there will be a
weird mess of wounds for the survivors to dress. For that matter
master as I am of my little rifleno man could gain the poop in the
day-time. Of courseif rush they willthey will rush us in the
nightwhen my rifle will be worthless. Then it will be blow for
blowhand-to-handand the strongest pates and arms will win.

But no. I have just bethought me. We shall be ready for any night-
rush. I'll take a leaf out of modern warfareand show them not only
that we are top-dog (a favourite phrase of the mate)but WHY we are
top-dog. It is simple--night illumination. As I write I work opt
the idea--gasolineballs of oakumcaps and gunpowder from a few
cartridgesRoman candlesand flares blueredand greenshallow
metal receptacles to carry the explosive and inflammable stuff; and a
trigger-like arrangement by whichpulling on a stringthe caps are
exploded in the gunpowder and fire set to the gasoline-soaked oakum
and to the flares and candles. It will be brain as well as brawn
against mere brawn.

I have worked like a Trojan all dayand the idea is realized.
Margaret helped me out with suggestionsand Tom Spink did the
sailorizing. Over our headfrom the jiggermastthe steel stays
that carry the three jigger-trysails descend high above the break of
the poop and across the main deck to the mizzenmast. A light line
has been thrown over each stayand been thrown repeatedly around so
as to form an unslipping knot. Tom Spink waited till darkwhen he
went aloft and attached loose rings of stiff wire around the stays
below the knots. Also he bent on hoisting-gear and connected
permanent fastenings with the sliding rings. And furtherbetween
rings and fasteningsis a slack of fifty feet of light line.

This is the idea: after dark each night we shall hoist our three
metal wash-basinsloaded with inflammablesup to the stays. The
arrangement is such that at the first alarm of a rushby pulling a
cord the trigger is pulled that ignites the powderand the very same
pull operates a trip-device that lets the rings slide down the steel
stays. Of coursesuspended from the ringsare the illuminators
and when they have run down the stays fifty feet the lines will
automatically bring them to rest. Then all the main deck between the
poop and the mizzen-mast will be flooded with lightwhile we shall
be in comparative darkness.

Of course each morning before daylight we shall lower all this
apparatus to the deckso that the men for'ard will not guess what we
have up our sleeveorratherwhat we have up on the trysail-stays.
Even to-day the little of our gear that has to be left standing
aroused their curiosity. Head after head showed over the edge of the
for'ard-house as they peeped and peered and tried to make out what we
were up to. WhyI find myself almost looking forward to an attack
in order to see the device work.


CHAPTER XLV

And what has happened to Mr. Pike remains a mystery. For that
matterwhat has happened to the second mate? In the past three days
we have by our eyes taken the census of the mutineers. Every man has
been seen by us with the sole exception of Mr. Mellaireor Sidney
Walthamas I assume I must correctly name him. He has not appeared-
does not appear; and we can only speculate and conjecture.

In the past three days various interesting things have taken place.
Margaret stands watch and watch with meday and nightthe clock
around; for there is no one of our retainers to whom we can entrust
the responsibility of a watch. Though mutiny obtains and we are
besieged in the high placethe weather is so mild and there is so
little call on our men that they have grown careless and sleep aft of
the chart-house when it is their watch on deck. Nothing ever
happensandlike true sailorsthey wax fat and lazy. Even have I
found Louisthe stewardand Wada guilty of cat-napping. In fact
the training-ship boyHenryis the only one who has never lapsed.

Ohyesand I gave Tom Spink a thrashing yesterday. Since the
disappearance of the mate he had had little faith in meand had been
showing vague signs of insolence and insubordination. Both Margaret
and I had noted it independently. Day before yesterday we talked it
over.

He is a good sailor, but weak,she said. "If we let him go onhe
will infect the rest."

Very well, I'll take him in hand,I announced valorously.

You will have to,she encouraged. "Be hard. Be hard. You must be
hard."

Those who sit in the high places must be hardyet have I discovered
that it is hard to be hard. For instanceeasy enough was it to drop
Steve Roberts as he was in the act of shooting at me. Yet it is most
difficult to be hard with a chuckle-headed retainer like Tom Spink-especially
when he continually fails by a shade to give sufficient
provocation. For twenty-four hours after my talk with Margaret I was
on pins and needles to have it out with himyet rather than have had
it out with him I should have preferred to see the poop rushed by the
gang from the other side.

Not in a day can the tyro learn to employ the snarling immediacy of
mastery of Mr. Pikenor the reposefulvoiceless mastery of a
Captain West. Trulythe situation was embarrassing. I was not
trained in the handling of menand Tom Spink knew it in his chuckleheaded
way. Alsoin his chuckle-headed wayhe was dispirited by
the loss of the mate. Fearing the matenevertheless he had depended
on the mate to fetch him through with a whole skinor at least
alive. On me he has no dependence. What chance had the gentleman
passenger and the captain's daughter against the gang for'ard? So he
must have reasonedandso reasoningbecome despairing and
desperate.

After Margaret had told me to be hard I watched Tom Spink with an
eagle eyeand he must have sensed my attitudefor he carefully
forebore from oversteppingwhile all the time he palpitated just on


the edge of overstepping. Yesand it was clear that Buckwheat was
watching to learn the outcome of this veiled refractoriness. For
that matterthe situation was not being missed by our keen-eyed
Asiaticsand I know that I caught Louis several times verging on the
offence of offering me advice. But he knew his place and managed to
keep his tongue between his teeth.

At lastyesterdaywhile I held the watchTom Spink was guilty of
spitting tobacco juice on the deck.

Now it must be understood that such an act is as grave an offence of
the sea as blasphemy is of the Church.

It was Margaret who came to where I was stationed by the jiggermast
and told me what had occurred; and it was she who took my rifle and
relieved me so that I could go aft.

There was the offensive spotand there was Tom Spinkhis cheek
bulging with a quid.

Here, you, get a swab and mop that up,I commanded in my harshest
manner.

Tom Spink merely rolled his quid with his tongue and regarded me with
sneering thoughtfulness. I am sure he was no more surprised than was
I by the immediateness of what followed. My fist went out like an
arrow from a released bowand Tom Spink staggered backtripped
against the corner of the tarpaulin-covered sounding-machineand
sprawled on the deck. He tried to make a fight of itbut I followed
him upgiving him no chance to set himself or recover from the
surprise of my first onslaught.

Now it so happens that not since I was a boy have I struck a person
with my naked fistand I candidly admit that I enjoyed the trouncing
I administered to poor Tom Spink. Yesand in the rapid play about
the deck I caught a glimpse of Margaret. She had stepped out of the
shelter of the mast and was looking on from the corner of the charthouse.
Yesand more; she was looking on with a coolmeasuring eye.

Ohit was all very grotesqueto be sure. But thenmutiny on the
high seas in the year nineteen-thirteen is also grotesque. No lists
here between mailed knights for a lady's favourbut merely the
trouncing of a chuckle-head for spitting on the deck of a coalcarrier.
Neverthelessthe fact that my lady looked on added zest to
my enterpriseanddoubtlesslyspeed and weight to my blowsand at
least half a dozen additional clouts to the unlucky sailor.

Yesman is strangely and wonderfully made. Now that I coolly
consider the matterI realize that it was essentially the same
spirit with which I enjoyed beating up Tom Spinkthat I have in the
past enjoyed contests of the mind in which I have out-epigrammed
clever opponents. In the one caseone proves himself top-dog of the
mind; in the othertop-dog of the muscle. Whistler and Wilde were
just as much intellectual bullies as I was a physical bully yesterday
morning when I punched Tom Spink into lying down and staying down.

And my knuckles are sore and swollen. I cease writing for a moment
to look at them and to hope that they will not stay permanently
enlarged.

At any rateTom Spink took his disciplining and promised to come in
and be good.

Sir!I thundered at himquite in Mr. Pike's most bloodthirsty


manner.

Sir,he mumbled with bleeding lips. "YessirI'll mop it up
sir. Yessir."

I could scarcely keep from laughing in his facethe whole thing was
so ludicrous; but I managed to look my haughtiestand sternestand
fiercestwhile I superintended the deck-cleansing. The funniest
thing about the affair was that I must have knocked Tom Spink's quid
down his throatfor he was gagging and hiccoughing all the time he
mopped and scrubbed.

The atmosphere aft has been wonderfully clear ever since. Tom Spink
obeys all orders on the jumpand Buckwheat jumps with equal
celerity. As for the five AsiaticsI feel that they are stouter
behind me now that I have shown masterfulness. By punching a man's
face I verily believe I have doubled our united strength. And there
is no need to punch any of the rest. The Asiatics are keen and
willing. Henry is a true cadet of the breedBuckwheat will follow
Tom Spink's leadand Tom Spinka proper Anglo-Saxon peasantwill
lead Buckwheat all the better by virtue of the punching.

Two days have passedand two noteworthy things have happened. The
men seem to be nearing the end of their mysterious food supplyand
we have had our first truce.

I have notedthrough the glassesthat no more carcasses of the
mollyhawks they are now catching are thrown overboard. This means
that they have begun to eat the tough and unsavoury creatures
although it does not meanof coursethat they have entirely
exhausted their other stores.

It was Margarether sailor's eye on the falling barometer and on the
makingstuff adrift in the skywho called my attention to a coming
blow.

As soon as the sea rises,she saidwe'll have that loose mainyard
and all the rest of the top-hamper tumbling down on deck.

So it was that I raised the white flag for a parley. Bert Rhine and
Charles Davis came abaft the 'midship-houseandwhile we talked
many faces peered over the for'ard edge of the house and many forms
slouched into view on the deck on each side of the house.

Well, getting tired?was Bert Rhine's insolent greeting. "Anything
we can do for you?"

Yes, there is,I answered sharply. "You can save your heads so
that when you return to work there will be enough of you left to do
the work."

If you are making threats--Charles Davis beganbut was silenced
by a glare from the gangster.

Well, what is it?Bert Rhine demanded. "Cough it off your chest."

It's for your own good,was my reply. "It is coming on to blow
and all that unfurled canvas aloft will bring the yards down on your
heads. We're safe hereaft. You are the ones who will run risks
and it is up to you to hustle your crowd aloft and make things fast
and ship-shape."

And if we don't?the gangster sneered.


Why, you'll take your chances, that is all,I answered carelessly.
I just want to call your attention to the fact that one of those
steel yards, end-on, will go through the roof of your forecastle as
if it were so much eggshell.

Bert Rhine looked to Charles Davis for verificationand the latter
nodded.

We'll talk it over first,the gangster announced.

And I'll give you ten minutes,I returned. "If at the end of ten
minutes you've not started taking init will be too late. I shall
put a bullet into any man who shows himself."

All right, we'll talk it over.

As they started to go backI called:

One moment.

They stopped and turned about.

What have you done to Mr. Pike?I asked.

Even the impassive Bert Rhine could not quite conceal his surprise.

An' what have you done with Mr. Mellaire!he retorted. "You tell
usan' we'll tell you."

I am confident of the genuineness of his surprise. Evidently the
mutineers have been believing us guilty of the disappearance of the
second matejust as we have been believing them guilty of the
disappearance of the first mate. The more I dwell upon it the more
it seems the proposition of the Kilkenny catsa case of mutual
destruction on the part of the two mates.

Another thing,I said quickly. "Where do you get your food?"

Bert Rhine laughed one of his silent laughs; Charles Davis assumed an
expression of mysteriousness and superiority; and Shortyleaping
into view from the corner of the housedanced a jig of triumph.

I drew out my watch.

Remember,I saidyou've ten minutes in which to make a start.

They turned and went for'ardandbefore the ten minutes were up
all hands were aloft and stowing canvas. All this time the windout
of the north-westwas breezing up. The old familiar harp-chords of
a rising gale were strumming along the riggingand the menI verily
believe from lack of practicewere particularly slow at their work.

It would be better if the upper-and-lower top-sails are set so that
we can heave to,Margaret suggested. "They will steady her and make
it more comfortable for us."

I seized the idea and improved upon it.

Better set the upper and lower topsails so that we can handle the
ship,I called to the gangsterwho was ordering the men about
quite like a matefrom the top of the 'midship-house.

He considered the ideaand then gave the proper ordersalthough it


was the Maltese Cockneywith Nancy and Sundry Buyers under himwho
carried the orders out.

I ordered Tom Spink to the long-idle wheeland gave him the course
which was due east by the steering compass. This put the wind on our
port quarterso that the Elsinore began to move through the water
before a fair breeze. And due eastless than a thousand miles away
lay the coast of South America and the port of Valparaiso.

Strange to saynone of our mutineers objected to thisand after
darkas we tore along before a full-sized galeI sent my own men up
on top the chart-house to take the gaskets off the spanker. This was
the only sail we could set and trim and in every way control. It is
true the mizzen-braces were still rigged aft to the poopaccording
to Horn practice. Butwhile we could thus trim the mizzen-yards
the sails themselvesin setting or furlingwere in the hands of the
for'ard crowd.

Margaretbeside me in the darkness at the break of the poopput her
hand in mine with a warm pressureas both our tiny watches swayed up
the spanker and as both of us held our breaths in an effort to feel
the added draw in the Elsinore's speed.

I never wanted to marry a sailor,she said. "And I thought I was
safe in the hands of a landsman like you. And yet here you arewith
all the stuff of the sea in yourunning down your easting for port.
Next thingI supposeI'll see you out with a sextantshooting the
sun or making star-observations."

CHAPTER XLVI

Four more days have passed; the gale has blown itself out; we are not
more than three hundred and fifty miles off Valparaiso; and the
Elsinorethis time due to me and my own stubbornnessis rolling in
the wind and heading nowhere in a light breeze at the rate of nothing
but driftage per hour.

In the height of the gustsin the three days and nights of the gale
we logged as much as eightand even nineknots. What bothered me
was the acquiescence of the mutineers in my programme. They were
sensible enough in the simple matter of geography to know what I was
doing. They had control of the sailsand yet they permitted me to
run for the South American coast.

More than thatas the gale eased on the morning of the third day
they actually went aloftset top-gallant-sailsroyalsand
skysailsand trimmed the yards to the quartering breeze. This was
too much for the Saxon streak in mewhereupon I wore the Elsinore
about before the windfetched her up upon itand lashed the wheel.
Margaret and I are agreed in the hypothesis that their plan is to get
inshore until land is sightedat which time they will desert in the
boats.

But we don't want them to desert,she proclaims with flashing eyes.
We are bound for Seattle. They must return to duty. They've got
to, soon, for they are beginning to starve.

There isn't a navigator aft,I oppose.

Promptly she withers me with her scorn.


You, a master of books, by all the sea-blood in your body should be
able to pick up the theoretics of navigation while I snap my fingers.
Furthermore, remember that I can supply the seamanship. Why, any
squarehead peasant, in a six months' cramming course at any seaport
navigation school, can pass the examiners for his navigator's papers.
That means six hours for you. And less. If you can't, after an
hour's reading and an hour's practice with the sextant, take a
latitude observation and work it out, I'll do it for you.

You mean you know?

She shook her head.

I mean, from the little I know, that I know I can learn to know a
meridian sight and the working out of it. I mean that I can learn to
know inside of two hours.

Strange to saythe galeafter easing to a mild breezerecrudesced
in a sort of after-clap. With sails untrimmed and flappingthe
consequent smashingcrashingand rending of our gear can be
imagined. It brought out in alarm every man for'ard.

Trim the yards!I yelled at Bert Rhinewhobacked for counsel by
Charles Davis and the Maltese Cockneyactually came directly beneath
me on the main deck in order to hear above the commotion aloft.

Keep a-runnin, an' you won't have to trim,the gangster shouted up
to me.

Want to make land, eh?I girded down at him. "Getting hungryeh?
Wellyou won't make land or anything else in a thousand years once
you get all your top-hamper piled down on deck."

I have forgotten to state that this occurred at midday yesterday.

What are you goin' to do if we trim?Charles Davis broke in.

Run off shore,I repliedand get your gang out in deep sea where
it will be starved back to duty.

We'll furl, an' let you heave to,the gangster proposed.

I shook my head and held up my rifle. "You'll have to go aloft to do
itand the first man that gets into the shrouds will get this."

Then she can go to hell for all we care,he saidwith emphatic
conclusiveness.

And just then the fore-topgallant-yard carried away--luckily as the
bow was down-pitched into a trough of sea-and when the slow
confusedand tangled descent was accomplished the big stick lay
across the wreck of both bulwarks and of that portion of the bridge
between the foremast and the forecastle head.

Bert Rhine heardbut could not seethe damage wrought. He looked
up at me challenginglyand sneered:

Want some more to come down?

It could not have happened more apropos. The port-braceand
immediately afterwards the starboard-braceof the crojack-yardcarried
away. This was the biglowest spar on the mizzenand as
the huge thing of steel swung wildly back and forth the gangster and


his followers turned and crouched as they looked up to see. Next
the gooseneck of the trusson which it pivotedsmashed away.
Immediately the lifts and lower-topsail sheets partedand with a
fore-and-aft pitch of the ship the spar up-ended and crashed to the
deck upon Number Three hatchdestroying that section of the bridge
in its fall.

All this was new to the gangster--as it was to me--but Charles Davis
and the Maltese Cockney thoroughly apprehended the situation.

Stand out from under!I yelled sardonically; and the three of them
cowered and shrank away as their eyes sought aloft for what new spar
was thundering down upon them.

The lower-topsailits sheets parted by the fall of the crojack-yard
was tearing out of the bolt-ropes and ribboning away to leeward and
making such an uproar that they might well expect its yard to carry
away. Since this wreckage of our beautiful gear was all new to meI
was quite prepared to see the thing happen.

The gangster-leaderno sailorbutafter months at seaintelligent
enough and nervously strong enough to appreciate the dangerturned
his head and looked up at me. And I will do him the credit to say
that he took his time while all our world of gear aloft seemed
smashing to destruction.

I guess we'll trim yards,he capitulated.

Better get the skysails and royals off,Margaret said in my ear.

While you're about it, get in the skysails and royals!I shouted
down. "And make a decent job of the gasketing!"

Both Charles Davis and the Maltese Cockney advertised their relief in
their faces as they heard my wordsandat a nod from the gangster
they started for'ard on the run to put the orders into effect.

Neverin the whole voyagedid our crew spring to it in more lively
fashion. And lively fashion was needed to save our gear. As it was
they cut away the remnants of the mizzen-lower-topsail with their
sheath-knivesand they loosed the main-skysail out of its boltropes.


The first infraction of our agreement was on the main-lower-topsail.
This they attempted to furl. The carrying away of the crojack and
the blowing away of the mizzen-lower-topsail gave me freedom to see
and aimand when the tiny messengers from my rifle began to spat
through the canvas and to spat against the steel of the yardthe men
strung along it desisted from passing the gaskets. I waved my will
to Bert Rhinewho acknowledged me and ordered the sail set again and
the yard trimmed.

What is the use of running off-shore?I said to Margaretwhen the
kites were snugged down and all yards trimmed on the wind. "Three
hundred and fifty miles off the land is as good as thirty-five
hundred so far as starvation is concerned."

Soinstead of making speed through the water toward deep seaI hove
the Elsinore to on the starboard tack with no more than leeway
driftage to the west and south.

But our gallant mutineers had their will of us that very night. In
the darkness we could hear the work aloft going on as yards were run
downsheets let goand sails dewed up and gasketed. I did try a


few random shotsand all my reward was to hear the whine and creak
of ropes through sheaves and to receive an equally random fire of
revolver-shots.

It is a most curious situation. We of the high place are masters of
the steering of the Elsinorewhile those for'ard are masters of the
motor power. The only sail that is wholly ours is the spanker. They
control absolutely--sheetshalyardsclewlinesbuntlinesbraces
and down-hauls--every sail on the fore and main. We control the
braces on the mizzenalthough they control the canvas on the mizzen.
For that matterMargaret and I fail to comprehend why they do not go
aloft any dark night and sever the mizzen-braces at the yard-ends.
All that prevents thiswe are decidedis laziness. For if they did
sever the braces that lead aft into our handsthey would be
compelled to rig new braces for'ard in some fashionelsein the
rollingwould the mizzenmast be stripped of every spar.

And still the mutiny we are enduring is ridiculous and grotesque.
There was never a mutiny like it. It violates all standards and
precedents. In the old classic mutinieslong ere thisattacking
like tigersthe seamen should have swarmed over the poop and killed
most of us or been most of them killed.

Wherefore I sneer at our gallant mutineersand recommend trained
nurses for themquite in the manner of Mr. Pike. But Margaret
shakes her head and insists that human nature is human natureand
that under similar circumstances human nature will express itself
similarly. In shortshe points to the number of deaths that have
already occurredand declares that on some dark nightsooner or
laterwhenever the pinch of hunger sufficiently sharpenswe shall
see our rascals storming aft.

And in the meantimeexcept for the tenseness of itand for the
incessant watchfulness which Margaret and I alone maintainit is
more like a mild adventuremore like a page out of some book of
romance which ends happily.

It is surely romancewatch and watch for a man and a woman who love
to relieve each other's watches. Each such relief is a love passage
and unforgettable. Never was there wooing like it--the muttered
surmises of wind and weatherthe whispered councilsthe kissed
commands in palms of handsthe dared contacts of the dark.

OhtrulyI have oftensince this voyage begantold the books to
go hang. And yet the books are at the back of the race-life of me.
I am what I am out of ten thousand generations of my kind. Of that
there is no discussion. And yet my midnight philosophy stands the
test of my breed. I must have selected my books out of the ten
thousand generations that compose me. I have killed a man--Steve
Roberts. As a perishing blond without an alphabet I should have done
this unwaveringly. As a perishing blond with an alphabetplus the
contents in my brain of the philosophizing of all philosophersI
have killed this same man with the same unwaveringness. Culture has
not emasculated me. I am quite unaffected. It was in the day's
workand my kind have always been day-workersdoing the day's work
whatever it might bein high adventure or dull ploddingnessand
always doing it.

Never would I ask to set back the dial of time or event. I would
kill Steve Roberts againunder the same circumstancesas a matter
of course. When I say I am unaffected by this happening I do not
quite mean it. I am affected. I am aware that the spirit of me is
informed with a sober elation of efficiency. I have done something
that had to be doneas any man will do what has to be done in the


course of the day's work.

YesI am a perishing blondand a manand I sit in the high place
and bend the stupid ones to my will; and I am a loverloving a royal
woman of my own perishing breedand together we occupyand shall
occupythe high place of government and command until our kind
perish from the earth.

CHAPTER XLVII

Margaret was right. The mutiny is not violating standards and
precedents. We have had our hands full for days and nights. Ditman
Olansenthe crank-eyed Berserkerhas been killed by Wadaand the
training-ship boythe one lone cadet of our breedhas gone overside
with the regulation sack of coal at his feet. The poop has been
rushed. My illuminating invention has proved a success. The men are
getting hungryand we still sit in command in the high place.

First of all the attack on the pooptwo nights agoin Margaret's
watch. No; firstI have made another invention. Assisted by the
old stewardwho knowsas a Chinese oughta deal about fireworks
and getting my materials from our signal rockets and Roman candlesI
manufactured half a dozen bombs. I don't really think they are very
deadlyand I know our extemporized fuses are slower than our voyage
is at the present time; but nevertheless the bombs have served the
purposeas you shall see.

And now to the attempt to rush the poop. It was in Margaret's watch
from midnight till four in the morningwhen the attack was made.
Sleeping on the deck by the cabin skylightI was very close to her
when her revolver went offand continued to go off.

My first spring was to the tripping-lines on my illuminators. The
igniting and releasing devices worked cleverly. I pulled two of the
tripping-linesand two of the contraptions exploded into light and
noise and at the same time ran automatically down the jigger-trysailstays
and automatically fetched up at the ends of their lines. The
illumination was instantaneous and gorgeous. Henrythe two sailmakers
and the steward--at least three of them awakened from sound
sleepI am sure--ran to join us along the break of the poop. All
the advantage lay with usfor we were in the darkwhile our foes
were outlined against the light behind them.

But such light! The powder crackledfizzedand spluttered and
spilled out the excess of gasolene from the flaming oakum balls so
that streams of fire dripped down on the main deck beneath. And the
stuff of the signal-flares dripped red light and blue and green.

There was not much of a fightfor the mutineers were shocked by our
fireworks. Margaret fired her revolver haphazardlywhile I held my
rifle for any that gained the poop. But the attack faded away as
quickly as it had come. I did see Margaret overshoot some man
scaling the poop from the port-railand the next moment I saw Wada
charging like a buffalojab him in the chest with the spear he had
made and thrust the boarder back and down.

That was all. The rest retreated for'ard on the dead runwhile the
three trysailsfurled at the foot of the stays next to the mizzen
and set on fire by the dripping gasolenewent up in flame and burned
entirely away and out without setting the rest of the ship on fire.


That is one of the virtues of a ship steel-masted and steel-stayed.

And on the deck beneath uscrumpledtwistedface hidden so that we
could not identify himlay the man whom Wada had speared.

And now I come to a phase of adventure that is new to me. I have
never found it in the books. In shortit is carelessness coupled
with lazinessor vice versa. I had used two of my illuminators.
Only one remained. An hour laterconvinced of the movement aft of
men along the deckI let go the third and last and with its
brightness sent them scurrying for'ard. Whether they were attacking
the poop tentatively to learn whether or not I had exhausted my
illuminatorsor whether or not they were trying to rescue Ditman
Olansenwe shall never know. The point is: they did come aft; they
were compelled to retreat by my illuminator; and it was my last
illuminator. And yet I did not start inthere and thento
manufacture fresh ones. This was carelessness. It was laziness.
And I hazarded our livesperhapsif you pleaseon a psychological
guess that I had convinced our mutineers that we had an inexhaustible
stock of illuminators in reserve.

The rest of Margaret's watchwhich I shared with herwas
undisturbed. At four I insisted that she go below and turn inbut
she compromised by taking my own bed behind the skylight.

At break of day I was able to make out the bodystill lying as last
I had seen it. At seven o'clockbefore breakfastand while
Margaret still sleptI sent the two boysHenry and Buckwheatdown
to the body. I stood above themat the railrifle in hand and
ready. But from for'ard came no signs of life; and the ladsbetween
themrolled the crank-eyed Norwegian over so that we could recognize
himcarried him to the railand shoved him stiffly across and into
the sea. Wada's spear-thrust had gone clear through him.

But before twenty-four hours were up the mutineers evened the score
handsomely. They more than evened itfor we are so few that we
cannot so well afford the loss of one as they can. To begin with-and
a thing I had anticipated and for which I had prepared my bombs-while
Margaret and I ate a deck-breakfast in the shelter of the
jiggermast a number of the men sneaked aft and got under the overhang
of the poop. Buckwheat saw them coming and yelled the alarmbut it
was too late. There was no direct way to get them out. The moment I
put my head over the rail to fire at themI knew they would fire up
at me with all the advantage in their favour. They were hidden. I
had to expose myself.

Two steel doorstight-fastened and caulked against the Cape Horn
seasopened under the overhang of the poop from the cabin on to the
main deck. These doors the men proceeded to attack with sledgehammers
while the rest of the gangsheltered by the 'midship-house
showed that it stood ready for the rush when the doors were battered
down.

Insidethe steward guarded one door with his hacking knifewhile
with his spear Wada guarded the other door. Norwhile I had
dispatched them to this dutywas I idle. Behind the jiggermast I
lighted the fuse of one of my extemporized bombs. When it was
sputtering nicely I ran across the poop to the break and dropped the
bomb to the main deck beneathat the same time making an effort to
toss it in under the overhang where the men battered at the portdoor.
But this effort was distracted and made futile by a popping of
several revolver shots from the gangways amidships. One IS jumpy
when soft-nosed bullets putt-putt around him. As a resultthe bomb
rolled about on the open deck.


Neverthelessthe illuminators had earned the respect of the
mutineers for my fireworks. The sputtering and fizzling of the fuse
were too much for themand from under the poop they ran for'ard like
so many scuttling rabbits. I know I could have got a couple with my
rifle had I not been occupied with lighting the fuse of a second
bomb. Margaret managed three wild shots with her revolverand the
poop was immediately peppered by a scattering revolver fire from
for'ard.

Being provident (and lazyfor I have learned that it takes time and
labour to manufacture home-made bombs)I pinched off the live end of
the fuse in my hand. But the fuse of the first bombrolling about
on the main deckmerely fizzled on; and as I waited I resolved to
shorten my remaining fuses. Any of the men who fledhad he had the
couragecould have pinched off the fuseor tossed the bomb
overboardorbetter yethe could have tossed it up amongst us on
the poop.

It took fully five minutes for that blessed fuse to burn its slow
lengthand when the bomb did go off it was a sad disappointment. I
swear it could have been sat upon with nothing more than a jar to
one's nerves. And yetin so far as the intimidation goesit did
its work. The men have not since ventured under the overhang of the
poop.

That the mutineers were getting short of food was patent. The
Elsinoresaillessdrifted about that morningthe sport of wind and
wave; and the gang put many lines overboard for the catching of
molly-hawks and albatrosses. OhI worried the hungry fishers with
my rifle. No man could show himself for'ard without having a bullet
whop against the iron-work perilously near him. And still they
caught birds--nothoweverwithout danger to themselvesand not
without numerous losses of birds due to my rifle.

Their procedure was to toss their hooks and bait over the rail from
shelter and slowly to pay the lines out as the slight windage of the
Elsinore's hullsparsand rigging drifted her through the water.
When a bird was hooked they hauled in the linestill from shelter
till it was alongside. This was the ticklish moment. The hook
merely a hollow and acute-angled triangle of sheet-copper floating on
a piece of board at the end of the lineheld the bird by pinching
its curved beak into the acute angle. The moment the line slacked
the bird was released. Sowhen alongsidethis was the problem: to
lift the bird out of the waterstraight up the side of the ship
without once jamming and easing and slacking. When they tried to do
this from shelter invariably they lost the bird.

They worked out a method. When the bird was alongside the several
men with revolvers turned loose on mewhile one manoverhauling and
keeping the line tautleaped to the rail and quickly hove the bird
up and over and inboard. I know this long-distance revolver fire
seriously bothered me. One cannot help jumping when deathin the
form of a piece of flying leadhits the rail beside himor the mast
over his heador whines away in a ricochet from the steel shrouds.
NeverthelessI managed with my rifle to bother the exposed men on
the rail to the extent that they lost one hooked bird out of two.
And twenty-six men require a quantity of albatrosses and mollyhawks
every twenty-four hourswhile they can fish only in the daylight.

As the day wore along I improved on my obstructive tactics. When the
Elsinore was up in the eye of the windand making sternwayI found
that by putting the wheel sharply overone way or the otherI could
swing her bow off. Thenwhen she had paid off till the wind was


abeamby reversing the wheel hard across to the opposite hard-over I
could take advantage of her momentum away from the wind and work her
off squarely before it. This made all the wood-floated triangles of
bird-snares tow aft along her sides.

The first time I was ready for them. With hooks and sinkers on our
own lines aftwe tossed outgrappledcapturedand broke off nine
of their lines. But the next timeso slow is the movement of so
large a shipthe mutineers hauled all their lines safely inboard ere
they towed aft within striking distance of my grapnels.

Still I improved. As long as I kept the Elsinore before the wind
they could not fish. I experimented. Once before itby means of a
winged-out spanker coupled with patient and careful steeringI could
keep her before it. This I didhour by hour one of my men relieving
another at the wheel. As a result all fishing ceased.

Margaret was holding the first dog-watchfour to six. Henry was at
the wheel steering. Wada and Louis were below cooking the evening
meal over the big coal-stove and the oil-burners. I had just come up
from below and was standing beside the sounding-machinenot half a
dozen feet from Henry at the wheel. Some obscure sound from the
ventilator must have attracted mefor I was gazing at it when the
thing happened.

But firstthe ventilator. This is a steel shaft that leads up from
the coal-carrying bowels of the ship beneath the lazarette and that
wins to the outside-world via the after-wall of the chart-house. In
factit occupies the hollow inside of the double walls of the
afterwall of the chart-house. Its openingat the height of a man's
headis screened with iron bars so closely set that no mature-bodied
rat can squeeze between. Alsothis opening commands the wheel
which is a scant fifteen feet away and directly across the boobyhatch.
Some mutineercrawling along the space between the coal and
the deck of the lower holdhad climbed the ventilator shaft and was
able to take aim through the slits between the bars.

Practically simultaneouslyI saw the out-rush of smoke and heard the
report. I heard a grunt from Henryandturning my headsaw him
cling to the spokes and turn the wheel half a revolution as he sank
to the deck. It must have been a lucky shot. The boy was perforated
through the heart or very near to the heart--we have no time for
post-mortems on the Elsinore.

Tom Spink and the second sail-makerUchinosprang to Henry's side.
The revolver continued to go off through the ventilator slitsand
the bullets thudded into the front of the half wheel-house all about
them. Fortunately they were not hitand they immediately scrambled
out of range. The boy quivered for the space of a few secondsand
ceased to move; and one more cadet of the perishing breed perished as
he did his day's work at the wheel of the Elsinore off the west coast
of South Americabound from Baltimore to Seattle with a cargo of
coal.

CHAPTER XLVIII

The situation is hopelessly grotesque. We in the high place command
the food of the Elsinorebut the mutineers have captured her
steering-gear. That is to saythey have captured it without coming
into possession of it. They cannot steerneither can we. The poop


which is the high placeis ours. The wheel is on the poopyet we
cannot touch the wheel. From that slitted opening in the ventilatorshaft
they are able to shoot down any man who approaches the wheel.
And with that steel wall of the chart-house as a shield they laugh at
us as from a conning tower.

I have a planbut it is not worth while putting into execution
unless its need becomes imperative. In the darkness of night it
would be an easy trick to disconnect the steering-gear from the short
tiller on the rudder-headand thenby re-rigging the preventer
tacklessteer from both sides of the poop well enough for'ard to be
out of the range of the ventilator.

In the meantimein this fine weatherthe Elsinore drifts as she
listsor as the windage of her lists and the sea-movement of waves
lists. And she can well drift. Let the mutineers starve. They can
best be brought to their senses through their stomachs.

And what are wits forif not for use? I am breaking the men's
hungry hearts. It is great fun in its way. The mollyhawks and
albatrossesafter their fashionhave followed the Elsinore up out
of their own latitudes. This means that there are only so many of
them and that their numbers are not recruited. Syllogism: major
premisea definite and limited amount of bird-meat; minor premise
the only food the mutineers now have is bird-meat; conclusion
destroy the available food and the mutineers will be compelled to
come back to duty.

I have acted on this bit of logic. I began experimentally by tossing
small chunks of fat pork and crusts of stale bread overside. When
the birds descended for the feast I shot them. Every carcass thus
left floating on the surface of the sea was so much less meat for the
mutineers.

But I bettered the method. Yesterday I overhauled the medicinechest
and I dosed my chunks of fat pork and bread with the contents
of every bottle that bore a label of skull and cross-bones. I even
added rough-on-rats to the deadliness of the mixture--this on the
suggestion of the steward.

And to-daybeholdthere is no bird left in the sky. Truewhile I
played my game yesterdaythe mutineers hooked a few of the birds;
but now the rest are goneand that is bound to be the last food for
the men for'ard until they resume duty.

Yes; it is grotesque. It is a boy's game. It reads like Midshipman
Easylike Frank Mildmaylike Frank ReadeJr.; and yeti' faith
life and death's in the issue. I have just gone over the toll of our
dead since the voyage began.

Firstwas Christian Jespersenkilled by O'Sullivan when that maniac
aspired to throw overboard Andy Fay's sea-boots; then O'Sullivan
because he interfered with Charles Davis' sleepbrained by that
worthy with a steel marlin-spike; next Petro Marinkovichjust ere we
began the passage of the Hornmurdered undoubtedly by the gangster
cliquehis life cut out of him with kniveshis carcass left lying
on deck to be found by us and be buried by us; and the Samurai
Captain Westa sudden though not a violent deathalbeit occurring
in the midst of all elemental violence as Mr. Pike clawed the
Elsinore off the lee-shore of the Horn; and Boney the Splinter
followingwashed overboard to drown as we cleared the sea-gashing
rock-tooth where the southern tip of the continent bit into the
storm-wrath of the Antarctic; and the big-footedclumsy youth of a


Finnish carpenterhove overside as a Jonah by his fellows who
believed that Finns control the winds; and Mike Cipriani and Bill
QuigleyRome and Irelandshot down on the poop and flung overboard
alive by Mr. Pikestill alive and clinging to the log-linecut
adrift by the steward to be eaten alive by great-beaked albatrosses
mollyhawksand sooty-plumaged Cape hens; Steve Robertsone-time
cowboyshot by me as he tried to shoot me; Herman Lunkenheimerhis
throat cut before all of us by the hound Bombini as Kid Twist
stretched the throat taut from behind; the two matesMr. Pike and
Mr. Mellairemutually destroying each other in what must have been
an unwitnessed epic combat; Ditman Olansenspeared by Wada as he
charged Berserk at the head of the mutineers in the attempt to rush
the poop; and lastHenrythe cadet of the perishing houseshot at
the wheelfrom the ventilator-shaftin the course of his day's
work.

No; as I contemplate this roll-call of the dead which I have just
made I see that we are not playing a boy's game. Whywe have lost a
third of usand the bloodiest battles of history have rarely
achieved such a percentage of mortality. Fourteen of us have gone
oversideand who can tell the end?

Neverthelesshere we aremasters of matteradventurers in the
micro-organicplanet-weigherssun-analysersstar-roversgoddreamers
equipped with the human wisdom of all the agesand yet
quoting Mr. Piketo come down to brass tackswe are a lot of
primitive beastsfighting bestiallyslaying bestiallypursuing
bestially food and waterair for our lungsa dry space above the
deepand carcasses skin-covered and intact. And over this menagerie
of beasts Margaret and Iwith our Asiatics under usrule top-dog.
We are all dogs--there is no getting away from it. And wethe fairpigmented
onesby the seed of our ancestry rulers in the high place
shall remain top-dog over the rest of the dogs. Ohthere is
material in plenty for the cogitation of any philosopher on a
windjammer in mutiny in this Year of our Lord 1913.

Henry was the fourteenth of us to go overside into the dark and salty
disintegration of the sea. And in one day he has been well avenged;
for two of the mutineers have followed him. The steward called my
attention to what was taking place. He touched my arm half beyond
his servant's selfas he gloated for'ard at the men heaving two
corpses overside. Weighted with coalthey sank immediatelyso that
we could not identify them.

They have been fighting,I said. "It is good that they should
fight among themselves."

But the old Chinese merely grinned and shook his head.

You don't think they have been fighting?I queried.

No fight. They eat'm mollyhawk and albatross; mollyhawk and
albatross eat'm fat pork; two men he die, plenty men much sick, you
bet, damn to hell me very much glad. I savve.

And I think he was right. While I was busy baiting the sea-birds the
mutineers were catching themand of a surety they must have caught
some that had eaten of my various poisons.

The two poisoned ones went over the side yesterday. Since then we
have taken the census. Two men only have not appearedand they are
Bobthe fat and overgrown feebling youthandof all creaturesthe
Faun. It seems my fate that I had to destroy the Faun--the poor


tortured Faunalways willing and eagerever desirous to please.
There is a madness of ill luck in all this. Why couldn't the two
dead men have been Charles Davis and Tony the Greek? Or Bert Rhine
and Kid Twist? or Bombini and Andy Fay? Yesand in my heart I know
I should have felt better had it been Isaac Chantz and Arthur Deacon
or Nancy and Sundry Buyersor Shorty and Larry.

The steward has just tendered me a respectful bit of advice.

Next time we chuck'm overboard like Henry, much better we use old
iron.

Getting short of coal?I asked.

He nodded affirmation. We use a great deal of coal in our cooking
and when the present supply gives out we shall have to cut through a
bulkhead to get at the cargo.

CHAPTER XLIX

The situation grows tense. There are no more sea-birdsand the
mutineers are starving. Yesterday I talked with Bert Rhine. To-day
I talked with him againand he will never forgetI am certainthe
little talk we had this morning.

To begin withlast eveningat five o'clockI heard his voice
issuing from between the slits of the ventilator in the after-wall of
the chart-house. Standing at the corner of the housequite out of
rangeI answered him.

Getting hungry?I jeered. "Let me tell you what we are going to
have for dinner. I have just been down and seen the preparations.
Nowlisten: firstcaviare on toast; thenclam bouillon; and
creamed lobster; and tinned lamb chops with French peas--you know
the peas that melt in one's mouth; and California asparagus with
mayonnaise; and--ohI forgot to mention fried potatoes and cold pork
and beans; and peach pie; and coffeereal coffee. Doesn't it make
you hungry for your East Side? Andsaythink of the free lunch
going to waste right now in a thousand saloons in good old New York."

I had told him the truth. The dinner I described (principally coming
out of tins and bottlesto be sure) was the dinner we were to eat.

Cut that,he snarled. "I want to talk business with YOU."

Right down to brass tacks,I gibed. "Very wellwhen are you and
the rest of your rats going to turn to?"

Cut that,he reiterated. "I've got you where 1 want you now. Take
it from meI'm givin' it straight. I'm not tellin' you howbut
I've got you under my thumb. When I come down on youyou'll crack."

Hell is full of cocksure rats like you,I retorted; although I
never dreamed how soon he would be writhing in the particular hell
preparing for him.

Forget it,he sneered back. "I've got you where I want you. I'm
just tellin' youthat's all."


Pardon me,I repliedwhen I tell you that I'm from Missouri.
You'll have to show ME.

And as I thus talked the thought went through my mind of how I
naturally sought out the phrases of his own vocabulary in order to
make myself intelligible to him. The situation was bestialwith
sixteen of our complement already gone into the dark; and the terms I
employedperforcewere terms of bestiality. And I thoughtalso
of I who was thus compelled to dismiss the dreams of the utopians
the visions of the poetsthe king-thoughts of the king-thinkersin
a discussion with this ripened product of the New York City inferno.
To him I must talk in the elemental terms of life and deathof food
and waterof brutality and cruelty.

I give you your choice,he went on. "Give in nowan' you won't be
hurtnone of you."

And if we don't?I dared airily.

You'll be sorry you was ever born. You ain't a mush-head, you've
got a girl there that's stuck on you. It's about time you think of
her. You ain't altogether a mutt. You get my drive?

AyI did get it; and somehowacross my brain flashed a vision of
all I had ever read and heard of the siege of the Legations at
Pekingand of the plans of the white men for their womenkind in the
event of the yellow hordes breaking through the last lines of
defence. Ayand the old steward got it; for I saw his black eyes
glint murderously in their narrowtilted slits. He knew the drift
of the gangster's meaning.

You get my drive?the gangster repeated.

And I knew anger. Not ordinary angerbut cold anger. And I caught
a vision of the high place in which we had sat and ruled down the
ages in all landson all seas. I saw my kindour women with usin
forlorn hopes and lost endeavourspent in hill fortressesrotted in
jungle fastnessescut down to the last one on the decks of rocking
ships. And alwaysour women with ushad we ruled the beasts. We
might dieour women with us; butlivingwe had ruled. It was a
royal vision I glimpsed. Ayand in the purple of it I grasped the
ethicwhich was the stuff of the fabric of which it was builded. It
was the sacred trust of the seedthe bequest of duty handed down
from all ancestors.

And I flamed more coldly. It was not red-brute anger. It was
intellectual. It was based on concept and history; it was the
philosophy of action of the strong and the pride of the strong in
their own strength. Now at last I knew Nietzsche. I knew the
rightness of the booksthe relation of high thinking to highconduct
the transmutation of midnight thought into action in the
high place on the poop of a coal-carrier in the year nineteenthirteen
my woman beside memy ancestors behind memy slant-eyed
servitors under methe beasts beneath me and beneath the heel of me.
God! I felt kingly. I knew at last the meaning of kingship.

My anger was white and cold. This subterranean rat of a miserable
humancrawling through the bowels of the ship to threaten me and
mine! A rat in the shelter of a knot-hole making a noise as beastlike
as any rat ever made! And it was in this spirit that I answered
the gangster.

When you crawl on your belly, along the open deck, in the broad
light of day, like a yellow cur that has been licked to obedience,


and when you show by your every action that you like it and are glad
to do it, then, and not until then, will I talk with you.

Thereafterfor the next ten minuteshe shouted all the Billingsgate
of his kind at me through the slits in the ventilator. But I made no
reply. I listenedand I listened coldlyand as I listened I knew
why the English had blown their mutinous Sepoys from the mouths of
cannon in India long years ago.

And whenthis morningI saw the steward struggling with a fivegallon
carboy of sulphuric acidI never dreamed the use he intended
for it.

In the meantime I was devising another way to overcome that deadly
ventilator shaft. The scheme was so simple that I was shamed in that
it had not occurred to me at the very beginning. The slitted opening
was small. Two sacks of flourin a wooden framesuspended by ropes
from the edge of the chart-house roof directly abovewould
effectually cover the opening and block all revolver fire.

No sooner thought than done. Tom Spink and Louis were on top the
chart-house with me and preparing to lower the flourwhen we heard a
voice issuing from the shaft.

Who's in there now?I demanded. "Speak up."

I'm givin' you a last chance,Bert Rhine answered.

And just thenaround the corner of the housestepped the steward.
In his hand he carried a large galvanized pailand my casual thought
was that he had come to get rain-water from the barrels. Even as I
thought ithe made a sweeping half-circle with the pail and sloshed
its contents into the ventilator-opening. And even as the liquid
flew through the air I knew it for what it was--undiluted sulphuric
acidtwo gallons of it from the carboy.

The gangster must have received the liquid fire in the face and eyes.
Andin the shock of painhe must have released all holds and fallen
upon the coal at the bottom of the shaft. His cries and shrieks of
anguish were terribleand I was reminded of the starving rats which
had squealed up that same shaft during the first months of the
voyage. The thing was sickening. I prefer that men be killed
cleanly and easily.

The agony of the wretch I did not fully realize until the steward
his bare fore-arms sprayed by the splash from the ventilator slats
suddenly felt the bite of the acid through his tightwhole skin and
made a mad rush for the water-barrel at the corner of the house. And
Bert Rhinethe silent man of soundless laughterscreaming below
there on the coalwas enduring the bite of the acid in his eyes!

We covered the ventilator opening with our flour-device; the screams
from below ceased as the victim was evidently dragged for'ard across
the coal by his mates; and yet I confess to a miserable forenoon. As
Carlyle has said: "Death is easy; all men must die"; but to receive
two gallons of full-strength sulphuric acid full in the face is a
vastly different and vastly more horrible thing than merely to die.
FortunatelyMargaret was below at the timeandafter a few
minutesin which I recovered my balanceI bullied and swore all our
hands into keeping the happening from her.

Ohwelland we have got ours in retaliation. Off and onthrough


all of yesterdayafter the ventilator tragedythere were noises
beneath the cabin floor or deck. We heard them under the diningtable
under the steward's pantryunder Margaret's stateroom.

This deck is overlaid with woodbut under the wood is ironor steel
rathersuch as of which the whole Elsinore is builded.

Margaret and Ifollowed by LouisWadaand the stewardwalked
about from place to placewherever the sounds arose of tappings and
of cold-chisels against iron. The tappings seemed to come from
everywhere; but we concluded that the concentration necessary on any
spot to make an opening large enough for a man's body would
inevitably draw our attention to that spot. Andas Margaret said:

If they do manage to cut through, they must come up head-first, and,
in such emergence, what chance would they have against us?

So I relieved Buckwheat from deck dutyplaced him on watch over the
cabin floorto be relieved by the steward in Margaret's watches.

In the late afternoonafter prodigious hammerings and clangings in a
score of placesall noises ceased. Neither in the first and second
dog-watchesnor in the first watch of the nightwere the noises
resumed. When I took charge of the poop at midnight Buckwheat
relieved the steward in the vigil over the cabin floor; and as I
leaned on the rail at the break of the poopwhile my four hours
dragged slowly byleast of all did I apprehend danger from the
cabin--especially when I considered the two-gallon pail of raw
sulphuric acid ready to hand for the first head that might arise
through an opening in the floor not yet made. Our rascals for'ard
might scale the poop; or cross aloft from mizzenmast to jigger and
descend upon our heads; but how they could invade us through the
floor was beyond me.

But they did invade. A modern ship is a complex affair. How was I
to guess the manner of the invasion?

It was two in the morningand for an hour I had been puzzling my
head with watching the smoke arise from the after-division of the
for'ard-house and with wondering why the mutineers should have up
steam in the donkey-engine at such an ungodly hour. Not on the whole
voyage had the donkey-engine been used. Four bells had just struck
and I was leaning on the rail at the break of the poop when I heard a
prodigious coughing and choking from aft. NextWada ran across the
deck to me.

Big trouble with Buckwheat,he blurted at me. "You go quick."

I shoved him my rifle and left him on guard while I raced around the
chart-house. A lighted matchin the hands of Tom Spinkdirected
me. Between the booby-hatch and the wheelsitting up and rocking
back and forth with wringings of hands and wavings of armstears of
agony bursting from his eyeswas Buckwheat. My first thought was
that in some stupid way he had got the acid into his own eyes. But
the terrible fashion in which he coughed and strangled would quickly
have undeceived mehad not Louisbending over the booby-companion
uttered a startled exclamation.

I joined himand one whiff of the air that came up from below made
me catch my breath and gasp. I had inhaled sulphur. On the instant
I forgot the Elsinorethe mutineers for'ardeverything save one
thing.

The next I knowI was down the booby-ladder and reeling dizzily


about the big after-room as the sulphur fumes bit my lungs and
strangled me. By the dim light of a sea-lantern I saw the old
stewardon hands and kneescoughing and gaspingthe while he shook
awake Yatsudathe first sail-maker. Uchinothe second sail-maker
still strangled in his sleep.

It struck me that the air might be better nearer the floorand I
proved it when I dropped on my hands and knees. I rolled Uchino out
of his blankets with a quick jerkwrapped the blankets about my
headfaceand moutharose to my feetand dashed for'ard into the
hall. After a couple of collisions with the wood-work I again
dropped to the floor and rearranged the blankets so thatwhile my
mouth remained coveredI could draw or withdrawa thickness across
my eyes.

The pain of the fumes was bad enoughbut the real hardship was the
dizziness I suffered. I blundered into the steward's pantryand out
of itmissed the cross-hallstumbled through the next starboard
opening in the long halland found myself bent double by violent
collision with the dining-room table.

But I had my bearings. Feeling my way around the table and bumping
most of the poisoned breath out of me against the rotund-bellied
stoveI emerged in the cross-hall and made my way to starboard.
Hereat the base of the chart-room stairwayI gained the hall that
led aft. By this time my own situation seemed so serious that
careless of any collisionI went aft in long leaps.

Margaret's door was open. I plunged into her room. The moment I
drew the blanket-thickness from my eyes I knew blindness and a
modicum of what Bert Rhine must have suffered. Ohthe intolerable
bite of the sulphur in my lungsnostrilseyesand brain! No light
burned in the room. I could only strangle and stumble for'ard to
Margaret's bedupon which I collapsed.

She was not there. I felt aboutand I felt only the warm hollow her
body had left in the under-sheet. Even in my agony and helplessness
the intimacy of that warmth her body had left was very dear to me.
Between the lack of oxygen in my lungs (due to the blankets)the
pain of the sulphurand the mortal dizziness in my brainI felt
that I might well cease there where the linen warmed my hand.

Perhaps I should have ceasedhad I not heard a terrible coughing
from along the hall. It was new life to me. I fell from bed to
floor and managed to get upright until I gained the hallwhere again
I fell. Thereafter I crawled on hands and knees to the foot of the
stairway. By means of the newel-post I drew myself upright and
listened. Near me something moved and strangled. I fell upon it and
found in my arms all the softness of Margaret.

How describe that battle up the stairway? It was a crucifixion of
strugglean age-long nightmare of agony. Time after timeas my
consciousness blurredthe temptation was upon me to cease all effort
and let myself blur down into the ultimate dark. I fought my way
step by step. Margaret was now quite unconsciousand I lifted her
body step by stepor dragged it several steps at a timeand fell
with itand back with itand lost much that had been so hardly
gained. And yet out of it all this I remember: that warm soft body
of hers was the dearest thing in the world--vastly more dear than the
pleasant land I remotely rememberedthan all the books and all the
humans I had ever knownthan the deck abovewith its sweet pure air
softly blowing under the cool starry sky.

As I look back upon it I am aware of one thing: the thought of


leaving her there and saving myself never crossed my mind. The one
place for me was where she was.

Trulythis which I write seems absurd and purple; yet it was not
absurd during those long minutes on the chart-room stairway. One
must taste death for a few centuries of such agony ere he can receive
sanction for purple passages.

And as I fought my screaming fleshmy reeling brainand climbed
that upward wayI prayed one prayer: that the chart-house doors out
upon the poop might not be shut. Life and death lay right there in
that one point of the issue. Was there any creature of my creatures
aft with common sense and anticipation sufficient to make him think
to open those doors? How I yearned for one manfor one proved
henchmansuch as Mr. Piketo be on the poop! As it waswith the
sole exception of Tom Spink and Buckwheatmy men were Asiatics.

I gained the top of the stairwaybut was too far gone to rise to my
feet. Nor could I rise upright on my knees. I crawled like any
four-legged animal--nayI wormed my way like a snakeprone to the
deck. It was a matter of several feet to the doorway. I died a
score of times in those several feet; but ever I endured the agony of
resurrection and dragged Margaret with me. Sometimes the full
strength I could exert did not move herand I lay with her and
coughed and strangled my way through to another resurrection.

And the door was open. The doors to starboard and to port were both
open; and as the Elsinore rolled a draught through the chart-house
hall my lungs filled with purecool air. As I drew myself across
the high threshold and pulled Margaret after mefrom very far away I
heard the cries of men and the reports of rifle and revolver. And
ere I fainted into the blacknesson my sidestaringmy pain gone
so beyond endurance that it had achieved its own anaesthesiaI
glimpseddream-like and distantthe sharply silhouetted poop-rail
dark forms that cut and thrust and smoteandbeyondthe mizzenmast
brightly lighted by our illuminators.

Wellthe mutineers failed to take the poop. My five Asiatics and
two white men had held the citadel while Margaret and I lay
unconscious side by side.

The whole affair was very simple. Modern maritime quarantine demands
that ships shall not carry vermin that are themselves plaguecarriers.
In the donkey-engine section of the for'ard house is a
complete fumigating apparatus. The mutineers had merely to lay and
fasten the pipes aft across the coalto chisel a hole through the
double-deck of steel and wood under the cabinand to connect up and
begin to pump. Buckwheat had fallen asleep and been awakened by the
strangling sulphur fumes. We in the high place had been smoked out
by our rascals like so many rats.

It was Wada who had opened one of the doors. The old steward had
opened the other. Together they had attempted the descent of the
stairway and been driven back by the fumes. Then they had engaged in
the struggle to repel the rush from for'ard.

Margaret and I are agreed that sulphurexcessively inhaledleaves
the lungs sore. Only nowafter a lapse of a dozen hourscan we
draw breath in anything that resembles comfort. But still my lungs
were not so sore as to prevent my telling her what I had learned she
meant to me. And yet she is only a woman--I tell her so; I tell her
that there are at least seven hundred and fifty millions of twolegged
long-hairedgentle-voicedsoft-bodiedfemale humans like


her on the planetand that she is really swamped by the immensity of
numbers of her sex and kind. But I tell her something more. I tell
her that of all of them she is the only one. Andbetter yetto
myself and for myselfI believe it. I know it. The last least part
of me and all of me proclaims it.

Love IS wonderful. It is the everlasting and miraculous amazement.
Ohtrust meI know the oldhard scientific method of weighing and
calculating and classifying love. It is a profound foolishnessa
cosmic trick and quipto the contemplative eye of the philosopher-yes
and of the futurist. But when one forsakes such intellectual
flesh-pots and becomes mere human and male humanin shorta lover
then all he may doand which is what he cannot help doingis to
yield to the compulsions of being and throw both his arms around love
and hold it closer to him than is his own heart close to him. This
is the summit of his lifeand of man's life. Higher than this no
man may rise. The philosophers toil and struggle on mole-hill peaks
far below. He who has not loved has not tasted the ultimate sweet of
living. I know. I love Margareta woman. She is desirable.

CHAPTER L

In the past twenty-four hours many things have happened. To begin
withwe nearly lost the steward in the second dog-watch last
evening. Through the slits in the ventilator some man thrust a knife
into the sacks of flour and cut them wide open from top to bottom.
In the dark the flour poured to the deck unobserved.

Of coursethe man behind could not see through the screen of empty
sacksbut he took a blind pot-shot at point-blank range when the
steward went byslip-sloppily dragging the heels of his slippers.
Fortunately it was a missbut so close a miss was it that his cheek
and neck were burned with powder grains.

At six bells in the first watch came another surprise. Tom Spink
came to me where I stood guard at the for'ard end of the poop. His
voice shook as he spoke.

For the love of God, sir, they've come,he said.

Who?I asked sharply.

Them,he chattered. "The ones that come aboard off the Hornsir
the three drownded sailors. They're thereaftsirthe three of
'emstandin' in a row by the wheel."

How did they get there?

Bein' warlocks, they flew, sir. You didn't see 'm go by you, did
you, sir?

No,I admitted. "They never went by me."

Poor Tom Spink groaned.

But there are lines aloft there on which they could cross over from
mizzen to jigger,I added. "Send Wada to me."

When the latter relieved me I went aft. And there in a row were our
three pale-haired storm-waifs with the topaz eyes. In the light of a


bull's-eyeheld on them by Louistheir eyes never seemed more like
the eyes of great cats. Andheavensthey purred! At leastthe
inarticulate noises they made sounded more like purring than anything
else. That these sounds meant friendliness was very evident. Also
they held out their handspalms upwardin unmistakable sign of
peace. Each in turn doffed his cap and placed my hand for a moment
on his head. Without doubt this meant their offer of fealtytheir
acceptance of me as master.

I nodded my head. There was nothing to be said to men who purred
like catswhile sign-language in the light of the bull's-eye was
rather difficult. Tom Spink groaned protest when I told Louis to
take them below and give them blankets.

I made the sleep-sign to themand they nodded gratefullyhesitated
then pointed to their mouths and rubbed their stomachs.

Drowned men do not eat,I laughed to Tom Spink. "Go down and watch
them. Feed them upLouisall they want. It's a good sign of short
rations for'ard."

At the end of half an hour Tom Spink was back.

Well, did they eat?I challenged him.

But he was unconvinced. The very quantity they had eaten was a
suspicious thingandfurtherhe had heard of a kind of ghost that
devoured dead bodies in graveyards. Thereforehe concludedmere
non-eating was no test for a ghost.

The third event of moment occurred this morning at seven o'clock.
The mutineers called for a truce; and when Nosey Murphythe Maltese
Cockneyand the inevitable Charles Davis stood beneath me on the
main decktheir faces showed lean and drawn. Famine had been my
great ally. And in truthwith Margaret beside me in that high place
of the break of the poopas I looked down on the hungry wretches I
felt very strong. Never had the inequality of numbers fore and aft
been less than now. The three desertersadded to our own ninemade
twelve of uswhile the mutineersafter subtracting Ditman Olansen
Bob and the Fauntotalled only an even score. And of these Bert
Rhine must certainly be in a bad waywhile there were many
weaklingssuch as Sundry BuyersNancyLarryand Lars Jacobsen.

Well, what do you want?I demanded. "I haven't much time to waste.
Breakfast is ready and waiting."

Charles Davis started to speakbut I shut him off.

I'll have nothing out of you, Davis. At least not now. Later on,
when I'm in that court of law you've bothered me with for half the
voyage, you'll get your turn at talking. And when that time comes
don't forget that I shall have a few words to say.

Again he beganbut this time was stopped by Nosey Murphy.

Aw, shut your trap, Davis,the gangster snarledor I'll shut it
for you.He glanced up to me. "We want to go back to workthat's
what we want."

Which is not the way to ask for it,I answered.

Sir,he added hastily.

That's better,I commented.


Oh, my God, sir, don't let 'm come aft.Tom Spink muttered
hurriedly in my ear. "That'd be the end of all of us. And even if
they didn't get you an' the restthey'd heave me over some dark
night. They ain't never goin' to forgive mesirfor joinin' in
with the afterguard."

I ignored the interruption and addressed the gangster.

There's nothing like going to work when you want to as badly as you
seem to. Suppose all hands get sail on her just to show good
intention.

We'd like to eat first, sir,he objected.

I'd like to see you setting sail, first,was my reply. "And you
may as well get it from me straight that what I like goesaboard
this ship."--I almost said "hooker."

Nosey Murphy hesitated and looked to the Maltese Cockney for counsel.
The latter debatedas if gauging the measure of his weakness while
he stared aloft at the work involved. Finally he nodded.

All right, sir,the gangster spoke up. "We'll do it . . . but
can't something be cookin' in the galley while we're doin' it?"

I shook my head.

I didn't have that in mind, and I don't care to change my mind now.
When every sail is stretched and every yard braced, and all that mess
of gear cleared up, food for a good meal will be served out. You
needn't bother about the spanker nor the mizzen-braces. We'll make
your work lighter by that much.

In truthas they climbed aloft they showed how miserably weak they
were. There were some too feeble to go aloft. Poor Sundry Buyers
continually pressed his abdomen as he toiled around the deckcapstans;
and never was Nancy's face quite so forlorn as when he
obeyed the Maltese Cockney's command and went up to loose the mizzenskysail.


In passingI must note one delicious miracle that was worked before
our eyes. They were hoisting the mizzen-upper-topsail-yard by means
of one of the patent deck-capstans. Although they had reversed the
gear so as to double the purchasethey were having a hard time of
it. Lars Jacobsen was limping on his twice-broken legand with him
were Sundry BuyersTony the GreekBombiniand Mulligan Jacobs.
Nosey Murphy held the turn.

When they stopped from sheer exhaustion Murphy's glance chanced to
fall on Charles Davisthe one man who had not worked since the
outset of the voyage and who was not working now.

Bear a hand, Davis,the gangster called.

Margaret gurgled low laughter in my ear as she caught the drift of
the episode.

The sea-lawyer looked at the other in amazement ere he answered:

I guess not.

After nodding Sundry Buyers over to him to take the turn Murphy
straightened his back and walked close to Davisthen said very


quietly:

I guess yes.

That was all. For a space neither spoke. Davis seemed to be giving
the matter judicial consideration. The men at the capstan panted
restedand looked on--all save Bombiniwho slunk across the deck
until he stood at Murphy's shoulder.

Under such circumstances the decision Charles Davis gave was
eminently the right onealthough even then he offered a compromise.

I'll hold the turn,he volunteered.

You'll lump around one of them capstan-bars,Murphy said.

The sea-lawyer made no mistake. He knew in all absoluteness that he
was choosing between life and deathand he limped over to the
capstan and found his place. And as the work startedand as he
toiled around and around the narrow circleMargaret and I
shamelessly and loudly laughed our approval. And our own men stole
for'ard along the poop to peer down at the spectacle of Charles Davis
at work.

All of which must have pleased Nosey Murphyforas he continued to
hold the turn and coil downhe kept a critical eye on Davis.

More juice, Davis!he commanded with abrupt sharpness.

And Daviswith a startlevisibly increased his efforts.

This was too much for our fellowswhoAsiatics and allapplauded
with laughter and hand-clapping. And what could I do? It was a gala
dayand our faithful ones deserved some little recompense of
amusement. So I ignored the breach of discipline and of poop
etiquette by strolling away aft with Margaret.

At the wheel was one of our storm-waifs. I set the course due east
for Valparaisoand sent the steward below to bring up sufficient
food for one substantial meal for the mutineers.

When do we get our next grub, sir?Nosey Murphy askedas the
steward served the supplies down to him from the poop.

At midday,I answered. "And as long as you and your gang are good
you'll get your grub three times each day. You can choose your own
watches any way you please. But the ship's work must be doneand
done properly. If it isn'tthen the grub stops. That will do. Now
go for'ard."

One thing more, sir,he said quickly. "Bert Rhine is awful bad.
He can't seesir. It looks like he's going to lose his face. He
can't sleep. He groans all the time."

It was a busy day. I made a selection of things from the medicinechest
for the acid-burned gangster; andfinding that Murphy knew how
to manipulate a hypodermic syringeentrusted him with one.

ThentooI practised with the sextant and think I fairly caught the
sun at noon and correctly worked up the observation. But this is
latitudeand is comparatively easy. Longitude is more difficult.
But I am reading up on it.


All afternoon a gentle northerly fan of air snored the Elsinore
through the water at a five-knot clipand our course lay east for
landfor the habitations of menfor the law and order that men
institute whenever they organize into groups. Once in Valparaiso
with police flag flyingour mutineers will be taken care of by the
shore authorities.

Another thing I did was to rearrange our watches aft so as to split
up the three storm-visitors. Margaret took one in her watchalong
with the two sail-makersTom Spinkand Louis. Louis is half white
and all trustworthyso thatat all timeson deck or belowhe is
told off to the task of never letting the topaz-eyed one out of his
sight.

In my watch are the stewardBuckwheatWadaand the other two
topaz-eyed ones. And to one of them Wada is told off; and to the
other is assigned the steward. We are not taking any chances.
Alwaysnight and dayon duty or offthese storm-strangers will
have one of our proved men watching them.

Yes; and I tried the stranger men out last evening. It was after a
council with Margaret. She was sureand I agreed with herthat the
men for'ard are not blindly yielding to our bringing them in to be
prisoners in Valparaiso. As we tried to forecast ittheir plan is
to desert the Elsinore in the boats as soon as we fetch up with the
land. Alsoconsidering some of the bitter lunatic spirits for'ard
there would be a large chance of their drilling the Elsinore's steel
sides and scuttling her ere they took to the boats. For scuttling a
ship is surely as ancient a practice as mutiny on the high seas.

So it wasat one in the morningthat I tried out our strangers.
Two of them I took for'ard with me in the raid on the small boats.
One I left beside Margaretwho kept charge of the poop. On the
other side of him stood the steward with his big hacking knife. By
signs I had made it clear to himand to his two comrades who were to
accompany me for'ardthat at the first sign of treachery he would be
killed. And not only did the old stewardwith signs emphatic and
unmistakablepledge himself to perform the executionbut we were
all convinced that he was eager for the task.

With Margaret I also left Buckwheat and Tom Spink. Wadathe two
sail-makersLouisand the two topaz-eyed ones accompanied me. In
addition to fighting weapons we were armed with axes. We crossed the
main deck unobservedgained the bridge by way of the 'midship-house
and by way of the bridge gained the top of the for'ard-house. Here
were the first boats we began work on; butfirst of allI called in
the lookout from the forecastle-head.

He was Mulligan Jacobs; and he picked his way back across the wreck
of the bridge where the fore-topgallant-yard still layand came up
to me unafraidas implacable and bitter as ever.

Jacobs,I whisperedyou are to stay here beside me until we
finish the job of smashing the boats. Do you get that?

As though it could fright me,he growled all too loudly. "Go ahead
for all I care. I know your game. And I know the game of the hell's
maggots under our feet this minute. 'Tis they that'd desert in the
boats. 'Tis you that'll smash the boats an' jail 'm kit an' crew."

S-s-s-h,I vainly interpolated.

What of it?he went on as loudly as ever. "They're sleepin' with


full bellies. The only night watch we keep is the lookout. Even
Rhine's asleep. A few jolts of the needle has put a clapper to his
eternal moanin'. Go on with your work. Smash the boats. 'Tis
nothin' I care. 'Tis well I know my own crooked back is worth more
to me than the necks of the scum of the world below there."

If you felt that way, why didn't you join us?I queried.

Because I like you no better than them an' not half so well. They
are what you an' your fathers have made 'em. An' who in hell are you
an' your fathers? Robbers of the toil of men. I like them little.
I like you and your fathers not at all. Only I like myself and me
crooked back that's a livin' proof there ain't no God and makes
Browning a liar.

Join us now,I urgedmeeting him in his mood. "It will be easier
for your back."

To hell with you,was his answer. "Go ahead an' smash the boats.
You can hang some of them. But you can't touch me with the law.
'Tis me that's a crippled creature of circumstancetoo weak to raise
a hand against any man--a feather blown about by the windy contention
of men strong in their back an' brainless in their heads."

As you please,I said.

As I can't help pleasin',he retortedbein' what I am an' so made
for the little flash between the darknesses which men call life. Now
why couldn't I a-ben a butterfly, or a fat pig in a full trough, or a
mere mortal man with a straight back an' women to love me? Go on an'
smash the boats. Play hell to the top of your bent. Like me, you'll
end in the darkness. And your darkness'll be--as dark as mine.

A full belly puts the spunk back into you,I sneered.

'Tis on an empty belly that the juice of my dislike turns to acid.
Go on an' smash the boats.

Whose idea was the sulphur?I asked.

I'm not tellin' you the man, but I envied him until it showed
failure. An' whose idea was it--to douse the sulphuric into Rhine's
face? He'll lose that same face, from the way it's shedding.

Nor will I tell you,I said. "Though I will tell you that I am
glad the idea was not mine."

Oh, well,he muttered crypticallydifferent customs on different
ships, as the cook said when he went for'ard to cast off the spanker
sheet.

Not until the job was done and I was back on the poop did I have time
to work out the drift of that last figure in its terms of the sea.
Mulligan Jacobs might have been an artista philosophic poethad he
not been born crooked with a crooked back.

And we smashed the boats. With axes and sledges it was an easier
task than I had imagined. On top of both houses we left the boats
masses of splintered wreckagethe topaz-eyed ones working most
energetically; and we regained the poop without a shot being fired.
The forecastle turned outof courseat our noisebut made no
attempt to interfere with us.

And right here I register another complaint against the sea



novelists. A score of men for'arddesperate allwith desperate
deeds behind themand jail and the gallows facing them not many days
awayshould have only begun to fight. And yet this score of men did
nothing while we destroyed their last chance for escape.

But where did they get the grub?the steward asked me afterwards.

This question he has asked me every day since the first day Mr. Pike
began cudgelling his brains over it. I wonderhad I asked Mulligan
Jacobs the questionif he would have told me? At any ratein court
at Valparaiso that question will be answered. In the meantime I
suppose I shall submit to having the steward ask me it daily.

It is murder and mutiny on the high seas,I told them this morning
when they came aft in a body to complain about the destruction of the
boats and to demand my intentions.

And as I looked down upon the poor wretches from the break of the
poopstanding there in the high placethe vision of my kind down
all its madviolentand masterful past was strong upon me.
Alreadysince our departure from Baltimorethree other men
mastershad occupied this high place and gone their way--the
SamuraiMr. Pikeand Mr. Mellaire. I stood herefourthno
seamanmerely a master by the blood of my ancestors; and the work of
the Elsinore in the world went on.

Bert Rhinehis head and face swathed in bandagesstood there
beneath meand I felt for him a tingle of respect. Hetooin a
subterraneanghetto way was master over his rats. Nosey Murphy and
Kid Twist stood shoulder to shoulder with their stricken gangster
leader. It was his willbecause of his terrible injuryto get in
to land and doctors as quickly as possible. He preferred taking his
chance in court against the chance of losing his lifeorperhaps
his eyesight.

The crew was divided against itself; and Isaac Chantzthe Jewhis
wounded shoulder with a hunch to itseemed to lead the revolt
against the gangsters. His wound was enough to convict him in any
courtand well he knew it. Beside himand at his shoulders
clustered the Maltese CockneyAndy FayArthur DeaconFrank
FitzgibbonRichard Gillerand John Hackey.

In another groupstill allegiant to the gangsterswere men such as
ShortySorensenLars Jacobsenand Larry. Charles Davis was
prominently in the gangster group. A fourth group was composed of
Sundry BuyersNancyand Tony the Greek. This group was distinctly
neutral. Andfinallyunaffiliatedquite by himselfstood
Mulligan Jacobs--listeningI fancyto far echoes of ancient wrongs
and feelingI doubt notthe bite of the iron-hot hooks in his
brain.

What are you going to do with us, sir?Isaac Chantz demanded of me
in defiance to the gangsterswho were expected to do the talking.

Bert Rhine lurched angrily toward the sound of the Jew's voice.
Chantz's partisans drew closer to him.

Jail you,I answered from above. "And it shall go as hard with all
of you as I can make it hard."

Maybe you will an' maybe you won't,the Jew retorted.

Shut up, Chantz!Bert Rhine commanded.


And you'll get yours, you wop,Chantz snarledif I have to do it
myself.

I am afraid that I am not so successfully the man of action that I
have been priding myself on being; forso curious and interested was
I in observing the moving drama beneath me that for the moment I
failed to glimpse the tragedy into which it was culminating.

Bombini!Bert Rhine said.

His voice was imperative. It was the order of a master to the dog at
heel. Bombini responded. He drew his knife and started to advance
upon the Jew. But a deep rumblinganimal-like in its SOUND and
menacearose in the throats of those about the Jew.

Bombini hesitated and glanced back across his shoulder at the leader
whose face he could not see for bandages and who he knew could not
see.

'Tis a good deed--do it, Bombini,Charles Davis encouraged.

Shut your face, Davis!came out from Bert Rhine's bandages.

Kid Twist drew a revolvershoved the muzzle of it first into
Bombini's sidethen covered the men about the Jew.

ReallyI felt a momentary twinge of pity for the Italian. He was
caught between the mill-stonesBombini, stick that Jew,Bert Rhine
commanded.

The Italian advanced a stepandshoulder to shoulderon either
sideKid Twist and Nosey Murphy advanced with him.

I cannot see him,Bert Rhine went on; "but by God I will see him!"

And so speakingwith one singlevirile movement he tore away the
bandages. The toll of pain he must have paid is beyond measurement.
I saw the horror of his facebut the description of it is beyond the
limits of any English I possess. I was aware that Margaretat my
shouldergasped and shuddered.

Bombini!--stick him,the gangster repeated. "And stick any man
that raises a yap. Murphy! See that Bombini does his work."

Murphy's knife was out and at the bravo's back. Kid Twist covered
the Jew's group with his revolver. And the three advanced.

It was at this moment that I suddenly recollected myself and passed
from dream to action.

Bombini!I said sharply.

He paused and looked up.

Stand where you are,I orderedtill I do some talking.--Chantz!
Make no mistake. Rhine is boss for'ard. You take his orders . . .
until we get into Valparaiso; then you'll take your chances along
with him in jail. In the meantime, what Rhine says goes. Get that,
and get it straight. I am behind Rhine until the police come on
board.--Bombini! do whatever Rhine tells you. I'll shoot the man who
tries to stop you.--Deacon! Stand away from Chantz. Go over to the
fife-rail.

All hands knew the stream of lead my automatic rifle could throwand


Arthur Deacon knew it. He hesitated barely a momentthen obeyed.

Fitzgibbon!--Giller!--Hackey!I called in turnand was obeyed.
Fay!I called twiceere the response came.

Isaac Chantz stood aloneand Bombini now showed eagerness.

Chantz!I said; "don't you think it would be healthier to go over
to the fife-rail and be good?"

He debated the matter not many secondsresheathed his knifeand
complied.

The tang of power! I was minded to let literature get the better of
me and read the rascals a lecture; but thank heaven I had sufficient
proportion and balance to refrain.

Rhine!I said.

He turned his corroded face up to me and blinked in an effort to see.

As long as Chantz takes your orders, leave him alone. We'll need
every hand to work the ship in. As for yourself, send Murphy aft in
half an hour and I'll give him the best the medicine-chest affords.
That is all. Go for'ard.

And they shambled awaybeaten and dispirited.

But that man--his face--what happened to him?Margaret asked of me.

Sad it is to end love with lies. Sadder still is it to begin love
with lies. I had tried to hide this one happening from Margaretand
I had failed. It could no longer be hidden save by lying; and so I
told her the truthtold her how and why the gangster had had his
face dashed with sulphuric acid by the old steward who knew white men
and their ways.

There is little more to write. The mutiny of the Elsinore is over.
The divided crew is ruled by the gangsterswho are as intent on
getting their leader into port as I am intent on getting all of them
into jail. The first lap of the voyage of the Elsinore draws to a
close. Two daysat mostwith our present sailingwill bring us
into Valparaiso. And thenas beginning a new voyagethe Elsinore
will depart for Seattle.

One thing more remains for me to writeand then this strange log of
a strange cruise will be complete. It happened only last night. I
am yet fresh from itand athrill with it and with the promise of it.

Margaret and I spent the last hour of the second dog-watch together
at the break of the poop. It was good again to feel the Elsinore
yielding to the wind-pressure on her canvasto feel her again
slipping and sliding through the water in an easy sea.

Hidden by the darknessclasped in each other's armswe talked love
and love plans. Nor am I shamed to confess that I was all for
immediacy. Once in ValparaisoI contendedwe would fit out the
Elsinore with fresh crew and officers and send her on her way. As
for ussteamers and rapid travelling would fetch us quickly home.
FurthermoreValparaiso being a place where such things as licences
and ministers obtainedwe would be married ere we caught the fast
steamers for home.


But Margaret was obdurate. The Wests had always stood by their
shipsshe urged; had always brought their ships in to the ports
intended or had gone down with their ships in the effort. The
Elsinore had cleared from Baltimore for Seattle with the Wests in the
high place. The Elsinore would re-equip with officers and men in
Valparaisoand the Elsinore would arrive in Seattle with a West
still on board.

But think, dear heart,I objected. "The voyage will require
months. Remember what Henley has said: 'Every kiss we take or give
leaves us less of life to live.'"

She pressed her lips to mine.

We kiss,she said.

But I was stupid.

Oh, the weary, weary months,I complained. "You dear silly she
gurgled. Don't you understand?"

I understand only that it is many a thousand miles from Valparaiso
to Seattle,I answered.

You won't understand,she challenged.

I am a fool,I admitted. "I am aware of only one thing: I want
you. I want you."

You are a dear, but you are very, very stupid,she saidand as she
spoke she caught my hand and pressed the palm of it against her
cheek. "What do you feel?" she asked.

Hot cheeks--cheeks most hot.

I am blushing for what your stupidity compels me to say,she
explained. "You have already said that such things as licences and
ministers obtain in Valparaiso . . . and . . . andwell . . . "

You mean . . . ?I stammered.

Just that,she confirmed.

The honeymoon shall be on the Elsinore from Valparaiso all the way
to Seattle?I rattled on.

The many thousands of miles, the weary, weary months,she teased in
my own intonationsuntil I stifled her teasing with my lips.