Tantissimi classici della letteratura e della cultura politica,
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Abbe Prevost - MANON LESCAUT
Alcott, Louisa M. - AN OLDFASHIONED GIRL
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE MEN
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE WOMEN
Alcott, Louisa May - JACK AND JILL
Alcott, Louisa May - LIFE LETTERS AND JOURNALS
Andersen, Hans Christian - FAIRY TALES
Anonimo - BEOWULF
Ariosto, Ludovico - ORLANDO ENRAGED
Aurelius, Marcus - MEDITATIONS
Austen, Jane - EMMA
Austen, Jane - MANSFIELD PARK
Austen, Jane - NORTHANGER ABBEY
Austen, Jane - PERSUASION
Austen, Jane - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Austen, Jane - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Authors, Various - LETTERS OF ABELARD AND HELOISE
Authors, Various - SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
Autori Vari - THE WORLD ENGLISH BIBLE
Bacon, Francis - THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING
Balzac, Honore de - EUGENIE GRANDET
Balzac, Honore de - FATHER GORIOT
Baroness Orczy - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Barrie, J. M. - PETER AND WENDY
Barrie, James M. - PETER PAN
Bierce, Ambrose - THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
Blake, William - SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
Boccaccio, Giovanni - DECAMERONE
Brent, Linda - INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL
Bronte, Charlotte - JANE EYRE
Bronte, Charlotte - VILLETTE
Buchan, John - GREENMANTLE
Buchan, John - MR STANDFAST
Buchan, John - THE 39 STEPS
Bunyan, John - THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Burckhardt, Jacob - THE CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
Burnett, Frances H. - A LITTLE PRINCESS
Burnett, Frances H. - LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
Burnett, Frances H. - THE SECRET GARDEN
Butler, Samuel - EREWHON
Carlyle, Thomas - PAST AND PRESENT
Carlyle, Thomas - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Cellini, Benvenuto - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Cervantes - DON QUIXOTE
Chaucer, Geoffrey - THE CANTERBURY TALES
Chesterton, G. K. - A SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND
Chesterton, G. K. - THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE
Chesterton, G. K. - THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY
Chesterton, G. K. - THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - TWELVE TYPES
Chesterton, G. K. - WHAT I SAW IN AMERICA
Chesterton, Gilbert K. - HERETICS
Chopin, Kate - AT FAULT
Chopin, Kate - BAYOU FOLK
Chopin, Kate - THE AWAKENING AND SELECTED SHORT STORIES
Clark Hall, John R. - A CONCISE ANGLOSAXON DICTIONARY
Clarkson, Thomas - AN ESSAY ON THE SLAVERY AND COMMERCE OF THE HUMAN SPECIES
Clausewitz, Carl von - ON WAR
Coleridge, Herbert - A DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST OR OLDEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH
Coleridge, S. T. - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Coleridge, S. T. - HINTS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY
Coleridge, S. T. - THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
Collins, Wilkie - THE MOONSTONE
Collodi - PINOCCHIO
Conan Doyle, Arthur - A STUDY IN SCARLET
Conan Doyle, Arthur - MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
Conrad, Joseph - HEART OF DARKNESS
Conrad, Joseph - LORD JIM
Conrad, Joseph - NOSTROMO
Conrad, Joseph - THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
Conrad, Joseph - TYPHOON
Crane, Stephen - LAST WORDS
Crane, Stephen - MAGGIE
Crane, Stephen - THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
Crane, Stephen - WOUNDS IN THE RAIN
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: HELL
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PARADISE
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PURGATORY
Darwin, Charles - THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN
Darwin, Charles - THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Defoe, Daniel - A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE PYRATES
Defoe, Daniel - A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
Defoe, Daniel - CAPTAIN SINGLETON
Defoe, Daniel - MOLL FLANDERS
Defoe, Daniel - ROBINSON CRUSOE
Defoe, Daniel - THE COMPLETE ENGLISH TRADESMAN
Defoe, Daniel - THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE
Deledda, Grazia - AFTER THE DIVORCE
Dickens, Charles - A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Dickens, Charles - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Dickens, Charles - BLEAK HOUSE
Dickens, Charles - DAVID COPPERFIELD
Dickens, Charles - DONBEY AND SON
Dickens, Charles - GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Dickens, Charles - HARD TIMES
Dickens, Charles - LETTERS VOLUME 1
Dickens, Charles - LITTLE DORRIT
Dickens, Charles - MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT
Dickens, Charles - NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
Dickens, Charles - OLIVER TWIST
Dickens, Charles - OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
Dickens, Charles - PICTURES FROM ITALY
Dickens, Charles - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Dickens, Charles - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
Dickens, Charles - THE PICKWICK PAPERS
Dickinson, Emily - POEMS
Dostoevsky, Fyodor - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
Du Maurier, George - TRILBY
Dumas, Alexandre - THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Dumas, Alexandre - THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
Dumas, Alexandre - THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Eliot, George - DANIEL DERONDA
Eliot, George - MIDDLEMARCH
Eliot, George - SILAS MARNER
Eliot, George - THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
Engels, Frederick - THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING-CLASS IN ENGLAND IN 1844
Equiano - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Esopo - FABLES
Fenimore Cooper, James - THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Fielding, Henry - TOM JONES
France, Anatole - THAIS
France, Anatole - THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
France, Anatole - THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC
France, Anatole - THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD
Frank Baum, L. - THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
Frank Baum, L. - THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
Franklin, Benjamin - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Frazer, James George - THE GOLDEN BOUGH
Freud, Sigmund - DREAM PSYCHOLOGY
Galsworthy, John - COMPLETE PLAYS
Galsworthy, John - STRIFE
Galsworthy, John - STUDIES AND ESSAYS
Galsworthy, John - THE FIRST AND THE LAST
Galsworthy, John - THE FORSYTE SAGA
Galsworthy, John - THE LITTLE MAN
Galsworthy, John - THE SILVER BOX
Galsworthy, John - THE SKIN GAME
Gaskell, Elizabeth - CRANFORD
Gaskell, Elizabeth - MARY BARTON
Gaskell, Elizabeth - NORTH AND SOUTH
Gaskell, Elizabeth - THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE
Gay, John - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
Gentile, Maria - THE ITALIAN COOK BOOK
Gilbert and Sullivan - PLAYS
Goethe - FAUST
Gogol - DEAD SOULS
Goldsmith, Oliver - SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
Goldsmith, Oliver - THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
Grahame, Kenneth - THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
Grimm, Brothers - FAIRY TALES
Harding, A. R. - GINSENG AND OTHER MEDICINAL PLANTS
Hardy, Thomas - A CHANGED MAN AND OTHER TALES
Hardy, Thomas - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Hardy, Thomas - JUDE THE OBSCURE
Hardy, Thomas - TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
Hardy, Thomas - THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
Hartley, Cecil B. - THE GENTLEMEN'S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - LITTLE MASTERPIECES
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - THE SCARLET LETTER
Henry VIII - LOVE LETTERS TO ANNE BOLEYN
Henry, O. - CABBAGES AND KINGS
Henry, O. - SIXES AND SEVENS
Henry, O. - THE FOUR MILLION
Henry, O. - THE TRIMMED LAMP
Henry, O. - WHIRLIGIGS
Hindman Miller, Gustavus - TEN THOUSAND DREAMS INTERPRETED
Hobbes, Thomas - LEVIATHAN
Homer - THE ILIAD
Homer - THE ODYSSEY
Hornaday, William T. - THE EXTERMINATION OF THE AMERICAN BISON
Hume, David - A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE
Hume, David - AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
Hume, David - DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION
Ibsen, Henrik - A DOLL'S HOUSE
Ibsen, Henrik - AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Ibsen, Henrik - GHOSTS
Ibsen, Henrik - HEDDA GABLER
Ibsen, Henrik - JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN
Ibsen, Henrik - ROSMERHOLM
Ibsen, Henrik - THE LADY FROM THE SEA
Ibsen, Henrik - THE MASTER BUILDER
Ibsen, Henrik - WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
Irving, Washington - THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
James, Henry - ITALIAN HOURS
James, Henry - THE ASPERN PAPERS
James, Henry - THE BOSTONIANS
James, Henry - THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
James, Henry - THE TURN OF THE SCREW
James, Henry - WASHINGTON SQUARE
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN IN A BOAT
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL
Jevons, Stanley - POLITICAL ECONOMY
Johnson, Samuel - A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE
Jonson, Ben - THE ALCHEMIST
Jonson, Ben - VOLPONE
Joyce, James - A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
Joyce, James - CHAMBER MUSIC
Joyce, James - DUBLINERS
Joyce, James - ULYSSES
Keats, John - ENDYMION
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1817
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1820
King James - THE BIBLE
Kipling, Rudyard - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
Kipling, Rudyard - INDIAN TALES
Kipling, Rudyard - JUST SO STORIES
Kipling, Rudyard - KIM
Kipling, Rudyard - THE JUNGLE BOOK
Kipling, Rudyard - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Kipling, Rudyard - THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK
Lawrence, D. H - THE RAINBOW
Lawrence, D. H - THE WHITE PEACOCK
Lawrence, D. H - TWILIGHT IN ITALY
Lawrence, D. H. - AARON'S ROD
Lawrence, D. H. - SONS AND LOVERS
Lawrence, D. H. - THE LOST GIRL
Lawrence, D. H. - WOMEN IN LOVE
Lear, Edward - BOOK OF NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - LAUGHABLE LYRICS
Lear, Edward - MORE NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - NONSENSE SONG
Leblanc, Maurice - ARSENE LUPIN VS SHERLOCK HOLMES
Leblanc, Maurice - THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE CONFESSIONS OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE HOLLOW NEEDLE
Leblanc, Maurice - THE RETURN OF ARSENE LUPIN
Lehmann, Lilli - HOW TO SING
Leroux, Gaston - THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
Leroux, Gaston - THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
Leroux, Gaston - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
London, Jack - MARTIN EDEN
London, Jack - THE CALL OF THE WILD
London, Jack - WHITE FANG
Machiavelli, Nicolo' - THE PRINCE
Malthus, Thomas - PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION
Mansfield, Katherine - THE GARDEN PARTY AND OTHER STORIES
Marlowe, Christopher - THE JEW OF MALTA
Marryat, Captain - THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
Maupassant, Guy De - BEL AMI
Melville, Hermann - MOBY DICK
Melville, Hermann - TYPEE
Mill, John Stuart - PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY
Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
Mitra, S. M. - HINDU TALES FROM THE SANSKRIT
Montaigne, Michel de - ESSAYS
Montgomery, Lucy Maud - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
More, Thomas - UTOPIA
Nesbit, E. - FIVE CHILDREN AND IT
Nesbit, E. - THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET
Nesbit, E. - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
Nesbit, E. - THE STORY OF THE AMULET
Newton, Isaac - OPTICKS
Nietsche, Friedrich - BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
Nietsche, Friedrich - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
Nightingale, Florence - NOTES ON NURSING
Owen, Wilfred - POEMS
Ozaki, Yei Theodora - JAPANESE FAIRY TALES
Pascal, Blaise - PENSEES
Pellico, Silvio - MY TEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT
Perrault, Charles - FAIRY TALES
Pirandello, Luigi - THREE PLAYS
Plato - THE REPUBLIC
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 1
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 2
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 3
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 4
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 5
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
Potter, Beatrix - THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
Proust, Marcel - SWANN'S WAY
Radcliffe, Ann - A SICILIAN ROMANCE
Ricardo, David - ON THE PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY AND TAXATION
Richardson, Samuel - PAMELA
Rider Haggard, H. - ALLAN QUATERMAIN
Rider Haggard, H. - KING SOLOMON'S MINES
Rousseau, J. J. - THE ORIGIN AND FOUNDATION OF INEQUALITY AMONG MANKIND
Ruskin, John - THE SEVEN LAMPS OF ARCHITECTURE
Schiller, Friedrich - THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
Schiller, Friedrich - THE PICCOLOMINI
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE WISDOM OF LIFE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Scott, Walter - IVANHOE
Scott, Walter - QUENTIN DURWARD
Scott, Walter - ROB ROY
Scott, Walter - THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR
Scott, Walter - WAVERLEY
Sedgwick, Anne Douglas - THE THIRD WINDOW
Sewell, Anna - BLACK BEAUTY
Shakespeare, William - COMPLETE WORKS
Shakespeare, William - HAMLET
Shakespeare, William - OTHELLO
Shakespeare, William - ROMEO AND JULIET
Shelley, Mary - FRANKENSTEIN
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - A DEFENCE OF POETRY AND OTHER ESSAYS
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Sheridan, Richard B. - THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
Sienkiewicz, Henryk - QUO VADIS
Smith, Adam - THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
Smollett, Tobias - TRAVELS THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY
Spencer, Herbert - ESSAYS ON EDUCATION AND KINDRED SUBJECTS
Spyri, Johanna - HEIDI
Sterne, Laurence - A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
Sterne, Laurence - TRISTRAM SHANDY
Stevenson, Robert Louis - A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
Stevenson, Robert Louis - ESSAYS IN THE ART OF WRITING
Stevenson, Robert Louis - KIDNAPPED
Stevenson, Robert Louis - NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE BLACK ARROW
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
Stevenson, Robert Louis - TREASURE ISLAND
Stoker, Bram - DRACULA
Strindberg, August - LUCKY PEHR
Strindberg, August - MASTER OLOF
Strindberg, August - THE RED ROOM
Strindberg, August - THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
Strindberg, August - THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES
Swift, Jonathan - A MODEST PROPOSAL
Swift, Jonathan - A TALE OF A TUB
Swift, Jonathan - GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
Swift, Jonathan - THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS AND OTHER SHORT PIECES
Tagore, Rabindranath - FRUIT GATHERING
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE GARDENER
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE HUNGRY STONES AND OTHER STORIES
Thackeray, William - BARRY LYNDON
Thackeray, William - VANITY FAIR
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE BOOK OF SNOBS
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE ROSE AND THE RING
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE VIRGINIANS
Thoreau, Henry David - WALDEN
Tolstoi, Leo - A LETTER TO A HINDU
Tolstoy, Lev - ANNA KARENINA
Tolstoy, Lev - WAR AND PEACE
Trollope, Anthony - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Trollope, Anthony - BARCHESTER TOWERS
Trollope, Anthony - FRAMLEY PARSONAGE
Trollope, Anthony - THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
Trollope, Anthony - THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS MONEY IN A BOX
Trollope, Anthony - THE WARDEN
Trollope, Anthony - THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
Twain, Mark - LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
Twain, Mark - SPEECHES
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
Twain, Mark - THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
Vari, Autori - THE MAGNA CARTA
Verga, Giovanni - SICILIAN STORIES
Verne, Jules - 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
Verne, Jules - A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
Verne, Jules - ALL AROUND THE MOON
Verne, Jules - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Verne, Jules - FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON
Verne, Jules - FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON
Verne, Jules - MICHAEL STROGOFF
Verne, Jules - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Voltaire - PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY
Vyasa - MAHABHARATA
Wallace, Edgar - SANDERS OF THE RIVER
Wallace, Edgar - THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
Wallace, Lew - BEN HUR
Webster, Jean - DADDY LONG LEGS
Wedekind, Franz - THE AWAKENING OF SPRING
Wells, H. G. - KIPPS
Wells, H. G. - THE INVISIBLE MAN
Wells, H. G. - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU
Wells, H. G. - THE STOLEN BACILLUS AND OTHER INCIDENTS
Wells, H. G. - THE TIME MACHINE
Wells, H. G. - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
Wells, H. G. - WHAT IS COMING
Wharton, Edith - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
White, Andrew Dickson - FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE
Wilde, Oscar - A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Wilde, Oscar - AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Wilde, Oscar - DE PROFUNDIS
Wilde, Oscar - LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Wilde, Oscar - SALOME
Wilde, Oscar - SELECTED POEMS
Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
Wilde, Oscar - THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
Wilde, Oscar - THE HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER TALES
Wilde, Oscar - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Wilde, Oscar - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
Wilde, Oscar - THE SOUL OF MAN
Wilson, Epiphanius - SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
Wollstonecraft, Mary - A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
Woolf, Virgina - NIGHT AND DAY
Woolf, Virgina - THE VOYAGE OUT
Woolf, Virginia - JACOB'S ROOM
Woolf, Virginia - MONDAY OR TUESDAY
Wordsworth, William - POEMS
Wordsworth, William - PROSE WORKS
Zola, Emile - THERESE RAQUIN
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ISTRUZIONI D'USO DETTAGLIATE
by Rudyard Kipling.
TO JAMES CONLAND, M.D., Brattleboro, Vermont.
I ploughed the land with horses,
But my heart was ill at ease,
For the old sea-faring men
Came to me now and then,
With their sagas of the seas.
The weather door of the smoking-room had been left open to the North
Atlantic fog, as the big liner rolled and lifted, whistling to warn the
"That Cheyne boy's the biggest nuisance aboard," said a man in a frieze
overcoat, shutting the door with a bang. "He isn't wanted here. He's
A white-haired German reached for a sandwich, and grunted between
bites: "I know der breed. Ameriga is full of dot kind. I dell you you
should imbort ropes' ends free under your dariff."
"Pshaw! There isn't any real harm to him. He's more to be pitied than
anything," a man from New York drawled, as he lay at full length along
the cushions under the wet skylight. "They've dragged him around from
hotel to hotel ever since he was a kid. I was talking to his mother
this morning. She's a lovely lady, but she don't pretend to manage him.
He's going to Europe to finish his education."
"Education isn't begun yet." This was a Philadelphian, curled up in a
corner. "That boy gets two hundred a month pocket-money, he told me. He
isn't sixteen either."
"Railroads, his father, aind't it?" said the German.
"Yep. That and mines and lumber and shipping. Built one place at San
Diego, the old man has; another at Los Angeles; owns half a dozen
railroads, half the lumber on the Pacific slope, and lets his wife
spend the money," the Philadelphian went on lazily. "The West don't
suit her, she says. She just tracks around with the boy and her nerves,
trying to find out what'll amuse him, I guess. Florida, Adirondacks,
Lakewood, Hot Springs, New York, and round again. He isn't much more
than a second-hand hotel clerk now. When he's finished in Europe he'll
be a holy terror."
"What's the matter with the old man attending to him personally?" said
a voice from the frieze ulster.
"Old man's piling up the rocks. 'Don't want to be disturbed, I guess.
He'll find out his error a few years from now. 'Pity, because there's a
heap of good in the boy if you could get at it."
"Mit a rope's end; mit a rope's end!" growled the German.
Once more the door banged, and a slight, slim-built boy perhaps fifteen
years old, a half-smoked cigarette hanging from one corner of his
mouth, leaned in over the high footway. His pasty yellow complexion did
not show well on a person of his years, and his look was a mixture of
irresolution, bravado, and very cheap smartness. He was dressed in a
cherry-coloured blazer, knickerbockers, red stockings, and bicycle
shoes, with a red flannel cap at the back of the head. After whistling
between his teeth, as he eyed the company, he said in a loud, high
voice: "Say, it's thick outside. You can hear the fish-boats squawking
all around us. Say, wouldn't it be great if we ran down one?"
"Shut the door, Harvey," said the New Yorker. "Shut the door and stay
outside. You're not wanted here."
"Who'll stop me?" he answered, deliberately. "Did you pay for my
passage, Mister Martin? 'Guess I've as good right here as the next man."
He picked up some dice from a checkerboard and began throwing, right
hand against left.
"Say, gen'elmen, this is deader'n mud. Can't we make a game of poker
There was no answer, and he puffed his cigarette, swung his legs, and
drummed on the table with rather dirty fingers. Then he pulled out a
roll of bills as if to count them.
"How's your mamma this afternoon?" a man said. "I didn't see her at
"In her state-room, I guess. She's 'most always sick on the ocean. I'm
going to give the stewardess fifteen dollars for looking after her. I
don't go down more 'n I can avoid. It makes me feel mysterious to pass
that butler's-pantry place. Say, this is the first time I've been on
"Oh, don't apologize, Harvey."
"Who's apologizing? This is the first time I've crossed the ocean,
gen'elmen, and, except the first day, I haven't been sick one little
bit. No, sir!" He brought down his fist with a triumphant bang, wetted
his finger, and went on counting the bills.
"Oh, you're a high-grade machine, with the writing in plain sight," the
Philadelphian yawned. "You'll blossom into a credit to your country if
you don't take care."
"I know it. I'm an American--first, last, and all the time. I'll show
'em that when I strike Europe. Piff! My cig's out. I can't smoke the
truck the steward sells. Any gen'elman got a real Turkish cig on him?"
The chief engineer entered for a moment, red, smiling, and wet. "Say,
Mac," cried Harvey cheerfully, "how are we hitting it?"
"Vara much in the ordinary way," was the grave reply. "The young are as
polite as ever to their elders, an' their elders are e'en tryin' to
A low chuckle came from a corner. The German opened his cigar-case and
handed a skinny black cigar to Harvey.
"Dot is der broper apparatus to smoke, my young friendt," he said. "You
vill dry it? Yes? Den you vill be efer so happy."
Harvey lit the unlovely thing with a flourish: he felt that he was
getting on in grownup society.
"It would take more 'n this to keel me over," he said, ignorant that he
was lighting that terrible article, a Wheeling 'stogie'.
"Dot we shall bresently see," said the German. "Where are we now, Mr.
"Just there or thereabouts, Mr. Schaefer," said the engineer. "We'll be
on the Grand Bank to-night; but in a general way o' speakin', we're all
among the fishing-fleet now. We've shaved three dories an' near scalped
the boom off a Frenchman since noon, an' that's close sailing', ye may
"You like my cigar, eh?" the German asked, for Harvey's eyes were full
"Fine, full flavor," he answered through shut teeth. "Guess we've
slowed down a little, haven't we? I'll skip out and see what the log
"I might if I vhas you," said the German.
Harvey staggered over the wet decks to the nearest rail. He was very
unhappy; but he saw the deck-steward lashing chairs together, and,
since he had boasted before the man that he was never seasick, his
pride made him go aft to the second-saloon deck at the stern, which was
finished in a turtle-back. The deck was deserted, and he crawled to the
extreme end of it, near the flag-pole. There he doubled up in limp
agony, for the Wheeling "stogie" joined with the surge and jar of the
screw to sieve out his soul. His head swelled; sparks of fire danced
before his eyes; his body seemed to lose weight, while his heels
wavered in the breeze. He was fainting from seasickness, and a roll of
the ship tilted him over the rail on to the smooth lip of the
turtle-back. Then a low, gray mother-wave swung out of the fog, tucked
Harvey under one arm, so to speak, and pulled him off and away to
leeward; the great green closed over him, and he went quietly to sleep.
He was roused by the sound of a dinner-horn such as they used to blow
at a summer-school he had once attended in the Adirondacks. Slowly he
remembered that he was Harvey Cheyne, drowned and dead in mid-ocean,
but was too weak to fit things together. A new smell filled his
nostrils; wet and clammy chills ran down his back, and he was
helplessly full of salt water. When he opened his eyes, he perceived
that he was still on the top of the sea, for it was running round him
in silver-coloured hills, and he was lying on a pile of half-dead fish,
looking at a broad human back clothed in a blue jersey.
"It's no good," thought the boy. "I'm dead, sure enough, and this thing
is in charge."
He groaned, and the figure turned its head, showing a pair of little
gold rings half hidden in curly black hair.
"Aha! You feel some pretty well now?" it said. "Lie still so: we trim
With a swift jerk he sculled the flickering boat-head on to a foamless
sea that lifted her twenty full feet, only to slide her into a glassy
pit beyond. But this mountain-climbing did not interrupt blue-jersey's
talk. "Fine good job, I say, that I catch you. Eh, wha-at? Better good
job, I say, your boat not catch me. How you come to fall out?"
"I was sick," said Harvey; "sick, and couldn't help it."
"Just in time I blow my horn, and your boat she yaw a little. Then I
see you come all down. Eh, wha-at? I think you are cut into baits by
the screw, but you dreeft--dreeft to me, and I make a big fish of you.
So you shall not die this time."
"Where am I?" said Harvey, who could not see that life was particularly
safe where he lay.
"You are with me in the dory--Manuel my name, and I come from schooner
'We're Here' of Gloucester. I live to Gloucester. By-and-by we get
supper. Eh, wha-at?"
He seemed to have two pairs of hands and a head of cast-iron, for, not
content with blowing through a big conch-shell, he must needs stand up
to it, swaying with the sway of the flat-bottomed dory, and send a
grinding, thuttering shriek through the fog. How long this
entertainment lasted, Harvey could not remember, for he lay back
terrified at the sight of the smoking swells. He fancied he heard a gun
and a horn and shouting. Something bigger than the dory, but quite as
lively, loomed alongside. Several voices talked at once; he was dropped
into a dark, heaving hole, where men in oilskins gave him a hot drink
and took off his clothes, and he fell asleep.
When he waked he listened for the first breakfast-bell on the steamer,
wondering why his state-room had grown so small. Turning, he looked
into a narrow, triangular cave, lit by a lamp hung against a huge
square beam. A three-cornered table within arm's reach ran from the
angle of the bows to the foremast. At the after end, behind a well-used
Plymouth stove, sat a boy about his own age, with a flat red face and a
pair of twinkling gray eyes. He was dressed in a blue jersey and high
rubber boots. Several pairs of the same sort of foot-wear, an old cap,
and some worn-out woollen socks lay on the floor, and black and yellow
oilskins swayed to and fro beside the bunks. The place was packed as
full of smells as a bale is of cotton. The oilskins had a peculiarly
thick flavor of their own which made a sort of background to the smells
of fried fish, burnt grease, paint, pepper, and stale tobacco; but
these, again, were all hooped together by one encircling smell of ship
and salt water. Harvey saw with disgust that there were no sheets on
his bed-place. He was lying on a piece of dingy ticking full of lumps
and nubbles. Then, too, the boat's motion was not that of a steamer.
She was neither sliding nor rolling, but rather wriggling herself about
in a silly, aimless way, like a colt at the end of a halter.
Water-noises ran by close to his ear, and beams creaked and whined
about him. All these things made him grunt despairingly and think of
"Feelin' better?" said the boy, with a grin. "Hev some coffee?" He
brought a tin cup full and sweetened it with molasses.
"Isn't there milk?" said Harvey, looking round the dark double tier of
bunks as if he expected to find a cow there.
"Well, no," said the boy. "Ner there ain't likely to be till 'baout
mid-September. 'Tain't bad coffee. I made it."
Harvey drank in silence, and the boy handed him a plate full of pieces
of crisp fried pork, which he ate ravenously.
"I've dried your clothes. Guess they've shrunk some," said the boy.
"They ain't our style much--none of 'em. Twist round an' see if you're
Harvey stretched himself in every direction, but could not report any
"That's good," the boy said heartily. "Fix yerself an' go on deck. Dad
wants to see you. I'm his son,--Dan, they call me,--an' I'm cook's
helper an' everything else aboard that's too dirty for the men. There
ain't no boy here 'cep' me sence Otto went overboard--an' he was only a
Dutchy, an' twenty year old at that. How'd you come to fall off in a
dead flat ca'am?"
"'Twasn't a calm," said Harvey, sulkily. "It was a gale, and I was
seasick. Guess I must have rolled over the rail."
"There was a little common swell yes'day an' last night," said the boy.
"But ef thet's your notion of a gale----" He whistled. "You'll know
more 'fore you're through. Hurry! Dad's waitin'."
Like many other unfortunate young people, Harvey had never in all his
life received a direct order--never, at least, without long, and
sometimes tearful, explanations of the advantages of obedience and the
reasons for the request. Mrs. Cheyne lived in fear of breaking his
spirit, which, perhaps, was the reason that she herself walked on the
edge of nervous prostration. He could not see why he should be expected
to hurry for any man's pleasure, and said so. "Your dad can come down
here if he's so anxious to talk to me. I want him to take me to New
York right away. It'll pay him."
Dan opened his eyes as the size and beauty of this joke dawned on him.
"Say, Dad!" he shouted up the foc'sle hatch, "he says you kin slip down
an' see him ef you're anxious that way. 'Hear, Dad?"
The answer came back in the deepest voice Harvey had ever heard from a
human chest: "Quit foolin', Dan, and send him to me."
Dan sniggered, and threw Harvey his warped bicycle shoes. There was
something in the tones on the deck that made the boy dissemble his
extreme rage and console himself with the thought of gradually
unfolding the tale of his own and his father's wealth on the voyage
home. This rescue would certainly make him a hero among his friends for
life. He hoisted himself on deck up a perpendicular ladder, and
stumbled aft, over a score of obstructions, to where a small,
thick-set, clean-shaven man with gray eyebrows sat on a step that led
up to the quarter-deck. The swell had passed in the night, leaving a
long, oily sea, dotted round the horizon with the sails of a dozen
fishing-boats. Between them lay little black specks, showing where the
dories were out fishing. The schooner, with a triangular riding-sail on
the mainmast, played easily at anchor, and except for the man by the
cabin-roof--"house" they call it--she was deserted.
"Mornin'--Good afternoon, I should say. You've nigh slep' the clock
round, young feller," was the greeting.
"Mornin'," said Harvey. He did not like being called "young feller";
and, as one rescued from drowning, expected sympathy. His mother
suffered agonies whenever he got his feet wet; but this mariner did not
"Naow let's hear all abaout it. It's quite providential, first an'
last, fer all concerned. What might be your name? Where from (we
mistrust it's Noo York), an' where baound (we mistrust it's Europe)?"
Harvey gave his name, the name of the steamer, and a short history of
the accident, winding up with a demand to be taken back immediately to
New York, where his father would pay anything any one chose to name.
"H'm," said the shaven man, quite unmoved by the end of Harvey's
speech. "I can't say we think special of any man, or boy even, that
falls overboard from that kind o' packet in a flat ca'am. Least of all
when his excuse is that he's seasick."
"Excuse!" cried Harvey. "D'you suppose I'd fall overboard into your
dirty little boat for fun?"
"Not knowin' what your notions o' fun may be, I can't rightly say,
young feller. But if I was you, I wouldn't call the boat which, under
Providence, was the means o' savin' ye, names. In the first place, it's
blame irreligious. In the second, it's annoyin' to my feelin's--an' I'm
Disko Troop o' the 'We're Here' o' Gloucester, which you don't seem
rightly to know."
"I don't know and I don't care," said Harvey. "I'm grateful enough for
being saved and all that, of course! but I want you to understand that
the sooner you take me back to New York the better it'll pay you."
"Meanin'--haow?" Troop raised one shaggy eyebrow over a suspiciously
mild blue eye.
"Dollars and cents," said Harvey, delighted to think that he was making
an impression. "Cold dollars and cents." He thrust a hand into a
pocket, and threw out his stomach a little, which was his way of being
grand. "You've done the best day's work you ever did in your life when
you pulled me in. I'm all the son Harvey Cheyne has."
"He's bin favoured," said Disko, dryly.
"And if you don't know who Harvey Cheyne is, you don't know
much--that's all. Now turn her around and let's hurry."
Harvey had a notion that the greater part of America was filled with
people discussing and envying his father's dollars.
"Mebbe I do, an' mebbe I don't. Take a reef in your stummick, young
feller. It's full o' my vittles."
Harvey heard a chuckle from Dan, who was pretending to be busy by the
stump-foremast, and blood rushed to his face. "We'll pay for that too,"
he said. "When do you suppose we shall get to New York?"
"I don't use Noo York any. Ner Boston. We may see Eastern Point about
September; an' your pa--I'm real sorry I hain't heerd tell of him--may
give me ten dollars efter all your talk. Then o' course he mayn't."
"Ten dollars! Why, see here, I--" Harvey dived into his pocket for the
wad of bills. All he brought up was a soggy packet of cigarettes.
"Not lawful currency; an' bad for the lungs. Heave 'em overboard, young
feller, and try agin."
"It's been stolen!" cried Harvey, hotly.
"You'll hev to wait till you see your pa to reward me, then?"
"A hundred and thirty-four dollars--all stolen," said Harvey, hunting
wildly through his pockets. "Give them back."
A curious change flitted across old Troop's hard face. "What might you
have been doin' at your time o' life with one hundred an' thirty-four
dollars, young feller?"
"It was part of my pocket-money--for a month." This Harvey thought
would be a knock-down blow, and it was--indirectly.
"Oh! One hundred and thirty-four dollars is only part of his
pocket-money--for one month only! You don't remember hittin' anything
when you fell over, do you? Crack agin a stanchion, le's say. Old man
Hasken o' the East Wind"--Troop seemed to be talking to himself--"he
tripped on a hatch an' butted the mainmast with his head--hardish.
'Baout three weeks afterwards, old man Hasken he would hev it that the
"East Wind" was a commerce-destroyin' man-o'-war, an' so he declared
war on Sable Island because it was Bridish, an' the shoals run aout too
far. They sewed him up in a bed-bag, his head an' feet appearin', fer
the rest o' the trip, an' now he's to home in Essex playin' with little
Harvey choked with rage, but Troop went on consolingly: "We're sorry
fer you. We're very sorry fer you--an' so young. We won't say no more
abaout the money, I guess."
"'Course you won't. You stole it."
"Suit yourself. We stole it ef it's any comfort to you. Naow, abaout
goin' back. Allowin' we could do it, which we can't, you ain't in no
fit state to go back to your home, an' we've jest come on to the Banks,
workin' fer our bread. We don't see the ha'af of a hundred dollars a
month, let alone pocket-money; an' with good luck we'll be ashore again
somewheres abaout the first weeks o' September."
"But--but it's May now, and I can't stay here doin' nothing just
because you want to fish. I can't, I tell you!"
"Right an' jest; jest an' right. No one asks you to do nothin'. There's
a heap as you can do, for Otto he went overboard on Le Have. I mistrust
he lost his grip in a gale we f'und there. Anyways, he never come back
to deny it. You've turned up, plain, plumb providential for all
concerned. I mistrust, though, there's ruther few things you kin do.
Ain't thet so?"
"I can make it lively for you and your crowd when we get ashore," said
Harvey, with a vicious nod, murmuring vague threats about "piracy," at
which Troop almost--not quite--smiled.
"Excep' talk. I'd forgot that. You ain't asked to talk more'n you've a
mind to aboard the 'We're Here'. Keep your eyes open, an' help Dan to
do ez he's bid, an' sechlike, an' I'll give you--you ain't wuth it, but
I'll give--ten an' a ha'af a month; say thirty-five at the end o' the
trip. A little work will ease up your head, and you kin tell us all
abaout your dad an' your ma an' your money afterwards."
"She's on the steamer," said Harvey, his eyes filling with tears. "Take
me to New York at once."
"Poor woman--poor woman! When she has you back she'll forgit it all,
though. There's eight of us on the 'We're Here', an' ef we went back
naow--it's more'n a thousand mile--we'd lose the season. The men they
wouldn't hev it, allowin' I was agreeable."
"But my father would make it all right."
"He'd try. I don't doubt he'd try," said Troop; "but a whole season's
catch is eight men's bread; an' you'll be better in your health when
you see him in the fall. Go forward an' help Dan. It's ten an' a ha'af
a month, e I said, an' o' course, all f'und, same e the rest o' us."
"Do you mean I'm to clean pots and pans and things?" said Harvey.
"An' other things. You've no call to shout, young feller."
"I won't! My father will give you enough to buy this dirty little
fish-kettle"--Harvey stamped on the deck--"ten times over, if you take
me to New York safe; and--and--you're in a hundred and thirty by me,
"Haow?" said Troop, the iron face darkening.
"How? You know how, well enough. On top of all that, you want me to do
menial work"--Harvey was very proud of that adjective--"till the Fall.
I tell you I will not. You hear?"
Troop regarded the top of the mainmast with deep interest for a while,
as Harvey harangued fiercely all around him.
"Hsh!" he said at last. "I'm figurin' out my responsibilities in my own
mind. It's a matter o' jedgment."
Dan stole up and plucked Harvey by the elbow. "Don't go to tamperin'
with Dad any more," he pleaded. "You've called him a thief two or three
times over, an' he don't take that from any livin' bein'."
"I won't!" Harvey almost shrieked, disregarding the advice, and still
"Seems kinder unneighbourly," he said at last, his eye travelling down
to Harvey. "I--don't blame you, not a mite, young feeler, nor you won't
blame me when the bile's out o' your systim. Be sure you sense what I
say? Ten an' a ha'af fer second boy on the schooner--an' all found--fer
to teach you an' fer the sake o' your health. Yes or no?"
"No!" said Harvey. "Take me back to New York or I'll see you--"
He did not exactly remember what followed. He was lying in the
scuppers, holding on to a nose that bled while Troop looked down on him
"Dan," he said to his son, "I was sot agin this young feeler when I
first saw him on account o' hasty jedgments. Never you be led astray by
hasty jedgments, Dan. Naow I'm sorry for him, because he's clear
distracted in his upper works. He ain't responsible fer the names he's
give me, nor fer his other statements--nor fer jumpin' overboard, which
I'm abaout ha'af convinced he did. You be gentle with him, Dan, 'r I'll
give you twice what I've give him. Them hemmeridges clears the head.
Let him sluice it off!"
Troop went down solemnly into the cabin, where he and the older men
bunked, leaving Dan to comfort the luckless heir to thirty millions.
"I warned ye," said Dan, as the drops fell thick and fast on the dark,
oiled planking. "Dad ain't noways hasty, but you fair earned it. Pshaw!
there's no sense takin' on so." Harvey's shoulders were rising and
falling in spasms of dry sobbing. "I know the feelin'. First time Dad
laid me out was the last--and that was my first trip. Makes ye feel
sickish an' lonesome. I know."
"It does," moaned Harvey. "That man's either crazy or drunk, and--and I
can't do anything."
"Don't say that to Dad," whispered Dan. "He's set agin all liquor,
an'--well, he told me you was the madman. What in creation made you
call him a thief? He's my dad."
Harvey sat up, mopped his nose, and told the story of the missing wad
of bills. "I'm not crazy," he wound up. "Only--your father has never
seen more than a five-dollar bill at a time, and my father could buy up
this boat once a week and never miss it."
"You don't know what the 'We're Here's' worth. Your dad must hev a pile
o' money. How did he git it? Dad sez loonies can't shake out a straight
yarn. Go ahead."
"In gold mines and things, West."
"I've read o' that kind o' business. Out West, too? Does he go around
with a pistol on a trick-pony, same ez the circus? They call that the
Wild West, and I've heard that their spurs an' bridles was solid
"You are a chump!" said Harvey, amused in spite of himself. "My father
hasn't any use for ponies. When he wants to ride he takes his car."
"No. His own private car, of course. You've seen a private car some
time in your life?"
"Slatin Beeman he hez one," said Dan, cautiously. "I saw her at the
Union Depot in Boston, with three niggers hoggin' her run.", (Dan meant
cleaning the windows.) "But Slatin Beeman he owns 'baout every railroad
on Long Island, they say, an' they say he's bought 'baout ha'af Noo
Hampshire an' run a line fence around her, an' filled her up with lions
an' tigers an' bears an' buffalo an' crocodiles an' such all. Slatin
Beeman he's a millionaire. I've seen his car. Yes?"
"Well, my father's what they call a multi-millionaire, and he has two
private cars. One's named for me, the 'Harvey', and one for my mother,
"Hold on," said Dan. "Dad don't ever let me swear, but I guess you can.
'Fore we go ahead, I want you to say hope you may die if you're lyin'."
"Of course," said Harvey.
"The ain't 'niff. Say, 'Hope I may die if I ain't speaking' truth."'
"Hope I may die right here," said Harvey, "if every word I've spoken
isn't the cold truth."
"Hundred an' thirty-four dollars an' all?" said Dan. "I heard ye
talkin' to Dad, an' I ha'af looked you'd be swallered up, same's Jonah."
Harvey protested himself red in the face. Dan was a shrewd young person
along his own lines, and ten minutes' questioning convinced him that
Harvey was not lying--much. Besides, he had bound himself by the most
terrible oath known to boyhood, and yet he sat, alive, with a red-ended
nose, in the scuppers, recounting marvels upon marvels.
"Gosh!" said Dan at last from the very bottom of his soul when Harvey
had completed an inventory of the car named in his honour. Then a grin
of mischievous delight overspread his broad face. "I believe you,
Harvey. Dad's made a mistake fer once in his life."
"He has, sure," said Harvey, who was meditating an early revenge.
"He'll be mad clear through. Dad jest hates to be mistook in his
jedgments." Dan lay back and slapped his thigh. "Oh, Harvey, don't you
spile the catch by lettin' on."
"I don't want to be knocked down again. I'll get even with him, though."
"Never heard any man ever got even with dad. But he'd knock ye down
again sure. The more he was mistook the more he'd do it. But gold-mines
"I never said a word about pistols," Harvey cut in, for he was on his
"Thet's so; no more you did. Two private cars, then, one named fer you
an' one fer her; an' two hundred dollars a month pocket-money, all
knocked into the scuppers fer not workin' fer ten an' a ha'af a month!
It's the top haul o' the season." He exploded with noiseless chuckles.
"Then I was right?" said Harvey, who thought he had found a sympathiser.
"You was wrong; the wrongest kind o' wrong! You take right hold an'
pitch in 'longside o' me, or you'll catch it, an' I'll catch it fer
backin' you up. Dad always gives me double helps 'cause I'm his son,
an' he hates favourin' folk. 'Guess you're kinder mad at dad. I've been
that way time an' again. But dad's a mighty jest man; all the fleet
"Looks like justice, this, don't it?" Harvey pointed to his outraged
"Thet's nothin'. Lets the shore blood outer you. Dad did it for yer
health. Say, though, I can't have dealin's with a man that thinks me or
dad or any one on the 'We're Here's' a thief. We ain't any common
wharf-end crowd by any manner o' means. We're fishermen, an' we've
shipped together for six years an' more. Don't you make any mistake on
that! I told ye dad don't let me swear. He calls 'em vain oaths, and
pounds me; but ef I could say what you said 'baout your pap an' his
fixin's, I'd say that 'baout your dollars. I dunno what was in your
pockets when I dried your kit, fer I didn't look to see; but I'd say,
using the very same words ez you used jest now, neither me nor dad--an'
we was the only two that teched you after you was brought aboard--knows
anythin' 'baout the money. Thet's my say. Naow?"
The bloodletting had certainly cleared Harvey's brain, and maybe the
loneliness of the sea had something to do with it. "That's all right,"
he said. Then he looked down confusedly. "'Seems to me that for a
fellow just saved from drowning I haven't been over and above grateful,
"Well, you was shook up and silly," said Dan. "Anyway, there was only
dad an' me aboard to see it. The cook he don't count."
"I might have thought about losing the bills that way," Harvey said,
half to himself, "instead of calling everybody in sight a thief.
Where's your father?"
"In the cabin. What d' you want o' him again?"
"You'll see," said Harvey, and he stepped, rather groggily, for his
head was still singing, to the cabin steps where the little ship's
clock hung in plain sight of the wheel. Troop, in the
chocolate-and-yellow painted cabin, was busy with a note-book and an
enormous black pencil which he sucked hard from time to time.
"I haven't acted quite right," said Harvey, surprised at his own
"What's wrong naow?" said the skipper. "Walked into Dan, hev ye?"
"No; it's about you."
"I'm here to listen."
"Well, I--I'm here to take things back," said Harvey very quickly.
"When a man's saved from drowning---" he gulped.
"Ey? You'll make a man yet ef you go on this way."
"He oughtn't begin by calling people names."
"Jest an' right--right an' jest," said Troop, with the ghost of a dry
"So I'm here to say I'm sorry." Another big gulp.
Troop heaved himself slowly off the locker he was sitting on and held
out an eleven-inch hand. "I mistrusted 'twould do you sights o' good;
an' this shows I weren't mistook in my jedgments." A smothered chuckle
on deck caught his ear. "I am very seldom mistook in my jedgments." The
eleven-inch hand closed on Harvey's, numbing it to the elbow. "We'll
put a little more gristle to that 'fore we've done with you, young
feller; an' I don't think any worse of ye fer anythin' the's gone by.
You wasn't fairly responsible. Go right abaout your business an' you
won't take no hurt."
"You're white," said Dan, as Harvey regained the deck, flushed to the
tips of his ears.
"I don't feel it," said he.
"I didn't mean that way. I heard what Dad said. When Dad allows he
don't think the worse of any man, Dad's give himself away. He hates to
be mistook in his jedgments too. Ho! ho! Onct Dad has a jedgment, he'd
sooner dip his colours to the British than change it. I'm glad it's
settled right eend up. Dad's right when he says he can't take you back.
It's all the livin' we make here--fishin'. The men'll be back like
sharks after a dead whale in ha'af an hour."
"What for?" said Harvey.
"Supper, o' course. Don't your stummick tell you? You've a heap to
"Guess I have," said Harvey, dolefully, looking at the tangle of ropes
and blocks overhead.
"She's a daisy," said Dan, enthusiastically, misunderstanding the look.
"Wait till our mainsail's bent, an' she walks home with all her salt
wet. There's some work first, though." He pointed down into the
darkness of the open main-hatch between the two masts.
"What's that for? It's all empty," said Harvey.
"You an' me an' a few more hev got to fill it," said Dan. "That's where
the fish goes."
"Alive?" said Harvey.
"Well, no. They're so's to be ruther dead--an' flat--an' salt. There's
a hundred hogshead o' salt in the bins, an' we hain't more'n covered
our dunnage to now."
"Where are the fish, though?"
"'In the sea they say, in the boats we pray,'" said Dan, quoting a
fisherman's proverb. "You come in last night with 'baout forty of 'em."
He pointed to a sort of wooden pen just in front of the quarter-deck.
"You an' me we'll sluice that out when they're through. 'Send we'll hev
full pens to-night! I've seen her down ha'af a foot with fish waitin'
to clean, an' we stood to the tables till we was splittin' ourselves
instid o' them, we was so sleepy. Yes, they're comm' in naow." Dan
looked over the low bulwarks at half a dozen dories rowing towards them
over the shining, silky sea.
"I've never seen the sea from so low down," said Harvey. "It's fine."
The low sun made the water all purple and pinkish, with golden lights
on the barrels of the long swells, and blue and green mackerel shades
in the hollows. Each schooner in sight seemed to be pulling her dories
towards her by invisible strings, and the little black figures in the
tiny boats pulled like clockwork toys.
"They've struck on good," said Dan, between his half-shut eyes. "Manuel
hain't room fer another fish. Low ez a lily-pad in still water, Aeneid
"Which is Manuel? I don't see how you can tell 'em 'way off, as you do."
"Last boat to the south'ard. He fund you last night," said Dan,
pointing. "Manuel rows Portugoosey; ye can't mistake him. East o'
him--he's a heap better'n he rows--is Pennsylvania. Loaded with
saleratus, by the looks of him. East o' him--see how pretty they string
out all along--with the humpy shoulders, is Long Jack. He's a Galway
man inhabitin' South Boston, where they all live mostly, an' mostly
them Galway men are good in a boat. North, away yonder--you'll hear him
tune up in a minute is Tom Platt. Man-o'-war's man he was on the old
Ohio first of our navy, he says, to go araound the Horn. He never talks
of much else, 'cept when he sings, but he has fair fishin' luck. There!
What did I tell you?"
A melodious bellow stole across the water from the northern dory.
Harvey heard something about somebody's hands and feet being cold, and
"Bring forth the chart, the doleful chart,
See where them mountings meet!
The clouds are thick around their heads,
The mists around their feet."
"Full boat," said Dan, with a chuckle. "If he give us 'O Captain' it's
The bellow continued:
"And naow to thee, O Capting,
Most earnestly I pray,
That they shall never bury me
In church or cloister gray."
"Double game for Tom Platt. He'll tell you all about the old Ohio
tomorrow. 'See that blue dory behind him? He's my uncle,--Dad's own
brother,--an' ef there's any bad luck loose on the Banks she'll fetch
up agin Uncle Salters, sure. Look how tender he's rowin'. I'll lay my
wage and share he's the only man stung up to-day--an' he's stung up
"What'll sting him?" said Harvey, getting interested.
"Strawberries, mostly. Pumpkins, sometimes, an' sometimes lemons an'
cucumbers. Yes, he's stung up from his elbows down. That man's luck's
perfectly paralyzin'. Naow we'll take a-holt o' the tackles an' hist
'em in. Is it true what you told me jest now, that you never done a
hand's turn o' work in all your born life? Must feel kinder awful,
"I'm going to try to work, anyway," Harvey replied stoutly. "Only it's
all dead new."
"Lay a-holt o' that tackle, then. Behind ye!"
Harvey grabbed at a rope and long iron hook dangling from one of the
stays of the mainmast, while Dan pulled down another that ran from
something he called a "topping-lift," as Manuel drew alongside in his
loaded dory. The Portuguese smiled a brilliant smile that Harvey
learned to know well later, and with a short-handled fork began to
throw fish into the pen on deck. "Two hundred and thirty-one," he
"Give him the hook," said Dan, and Harvey ran it into Manuel's hands.
He slipped it through a loop of rope at the dory's bow, caught Dan's
tackle, hooked it to the stern-becket, and clambered into the schooner.
"Pull!" shouted Dan, and Harvey pulled, astonished to find how easily
the dory rose.
"Hold on, she don't nest in the crosstrees!" Dan laughed; and Harvey
held on, for the boat lay in the air above his head.
"Lower away," Dan shouted, and as Harvey lowered, Dan swayed the light
boat with one hand till it landed softly just behind the mainmast.
"They don't weigh nothin' empty. Thet was right smart fer a passenger.
There's more trick to it in a sea-way."
"Ah ha!" said Manuel, holding out a brown hand. "You are some pretty
well now? This time last night the fish they fish for you. Now you fish
for fish. Eh, wha-at?"
"I'm--I'm ever so grateful," Harvey stammered, and his unfortunate hand
stole to his pocket once more, but he remembered that he had no money
to offer. When he knew Manuel better the mere thought of the mistake he
might have made would cover him with hot, uneasy blushes in his bunk.
"There is no to be thankful for to me!" said Manuel. "How shall I leave
you dreeft, dreeft all around the Banks? Now you are a fisherman eh,
wha-at? Ouh! Auh!" He bent backward and forward stiffly from the hips
to get the kinks out of himself.
"I have not cleaned boat to-day. Too busy. They struck on queek. Danny,
my son, clean for me."
Harvey moved forward at once. Here was something he could do for the
man who had saved his life.
Dan threw him a swab, and he leaned over the dory, mopping up the slime
clumsily, but with great good-will. "Hike out the foot-boards; they
slide in them grooves," said Dan. "Swab 'em an' lay 'em down. Never let
a foot-board jam. Ye may want her bad some day. Here's Long Jack."
A stream of glittering fish flew into the pen from a dory alongside.
"Manuel, you take the tackle. I'll fix the tables. Harvey, clear
Manuel's boat. Long Jack's nestin' on the top of her."
Harvey looked up from his swabbing at the bottom of another dory just
above his head.
"Jest like the Injian puzzle-boxes, ain't they?" said Dan, as the one
boat dropped into the other.
"Takes to ut like a duck to water," said Long Jack, a grizzly-chinned,
long-lipped Galway man, bending to and fro exactly as Manuel had done.
Disko in the cabin growled up the hatchway, and they could hear him
suck his pencil.
"Wan hunder an' forty-nine an' a half-bad luck to ye, Discobolus!" said
Long Jack. "I'm murderin' meself to fill your pockuts. Slate ut for a
bad catch. The Portugee has bate me."
Whack came another dory alongside, and more fish shot into the pen.
"Two hundred and three. Let's look at the passenger!" The speaker was
even larger than the Galway man, and his face was made curious by a
purple Cut running slant-ways from his left eye to the right corner of
Not knowing what else to do, Harvey swabbed each dory as it came down,
pulled out the foot-boards, and laid them in the bottom of the boat.
"He's caught on good," said the scarred man, who was Toni Platt,
watching him critically. "There are two ways o' doin' everything. One's
fisher-fashion--any end first an' a slippery hitch over all--an' the
"What we did on the old Ohio!" Dan interrupted, brushing into the knot
of men with a long board on legs. "Get out o' here, Tom Platt, an'
leave me fix the tables."
He jammed one end of the board into two nicks in the bulwarks, kicked
out the leg, and ducked just in time to avoid a swinging blow from the
"An' they did that on the Ohio, too, Danny. See?" said Tom Platt,
"Guess they was swivel-eyed, then, fer it didn't git home, and I know
who'll find his boots on the main-truck ef he don't leave us alone.
Haul ahead! I'm busy, can't ye see?"
"Danny, ye lie on the cable an' sleep all day," said Long Jack. "You're
the hoight av impidence, an' I'm persuaded ye'll corrupt our supercargo
in a week."
"His name's Harvey," said Dan, waving two strangely shaped knives, "an'
he'll be worth five of any Sou' Boston clam-digger 'fore long." He laid
the knives tastefully on the table, cocked his head on one side, and
admired the effect.
"I think it's forty-two," said a small voice overside, and there was a
roar of laughter as another voice answered, "Then my luck's turned fer
onct, 'caze I'm forty-five, though I be stung outer all shape."
"Forty-two or forty-five. I've lost count," the small voice said.
"It's Penn an' Uncle Salters caountin' catch. This beats the circus any
day," said Dan. "Jest look at 'em!"
"Come in--come in!" roared Long Jack. "It's wet out yondher, children."
"Forty-two, ye said." This was Uncle Salters.
"I'll count again, then," the voice replied meekly. The two dories
swung together and bunted into the schooner's side.
"Patience o' Jerusalem!" snapped Uncle Salters, backing water with a
splash. "What possest a farmer like you to set foot in a boat beats me.
You've nigh stove me all up."
"I am sorry, Mr. Salters. I came to sea on account of nervous
dyspepsia. You advised me, I think."
"You an' your nervis dyspepsy be drowned in the Whale-hole," roared
Uncle Salters, a fat and tubby little man. "You're comin' down on me
agin. Did ye say forty-two or forty-five?"
"I've forgotten, Mr. Salters. Let's count."
"Don't see as it could be forty-five. I'm forty-five," said Uncle
Salters. "You count keerful, Penn."
Disko Troop came out of the cabin. "Salters, you pitch your fish in
naow at once," he said in the tone of authority.
"Don't spile the catch, Dad," Dan murmured. "Them two are on'y jest
"Mother av delight! He's forkin' them wan by wan," howled Long Jack, as
Uncle Salters got to work laboriously; the little man in the other dory
counting a line of notches on the gunwale.
"That was last week's catch," he said, looking up plaintively, his
forefinger where he had left off.
Manuel nudged Dan, who darted to the after-tackle, and, leaning far
overside, slipped the hook into the stern-rope as Manuel made her fast
forward. The others pulled gallantly and swung the boat in--man, fish,
"One, two, four-nine," said Tom Platt, counting with a practised eye.
"Forty-seven. Penn, you're it!" Dan let the after-tackle run, and slid
him out of the stern on to the deck amid a torrent of his own fish.
"Hold on!" roared Uncle Salters, bobbing by the waist. "Hold on, I'm a
bit mixed in my caount."
He had no time to protest, but was hove inboard and treated like
"Forty-one," said Tom Platt. "Beat by a farmer, Salters. An' you sech a
"'Tweren't fair caount," said he, stumbling out of the pen; "an' I'm
stung up all to pieces."
His thick hands were puffy and mottled purply white.
"Some folks will find strawberry-bottom," said Dan, addressing the
newly risen moon, "ef they hev to dive fer it, seems to me."
"An' others," said Uncle Salters, "eats the fat o' the land in sloth,
an' mocks their own blood-kin."
"Seat ye! Seat ye!" a voice Harvey had not heard called from the
foc'sle. Disko Troop, Tom Platt, Long Jack, and Salters went forward on
the word. Little Penn bent above his square deep-sea reel and the
tangled cod-lines; Manuel lay down full length on the deck, and Dan
dropped into the hold, where Harvey heard him banging casks with a
"Salt," he said, returning. "Soon as we're through supper we git to
dressing-down. You'll pitch to Dad. Tom Platt an' Dad they stow
together, an' you'll hear 'em arguin'. We're second ha'af, you an' me
an' Manuel an' Penn--the youth an' beauty o' the boat."
"What's the good of that?" said Harvey. "I'm hungry."
"They'll be through in a minute. Suff! She smells good to-night. Dad
ships a good cook ef he do suffer with his brother. It's a full catch
today, Aeneid it?" He pointed at the pens piled high with cod. "What
water did ye hev, Manuel?"
"Twenty-fife father," said the Portuguese, sleepily. "They strike on
good an' queek. Some day I show you, Harvey."
The moon was beginning to walk on the still sea before the elder men
came aft. The cook had no need to cry "second half." Dan and Manuel
were down the hatch and at table ere Tom Platt, last and most
deliberate of the elders, had finished wiping his mouth with the back
of his hand. Harvey followed Penn, and sat down before a tin pan of
cod's tongues and sounds, mixed with scraps of pork and fried potato, a
loaf of hot bread, and some black and powerful coffee. Hungry as they
were, they waited while "Pennsylvania" solemnly asked a blessing. Then
they stoked in silence till Dan drew a breath over his tin cup and
demanded of Harvey how he felt.
"'Most full, but there's just room for another piece."
The cook was a huge, jet-black negro, and, unlike all the negroes
Harvey had met, did not talk, contenting himself with smiles and
dumb-show invitations to eat more.
"See, Harvey," said Dan, rapping with his fork on the table, "it's jest
as I said. The young an' handsome men--like me an' Pennsy an' you an'
Manuel--we're second ha'af, an' we eats when the first ha'af are
through. They're the old fish; an' they're mean an' humpy, an' their
stummicks has to be humoured; so they come first, which they don't
deserve. Aeneid that so, doctor?"
The cook nodded.
"Can't he talk?" said Harvey in a whisper.
"'Nough to get along. Not much o' anything we know. His natural
tongue's kinder curious. Comes from the innards of Cape Breton, he
does, where the farmers speak homemade Scotch. Cape Breton's full o'
niggers whose folk run in there durin' aour war, an' they talk like
"That is not Scotch," said "Pennsylvania." "That is Gaelic. So I read
in a book."
"Penn reads a heap. Most of what he says is so--'cep' when it comes to
a caount o' fish--eh?"
"Does your father just let them say how many they've caught without
checking them?" said Harvey.
"Why, yes. Where's the sense of a man lyin' fer a few old cod?"
"Was a man once lied for his catch," Manuel put in. "Lied every day.
Fife, ten, twenty-fife more fish than come he say there was."
"Where was that?" said Dan. "None o' aour folk."
"Frenchman of Anguille."
"Ah! Them West Shore Frenchmen don't caount anyway. Stands to reason
they can't caount Ef you run acrost any of their soft hooks, Harvey,
you'll know why," said Dan, with an awful contempt.
"Always more and never less,
Every time we come to dress,"
Long Jack roared down the hatch, and the "second ha'af" scrambled up at
The shadow of the masts and rigging, with the never-furled riding-sail,
rolled to and fro on the heaving deck in the moonlight; and the pile of
fish by the stern shone like a dump of fluid silver. In the hold there
were tramplings and rumblings where Disko Troop and Tom Platt moved
among the salt-bins. Dan passed Harvey a pitchfork, and led him to the
inboard end of the rough table, where Uncle Salters was drumming
impatiently with a knife-haft. A tub of salt water lay at his feet.
"You pitch to Dan an' Tom Platt down the hatch, an' take keer Uncle
Salters don't cut yer eye out," said Dan, swinging himself into the
hold. "I'll pass salt below."
Penn and Manuel stood knee deep among cod in the pen, flourishing drawn
knives. Long Jack, a basket at his feet and mittens on his hands, faced
Uncle Salters at the table, and Harvey stared at the pitchfork and the
"Hi!" shouted Manuel, stooping to the fish, and bringing one up with a
finger under its gill and a finger in its eyes. He laid it on the edge
of the pen; the knife-blade glimmered with a sound of tearing, and the
fish, slit from throat to vent, with a nick on either side of the neck,
dropped at Long Jack's feet.
"Hi!" said Long Jack, with a scoop of his mittened hand. The cod's
liver dropped in the basket. Another wrench and scoop sent the head and
offal flying, and the empty fish slid across to Uncle Salters, who
snorted fiercely. There was another sound of tearing, the backbone flew
over the bulwarks, and the fish, headless, gutted, and open, splashed
in the tub, sending the salt water into Harvey's astonished mouth.
After the first yell, the men were silent. The cod moved along as
though they were alive, and long ere Harvey had ceased wondering at the
miraculous dexterity of it all, his tub was full.
"Pitch!" grunted Uncle Salters, without turning his head, and Harvey
pitched the fish by twos and threes down the hatch.
"Hi! Pitch 'em bunchy," shouted Dan. "Don't scatter! Uncle Salters is
the best splitter in the fleet. Watch him mind his book!"
Indeed, it looked a little as though the round uncle were cutting
magazine pages against time. Manuel's body, cramped over from the hips,
stayed like a statue; but his long arms grabbed the fish without
ceasing. Little Penn toiled valiantly, but it was easy to see he was
weak. Once or twice Manuel found time to help him without breaking the
chain of supplies, and once Manuel howled because he had caught his
finger in a Frenchman's hook. These hooks are made of soft metal, to be
rebent after use; but the cod very often get away with them and are
hooked again elsewhere; and that is one of the many reasons why the
Gloucester boats despise the Frenchmen.
Down below, the rasping sound of rough salt rubbed on rough flesh
sounded like the whirring of a grindstone--steady undertune to the
"click-nick" of knives in the pen; the wrench and shloop of torn heads,
dropped liver, and flying offal; the "caraaah" of Uncle Salters's knife
scooping away backbones; and the flap of wet, open bodies falling into
At the end of an hour Harvey would have given the world to rest; for
fresh, wet cod weigh more than you would think, and his back ached with
the steady pitching. But he felt for the first time in his life that he
was one of the working gang of men, took pride in the thought, and held
"Knife oh!" shouted Uncle Salters at last. Penn doubled up, gasping
among the fish, Manuel bowed back and forth to supple himself, and Long
Jack leaned over the bulwarks. The cook appeared, noiseless as a black
shadow, collected a mass of backbones and heads, and retreated.
"Blood-ends for breakfast an' head-chowder," said Long Jack, smacking
"Knife oh!" repeated Uncle Salters, waving the flat, curved splitter's
"Look by your foot, Harve," cried Dan below.
Harvey saw half a dozen knives stuck in a cleat in the hatch combing.
He dealt these around, taking over the dulled ones.
"Water!" said Disko Troop.
"Scuttle-butt's for'ard an' the dipper's alongside. Hurry, Harve," said
He was back in a minute with a big dipperful of stale brown water which
tasted like nectar, and loosed the jaws of Disko and Tom Platt.
"These are cod," said Disko. "They ain't Damarskus figs, Tom Platt, nor
yet silver bars. I've told you that ever single time since we've sailed
"A matter o' seven seasons," returned Tom Platt coolly. "Good stowin's
good stowin' all the same, an' there's a right an' a wrong way o'
stowin' ballast even. If you'd ever seen four hundred ton o' iron set
"Hi!" With a yell from Manuel the work began again, and never stopped
till the pen was empty. The instant the last fish was down, Disko Troop
rolled aft to the cabin with his brother; Manuel and Long Jack went
forward; Tom Platt only waited long enough to slide home the hatch ere
he too disappeared. In half a minute Harvey heard deep snores in the
cabin, and he was staring blankly at Dan and Penn.
"I did a little better that time, Danny," said Penn, whose eyelids were
heavy with sleep. "But I think it is my duty to help clean."
"'Wouldn't hev your conscience fer a thousand quintal," said Dan. "Turn
in, Penn. You've no call to do boy's work. Draw a bucket, Harvey. Oh,
Penn, dump these in the gurry-butt 'fore you sleep. Kin you keep awake
Penn took up the heavy basket of fish-livers, emptied them into a cask
with a hinged top lashed by the foc'sle; then he too dropped out of
sight in the cabin.
"Boys clean up after dressin' down an' first watch in ca'am weather is
boy's watch on the 'We're Here'." Dan sluiced the pen energetically,
unshipped the table, set it up to dry in the moonlight, ran the red
knife-blades through a wad of oakum, and began to sharpen them on a
tiny grindstone, as Harvey threw offal and backbones overboard under
At the first splash a silvery-white ghost rose bolt upright from the
oily water and sighed a weird whistling sigh. Harvey started back with
a shout, but Dan only laughed.
"Grampus," said he. "Beggin' fer fish-heads. They up-eend the way when
they're hungry. Breath on him like the doleful tombs, hain't he?" A
horrible stench of decayed fish filled the air as the pillar of white
sank, and the water bubbled oilily. "Hain't ye never seen a grampus
up-eend before? You'll see 'em by hundreds 'fore ye're through. Say,
it's good to hev a boy aboard again. Otto was too old, an' a Dutchy at
that. Him an' me we fought consid'ble. 'Wouldn't ha' keered fer that ef
he'd hed a Christian tongue in his head. Sleepy?"
"Dead sleepy," said Harvey, nodding forward.
"Mustn't sleep on watch. Rouse up an' see ef our anchor-light's bright
an' shinin'. You're on watch now, Harve."
"Pshaw! What's to hurt us? Bright's day. Sn-orrr!"
"Jest when things happen, Dad says. Fine weather's good sleepin', an'
'fore you know, mebbe, you're cut in two by a liner, an' seventeen
brass-bound officers, all gen'elmen, lift their hand to it that your
lights was aout an' there was a thick fog. Harve, I've kinder took to
you, but ef you nod onet more I'll lay into you with a rope's end."
The moon, who sees many strange things on the Banks, looked down on a
slim youth in knickerbockers and a red jersey, staggering around the
cluttered decks of a seventy-ton schooner, while behind him, waving a
knotted rope, walked, after the manner of an executioner, a boy who
yawned and nodded between the blows he dealt.
The lashed wheel groaned and kicked softly, the riding-sail slatted a
little in the shifts of the light wind, the windlass creaked, and the
miserable procession continued. Harvey expostulated, threatened,
whimpered, and at last wept outright, while Dan, the words clotting on
his tongue, spoke of the beauty of watchfulness and slashed away with
the rope's end, punishing the dories as often as he hit Harvey. At last
the clock in the cabin struck ten, and upon the tenth stroke little
Penn crept on deck. He found two boys in two tumbled heaps side by side
on the main hatch, so deeply asleep that he actually rolled them to
It was the forty-fathom slumber that clears the soul and eye and heart,
and sends you to breakfast ravening. They emptied a big tin dish of
juicy fragments of fish--the blood-ends the cook had collected
overnight. They cleaned up the plates and pans of the elder mess, who
were out fishing, sliced pork for the midday meal, swabbed down the
foc'sle, filled the lamps, drew coal and water for the cook, and
investigated the fore-hold, where the boat's stores were stacked. It
was another perfect day--soft, mild, and clear; and Harvey breathed to
the very bottom of his lungs.
More schooners had crept up in the night, and the long blue seas were
full of sails and dories. Far away on the horizon, the smoke of some
liner, her hull invisible, smudged the blue, and to eastward a big
ship's top-gallant sails, just lifting, made a square nick in it. Disko
Troop was smoking by the roof of the cabin--one eye on the craft
around, and the other on the little fly at the main-mast-head.
"When Dad kerflummoxes that way," said Dan in a whisper, "he's doin'
some high-line thinkin' fer all hands. I'll lay my wage an' share we'll
make berth soon. Dad he knows the cod, an' the Fleet they know Dad
knows. 'See 'em comm' up one by one, lookin' fer nothin' in particular,
o' course, but scrowgin' on us all the time? There's the Prince Leboo;
she's a Chat-ham boat. She's crep' up sence last night. An' see that
big one with a patch in her foresail an' a new jib? She's the Carrie
Pitman from West Chat-ham. She won't keep her canvas long onless her
luck's changed since last season. She don't do much 'cep' drift. There
ain't an anchor made 'll hold her. . . . When the smoke puffs up in
little rings like that, Dad's studyin' the fish. Ef we speak to him
now, he'll git mad. Las' time I did, he jest took an' hove a boot at
Disko Troop stared forward, the pipe between his teeth, with eyes that
saw nothing. As his son said, he was studying the fish--pitting his
knowledge and experience on the Banks against the roving cod in his own
sea. He accepted the presence of the inquisitive schooners on the
horizon as a compliment to his powers. But now that it was paid, he
wished to draw away and make his berth alone, till it was time to go up
to the Virgin and fish in the streets of that roaring town upon the
waters. So Disko Troop thought of recent weather, and gales, currents,
food-supplies, and other domestic arrangements, from the point of view
of a twenty-pound cod; was, in fact, for an hour a cod himself, and
looked remarkably like one. Then he removed the pipe from his teeth.
"Dad," said Dan, "we've done our chores. Can't we go overside a piece?
It's good catchin' weather."
"Not in that cherry-coloured rig ner them ha'af baked brown shoes. Give
him suthin' fit to wear."
"Dad's pleased--that settles it," said Dan, delightedly, dragging
Harvey into the cabin, while Troop pitched a key down the steps. "Dad
keeps my spare rig where he kin overhaul it, 'cause Ma sez I'm
keerless." He rummaged through a locker, and in less than three minutes
Harvey was adorned with fisherman's rubber boots that came half up his
thigh, a heavy blue jersey well darned at the elbows, a pair of
nippers, and a sou'wester.
"Naow ye look somethin' like," said Dan. "Hurry!"
"Keep nigh an' handy," said Troop "an' don't go visitin' raound the
Fleet. If any one asks you what I'm cal'latin' to do, speak the
truth--fer ye don't know."
A little red dory, labelled Hattie S., lay astern of the schooner. Dan
hauled in the painter, and dropped lightly on to the bottom boards,
while Harvey tumbled clumsily after.
"That's no way o' gettin' into a boat," said Dan. "Ef there was any sea
you'd go to the bottom, sure. You got to learn to meet her."
Dan fitted the thole-pins, took the forward thwart and watched Harvey's
work. The boy had rowed, in a lady-like fashion, on the Adirondack
ponds; but there is a difference between squeaking pins and
well-balanced ruflocks--light sculls and stubby, eight-foot sea-oars.
They stuck in the gentle swell, and Harvey grunted.
"Short! Row short!" said Dan. "Ef you cramp your oar in any kind o' sea
you're liable to turn her over. Ain't she a daisy? Mine, too."
The little dory was specklessly clean. In her bows lay a tiny anchor,
two jugs of water, and some seventy fathoms of thin, brown dory-roding.
A tin dinner-horn rested in cleats just under Harvey's right hand,
beside an ugly-looking maul, a short gaff, and a shorter wooden stick.
A couple of lines, with very heavy leads and double cod-hooks, all
neatly coiled on square reels, were stuck in their place by the gunwale.
"Where's the sail and mast?" said Harvey, for his hands were beginning
Dan chuckled. "Ye don't sail fishin'-dories much. Ye pull; but ye
needn't pull so hard. Don't you wish you owned her?"
"Well, I guess my father might give me one or two if I asked 'em,"
Harvey replied. He had been too busy to think much of his family till
"That's so. I forgot your dad's a millionaire. You don't act millionary
any, naow. But a dory an' craft an' gear"--Dan spoke as though she were
a whaleboat--"costs a heap. Think your dad 'u'd give you one fer--fer a
"Shouldn't wonder. It would be 'most the ouly thing I haven't stuck him
"Must be an expensive kinder kid to home. Don't slitheroo thet way,
Harve. Short's the trick, because no sea's ever dead still, an' the
Crack! The loom of the oar kicked Harvey under the chin and knocked him
"That was what I was goin' to say. I hed to learn too, but I wasn't
more than eight years old when I got my schoolin'."
Harvey regained his seat with aching jaws and a frown.
"No good gettin' mad at things, Dad says. It's our own fault ef we
can't handle 'em, he says. Le's try here. Manuel 'll give us the water."
The "Portugee" was rocking fully a mile away, but when Dan up-ended an
oar he waved his left arm three times.
"Thirty fathom," said Dan, stringing a salt clam on to the hook. "Over
with the doughboys. Bait same's I do, Harvey, an' don't snarl your
Dan's line was out long before Harvey had mastered the mystery of
baiting and heaving out the leads. The dory drifted along easily. It
was not worth while to anchor till they were sure of good ground.
"Here we come!" Dan shouted, and a shower of spray rattled on Harvey's
shoulders as a big cod flapped and kicked alongside. "Muckie, Harvey,
muckle! Under your hand! Onick!"
Evidently "muckle" could not be the dinner-horn, so Harvey passed over
the maul, and Dan scientifically stunned the fish before he pulled it
inboard, and wrenched out the hook with the short wooden stick he
called a "gob-stick." Then Harvey felt a tug, and pulled up zealously.
"Why, these are strawberries!" he shouted. "Look!"
The hook had fouled among a bunch of strawberries, red on one side and
white on the other--perfect reproductions of the land fruit, except
that there were no leaves, and the stem was all pipy and slimy.
"Don't tech 'em. Slat 'em off. Don't--"
The warning came too late. Harvey had picked them from the hook, and
was admiring them.
"Ouch!" he cried, for his fingers throbbed as though he had grasped
"Now ye know what strawberry-bottom means. Nothin' 'cep' fish should be
teched with the naked fingers, Dad says. Slat 'em off agin the gunnel,
an' bait up, Harve. Lookin' won't help any. It's all in the wages."
Harvey smiled at the thought of his ten and a half dollars a month, and
wondered what his mother would say if she could see him hanging over
the edge of a fishing-dory in mid-ocean. She suffered agonies whenever
he went out on Saranac Lake; and, by the way, Harvey remembered
distinctly that he used to laugh at her anxieties. Suddenly the line
flashed through his hand, stinging even through the "nippers," the
woolen circlets supposed to protect it.
"He's a logy. Give him room accordin' to his strength," cried Dan.
"I'll help ye."
"No, you won't," Harvey snapped, as he hung on to the line. "It's my
first fish. I--is it a whale?"
"Halibut, mebbe." Dan peered down into the water alongside, and
flourished the big "muckle," ready for all chances. Something white and
oval flickered and fluttered through the green. "I'll lay my wage an'
share he's over a hundred. Are you so everlastin' anxious to land him
Harvey's knuckles were raw and bleeding where they had been hanged
against the gunwale; his face was purple-blue between excitement and
exertion; he dripped with sweat, and was half-blinded from staring at
the circling sunlit ripples about the swiftly moving line. The boys
were tired long ere the halibut, who took charge of them and the dory
for the next twenty minutes. But the big flat fish was gaffed and
hauled in at last.
"Beginner's luck," said Dan, wiping his forehead. "He's all of a
Harvey looked at the huge gray-and-mottled creature with unspeakable
pride. He had seen halibut many times on marble slabs ashore, but it
had never occurred to him to ask how they came inland. Now he knew; and
every inch of his body ached with fatigue.
"Ef Dad was along," said Dan, hauling up, "he'd read the signs plain's
print. The fish are runnin' smaller an' smaller, an' you've took 'baout
as logy a halibut's we're apt to find this trip. Yesterday's catch--did
ye notice it?--was all big fish an' no halibut. Dad he'd read them
signs right off. Dad says everythin' on the Banks is signs, an' can be
read wrong er right. Dad's deeper'n the Whale-hole."
Even as he spoke some one fired a pistol on the 'We're Here', and a
potato-basket was run up in the fore-rigging.
"What did I say, naow? That's the call fer the whole crowd. Dad's onter
something, er he'd never break fishin' this time o' day. Reel up,
Harve, an' we'll pull back."
They were to windward of the schooner, just ready to flirt the dory
over the still sea, when sounds of woe half a mile off led them to
Penn, who was careering around a fixed point for all the world like a
gigantic water-bug. The little man backed away and came down again with
enormous energy, but at the end of each maneuver his dory swung round
and snubbed herself on her rope.
"We'll hev to help him, else he'll root an' seed here," said Dan.
"What's the matter?" said Harvey. This was a new world, where he could
not lay down the law to his elders, but had to ask questions humbly.
And the sea was horribly big and unexcited.
"Anchor's fouled. Penn's always losing 'em. Lost two this trip
a'ready--on sandy bottom too--an' Dad says next one he loses, sure's
fishin', he'll give him the kelleg. That 'u'd break Penn's heart."
"What's a 'kelleg'?" said Harvey, who had a vague idea it might be some
kind of marine torture, like keel-hauling in the storybooks.
"Big stone instid of an anchor. You kin see a kelleg ridin' in the bows
fur's you can see a dory, an' all the fleet knows what it means. They'd
guy him dreadful. Penn couldn't stand that no more'n a dog with a
dipper to his tail. He's so everlastin' sensitive. Hello, Penn! Stuck
again? Don't try any more o' your patents. Come up on her, and keep
your rodin' straight up an' down."
"It doesn't move," said the little man, panting. "It doesn't move at
all, and instead I tried everything."
"What's all this hurrah's-nest for'ard?" said Dan, pointing to a wild
tangle of spare oars and dory-roding, all matted together by the hand
"Oh, that," said Penn proudly, "is a Spanish windlass. Mr. Salters
showed me how to make it; but even that doesn't move her."
Dan bent low over the gunwale to hide a smile, twitched once or twice
on the roding, and, behold, the anchor drew at once.
"Haul up, Penn," he said laughing, "er she'll git stuck again."
They left him regarding the weed-hung flukes of the little anchor with
big, pathetic blue eyes, and thanking them profusely.
"Oh, say, while I think of it, Harve," said Dan when they were out of
ear-shot, "Penn ain't quite all caulked. He ain't nowise dangerous, but
his mind's give out. See?"
"Is that so, or is it one of your father's judgments?"
Harvey asked as he bent to his oars. He felt he was learning to handle
them more easily.
"Dad ain't mistook this time. Penn's a sure 'nuff loony."
"No, he ain't thet exactly, so much ez a harmless ijut. It was this way
(you're rowin' quite so, Harve), an' I tell you 'cause it's right you
orter know. He was a Moravian preacher once. Jacob Boiler wuz his name,
Dad told me, an' he lived with his wife an' four children somewheres
out Pennsylvania way. Well, Penn he took his folks along to a Moravian
meetin'--camp-meetin' most like--an' they stayed over jest one night in
Johns-town. You've heered talk o' Johnstown?"
Harvey considered. "Yes, I have. But I don't know why. It sticks in my
head same as Ashtabula."
"Both was big accidents--thet's why, Harve. Well, that one single night
Penn and his folks was to the hotel Johnstown was wiped out. 'Dam bust
an' flooded her, an' the houses struck adrift an' bumped into each
other an' sunk. I've seen the pictures, an' they're dretful. Penn he
saw his folk drowned all'n a heap 'fore he rightly knew what was
comin'. His mind give out from that on. He mistrusted somethin' hed
happened up to Johnstown, but for the poor life of him he couldn't
remember what, an' he jest drifted araound smilin' an' wonderin'. He
didn't know what he was, nor yit what he hed bin, an' thet way he run
agin Uncle Salters, who was visitin' 'n Allegheny City. Ha'af my
mother's folks they live scattered inside o' Pennsylvania, an' Uncle
Salters he visits araound winters. Uncle Salters he kinder adopted
Penn, well knowin' what his trouble wuz; an' he brought him East, an'
he give him work on his farm.', Why, I heard him calling Penn a farmer
last night when the boats bumped. Is your Uncle Salters a farmer?"
"Farmer!" shouted Dan. "There ain't water enough 'tween here an'
Hatt'rus to wash the furrer-mold off'n his boots. He's jest everlastin'
farmer. Why, Harve, I've seen thet man hitch up a bucket, long towards
sundown, an' set twiddlin' the spigot to the scuttle-butt same's ef
'twas a cow's bag. He's thet much farmer. Well, Penn an' he they ran
the farm--up Exeter way 'twur. Uncle Salters he sold it this spring to
a jay from Boston as wanted to build a summer-haouse, an' he got a heap
for it. Well, them two loonies scratched along till, one day, Penn's
church--he'd belonged to the Moravians--found out where he wuz drifted
an' layin', an' wrote to Uncle Salters. 'Never heerd what they said
exactly; but Uncle Salters was mad. He's a 'piscopolian mostly--but he
jest let 'em hev it both sides o' the bow, 's if he was a Baptist; an'
sez he warn't goin' to give up Penn to any blame Moravian connection in
Pennsylvania or anywheres else. Then he come to Dad, towin' Penn,--thet
was two trips back,--an' sez he an' Penn must fish a trip fer their
health. 'Guess he thought the Moravians wouldn't hunt the Banks fer
Jacob Boiler. Dad was agreeable, fer Uncle Salters he'd been fishin'
off an' on fer thirty years, when he warn't inventin' patent manures,
an' he took quarter-share in the 'We're Here'; an' the trip done Penn
so much good, Dad made a habit o' takin' him. Some day, Dad sez, he'll
remember his wife an' kids an' Johnstown, an' then, like as not, he'll
die, Dad sez. Don't ye talk abaout Johnstown ner such things to Penn,
'r Uncle Salters he'll heave ye overboard."
"Poor Penn!" murmured Harvey. "I shouldn't ever have thought Uncle
Salters cared for him by the look of 'em together."
"I like Penn, though; we all do," said Dan. "We ought to ha' give him a
tow, but I wanted to tell ye first."
They were close to the schooner now, the other boats a little behind
"You needn't heave in the dories till after dinner," said Troop from
the deck. "We'll dress daown right off. Fix table, boys!"
"Deeper'n the Whale-deep," said Dan, with a wink, as he set the gear
for dressing down. "Look at them boats that hev edged up sence mornin'.
They're all waitin' on Dad. See 'em, Harve?"
"They are all alike to me." And indeed to a landsman, the nodding
schooners around seemed run from the same mold.
"They ain't, though. That yaller, dirty packet with her bowsprit
steeved that way, she's the Hope of Prague. Nick Brady's her skipper,
the meanest man on the Banks. We'll tell him so when we strike the Main
Ledge. 'Way off yonder's the Day's Eye. The two Jeraulds own her. She's
from Harwich; fastish, too, an' hez good luck; but Dad he'd find fish
in a graveyard. Them other three, side along, they're the Margie Smith,
Rose, and Edith S. Walen, all from home. 'Guess we'll see the Abbie M.
Deering to-morrer, Dad, won't we? They're all slippin' over from the
shaol o' 'Oueereau."
"You won't see many boats to-morrow, Danny." When Troop called his son
Danny, it was a sign that the old man was pleased. "Boys, we're too
crowded," he went on, addressing the crew as they clambered inboard.
"We'll leave 'em to bait big an' catch small." He looked at the catch
in the pen, and it was curious to see how little and level the fish
ran. Save for Harvey's halibut, there was nothing over fifteen pounds
"I'm waitin' on the weather," he added.
"Ye'll have to make it yourself, Disko, for there's no sign I can see,"
said Long Jack, sweeping the clear horizon.
And yet, half an hour later, as they were dressing down, the Bank fog
dropped on them, "between fish and fish," as they say. It drove
steadily and in wreaths, curling and smoking along the colourless
water. The men stopped dressing-down without a word. Long Jack and
Uncle Salters slipped the windlass brakes into their sockets, and began
to heave up the anchor; the windlass jarring as the wet hempen cable
strained on the barrel. Manuel and Tom Platt gave a hand at the last.
The anchor came up with a sob, and the riding-sail bellied as Troop
steadied her at the wheel. "Up jib and foresail," said he.
"Slip 'em in the smother," shouted Long Jack, making fast the
jib-sheet, while the others raised the clacking, rattling rings of the
foresail; and the foreboom creaked as the 'We're Here' looked up into
the wind and dived off into blank, whirling white.
"There's wind behind this fog," said Troop.
It was wonderful beyond words to Harvey; and the most wonderful part
was that he heard no orders except an occasional grunt from Troop,
ending with, "That's good, my son!"
"Never seen anchor weighed before?" said Tom Platt, to Harvey gaping at
the damp canvas of the foresail.
"No. Where are we going?"
"Fish and make berth, as you'll find out 'fore you've been a week
aboard. It's all new to you, but we never know what may come to us.
Now, take me--Tom Platt--I'd never ha' thought--"
"It's better than fourteen dollars a month an' a bullet in your belly,"
said Troop, from the wheel. "Ease your jumbo a grind."
"Dollars an' cents better," returned the man-o'-war's man, doing
something to a big jib with a wooden spar tied to it. "But we didn't
think o' that when we manned the windlass-brakes on the Miss Jim Buck,
I outside Beau-fort Harbor, with Fort Macon heavin' hot shot at our
stern, an' a livin' gale atop of all. Where was you then, Disko?"
"Jest here, or hereabouts," Disko replied, "earnin' my bread on the
deep waters, an' dodgin' Reb privateers. Sorry I can't accommodate you
with red-hot shot, Tom Platt; but I guess we'll come aout all right on
wind 'fore we see Eastern Point."
There was an incessant slapping and chatter at the bows now, varied by
a solid thud and a little spout of spray that clattered down on the
foc'sle. The rigging dripped clammy drops, and the men lounged along
the lee of the house--all save Uncle Salters, who sat stiffly on the
main-hatch nursing his stung hands.
"Guess she'd carry stays'l," said Disko, rolling one eye at his brother.
"Guess she wouldn't to any sorter profit. What's the sense o' wastin'
canvas?" the farmer-sailor replied.
The wheel twitched almost imperceptibly in Disko's hands. A few seconds
later a hissing wave-top slashed diagonally across the boat, smote
Uncle Salters between the shoulders, and drenched him from head to
foot. He rose sputtering, and went forward only to catch another.
"See Dad chase him all around the deck," said Dan. "Uncle Salters he
thinks his quarter share's our canvas. Dad's put this duckin' act up on
him two trips runnin'. Hi! That found him where he feeds." Uncle
Salters had taken refuge by the foremast, but a wave slapped him over
the knees. Disko's face was as blank as the circle of the wheel.
"Guess she'd lie easier under stays'l, Salters," said Disko, as though
he had seen nothing.
"Set your old kite, then," roared the victim through a cloud of spray;
"only don't lay it to me if anything happens. Penn, you go below right
off an' git your coffee. You ought to hev more sense than to bum
araound on deck this weather."
"Now they'll swill coffee an' play checkers till the cows come home,"
said Dan, as Uncle Salters hustled Penn into the fore-cabin. "'Looks to
me like's if we'd all be doin' so fer a spell. There's nothin' in
creation deader-limpsey-idler'n a Banker when she ain't on fish."
"I'm glad ye spoke, Danny," cried Long Jack, who had been casting round
in search of amusement. "I'd dean forgot we'd a passenger under that
T-wharf hat. There's no idleness for thim that don't know their ropes.
Pass him along, Tom Platt, an' we'll larn him."
"'Tain't my trick this time," grinned Dan. "You've got to go it alone.
Dad learned me with a rope's end."
For an hour Long Jack walked his prey up and down, teaching, as he
said, "things at the sea that ivry man must know, blind, dhrunk, or
asleep." There is not much gear to a seventy-ton schooner with a
stump-foremast, but Long Jack had a gift of expression. When he wished
to draw Harvey's attention to the peak-halyards, he dug his knuckles
into the back of the boy's neck and kept him at gaze for half a minute.
He emphasized the difference between fore and aft generally by rubbing
Harvey's nose along a few feet of the boom, and the lead of each rope
was fixed in Harvey's mind by the end of the rope itself.
The lesson would have been easier had the deck been at all free; but
there appeared to be a place on it for everything and anything except a
man. Forward lay the windlass and its tackle, with the chain and hemp
cables, all very unpleasant to trip over; the foc'sle stovepipe, and
the gurry-butts by the foc'sle hatch to hold the fish-livers. Aft of
these the foreboom and booby of the main-hatch took all the space that
was not needed for the pumps and dressing-pens. Then came the nests of
dories lashed to ring-bolts by the quarter-deck; the house, with tubs
and oddments lashed all around it; and, last, the sixty-foot main-boom
in its crutch, splitting things length-wise, to duck and dodge under
Tom Platt, of course, could not keep his oar out of the business, but
ranged alongside with enormous and unnecessary descriptions of sails
and spars on the old Ohio.
"Niver mind fwhat he says; attind to me, Innocince. Tom Platt, this
bally-hoo's not the Ohio, an' you're mixing the bhoy bad."
"He'll be ruined for life, beginnin' on a fore-an'-after this way," Tom
Platt pleaded. "Give him a chance to know a few leadin' principles.
Sailin's an art, Harvey, as I'd show you if I had ye in the fore-top o'
"I know ut. Ye'd talk him dead an' cowld. Silince, Tom Platt! Now,
after all I've said, how'd you reef the foresail, Harve? Take your time
"Haul that in," said Harvey, pointing to leeward.
"Fwhat? The North Atlantuc?"
"No, the boom. Then run that rope you showed me back there--"
"That's no way," Tom Platt burst in.
"Quiet! He's larnin', an' has not the names good yet. Go on, Harve."
"Oh, it's the reef-pennant. I'd hook the tackle on to the reef-pennant,
and then let down--"
"Lower the sail, child! Lower!" said Tom Platt, in a professional agony.
"Lower the throat and peak halyards," Harvey went on. Those names stuck
in his head.
"Lay your hand on thim," said Long Jack.
Harvey obeyed. "Lower till that rope-loop--on the after-leach-kris--no,
it's cringle--till the cringle was down on the boom. Then I'd tie her
up the way you said, and then I'd hoist up the peak and throat halyards
"You've forgot to pass the tack-earing, but wid time and help ye'll
larn. There's good and just reason for ivry rope aboard, or else
'twould be overboard. D'ye follow me? 'Tis dollars an' cents I'm
puttin' into your pocket, ye skinny little supercargo, so that fwhin
ye've filled out ye can ship from Boston to Cuba an' tell thim Long
Jack larned you. Now I'll chase ye around a piece, callin' the ropes,
an' you'll lay your hand on thim as I call."
He began, and Harvey, who was feeling rather tired, walked slowly to
the rope named. A rope's end licked round his ribs, and nearly knocked
the breath out of him.
"When you own a boat," said Tom Platt, with severe eyes, "you can walk.
Till then, take all orders at the run. Once more--to make sure!"
Harvey was in a glow with the exercise, and this last cut warmed him
thoroughly. Now he was a singularly smart boy, the son of a very clever
man and a very sensitive woman, with a fine resolute temper that
systematic spoiling had nearly turned to mulish obstinacy. He looked at
the other men, and saw that even Dan did not smile. It was evidently
all in the day's work, though it hurt abominably; so he swallowed the
hint with a gulp and a gasp and a grin. The same smartness that led him
to take such advantage of his mother made him very sure that no one on
the boat, except, maybe, Penn, would stand the least nonsense. One
learns a great deal from a mere tone. Long Jack called over half a
dozen ropes, and Harvey danced over the deck like an eel at ebb-tide,
one eye on Tom Platt.
"Ver' good. Ver' good don," said Manuel. "After supper I show you a
little schooner I make, with all her ropes. So we shall learn."
"Fust-class fer--a passenger," said Dan. "Dad he's jest allowed you'll
be wuth your salt maybe 'fore you're draownded. Thet's a heap fer Dad.
I'll learn you more our next watch together."
"Taller!" grunted Disko, peering through the fog as it smoked over the
bows. There was nothing to be seen ten feet beyond the surging
jib-boom, while alongside rolled the endless procession of solemn, pale
waves whispering and lipping one to the other.
"Now I'll learn you something Long Jack can't," shouted Tom Platt, as
from a locker by the stern he produced a battered deep-sea lead
hollowed at one end, smeared the hollow from a saucer full of mutton
tallow, and went forward. "I'll learn you how to fly the Blue Pigeon.
Disko did something to the wheel that checked the schooner's way, while
Manuel, with Harvey to help (and a proud boy was Harvey), let down the
jib in a lump on the boom. The lead sung a deep droning song as Tom
Platt whirled it round and round.
"Go ahead, man," said Long Jack, impatiently. "We're not drawin'
twenty-five fut off Fire Island in a fog. There's no trick to ut."
"Don't be jealous, Galway." The released lead plopped into the sea far
ahead as the schooner surged slowly forward.
"Soundin' is a trick, though," said Dan, "when your dipsey lead's all
the eye you're like to hev for a week. What d'you make it, Dad?"
Disko's face relaxed. His skill and honour were involved in the march
he had stolen on the rest of the Fleet, and he had his reputation as a
master artist who knew the Banks blindfold. "Sixty, mebbe--ef I'm any
judge," he replied, with a glance at the tiny compass in the window of
"Sixty," sung out Tom Platt, hauling in great wet coils.
The schooner gathered way once more. "Heave!" said Disko, after a
quarter of an hour.
"What d'you make it?" Dan whispered, and he looked at Harvey proudly.
But Harvey was too proud of his own performances to be impressed just
"Fifty," said the father. "I mistrust we're right over the nick o'
Green Bank on old Sixty-Fifty."
"Fifty!" roared Tom Platt. They could scarcely see him through the fog.
"She's bust within a yard--like the shells at Fort Macon."
"Bait up, Harve," said Dan, diving for a line on the reel.
The schooner seemed to be straying promiscuously through the smother,
her headsail banging wildly. The men waited and looked at the boys who
"Heugh!" Dan's lines twitched on the scored and scarred rail. "Now haow
in thunder did Dad know? Help us here, Harve. It's a big un.
Poke-hooked, too." They hauled together, and landed a goggle-eyed
twenty-pound cod. He had taken the bait right into his stomach.
"Why, he's all covered with little crabs," cried Harvey, turning him
"By the great hook-block, they're lousy already," said Long Jack.
"Disko, ye kape your spare eyes under the keel."
Splash went the anchor, and they all heaved over the lines, each man
taking his own place at the bulwarks.
"Are they good to eat?" Harvey panted, as he lugged in another
"Sure. When they're lousy it's a sign they've all been herdin' together
by the thousand, and when they take the bait that way they're hungry.
Never mind how the bait sets. They'll bite on the bare hook."
"Say, this is great!" Harvey cried, as the fish came in gasping and
splashing--nearly all poke-hooked, as Dan had said. "Why can't we
always fish from the boat instead of from the dories?"
"Allus can, till we begin to dress daown. Efter thet, the heads and
offals 'u'd scare the fish to Fundy. Boatfishin' ain't reckoned
progressive, though, unless ye know as much as dad knows. Guess we'll
run aout aour trawl to-night. Harder on the back, this, than frum the
dory, ain't it?"
It was rather back-breaking work, for in a dory the weight of a cod is
water-borne till the last minute, and you are, so to speak, abreast of
him; but the few feet of a schooner's freeboard make so much extra
dead-hauling, and stooping over the bulwarks cramps the stomach. But it
was wild and furious sport so long as it lasted; and a big pile lay
aboard when the fish ceased biting.
"Where's Penn and Uncle Salters?" Harvey asked, slapping the slime off
his oilskins, and reeling up the line in careful imitation of the
"Git 's coffee and see."
Under the yellow glare of the lamp on the pawl-post, the foc'sle table
down and opened, utterly unconscious of fish or weather, sat the two
men, a checker-board between them, Uncle Salters snarling at Penn's
"What's the matter naow?" said the former, as Harvey, one hand in the
leather loop at the head of the ladder, hung shouting to the cook.
"Big fish and lousy--heaps and heaps," Harvey replied, quoting Long
Jack. "How's the game?"
Little Penn's jaw dropped. "'Tweren't none o' his fault," snapped Uncle
Salters. "Penn's deef."
"Checkers, weren't it?" said Dan, as Harvey staggered aft with the
steaming coffee in a tin pail. "That lets us out o' cleanin' up
to-night. Dad's a jest man. They'll have to do it."
"An' two young fellers I know'll bait up a tub or so o' trawl, while
they're cleanin'," said Disko, lashing the wheel to his taste.
"Um! Guess I'd ruther clean up, Dad."
"Don't doubt it. Ye wun't, though. Dress daown! Dress daown! Penn'll
pitch while you two bait up."
"Why in thunder didn't them blame boys tell us you'd struck on?" said
Uncle Salters, shuffling to his place at the table. "This knife's
"Ef stickin' out cable don't wake ye, guess you'd better hire a boy o'
your own," said Dan, muddling about in the dusk over the tubs full of
trawl-line lashed to windward of the house. "Oh, Harve, don't ye want
to slip down an' git 's bait?"
"Bait ez we are," said Disko. "I mistrust shag-fishin' will pay better,
ez things go."
That meant the boys would bait with selected offal of the cod as the
fish were cleaned--an improvement on paddling bare-handed in the little
bait-barrels below. The tubs were full of neatly coiled line carrying a
big hook each few feet; and the testing and baiting of every single
hook, with the stowage of the baited line so that it should run clear
when shot from the dory, was a scientific business. Dan managed it in
the dark, without looking, while Harvey caught his fingers on the barbs
and bewailed his fate. But the hooks flew through Dan's fingers like
tatting on an old maid's lap. "I helped bait up trawl ashore 'fore I
could well walk," he said. "But it's a putterin' job all the same. Oh,
Dad!" This shouted towards the hatch, where Disko and Tom Platt were
salting. "How many skates you reckon we'll need?"
"'Baout three. Hurry!"
"There's three hundred fathom to each tub," Dan explained; "more'n
enough to lay out to-night. Ouch! 'Slipped up there, I did." He stuck
his finger in his mouth. "I tell you, Harve, there ain't money in
Gloucester 'u'd hire me to ship on a reg'lar trawler. It may be
progressive, but, barrin' that, it's the putterin'est, slimjammest
business top of earth."
"I don't know what this is, if 'tisn't regular trawling," said Harvey
sulkily. "My fingers are all cut to frazzles."
"Pshaw! This is just one o' Dad's blame experirnents. He don't trawl
'less there's mighty good reason fer it. Dad knows. Thet's why he's
baitin' ez he is. We'll hev her saggin' full when we take her up er we
won't see a fin."
Penn and Uncle Salters cleaned up as Disko had ordained, but the boys
profited little. No sooner were the tubs furnished than Tom Platt and
Long Jack, who had been exploring the inside of a dory with a lantern,
snatched them away, loaded up the tubs and some small, painted
trawl-buoys, and hove the boat overboard into what Harvey regarded as
an exceedingly rough sea. "They'll be drowned. Why, the dory's loaded
like a freight-car," he cried.
"We'll be back," said Long Jack, "an' in case you'll not be lookin' for
us, we'll lay into you both if the trawl's snarled."
The dory surged up on the crest of a wave, and just when it seemed
impossible that she could avoid smashing against the schooner's side,
slid over the ridge, and was swallowed up in the damp dusk.
"Take ahold here, an' keep ringin' steady," said Dan, passing Harvey
the lanyard of a bell that hung just behind the windlass.
Harvey rang lustily, for he felt two lives depended on him. But Disko
in the cabin, scrawling in the log-book, did not look like a murderer,
and when he went to supper he even smiled dryly at the anxious Harvey.
"This ain't no weather," said Dan. "Why, you an' me could set thet
trawl! They've only gone out jest far 'nough so's not to foul our
cable. They don't need no bell reelly."
"Clang! clang! clang!" Harvey kept it up, varied with occasional
rub-a-dubs, for another half-hour. There was a bellow and a bump
alongside. Manuel and Dan raced to the hooks of the dory-tackle; Long
Jack and Tom Platt arrived on deck together, it seemed, one half the
North Atlantic at their backs, and the dory followed them in the air,
landing with a clatter.
"Nary snarl," said Tom Platt as he dripped. "Danny, you'll do yet."
"The pleasure av your comp'ny to the banquit," said Long Jack,
squelching the water from his boots as he capered like an elephant and
stuck an oil-skinned arm into Harvey's face. "We do be condescending to
honour the second half wid our presence." And off they all four rolled
to supper, where Harvey stuffed himself to the brim on fish-chowder and
fried pies, and fell fast asleep just as Manuel produced from a locker
a lovely two-foot model of the Lucy Holmes, his first boat, and was
going to show Harvey the ropes. Harvey never even twiddled his fingers
as Penn pushed him into his bunk.
"It must be a sad thing--a very sad thing," said Penn, watching the
boy's face, "for his mother and his father, who think he is dead. To
lose a child--to lose a man-child!"
"Git out o' this, Penn," said Dan. "Go aft and finish your game with
Uncle Salters. Tell Dad I'll stand Harve's watch ef he don't keer. He's
"Ver' good boy," said Manuel, slipping out of his boots and
disappearing into the black shadows of the lower bunk. "Expec' he make
good man, Danny. I no see he is any so mad as your parpa he says. Eh,
Dan chuckled, but the chuckle ended in a snore.
It was thick weather outside, with a rising wind, and the elder men
stretched their watches. The hour struck clear in the cabin; the nosing
bows slapped and scuffed with the seas; the foc'sle stove-pipe hissed
and sputtered as the spray caught it; and the boys slept on, while
Disko, Long Jack, Tom Platt, and Uncle Salters, each in turn, stumped
aft to look at the wheel, forward to see that the anchor held, or to
veer out a little more cable against chafing, with a glance at the dim
anchor-light between each round.
Harvey waked to find the "first half" at breakfast, the foc'sle door
drawn to a crack, and every square inch of the schooner singing its own
tune. The black bulk of the cook balanced behind the tiny galley over
the glare of the stove, and the pots and pans in the pierced wooden
board before it jarred and racketed to each plunge. Up and up the
foc'sle climbed, yearning and surging and quivering, and then, with a
clear, sickle-like swoop, came down into the seas. He could hear the
flaring bows cut and squelch, and there was a pause ere the divided
waters came down on the deck above, like a volley of buckshot. Followed
the woolly sound of the cable in the hawse-hole; and a grunt and squeal
of the windlass; a yaw, a punt, and a kick, and the 'We're Here'
gathered herself together to repeat the motions.
"Now, ashore," he heard Long Jack saying, "ye've chores, an' ye must do
thim in any weather. Here we're well clear of the fleet, an' we've no
chores--an' that's a blessin'. Good night, all." He passed like a big
snake from the table to his bunk, and began to smoke. Tom Platt
followed his example; Uncle Salters, with Penn, fought his way up the
ladder to stand his watch, and the cook set for the "second half."
It came out of its bunks as the others had entered theirs, with a shake
and a yawn. It ate till it could eat no more; and then Manuel filled
his pipe with some terrible tobacco, crotched himself between the
pawl-post and a forward bunk, cocked his feet up on the table, and
smiled tender and indolent smiles at the smoke. Dan lay at length in
his bunk, wrestling with a gaudy, gilt-stopped accordion, whose tunes
went up and down with the pitching of the 'We're Here'. The cook, his
shoulders against the locker where he kept the fried pies (Dan was fond
of fried pies), peeled potatoes, with one eye on the stove in event of
too much water finding its way down the pipe; and the general smell and
smother were past all description.
Harvey considered affairs, wondered that he was not deathly sick, and
crawled into his bunk again, as the softest and safest place, while Dan
struck up, "I don't want to play in your yard," as accurately as the
wild jerks allowed.
"How long is this for?" Harvey asked of Manuel.
"Till she get a little quiet, and we can row to trawl. Perhaps
to-night. Perhaps two days more. You do not like? Eh, wha-at?"
"I should have been crazy sick a week ago, but it doesn't seem to upset
"That is because we make you fisherman, these days. If I was you, when
I come to Gloucester I would give two, three big candles for my good
"To be sure--the Virgin of our Church on the Hill. She is very good to
fishermen all the time. That is why so few of us Portugee men ever are
"You're a Roman Catholic, then?"
"I am a Madeira man. I am not a Porto Pico boy. Shall I be Baptist,
then? Eh, wha-at? I always give candles--two, three more when I come to
Gloucester. The good Virgin she never forgets me, Manuel."
"I don't sense it that way," Tom Platt put in from his bunk, his
scarred face lit up by the glare of a match as he sucked at his pipe.
"It stands to reason the sea's the sea; and you'll get jest about
what's goin', candles or kerosene, fer that matter."
"'Tis a mighty good thing," said Long Jack, "to have a friend at coort,
though. I'm o' Manuel's way o' thinkin' About tin years back I was crew
to a Sou' Boston market-boat. We was off Minot's Ledge wid a
northeaster, butt first, atop of us, thicker'n burgoo. The ould man was
dhrunk, his chin waggin' on the tiller, an' I sez to myself, 'If iver I
stick my boat-huk into T-wharf again, I'll show the saints fwhat manner
o' craft they saved me out av.' Now, I'm here, as ye can well see, an'
the model of the dhirty ould Kathleen, that took me a month to make, I
gave ut to the priest, an' he hung ut up forninst the altar. There's
more sense in givin' a model that's by way o' bein' a work av art than
any candle. Ye can buy candles at store, but a model shows the good
saints ye've tuk trouble an' are grateful."
"D'you believe that, Irish?" said Tom Platt, turning on his elbow.
"Would I do ut if I did not, Ohio?"
"Wa-al, Enoch Fuller he made a model o' the old Ohio, and she's to
Calem museum now. Mighty pretty model, too, but I guess Enoch he never
done it fer no sacrifice; an' the way I take it is--"
There were the makings of an hour-long discussion of the kind that
fishermen love, where the talk runs in shouting circles and no one
proves anything at the end, had not Dan struck up this cheerful rhyme:
"Up jumped the mackerel with his stripe'd back. Reef in the mainsail,
and haul on the tack; For it's windy weather--"
Here Long Jack joined in:
And it's blowy weather;
When the winds begin to blow, pipe all hands together!"
Dan went on, with a cautious look at Tom Platt, holding the accordion
low in the bunk:
"Up jumped the cod with his chuckle-head,
Went to the main-chains to heave at the lead;
For it's windy weather," etc.
Tom Platt seemed to be hunting for something. Dan crouched lower, but
"Up jumped the flounder that swims to the ground.
Chuckle-head! Chuckle-head! Mind where ye sound!"
Tom Platt's huge rubber boot whirled across the foc'sle and caught
Dan's uplifted arm. There was war between the man and the boy ever
since Dan had discovered that the mere whistling of that tune would
make him angry as he heaved the lead.
"Thought I'd fetch yer," said Dan, returning the gift with precision.
"Ef you don't like my music, git out your fiddle. I ain't goin' to lie
here all day an' listen to you an' Long Jack arguin' 'baout candles.
Fiddle, Tom Platt; or I'll learn Harve here the tune!"
Tom Platt leaned down to a locker and brought up an old white fiddle.
Manuel's eye glistened, and from somewhere behind the pawl-post he drew
out a tiny, guitar-like thing with wire strings, which he called a
"'Tis a concert," said Long Jack, beaming through the smoke. "A reg'lar
There was a burst of spray as the hatch opened, and Disko, in yellow
"Ye're just in time, Disko. Fwhat's she doin' outside?"
"Jest this!" He dropped on to the lockers with the push and heave of
the 'We're Here'.
"We're singin' to kape our breakfasts down. Ye'll lead, av course,
Disko," said Long Jack.
"Guess there ain't more'n 'baout two old songs I know, an' ye've heerd
His excuses were cut short by Tom Platt launching into a most dolorous
tune, like unto the moaning of winds and the creaking of masts. With
his eyes fixed on the beams above, Disko began this ancient, ancient
ditty, Tom Platt flourishing all round him to make the tune and words
fit a little:
"There is a crack packet--crack packet o' fame,
She hails from Noo York, an' the Dreadnought's her name.
You may talk o' your fliers--Swallowtail and Black Ball--
But the Dreadnought's the packet that can beat them all.
"Now the Dreadnought she lies in the River Mersey,
Because of the tug-boat to take her to sea;
But when she's off soundings you shortly will know
She's the Liverpool packet-- Lord, let her go!
"Now the Dreadnought she's howlin' crost the Banks o' Newfoundland,
Where the water's all shallow and the bottom's all sand.
Sez all the little fishes that swim to and fro:
'She's the Liverpool packet-- Lord, let her go!'",
There were scores of verses, for he worked the Dreadnought every mile
of the way between Liverpool and New York as conscientiously as though
he were on her deck, and the accordion pumped and the fiddle squeaked
beside him. Tom Platt followed with something about "the rough and
tough McGinn, who would pilot the vessel in." Then they called on
Harvey, who felt very flattered, to contribute to the entertainment;
but all that he could remember were some pieces of "Skipper Ireson's
Ride" that he had been taught at the camp-school in the Adirondacks. It
seemed that they might be appropriate to the time and place, but he had
no more than mentioned the title when Disko brought down one foot with
a bang, and cried, "Don't go on, young feller. That's a mistaken
jedgment--one o' the worst kind, too, becaze it's catchin' to the ear."
"I orter ha' warned you," said Dan. "Thet allus fetches Dad."
"What's wrong?" said Harvey, surprised and a little angry.
"All you're goin' to say," said Disko. "All dead wrong from start to
finish, an' Whittier he's to blame. I have no special call to right any
Marblehead man, but 'tweren't no fault o' Ireson's. My father he told
me the tale time an' again, an' this is the way 'twuz."
"For the wan hundredth time," put in Long Jack under his breath
"Ben Ireson he was skipper o' the Betty, young feller, comin' home frum
the Banks--that was before the war of 1812, but jestice is jestice at
all times. They fund the Active o' Portland, an' Gibbons o' that town
he was her skipper; they fund her leakin' off Cape Cod Light. There was
a terr'ble gale on, an' they was gettin' the Betty home 's fast as they
could craowd her. Well, Ireson he said there warn't any sense to
reskin' a boat in that sea; the men they wouldn't hev it; and he laid
it before them to stay by the Active till the sea run daown a piece.
They wouldn't hev that either, hangin' araound the Cape in any sech
weather, leak or no leak. They jest up stays'l an' quit, nat'rally
takin' Ireson with 'em. Folks to Marblehead was mad at him not runnin'
the risk, and becaze nex' day, when the sea was ca'am (they never
stopped to think o' that), some of the Active's folks was took off by a
Truro man. They come into Marblehead with their own tale to tell,
sayin' how Ireson had shamed his town, an' so forth an' so on, an'
Ireson's men they was scared, seein' public feelin' agin' 'em, an' they
went back on Ireson, an' swore he was respons'ble for the hull act.
'Tweren't the women neither that tarred and feathered him--Marblehead
women don't act that way--'twas a passel o' men an' boys, an' they
carted him araound town in an old dory till the bottom fell aout, and
Ireson he told 'em they'd be sorry for it some day. Well, the facts
come aout later, same's they usually do, too late to be any ways useful
to an honest man; an' Whittier he come along an' picked up the slack
eend of a lyin' tale, an' tarred and feathered Ben Ireson all over onct
more after he was dead. 'Twas the only tune Whittier ever slipped up,
an' 'tweren't fair. I whaled Dan good when he brought that piece back
from school. You don't know no better, o' course; but I've give you the
facts, hereafter an' evermore to be remembered. Ben Ireson weren't no
sech kind o' man as Whittier makes aout; my father he knew him well,
before an' after that business, an' you beware o' hasty jedgments,
young feller. Next!"
Harvey had never heard Disko talk so long, and collapsed with burning
cheeks; but, as Dan said promptly, a boy could only learn what he was
taught at school, and life was too short to keep track of every lie
along the coast.
Then Manuel touched the jangling, jarring little machette to a queer
tune, and sang something in Portuguese about "Nina, innocente!" ending
with a full-handed sweep that brought the song up with a jerk. Then
Disko obliged with his second song, to an old-fashioned creaky tune,
and all joined in the chorus. This is one stanza:
"Now Aprile is over and melted the snow,
And outer Noo Bedford we shortly must tow;
Yes, out o' Noo Bedford we shortly must clear,
We're the whalers that never see wheat in the ear."
Here the fiddle went very softly for a while by itself, and then:
"Wheat-in-the-ear, my true-love's posy blowin,
Wheat-in-the-ear, we're goin' off to sea;
Wheat-in-the-ear, I left you fit for sowin,
When I come back a loaf o' bread you'll be!"
That made Harvey almost weep, though he could not tell why. But it was
much worse when the cook dropped the potatoes and held out his hands
for the fiddle. Still leaning against the locker door, he struck into a
tune that was like something very bad but sure to happen whatever you
did. After a little he sang, in an unknown tongue, his big chin down on
the fiddle-tail, his white eyeballs glaring in the lamplight. Harvey
swung out of his bunk to hear better; and amid the straining of the
timbers and the wash of the waters the tune crooned and moaned on, like
lee surf in a blind fog, till it ended with a wail.
"Jimmy Christmas! Thet gives me the blue creevles," said Dan. "What in
thunder is it?"
"The song of Fin McCoul," said the cook, "when he wass going to
Norway." His English was not thick, but all clear-cut, as though it
came from a phonograph.
"Faith, I've been to Norway, but I didn't make that unwholesim noise.
'Tis like some of the old songs, though," said Long Jack, sighing.
"Don't let's hev another 'thout somethin' between," said Dan; and the
accordion struck up a rattling, catchy tune that ended:
"It's six an' twenty Sundays sence las' we saw the land,
With fifteen hunder quintal,
An' fifteen hunder quintal,
'Teen hunder toppin' quintal,
'Twix' old 'Queereau an' Grand!"
"Hold on!" roared Tom Platt. "D'ye want to nail the trip, Dan? That's
Jonah sure, 'less you sing it after all our salt's wet."
"No, 'tain't, is it, Dad? Not unless you sing the very las' verse. You
can't learn me anything on Jonahs!"
"What's that?" said Harvey. "What's a Jonah?"
"A Jonah's anything that spoils the luck. Sometimes it's a
man--sometimes it's a boy--or a bucket. I've known a splittin'-knife
Jonah two trips till we was on to her," said Tom Platt. "There's all
sorts o' Jonahs. Jim Bourke was one till he was drowned on Georges. I'd
never ship with Jim Bourke, not if I was starvin'. There wuz a green
dory on the Ezra Flood. Thet was a Jonah, too, the worst sort o' Jonah.
Drowned four men, she did, an' used to shine fiery O, nights in the
"And you believe that?" said Harvey, remembering what Tom Platt had
said about candles and models. "Haven't we all got to take what's
A mutter of dissent ran round the bunks. "Outboard, yes; inboard,
things can happen," said Disko. "Don't you go makin' a mock of Jonahs,
"Well, Harve ain't no Jonah. Day after we catched him," Dan cut in, "we
had a toppin' good catch."
The cook threw up his head and laughed suddenly--a queer, thin laugh.
He was a most disconcerting nigger.
"Murder!" said Long Jack. "Don't do that again, doctor. We ain't used
"What's wrong?" said Dan. "Ain't he our mascot, and didn't they strike
on good after we'd struck him?"
"Oh! yess," said the cook. "I know that, but the catch iss not finish
"He ain't goin' to do us any harm," said Dan, hotly. "Where are ye
hintin' an' edgin' to? He's all right."
"No harm. No. But one day he will be your master, Danny."
"That all?" said Dan, placidly. "He wun't--not by a jugful."
"Master!" said the cook, pointing to Harvey. "Man!" and he pointed to
"That's news. Haow soon?" said Dan, with a laugh.
"In some years, and I shall see it. Master and man--man and master."
"How in thunder d'ye work that out?" said Tom Platt.
"In my head, where I can see."
"Haow?" This from all the others at once.
"I do not know, but so it will be." He dropped his head, and went on
peeling the potatoes, and not another word could they get out of him.
"Well," said Dan, "a heap o' things'll hev to come abaout 'fore Harve's
any master o' mine; but I'm glad the doctor ain't choosen to mark him
for a Jonah. Now, I mistrust Uncle Salters fer the Jonerest Jonah in
the Fleet regardin' his own special luck. Dunno ef it's spreadin'
same's smallpox. He ought to be on the Carrie Pitman. That boat's her
own Jonah, sure--crews an' gear made no differ to her driftin'. Jiminy
Christmas! She'll etch loose in a flat ca'am."
"We're well clear o' the Fleet, anyway," said Disko. "Carrie Pitman an'
all." There was a rapping on the deck.
"Uncle Salters has catched his luck," said Dan as his father departed.
"It's blown clear," Disko cried, and all the foc'sle tumbled up for a
bit of fresh air. The fog had gone, but a sullen sea ran in great
rollers behind it. The 'We're Here' slid, as it were, into long, sunk
avenues and ditches which felt quite sheltered and homelike if they
would only stay still; but they changed without rest or mercy, and
flung up the schooner to crown one peak of a thousand gray hills, while
the wind hooted through her rigging as she zigzagged down the slopes.
Far away a sea would burst into a sheet of foam, and the others would
follow suit as at a signal, till Harvey's eyes swam with the vision of
interlacing whites and grays. Four or five Mother Carey's chickens
stormed round in circles, shrieking as they swept past the bows. A
rain-squall or two strayed aimlessly over the hopeless waste, ran down
'wind and back again, and melted away.
"Seems to me I saw somethin' flicker jest naow over yonder," said Uncle
Salters, pointing to the northeast.
"Can't be any of the fleet," said Disko, peering under his eyebrows, a
hand on the foc'sle gangway as the solid bows hatcheted into the
troughs. "Sea's oilin' over dretful fast. Danny, don't you want to skip
up a piece an' see how aour trawl-buoy lays?"
Danny, in his big boots, trotted rather than climbed up the main
rigging (this consumed Harvey with envy), hitched himself around the
reeling cross-trees, and let his eye rove till it caught the tiny black
buoy-flag on the shoulder of a mile-away swell.
"She's all right," he hailed. "Sail O! Dead to the no'th'ard, corain'
down like smoke! Schooner she be, too.'"
They waited yet another half-hour, the sky clearing in patches, with a
flicker of sickly sun from time to time that made patches of
olive-green water. Then a stump-foremast lifted, ducked, and
disappeared, to be followed on the next wave by a high stern with
old-fashioned wooden snail's-horn davits. The snails were red-tanned.
"Frenchmen!" shouted Dan. "No, 'tain't, neither. Daad!"
"That's no French," said Disko. "Salters, your blame luck holds
tighter'n a screw in a keg-head."
"I've eyes. It's Uncle Abishai."
"You can't nowise tell fer sure."
"The head-king of all Jonahs," groaned Tom Platt. "Oh, Salters,
Salters, why wasn't you abed an' asleep?"
"How could I tell?" said poor Salters, as the schooner swung up.
She might have been the very Flying Dutchman, so foul, draggled, and
unkempt was every rope and stick aboard. Her old-style quarterdeck was
some or five feet high, and her rigging flew knotted and tangled like
weed at a wharf-end. She was running before the wind--yawing
frightfully--her staysail let down to act as a sort of extra
foresail,--"scandalized," they call it,--and her foreboom guyed out
over the side. Her bowsprit cocked up like an old-fashioned frigate's;
her jib-boom had been fished and spliced and nailed and clamped beyond
further repair; and as she hove herself forward, and sat down on her
broad tail, she looked for all the world like a blouzy, frouzy, bad old
woman sneering at a decent girl.
"That's Abishal," said Salters. "Full o' gin an' Judique men, an' the
judgments o' Providence layin' fer him an' never takin' good holt He's
run in to bait, Miquelon way."
"He'll run her under," said Long Jack. "That's no rig fer this weather."
"Not he, 'r he'd'a done it long ago," Disko replied. "Looks 's if he
cal'lated to run us under. Ain't she daown by the head more 'n natural,
"Ef it's his style o' loadin' her she ain't safe," said the sailor
slowly. "Ef she's spewed her oakum he'd better git to his pumps mighty
The creature threshed up, wore round with a clatter and raffle, and lay
head to wind within ear-shot.
A gray-beard wagged over the bulwark, and a thick voice yelled
something Harvey could not understand. But Disko's face darkened. "He'd
resk every stick he hez to carry bad news. Says we're in fer a shift o'
wind. He's in fer worse. Abishal! Abi-shal!" He waved his arm up and
down with the gesture of a man at the pumps, and pointed forward. The
crew mocked him and laughed.
"Jounce ye, an' strip ye an' trip ye!" yelled Uncle Abishal. "A livin'
gale--a livin' gale. Yab! Cast up fer your last trip, all you
Gloucester haddocks. You won't see Gloucester no more, no more!"
"Crazy full--as usual," said Tom Platt. "Wish he hadn't spied us,
She drifted out of hearing while the gray-head yelled something about a
dance at the Bay of Bulls and a dead man in the foc'sle. Harvey
shuddered. He had seen the sloven tilled decks and the savage-eyed crew.
"An' that's a fine little floatin' hell fer her draught," said Long
Jack. "I wondher what mischief he's been at ashore."
"He's a trawler," Dan explained to Harvey, "an' he runs in fer bait all
along the coast. Oh, no, not home, he don't go. He deals along the
south an' east shore up yonder." He nodded in the direction of the
pitiless Newfoundland beaches. "Dad won't never take me ashore there.
They're a mighty tough crowd--an' Abishal's the toughest. You saw his
boat? Well, she's nigh seventy year old, they say; the last o' the old
Marblehead heel-tappers. They don't make them quarterdecks any more.
Abishal don't use Marblehead, though. He ain't wanted there. He jes'
drif's araound, in debt, trawlin' an' cussin' like you've heard. Bin a
Jonah fer years an' years, he hez. 'Gits liquor frum the Feecamp boats
fer makin' spells an' selling winds an' such truck. Crazy, I guess."
"'Twon't be any use underrunnin' the trawl to-night," said Tom Platt,
with quiet despair. "He come alongside special to cuss us. I'd give my
wage an' share to see him at the gangway o' the old Ohio 'fore we quit
floggin'. Jest abaout six dozen, an' Sam Mocatta layin' 'em on
The disheveled "heel-tapper" danced drunkenly down wind, and all eyes
followed her. Suddenly the cook cried in his phonograph voice: "It wass
his own death made him speak so! He iss fey--fey, I tell you! Look!"
She sailed into a patch of watery sunshine three or four miles distant.
The patch dulled and faded out, and even as the light passed so did the
schooner. She dropped into a hollow and--was not.
"Run under, by the Great Hook-Block!" shouted Disko, jumping aft.
"Drunk or sober, we've got to help 'em. Heave short and break her out!
Harvey was thrown on the deck by the shock that followed the setting of
the jib and foresail, for they hove short on the cable, and to save
time, jerked the anchor bodily from the bottom, heaving in as they
moved away. This is a bit of brute force seldom resorted to except in
matters of life and death, and the little 'We're Here' complained like
a human. They ran down to where Abishal's craft had vanished; found two
or three trawl-tubs, a gin-bottle, and a stove-in dory, but nothing
more. "Let 'em go," said Disko, though no one had hinted at picking
them up. "I wouldn't hev a match that belonged to Abishai aboard. Guess
she run clear under. Must ha' been spewin' her oakum fer a week, an'
they never thought to pump her. That's one more boat gone along o'
leavin' port all hands drunk."
"Glory be!" said Long Jack. "We'd ha' been obliged to help 'em if they
was top o' water."
"'Thinkin' o' that myself," said Tom Platt.
"Fey! Fey!" said the cook, rolling his eyes. "He haas taken his own
luck with him."
"Ver' good thing, I think, to tell the Fleet when we see. Eh, wha-at?"
said Manuel. "If you runna that way before the 'wind, and she work open
her seams--" He threw out his hands with an indescribable gesture,
while Penn sat down on the house and sobbed at the sheer horror and
pity of it all. Harvey could not realize that he had seen death on the
open waters, but he felt very sick. Then Dan went up the cross-trees,
and Disko steered them back to within sight of their own trawl-buoys
just before the fog blanketed the sea once again.
"We go mighty quick hereabouts when we do go," was all he said to
Harvey. "You think on that fer a spell, young feller. That was liquor."
"After dinner it was calm enough to fish from the decks,--Penn and
Uncle Salters were very zealous this time,--and the catch was large and
"Abishal has shorely took his luck with him," said Salters. "The wind
hain't backed ner riz ner nothin'. How abaout the trawl? I despise
Tom Platt insisted that they had much better haul the thing and make a
new berth. But the cook said: "The luck iss in two pieces. You will
find it so when you look. I know." This so tickled Long Jack that he
overbore Tom Platt and the two went out together.
Underrunning a trawl means pulling it in on one side of the dory,
picking off the fish, rebaiting the hooks, and passing them back to the
sea again--something like pinning and unpinning linen on a wash-line.
It is a lengthy business and rather dangerous, for the long, sagging
line may twitch a boat under in a flash. But when they heard, "And naow
to thee, O Capting," booming out of the fog, the crew of the 'We're
Here' took heart. The dory swirled alongside well loaded, Tom Platt
yelling for Manuel to act as relief-boat.
"The luck's cut square in two pieces," said Long Jack, forking in the
fish, while Harvey stood open-mouthed at the skill with which the
plunging dory was saved from destruction. "One half was jest punkins.
Tom Platt wanted to haul her an' ha' done wid ut; but I said, "I'll
back the doctor that has the second sight, an' the other half come up
sagging full o' big uns. Hurry, Man'nle, an' bring's a tub o' bait.
There's luck afloat to-night."
The fish bit at the newly baited hooks from which their brethren had
just been taken, and Tom Platt and Long Jack moved methodically up and
down the length of the trawl, the boat's nose surging under the wet
line of hooks, stripping the sea-cucumbers that they called pumpkins,
slatting off the fresh-caught cod against the gunwale, rebaiting, and
loading Manuel's dory till dusk.
"I'll take no risks," said Disko then--"not with him floatin' around so
near. Abishal won't sink fer a week. Heave in the dories an' we'll
dress daown after supper."
That was a mighty dressing-down, attended by three or four blowing
grampuses. It lasted till nine o'clock, and Disko was thrice heard to
chuckle as Harvey pitched the split fish into the hold.
"Say, you're haulin' ahead dretful fast," said Dan, when they ground
the knives after the men had turned in. "There's somethin' of a sea
to-night, an' I hain't heard you make no remarks on it."
"Too busy," Harvey replied, testing a blade's edge. "Come to think of
it, she is a high-kicker."
The little schooner was gambolling all around her anchor among the
silver-tipped waves. Backing with a start of affected surprise at the
sight of the strained cable, she pounced on it like a kitten, while the
spray of her descent burst through the hawse-holes with the report of a
gun. Shaking her head, she would say: "Well, I'm sorry I can't stay any
longer with you. I'm going North," and would sidle off, halting
suddenly with a dramatic rattle of her rigging. "As I was just going to
observe," she would begin, as gravely as a drunken man addressing a
lamp-post. The rest of the sentence (she acted her words in dumb-show,
of course) was lost in a fit of the fidgets, when she behaved like a
puppy chewing a string, a clumsy woman in a side-saddle, a hen with her
head cut off, or a cow stung by a hornet, exactly as the whims of the
sea took her.
"See her sayin' her piece. She's Patrick Henry naow," said Dan.
She swung sideways on a roller, and gesticulated with her jib-boom from
port to starboard.
"But-ez-fer me, give me liberty-er give me-death!"
Wop! She sat down in the moon-path on the water, courtesying with a
flourish of pride impressive enough had not the wheel-gear sniggered
mockingly in its box.
Harvey laughed aloud. "Why, it's just as if she was alive," he said.
"She's as stiddy as a haouse an' as dry as a herrin'," said Dan
enthusiastically, as he was slung across the deck in a batter of spray.
"Fends 'em off an' fends 'em off, an' 'Don't ye come anigh me,' she
sez. Look at her--jest look at her! Sakes! You should see one o' them
toothpicks histin' up her anchor on her spike outer fifteen-fathom
"What's a toothpick, Dan?"
"Them new haddockers an' herrin'-boats. Fine's a yacht forward, with
yacht sterns to 'em, an' spike bowsprits, an' a haouse that 'u'd take
our hold. I've heard that Burgess himself he made the models fer three
or four of 'em. Dad's sot agin 'em on account o' their pitchin' an'
joltin', but there's heaps o' money in 'em. Dad can find fish, but he
ain't no ways progressive--he don't go with the march o' the times.
They're chock-full o' labour-savin' jigs an' sech all. 'Ever seed the
Elector o' Gloucester? She's a daisy, ef she is a toothpick."
"What do they cost, Dan?"
"Hills o' dollars. Fifteen thousand, p'haps; more, mebbe. There's
gold-leaf an' everything you kin think of." Then to himself, half under
his breath, "Guess I'd call her Hattie S., too."
That was the first of many talks with Dan, who told Harvey why he would
transfer his dory's name to the imaginary Burgess-modelled haddocker.
Harvey heard a good deal about the real Hattie at Gloucester; saw a
lock of her hair--which Dan, finding fair words of no avail, had
"hooked" as she sat in front of him at school that winter--and a
photograph. Hattie was about fourteen years old, with an awful contempt
for boys, and had been trampling on Dan's heart through the winter. All
this was revealed under oath of solemn secrecy on moonlit decks, in the
dead dark, or in choking fog; the whining wheel behind them, the
climbing deck before, and without, the unresting, clamorous sea. Once,
of course, as the boys came to know each other, there was a fight,
which raged from bow to stern till Penn came up and separated them, but
promised not to tell Disko, who thought fighting on watch rather worse
than sleeping. Harvey was no match for Dan physically, but it says a
great deal for his new training that he took his defeat and did not try
to get even with his conqueror by underhand methods.
That was after he had been cured of a string of boils between his
elbows and wrists, where the wet jersey and oilskins cut into the
flesh. The salt water stung them unpleasantly, but when they were ripe
Dan treated them with Disko's razor, and assured Harvey that now he was
a "blooded Banker"; the affliction of gurry-sores being the mark of the
caste that claimed him.
Since he was a boy and very busy, he did not bother his head with too
much thinking. He was exceedingly sorry for his mother, and often
longed to see her and above all to tell her of this wonderful new life,
and how brilliantly he was acquitting himself in it. Otherwise he
preferred not to wonder too much how she was bearing the shock of his
supposed death. But one day, as he stood on the foc'sle ladder, guying
the cook, who had accused him and Dan of hooking fried pies, it
occurred to him that this was a vast improvement on being snubbed by
strangers in the smoking-room of a hired liner.
He was a recognized part of the scheme of things on the We're Here; had
his place at the table and among the bunks; and could hold his own in
the long talks on stormy days, when the others were always ready to
listen to what they called his "fairy-tales" of his life ashore. It did
not take him more than two days and a quarter to feel that if he spoke
of his own life--it seemed very far away--no one except Dan (and even
Dan's belief was sorely tried) credited him. So he invented a friend, a
boy he had heard of, who drove a miniature four-pony drag in Toledo,
Ohio, and ordered five suits of clothes at a time and led things called
"germans" at parties where the oldest girl was not quite fifteen, but
all the presents were solid silver. Salters protested that this kind of
yarn was desperately wicked, if not indeed positively blasphemous, but
he listened as greedily as the others; and their criticisms at the end
gave Harvey entirely new notions on "germans," clothes, cigarettes with
gold-leaf tips, rings, watches, scent, small dinner-parties, champagne,
card-playing, and hotel accommodation. Little by little he changed his
tone when speaking of his "friend," whom Long Jack had christened "the
Crazy Kid," "the Gilt-edged Baby," "the Suckin' Vanderpoop," and other
pet names; and with his sea-booted feet cocked up on the table would
even invent histories about silk pajamas and specially imported
neckwear, to the "friend's" discredit. Harvey was a very adaptable
person, with a keen eye and ear for every face and tone about him.
Before long he knew where Disko kept the old greencrusted quadrant that
they called the "hog-yoke"--under the bed-bag in his bunk. When he took
the sun, and with the help of "The Old Farmer's" almanac found the
latitude, Harvey would jump down into the cabin and scratch the
reckoning and date with a nail on the rust of the stove-pipe. Now, the
chief engineer of the liner could have done no more, and no engineer of
thirty years' service could have assumed one half of the
ancient-mariner air with which Harvey, first careful to spit over the
side, made public the schooner's position for that day, and then and
not till then relieved Disko of the quadrant. There is an etiquette in
all these things.
The said "hog-yoke," an Eldridge chart, the farming almanac, Blunt's
"Coast Pilot," and Bowditch's "Navigator" were all the weapons Disko
needed to guide him, except the deep-sea lead that was his spare eye.
Harvey nearly slew Penn with it when Tom Platt taught him first how to
"fly the blue pigeon"; and, though his strength was not equal to
continuous sounding in any sort of a sea, for calm weather with a
seven-pound lead on shoal water Disko used him freely. As Dan said:
"'Tain't soundin's dad wants. It's samples. Grease her up good, Harve."
Harvey would tallow the cup at the end, and carefully bring the sand,
shell, sludge, or whatever it might be, to Disko, who fingered and
smelt it and gave judgment As has been said, when Disko thought of cod
he thought as a cod; and by some long-tested mixture of instinct and
experience, moved the We're Here from berth to berth, always with the
fish, as a blindfolded chess-player moves on the unseen board.
But Disko's board was the Grand Bank--a triangle two hundred and fifty
miles on each side--a waste of wallowing sea, cloaked with dank fog,
vexed with gales, harried with drifting ice, scored by the tracks of
the reckless liners, and dotted with the sails of the fishing-fleet.
For days they worked in fog--Harvey at the bell--till, grown familiar
with the thick airs, he went out with Tom Platt, his heart rather in
his mouth. But the fog would not lift, and the fish were biting, and no
one can stay helplessly afraid for six hours at a time. Harvey devoted
himself to his lines and the gaff or gob-stick as Tom Platt called for
them; and they rowed back to the schooner guided by the bell and Tom's
instinct; Manuel's conch sounding thin and faint beside them. But it
was an unearthly experience, and, for the first time in a month, Harvey
dreamed of the shifting, smoking floors of water round the dory, the
lines that strayed away into nothing, and the air above that melted on
the sea below ten feet from his straining eyes. A few days later he was
out with Manuel on what should have been forty-fathom bottom, but the
whole length of the roding ran out, and still the anchor found nothing,
and Harvey grew mortally afraid, for that his last touch with earth was
lost. "Whale-hole," said Manuel, hauling in. "That is good joke on
Disko. Come!" and he rowed to the schooner to find Tom Platt and the
others jeering at the skipper because, for once, he had led them to the
edge of the barren Whale-deep, the blank hole of the Grand Bank. They
made another berth through the fog, and that time the hair of Harvey's
head stood up when he went out in Manuel's dory. A whiteness moved in
the whiteness of the fog with a breath like the breath of the grave,
and there was a roaring, a plunging, and spouting. It was his first
introduction to the dread summer berg of the Banks, and he cowered in
the bottom of the boat while Manuel laughed. There were days, though,
clear and soft and warm, when it seemed a sin to do anything but loaf
over the hand-lines and spank the drifting "sun-scalds" with an oar;
and there were days of light airs, when Harvey was taught how to steer
the schooner from one berth to another.
It thrilled through him when he first felt the keel answer to his band
on the spokes and slide over the long hollows as the foresail scythed
back and forth against the blue sky. That was magnificent, in spite of
Disko saying that it would break a snake's back to follow his wake.
But, as usual, pride ran before a fall. They were sailing on the wind
with the staysail--an old one, luckily--set, and Harvey jammed her
right into it to show Dan how completely he had mastered the art. The
foresail went over with a bang, and the foregaff stabbed and ripped
through the staysail, which was, of course, prevented from going over
by the mainstay. They lowered the wreck in awful silence, and Harvey
spent his leisure hours for the next few days under Tom Platt's lee,
learning to use a needle and palm. Dan hooted with joy, for, as he
said, he had made the very same blunder himself in his early days.
Boylike, Harvey imitated all the men by turns, till he had combined
Disko's peculiar stoop at the wheel, Long Jack's swinging overhand when
the lines were hauled, Manuel's round-shouldered but effective stroke
in a dory, and Tom Platt's generous Ohio stride along the deck.
"'Tis beautiful to see how he takes to ut," said Long Jack, when Harvey
was looking out by the windlass one thick noon. "I'll lay my wage an'
share 'tis more'n half play-actin' to him, an' he consates himself he's
a bowld mariner. Watch his little bit av a back now!"
"That's the way we all begin," said Tom Platt. "The boys they make
believe all the time till they've cheated 'emselves into bein' men, an'
so till they die--pretendin' an' pretendin'. I done it on the old Ohio,
I know. Stood my first watch--harbor-watch--feelin' finer'n Farragut.
Dan's full o' the same kind o' notions. See 'em now, actin' to be
genewine moss-backs--very hair a rope-yarn an' blood Stockholm tar." He
spoke down the cabin stairs. "Guess you're mistook in your judgments
fer once, Disko. What in Rome made ye tell us all here the kid was
"He wuz," Disko replied. "Crazy ez a loon when he come aboard; but I'll
say he's sobered up consid'ble sence. I cured him."
"He yarns good," said Tom Platt. "T'other night he told us abaout a kid
of his own size steerin' a cunnin' little rig an' four ponies up an'
down Toledo, Ohio, I think 'twas, an' givin' suppers to a crowd o'
sim'lar kids. Cur'us kind o' fairy-tale, but blame interestin'. He
knows scores of 'em."
"Guess he strikes 'em outen his own head," Disko called from the cabin,
where he was busy with the logbook. "Stands to reason that sort is all
made up. It don't take in no one but Dan, an' he laughs at it. I've
heard him, behind my back."
"Yever hear what Sim'on Peter Ca'houn said when they whacked up a match
'twix' his sister Hitty an' Lorin' Jerauld, an' the boys put up that
joke on him daown to Georges?" drawled Uncle Salters, who was dripping
peaceably under the lee of the starboard dory-nest.
Tom Platt puffed at his pipe in scornful silence: he was a Cape Cod
man, and had not known that tale more than twenty years. Uncle Salters
went on with a rasping chuckie:
"Sim'on Peter Ca'houn he said, an' he was jest right, abaout Lorin',
'Ha'af on the taown,' he said, 'an' t'other ha'af blame fool; an' they
told me she's married a 'ich man.' Sim'on Peter Ca'houn he hedn't no
roof to his mouth, an' talked that way."
"He didn't talk any Pennsylvania Dutch," Tom Platt replied. "You'd
better leave a Cape man to tell that tale. The Ca'houns was gypsies
frum 'way back."
"Wal, I don't profess to be any elocutionist," Salters said. "I'm
comin' to the moral o' things. That's jest abaout what aour Harve be!
Ha'af on the taown, an' t'other ha'af blame fool; an' there's some'll
believe he's a rich man. Yah!"
"Did ye ever think how sweet 'twould be to sail wid a full crew o'
Salterses?" said Long Jack. "Ha'af in the furrer an' other ha'af in the
muck-heap, as Ca'houn did not say, an' makes out he's a fisherman!"
A little laugh went round at Salters's expense.
Disko held his tongue, and wrought over the log-book that he kept in a
hatchet-faced, square hand; this was the kind of thing that ran on,
page after soiled page:
"July 17. This day thick fog and few fish. Made berth to northward. So
ends this day.
"July 18. This day comes in with thick fog. Caught a few fish.
"July 19. This day comes in with light breeze from N.E. and fine
weather. Made a berth to eastward. Caught plenty fish.
"July 20. This, the Sabbath, comes in with fog and light winds. So ends
this day. Total fish caught this week, 3,478."
They never worked on Sundays, but shaved, and washed themselves if it
were fine, and Pennsylvania sang hymns. Once or twice he suggested
that, if ft was not an impertinence, he thought he could preach a
little. Uncle Salters nearly jumped down his throat at the mere notion,
reminding him that he was not a preacher and mustn't think of such
things. "We'd hev him rememberin' Johns-town next," Salters explained,
"an' what would happen then?" so they compromised on his reading aloud
from a book called "Josephus." It was an old leather-bound volume,
smelling of a hundred voyages, very solid and very like the Bible, but
enlivened with accounts of battles and sieges; and they read it nearly
from cover to cover. Otherwise Penn was a silent little body. He would
not utter a word for three days on end sometimes, though he played
checkers, listened to the songs, and laughed at the stories. When they
tried to stir him up, he would answer: "I don't wish to seem
unneighbourly, but it is because I have nothing to say. My head feels
quite empty. I've almost forgotten my name." He would turn to Uncle
Salters with an expectant smile.
"Why, Pennsylvania Pratt," Salters would shout "You'll fergit me next!"
"No--never," Penn would say, shutting his lips firmly. "Pennsylvania
Pratt, of course," he would repeat over and over. Sometimes it was
Uncle Salters who forgot, and told him he was Haskins or Rich or
McVitty; but Penn was equally content--till next time.
He was always very tender with Harvey, whom he pitied both as a lost
child and as a lunatic; and when Salters saw that Penn liked the boy,
he relaxed, too. Salters was not an amiable person (He esteemed it his
business to keep the boys in order); and the first time Harvey, in fear
and trembling, on a still day, managed to shin up to the main-truck
(Dan was behind him ready to help), he esteemed it his duty to hang
Salters's big sea-boots up there--a sight of shame and derision to the
nearest schooner. With Disko, Harvey took no liberties; not even when
the old man dropped direct orders, and treated him, like the rest of
the crew, to "Don't you want to do so and so?" and "Guess you'd
better," and so forth. There was something about the clean-shaven lips
and the puckered corners of the eyes that was mightily sobering to
Disko showed him the meaning of the thumbed and pricked chart, which,
he said, laid over any government publication whatsoever; led him,
pencil in hand, from berth to berth over the whole string of banks--Le
Have, Western, Banquereau, St. Pierre, Green, and Grand--talking "cod"
meantime. Taught him, too, the principle on which the "hog-yoke" was
In this Harvey excelled Dan, for he had inherited a head for figures,
and the notion of stealing information from one glimpse of the sullen
Bank sun appealed to all his keen wits. For other sea-matters his age
handicapped him. As Disko said, he should have begun when he was ten.
Dan could bait up trawl or lay his hand on any rope in the dark; and at
a pinch, when Uncle Salters had a gurry-score on his palm, could dress
down by sense of touch. He could steer in anything short of half a gale
from the feel of the wind on his face, humouring the 'We're Here' just
when she needed it. These things he did as automatically as he skipped
about the rigging, or made his dory a part of his own will and body.
But he could not communicate his knowledge to Harvey.
Still there was a good deal of general information flying about the
schooner on stormy days, when they lay up in the foc'sle or sat on the
cabin lockers, while spare eye-bolts, leads, and rings rolled and
rattled in the pauses of the talk. Disko spoke of whaling voyages in
the Fifties; of great she-whales slain beside their young; of death
agonies on the black tossing seas, and blood that spurted forty feet in
the air; of boats smashed to splinters; of patent rockets that went off
wrong-end-first and bombarded the trembling crews; of cutting-in and
boiling-down, and that terrible "nip" of '71, when twelve hundred men
were made homeless on the ice in three days--wonderful tales, all true.
But more wonderful still were his stories of the cod, and how they
argued and reasoned on their private businesses deep down below the
Long Jack's tastes ran more to the supernatural. He held them silent
with ghastly stories of the "Yo-hoes" on Monomoy Beach, that mock and
terrify lonely clam-diggers; of sand-walkers and dune-haunters who were
never properly buried; of hidden treasure on Fire Island guarded by the
spirits of Kidd's men; of ships that sailed in the fog straight over
Truro township; of that harbor in Maine where no one but a stranger
will lie at anchor twice in a certain place because of a dead crew who
row alongside at midnight with the anchor in the bow of their
old-fashioned boat, whistling--not calling, but whistling--for the soul
of the man who broke their rest.
Harvey had a notion that the east coast of his native land, from Mount
Desert south, was populated chiefly by people who took their horses
there in the summer and entertained in country-houses with hardwood
floors and Vantine portires. He laughed at the ghost-tales,--not as
much as he would have done a month before,--but ended by sitting still
Tom Platt dealt with his interminable trip round the Horn on the old
Ohio in flogging days, with a navy more extinct than the dodo--the navy
that passed away in the great war. He told them how red-hot shot are
dropped into a cannon, a wad of wet clay between them and the
cartridge; how they sizzle and reek when they strike wood, and how the
little ship-boys of the Miss Jim Buck hove water over them and shouted
to the fort to try again. And he told tales of blockade--long weeks of
swaying at anchor, varied only by the departure and return of steamers
that had used up their coal (there was no chance for the
sailing-ships); of gales and cold that kept two hundred men, night and
day, pounding and chopping at the ice on cable, blocks, and rigging,
when the galley was as red-hot as the fort's shot, and men drank cocoa
by the bucket. Tom Platt had no use for steam. His service closed when
that thing was comparatively new. He admitted that it was a specious
invention in time of peace, but looked hopefully for the day when sails
should come back again on ten-thousand-ton frigates with
Manuel's talk was slow and gentle--all about pretty girls in Madeira
washing clothes in the dry beds of streams, by moonlight, under waving
bananas; legends of saints, and tales of queer dances or fights away in
the cold Newfoundland baiting-ports Salters was mainly agricultural;
for, though he read "Josephus" and expounded it, his mission in life
was to prove the value of green manures, and specially of clover,
against every form of phosphate whatsoever. He grew libellous about
phosphates; he dragged greasy "Orange Judd" books from his bunk and
intoned them, wagging his finger at Harvey, to whom it was all Greek.
Little Penn was so genuinely pained when Harvey made fun of Salters's
lectures that the boy gave it up, and suffered in polite silence. That
was very good for Harvey.
The cook naturally did not join in these conversations. As a rule, he
spoke only when it was absolutely necessary; but at times a queer gift
of speech descended on him, and he held forth, half in Gaelic, half in
broken English, an hour at a time. He was especially communicative with
the boys, and he never withdrew his prophecy that one day Harvey would
be Dan's master, and that he would see it. He told them of
mail-carrying in the winter up Cape Breton way, of the dog-train that
goes to Coudray, and of the ram-steamer Arctic, that breaks the ice
between the mainland and Prince Edward Island. Then he told them
stories that his mother had told him, of life far to the southward,
where water never froze; and he said that when he died his soul would
go to lie down on a warm white beach of sand with palm-trees waving
above. That seemed to the boys a very odd idea for a man who had never
seen a palm in his life. Then, too, regularly at each meal, he would
ask Harvey, and Harvey alone, whether the cooking was to his taste; and
this always made the "second half" laugh. Yet they had a great respect
for the cook's judgment, and in their hearts considered Harvey
something of a mascot by consequence.
And while Harvey was taking in knowledge of new things at each pore and
hard health with every gulp of the good air, the We're Here went her
ways and did her business on the Bank, and the silvery-gray kenches of
well-pressed fish mounted higher and higher in the hold. No one day's
work was out of common, but the average days were many and close
Naturally, a man of Disko's reputation was closely watched--"scrowged
upon," Dan called it--by his neighbours, but he had a very pretty knack
of giving them the slip through the curdling, glidy fog-banks. Disko
avoided company for two reasons. He wished to make his own
experirnents, in the first place; and in the second, he objected to the
mixed gatherings of a fleet of all nations. The bulk of them were
mainly Gloucester boats, with a scattering from Provincetown, Harwich,
Chatham, and some of the Maine ports, but the crews drew from goodness
knows where. Risk breeds recklessness, and when greed is added there
are fine chances for every kind of accident in the crowded fleet,
which, like a mob of sheep, is huddled round some unrecognized leader.
"Let the two Jeraulds lead 'em," said Disko. "We're baound to lay among
'em for a spell on the Eastern Shoals; though ef luck holds, we won't
hev to lay long. Where we are naow, Harve, ain't considered noways good
"Ain't it?" said Harvey, who was drawing water (he had learned just how
to wiggle the bucket), after an unusually long dressing-down.
"Shouldn't mind striking some poor ground for a change, then."
"All the graound I want to see--don't want to strike her--is Eastern
Point," said Dan. "Say, Dad, it looks's if we wouldn't hev to lay
more'n two weeks on the Shoals. You'll meet all the comp'ny you want
then, Harve. That's the time we begin to work. No reg'lar meals fer no
one then. 'Mug-up when ye're hungry, an' sleep when ye can't keep
awake. Good job you wasn't picked up a month later than you was, or
we'd never ha' had you dressed in shape fer the Old Virgin."
Harvey understood from the Eldridge chart that the Old Virgin and a
nest of curiously named shoals were the turning-point of the cruise,
and that with good luck they would wet the balance of their salt there.
But seeing the size of the Virgin (it was one tiny dot), he wondered
how even Disko with the hog-yoke and the lead could find her. He
learned later that Disko was entirely equal to that and any other
business and could even help others. A big four-by-five blackboard hung
in the cabin, and Harvey never understood the need of it till, after
some blinding thick days, they heard the unmelodious tooting of a
foot-power fog-horn--a machine whose note is as that of a consumptive
They were making a short berth, towing the anchor under their foot to
save trouble. "Square-rigger bellowin' fer his latitude," said Long
Jack. The dripping red head-sails of a bark glided out of the fog, and
the 'We're Here' rang her bell thrice, using sea shorthand.
The larger boat backed her topsail with shrieks and shoutings.
"Frenchman," said Uncle Salters, scornfully. "Miquelon boat from St.
Malo." The farmer had a weatherly sea-eye. "I'm 'most outer 'baccy,
"Same here," said Tom Platt. "Hi! Backez vous--backez vous! Standez
awayez, you butt-ended mucho-bono! Where you from--St. Malo, eh?"
"Ah, ha! Mucho bono! Oui! oui! Clos Poulet--St. Malo! St. Pierre et
Miquelon," cried the other crowd, waving woollen caps and laughing.
Then all together, "Bord! Bord!"
"Bring up the board, Danny. Beats me how them Frenchmen fetch
anywheres, exceptin' America's fairish broadly. Forty-six forty-nine's
good enough fer them; an' I guess it's abaout right, too."
Dan chalked the figures on the board, and they hung it in the
main-rigging to a chorus of mercis from the bark.
"Seems kinder uneighbourly to let 'em swedge off like this," Salters
suggested, feeling in his pockets.
"Hev ye learned French then sence last trip?" said Disko. "I don't want
no more stone-ballast hove at us 'long o' your callin' Miquelon boats
'footy cochins,' same's you did off Le Have."
"Harmon Rush he said that was the way to rise 'em. Plain United States
is good enough fer me. We're all dretful short on tearakker. Young
feller, don't you speak French?"
"Oh, yes," said Harvey valiantly; and he bawled: "Hi! Say! Arretez
vous! Attendez! Nous sommes venant pour tabac."
"Ah, tabac, tabac!" they cried, and laughed again.
"That hit 'em. Let's heave a dory over, anyway," said Tom Platt. "I
don't exactly hold no certificates on French, but I know another lingo
that goes, I guess. Come on, Harve, an' interpret."
The raffle and confusion when he and Harvey were hauled up the bark's
black side was indescribable. Her cabin was all stuck round with
glaring coloured prints of the Virgin--the Virgin of Newfoundland, they
called her. Harvey found his French of no recognized Bank brand, and
his conversation was limited to nods and grins. But Tom Platt waved his
arms and got along swimmingly. The captain gave him a drink of
unspeakable gin, and the opera-comique crew, with their hairy throats,
red caps, and long knives, greeted him as a brother. Then the trade
began. They had tobacco, plenty of it--American, that had never paid
duty to France. They wanted chocolate and crackers. Harvey rowed back
to arrange with the cook and Disko, who owned the stores, and on his
return the cocoa-tins and cracker-bags were counted out by the
Frenchman's wheel. It looked like a piratical division of loot; but Tom
Platt came out of it roped with black pigtail and stuffed with cakes of
chewing and smoking tobacco. Then those jovial mariners swung off into
the mist, and the last Harvey heard was a gay chorus:
"Par derriere chez ma tante, il'y a un bois joli,
Et le rossignol y chante
Et le jour et la nuit....
Que donneriez vous, belle,
Qui l'arnenerait ici?
Je donnerai Quebec,
Sorel et Saint Denis."
"How was it my French didn't go, and your sign-talk did?" Harvey
demanded when the barter had been distributed among the We're Heres.
"Sign-talk!" Platt guffawed. "Well, yes, 'twas sign-talk, but a heap
older'n your French, Harve. Them French boats are chockfull o'
Freemasons, an' that's why."
"Are you a Freemason, then?"
"Looks that way, don't it?" said the man-o'-war's man, stuffing his
pipe; and Harvey had another mystery of the deep sea to brood upon.
The thing that struck him most was the exceedingly casual way in which
some craft loafed about the broad Atlantic. Fishing-boats, as Dan said,
were naturally dependent on the courtesy and wisdom of their
neighbours; but one expected better things of steamers. That was after
another interesting interview, when they had been chased for three
miles by a big lumbering old cattle-boat, all boarded over on the upper
deck, that smelt like a thousand cattle-pens. A very excited officer
yelled at them through a speaking-trumpet, and she lay and lollopped
helplessly on the water while Disko ran the 'We're Here' under her lee
and gave the skipper a piece of his mind. "Where might ye be--eh? Ye
don't deserve to be anywheres. You barn-yard tramps go hoggin' the road
on the high seas with no blame consideration fer your neighbours, an'
your eyes in your coffee-cups instid o' in your silly heads."
At this the skipper danced on the bridge and said something about
Disko's own eyes. "We haven't had an observation for three days. D'you
suppose we can run her blind?" he shouted.
"Wa-al, I can," Disko retorted. "What's come to your lead? Et it? Can't
ye smell bottom, or are them cattle too rank?"
"What d' ye feed 'em?" said Uncle Salters with intense seriousness, for
the smell of the pens woke all the farmer in him. "They say they fall
off dretful on a v'yage. Dunno as it's any o' my business, but I've a
kind o' notion that oil-cake broke small an' sprinkled--"
"Thunder!" said a cattle-man in a red jersey as he looked over the
side. "What asylum did they let His Whiskers out of?"
"Young feller," Salters began, standing up in the fore-rigging, "let me
tell yeou 'fore we go any further that I've--"
The officer on the bridge took off his cap with immense politeness.
"Excuse me," he said, "but I've asked for my reckoning. If the
agricultural person with the hair will kindly shut his head, the
sea-green barnacle 'with the wall-eye may per-haps condescend to
"Naow you've made a show o' me, Salters," said Disko, angrily. He could
not stand up to that particular sort of talk, and snapped out the
latitude and longitude without more lectures.
"Well, that's a boat-load of lunatics, sure," said the skipper, as he
rang up the engine-room and tossed a bundle of newspapers into the
"Of all the blamed fools, next to you, Salters, him an' his crowd are
abaout the likeliest I've ever seen," said Disko as the 'We're Here'
slid away. "I was jest givin' him my jedgment on lullsikin' round these
waters like a lost child, an' you must cut in with your fool farmin'.
Can't ye never keep things sep'rate?"
Harvey, Dan, and the others stood back, winking one to the other and
full of joy; but Disko and Salters wrangled seriously till evening,
Salters arguing that a cattle-boat was practically a barn on blue
water, and Disko insisting that, even if this were the case, decency
and fisher-pride demanded that he should have kept "things sep'rate."
Long Jack stood it in silence for a time,--an angry skipper makes an
unhappy crew,--and then he spoke across the table after supper:
"Fwhat's the good o' bodderin' fwhat they'll say?" said he.
"They'll tell that tale agin us fer years--that's all," said Disko.
"With salt, o' course," said Salters, Impenitent, reading the farming
reports from a week-old New York paper.
"It's plumb mortifyin' to all my feelin's," the skipper went on.
"Can't see ut that way," said Long Jack, the peacemaker "Look at here,
Disko! Is there another packet afloat this day in this weather cud ha'
met a tramp an' over an' above givin' her her reckonin',--over an'
above that, I say,--cud ha' discoorsed wid her quite intelligent on the
management av steers an' such at sea? Forgit ut! Av coorse they will
not. 'Twas the most compenjus conversation that iver accrued. Double
game an' twice runnin'--all to us." Dan kicked Harvey under the table,
and Harvey choked in his cup.
"Well," said Salters, who felt that his honour had been somewhat
plastered, "I said I didn't know as 'twuz any business o' mine, 'fore I
"An' right there," said Tom Platt, experienced in discipline and
etiquette--"right there, I take it, Disko, you should ha' asked him to
stop ef the conversation wuz likely, in your jedgment, to be
anyways--what it shouldn't."
"Dunno but that's so," said Disko, who saw his way to an honourable
retreat from a fit of the dignities.
"Why, o' course it was so," said Salters, "you bein' skipper here; an'
I'd cheerful hev stopped on a hint--not from any leadin' or conviction,
but fer the sake o' bearin' an example to these two blame boys of
"Didn't I tell you, Harve, 'twould come araound to us 'fore we'd done?
Always those blame boys. But I wouldn't have missed the show fer a
half-share in a halibutter," Dan whispered.
"Still, things should ha' been kep' sep'rate," said Disko, and the
light of new argument lit in Salters's eye as he crumbled cut plug into
"There's a power av vartue in keepin' things sep'rate," said Long Jack,
intent on stilling the storm. "That's fwhat Steyning of Steyning and
Hare's f'und when he sent Counahan fer skipper on the Manila D. Kuhn,
instid o' Cap. Newton that was took with inflam'try rheumatism an'
couldn't go. Counahan the Navigator we called him."
"Nick Counahan he never went aboard fer a night 'thout a pond o' rum
somewheres in the manifest," said Tom Platt, playing up to the lead.
"He used to bum araound the c'mission houses to Boston lookin' fer the
Lord to make him captain of a tow-boat on his merits. Sam Coy, up to
Atlantic Avenoo, give him his board free fer a year or more on account
of his stories.
"Counahan the Navigator! Tck! Tck! Dead these fifteen year, ain't he?"
"Seventeen, I guess. He died the year the Caspar McVeagh was built; but
he could niver keep things sep'rate. Steyning tuk him fer the reason
the thief tuk the hot stove--bekaze there was nothin' else that season.
The men was all to the Banks, and Counahan he whacked up an iverlastin'
hard crowd fer crew. Rum! Ye cud ha' floated the Manila, insurance an'
all, in fwhat they stowed aboard her. They lef' Boston Harbour for the
great Grand Bank wid a roarin' nor'wester behind 'em an' all hands full
to the bung. An' the hivens looked after thim, for divil a watch did
they set, an' divil a rope did they lay hand to, till they'd seen the
bottom av a fifteen-gallon cask o' bug-juice. That was about wan week,
so far as Counahan remembered. (If I cud only tell the tale as he told
ut!) All that whoile the wind blew like ould glory, an' the
Marilla--'twas summer, and they'd give her a foretopmast--struck her
gait and kept ut. Then Counahan tuk the hog-yoke an' thrembled over it
for a whoile, an' made out, betwix' that an' the chart an' the singin'
in his head, that they was to the south'ard o' Sable Island, gettin'
along glorious, but speakin' nothin'. Then they broached another keg,
an' quit speculatin' about anythin' fer another spell. The Marilla she
lay down whin she dropped Boston Light, and she never lufted her
lee-rail up to that time--hustlin' on one an' the same slant. But they
saw no weed, nor gulls, nor schooners; an' prisintly they obsarved
they'd bin out a matter o' fourteen days and they mis-trusted the Bank
has suspinded payment. So they sounded, an' got sixty fathom. 'That's
me,' sez Counahan. 'That's me iv'ry time! I've run her slat on the Bank
fer you, an' when we get thirty fathom we'll turn in like little men.
Counahan is the b'y,' sez he. 'Counahan the Navigator!'
"Nex' cast they got ninety. Sez Counahan: 'Either the lead-line's tuk
to stretchin' or else the Bank's sunk.'
"They hauled ut up, bein' just about in that state when ut seemed right
an' reasonable, and sat down on the deck countin' the knots, an'
gettin' her snarled up hijjus. The Marilla she'd struck her gait, an'
she hild ut, an' prisintly along came a tramp, an' Counahan spoke her.
"'Hev ye seen any fishin'-boats now?' sez he, quite casual.
"'There's lashin's av them off the Irish coast,' sez the tramp.
"'Aah! go shake yerself,' sez Counahan. 'Fwhat have I to do wid the
"'Then fwhat are ye doin' here?' sez the tramp.
"'Sufferin' Christianity!' sez Counahan (he always said that whin his
pumps sucked an' he was not feelin' good)--'Sufferin' Christianity!' he
sez, 'where am I at?'
"'Thirty-five mile west-sou'west o' Cape Clear,' sez the tramp, 'if
that's any consolation to you.'
"Counahan fetched wan jump, four feet sivin inches, measured by the
"'Consolation!' sez he, bould as brass. 'D'ye take me fer a dialect?
Thirty-five mile from Cape Clear, an' fourteen days from Boston Light.
Sufferin' Christianity, 'tis a record, an' by the same token I've a
mother to Skibbereen!' Think av ut! The gall av um! But ye see he could
niver keep things sep'rate.
"The crew was mostly Cork an' Kerry men, barrin' one Marylander that
wanted to go back, but they called him a mutineer, an' they ran the
ould Marilla into Skibbereen, an' they had an illigant time visitin'
around with frinds on the ould sod fer a week. Thin they wint back, an'
it cost 'em two an' thirty days to beat to the Banks again. 'Twas
gettin' on towards fall, and grub was low, so Counahan ran her back to
Boston, wid no more bones to ut."
"And what did the firm say?" Harvey demanded.
"Fwhat could they? The fish was on the Banks, an' Counahan was at
T-wharf talkin' av his record trip east! They tuk their satisfaction
out av that, an' ut all came av not keepin' the crew and the rum
sep'rate in the first place; an' confusin' Skibbereen wid 'Queereau, in
the second. Counahan the Navigator, rest his sowl! He was an imprompju
"Once I was in the Lucy Holmes," said Manuel, in his gentle voice.
"They not want any of her feesh in Gloucester. Eh, wha-at? Give us no
price. So we go across the water, and think to sell to some Fayal man.
Then it blow fresh, and we cannot see well. Eh, wha-at? Then it blow
some more fresh, and we go down below and drive very fast--no one know
where. By and by we see a land, and it get some hot. Then come two,
three nigger in a brick. Eh, wha-at? We ask where we are, and they
say--now, what you all think?"
"Grand Canary," said Disko, after a moment. Manuel shook his head,
"Blanco," said Tom Platt.
"No. Worse than that. We was below Bezagos, and the brick she was from
Liberia! So we sell our feesh there! Not bad, so? Eh, wha-at?"
"Can a schooner like this go right across to Africa?" said Harvey.
"Go araound the Horn ef there's anythin' worth goin' fer, and the grub
holds aout," said Disko. "My father he run his packet, an' she was a
kind o' pinkey, abaout fifty ton, I guess,--the Rupert,--he run her
over to Greenland's icy mountains the year ha'af our fleet was tryin'
after cod there. An' what's more, he took my mother along with him,--to
show her haow the money was earned, I presoom,--an' they was all iced
up, an' I was born at Disko. Don't remember nothin' abaout it, o'
course. We come back when the ice eased in the spring, but they named
me fer the place. Kinder mean trick to put up on a baby, but we're all
baound to make mistakes in aour lives."
"Sure! Sure!" said Salters, wagging his head. "All baound to make
mistakes, an' I tell you two boys here thet after you've made a
mistake--ye don't make fewer'n a hundred a day--the next best thing's
to own up to it like men."
Long Jack winked one tremendous wink that embraced all hands except
Disko and Salters, and the incident was closed.
Then they made berth after berth to the northward, the dories out
almost every day, running along the east edge of the Grand Bank in
thirty- to forty-fathom water, and fishing steadily.
It was here Harvey first met the squid, who is one of the best
cod-baits, but uncertain in his moods. They were waked out of their
bunks one black night by yells of "Squid O!" from Salters, and for an
hour and a half every soul aboard hung over his squid-jig--a piece of
lead painted red and armed at the lower end with a circle of pins bent
backward like half-opened umbrella ribs. The squid--for some unknown
reason--likes, and wraps himself round, this thing, and is hauled up
ere he can escape from the pins. But as he leaves his home he squirts
first water and next ink into his captor's face; and it was curious to
see the men weaving their heads from side to side to dodge the shot.
They were as black as sweeps when the flurry ended; but a pile of fresh
squid lay on the deck, and the large cod thinks very well of a little
shiny piece of squid tentacle at the tip of a clam-baited hook. Next
day they caught many fish, and met the Carrie Pitman, to whom they
shouted their luck, and she wanted to trade--seven cod for one
fair-sized squid; but Disko would not agree at the price, and the
Carrie dropped sullenly to leeward and anchored half a mile away, in
the hope of striking on to some for herself.
Disco said nothing till after supper, when he sent Dan and Manuel out
to buoy the 'We're Here's' cable and announced his intention of turning
in with the broad-axe. Dan naturally repeated these remarks to the dory
from the Carrie, who wanted to know why they were buoying their cable,
since they were not on rocky bottom.
"Dad sez he wouldn't trust a ferryboat within five mile o' you," Dan
"Why don't he git out, then? Who's hinderin'?" said the other.
"'Cause you've jest the same ez lee-bowed him, an' he don't take that
from any boat, not to speak o' sech a driftin' gurry-butt as you be."
"She ain't driftin' any this trip," said the man angrily, for the
Carrie Pitman had an unsavory reputation for breaking her ground-tackle.
"Then haow d'you make berths?" said Dan. "It's her best p'int o'
sailin'. An' ef she's quit driftin', what in thunder are you doin' with
a new jib-boom?" That shot went home.
"Hey, you Portugoosy organ-grinder, take your monkey back to
Gloucester. Go back to school, Dan Troop," was the answer.
"O-ver-alls! O-ver-alls!" yelled Dan, who knew that one of the Carrie's
crew had worked in an overall factory the winter before.
"Shrimp! Gloucester shrimp! Git aout, you Novy!"
To call a Gloucester man a Nova Scotian is not well received. Dan
answered in kind.
"Novy yourself, ye Scrabble-towners! ye Chatham wreckers! Git aout with
your brick in your stockin'!" And the forces separated, but Chatharn
had the worst of it.
"I knew haow 'twould be," said Disko. "She's drawed the wind raound
already. Some one oughter put a deesist on thet packet. She'll snore
till midnight, an' jest when we're gettin' our sleep she'll strike
adrift. Good job we ain't crowded with craft hereaways. But I ain't
goin' to up anchor fer Chatham. She may hold."
The wind, which had hauled round, rose at sundown and blew steadily.
There was not enough sea, though, to disturb even a dory's tackle, but
the Carrie Pitman was a law unto herself. At the end of the boys' watch
they heard the crack-crack-crack of a huge muzzle-loading revolver
"Gory, glory, hallelujah!" sung Dan. "Here she comes, Dad; butt-end
first, walkin' in her sleep same's she done on 'Queereau."
Had she been any other boat Disko would have taken his chances, but now
he cut the cable as the Carrie Pitman, with all the North Atlantic to
play in, lurched down directly upon them. The 'We're Here', under jib
and riding-sail, gave her no more room than was absolutely
necessary,--Disko did not wish to spend a week hunting for his
cable,--but scuttled up into the wind as the Carrie passed within easy
hail, a silent and angry boat, at the mercy of a raking broadside of
"Good evenin'," said Disko, raising his head-gear, "an' haow does your
"Go to Ohio an' hire a mule," said Uncle Salters. "We don't want no
"Will I lend YOU my dory-anchor?" cried Long Jack.
"Unship your rudder an' stick it in the mud," bawled Tom Platt.
"Say!" Dan's voice rose shrill and high, as he stood on the wheel-box.
"Sa-ay! Is there a strike in the o-ver-all factory; or hev they hired
girls, ye Shackamaxons?"
"Veer out the tiller-lines," cried Harvey, "and nail 'em to the
bottom!" That was a salt-flavoured jest he had been put up to by Tom
Platt. Manuel leaned over the stern and yelled: "Johanna Morgan play
the organ! Ahaaaa!" He flourished his broad thumb with a gesture of
unspeakable contempt and derision, while little Penn covered himself
with glory by piping up: "Gee a little! Hssh! Come here. Haw!"
They rode on their chain for the rest of the night, a short, snappy,
uneasy motion, as Harvey found, and wasted half the forenoon recovering
the cable. But the boys agreed the trouble was cheap at the price of
triumph and glory, and they thought with grief over all the beautiful
things that they might have said to the discomfited Carrie.
Next day they fell in with more sails, all circling slowly from the
east northerly towards the west. But just when they expected to make
the shoals by the Virgin the fog shut down, and they anchored,
surrounded by the tinklings of invisible bells. There was not much
fishing, but occasionally dory met dory in the fog and exchanged news.
That night, a little before dawn, Dan and Harvey, who had been sleeping
most of the day, tumbled out to "hook" fried pies. There was no reason
why they should not have taken them openly; but they tasted better so,
and it made the cook angry. The heat and smell below drove them on deck
with their plunder, and they found Disko at the bell, which he handed
over to Harvey.
"Keep her goin'," said he. "I mistrust I hear somethin'. Ef it's
anything, I'm best where I am so's to get at things."
It was a forlorn little jingle; the thick air seemed to pinch it off,
and in the pauses Harvey heard the muffled shriek of a liner's siren,
and he knew enough of the Banks to know what that meant. It came to
him, with horrible distinctness, how a boy in a cherry-coloured
jersey--he despised fancy blazers now with all a fisher-man's
contempt--how an ignorant, rowdy boy had once said it would be "great"
if a steamer ran down a fishing-boat. That boy had a stateroom with a
hot and cold bath, and spent ten minutes each morning picking over a
gilt-edged bill of fare. And that same boy--no, his very much older
brother--was up at four of the dim dawn in streaming, crackling
oilskins, hammering, literally for the dear life, on a bell smaller
than the steward's breakfast-bell, while somewhere close at hand a
thirty-foot steel stem was storming along at twenty miles an hour! The
bitterest thought of all was that there were folks asleep in dry,
upholstered cabins who would never learn that they had massacred a boat
before breakfast. So Harvey rang the bell.
"Yes, they slow daown one turn o' their blame propeller," said Dan,
applying himself to Manuel's conch, "fer to keep inside the law, an'
that's consolin' when we're all at the bottom. Hark to her! She's a
"Aooo-whoo-whupp!" went the siren. "Wingle-tingle-tink," went the bell.
"Graaa-ouch!" went the conch, while sea and sky were all mired up in
milky fog. Then Harvey felt that he was near a moving body, and found
himself looking up and up at the wet edge of a cliff-like bow, leaping,
it seemed, directly over the schooner. A jaunty little feather of water
curled in front of it, and as it lifted it showed a long ladder of
Roman numerals-XV., XVI., XVII., XVIII., and so forth--on a
salmon-coloured gleaming side. It tilted forward and downward with a
heart-stilling "Ssssooo"; the ladder disappeared; a line of
brass-rimmed port-holes flashed past; a jet of steam puffed in Harvey's
helplessly uplifted hands; a spout of hot water roared along the rail
of the 'We're Here', and the little schooner staggered and shook in a
rush of screw-torn water, as a liner's stern vanished in the fog.
Harvey got ready to faint or be sick, or both, when he heard a crack
like a trunk thrown on a sidewalk, and, all small in his ear, a
far-away telephone voice drawling: "Heave to! You've sunk us!"
"Is it us?" he gasped.
"No! Boat out yonder. Ring! We're goin' to look," said Dan, running out
In half a minute all except Harvey, Penn, and the cook were overside
and away. Presently a schooner's stump-foremast, snapped clean across,
drifted past the bows. Then an empty green dory came by, knocking on
the 'We're Here's' side, as though she wished to be taken in. Then
followed something, face down, in a blue jersey, but--it was not the
whole of a man. Penn changed colour and caught his breath with a click.
Harvey pounded despairingly at the bell, for he feared they might be
sunk at any minute, and he jumped at Dan's hail as the crew came back.
"The Jennie Cushman," said Dan, hysterically, "cut clean in
half--graound up an' trompled on at that! Not a quarter of a mile away.
Dad's got the old man. There ain't any one else, and--there was his
son, too. Oh, Harve, Harve, I can't stand it! I've seen--" He dropped
his head on his arms and sobbed while the others dragged a gray-headed
"What did you pick me up for?" the stranger groaned. "Disko, what did
you pick me up for?"
Disko dropped a heavy hand on his shoulder, for the man's eyes were
wild and his lips trembled as he stared at the silent crew. Then up and
spoke Pennsylvania Pratt, who was also Haskins or Rich or McVitty when
Uncle Salters forgot; and his face was changed on him from the face of
a fool to the countenance of an old, wise man, and he said in a strong
voice: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the
name of the Lord! I was--I am a minister of the Gospel. Leave him to
"Oh, you be, be you?" said the man. "Then pray my son back to me! Pray
back a nine-thousand-dollar boat an' a thousand quintal of fish. If
you'd left me alone my widow could ha' gone on to the Provident an'
worked fer her board, an' never known--an' never known. Now I'll hev to
"There ain't nothin' to say," said Disko. "Better lie down a piece,
When a man has lost his only son, his summer's work, and his means of
livelihood, in thirty counted seconds, it is hard to give consolation.
"All Gloucester men, wasn't they?" said Tom Platt, fiddling helplessly
with a dory-becket.
"Oh, that don't make no odds," said Jason, wringing the wet from his
beard. "I'll be rowin' summer boarders araound East Gloucester this
fall." He rolled heavily to the rail, singing:
"Happy birds that sing and fly
Round thine altars, O Most High!"
"Come with me. Come below!" said Penn, as though he had a right to give
orders. Their eyes met and fought for a quarter of a minute.
"I dunno who you be, but I'll come," said Jason submissively. "Mebbe
I'll get back some o' the--some o' the-nine thousand dollars." Penn led
him into the cabin and slid the door behind.
"That ain't Penn," cried Uncle Salters. "It's Jacob Boiler, an'--he's
remembered Johnstown! I never seed stich eyes in any livin' man's head.
What's to do naow? What'll I do naow?"
They could hear Penn's voice and Jason's together. Then Penn's went on
alone, and Salters slipped off his hat, for Penn was praying. Presently
the little man came up the steps, huge drops of sweat on his face, and
looked at the crew. Dan was still sobbing by the wheel.
"He don't know us," Salters groaned. "It's all to do over again,
checkers and everything--an' what'll he say to me?"
Penn spoke; they could hear that it was to strangers. "I have prayed,"
said he. "Our people believe in prayer. I have prayed for the life of
this man's son. Mine were drowned before my eyes--she and my eldest
and--the others. Shall a man be more wise than his Maker? I prayed
never for their lives, but I have prayed for this man's son, and he
will surely be sent him."
Salters looked pleadingly at Penn to see if he remembered.
"How long have I been mad?" Penn asked suddenly. His mouth was
"Pshaw, Penn! You weren't never mad," Salters began "Only a little
"I saw the houses strike the bridge before the fires broke out. I do
not remember any more. How long ago is that?"
"I can't stand it! I can't stand it!" cried Dan, and Harvey whimpered
"Abaout five year," said Disko, in a shaking voice.
"Then I have been a charge on some one for every day of that time. Who
was the man?"
Disko pointed to Salters.
"Ye hain't--ye hain't!" cried the sea-farmer, twisting his hands
together. "Ye've more'n earned your keep twice-told; an' there's money
owin' you, Penn, besides ha'af o' my quarter-share in the boat, which
is yours fer value received."
"You are good men. I can see that in your faces. But--"
"Mother av Mercy," whispered Long Jack, "an' he's been wid us all these
trips! He's clean bewitched."
A schooner's bell struck up alongside, and a voice hailed through the
fog: "O Disko! 'Heard abaout the Jennie Cushman?"
"They have found his son," cried Penn. "Stand you still and see the
salvation of the Lord!"
"Got Jason aboard here," Disko answered, but his voice quavered.
"There--warn't any one else?"
"We've fund one, though. 'Run acrost him snarled up in a mess o' lumber
thet might ha' bin a foc'sle. His head's cut some."
"Who is he?"
The 'We're Here's' heart-beats answered one another.
"Guess it's young Olley," the voice drawled.
Penn raised his hands and said something in German. Harvey could have
sworn that a bright sun was shining upon his lifted face; but the drawl
went on: "Sa-ay! You fellers guyed us consid'rable t'other night."
"We don't feel like guyin' any now," said Disko.
"I know it; but to tell the honest truth we was kinder--kinder driftin'
when we run agin young Olley."
It was the irrepressible Carrie Pitman, and a roar of unsteady laughter
went up from the deck of the 'We're Here'.
"Hedn't you 'baout's well send the old man aboard? We're runnin' in fer
more bait an' graound-tackle. Guess you won't want him, anyway, an'
this blame windlass work makes us short-handed. We'll take care of him.
He married my woman's aunt."
"I'll give you anything in the boat," said Troop.
"Don't want nothin', 'less, mebbe, an anchor that'll hold. Say! Young
Olley's gittin' kinder baulky an' excited. Send the old man along."
Penn waked him from his stupor of despair, and Tom Platt rowed him
over. He went away without a word of thanks, not knowing what was to
come; and the fog closed over all.
"And now," said Penn, drawing a deep breath as though about to preach.
"And now"--the erect body sank like a sword driven home into the
scabbard; the light faded from the overbright eyes; the voice returned
to its usual pitiful little titter--"and now," said Pennsylvania Pratt,
"do you think it's too early for a little game of checkers, Mr.
"The very thing--the very thing I was goin' to say myself," cried
Salters promptly. "It beats all, Penn, how ye git on to what's in a
The little fellow blushed and meekly followed Salters forward.
"Up anchor! Hurry! Let's quit these crazy waters," shouted Disko, and
never was he more swiftly obeyed.
"Now what in creation d'ye suppose is the meanin' o' that all?" said
Long Jack, when they were working through the fog once more, damp,
dripping, and bewildered.
"The way I sense it," said Disko, at the wheel, "is this: The Jennie
Cushman business comin' on an empty stummick--"
"H-he saw one of them go by," sobbed Harvey.
"An' that, o' course, kinder hove him outer water, julluk runnin' a
craft ashore; hove him right aout, I take it, to rememberin' Johnstown
an' Jacob Boiler an' such-like reminiscences. Well, consolin' Jason
there held him up a piece, same's shorin' up a boat. Then, bein' weak,
them props slipped an' slipped, an' he slided down the ways, an' naow
he's water-borne agin. That's haow I sense it."
They decided that Disko was entirely correct.
"'Twould ha' bruk Salters all up," said Long Jack, "if Penn had stayed
Jacob Boilerin'. Did ye see his face when Penn asked who he'd been
charged on all these years? How is ut, Salters?"
"Asleep--dead asleep. Turned in like a child," Salters replied,
tiptoeing aft. "There won't be no grub till he wakes, natural. Did ye
ever see sech a gift in prayer? He everlastin'ly hiked young Olley
outer the ocean. Thet's my belief. Jason was tur'ble praoud of his boy,
an' I mistrusted all along 'twas a jedgment on worshippin' vain idols."
"There's others jes as sot," said Disko.
"That's difrunt," Salters retorted quickly. "Penn's not all caulked,
an' I ain't only but doin' my duty by him."
They waited, those hungry men, three hours, till Penn reappeared with a
smooth face and a blank mind. He said he believed that he had been
dreaming. Then he wanted to know why they were so silent, and they
could not tell him.
Disko worked all hands mercilessly for the next three or four days; and
when they could not go out, turned them into the hold to stack the
ship's stores into smaller compass, to make more room for the fish. The
packed mass ran from the cabin partition to the sliding door behind the
foc'sle stove; and Disko showed how there is great art in stowing cargo
so as to bring a schooner to her best draft. The crew were thus kept
lively till they recovered their spirits; and Harvey was tickled with a
rope's end by Long Jack for being, as the Galway man said, "sorrowful
as a sick cat over fwhat couldn't be helped." He did a great deal of
thinking in those weary days, and told Dan what he thought, and Dan
agreed with him--even to the extent of asking for fried pies instead of
But a week later the two nearly upset the Hattie S. in a wild attempt
to stab a shark with an old bayonet tied to a stick. The grim brute
rubbed alongside the dory begging for small fish, and between the three
of them it was a mercy they all got off alive.
At last, after playing blindman's-buff in the fog, there came a morning
when Disko shouted down the foc'sle: "Hurry, boys! We're in taown!"
To the end of his days, Harvey will never forget that sight. The sun
was just clear of the horizon they had not seen for nearly a week, and
his low red light struck into the riding-sails of three fleets of
anchored schooners--one to the north, one to the westward, and one to
the south. There must have been nearly a hundred of them, of every
possible make and build, with, far away, a square-rigged Frenchman, all
bowing and courtesying one to the other. From every boat dories were
dropping away like bees from a crowded hive, and the clamour of voices,
the rattling of ropes and blocks, and the splash of the oars carried
for miles across the heaving water. The sails turned all colours,
black, pearly-gray, and white, as the sun mounted; and more boats swung
up through the mists to the southward.
The dories gathered in clusters, separated, reformed, and broke again,
all heading one way; while men hailed and whistled and cat-called and
sang, and the water was speckled with rubbish thrown overboard.
"It's a town," said Harvey. "Disko was right. It IS a town!"
"I've seen smaller," said Disko. "There's about a thousand men here;
an' yonder's the Virgin." He pointed to a vacant space of greenish sea,
where there were no dories.
The 'We're Here' skirted round the northern squadron, Disko waving his
hand to friend after friend, and anchored as nearly as a racing yacht
at the end of the season. The Bank fleet pass good seamanship in
silence; but a bungler is jeered all along the line.
"Jest in time fer the caplin," cried the Mary Chilton.
"'Salt 'most wet?" asked the King Philip.
"Hey, Tom Platt! Come t' supper to-night?" said the Henry Clay; and so
questions and answers flew back and forth. Men had met one another
before, dory-fishing in the fog, and there is no place for gossip like
the Bank fleet. They all seemed to know about Harvey's rescue, and
asked if he were worth his salt yet. The young bloods jested with Dan,
who had a lively tongue of his own, and inquired after their health by
the town-nicknames they least liked. Manuel's countrymen jabbered at
him in their own language; and even the silent cook was seen riding the
jib-boom and shouting Gaelic to a friend as black as himself. After
they had buoyed the cable--all around the Virgin is rocky bottom, and
carelessness means chafed ground-tackle and danger from drifting--after
they had buoyed the cable, their dories went forth to join the mob of
boats anchored about a mile away. The schooners rocked and dipped at a
safe distance, like mother ducks watching their brood, while the dories
behaved like mannerless ducklings.
As they drove into the confusion, boat banging boat, Harvey's ears
tingled at the comments on his rowing. Every dialect from Labrador to
Long Island, with Portuguese, Neapolitan, Lingua Franca, French, and
Gaelic, with songs and shoutings and new oaths, rattled round him, and
he seemed to be the butt of it all. For the first time in his life he
felt shy--perhaps that came from living so long with only the 'We're
Heres'--among the scores of wild faces that rose and fell with the
reeling small craft. A gentle, breathing swell, three furlongs from
trough to barrel, would quietly shoulder up a string of variously
painted dories. They hung for an instant, a wonderful frieze against
the sky-line, and their men pointed and hailed. Next moment the open
mouths, waving arms, and bare chests disappeared, while on another
swell came up an entirely new line of characters like paper figures in
a toy theatre. So Harvey stared. "Watch out!" said Dan, flourishing a
dip-net "When I tell you dip, you dip. The caplin'll school any time
from naow on. Where'll we lay, Tom Platt?"
Pushing, shoving, and hauling, greeting old friends here and warning
old enemies there, Commodore Tom Platt led his little fleet well to
leeward of the general crowd, and immediately three or four men began
to haul on their anchors with intent to lee-bow the 'We're Heres'. But
a yell of laughter went up as a dory shot from her station with
exceeding speed, its occupant pulling madly on the roding.
"Give her slack!" roared twenty voices. "Let him shake it out."
"What's the matter?" said Harvey, as the boat flashed away to the
southward. "He's anchored, isn't he?"
"Anchored, sure enough, but his graound-tackle's kinder shifty," said
Dan, laughing. "Whale's fouled it. . . . Dip Harve! Here they come!"
The sea round them clouded and darkened, and then frizzed up in showers
of tiny silver fish, and over a space of five or six acres the cod
began to leap like trout in May; while behind the cod three or four
broad gray-backs broke the water into boils.
Then everybody shouted and tried to haul up his anchor to get among the
school, and fouled his neighbour's line and said what was in his heart,
and dipped furiously with his dip-net, and shrieked cautions and advice
to his companions, while the deep fizzed like freshly opened
soda-water, and cod, men, and whales together flung in upon the
luckless bait. Harvey was nearly knocked overboard by the handle of
Dan's net. But in all the wild tumult he noticed, and never forgot, the
wicked, set little eye--something like a circus elephant's eye--of a
whale that drove along almost level with the water, and, so he said,
winked at him. Three boats found their rodings fouled by these reckless
mid-sea hunters, and were towed half a mile ere their horses shook the
Then the caplin moved off, and five minutes later there was no sound
except the splash of the sinkers overside, the flapping of the cod, and
the whack of the muckles as the men stunned them. It was wonderful
fishing. Harvey could see the glimmering cod below, swimming slowly in
droves, biting as steadily as they swam. Bank law strictly forbids more
than one hook on one line when the dories are on the Virgin or the
Eastern Shoals; but so close lay the boats that even single hooks
snarled, and Harvey found himself in hot argument with a gentle, hairy
Newfoundlander on one side and a howling Portuguese on the other.
Worse than any tangle of fishing-lines was the confusion of the
dory-rodings below water. Each man had anchored where it seemed good to
him, drifting and rowing round his fixed point. As the fish struck on
less quickly, each man wanted to haul up and get to better ground; but
every third man found himself intimately connected with some four or
five neighbours. To cut another's roding is crime unspeakable on the
Banks; yet it was done, and done without detection, three or four times
that day. Tom Platt caught a Maine man in the black act and knocked him
over the gunwale with an oar, and Manuel served a fellow-countryman in
the same way. But Harvey's anchor-line was cut, and so was Penn's, and
they were turned into relief-boats to carry fish to the 'We're Here' as
the dories filled. The caplin schooled once more at twilight, when the
mad clamour was repeated; and at dusk they rowed back to dress down by
the light of kerosene-lamps on the edge of the pen.
It was a huge pile, and they went to sleep while they were dressing.
Next day several boats fished right above the cap of the Virgin; and
Harvey, with them, looked down on the very weed of that lonely rock,
which rises to within twenty feet of the surface. The cod were there in
legions, marching solemnly over the leathery kelp. When they bit, they
bit all together; and so when they stopped. There was a slack time at
noon, and the dories began to search for amusement. It was Dan who
sighted the Hope Of Prague just coming up, and as her boats joined the
company they were greeted with the question: "Who's the meanest man in
Three hundred voices answered cheerily: "Nick Bra-ady." It sounded like
an organ chant.
"Who stole the lampwicks?" That was Dan's contribution.
"Nick Bra-ady," sang the boats.
"Who biled the salt bait fer soup?" This was an unknown backbiter a
quarter of a mile away.
Again the joyful chorus. Now, Brady was not especially mean, but he had
that reputation, and the Fleet made the most of it. Then they
discovered a man from a Truro boat who, six years before, had been
convicted of using a tackle with five or six hooks--a "scrowger," they
call it--in the Shoals. Naturally, he had been christened "Scrowger
Jim"; and though he had hidden himself on the Georges ever since, he
found his honours waiting for him full blown. They took it up in a sort
of firecracker chorus: "Jim! O Jim! Jim! O Jim! Sssscrowger Jim!" That
pleased everybody. And when a poetical Beverly man--he had been making
it up all day, and talked about it for weeks--sang, "The Carrie
Pitman's anchor doesn't hold her for a cent" the dories felt that they
were indeed fortunate. Then they had to ask that Beverly man how he was
off for beans, because even poets must not have things all their own
way. Every schooner and nearly every man got it in turn. Was there a
careless or dirty cook anywhere? The dories sang about him and his
food. Was a schooner badly found? The Fleet was told at full length.
Had a man hooked tobacco from a mess-mate? He was named in meeting; the
name tossed from roller to roller. Disko's infallible judgments, Long
Jack's market-boat that he had sold years ago, Dan's sweetheart (oh,
but Dan was an angry boy!), Penn's bad luck with dory-anchors, Salter's
views on manure, Manuel's little slips from virtue ashore, and Harvey's
ladylike handling of the oar--all were laid before the public; and as
the fog fell around them in silvery sheets beneath the sun, the voices
sounded like a bench of invisible judges pronouncing sentence.
The dories roved and fished and squabbled till a swell underran the
sea. Then they drew more apart to save their sides, and some one called
that if the swell continued the Virgin would break. A reckless Galway
man with his nephew denied this, hauled up anchor, and rowed over the
very rock itself. Many voices called them to come away, while others
dared them to hold on. As the smooth-backed rollers passed to the
southward, they hove the dory high and high into the mist, and dropped
her in ugly, sucking, dimpled water, where she spun round her anchor,
within a foot or two of the hidden rock. It was playing with death for
mere bravado; and the boats looked on in uneasy silence till Long Jack
rowed up behind his countrymen and quietly cut their roding.
"Can't ye hear ut knockin'?" he cried. "Pull for you miserable lives!
The men swore and tried to argue as the boat drifted; but the next
swell checked a little, like a man tripping on a carpet. There was a
deep sob and a gathering roar, and the Virgin flung up a couple of
acres of foaming water, white, furious, and ghastly over the shoal sea.
Then all the boats greatly applauded Long Jack, and the Galway men held
"Ain't it elegant?" said Dan, bobbing like a young seal at home.
"She'll break about once every ha'af hour now, 'les the swell piles up
good. What's her reg'lar time when she's at work, Tom Platt?"
"Once ivry fifteen minutes, to the tick. Harve, you've seen the
greatest thing on the Banks; an' but for Long Jack you'd seen some dead
There came a sound of merriment where the fog lay thicker and the
schooners were ringing their bells. A big bark nosed cautiously out of
the mist, and was received with shouts and cries of, "Come along,
darlin'," from the Irishry.
"Another Frenchman?" said Harvey.
"Hain't you eyes? She's a Baltimore boat; goin' in fear an' tremblin',"
said Dan. "We'll guy the very sticks out of her. Guess it's the fust
time her skipper ever met up with the Fleet this way."
She was a black, buxom, eight-hundred-ton craft. Her mainsail was
looped up, and her topsail flapped undecidedly in what little wind was
moving. Now a bark is feminine beyond all other daughters of the sea,
and this tall, hesitating creature, with her white and gilt figurehead,
looked just like a bewildered woman half lifting her skirts to cross a
muddy street under the jeers of bad little boys. That was very much her
situation. She knew she was somewhere in the neighbourhood of the
Virgin, had caught the roar of it, and was, therefore, asking her way.
This is a small part of what she heard from the dancing dories:
"The Virgin? Fwhat are you talkin' of? 'This is Le Have on a Sunday
mornin'. Go home an' sober up."
"Go home, ye tarrapin! Go home an' tell 'em we're comin'."
Half a dozen voices together, in a most tuneful chorus, as her stern
went down with a roll and a bubble into the troughs:
"Hard up! Hard up fer your life! You're on top of her now."
"Daown! Hard daown! Let go everything!"
"All hands to the pumps!"
"Daown jib an' pole her!"
Here the skipper lost his temper and said things. Instantly fishing was
suspended to answer him, and he heard many curious facts about his boat
and her next port of call. They asked him if he were insured; and
whence he had stolen his anchor, because, they said, it belonged to the
Carrie Pitman; they called his boat a mud-scow, and accused him of
dumping garbage to frighten the fish; they offered to tow him and
charge it to his wife; and one audacious youth slipped up almost under
the counter, smacked it with his open palm, and yelled: "Gid up, Buck!"
The cook emptied a pan of ashes on him, and he replied with cod-heads.
The bark's crew fired small coal from the galley, and the dories
threatened to come aboard and "razee" her. They would have warned her
at once had she been in real peril; but, seeing her well clear of the
Virgin, they made the most of their chances. The fun was spoilt when
the rock spoke again, a half-mile to windward, and the tormented bark
set everything that would draw and went her ways; but the dories felt
that the honours lay with them.
All that night the Virgin roared hoarsely; and next morning, over an
angry, white-headed sea, Harvey saw the Fleet with flickering masts
waiting for a lead. Not a dory was hove out till ten o'clock, when the
two Jeraulds of the Day's Eye, imagining a lull which did not exist,
set the example. In a minute half the boats were out and bobbing in the
cockly swells, but Troop kept the 'We're Heres' at work dressing down.
He saw no sense in "dares"; and as the storm grew that evening they had
the pleasure of receiving wet strangers only too glad to make any
refuge in the gale. The boys stood by the dory-tackles with lanterns,
the men ready to haul, one eye cocked for the sweeping wave that would
make them drop everything and hold on for dear life. Out of the dark
would come a yell of "Dory, dory!" They would hook up and haul in a
drenched man and a half-sunk boat, till their decks were littered down
with nests of dories and the bunks were full. Five times in their watch
did Harvey, with Dan, jump at the foregaff where it lay lashed on the
boom, and cling with arms, legs, and teeth to rope and spar and sodden
canvas as a big wave filled the decks. One dory was smashed to pieces,
and the sea pitched the man head first on to the decks, cutting his
forehead open; and about dawn, when the racing seas glimmered white all
along their cold edges, another man, blue and ghastly, crawled in with
a broken hand, asking news of his brother. Seven extra mouths sat down
to breakfast: A Swede; a Chatham skipper; a boy from Hancock, Maine;
one Duxbury, and three Provincetown men.
There was a general sorting out among the Fleet next day; and though no
one said anything, all ate with better appetites when boat after boat
reported full crews aboard. Only a couple of Portuguese and an old man
from Gloucester were drowned, but many were cut or bruised; and two
schooners had parted their tackle and been blown to the southward,
three days' sail. A man died on a Frenchman--it was the same bark that
had traded tobacco with the 'We're Heres'. She slipped away quite
quietly one wet, white morning, moved to a patch of deep water, her
sails all hanging anyhow, and Harvey saw the funeral through Disko's
spy-glass. It was only an oblong bundle slid overside. They did not
seem to have any form of service, but in the night, at anchor, Harvey
heard them across the star-powdered black water, singing something that
sounded like a hymn. it went to a very slow tune.
Qui va tourner,
Roule et s'incline
Oh, Vierge Marie,
Pour moi priez Dieu!
Tom Platt visited her, because, he said, the dead man was his brother
as a Freemason. It came out that a wave had doubled the poor fellow
over the heel of the bowsprit and broken his back. The news spread like
a flash, for, contrary to general custom, the Frenchman held an auction
of the dead man's kit,--he had no friends at St Malo or Miquelon,--and
everything was spread out on the top of the house, from his red knitted
cap to the leather belt with the sheath-knife at the back. Dan and
Harvey were out on twenty-fathom water in the Hattie S., and naturally
rowed over to join the crowd. It was a long pull, and they stayed some
little time while Dan bought the knife, which had a curious brass
handle. When they dropped overside and pushed off into a drizzle of
rain and a lop of sea, it occurred to them that they might get into
trouble for neglecting the lines.
"Guess 'twon't hurt us any to be warmed up," said Dan, shivering under
his oilskins, and they rowed on into the heart of a white fog, which,
as usual, dropped on them without warning.
"There's too much blame tide hereabouts to trust to your instinks," he
said. "Heave over the anchor, Harve, and we'll fish a piece till the
thing lifts. Bend on your biggest lead. Three pound ain't any too much
in this water. See how she's tightened on her rodin' already."
There was quite a little bubble at the bows, where some irresponsible
Bank current held the dory full stretch on her rope; but they could not
see a boat's length in any direction. Harvey turned up his collar and
bunched himself over his reel with the air of a wearied navigator. Fog
had no special terrors for him now. They fished a while in silence, and
found the cod struck on well. Then Dan drew the sheath-knife and tested
the edge of it on the gunwale.
"That's a daisy," said Harvey. "How did you get it so cheap?"
"On account o' their blame Cath'lic superstitions," said Dan, jabbing
with the bright blade. "They don't fancy takin' iron from off a dead
man, so to speak. 'See them Arichat Frenchmen step back when I bid?"
"But an auction ain't taking anythink off a dead man. It's business."
"We know it ain't, but there's no goin' in the teeth o' superstition.
That's one o' the advantages o' livin' in a progressive country." And
Dan began whistling:
"Oh, Double Thatcher, how are you?
Now Eastern Point comes inter view.
The girls an' boys we soon shall see,
At anchor off Cape Ann!"
"Why didn't that Eastport man bid, then? He bought his boots. Ain't
"Maine? Pshaw! They don't know enough, or they hain't got money enough,
to paint their haouses in Maine. I've seen 'em. The Eastport man he
told me that the knife had been used--so the French captain told
him--used up on the French coast last year."
"Cut a man? Heave 's the muckle." Harvey hauled in his fish, rebaited,
and threw over.
"Killed him! Course, when I heard that I was keener'n ever to get it."
"Christmas! I didn't know it," said Harvey, turning round. "I'll give
you a dollar for it when I--get my wages. Say, I'll give you two
"Honest? D'you like it as much as all that?" said Dan, flushing. "Well,
to tell the truth, I kinder got it for you--to give; but I didn't let
on till I saw how you'd take it. It's yours and welcome, Harve, because
we're dory-mates, and so on and so forth, an' so followin'. Catch
He held it out, belt and all.
"But look at here. Dan, I don't see--"
"Take it. 'Tain't no use to me. I wish you to hev it." The temptation
was irresistible. "Dan, you're a white man," said Harvey. "I'll keep it
as long as I live."
"That's good hearin'," said Dan, with a pleasant laugh; and then,
anxious to change the subject: "'Look's if your line was fast to
"Fouled, I guess," said Harve, tugging. Before he pulled up he fastened
the belt round him, and with deep delight heard the tip of the sheath
click on the thwart. "Concern the thing!" he cried. "She acts as though
she were on strawberry-bottom. It's all sand here, ain't it?"
Dan reached over and gave a judgmatic tweak. "Hollbut'll act that way
'f he's sulky. Thet's no strawberry-bottom. Yank her once or twice. She
gives, sure. Guess we'd better haul up an' make certain."
They pulled together, making fast at each turn on the cleats, and the
hidden weight rose sluggishly.
"Prize, oh! Haul!" shouted Dan, but the shout ended in a shrill, double
shriek of horror, for out of the sea came the body of the dead
Frenchman buried two days before! The hook had caught him under the
right armpit, and he swayed, erect and horrible, head and shoulders
above water. His arms were tied to his side, and--he had no face. The
boys fell over each other in a heap at the bottom of the dory, and
there they lay while the thing bobbed alongside, held on the shortened
"The tide--the tide brought him!" said Harvey with quivering lips, as
he fumbled at the clasp of the belt.
"Oh, Lord! Oh, Harve!" groaned Dan, "be quick. He's come for it. Let
him have it. Take it off."
"I don't want it! I don't want it!" cried Harvey. "I can't find the
"Quick, Harve! He's on your line!"
Harvey sat up to unfasten the belt, facing the head that had no face
under its streaming hair. "He's fast still," he whispered to Dan, who
slipped out his knife and cut the line, as Harvey flung the belt far
overside. The body shot down with a plop, and Dan cautiously rose to
his knees, whiter than the fog.
"He come for it. He come for it. I've seen a stale one hauled up on a
trawl and I didn't much care, but he come to us special."
"I wish--I wish I hadn't taken the knife. Then he'd have come on your
"Dunno as thet would ba' made any differ. We're both scared out o' ten
years' growth. Oh, Harve, did ye see his head?"
"Did I? I'll never forget it. But look at here, Dan; it couldn't have
been meant. It was only the tide."
"Tide! He come for it, Harve. Why, they sunk him six miles to south'ard
o' the Fleet, an' we're two miles from where she's lyin' now. They told
me he was weighted with a fathom an' a half o' chain-cable."
"Wonder what he did with the knife--up on the French coast?"
"Something bad. 'Guess he's bound to take it with him to the Judgment,
an' so-- What are you doin' with the fish?"
"Heaving 'em overboard," said Harvey.
"What for? We sha'n't eat 'em."
"I don't care. I had to look at his face while I was takin' the belt
off. You can keep your catch if you like. I've no use for mine."
Dan said nothing, but threw his fish over again.
"Guess it's best to be on the safe side," he murmured at last. "I'd
give a month's pay if this fog 'u'd lift. Things go abaout in a fog
that ye don't see in clear weather--yo-hoes an' hollerers and such
like. I'm sorter relieved he come the way he did instid o' walkin'. He
might ha' walked."
"Don't, Dan! We're right on top of him now. 'Wish I was safe aboard,
hem' pounded by Uncle Salters."
"They'll be lookin' fer us in a little. Gimme the tooter." Dan took the
tin dinner-horn, but paused before he blew.
"Go on," said Harvey. "I don't want to stay here all night"
"Question is, haow he'd take it. There was a man frum down the coast
told me once he was in a schooner where they darsen't ever blow a horn
to the dories, becaze the skipper--not the man he was with, but a
captain that had run her five years before--he'd drowned a boy
alongside in a drunk fit; an' ever after, that boy he'd row along-side
too and shout, 'Dory! dory!' with the rest."
"Dory! dory!" a muffled voice cried through the fog. They cowered
again, and the horn dropped from Dan's hand.
"Hold on!" cried Harvey; "it's the cook."
"Dunno what made me think o' thet fool tale, either," said Dan. "It's
the doctor, sure enough."
"Dan! Danny! Oooh, Dan! Harve! Harvey! Oooh, Haarveee!"
"We're here," sung both boys together. They heard oars, but could see
nothing till the cook, shining and dripping, rowed into them.
"What iss happened?" said he. "You will be beaten at home."
"Thet's what we want. Thet's what we're sufferin' for" said Dan.
"Anything homey's good enough fer us. We've had kinder depressin'
company." As the cook passed them a line, Dan told him the tale.
"Yess! He come for hiss knife," was all he said at the end.
Never had the little rocking 'We're Here' looked so deliciously
home-like as when the cook, born and bred in fogs, rowed them back to
her. There was a warm glow of light from the cabin and a satisfying
smell of food forward, and it was heavenly to hear Disko and the
others, all quite alive and solid, leaning over the rail and promising
them a first-class pounding. But the cook was a black; master of
strategy. He did not get the dories aboard till he had given the more
striking points of the tale, explaining as he backed and bumped round
the counter how Harvey was the mascot to destroy any possible bad luck.
So the boys came override as rather uncanny heroes, and every one asked
them questions instead of pounding them for making trouble. Little Penn
delivered quite a speech on the folly of superstitions; but public
opinion was against him and in favour of Long Jack, who told the most
excruciating ghost-stories, till nearly midnight. Under that influence
no one except Salters and Penn said anything about "idolatry," when the
cook put a lighted candle, a cake of flour and water, and a pinch of
salt on a shingle, and floated them out astern to keep the Frenchman
quiet in case he was still restless. Dan lit the candle because he had
bought the belt, and the cook grunted and muttered charms as long as he
could see the ducking point of flame.
Said Harvey to Dan, as they turned in after watch:
"How about progress and Catholic superstitions?"
"Huh! I guess I'm as enlightened and progressive as the next man, but
when it comes to a dead St. Malo deck-hand scarin' a couple o' pore
boys stiff fer the sake of a thirty-cent knife, why, then, the cook can
take hold fer all o' me. I mistrust furriners, livin' or dead."
Next morning all, except the cook, were rather ashamed of the
ceremonies, and went to work double tides, speaking gruffly to one
The 'We're Here' was racing neck and neck for her last few loads
against the Parry Norman; and so close was the struggle that the Fleet
took side and betted tobacco. All hands worked at the lines or
dressing-down till they fell asleep where they stood--beginning before
dawn and ending when it was too dark to see. They even used the cook as
pitcher, and turned Harvey into the hold to pass salt, while Dan helped
to dress down. Luckily a Parry Norman man sprained his ankle falling
down the foc'sle, and the 'We're Heres' gained. Harvey could not see
how one more fish could be crammed into her, but Disko and Tom Platt
stowed and stowed, and planked the mass down with big stones from the
ballast, and there was always "jest another day's work." Disko did not
tell them when all the salt was wetted. He rolled to the lazarette aft
the cabin and began hauling out the big mainsail. This was at ten in
the morning. The riding-sail was down and the main- and topsail were up
by noon, and dories came alongside with letters for home, envying their
good fortune. At last she cleared decks, hoisted her flag,--as is the
right of the first boat off the Banks,--up-anchored, and began to move.
Disko pretended that he wished to accomodate folk who had not sent in
their mail, and so worked her gracefully in and out among the
schooners. In reality, that was his little triumphant procession, and
for the fifth year running it showed what kind of mariner he was. Dan's
accordion and Tom Platt's fiddle supplied the music of the magic verse
you must not sing till all the salt is wet:
"Hih! Yih! Yoho! Send your letters raound!
All our salt is wetted, an' the anchor's off the graound!
Bend, oh, bend your mains'l, we're back to Yankeeland--
With fifteen hunder' quintal,
An' fifteen hunder' quintal,
'Teen hunder' toppin' quintal,
'Twix' old 'Queereau an' Grand."
The last letters pitched on deck wrapped round pieces of coal, and the
Gloucester men shouted messages to their wives and womenfolks and
owners, while the 'We're Here' finished the musical ride through the
Fleet, her headsails quivering like a man's hand when he raises it to
Harvey very soon discovered that the 'We're Here', with her
riding-sail, strolling from berth to berth, and the 'We're Here' headed
west by south under home canvas, were two very different boats. There
was a bite and kick to the wheel even in "boy's" weather; he could feel
the dead weight in the hold flung forward mightily across the surges,
and the streaming line of bubbles overside made his eyes dizzy.
Disko kept them busy fiddling with the sails; and when those were
flattened like a racing yacht's, Dan had to wait on the big topsail,
which was put over by hand every time she went about. In spare moments
they pumped, for the packed fish dripped brine, which does not improve
a cargo. But since there was no fishing, Harvey had time to look at the
sea from another point of view. The low-sided schooner was naturally on
most intimate terms with her surroundings. They saw little of the
horizon save when she topped a swell; and usually she was elbowing,
fidgeting, and coasting her steadfast way through gray, gray-blue, or
black hollows laced across and across with streaks of shivering foam;
or rubbing herself caressingly along the flank of some bigger
water-hill. It was as if she said: "You wouldn't hurt me, surely? I'm
only the little 'We're Here'." Then she would slide away chuckling
softly to herself till she was brought up by some fresh obstacle. The
dullest of folk cannot see this kind of thing hour after hour through
long days without noticing it; and Harvey, being anything but dull,
began to comprehend and enjoy the dry chorus of wave-tops turning over
with a sound of incessant tearing; the hurry of the winds working
across open spaces and herding the purple-blue cloud-shadows; the
splendid upheaval of the red sunrise; the folding and packing away of
the morning mists, wall after wall withdrawn across the white floors;
the salty glare and blaze of noon; the kiss of rain falling over
thousands of dead, flat square miles; the chilly blackening of
everything at the day's end; and the million wrinkles of the sea under
the moonlight, when the jib-boom solemnly poked at the low stars, and
Harvey went down to get a doughnut from the cook.
But the best fun was when the boys were put on the wheel together, Tom
Platt within hail, and she cuddled her lee-rail down to the crashing
blue, and kept a little home-made rainbow arching unbroken over her
windlass. Then the jaws of the booms whined against the masts, and the
sheets creaked, and the sails filled with roaring; and when she slid
into a hollow she trampled like a woman tripped in her own silk dress,
and came out, her jib wet half-way up, yearning and peering for the
tall twin-lights of Thatcher's Island.
They left the cold gray of the Bank sea, saw the lumber-ships making
for Quebec by the Straits of St. Lawrence, with the Jersey salt-brigs
from Spain and Sicily; found a friendly northeaster off Artimon Bank
that drove them within view of the East light of Sable Island,--a sight
Disko did not linger over,--and stayed with them past Western and Le
Have, to the northern fringe of George's. From there they picked up the
deeper water, and let her go merrily.
"Hattie's pulling on the string," Dan confided to Harvey. "Hattie an'
Ma. Next Sunday you'll be hirin' a boy to throw water on the windows to
make ye go to sleep. 'Guess you'll keep with us till your folks come.
Do you know the best of gettin' ashore again?"
"Hot bath?" said Harvey. His eyebrows were all white with dried spray.
"That's good, but a night-shirt's better. I've been dreamin' o'
night-shirts ever since we bent our mainsail. Ye can wiggle your toes
then. Ma'll hev a new one fer me, all washed soft. It's home, Harve.
It's home! Ye can sense it in the air. We're runnin' into the aidge of
a hot wave naow, an' I can smell the bayberries. Wonder if we'll get in
fer supper. Port a trifle."
The hesitating sails flapped and lurched in the close air as the deep
smoothed out, blue and oily, round them. When they whistled for a wind
only the rain came in spiky rods, bubbling and drumming, and behind the
rain the thunder and the lightning of mid-August. They lay on the deck
with bare feet and arms, telling one another what they would order at
their first meal ashore; for now the land was in plain sight. A
Gloucester swordfish-boat drifted alongside, a man in the little pulpit
on the bowsprit flourished his harpoon, his bare head plastered down
with the wet. "And all's well!" he sang cheerily, as though he were
watch on a big liner. "Wouverman's waiting fer you, Disko. What's the
news o' the Fleet?"
Disko shouted it and passed on, while the wild summer storm pounded
overhead and the lightning flickered along the capes from four
different quarters at once. It gave the low circle of hills round
Gloucester Harbor, Ten Pound Island, the fish-sheds, with the broken
line of house-roofs, and each spar and buoy on the water, in blinding
photographs that came and went a dozen times to the minute as the
'We're Here' crawled in on half-flood, and the whistling-buoy moaned
and mourned behind her. Then the storm died out in long, separated,
vicious dags of blue-white flame, followed by a single roar like the
roar of a mortar-battery, and the shaken air tingled under the stars as
it got back to silence.
"The flag, the flag!" said Disko, suddenly, pointing upward.
"What is ut?" said Long Jack.
"Otto! Ha'af mast. They can see us frum shore now."
"I'd clean forgot He's no folk to Gloucester, has he?"
"Girl he was goin' to be married to this fall."
"Mary pity her!" said Long Jack, and lowered the little flag half-mast
for the sake of Otto, swept overboard in a gale off Le Have three
Disko wiped the wet from his eyes and led the 'We're Here' to
Wouverman's wharf, giving his orders in whispers, while she swung round
moored tugs and night-watchmen hailed her from the ends of inky-black
piers. Over and above the darkness and the mystery of the procession,
Harvey could feel the land close round him once more, with all its
thousands of people asleep, and the smell of earth after rain, and the
familiar noise of a switching-engine coughing to herself in a
freight-yard; and all those things made his heart beat and his throat
dry up as he stood by the foresheet. They heard the anchor-watch
snoring on a lighthouse-tug, nosed into a pocket of darkness where a
lantern glimmered on either side; somebody waked with a grunt, threw
them a rope, and they made fast to a silent wharf flanked with great
iron-roofed sheds fall of warm emptiness, and lay there without a sound.
Then Harvey sat down by the wheel, and sobbed and sobbed as though his
heart would break, and a tall woman who had been sitting on a
weigh-scale dropped down into the schooner and kissed Dan once on the
cheek; for she was his mother, and she had seen the 'We're Here' by the
lightning flashes. She took no notice of Harvey till he had recovered
himself a little and Disko had told her his story. Then they went to
Disko's house together as the dawn was breaking; and until the
telegraph office was open and he could wire his folk, Harvey Cheyne was
perhaps the loneliest boy in all America. But the curious thing was
that Disko and Dan seemed to think none the worse of him for crying.
Wouverman was not ready for Disko's prices till Disko, sure that the
'We're Here' was at least a week ahead of any other Gloucester boat,
had given him a few days to swallow them; so all hands played about the
streets, and Long Jack stopped the Rocky Neck trolley, on principle, as
he said, till the conductor let him ride free. But Dan went about with
his freckled nose in the air, bung-full of mystery and most haughty to
"Dan, I'll hev to lay inter you ef you act this way," said Troop,
pensively. "Sence we've come ashore this time you've bin a heap too
"I'd lay into him naow ef he was mine," said Uncle Salters, sourly. He
and Penn boarded with the Troops.
"Oho!" said Dan, shuffling with the accordion round the backyard, ready
to leap the fence if the enemy advanced. "Dan, you're welcome to your
own judgment, but remember I've warned ye. Your own flesh an' blood ha'
warned ye! 'Tain't any o' my fault ef you're mistook, but I'll be on
deck to watch ye. An' ez fer yeou, Uncle Salters, Pharaoh's chief
butler ain't in it 'longside o' you! You watch aout an' wait. You'll be
plowed under like your own blamed clover; but me--Dan Troop--I'll
flourish like a green bay-tree because I warn't stuck on my own
Disko was smoking in all his shore dignity and a pair of beautiful
carpet-slippers. "You're gettin' ez crazy as poor Harve. You two go
araound gigglin' an' squinchin' an' kickin' each other under the table
till there's no peace in the haouse," said he.
"There's goin' to be a heap less--fer some folks," Dan replied. "You
wait an' see."
He and Harvey went out on the trolley to East Gloucester, where they
tramped through the bayberry bushes to the lighthouse, and lay down on
the big red boulders and laughed themselves hungry. Harvey had shown
Dan a telegram, and the two swore to keep silence till the shell burst.
"Harve's folk?" said Dan, with an unruffled face after supper. "Well, I
guess they don't amount to much of anything, or we'd ha' heard from 'em
by naow. His pop keeps a kind o' store out West. Maybe he'll give you
's much as five dollars, Dad."
"What did I tell ye?" said Salters. "Don't sputter over your vittles,
Whatever his private sorrows may be, a multimillionaire, like any other
workingman, should keep abreast of his business. Harvey Cheyne, senior,
had gone East late in June to meet a woman broken down, half mad, who
dreamed day and night of her son drowning in the gray seas. He had
surrounded her with doctors, trained nurses, massage-women, and even
faith-cure companions, but they were useless. Mrs. Cheyne lay still and
moaned, or talked of her boy by the hour together to any one who would
listen. Hope she had none, and who could offer it? All she needed was
assurance that drowning did not hurt; and her husband watched to guard
lest she should make the experiment. Of his own sorrow he spoke
little--hardly realized the depth of it till he caught himself asking
the calendar on his writing-desk, "What's the use of going on?"
There had always lain a pleasant notion at the back of his head that,
some day, when he had rounded off everything and the boy had left
college, he would take his son to his heart and lead him into his
possessions. Then that boy, he argued, as busy fathers do, would
instantly become his companion, partner, and ally, and there would
follow splendid years of great works carried out together--the old head
backing the young fire. Now his boy was dead--lost at sea, as it might
have been a Swede sailor from one of Cheyne's big teaships; the wife
dying, or worse; he himself was trodden down by platoons of women and
doctors and maids and attendants; worried almost beyond endurance by
the shift and change of her poor restless whims; hopeless, with no
heart to meet his many enemies.
He had taken the wife to his raw new palace in San Diego, where she and
her people occupied a wing of great price, and Cheyne, in a
veranda-room, between a secretary and a typewriter, who was also a
telegraphist, toiled along wearily from day to day. There was a war of
rates among four Western railroads in which he was supposed to be
interested; a devastating strike had developed in his lumber camps in
Oregon, and the legislature of the State of California, which has no
love for its makers, was preparing open war against him.
Ordinarily he would have accepted battle ere it was offered, and have
waged a pleasant and unscrupulous campaign. But now he sat limply, his
soft black hat pushed forward on to his nose, his big body shrunk
inside his loose clothes, staring at his boots or the Chinese junks in
the bay, and assenting absently to the secretary's questions as he
opened the Saturday mail.
Cheyne was wondering how much it would cost to drop everything and pull
out. He carried huge insurances, could buy himself royal annuities, and
between one of his places in Colorado and a little society (that would
do the wife good), say in Washington and the South Carolina islands, a
man might forget plans that had come to nothing. On the other hand--
The click of the typewriter stopped; the girl was looking at the
secretary, who had turned white.
He passed Cheyne a telegram repeated from San Francisco:
Picked up by fishing schooner 'We're Here' having fallen off boat great
times on Banks fishing all well waiting Gloucester Mass care Disko
Troop for money or orders wire what shall do and how is Mama Harvey N.
The father let it fall, laid his head down on the roller-top of the
shut desk, and breathed heavily. The secretary ran for Mrs. Cheyne's
doctor who found Cheyne pacing to and fro.
"What--what d' you think of it? Is it possible? Is there any meaning to
it? I can't quite make it out," he cried.
"I can," said the doctor. "I lose seven thousand a year--that's all."
He thought of the struggling New York practice he had dropped at
Cheyne's imperious bidding, and returned the telegram with a sigh.
"You mean you'd tell her? 'May be a fraud?"
"What's the motive?" said the doctor, coolly. "Detection's too certain.
It's the boy sure enough."
Enter a French maid, impudently, as an indispensable one who is kept on
only by large wages.
"Mrs. Cheyne she say you must come at once. She think you are seek."
The master of thirty millions bowed his head meekly and followed
Suzanne; and a thin, high voice on the upper landing of the great
white-wood square staircase cried: "What is it? What has happened?"
No doors could keep out the shriek that rang through the echoing house
a moment later, when her husband blurted out the news.
"And that's all right," said the doctor, serenely, to the typewriter.
"About the only medical statement in novels with any truth to it is
that joy don't kill, Miss Kinzey."
"I know it; but we've a heap to do first." Miss Kinzey was from
Milwaukee, somewhat direct of speech; and as her fancy leaned towards
the secretary, she divined there was work in hand. He was looking
earnestly at the vast roller-map of America on the wall.
"Milsom, we're going right across. Private car--straight
through--Boston. Fix the connections," shouted Cheyne down the
"I thought so."
The secretary turned to the typewriter, and their eyes met (out of that
was born a story--nothing to do with this story). She looked
inquiringly, doubtful of his resources. He signed to her to move to the
Morse as a general brings brigades into action. Then he swept his hand
musician-wise through his hair, regarded the ceiling, and set to work,
while Miss Kinzey's white fingers called up the Continent of America.
"K. H. Wade, Los Angeles The 'Constance' is at Los Angeles, isn't she,
"Yep." Miss Kinzey nodded between clicks as the secretary looked at his
"Ready? Send 'Constance,' private car, here, and arrange for special to
leave here Sunday in time to connect with New York Limited at Sixteenth
Street, Chicago, Tuesday next."
Click-lick-lick! "Couldn't you better that?"
"Not on those grades. That gives 'em sixty hours from here to Chicago.
They won't gain anything by taking a special east of that. Ready? Also
arrange with Lake Shore and Michigan Southern to take 'Constance' on
New York Central and Hudson River Buffalo to Albany, and B. and A. the
same Albany to Boston. Indispensable I should reach Boston Wednesday
evening. Be sure nothing prevents. Have also wired Canniff, Toucey, and
Miss Kinzey nodded, and the secretary went on.
"Now then. Canniff, Toucey, and Barnes, of course. Ready? Canniff,
Chicago. Please take my private car 'Constance' from Santa Fe at
Sixteenth Street next Tuesday p. m. on N. Y. Limited through to Buffalo
and deliver N. Y. C. for Albany.--Ever bin to N' York, Miss Kinzey?
We'll go some day.--Ready? Take car Buffalo to Albany on Limited
Tuesday p. m. That's for Toucey."
"Haven't bin to Noo York, but I know that!" with a toss of the head.
"Beg pardon. Now, Boston and Albany, Barnes, same instructions from
Albany through to Boston. Leave three-five P. M. (you needn't wire
that); arrive nine-five P. M. Wednesday. That covers everything Wade
will do, but it pays to shake up the managers."
"It's great," said Miss Kinzey, with a look of admiration. This was the
kind of man she understood and appreciated.
"'Tisn't bad," said Milsom, modestly. "Now, any one but me would have
lost thirty hours and spent a week working out the run, instead of
handing him over to the Santa Fe' straight through to Chicago."
"But see here, about that Noo York Limited. Chauncey Depew himself
couldn't hitch his car to her," Miss Kinzey suggested, recovering
"Yes, but this isn't Chauncey. It's Cheyne--lightning. It goes."
"Even so. Guess we'd better wire the boy. You've forgotten that,
When he returned with the father's message bidding Harvey meet them in
Boston at an appointed hour, he found Miss Kinzey laughing over the
keys. Then Milsom laughed too, for the frantic clicks from Los Angeles
ran: "We want to know why-why-why? General uneasiness developed and
Ten minutes later Chicago appealed to Miss Kinzey in these words: "If
crime of century is maturing please warn friends in time. We are all
getting to cover here."
This was capped by a message from Topeka (and wherein Topeka was
concerned even Milsom could not guess): "Don't shoot, Colonel. We'll
Cheyne smiled grimly at the consternation of his enemies when the
telegrams were laid before him. "They think we're on the warpath. Tell
'em we don't feel like fighting just now, Milsom. Tell 'em what we're
going for. I guess you and Miss Kinsey had better come along, though it
isn't likely I shall do any business on the road. Tell 'em the
So the truth was told. Miss Kinzey clicked in the sentiment while the
secretary added the memorable quotation, "Let us have peace," and in
board rooms two thousand miles away the representatives of sixty-three
million dollars' worth of variously manipulated railroad interests
breathed more freely. Cheyne was flying to meet the only son, so
miraculously restored to him. The bear was seeking his cub, not the
bulls. Hard men who had their knives drawn to fight for their financial
lives put away the weapons and wished him God-speed, while half a dozen
panic-smitten tin-pot toads perked up their heads and spoke of the
wonderful things they would have done had not Cheyne buried the hatchet.
It was a busy week-end among the wires; for now that their anxiety was
removed, men and cities hastened to accommodate. Los Angeles called to
San Diego and Barstow that the Southern California engineers might know
and be ready in their lonely roundhouses; Barstow passed the word to
the Atlantic and Pacific; and Albuquerque flung it the whole length of
the Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe management, even into Chicago. An
engine, combination-car with crew, and the great and gilded "Constance"
private car were to be "expedited" over those two thousand three
hundred and fifty miles. The train would take precedence of one hundred
and seventy-seven others meeting and passing; despatchers and crews of
every one of those said trains must be notified. Sixteen locomotives,
sixteen engineers, and sixteen firemen would be needed--each and every
one the best available. Two and one half minutes would be allowed for
changing engines, three for watering, and two for coaling. "Warn the
men, and arrange tanks and chutes accordingly; for Harvey Cheyne is in
a hurry, a hurry, a hurry," sang the wires. "Forty miles an hour will
be expected, and division superintendents will accompany this special
over their respective divisions. From San Diego to Sixteenth Street,
Chicago, let the magic carpet be laid down. Hurry! Oh, hurry!"
"It will be hot," said Cheyne, as they rolled out of San Diego in the
dawn of Sunday. "We're going to hurry, Mama, just as fast as ever we
can; but I really don't think there's any good of your putting on your
bonnet and gloves yet. You'd much better lie down and take your
medicine. I'd play you a game of dominoes, but it's Sunday."
"I'll be good. Oh, I will be good. Only--taking off my bonnet makes me
feel as if we'd never get there."
"Try to sleep a little, Mama, and we'll be in Chicago before you know."
"But it's Boston, Father. Tell them to hurry."
The six-foot drivers were hammering their way to San Bernardino and the
Mohave wastes, but this was no grade for speed. That would come later.
The heat of the desert followed the heat of the hills as they turned
east to the Needles and the Colorado River. The car cracked in the
utter drouth and glare, and they put crushed ice to Mrs. Cheyne's neck,
and toiled up the long, long grades, past Ash Fork, towards Flagstaff,
where the forests and quarries are, under the dry, remote skies. The
needle of the speed-indicator flicked and wagged to and fro; the
cinders rattled on the roof, and a whirl of dust sucked after the
whirling wheels. The crew of the combination sat on their bunks,
panting in their shirtsleeves, and Cheyne found himself among them
shouting old, old stories of the railroad that every trainman knows,
above the roar of the car. He told them about his son, and how the sea
had given up its dead, and they nodded and spat and rejoiced with him;
asked after "her, back there," and whether she could stand it if the
engineer "let her out a piece," and Cheyne thought she could.
Accordingly, the great fire-horse was "let 'ut" from Flagstaff to
Winslow, till a division superintendent protested.
But Mrs. Cheyne, in the boudoir stateroom, where the French maid,
sallow-white with fear, clung to the silver door-handle, only moaned a
little and begged her husband to bid them "hurry." And so they dropped
the dry sands and moon-struck rocks of Arizona behind them, and grilled
on till the crash of the couplings and the wheeze of the brake-hose
told them they were at Coolidge by the Continental Divide.
Three bold and experienced men--cool, confident, and dry when they
began; white, quivering, and wet when they finished their trick at
those terrible wheels--swung her over the great lift from Albuquerque
to Glorietta and beyond Springer, up and up to the Raton Tunnel on the
State line, whence they dropped rocking into La Junta, had sight of the
Arkansaw, and tore down the long slope to Dodge City, where Cheyne took
comfort once again from setting his watch an hour ahead.
There was very little talk in the car. The secretary and typewriter sat
together on the stamped Spanish-leather cushions by the plate-glass
observation-window at the rear end, watching the surge and ripple of
the ties crowded back behind them, and, it is believed, making notes of
the scenery. Cheyne moved nervously between his own extravagant
gorgeousness and the naked necessity of the combination, an unlit cigar
in his teeth, till the pitying crews forgot that he was their tribal
enemy, and did their best to entertain him.
At night the bunched electrics lit up that distressful palace of all
the luxuries, and they fared sumptuously, swinging on through the
emptiness of abject desolation.
Now they heard the swish of a water-tank, and the guttural voice of a
Chinaman, the click-clink of hammers that tested the Krupp steel
wheels, and the oath of a tramp chased off the rear-platform; now the
solid crash of coal shot into the tender; and now a beating back of
noises as they flew past a waiting train. Now they looked out into
great abysses, a trestle purring beneath their tread, or up to rocks
that barred out half the stars. Now scour and ravine changed and rolled
back to jagged mountains on the horizon's edge, and now broke into
hills lower and lower, till at last came the true plains.
At Dodge City an unknown hand threw in a copy of a Kansas paper
containing some sort of an interview with Harvey, who had evidently
fallen in with an enterprising reporter, telegraphed on from Boston.
The joyful journalese revealed that it was beyond question their boy,
and it soothed Mrs. Cheyne for a while. Her one word "hurry" was
conveyed by the crews to the engineers at Nickerson, Topeka, and
Marceline, where the grades are easy, and they brushed the Continent
behind them. Towns and villages were close together now, and a man
could feel here that he moved among people.
"I can't see the dial, and my eyes ache so. What are we doing?"
"The very best we can, Mama. There's no sense in getting in before the
Limited. We'd only have to wait."
"I don't care. I want to feel we're moving. Sit down and tell me the
Cheyne sat down and read the dial for her (there were some miles which
stand for records to this day), but the seventy-foot car never changed
its long steamer-like roll, moving through the heat with the hum of a
giant bee. Yet the speed was not enough for Mrs. Cheyne; and the heat,
the remorseless August heat, was making her giddy; the clock-hands
would not move, and when, oh, when would they be in Chicago?
It is not true that, as they changed engines at Fort Madison, Cheyne
passed over to the Amalgamated Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers an
endowment sufficient to enable them to fight him and his fellows on
equal terms for evermore. He paid his obligations to engineers and
firemen as he believed they deserved, and only his bank knows what he
gave the crews who had sympathized with him. It is on record that the
last crew took entire charge of switching operations at Sixteenth
Street, because "she" was in a doze at last, and Heaven was to help any
one who bumped her.
Now the highly paid specialist who conveys the Lake Shore and Michigan
Southern Limited from Chicago to Elkhart is something of an autocrat,
and he does not approve of being told how to back up to a car. None the
less he handled the "Constance" as if she might have been a load of
dynamite, and when the crew rebuked him, they did it in whispers and
"Pshaw!" said the Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe men, discussing life
later, "we weren't runnin' for a record. Harvey Cheyne's wife, she were
sick back, an' we didn't want to jounce her. 'Come to think of it, our
runnin' time from San Diego to Chicago was 57.54. You can tell that to
them Eastern way-trains. When we're tryin' for a record, we'll let you
To the Western man (though this would not please either city) Chicago
and Boston are cheek by jowl, and some railroads encourage the
delusion. The Limited whirled the "Constance" into Buffalo and the arms
of the New York Central and Hudson River (illustrious magnates with
white whiskers and gold charms on their watch-chains boarded her here
to talk a little business to Cheyne), who slid her gracefully into
Albany, where the Boston and Albany completed the run from tide-water
to tide-water--total time, eighty-seven hours and thirty-five minutes,
or three days, fifteen hours and one half. Harvey was waiting for them.
After violent emotion most people and all boys demand food. They
feasted the returned prodigal behind drawn curtains, cut off in their
great happiness, while the trains roared in and out around them. Harvey
ate, drank, and enlarged on his adventures all in one breath, and when
he had a hand free his mother fondled it. His voice was thickened with
living in the open, salt air; his palms were rough and hard, his wrists
dotted with marks of gurrysores; and a fine full flavour of codfish
hung round rubber boots and blue jersey.
The father, well used to judging men, looked at him keenly. He did not
know what enduring harm the boy might have taken. Indeed, he caught
himself thinking that he knew very little whatever of his son; but he
distinctly remembered an unsatisfied, dough-faced youth who took
delight in "calling down the old man," and reducing his mother to
tears--such a person as adds to the gaiety of public rooms and hotel
piazzas, where the ingenuous young of the wealthy play with or revile
the bell-boys. But this well set-up fisher-youth did not wriggle,
looked at him with eyes steady, clear, and unflinching, and spoke in a
tone distinctly, even startlingly, respectful. There was that in his
voice, too, which seemed to promise that the change might be permanent,
and that the new Harvey had come to stay.
"Some one's been coercing him," thought Cheyne. "Now Constance would
never have allowed that. Don't see as Europe could have done it any
"But why didn't you tell this man, Troop, who you were?" the mother
repeated, when Harvey had expanded his story at least twice.
"Disko Troop, dear. The best man that ever walked a deck. I don't care
who the next is."
"Why didn't you tell him to put you ashore? You know Papa would have
made it up to him ten times over."
"I know it; but he thought I was crazy. I'm afraid I called him a thief
because I couldn't find the bills in my pocket."
"A sailor found them by the flagstaff that--that night," sobbed Mrs.
"That explains it, then. I don't blame Troop any. I just said I
wouldn't work--on a Banker, too--and of course he hit me on the nose,
and oh! I bled like a stuck hog."
"My poor darling! They must have abused you horribly."
"Dunno quite. Well, after that, I saw a light."
Cheyne slapped his leg and chuckled. This was going to be a boy after
his own hungry heart. He had never seen precisely that twinkle in
Harvey's eye before.
"And the old man gave me ten and a half a month; he's paid me half now;
and I took hold with Dan and pitched right in. I can't do a man's work
yet. But I can handle a dory 'most as well as Dan, and I don't get
rattled in a fog--much; and I can take my trick in light winds--that's
steering, dear--and I can 'most bait up a trawl, and I know my ropes,
of course; and I can pitch fish till the cows come home, and I'm great
on old Josephus, and I'll show you how I can clear coffee with a piece
of fish-skin, and--I think I'll have another cup, please. Say, you've
no notion what a heap of work there is in ten and a half a month!"
"I began with eight and a half, my son," said Cheyne.
"That so? You never told me, sir."
"You never asked, Harve. I'll tell you about it some day, if you care
to listen. Try a stuffed olive."
"Troop says the most interesting thing in the world is to find out how
the next man gets his vittles. It's great to have a trimmed-up meal
again. We were well fed, though. But mug on the Banks. Disko fed us
first-class. He's a great man. And Dan--that's his son--Dan's my
partner. And there's Uncle Salters and his manures, an' he reads
Josephus. He's sure I'm crazy yet. And there's poor little Penn, and he
is crazy. You mustn't talk to him about Johnstown, because--
"And, oh, you must know Tom Platt and Long Jack and Manuel. Manuel
saved my life. I'm sorry he's a Portuguee. He can't talk much, but he's
an everlasting musician. He found me struck adrift and drifting, and
hauled me in."
"I wonder your nervous system isn't completely wrecked," said Mrs.
"What for, Mama? I worked like a horse and I ate like a hog and I slept
like a dead man."
That was too much for Mrs. Cheyne, who began to think of her visions of
a corpse rocking on the salty seas. She went to her stateroom, and
Harvey curled up beside his father, explaining his indebtedness.
"You can depend upon me to do everything I can for the crowd, Harve.
They seem to be good men on your showing."
"Best in the Fleet, sir. Ask at Gloucester," said Harvey. "But Disko
believes still he's cured me of being crazy. Dan's the only one I've
let on to about you, and our private cars and all the rest of it, and
I'm not quite sure Dan believes. I want to paralyze 'em to-morrow. Say,
can't they run the 'Constance' over to Gloucester? Mama don't look fit
to be moved, anyway, and we're bound to finish cleaning out by
tomorrow. Wouverman takes our fish. You see, we're the first off the
Banks this season, and it's four twenty-five a quintal. We held out
till he paid it. They want it quick."
"You mean you'll have to work to-morrow, then?"
"I told Troop I would. I'm on the scales. I've brought the tallies with
me." He looked at the greasy notebook with an air of importance that
made his father choke. "There isn't but three--no--two ninety-four or
five quintal more by my reckoning."
"Hire a substitute," suggested Cheyne, to see what Harvey would say.
"Can't, sir. I'm tally-man for the schooner. Troop says I've a better
head for figures than Dan. Troop's a mighty just man."
"Well, suppose I don't move the 'Constance' to-night, how'll you fix
Harvey looked at the clock, which marked twenty past eleven.
"Then I'll sleep here till three and catch the four o'clock freight.
They let us men from the Fleet ride free as a rule."
"That's a notion. But I think we can get the 'Constance' around about
as soon as your men's freight. Better go to bed now."
Harvey spread himself on the sofa, kicked off his boots, and was asleep
before his father could shade the electrics. Cheyne sat watching the
young face under the shadow of the arm thrown over the forehead, and
among many things that occurred to him was the notion that he might
perhaps have been neglectful as a father.
"One never knows when one's taking one's biggest risks," he said. "It
might have been worse than drowning; but I don't think it has--I don't
think it has. If it hasn't, I haven't enough to pay Troop, that's all;
and I don't think it has."
Morning brought a fresh sea breeze through the windows, the "Constance"
was side-tracked among freight-cars at Gloucester, and Harvey had gone
to his business.
"Then he'll fall overboard again and be drowned," the mother said
"We'll go and look, ready to throw him a rope in case. You've never
seen him working for his bread," said the father.
"What nonsense! As if any one expected--"
"Well, the man that hired him did. He's about right, too."
They went down between the stores full of fishermen's oilskins to
Wouverman's wharf where the 'We're Here' rode high, her Bank flag still
flying, all hands busy as beavers in the glorious morning light. Disko
stood by the main hatch superintending Manuel, Penn, and Uncle Salters
at the tackle. Dan was swinging the loaded baskets inboard as Long Jack
and Tom Platt filled them, and Harvey, with a notebook, represented the
skipper's interests before the clerk of the scales on the
"Ready!" cried the voices below. "Haul!" cried Disko. "Hi!" said
Manuel. "Here!" said Dan, swinging the basket. Then they heard Harvey's
voice, clear and fresh, checking the weights.
The last of the fish had been whipped out, and Harvey leaped from the
string-piece six feet to a ratline, as the shortest way to hand Disko
the tally, shouting, "Two ninety-seven, and an empty hold!"
"What's the total, Harve?" said Disko.
"Eight sixty-five. Three thousand six hundred and seventy-six dollars
and a quarter. 'Wish I'd share as well as wage."
"Well, I won't go so far as to say you hevn't deserved it, Harve. Don't
you want to slip up to Wouverman's office and take him our tallies?"
"Who's that boy?" said Cheyne to Dan, well used to all manner of
questions from those idle imbeciles called summer boarders.
"Well, he's kind o' supercargo," was the answer. "We picked him up
struck adrift on the Banks. Fell overboard from a liner, he sez. He was
a passenger. He's by way o' hem' a fisherman now."
"Is he worth his keep?"
"Ye-ep. Dad, this man wants to know ef Harve's worth his keep. Say,
would you like to go aboard? We'll fix up a ladder for her."
"I should very much, indeed. 'Twon't hurt you, Mama, and you'll be able
to see for yourself."
The woman who could not lift her head a week ago scrambled down the
ladder, and stood aghast amid the mess and tangle aft.
"Be you anyways interested in Harve?" said Disko.
"He's a good boy, an' ketches right hold jest as he's bid. You've heard
haow we found him? He was sufferin' from nervous prostration, I guess,
'r else his head had hit somethin', when we hauled him aboard. He's all
over that naow. Yes, this is the cabin. 'Tain't in order, but you're
quite welcome to look araound. Those are his figures on the stove-pipe,
where we keep the reckonin' mosdy."
"Did he sleep here?" said Mrs. Cheyne, sitting on a yellow locker and
surveying the disorderly bunks.
"No. He berthed forward, madam, an' only fer him an' my boy hookin'
fried pies an muggin' up when they ought to ha' been asleep, I dunno as
I've any special fault to find with him."
"There weren't nothin' wrong with Harve," said Uncle Salters,
descending the steps. "He hung my boots on the main-truck, and he ain't
over an' above respectful to such as knows more'n he do, specially
about farmin'; but he were mostly misled by Dan."
Dan in the meantime, profiting by dark hints from Harvey early that
morning, was executing a war-dance on deck. "Tom, Tom!" he whispered
down the hatch. "His folks has come, an' Dad hain't caught on yet, an'
they're pow-wowin' in the cabin. She's a daisy, an' he's all Harve
claimed he was, by the looks of him."
"Howly Smoke!" said Long Jack, climbing out covered with salt and
fish-skin. "D'ye belave his tale av the kid an' the little four-horse
rig was thrue?"
"I knew it all along," said Dan. "Come an' see Dad mistook in his
They came delightedly, just in time to hear Cheyne say: "I'm glad he
has a good character, because--he's my son."
Disko's jaw fell,--Long Jack always vowed that he heard the click of
it,--and he stared alternately at the man and the woman.
"I got his telegram in San Diego four days ago, and we came over."
"In a private car?" said Dan. "He said ye might."
"In a private car, of course."
Dan looked at his father with a hurricane of irreverent winks.
"There was a tale he told us av drivin' four little ponies in a rig av
his own," said Long Jack. "Was that thrue now?"
"Very likely," said Cheyne. "Was it, Mama?"
"He had a little drag when we were in Toledo, I think," said the mother.
Long Jack whistled. "Oh, Disko!" said he, and that was all.
"I wuz--I am mistook in my jedgments--worse'n the men o' Marblehead,"
said Disko, as though the words were being windlassed out of him. "I
don't mind ownin' to you, Mr. Cheyne, as I mistrusted the boy to be
crary. He talked kinder odd about money."
"So he told me."
"Did he tell ye anything else? 'Cause I pounded him once." This with a
somewhat anxious glance at Mrs. Cheyne.
"Oh, yes," Cheyne replied. "I should say it probably did him more good
than anything else in the world."
"I jedged 'twuz necessary, er I wouldn't ha' done it. I don't want you
to think we abuse our boys any on this packet."
"I don't think you do, Mr. Troop."
Mrs. Cheyne had been looking at the faces--Disko's ivory-yellow,
hairless, iron countenance; Uncle Salters's, with its rim of
agricultural hair; Penn's bewildered simplicity; Manuel's quiet smile;
Long Jack's grin of delight, and Tom Platt's scar. Rough, by her
standards, they certainly were; but she had a mother's wits in her
eyes, and she rose with out-stretched hands.
"Oh, tell me, which is who?" said she, half sobbing. "I want to thank
you and bless you--all of you."
"Faith, that pays me a hunder time," said Long Jack.
Disko introduced them all in due form. The captain of an old-time
Chinaman could have done no better, and Mrs. Cheyne babbled
incoherently. She nearly threw herself into Manuel's arms when she
understood that he had first found Harvey.
"But how shall I leave him dreeft?" said poor Manuel. "What do you
yourself if you find him so? Eh, wha-at? We are in one good boy, and I
am ever so pleased he come to be your son."
"And he told me Dan was his partner!" she cried. Dan was already
sufficiently pink, but he turned a rich crimson when Mrs. Cheyne kissed
him on both cheeks before the assembly. Then they led her forward to
show her the foc'sle, at which she wept again, and must needs go down
to see Harvey's identical bunk, and there she found the nigger cook
cleaning up the stove, and he nodded as though she were some one he had
expected to meet for years. They tried, two at a time, to explain the
boat's daily life to her, and she sat by the pawl-post, her gloved
hands on the greasy table, laughing with trembling lips and crying with
"And who's ever to use the 'We're Here' after this?" said Long Jack to
Tom Platt. "I feel as if she'd made a cathedral av ut all."
"Cathedral!" sneered Tom Platt. "Oh, if it had bin even the Fish
C'mmission boat instid of this bally-hoo o' blazes. If we only hed some
decency an' order an' side-boys when she goes over! She'll have to
climb that ladder like a hen, an' we--we ought to be mannin' the yards!"
"Then Harvey was not mad," said Penn, slowly, to Cheyne.
"No, indeed--thank God," the big millionaire replied, stooping down
"It must be terrible to be mad. Except to lose your child, I do not
know anything more terrible. But your child has come back? Let us thank
God for that."
"Hello!" cried Harvey, looking down upon them benignly from the wharf.
"I wuz mistook, Harve. I wuz mistook," said Disko, swiftly, holding up
a hand. "I wuz mistook in my jedgments. Ye needn't rub in any more."
"Guess I'll take care o' that," said Dan, under his breath.
"You'll be goin' off naow, won't ye?"
"Well, not without the balance of my wages, 'less you want to have the
'We're Here' attached."
"Thet's so; I'd clean forgot"; and he counted out the remaining
dollars. "You done all you contracted to do, Harve; and you done it
'baout's well as if you'd been brought up--" Here Disko brought himself
up. He did not quite see where the sentence was going to end.
"Outside of a private car?" suggested Dan, wickedly.
"Come on, and I'll show her to you," said Harvey.
Cheyne stayed to talk with Disko, but the others made a procession to
the depot, with Mrs. Cheyne at the head. The French maid shrieked at
the invasion; and Harvey laid the glories of the "Constance" before
them without a word. They took them in in equal silence--stamped
leather, silver door-handles and rails, cut velvet, plate-glass,
nickel, bronze, hammered iron, and the rare woods of the continent
"I told you," said Harvey; "I told you." This was his crowning revenge,
and a most ample one.
Mrs. Cheyne decreed a meal, and that nothing might be lacking to the
tale Long Jack told afterwards in his boarding-house, she waited on
them herself. Men who are accustomed to eat at tiny tables in howling
gales have curiously neat and finished manners; but Mrs. Cheyne, who
did not know this, was surprised. She longed to have Manuel for a
butler; so silently and easily did he comport himself among the frail
glassware and dainty silver. Tom Platt remembered the great days on the
Ohio and the manners of foreign potentates who dined with the officers;
and Long Jack, being Irish, supplied the small talk till all were at
In the 'We're Here's' cabin the fathers took stock of each other behind
their cigars. Cheyne knew well enough when he dealt with a man to whom
he could not offer money; equally well he knew that no money could pay
for what Disko had done. He kept his own counsel and waited for an
"I hevn't done anything to your boy or fer your boy excep' make him
work a piece an' learn him how to handle the hog-yoke," said Disko. "He
has twice my boy's head for figgers."
"By the way," Cheyne answered casually, "what d'you calculate to make
of your boy?"
Disko removed his cigar and waved it comprehensively round the cabin.
"Dan's jest plain boy, an' he don't allow me to do any of his thinkin'.
He'll hev this able little packet when I'm laid by. He ain't noways
anxious to quit the business. I know that."
"Mmm! 'Ever been West, Mr. Troop?"
"'Bin's fer ez Noo York once in a boat. I've no use for railroads. No
more hez Dan. Salt water's good enough fer the Troops. I've been 'most
everywhere--in the nat'ral way, o' course."
"I can give him all the salt water he's likely to need--till he's a
"Haow's that? I thought you wuz a kinder railroad king. Harve told me
so when--I was mistook in my jedgments."
"We're all apt to be mistaken. I fancied perhaps you might know I own a
line of tea-clippers--San Francisco to Yokohama--six of
'em--iron-built, about seventeen hundred and eighty tons apiece.
"Blame that boy! He never told. I'd ha' listened to that, instid o' his
truck abaout railroads an' ponycarriages."
"He didn't know."
"'Little thing like that slipped his mind, I guess."
"No, I only capt--took hold of the 'Blue M.' freighters--Morgan and
McQuade's old line--this summer." Disko collapsed where he sat, beside
"Great Caesar Almighty! I mistrust I've been fooled from one end to the
other. Why, Phil Airheart he went from this very town six year
back--no, seven--an' he's mate on the San Jose--now--twenty-six days
was her time out. His sister she's livin' here yet, an' she reads his
letters to my woman. An' you own the 'Blue M.' freighters?"
"If I'd known that I'd ha' jerked the 'We're Here' back to port all
standin', on the word."
"Perhaps that wouldn't have been so good for Harvey."
"If I'd only known! If he'd only said about the cussed Line, I'd ha'
understood! I'll never stand on my own jedgments again--never. They're
well-found packets. Phil Airheart he says so."
"I'm glad to have a recommend from that quarter. Airheart's skipper of
the San Jose now. What I was getting at is to know whether you'd lend
me Dan for a year or two, and we'll see if we can't make a mate of him.
Would you trust him to Airheart?"
"It's a resk taking a raw boy--"
"I know a man who did more for me."
"That's diff'runt. Look at here naow, I ain't recommendin' Dan special
because he's my own flesh an' blood. I know Bank ways ain't clipper
ways, but he hain't much to learn. Steer he can--no boy better, if I
say it--an' the rest's in our blood an' get; but I could wish he warn't
so cussed weak on navigation."
"Airheart will attend to that. He'll ship as boy for a voyage or two,
and then we can put him in the way of doing better. Suppose you take
him in hand this winter, and I'll send for him early in the spring. I
know the Pacific's a long ways off--"
"Pshaw! We Troops, livin' an' dead, are all around the earth an' the
"But I want you to understand--and I mean this--any time you think
you'd like to see him, tell me, and I'll attend to the transportation.
'Twon't cost you a cent."
"If you'll walk a piece with me, we'll go to my house an' talk this to
my woman. I've bin so crazy mistook in all my jedgments, it don't seem
to me this was like to be real."
They went blue-trimmed of nasturtiums over to Troop's
eighteen-hundred-dollar, white house, with a retired dory full in the
front yard and a shuttered parlour which was a museum of oversea
plunder. There sat a large woman, silent and grave, with the dim eyes
of those who look long to sea for the return of their beloved. Cheyne
addressed himself to her, and she gave consent wearily.
"We lose one hundred a year from Gloucester only, Mr. Cheyne," she
said--"one hundred boys an' men; and I've come so's to hate the sea as
if 'twuz alive an' listenin'. God never made it fer humans to anchor
on. These packets o' yours they go straight out, I take it' and
straight home again?"
"As straight as the winds let 'em, and I give a bonus for record
passages. Tea don't improve by being at sea."
"When he wuz little he used to play at keeping store, an' I had hopes
he might follow that up. But soon's he could paddle a dory I knew that
were goin' to be denied me."
"They're square-riggers, Mother; iron-built an' well found. Remember
what Phil's sister reads you when she gits his letters."
"I've never known as Phil told lies, but he's too venturesome (like
most of 'em that use the sea). If Dan sees fit, Mr. Cheyne, he can
go--fer all o' me."
"She jest despises the ocean," Disko explained, "an' I--I dunno haow to
act polite, I guess, er I'd thank you better."
"My father--my own eldest brother--two nephews--an' my second sister's
man," she said, dropping her head on her hand. "Would you care fer any
one that took all those?"
Cheyne was relieved when Dan turned up and accepted with more delight
than he was able to put into words. Indeed, the offer meant a plain and
sure road to all desirable things; but Dan thought most of commanding
watch on broad decks, and looking into far-away harbours.
Mrs. Cheyne had spoken privately to the unaccountable Manuel in the
matter of Harvey's rescue. He seemed to have no desire for money.
Pressed hard, he said that he would take five dollars, because he
wanted to buy something for a girl. Otherwise--"How shall I take money
when I make so easy my eats and smokes? You will giva some if I like or
no? Eh, wha-at? Then you shall giva me money, but not that way. You
shall giva all you can think." He introduced her to a snuffy Portuguese
priest with a list of semi-destitute widows as long as his cassock. As
a strict Unitarian, Mrs. Cheyne could not sympathize with the creed,
but she ended by respecting the brown, voluble little man.
Manuel, faithful son of the Church, appropriated all the blessings
showered on her for her charity. "That letta me out," said he. "I have
now ver' good absolutions for six months"; and he strolled forth to get
a handkerchief for the girl of the hour and to break the hearts of all
Salters went West for a season with Penn, and left no address behind.
He had a dread that these millionary people, with wasteful private
cars, might take undue interest in his companion. It was better to
visit inland relatives till the coast was clear. "Never you be adopted
by rich folk, Penn," he said in the cars, "or I'll take 'n' break this
checker-board over your head. Ef you forgit your name agin--which is
Pratt--you remember you belong with Salters Troop, an' set down right
where you are till I come fer you. Don't go taggin' araound after them
whose eyes bung out with fatness, accordin' to Scripcher."
But it was otherwise with the 'We're Here's' silent cook, for he came
up, his kit in a handkerchief, and boarded the "Constance." Pay was no
particular object, and he did not in the least care where he slept. His
business, as revealed to him in dreams, was to follow Harvey for the
rest of his days. They tried argument and, at last, persuasion; but
there is a difference between one Cape Breton and two Alabama negroes,
and the matter was referred to Cheyne by the cook and porter. The
millionaire only laughed. He presumed Harvey might need a body-servant
some day or other, and was sure that one volunteer was worth five
hirelings. Let the man stay, therefore; even though he called himself
MacDonald and swore in Gaelic. The car could go back to Boston, where,
if he were still of the same mind, they would take him West.
With the "Constance," which in his heart of hearts he loathed, departed
the last remnant of Cheyne's millionairedom, and he gave himself up to
an energetic idleness. This Gloucester was a new town in a new land,
and he purposed to "take it in," as of old he had taken in all the
cities from Snohomish to San Diego of that world whence he hailed. They
made money along the crooked street which was half wharf and half
ship's store: as a leading professional he wished to learn how the
noble game was played. Men said that four out of every five fish-balls
served at New England's Sunday breakfast came from Gloucester, and
overwhelmed him with figures in proof--statistics of boats, gear,
wharf-frontage, capital invested, salting, packing, factories,
insurance, wages, repairs, and profits. He talked with the owners of
the large fleets whose skippers were little more than hired men, and
whose crews were almost all Swedes or Portuguese. Then he conferred
with Disko, one of the few who owned their craft, and compared notes in
his vast head. He coiled himself away on chain-cables in marine
junk-shops, asking questions with cheerful, unslaked Western curiosity,
till all the water-front wanted to know "what in thunder that man was
after, anyhow." He prowled into the Mutual Insurance rooms, and
demanded explanations of the mysterious remarks chalked up on the
blackboard day by day; and that brought down upon him secretaries of
every Fisherman's Widow and Orphan Aid Society within the city limits.
They begged shamelessly, each man anxious to beat the other
institution's record, and Cheyne tugged at his beard and handed them
all over to Mrs. Cheyne.
She was resting in a boarding-house near Eastern Point--a strange
establishment, managed, apparently, by the boarders, where the
table-cloths were red-and-white-checkered and the population, who
seemed to have known one another intimately for years, rose up at
midnight to make Welsh rarebits if it felt hungry. On the second
morning of her stay Mrs. Cheyne put away her diamond solitaires before
she came down to breakfast.
"They're most delightful people," she confided to her husband; "so
friendly and simple, too, though they are all Boston, nearly."
"That isn't simpleness, Mama," he said, looking across the boulders
behind the apple-trees where the hammocks were slung. "It's the other
thing, that what I haven't got."
"It can't be," said Mrs. Cheyne quietly. "There isn't a woman here owns
a dress that cost a hundred dollars. Why, we--"
"I know it, dear. We have--of course we have. I guess it's only the
style they wear East. Are you having a good time?"
"I don't see very much of Harvey; he's always with you; but I ain't
near as nervous as I was."
"I haven't had such a good time since Willie died. I never rightly
understood that I had a son before this. Harve's got to be a great boy.
'Anything I can fetch you, dear? 'Cushion under your head? Well, we'll
go down to the wharf again and look around."
Harvey was his father's shadow in those days, and the two strolled
along side by side, Cheyne using the grades as an excuse for laying his
hand on the boy's square shoulder. It was then that Harvey noticed and
admired what had never struck him before--his father's curious power of
getting at the heart of new matters as learned from men in the street.
"How d'you make 'em tell you everything without opening your head?"
demanded the son, as they came out of a rigger's loft.
"I've dealt with quite a few men in my time, Harve, and one sizes 'em
up somehow, I guess. I know something about myself, too." Then, after a
pause, as they sat down on a wharf-edge: "Men can 'most always tell
when a man has handled things for himself, and then they treat him as
one of themselves."
"Same as they treat me down at Wouverman's wharf. I'm one of the crowd
now. Disko has told every one I've earned my pay." Harvey spread out
his hands and rubbed the palms together. "They're all soft again," he
"Keep 'em that way for the next few years, while you're getting your
education. You can harden 'em up after."
"Ye-es, I suppose so," was the reply, in no delighted voice.
"It rests with you, Harve. You can take cover behind your mama, of
course, and put her on to fussing about your nerves and your
high-strungness and all that kind of poppycock."
"Have I ever done that?" said Harvey, uneasily.
His father turned where he sat and thrust out a long hand. "You know as
well as I do that I can't make anything of you if you don't act
straight by me. I can handle you alone if you'll stay alone, but I
don't pretend to manage both you and Mama. Life's too short, anyway."
"Don't make me out much of a fellow, does it?"
"I guess it was my fault a good deal; but if you want the truth, you
haven't been much of anything up to date. Now, have you?"
"Umm! Disko thinks . . . Say, what d'you reckon it's cost you to raise
me from the start--first, last and all over?"
Cheyne smiled. "I've never kept track, but I should estimate, in
dollars and cents, nearer fifty than forty thousand; maybe sixty. The
young generation comes high. It has to have things, and it tires of
'em, and--the old man foots the bill."
Harvey whistled, but at heart he was rather pleased to think that his
upbringing had cost so much. "And all that's sunk capital, isn't it?"
"Invested, Harve. Invested, I hope."
"Making it only thirty thousand, the thirty I've earned is about ten
cents on the hundred. That's a mighty poor catch." Harvey wagged his
Cheyne laughed till he nearly fell off the pile into the water.
"Disko has got a heap more than that out of Dan since he was ten; and
Dan's at school half the year, too."
"Oh, that's what you're after, is it?"
"No. I'm not after anything. I'm not stuck on myself any just
now--that's all. . . . I ought to be kicked."
"I can't do it, old man; or I would, I presume, if I'd been made that
"Then I'd have remembered it to the last day I lived--and never
forgiven you," said Harvey, his chin on his doubled fists.
"Exactly. That's about what I'd do. You see?"
"I see. The fault's with me and no one else. All the same, something's
got to be done about it."
Cheyne drew a cigar from his vest-pocket, bit off the end, and fell to
smoking. Father and son were very much alike; for the beard hid
Cheyne's mouth, and Harvey had his father's slightly aquiline nose,
close-set black eyes, and narrow, high cheek-bones. With a touch of
brown paint he would have made up very picturesquely as a Red Indian of
"Now you can go on from here," said Cheyne, slowly, "costing me between
six or eight thousand a year till you're a voter. Well, we'll call you
a man then. You can go right on from that, living on me to the tune of
forty or fifty thousand, besides what your mother will give you, with a
valet and a yacht or a fancy-ranch where you can pretend to raise
trotting-stock and play cards with your own crowd."
"Like Lorry Tuck?" Harvey put in.
"Yep; or the two De Vitre boys or old man McQuade's son. California's
full of 'em, and here's an Eastern sample while we're talking."
A shiny black steam-yacht, with mahogany deck-house, nickel-plated
binnacles, and pink-and-white-striped awnings puffed up the harbour,
flying the burgee of some New York club. Two young men in what they
conceived to be sea costumes were playing cards by the saloon skylight;
and a couple of women with red and blue parasols looked on and laughed
"Shouldn't care to be caught out in her in any sort of a breeze. No
beam," said Harvey, critically, as the yacht slowed to pick up her
"They're having what stands them for a good time. I can give you that,
and twice as much as that, Harve. How'd you like it?"
"Caesar! That's no way to get a dinghy overside," said Harvey, still
intent on the yacht. "If I couldn't slip a tackle better than that I'd
stay ashore. . . . What if I don't?"
"Stay ashore--or what?"
"Yacht and ranch and live on 'the old man,' and--get behind Mama where
there's trouble," said Harvey, with a twinkle in his eye.
"Why, in that case, you come right in with me, my son."
"Ten dollars a month?" Another twinkle.
"Not a cent more until you're worth it, and you won't begin to touch
that for a few years."
"I'd sooner begin sweeping out the office--isn't that how the big bugs
start?--and touch something now than--"
"I know it; we all feel that way. But I guess we can hire any sweeping
we need. I made the same mistake myself of starting in too soon."
"Thirty million dollars' worth o' mistake, wasn't it? I'd risk it for
"I lost some; and I gained some. I'll tell you."
Cheyne pulled his beard and smiled as he looked over the still water,
and spoke away from Harvey, who presently began to be aware that his
father was telling the story of his life. He talked in a low, even
voice, without gesture and without expression; and it was a history for
which a dozen leading journals would cheerfully have paid many
dollars--the story of forty years that was at the same time the story
of the New West, whose story is yet to be written.
It began with a kinless boy turned loose in Texas, and went on
fantastically through a hundred changes and chops of life, the scenes
shifting from State after Western State, from cities that sprang up in
a month and--in a season utterly withered away, to wild ventures in
wilder camps that are now laborious, paved municipalities. It covered
the building of three railroads and the deliberate wreck of a fourth.
It told of steamers, townships, forests, and mines, and the men of
every nation under heaven, manning, creating, hewing, and digging
these. It touched on chances of gigantic wealth flung before eyes that
could not see, or missed by the merest accident of time and travel; and
through the mad shift of things, sometimes on horseback, more often
afoot, now rich, now poor, in and out, and back and forth, deck-hand,
train-hand, contractor, boarding-house keeper, journalist, engineer,
drummer, real-estate agent, politician, dead-beat, rum-seller,
mine-owner, speculator, cattle-man, or tramp, moved Harvey Cheyne,
alert and quiet, seeking his own ends, and, so he said, the glory and
advancement of his country.
He told of the faith that never deserted him even when he hung on the
ragged edge of despair--the faith that comes of knowing men and things.
He enlarged, as though he were talking to himself, on his very great
courage and resource at all times. The thing was so evident in the
man's mind that he never even changed his tone. He described how he had
bested his enemies, or forgiven them, exactly as they had bested or
forgiven him in those careless days; how he had entreated, cajoled, and
bullied towns, companies, and syndicates, all for their enduring good;
crawled round, through, or under mountains and ravines, dragging a
string and hoop-iron railroad after him, and in the end, how he had sat
still while promiscuous communities tore the last fragments of his
character to shreds.
The tale held Harvey almost breathless, his head a little cocked to one
side, his eyes fixed on his father's face, as the twilight deepened and
the red cigar-end lit up the furrowed cheeks and heavy eyebrows. It
seemed to him like watching a locomotive storming across country in the
dark--a mile between each glare of the open fire-door: but this
locomotive could talk, and the words shook and stirred the boy to the
core of his soul. At last Cheyne pitched away the cigar-butt, and the
two sat in the dark over the lapping water.
"I've never told that to any one before," said the father.
Harvey gasped. "It's just the greatest thing that ever was!" said he.
"That's what I got. Now I'm coming to what I didn't get. It won't sound
much of anything to you, but I don't wish you to be as old as I am
before you find out. I can handle men, of course, and I'm no fool along
my own lines, but--but--I can't compete with the man who has been
taught! I've picked up as I went along, and I guess it sticks out all
"I've never seen it," said the son, indignantly.
"You will, though, Harve. You will--just as soon as you're through
college. Don't I know it? Don't I know the look on men's faces when
they think me a--a 'mucker,' as they call it out here? I can break them
to little pieces--yes--but I can't get back at 'em to hurt 'em where
they live. I don't say they're 'way 'way up, but I feel I'm 'way, 'way,
'way off, somehow. Now you've got your chance. You've got to soak up
all the learning that's around, and you'll live with a crowd that are
doing the same thing. They'll be doing it for a few thousand dollars a
year at most; but remember you'll be doing it for millions. You'll
learn law enough to look after your own property when I'm out o' the
light, and you'll have to be solid with the best men in the market
(they are useful later); and above all, you'll have to stow away the
plain, common, sit-down-with-your chin-on your-elbows book-learning.
Nothing pays like that, Harve, and it's bound to pay more and more each
year in our country--in business and in politics. You'll see."
"There's no sugar in my end of the deal," said Harvey. "Four years at
college! 'Wish I'd chosen the valet and the yacht!"
"Never mind, my son," Cheyne insisted. "You're investing your capital
where it'll bring in the best returns; and I guess you won't find our
property shrunk any when you're ready to take hold. Think it over, and
let me know in the morning. Hurry! We'll be late for supper!"
As this was a business talk, there was no need for Harvey to tell his
mother about it; and Cheyne naturally took the same point of view. But
Mrs. Cheyne saw and feared, and was a little jealous. Her boy, who rode
rough-shod over her, was gone, and in his stead reigned a keen-faced
youth, abnormally silent, who addressed most of his conversation to his
father. She understood it was business, and therefore a matter beyond
her premises. If she had any doubts, they were resolved when Cheyne
went to Boston and brought back a new diamond marquise ring.
"What have you two been doing now?" she said, with a weak little smile,
as she turned it in the light.
"Talking--just talking, Mama; there's nothing mean about Harvey."
There was not. The boy had made a treaty on his own account. Railroads,
he explained gravely, interested him as little as lumber, real estate,
or mining. What his soul yearned after was control of his father's
newly purchased sailing-ship. If that could be promised him within what
he conceived to be a reasonable time, he, for his part, guaranteed
diligence and sobriety at college for four or five years. In vacation
he was to be allowed full access to all details connected with the
line--he had not asked more than two thousand questions about it,--from
his father's most private papers in the safe to the tug in San
"It's a deal," said Cheyne at the last. "You'll alter your mind twenty
times before you leave college, o' course; but if you take hold of it
in proper shape, and if you don't tie it up before you're twenty-three,
I'll make the thing over to you. How's that, Harve?"
"Nope; never pays to split up a going concern. There's too much
competition in the world anyway, and Disko says 'blood-kin hev to stick
together.' His crowd never go back on him. That's one reason, he says,
why they make such big fares. Say, the 'We're Here' goes off to the
Georges on Monday. They don't stay long ashore, do they?"
"Well, we ought to be going, too, I guess. I've left my business hung
up at loose ends between two oceans, and it's time to connect again. I
just hate to do it, though; haven't had a holiday like this for twenty
"We can't go without seeing Disko off," said Harvey; "and Monday's
Memorial Day. Let's stay over that, anyway."
"What is this memorial business? They were talking about it at the
boarding-house," said Cheyne weakly. He, too, was not anxious to spoil
the golden days.
"Well, as far as I can make out, this business is a sort of
song-and-dance act, whacked up for the summer boarders. Disko don't
think much of it, he says, because they take up a collection for the
widows and orphans. Disko's independent. Haven't you noticed that?"
"Well--yes. A little. In spots. Is it a town show, then?"
"The summer convention is. They read out the names of the fellows
drowned or gone astray since last time, and they make speeches, and
recite, and all. Then, Disko says, the secretaries of the Aid Societies
go into the back yard and fight over the catch. The real show, he says,
is in the spring. The ministers all take a hand then, and there aren't
any summer boarders around."
"I see," said Cheyne, with the brilliant and perfect comprehension of
one born into and bred up to city pride. "We'll stay over for Memorial
Day, and get off in the afternoon."
"Guess I'll go down to Disko's and make him bring his crowd up before
they sail. I'll have to stand with them, of course."
"Oh, that's it, is it," said Cheyne. "I'm only a poor summer boarder,
"A Banker--full-blooded Banker," Harvey called back as he boarded a
trolley, and Cheyne went on with his blissful dreams for the future.
Disko had no use for public functions where appeals were made for
charity, but Harvey pleaded that the glory of the day would be lost, so
far as he was concerned, if the 'We're Heres' absented themselves. Then
Disko made conditions. He had heard--it was astonishing how all the
world knew all the world's business along the water-front--he had heard
that a "Philadelphia actress-woman" was going to take part in the
exercises; and he mistrusted that she would deliver "Skipper Ireson's
Ride." Personally, he had as little use for actresses as for summer
boarders; but justice was justice, and though he himself (here Dan
giggled) had once slipped up on a matter of judgment, this thing must
not be. So Harvey came back to East Gloucester, and spent half a day
explaining to an amused actress with a royal reputation on two
seaboards the inwardness of the mistake she contemplated; and she
admitted that it was justice, even as Disko had said.
Cheyne knew by old experience what would happen; but anything of the
nature of a public palaver was meat and drink to the man's soul. He saw
the trolleys hurrying west, in the hot, hazy morning, full of women in
light summer dresses, and white-faced straw-hatted men fresh from
Boston desks; the stack of bicycles outside the post office; the
come-and-go of busy officials, greeting one another; the slow flick and
swash of bunting in the heavy air; and the important man with a hose
sluicing the brick sidewalk.
"Mother," he said suddenly, "don't you remember--after Seattle was
burned out--and they got her going again?"
Mrs. Cheyne nodded, and looked critically down the crooked street. Like
her husband, she understood these gatherings, all the West over, and
compared them one against another. The fishermen began to mingle with
the crowd about the town-hall doors--blue-jowled Portuguese, their
women bare-headed or shawled for the most part; clear-eyed Nova
Scotians, and men of the Maritime Provinces; French, Italians, Swedes,
and Danes, with outside crews of coasting schooners; and everywhere
women in black, who saluted one another with gloomy pride, for this was
their day of great days. And there were ministers of many
creeds,--pastors of great, gilt-edged congregations, at the seaside for
a rest, with shepherds of the regular work,--from the priests of the
Church on the Hill to bush-bearded ex-sailor Lutherans, hail-fellow
with the men of a score of boats. There were owners of lines of
schooners, large contributors to the societies, and small men, their
few craft pawned to the mastheads, with bankers and marine-insurance
agents, captains of tugs and water-boats, riggers, fitters, lumpers,
salters, boat-builders, and coopers, and all the mixed population of
They drifted along the line of seats made gay with the dresses of the
summer boarders, and one of the town officials patrolled and perspired
till he shone all over with pure civic pride. Cheyne had met him for
five minutes a few days before, and between the two there was entire
"Well, Mr. Cheyne, and what d'you think of our city?--Yes, madam, you
can sit anywhere you please.--You have this kind of thing out West, I
"Yes, but we aren't as old as you."
"That's so, of course. You ought to have been at the exercises when we
celebrated our two hundred and fiftieth birthday. I tell you, Mr.
Cheyne, the old city did herself credit."
"So I heard. It pays, too. What's the matter with the town that it
don't have a first-class hotel, though?"
"--Right over there to the left, Pedro. Heaps o' room for you and your
crowd.--Why, that's what I tell 'em all the time, Mr. Cheyne. There's
big money in it, but I presume that don't affect you any. What we want
A heavy hand fell on his broadcloth shoulder, and the flushed skipper
of a Portland coal-and-ice coaster spun him half round. "What in
thunder do you fellows mean by clappin' the law on the town when all
decent men are at sea this way? Heh? Town's dry as a bone, an' smells a
sight worse sence I quit. 'Might ha' left us one saloon for soft
"Don't seem to have hindered your nourishment this morning, Carsen.
I'll go into the politics of it later. Sit down by the door and think
over your arguments till I come back."
"What good is arguments to me? In Miquelon champagne's eighteen dollars
a case and--" The skipper lurched into his seat as an organ-prelude
"Our new organ," said the official proudly to Cheyne. "Cost us four
thousand dollars, too. We'll have to get back to high-license next year
to pay for it. I wasn't going to let the ministers have all the
religion at their convention. Those are some of our orphans standing up
to sing. My wife taught 'em. See you again later, Mr. Cheyne. I'm
wanted on the platform."
High, clear, and true, children's voices bore down the last noise of
those settling into their places.
"O all ye Works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise him and magnify
him for ever!"
The women throughout the hall leaned forward to look as the reiterated
cadences filled the air. Mrs. Cheyne, with some others, began to
breathe short; she had hardly imagined there were so many widows in the
world; and instinctively searched for Harvey. He had found the 'We're
Heres' at the back of the audience, and was standing, as by right,
between Dan and Disko. Uncle Salters, returned the night before with
Penn, from Pamlico Sound, received him suspiciously.
"Hain't your folk gone yet?" he grunted. "What are you doin' here,
"O ye Seas and Floods, bless ye the Lord: praise him, and magnify him
"Hain't he good right?" said Dan. "He's bin there, same as the rest of
"Not in them clothes," Salters snarled.
"Shut your head, Salters," said Disko. "Your bile's gone back on you.
Stay right where ye are, Harve."
Then up and spoke the orator of the occasion, another pillar of the
municipality, bidding the world welcome to Gloucester, and incidentally
pointing out wherein Gloucester excelled the rest of the world. Then he
turned to the sea-wealth of the city, and spoke of the price that must
be paid for the yearly harvest. They would hear later the names of
their lost dead one hundred and seventeen of them. (The widows stared a
little, and looked at one another here.) Gloucester could not boast any
overwhelming mills or factories. Her sons worked for such wage as the
sea gave; and they all knew that neither Georges nor the Banks were
cow-pastures. The utmost that folk ashore could accomplish was to help
the widows and the orphans, and after a few general remarks he took
this opportunity of thanking, in the name of the city, those who had so
public-spiritedly consented to participate in the exercises of the
"I jest despise the beggin' pieces in it," growled Disko. "It don't
give folk a fair notion of us."
"Ef folk won't be fore-handed an' put by when they've the chance,"
returned Salters, "it stands in the nature o' things they hev to be
'shamed. You take warnin' by that, young feller. Riches endureth but
for a season, ef you scatter them araound on lugsuries--
"But to lose everything, everything," said Penn. "What can you do then?
Once I"--the watery blue eyes stared up and down as if looking for
something to steady them--"once I read--in a book, I think--of a boat
where every one was run down--except some one--and he said to me--"
"Shucks!" said Salters, cutting in. "You read a little less an' take
more int'rust in your vittles, and you'll come nearer earnin' your
Harvey, jammed among the fishermen, felt a creepy, crawly, tingling
thrill that began in the back of his neck and ended at his boots. He
was cold, too, though it was a stifling day.
"That the actress from Philadelphia?" said Disko Troop, scowling at the
platform. "You've fixed it about old man Ireson, hain't ye, Harve? Ye
know why naow."
It was not "Ireson's Ride" that the woman delivered, but some sort of
poem about a fishing-port called Brixham and a fleet of trawlers
beating in against storm by night, while the women made a guiding fire
at the head of the quay with everything they could lay hands on.
"They took the grandma's blanket,
Who shivered and bade them go;
They took the baby's cradle,
Who could not say them no."
"Whew!" said Dan, peering over Long Jack's shoulder. "That's great!
Must ha' bin expensive, though."
"Ground-hog case," said the Galway man. "Badly lighted port, Danny."
"And knew not all the while
If they were lighting a bonfire
Or only a funeral pile."
The wonderful voice took hold of people by their heartstrings; and when
she told how the drenched crews were flung ashore, living and dead, and
they carried the bodies to the glare of the fires, asking: "Child, is
this your father?" or "Wife, is this your man?" you could hear hard
breathing all over the benches.
"And when the boats of Brixham
Go out to face the gales,
Think of the love that travels
Like light upon their sails!"
There was very little applause when she finished. The women were
looking for their handkerchiefs, and many of the men stared at the
ceiling with shiny eyes.
"H'm," said Salters; "that 'u'd cost ye a dollar to hear at any
theatre--maybe two. Some folk, I presoom, can afford it. 'Seems
downright waste to me. . . . Naow, how in Jerusalem did Cap. Bart
Edwardes strike adrift here?"
"No keepin' him under," said an Eastport man behind. "He's a poet, an'
he's baound to say his piece. 'Comes from daown aour way, too."
He did not say that Captain B. Edwardes had striven for five
consecutive years to be allowed to recite a piece of his own
composition on Gloucester Memorial Day. An amused and exhausted
committee had at last given him his desire. The simplicity and utter
happiness of the old man, as he stood up in his very best Sunday
clothes, won the audience ere he opened his mouth. They sat unmurmuring
through seven-and-thirty hatchet-made verses describing at fullest
length the loss of the schooner Joan Hasken off the Georges in the gale
of 1867, and when he came to an end they shouted with one kindly throat.
A far-sighted Boston reporter slid away for a full copy of the epic and
an interview with the author; so that earth had nothing more to offer
Captain Bart Edwardes, ex-whaler, shipwright, master-fisherman, and
poet, in the seventy-third year of his age.
"Naow, I call that sensible," said the Eastport man. "I've bin over
that graound with his writin', jest as he read it, in my two hands, and
I can testily that he's got it all in."
"If Dan here couldn't do better'n that with one hand before breakfast,
he ought to be switched," said Salters, upholding the honor of
Massachusetts on general principles. "Not but what I'm free to own he's
considerable litt'ery--fer Maine. Still--"
"Guess Uncle Salters's goin' to die this trip. Fust compliment he's
ever paid me," Dan sniggered. "What's wrong with you, Harve? You act
all quiet and you look greenish. Feelin' sick?"
"Don't know what's the matter with me," Harvey implied. "Seems if my
insides were too big for my outsides. I'm all crowded up and shivery."
"Dispepsy? Pshaw--too bad. We'll wait for the readin', an' then we'll
quit, an' catch the tide."
The widows--they were nearly all of that season's making--braced
themselves rigidly like people going to be shot in cold blood, for they
knew what was coming. The summer-boarder girls in pink and blue
shirt-waists stopped tittering over Captain Edwardes's wonderful poem,
and looked back to see why all was silent. The fishermen pressed
forward as that town official who had talked to Cheyne bobbed up on the
platform and began to read the year's list of losses, dividing them
into months. Last September's casualties were mostly single men and
strangers, but his voice rang very loud in the stillness of the hall.
"September 9th. Schooner Florrie Anderson lost, with all aboard, off
"Reuben Pitman, master, 50, single, Main Street, City.
"Emil Olsen, 19, single, 329 Hammond Street, City. Denmark.
"Oscar Standberg, single, 25. Sweden.
"Carl Stanberg, single, 28, Main Street. City.
"Pedro, supposed Madeira, single, Keene's boardinghouse. City.
"Joseph Welsh, alias Joseph Wright, 30, St. John's, Newfoundland."
"No--Augusty, Maine," a voice cried from the body of the hall.
"He shipped from St. John's," said the reader, looking to see.
"I know it. He belongs in Augusty. My nevvy."
The reader made a pencilled correction on the margin of the list, and
"Same schooner, Charlie Ritchie, Liverpool, Nova Scotia, 33, single.
"Albert May, 267 Rogers Street, City, 27, single.
"September 27th.--Orvin Dollard, 30, married, drowned in dory off
That shot went home, for one of the widows flinched where she sat,
clasping and unclasping her hands. Mrs. Cheyne, who had been listening
with wide-opened eyes, threw up her head and choked. Dan's mother, a
few seats to the right, saw and heard and quickly moved to her side.
The reading went on. By the time they reached the January and February
wrecks the shots were falling thick and fast, and the widows drew
breath between their teeth.
"February 14th.--Schooner Harry Randolph dismasted on the way home from
Newfoundland; Asa Musie, married, 32, Main Street, City, lost overboard.
"February 23d.--Schooner Gilbert Hope; went astray in dory, Robert
Beavon, 29, married, native of Pubnico, Nova Scotia."
But his wife was in the hall. They heard a low cry, as though a little
animal had been hit. It was stifled at once, and a girl staggered out
of the hall. She had been hoping against hope for months, because some
who have gone adrift in dories have been miraculously picked up by
deep-sea sailing-ships. Now she had her certainty, and Harvey could see
the policeman on the sidewalk hailing a hack for her. "It's fifty cents
to the depot"--the driver began, but the policeman held up his
hand--"but I'm goin' there anyway. Jump right in. Look at here, Al; you
don't pull me next time my lamps ain't lit. See?"
The side-door closed on the patch of bright sunshine, and Harvey's eyes
turned again to the reader and his endless list.
"April 19th.--Schooner Mamie Douglas lost on the Banks with all hands.
"Edward Canton, 43, master, married, City.
"D. Hawkins, alias Williams, 34, married, Shelbourne, Nova Scotia.
"G. W. Clay, coloured, 28, married, City."
And so on, and so on. Great lumps were rising in Harvey's throat, and
his stomach reminded him of the day when he fell from the liner.
"May 10th.--Schooner 'We're Here' [the blood tingled all over him] Otto
Svendson, 20, single, City, lost overboard."
Once more a low, tearing cry from somewhere at the back of the hall.
"She shouldn't ha' come. She shouldn't ha' come," said Long Jack, with
a cluck of pity.
"Don't scrowge, Harve," grunted Dan. Harvey heard that much, but the
rest was all darkness spotted with fiery wheels. Disko leaned forward
and spoke to his wife, where she sat with one arm round Mrs. Cheyne,
and the other holding down the snatching, catching, ringed hands.
"Lean your head daown--right daown!" he whispered. "It'll go off in a
"I ca-an't! I do-don't! Oh, let me--" Mrs. Cheyne did not at all know
what she said.
"You must," Mrs. Troop repeated. "Your boy's jest fainted dead away.
They do that some when they're gettin' their growth. 'Wish to tend to
him? We can git aout this side. Quite quiet. You come right along with
me. Psha', my dear, we're both women, I guess. We must tend to aour
The 'We're Heres' promptly went through the crowd as a body-guard, and
it was a very white and shaken Harvey that they propped up on a bench
in an anteroom.
"Favours his ma," was Mrs. Troop's ouly comment, as the mother bent
over her boy.
"How d'you suppose he could ever stand it?" she cried indignantly to
Cheyne, who had said nothing at all. "It was horrible--horrible! We
shouldn't have come. It's wrong and wicked! It--it isn't right!
Why--why couldn't they put these things in the papers, where they
belong? Are you better, darling?"
That made Harvey very properly ashamed. "Oh, I'm all right, I guess,"
he said, struggling to his feet, with a broken giggle. "Must ha' been
something I ate for breakfast."
"Coffee, perhaps," said Cheyne, whose face was all in hard lines, as
though it had been cut out of bronze. "We won't go back again."
"Guess 'twould be 'baout's well to git daown to the wharf," said Disko.
"It's close in along with them Dagoes, an' the fresh air will fresh
Mrs. Cheyne up."
Harvey announced that he never felt better in his life; but it was not
till he saw the 'We're Here', fresh from the lumper's hands, at
Wouverman's wharf, that he lost his all-overish feelings in a queer
mixture of pride and sorrowfulness. Other people--summer boarders and
such-like--played about in cat-boats or looked at the sea from
pier-heads; but he understood things from the inside--more things than
he could begin to think about. None the less, he could have sat down
and howled because the little schooner was going off. Mrs. Cheyne
simply cried and cried every step of the way and said most
extraordinary things to Mrs. Troop, who "babied" her till Dan, who had
not been "babied" since he was six, whistled aloud.
And so the old crowd--Harvey felt like the most ancient of mariners
dropped into the old schooner among the battered dories, while Harvey
slipped the stern-fast from the pier-head, and they slid her along the
wharf-side with their hands. Every one wanted to say so much that no
one said anything in particular. Harvey bade Dan take care of Uncle
Salters's sea-boots and Penn's dory-anchor, and Long Jack entreated
Harvey to remember his lessons in seamanship; but the jokes fell flat
in the presence of the two women, and it is hard to be funny with green
harbour-water widening between good friends.
"Up jib and fores'l!" shouted Disko, getting to the wheel, as the wind
took her. "See you later, Harve. Dunno but I come near thinkin' a heap
o' you an' your folks."
Then she glided beyond ear-shot, and they sat down to watch her up the
harbour, And still Mrs. Cheyne wept.
"Pshaw, my dear," said Mrs. Troop: "we're both women, I guess. Like's
not it'll ease your heart to hev your cry aout. God He knows it never
done me a mite o' good, but then He knows I've had something to cry
Now it was a few years later, and upon the other edge of America, that
a young man came through the clammy sea fog up a windy street which is
flanked with most expensive houses built of wood to imitate stone. To
him, as he was standing by a hammered iron gate, entered on
horseback--and the horse would have been cheap at a thousand
dollars--another young man. And this is what they said:
"What's the best with you?"
"Well, I'm so's to be that kind o' animal called second mate this trip.
Ain't you most through with that triple invoiced college of yours?"
"Getting that way. I tell you, the Leland Stanford Junior, isn't a
circumstance to the old 'We're Here'; but I'm coming into the business
for keeps next fall."
"Meanin' aour packets?"
"Nothing else. You just wait till I get my knife into you, Dan. I'm
going to make the old line lie down and cry when I take hold."
"I'll resk it," said Dan, with a brotherly grin, as Harvey dismounted
and asked whether he were coming in.
"That's what I took the cable fer; but, say, is the doctor anywheres
araound? I'll draown that crazy nigger some day, his one cussed joke
There was a low, triumphant chuckle, as the ex-cook of the 'We're Here'
came out of the fog to take the horse's bridle. He allowed no one but
himself to attend to any of Harvey's wants.
"Thick as the Banks, ain't it, doctor?" said Dan, propitiatingly.
But the coal-black Celt with the second-sight did not see fit to reply
till he had tapped Dan on the shoulder, and for the twentieth time
croaked the old, old prophecy in his ear.
"Master--man. Man--master," said he. "You remember, Dan Troop, what I
said? On the 'We're Here'?"
"Well, I won't go so far as to deny that it do look like it as things
stand at present," said Dan. "She was a noble packet, and one way an'
another I owe her a heap--her and Dad."
"Me too," quoth Harvey Cheyne.
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