"By the Turtles of Tasman" (1911) and other stories by Jack London

by Jack London

A selection of tales by the author of Lost Face, The Hobo and the Fairy, The Heathen, A Piece of Steak and so many other masterful short stories and novelettes.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Plague Ship (1897) – on a grossly-overcrowded passenger ship, a deadly epidemic of yellow fever breaks out that decimates passengers, officers and crewmen alike - so severely that mutineers take over the officer-less ship and uncontrolled violence breaks out, leaving the surviving passengers to drift aimlessly around the Pacific. But life and love carry on nevertheless somehow ...

2. A Dream Image (1898) - A young woman writer meets the brilliant youngest son of a very wealthy and extremely reclusive neighbour, who has just returned to this Californian seaside village after a long and somewhat mysterious absence. A story where two of the author’s beloved occupations, sailing and horseback riding, are very much present.

3. Old Baldy (1899) - An ox famous for its stubbornness tries to get the best of a wily farmer.

4. The End of the Chapter (1900) - A very rich and very depressed young man smokes a final Havana before taking his leave of this hellishly-boring and uninteresting world, when he suddenly realises that his cigar smoke is taking the shape of a lovely foot that resembles one that he once caressed with much interest indeed.

5. Semper Idem (1900) - A master surgeon who is totally concentrated on the technical challenges of his profession manages against all odds to save the life of an anonymous man who has cut his throat from ear to ear with a razor - but his post-operational manner definitely leaves something to be desired.

6. The Banks of the Sacramento (1904) - A young boy left in charge of a cable-rig across the Sacramento River is faced with a dramatic life-and-death emergency almost impossible to resolve.

7. By the Turtles of Tasman (1911) - A very wealthy and straight-laced land-owner and industrialist shelters his prodigal and penniless elder brother, who has spent the past thirty years wandering all over the world, particularly in the Klondike and the South Seas, sowing his wild oats and living life to the hilt, accompanied by his flashy and very articulate young daughter. Much soul-searching ensues in the confrontation of the very different life-styles and values of the two brothers.

8. The Sea Farmer (1912) - Captain MacElrath has been at sea for two and a half years, and his ship is at long last entering Dublin harbour, from where he will go as fast as he can to his beloved McGill Island in the north of Ireland. Like all the other members of that island community, MacElrath marvels that any man not under compulsion should leave a farm to go to sea. On the long train ride with his wife back home with his wife and two-year-old son whom he had never yet seen, he recounts the innumerable dangers and mishaps of his latest long voyage.


e-books containing all of these stories are available for downloading below


1. PLAGUE SHIP (1897)

"WHAT’S this! What’s this! Do you wish to kill the man? Such treatment is too heroic. Bah! An emetic of ipecacuanha, fifteen grains of powdered calomel and as many of quinine, and then castor oil! Why my dear madam, you know absolutely nothing about medicine!" and the speaker glared indignantly at her.
She flushed, half hurt, half angry, but smothering her feeling, replied, "What do you take the case to be? Typhus?"
"No. It’s merely a bilious fever, made the more severe by this d—, I beg your pardon, this infernal weather."
"Bilious fever! Ha! Ha! Ha!" They had withdrawn from the side of the sufferer, and she burst forth into merry peals of laughter.
"Yes, madam, I repeat it. Bilious fever. Bilious fever! Do you hear? Bilious! Bilious! Bilious fever!"
"My dear sir, though I do not know you, from the wondrous knowledge you display I’ll call you doctor. Then doctor, let me ask you if you have ever heard of black vomit, or, if that does not come within your technical nomenclature, yellow fever?"
"What symptoms does the man evince. Madam Know-It-All?"
"Miss Know-It-All, if you please. Languor, chilliness, muscular pains, headache, fa—"
"Precursors of any febrile attack. You evidently do—"
"Face flushed, eyes suffused then congested, nostrils and lips red, tongue scarlet, temperature 105, loss—"
"Loss of appetite, hot skin, thirst, nausea, restlessness, and delirium—all the usual accompaniments of any high fever—go on Miss—Miss—"
"Miss Know-It-All. But all these militant symptoms have ceased and he is now in a state of prostration and collapse. This, the stadium, is as you know the great characteristic of yellow fever."
"Collapse! Bah! Convalescence. The man is recovering but weak, and here I find you have given him ipecacuanha, calomel, quinine and castor oil. Where’s the ship’s doctor? I’ll have you out of here!"
"As for the ship’s doctor, he’s sick too, with bilious fever I suppose. And for you who are you pray? Don’t rest under the hallucination that you are still walking your hospital, wherever it may be. I am as competent as you; nay, have a diploma as well as you: and as to this case, have had too much experience to be mistaken."
"Madam—A—A—Miss—I— I— I— I’11 see the captain at once. You’re a-a-a—don’t know your business!” And in choleric wrath he left her in pursuit of the chief officer.
The steamer Caspar had left the West Coast, with a clean bill of health and in first-class order, for San Francisco. But fortune had illy favored her and from the first day her voyage had been one of trials and tribulations. She had been fearfully overloaded with both cargo and passengers. So low did she float in the water that she seemed and behaved like a log. All buoyancy was lost: she was dead, plunging through instead of rising to the great seas she had met with. In this condition she had encountered a storm, broken her propeller shaft, and been blown hundreds of miles out of her course into the Pacific. The engineers had worked night and day but could effect no permanent repair. They would manage to run the engines a few hours, then their patches would give away and they would be forced to stop twice as long to again make ineffectual repairs. They were still far out of their course and even the captain did not know when they would get back. To make it worse, they had been blown into an unfrequented portion of the ocean, far from the beaten paths, and could look to no outside source for assistance.
There were 158 first class passengers and only berths for 95. Many of the ladies were forced to sleep on lounges and settees, while the gentlemen literally floored and walled the smoking saloon when bed­ time came. While it was thus rather hard on the first-class passengers, it was worse on the second, and in the steerage it was frightful. Some of second-class berths were directly over the screw and so close to the Chinese quarters as to be rendered almost uninhabitable by the fumes of opium and otherwise abominable stenches. In the after-lower-deck, it was more like a cattle ship. Four Chinese, half a score of Negroes, and quadruple as many white people, the majority of which were seasick, were crowded into this hole. So far down was it, that there was no ventilation save through the ports, which more often were bolted down than otherwise.
And now, in the fierce tropic heat of midsummer, to cap their misery, fever had broken forth. While many were hasty in proclaiming it the terrible yellow jack, the more clear-headed, cognizant of their horrible condition, naturally attributed it to that. The ship’s doctor, a too efficient and too poorly paid man, had been the first to come down, leaving the passengers and men to take care of themselves. Their endeavors had been spasmodic and erratic. A fifth of the crew were down and the rest were on the verge of mutiny, threatening to take to the boats. The firemen and stokers were as bad, no longer yielding subordination to their officers. The Chinese, while none were taken ill, continued to stolidly smoke their opium, turning a deaf ear to the protests of the passengers and the commands of the captain, which they knew could not be enforced. The first officer, in despair, had taken to whiskey and was now locked up in a fit of horrors, while the rest of the officers were nearly crazy in their impotency. The passengers were just begin­ning to awake to their danger; but as yet, save for the isolated efforts of the couple that quarreled over the diagnosis, had done nothing.
Doctor Chandler, who maintained it was bilious fever, had yet to meet his thirtieth birthday. He was returning from an expedition to Peru, on which he had been absent a year. Long retired, in fact, except for his hospital experience, he had never taken up a practice; for the same hand that educated him, had, on its demise, endowed him with an ample fortune. Possessed of a scientific worship for good sanitation —it was his hobby—to the absence of it he attributed, under various names, the sickness which had fallen on them.
Miss Appleton, while possessed of a diploma, had perhaps not as much experience in hospitals, but of Southern origin, she had gone through an epidemic of yellow fever in New Orleans and was familiar with all its symptoms. She was a woman not more than twenty-five, beautiful as the word goes, but owing more to a pleasant, forceful personality than to her physical charms. Traveling with her aunt, as soon as the disease had manifested itself, she deserted her to the attention of a maid and threw herself into the breach. And thus, just as she had attempted her first case, had she encountered Doctor Chandler, who had similarly awakened and who was in search of his first patient.
Several days had elapsed and things were going from bad to worse. At last, everybody had been forced to acknowledge that the disease was yellow fever, even Doctor Chandler, who had become very con­trite and usually begged Miss Appleton’s pardon every other time they met. Though rather rash and headstrong, he was really a good fellow at heart, and soon the twain were on the best of footings. He was gen­erous and self-sacrificing to a fault and devoted himself night and day to the struggle. Maud Appleton easily penetrated his brusque exterior and grew to understand and like him. Still, they occasionally quarreled over methods of treatment, nor, it must be confessed, was she always in the right.
In the meanwhile, the ship’s doctor, several of the stewards and cooks, and quite a number of the passengers and crew had succumbed and been given hasty sea burial. The captain had caught the contagion and lay helpless in his stateroom, leaving only the second and third officers to manage the men whom every day saw the more unruly and boisterous. Save the two doctors and the dozen or so that had volun­teered as assistants, the passengers were sunk in a state of lethargic horror. At first they had been panic stricken, but that had now sub­sided and they had become stolidly indifferent to the course of events. They recognized no ties except those of blood, and selfishly struggled for their individual creature-comforts—few, it must be acknowledged, they obtained, for each hour the discipline grew more lax and nothing could be obtained from the stewards and waiters without liberal tipping. In short, the plague ship had become a floating hell in which brute struggled with brute for survival.
Sick and giddy, Miss Appleton had staggered from out the fetid atmosphere below-decks, and now was leaning over the rail in a vain effort to catch some refreshing breeze. The Caspar lay in the trough of the sea idly rolling to the smooth swell. She had no steerage-way; the quartermaster had deserted the wheel; the engineers had given up the struggle; and despair had settled upon the ship. The heat was suffocating, and as Maud panted for breath she was approached by the indefati­gable Doctor Chandler, who had new cause of quarrel concerning the treatment of one of her patients. But they quarreled good-naturedly now, more in pleasant badinage and sharp repartee. Amid all their misery, it had become their one source of pleasure—a contest of wit and in which personality was lost in the keenness of professional zeal. Though their methods were quite diverse, he had lost as many patients as she, while in the number of recoveries she was one the better of him—the patient over which they had had their first dispute being now in the last stage of convalescence. This rankled the doctor, in a professional way, and did not in the least abate his faith in his treatment, while he ascribed her success to a phenomenal streak of luck, which gave her the patients that would have recovered any way.
But while they enjoyed themselves in their merry dispute, affairs of moment were approaching a crisis. The crew had long before de­serted their stuffy fore-castle and camped on deck beneath sails spread as awnings. Later they were joined by the stokers, oilers and firemen, who brought along their sea-bags and blankets. Here, in full view of the terrorized passengers, they played cards, fought, cursed God and man, and refused all duty. Too powerful to break, the officers were forced to send their meals to them and to pray that they would not take to the boats. For all their lawlessness, however, they maintained a crude organization and enforced their rules with terrible penalties. Whenever one fell sick, he was carried away to the fore-castle and attended upon by shifts appointed for that purpose. Only this morning, the remainder of the cooks, waiters and mess-boys had deserted and come forward to join them. As the crowd of them, carrying all the paraphernalia for an improvised camp, came marching along the deck, they had received an otherwise than cool reception.
"I say, lads, what the— —are we to do for cooks and mess-byes and grub?" queried one of the tars.
An instant sufficed for the mutineers to grasp the situation. With belaying pins and sheath-knives they drove the would-be deserters, bag and baggage, back to their duty, incidentally breaking a few heads and creating a momentary pandemonium. This incident had given the shifty second and third officers their cue, which they were soon to utilize with such disastrous consequence.
The mutineers quickly gave full intimation of their next procedure. They took possession of the boats; saw to it that they were seaworthy; and looting the hold, provisioned them. The passengers crowded the after-decks in a terror-stricken mass, while a few of the more clear-headed grouped round the officers and placed themselves at their service. As the day proceeded the panic grew: several mutineers they saw fall to the deck, overcome by the heat and the dread yellow jack. These were quickly carried away to the improvised hospital while their comrades worked the faster in completing their preparations.
Nor was this the only trouble which threatened. The three score Chinese between decks, who till now had manifested no discontent, were ripe for revolt. The contemplated desertion of the cooks and wait­ers had left them without food for twenty-four hours, and the officers had been forced to lock them in. Left to their fate, their yells and curses penetrated throughout the ship and at any moment they were ex­pected to break forth. To add to the terror, the sick and dying, actuated by some subtle impulse, had broken out in loud cries and wailing.
It was at this moment that the officers put into execution the plan they had conceived. Why not turn these two destructive forces, which threatened them, against each other? The sailors were in just the mood for a fight, and as they never lost any love for their Asiatic brethren, it would not take much to precipitate one. The second officer argued that if they left the ship, those that remained would be at the mercy of the Chinese, and, since they were bound to take to the boats, it were best to be left behind in safety by cleaning the Chinese out. And again, he thought if the conflict were severe enough, the ranks of the mutineers would be so decimated, that he could conquer them with the help of the passengers, engineers, cooks and stewards.
Maud and Doctor Chandler had conducted their quarrel with the customary assurance of good comradeship and an agreement. Each was to choose a patient that had just come down and take exclusive control, brooking no interference and applying their own method in its extremity. As chance had it, they chose a pair which had just taken to their berths: a young Californian and his sister, returning from a visit to their father, an extensive mine-owner in Peru. She selected the young man, and he, the sister. Leaving the deck, they were elbowing their way among the passengers who had been sent below by the sec­ond officer. Amid the confusion on every side, as they entered the saloon, anarchy and hell broke forth.
The hub-bub which the Chinese incessantly maintained had ceased for a space; but now, redoubled in fury, it arose, amid the crashing of heavy bodies and the splintering of wood. They heard the rapid revolver shots of the two engineers set to guard them, followed by ter­rible oaths and shrieks of agony. Then the passageways were thronged and the yellow devils, inflamed with blood, were upon them. At this juncture, the door of the first officer’s stateroom flew open, and he sprang out, an awful sight to behold, He was evidently suffering the tortures of delirium tremens: his eyes were set and dilated; his gigan­tic body convulsed with nervous spasms; his mouth a mass of froth and blood, Throwing himself into the doorway, armed with nothing but a huge battle-axe (some curio of his), he held the fiends at bay. The fleeing passengers blocked the other exit while those that remained beheld a wondrous struggle. Among the Chinese were some of the most redoubtable high-binders and hatchet-men of the coast—merce­nary and trained fighters for the societies to which they owed their allegiance. Unlike the average Chinese, they were not cowardly: murder and bloodshed was their profession.
His battle-axe described flaming circles of steel as it flew back and forth, hither and thither, on its mission of death. At first, the maraud­ers had rushed to their certain fate; but now they drew back, leaving several of their number beneath his feet. Into the narrow passage they knew he dare not pursue for lack of space in which to wield his great weapon. Stepping to the fore, their leader prepared to finish the struggle. It seemed as though David had come forward to face Goliah. His appearance belied his reputation as the wonderful Ah Sen, the fiercest of all hatchet-men: slender and effeminate of form, his del­icate face seemed more that of a smooth-faced boy or woman, than that of a notorious desperado. Seizing the proffered knives of his men, thrice he cast one, full at his opponent. They leaped from his hand like rays of glancing light, turning half way round in mid air and burying themselves in the first officer’s breast. Yet he seemed not to feel them. Again he tried; but this time, aiming at the throat, it hurtled past still intent on its mission and sank between the shoulders of one of the ladies, smuggling in the press at the other door. The highbinder, evincing not the slightest irritation at his failures, changed the method of attack. Seizing a hatchet, with the speed of the lightning, it pursued the path of its predecessors. Full on the forehead, it struck the giant, who swayed, tottered, sank to his knees: like a cat. Ah Sen followed his weapon to his fate. For one second the giant was endowed with the full vigor of his strength, and in that second, Ah Sen encountered him. There was no struggle. Rising to his feet and totally disregarding the knife which entered his side, he seized the slender-necked celestial by the head with both his hands—once—twice—his body whirled in gid­dying orbit round his head. There was a snap of bones and rending of flesh and Ah Sen sank to the floor, his neck wrung like a chicken’s. The next instant he was joined by his antagonist, who fell beside him, literally hacked to pieces by a score of knives and hatchets.
In the meantime, the officers had been busy persuading the muti­neers to do the one act of mercy before they left the ship. The celerity with which the contagion spread and its malignancy had put them in a fright, terrible to behold in strong, fearless men. They had been loth to listen, doggedly proceeding with the work of launching the boats, all bent upon their departure, but when the noise of the combat reached them and they knew that the Chinese were up, they forsook their tasks, hastily armed themselves with cutlasses distributed by the first officer, and sprang to the rescue.
Dividing into two parties, after killing a few stragglers which they caught murdering and robbing the passengers, they hemmed the re­mainder in the great saloon. Here, aided by the firearms of the officers, short but sanguinary conflict ensued, ending in the complete annihi­lation of the Asiatics.
Exhilarated by their success, their fiercest passions aroused by the battle and blood, all the brutishness of primeval man burst forth and the sailors were in the mood for any mischief. Bloodstained and panting, they grouped about the ringleader, who, qualified with all the attributes that go to make the sea-lawyer and popular demagogue, ad­dressed them in a short but very trite speech:
"Ho! My lads! We’ve blasted the heathen and saved the ship—never say die says I—we’ve saved the passengers too—ain’t it so? (Interruptions of "Aye, aye, that we have.") and in saving their bloody necks, we save their treasures too—what say ye? (An’ where do we come off? Aye, that’s the ticket!) Hold your jaw, Jack Gunderson: I’m coming to that. Yes, where do we get off? The company? (Ha! Ha! Ha! The skinflints! They’ll pay us—see us with Davy Jones first!) Aye, my lads, that’s not true enough: they’d see you in hell first, a-simmering like pork-chops in the galley. But here’s the proposition: let the blasted passengers keep their bloomin’ lives and us their treasure. What say ye, mates?" A burst of applause and cries of "A loot! A loot!" signified that it had been an­swered in the affirmative.
Charybdis had saved the passengers from Scylla to engulf them himself. It was not destruction, however, for quickly overcoming the officers and the remnant of their supporters, they assured the passengers of their good will and desire for suitable reward. The latter they at once proceeded to appropriate.
The sailors fell to their work with a vengeance, and in the scenes which followed, there was much mingling of the ludicrous and the tragic. Staterooms were ransacked, baggage of all descriptions turned upside down and inside out, and articles of wearing apparel appropriated; nor did they hesitate to personally despoil the passengers. Maud’s aunt, an old lady, yet vigorous in body, mind and invective, led two of the tars, intent on her magnificent earrings, a merry chase. She finally sought refuge in the stateroom of the Senor Morella, an Honduras pa­triot, martial of aspect and afflicted with a wooden leg—a memento of his latest insurrection. He lay in his berth, dying, with his artificial limb unstrapped but near him. Seising this redoubtable weapon, she laid about her with such will and good purpose, as to down the robbers as fast as they stuck their heads inside. Quite a crowd ceased their loot­ing to enjoy the fun. But the ’’old she-devil," as they delightfully termed her held her own against all comers.
As usual, the men broke into the spirit room, and while some be­came good-natured and jolly, others became the more violent. Fearing injury to her aunt, Maud hurried forward to persuade her into giving up her jewels, accompanied, of course, by Chandler, as protector. He was quickly dispossessed of his gold repeater and diamond links—little incidents which he scarcely heeded, so intent was he on guard­ing Maud. She, however, failed in her mission, barely missing being brained by her somewhat confused and belligerent relative. Though frustrated as a peacemaker, she well succeeded in involving herself and her protector in new troubles. One of the sailors, a big, hulking brute, rendered amorous by the too-frequent caress of certain plainly labeled bottles, threw his arm about her waist and drew her to him. Quick, full on the lips, he kissed her.
In that moment did the doctor become cognizant of a new sensation—a sensation he knew to be different from any he would have felt, had it been a woman other than her. A swift shoulder-blow, and the man lay in a heap on the floor. The next instant he was on his feet, cursing and glowering malignantly at the doctor, who in the heat of his anger made as though to repeat the performance. To Maud, events followed like a flash: the fellow’s cutlass hissed through the air; a com­rade interposed another; the blow was broken but still fell upon Chan­dler’s head; and when she beheld the rush of blood, she experienced a strangely-intense and solicitous anxiety for him.
"A breeze! A breeze! My hearties! Fair wind for Mexico!" came a cry from above. A second saw the mutineers on deck, springing into the boats which lay along side. The Caspar was deserted.
In the bloodstained cabin, amid the weeping and shrieking of women, the wailing of the fever-stricken, and the curses and groans of the dying combatants, Chandler, bathed in a baptism of blood, and Maud, flushed and fainting with what had transpired, sprang or rather tottered and fell into each other’s arms. There, in that moment of hor­ror, with all the hideousness of the present and terror of the future upon them, they confessed their newly-discovered and mutual love.
Many days had elapsed. Helpless, the Caspar drifted about with her cargo of misery and death. No help had come: none was expected, save through the safe arrival of the deserters in Mexico, which was merely problematic. In the absence of this disorderly element, the survivors had settled down to an orderly existence, systematized everything, isolated forward the fever patients, and were getting along far better than might have been expected from people in their condition. As a traveler in Yosemite loses all conception and appreciation of height and distance, so had they lost all horror of their situation. Continually facing death, they had come to fear it not; and great indeed must have been the occurrence which could have surprised them from out their placidity. They had not broken under the strain but merely accustomed themselves to it. In fact, they were progressing finely, and too much could not be attributed to the two doctors, who, while loving, still quarreled over methods.
Meanwhile, Maud and the doctor, while in no wise neglecting their other cases, devoted themselves night and day to the particular ones of the brother and sister. They had been very sick, but never, even in the worst of crises when the toss of a penny would have almost decided life or death, had the two physicians even dreamed of consulting each other. They had put into the fullest operation their favorite methods, and so strong was their professional rivalry that they abided the result with far more anxiety than is usually the lot of the patient to receive from its physician. In fact, so extreme had the contest become, that they devoted all their spare time to the nursing, scarcely seeing each other, save to quarrel about the merits of their respective schools or to twit each other, as the case might be, on any bad signs which might have been manifested. Still it seemed as though the superiority of either was not to be thus exemplified, for neither patient had died, and both were now fairly convalescent. Never the less, each had been surprised at the zeal displayed by the other, and now, when all danger was past, all doubts vanished, their surprise grew as their zeal flagged not.
The days took their allotted course, slipping silently, imperceptibly, each into the other, while no new incidents or happenings arose to vary the monotony of their existence. In truth, the gods had smiled upon them in their distress. The Caspar encountered no storms while the fierceness of the epidemic began to abate. Perhaps, because everybody, with the miraculous exception of the two physicians, had been either killed or cured. Everything was on the mend: nothing was apprehended except bad weather, and even in that the Caspar stood a fair show of remaining afloat. In case of storms, small sails had been prepared by which to heave to and ride them out. With the dwindled company and the great boilers, the engineers had no difficulty in maintaining the fresh water supply, while, as part of the cargo was composed of food, little was to be feared from starvation. Slowly the summer dragged on, but quickly the sick list grew smaller, till finally, amid great rejoicing and festivity, it had become totally negated and the ship thoroughly fumigated.
But while everything was so bright, Maud found herself tormented; by strange thoughts and discovered an inconsistent vein in her nature which she had never dreamed of. Again and again she sum­moned herself to judgement, but always to judge in vain, for in despair she invariably threw the case out of court. Sometimes she came to herself and was appalled at the thoughts which had risen uncalled in her mind, at the visions she unconsciously contemplated. Her life be­came one tangled mesh of self-analytical whys and wherefores, ifs and musts, pros and cons. The more she endeavored to reason with herself the more entangled and confused she became. Cold memories of some possible past mistake caused her to often shudder, to avoid the present, and to fear the future which must be shaped by the impress of that pos­sible wrong-doing. Still she could not find the heart to blame herself: she could only not understand.
As it fared with her, so fared it with Chandler. He also found him­self involved in a sea of seeming self-inconsistency. But he behaved differently from Maud—she was a woman. His masculinity and choleric disposition asserted itself, and not only did he clearly see his past mistake, but he grew enraged and waxed indignant at himself, often cursing the son of his father with such sublime abstraction from self as to be truly startling. Still, in the obscurity of his mental vision, he could see so far and no farther. If he could have seen beyond, doubtless he would not have figuratively kicked himself so often, nor would his life had been tinged with the savage melancholy which now gnawed at his heart-strings so unceasingly.
With these inward ills tormenting them, their intercourse with each other was not exactly that of fond lovers; and their very cog­nizance of this but increased the pitch of their misery. They constantly upbraided themselves after the many such unsatisfactory meetings, as being the causes of the same—nor was this the less severe, for each un­selfishly and ignorantly pocketed all the blame, deeming the other to have the person injured. Under such circumstances, he became gloomy and irritable, while she well hid hers beneath a mask of gaiety and en­thusiasm in all the little social events on shipboard. Very naturally, this diversity of mood drew them the farther apart.
And so, while the collective prospects of the little community went from good to better, their individual affairs traveled with unseemly haste from bad to worse. Logically, this stretching out to the extremes must reach an end sometime, and both, intuitively recognizing this, pondered expectantly over the outcome. To make matters worse, they no longer quarreled: this new state of affairs was maintained with the stiff awkwardness of self-consciousness, from which each suffered the more acutely, never suspecting the other to be in the same dilemma. So affairs rapidly approached a crisis, and one night, when the situation had become almost absolutely unbearable to both parties, the electric search-light of a man of war, sent out in quest of them vaguely foreshadowed to each a cessation of their troubles.
The passengers were crowding the weather rail of the Caspar, devouring the lights of the vessel in the offing and feasting their eyes upon its dim, bulky loom. Amid this scene of boisterous rejoicing, Maud felt strangely out of place. It jarred upon her—this gregarious mass which clustered like bees on every hand. She became aware of a longing for solitude. Yielding to the mood, she slipped away and climbed to the deserted bridge.
Similar had been the feeling of Chandler, and similar the action. He burned from one side as she did from the other. Face to face, with the glare of the search-light shining full upon them, they met, midway on the bridge. The next instant and they were in darkness. He had taken her hand, yet they spoke not as they gazed on the dancing lights, heard the merry scream of the boatswain’s whistles upon the battleship, and dimly discerned a boat as it sprang to the man of war’s stroke. Nearer and nearer it came; but it was with a strange apathy that they watched it. The next moment and it would be alongside. Seemingly, they both resolved and spoke at the same time. What each said seemed to startle the other. Surprise, doubt, assurance, gratification, happi­ness, in turn were mutually delineated upon their countenances. What was said they only knew, but it was with light steps and joyous faces, all wreathed in smiles, that they joined their companions of the now­-to-be-abandoned plague ship.
Extract from the San Francisco Daily Herald of six weeks later —
At the Palace Hotel, the consummation of a happy romance, strangely connected with the ill-fated Caspar, is about to be attained. Miss Maud Appleton—an M.D. by the way—of New Orleans, and Doc­tor Chandler of Boston—the two that rendered such effective service in overcoming the plague on the Caspar—are to marry respectively, Mr. Charles Waldworth, Stanford ’93, and his sister, the charming Miss Waldworth, of local social note. It is whispered that Mr. and Miss Waldworth, while ill with the fever, were made test cases for a professional contest between the two M.D.s, and so strenuous and successful were their efforts, that the fruition is the happy dual marriage to be celebrated shortly. But more of this anon.

The End


2. A DREAM IMAGE (1898)

"WHOOP! Rah! Rah! Rah! Get out of the way!"—A thunder of hoofs from behind, and she sprang to the roadside as the turbulent troop dashed by, and in an anarchy of dust and tumult was lost round the next turn of the road. But in the passing she had time to note the fierce beauty, the rugged manhood of each flying figure. "Always the same, reckless fools and madmen," she thought, as she heard them swing to the left at the cross-roads and take the giddy path by the cliffs at a killing lope. Now they stood out in bold relief as they scaled the frightful head of Point Pedro, and she counted six riders ere they turned its flank and were out of sight.
Yes, they were all there, each strapping, wayward son of Old Ralston —Old Ralston, who was as effeminate as any man possibly could be. Whence came this wild strain? And she pondered over the enigma which had so worried the countryside these many years. True, their beauty had come from the mother; but she had never evinced any signs of that savage unconventionality which had been theirs from the cradle. Helen was conversant with the ordinary history of the family. Old Ralston was a self-made man, who, from the drudgery of office boy and clerk, had become a merchant prince. Retiring from business at forty-five, he had married, purchased his beautiful country home, and settled down to become the progenitor of this marvelous race. What wild ancestral strains had been reborn in this wild progeny, she had often peculated on, and her thoughts had always strayed to a picturesque buccaneer of the Spanish Main. It was a pretty fancy, and about the only one she could harmonize with the subject.
And the boyhood of this ungovernable brood: That of the elder sons had come before her time; but like legends, the history of their doings had gone from mouth to mouth. As a little girl she remembered much of the younger boys, and particularly of the youngest, the seventh son. And she remembered now, with a merry smile, an incident of her childhood. How she, six years of age, had been exposed to the wicked wiles of this lad of eight. Meeting accidentally and for the first and last time in his father’s woods, where she had disobediently wandered, he stormed her heart so valiantly that she surrendered on the spot. There they plighted their troth and spent the afternoon in childish frolic. And when discovered by her people, they found a much-berumpled little maid, crowned with wild flowers and honeysuckle, goddess-like, smiling on young Guilbert’s homage. And then the scene —how he threw one arm about her and doubled up his fist in angry menace. And the attack—how he struck John and kicked his shins, twice returning to the repulse; once, leaving an arm of his jacket in his captor’s clutch and attacking her father so vigorously from behind, as to rip his broadcloth all up the back; and again, when the coachman held him, wriggling from out the jacket’s remnants and striking him so as to quite blacken one eye. And the retreat—how he crept from tree to tree, bellowing like a young bull in the rutting season. Then the incessant fusillade of clods and stones, and the spattering of mud he gave them as they recrossed the brook. And as they neared the house his attacks became so bold that they sought refuge in the hot-houses. Here he smashed the glass and behaved so outrageously that they were forced to gain the shelter of the roof-tree while the coachman was engaged in giving him a good trouncing. But nothing seemed to daunt the little savage, for all during tea he wandered round and round the house, howling in insatiable fury. Nor did he retreat till after having fruitlessly challenged every male inmate, from her father to the gardener’s boy, and then it was to escape from his father’s servants, who had made a sally in force.
The boyhood of each had been very similar. After terrorizing the country till their sixteenth or eighteenth years, each had followed in the footsteps of the other, by running away. At first, this characteristic had sorely perplexed the father, but he soon grew to regard it as a childish ill, similar to mumps and measles; and when his last-born, Guilbert, at twenty had manifested none such symptoms, he was surprised and feared for the boy greatly. But Guilbert redeemed the family trait by disappearing while still in his nonage. A living refutation of wagging heads and muttered hints of bad endings, they all came back. And save the broadened polish of the world, they were in no wise changed. Always the same—generous, brave, impulsive; indomitable, wild and fiercely unconventional. But they only sought the home as a pleasant asylum, in which to rest a space from their many adventures, and it was rare coincidence to find the six together in their father’s house. As a household, theirs seemed the reverse of a circle of world-weary wanderers, seeking seclusion from the rush of events. Every outside sport was theirs, and the countryside saw them continually, but the social side, never. Their stables and kennels were a sportsman’s delight; their gymnasium and training quarters a miniature duplicate of those found in the best colleges; and their boathouse the finest on Arunda Bay. Pas­sionately fond, were they, of the water, and in Ralston’s Cove, besides the litter of smaller craft, lay six trim yachts—the best productions of the most famous shipyards. And they were not bay craft, either, but outside schooners, the sum of whose voyages embraced the four quarters.
Yet the gossips, as the countryside, had forgotten Guilbert, the last to leave the nest. He seemed more like the dim recollection of a dream-image, merged in past obscurity. So long had his returning been delayed, that, though with an intuitive belief that it would happen, they no more expected him to appear than Christ himself to herald the Millenium. Of his wild doings there had at first been dreadful tidings; but so completely had he gone beyond the ken of rumor, that in the last several years nothing had been heard of him—of course by the countryside, for what the ostracised Ralston knew was kept to them­selves. But the impression prevailed that Guilbert was the worst, the wildest of the whole brood; that in him was the ripened maturity of every trait which had so served to make the Ralston name notorious. In truth, vague as the impression was, it was so strong, that he was never mentioned without a certain indefinable awe, such as is unconsciously used when men speak of things unusually sacred or terribly evil.
As she continued her stroll, she thought of these things. And as she paused at the cross-roads to drink in the beauty of the nestling bay, she burst into merry laughter, as for the moment she wandered in that magic glen with eight-years-old Guilbert.—This Guilbert, and she imagined the man he had evolved into; and herself, Helen Garthwaithe, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, the college bred woman who had seen and understood the world. The juxtaposition, in thought, of a man such as he must have become, with a woman such as she felt herself to be, was indeed ludicrous.
However, all thought of the wild Ralston race vanished with the contusion of her stroll, when she found herself on the busy pier, pleasuring in the throb of life about her. But her interest lay in a yacht, which had just come to anchor on the channel’s edge. Already a boat had been lowered and covered half the distance, springing gayly to each quick stroke of the oars. As it makes the landing, two flannel-clad men leap ashore, saluting and receiving her welcome. One, slender and boyish, with the first doom of manhood sullying his rosy cheek, crushes her in a bearish hug—her brother, returning from his summer holidays to spend a short week or so at home before the opening of the college year. The other, broad-shouldered, not over-handsome, but whose powerful face bore the stamp of intense intellectuality and whose eyes emitted the deep gaze of the thinker, took her hand with a subdued expression of earnest regard. He was her brother’s friend —not chum, but rather idol, at whose shrine he worshipped with the enthusiasm of youth. He was a marvel of learning, and could string behind his name many proud degrees of collegiate endowment, had played "full," pulled stroke on the Varsity, and broken more than one inter-collegiate record, and again, since entering the world, had well laid the foundation for a brilliant literary and scientific career—in short, was one of those bright, all-round men which the American universities have so well succeeded in turning out. By the analytical mind, such friendships are easily accounted for. But when the childish fondness of the one is reciprocated by the other to such an extent that he is willing to waste his vacations and spare moments upon him, even to going down to visit his people and to endure the usual inflictions of such rashness—well, the analytical mind searches for some hidden spring, while the unconsciously logical animal asks "What’s the sister like?"
Having received the assurance of a late tea and the carriage’s arrival within the hour, Albert descried a group of chums down the pier, and with the glaringly bald diplomacy of all brothers, was off and away. It was not the first time that he had thus displayed his nude tact, and the bareness of it would have been embarrassing, but that they merrily laughed at him and themselves and frankly accepted the situation.
Merged in easy conversation, they strolled down the pier. As they reached its end, his description of the trip was interrupted by the espial of a large schooner-yacht entering the bay, and they paused to admire her beautiful appearance. A gallant sight she was, as she scudded the channel swell. When well abreast, spinnakers, balloon-jib and water-sails came in on the run, and she luffed up, full and by, heading directly for the pier. A hum of admiration rose all a-down the jetty at the seamanship displayed in this manoeuver. On she came, a towering pyramid of snowy canvass above a leaping hull of ebon-black. Nearer and nearer—the yachtsmen began to show surprise and Stanton remarked that it were time she went about. Still on she came, devouring the intervening water at racehorse speed. The old salts began to murmur and in a panic, the crowd swayed back from the pier’s end, leaving Stanton and Helen behind. Each had been in momentary expectancy that she would change her course, but her proximity now denied it. The crash seemed inevitable. Stanton threw an arm about Helen’s waist to drag her back. But at that instant, clear as a bell, with the quick incisiveness of accustomed command, came the order "Hard-a-lee!"
Slapping and snarling, the three jib sheets were cast off; the topsail halyards let go and clewed up on the run by the down-hauls; and the mainsail backed over to windward with a weather tackle. They saw the bow sheer into the wind; but so close that they crouched to avoid the overhanging bowsprit, which descried an aerial circle above them as it swept up, obedient to the helm.
Parallel with the pier and not a dozen feet away, glided the yacht, the cynosure of all eyes. The recklessness of the exploit and the perfec­tion of its execution drew the praise from Stanton’s lips, as they gazed upon the long sweep of the decks. Beautiful as was the picture, it served but as a background for the real picture. Lightly twirling the wheel part over and gazing at the astonished pier with a wickedly exasperating smile, stood a man of such attractive aspect that every eye was drawn. him. His excellent physique was shown off to advantage in an easy yachting costume. But it was in his face that attraction chiefly centered. Handsome were not strong, nor beautiful appropriate, in describing it beauty would be the only adequate symbol. Nor was it exactly beauty, for while the features were strong and pleasantly regular, one felt that the charm was due more to the expression, or rather, reflex of the inner man—a reflex of intense, almost animal, masculinity. But this, in tum, was redeemed by a certain, indefinable something, a sort of higher dominance.
Helen beheld him with a troubled sense of familiarity. It seemed a dim recollection of a dream-image, merged in past obscurity. Her prominent position on the deserted pier end was rendered the more conspicuous by the fact that Stanton’s arm still unconsciously circled her waist. The yachtsman’s roving eye caught hers, and never before had a man’s eyes so affected her, made her so cognizant of sex distinction. For an instant his bold eyes held hers, then dropped to her waist, returned; and with roguish audacity, he laughed full in her face. Keenly appreciating the embarrassing situation, she disengaged Stanton’s arm. Half angry, half hurt, she felt the flush mounting to her face, and as he tossed his head in mod, reproof and cast at her a teasing glance of interrogation, her eyes involuntarily dropped. The next moment, he had glided past, leaving her very uncomfortable, indeed. Down the pier slipped the schooner, while the stranger swept the onlookers with his audacious stare.
"All about!" he cried as he whirled the wheel hard down. The jib and fore-sheets were hauled flat and the yacht sprang away on the other tack
"Now indeed will this theatrical stranger come to grief," said Stanton. "They’ll be resting on the mud in a minute, for there’s but six men can take a boat her size across the Flats."
Nor can it be confessed that Helen felt at all sorry at this prophecy. It was soothing balm to her wounded conceit. But no—across the Flats ran a devious channel, bare of dolphins, buoys, or marks of any description. Thrice he threw the schooner into the wind, and once jibed all over, as he rounded the more difficult turns. Then on and away, straight for the Ralston boat-house. As he neared, the boat-house burst forth in a flame of bunting and roar of salute, while at the mast-head, the yacht ran up the Ralston pennant.
"Guilbert, wild Guilbert has returned at last," was the hum of sur­prise which traveled up and down the jetty.

She had stolen away from the noisy group about the campfire, for on this night she had lapsed into one of her moods and wished to be alone. She was tired of gregarious humanity and suffered from a stress of entertaining. Her brother’s vacation drew to a close, and for the past three days the brunt of hostess had fallen upon her in seeing to the accommodation and amusement of his friends. A score of lusty undergraduates they were—the Glee Club of his college. To-night, on this moonlight sail, their rough hilarity had jarred upon her, and when the wind dropped, she had hailed with delight the proposition to go ashore and build a campfire.
And so she strolled down the moonlit sands, communing with herself, dreaming strange dreams, and giving full rein to her restless ambition. In the dawning of her creative intellectuality, with the world before her and the field of action barely entered upon, was it strange that her talent throbbed within her to the pulse of unknown forces, to the rising fermentation of desires which bade her spring out into rush­ing humanity and invest with her individuality some of its shifting scenes, or to give the permanency of the terrestrial absolute to some of its transient formulas?
Mid the chaos of her thoughts and longings, she heard the strong young voices rise on the windless air, as they sang the Pilgrim’s Chorus. She paused to listen, only to lose herself in the embrace of her desires. Lone strayed in meditation, she again roused when the full, rich tones of Stanton’s voice, invested with all the sweet sadness of Ah! che la morte!, held the calm night with their magic.
As she listened, to her surprise she heard, quite close, a tenor subduedly take up the strain. Startled, interested, she rounded the small bluff, and there, in sharp relief against the yellow stretch of sand and bathed in the silvery moonlight, beheld wild Guilbert Ralston. Bewildered, she came to a halt and watched him. As he sang, his face, raised full to the moon, seemed lighted with a bright glow, as of spirituality. And gazing, she endeavored to analyze: it was not the saintlike, Christlike reflex of pure divinity—mortality, with all its strength and weakness, was too manifest—rather, it seemed, a soul, heir to fierce passions and the trammels of the flesh, bathing in the effulgence of a latent nobility It seemed to symbolize in fiery lettering, I AM: I MIGHT BE. It was as a rebellious spirit, linked to the earth by its pride and weakness, and the phrase, "Lucifer, bright son of the morn," came into her thoughts, unsummoned.
The song ceased. The bright glow faded softly away, and his soul returned. earth and beheld her. Mortality usurped divinity: the god had flown, the man returned: and in his eyes shone the careless, open admiration of man.
He advanced to meet her, doffed his hat, and with bold assurance said, "As you have surreptitiously gazed upon the beauty of my abstraction, so let me gaze, frankly and openly, on yours." And gaze he did, till her eyes were wet with the mute protest of indignation.
"We have met before," he continued. "The other day on the pier, you know. Of course, no introduction; but then how delightfully informal." And he smiled so ingenuously, and with such an air of good fellowship, that her resentment was already half removed.
"And that was not the first time," she enigmatically replied.
"Ah, at a distance I suppose, where you had the advantage."
"No."
"Then who are you? You must be some forgotten friend of my boyhood."
"You were a very small boy at the time, and you will, or rather should remember an instance in which you behaved abominably."
"I’m afraid I can remember too many—which one were you concerned in?"
"Don’t you recollect the time you wrecked the hot-houses and our coachman gave you a thrashing?" "Oh! Then you are Helen Garthwaithe, whom I wooed and won and lost with such celerity. You cut me the very next day."
"And you must confess you deserved it."
"Yes, I suppose so. But think of the blight you cast on my budding genius. Why, I had commenced a poem to you, of most wonderful versification, and I never touched it again. I found it yesterday, in overhauling some of my boyish traps. How time flies—it seems only the other day that I met that little maiden wandering in my father’s woods and today—why I’ve taken great pleasure in reading your As the Heart Desires."
"And how did you find it? I suppose you reached the generous masculine conclusion, that it was a pity women would insist going in for the Higher Education."
"Oh no. I’ve become reconciled. it. And I found it very readable, though disagreeing with a number of the conclusions."
"So little Guilbert has turned critic—it’s much easier than writing poems of wonderful versification, isn’t it? But I hope you’ll be as lenient as were my reviewers."
"There’s the rub—simply because you were a woman, they handled you with gloves. Or—Oh I don’t know—perhaps they look at it differently than I do. It was admirably, and in the main, correctly handled; but as I said before, some of your conclusions were wrong. To appropriate a delightful phrase, you have not yet ’solved the mystery of woman,’ and as to that of man, you’re lamentably ignorant."
"And of course that statement puts you in the position of one who has. I’m afraid egotism—but there, we’ll not quarrel. And I do hope, Mr. Ralston, that we shall become good friends; though I’m afraid we shall see little of each other."
"I am home to stay."
"You are not going away?"
"No, but—"
"But what?"
"I can hardly express myself—"
"Oh! I see what you mean—our ostracisation. I suppose my brothers never attempted to redeem it. It does not hurt me. One sows the wind and must harvest the same. But I’d storm Olympus for desire’s sake, and since I desire to know you better, I’ll cultivate society. The doors will be opened, never fear."
"Then we shall—there! They are calling me, and if I don’t come, they will. I am really glad to have met you Mr. Ralston. Goodbye."
He took the extended hand, and then, as she fled down the beach, muttered "Gad! That’s part of the mystery I’d like to solve!"
True to his word, Guilbert cultivated society—not that it was a new venture, but that here he had to face a long-established and deep-rooted prejudice. It was a society which had witnessed the birth, boyhood and manhood of himself and brothers, yet had never opened its doors to them. Furthermore, he and his had never attempted to propitiate it, but rather had taken pleasure in the estrangement, never missing a chance of displaying their disregard and contempt. But now things were changed, and Guilbert set about the conquest with an earnestness which brooked no defeat. Through his forceful personality, his charm of manner, his traveled polish and his knowledge of men and things, he soon became popular; and before long, no social function was complete without him. To him, it was a fascinating game, and even society felt the pleasant danger-thrill of contact with this social pariah. In fact, though fond mothers often looked askance, he became quite a lion. A clever conversationalist, familiar with the most diversified subjects, and with both a high intuitive and educated knowledge of human nature; small wonder that he pleased all and became one of the most favored.
They met often, and Helen beheld with dismay the increasing glamor of his presence. Many a stern self-analysis she gave herself; yet the problem was as perplexing as ever. At last she evolved the hoary axiom—human nature is not logical. Still, little satisfaction was to be gleaned from it. But one day a light broke in upon her. Summoning her soul to Judgement, she confessed that it was love—love that was not to be found within the narrow limits of reason—and strangest of all, that this absurd, illogical malady was hers.
In vain she endeavored to stem the tide; but she could not force her reason to reassert itself. The daring intrepidity of his race brooked no defense and hurried her on, till he had stormed her heart as valiantly as in that magic dell of long ago. The struggle was short but severe, and on the crumbling ruins of her philosophy, she realized that there was much to learn from the dual mystery of man and woman.
With the surrender, her alliance of the emotions with the concise particles of gray matter was dissevered, and conscious of loving and being loved, she wonderingly gazed on the broadening sweep of life. It seemed as though she had been translated to a new sphere, a delicious fairyland of reality. And she was appalled at the absurdity, the ludicrity of the ideals she had builded or the tenets she had held in her previous existence. Never had she idealized such a character as Guilbert’s, and constantly had she frowned upon the recognition of a double moral standard. Dry logic and philosophy had fled before the glorious front of love? She no longer thought; she felt.

Bright summer had fled, and lingering autumn prepared the stern advent of winter. But the sun beat warmly on the breathless air and the land seemed to forget that the days of cold and gloom were so near at hand.
She brought her horse to a walk, listening with vague pleasure to the soft swish swish of the fallen leaves as he picked his steps on the narrow path. With her trained physique, she thought nothing of forty miles a-horse, and though appreciating the advantages of modem travel, thoroughly enjoyed it. The day before, she had taken the road around the outlying spurs of Delarado and spent the night at Irving, at the home of a college chum; but in returning, she had chosen the rough bridle-path across the mountain.
Lost in a reverie, she forgot the miles before her and let fall the rein on Dick’s neck. Tonight, Guilbert and she had decided the announcement was to be made; tonight, the die was to be irrevocably cast; tonight, this heralding of her own happiness was to bring disappointment and sorrow to another. Stanton had written that he was coming down this day, not for long, perhaps to return immediately. And her woman’s heart knew why.
Suddenly she heard a childish laugh, and Dick stopped midway in a narrow turn, to lazily contemplate a little boy who blocked the way. His hands were manfully buried in jacket pockets, his face wreathed in the merry wonder of childhood.
"How beautiful!" she thought, for she worshipped at the shrine of young life unsullied, yet pregnant with the secrets of futurity.
"I wish you a good morning," he said doffing his hat with a rare, faint grace. "Don’t you like riding?" he continued. "I do—that is, I’d like to but papa thinks I’m not old enough—I’m not six yet, you know."
"Yes; she replied absently, studying his face and endeavoring to recall some familiar likeness.
"Yes, and when I’m six he’s going to give me a little pony." And he drew himself up in the pride of prospective ownership.
"But are you not afraid to go so far in the woods, and all alone?"
"My papa is not afraid of anything and neither am I. You ought to see the lions and tigers he’s killed—and elephants too. And he says it’s wrong for a man to be afraid,"
“You are a stranger here, a city boy, I suppose?"
"Oh no, not a city boy," he corrected. "I live in town, but you see, I often go to the country. Nana is only a little ways behind. May I ride back with you to meet her?"
Grasping his outstretched hands, she pulled him astride of Dick’s neck, facing her. Brushing back the wavy hair from his forehead, she looked into his black eyes and scanned the dark beauty of his face. And as she pondered with a vague sense of foreboding, he prattled on, telling her of his toys, his pets, but principally of his father, for whom he evidently had great admiration. He did not live with him but in town, and Nana sometimes brought him down to see him. He came on a horse too, with his big dog. "My father is a man," he concluded proudly, "a man just like I want to be."
"Oh the familiarity of that face!" she thought. It seemed the dim recollection of a dream-image, merged in past obscurity.
"Guilbert!" A woman’s voice rang out. "Guilbert!Come here you naughty boy! How can Nana find you?"
How it stung her! A frightful speculation assuming confirmation! But restraining herself— "And your name, my little man?"
"Guilbert, Guilbert Ralston."
She could hardly keep the saddle; but the mother appearing, she returned the boy, uttered a few conventionalities, and was away at a wild gallop down the rail.
The crash had come. Her philosophy had dissolved before her great love; now that was gone and nothing but a void remained. She could not think—only conjecture and fret. In short, now that the first pain was past, she had fallen into a mood of disgust, aimless and passive.
A sleepless night and a headache had been her portion, and now, events of yesterday seemed a half dream. Returning from her ride, she had barely gained her room when pounding hoofs on the drive-way announced Guilbert’s arrival. Coming late, he had evidently learned of her presence from the woman and boy, and failed to overtake her in those swift twenty miles. But she had denied herself to him.
Today he had returned, but she kept to her room, pleading sickness. Besides, divining Stanton’s mission, she was afraid to meet him. Like, wounded animal, she wanted to crawl away and suffer alone.
The afternoon was well along and the house quiet: evidently everybody had gone off. In an endeavor to escape herself, she would go down to the boat-house and take out her canoe. Slipping through the deserted house, she gained her wheel and was down the drive, barely escaping the ambushed Stanton who was lying in the hammock with his book. Down the grounds and into the road, she sped through the lengthening shadows.
"Helen!" And from the bushes by the wayside, sprang Guilbert.
"Helen!" in entreaty. But she was already beyond earshot.
But no, not safe. Few were the minutes before she heard the unmistakable sound of a loping horse. At the crest of the hill, just catching the first glimpse of the boat-house, she looked back down the long stretch of road. Guilbert had mounted a horse from the paddock, and hatless, sans bridle or saddle, guiding with his knees, he was riding like a Comanche Indian.
"Verily, for his desire would he storm Olympus," she thought as she flew down the long grade. Nor could she deny a certain pleasurable thrill at this exhibition of his ardour. But she gained the boat-house and watched him go on down the beach.
The wind was strong and squally, already blowing half a gale. Soon the was out on the edge of the bar, breasting the tremendous seas and forgetting herself in the keen struggle. For an hour she beat back and forth in her frail craft, skimming the whitecaps which would hav swamped many a larger boat.
"Helen!" Peremptory—no longer entreating. He had seized some fisherman’s plunger on the beach and continued the chase.
The boat dashed past; so closely, that he dropped the tiller in a vain effort to catch her canoe. Her cockleshell handling in less room, she clacked off the two little sheets and headed for the boat-house. But he wore around, jibed over, and cut off her retreat.
It was contested skillfully on either side. Twice he blanketed her, and in the calm of his lea asked her to listen to him. Yet she refused. Again he took the wind from out her small sails and attempted to catch the canoe with a boat-hook. But she was out with her paddle and away, this time getting to windward to prevent the repetition of this maneuver. With the certitude of fate, he beat up against the wind in her wake, edging her nearer to the breaking bar. Merciless, he forced her closer to the danger.
Then the untamable spirit of her Teutonic ancestry flamed up—the dogged obstinacy, the fearlessness, the wild danger-love. The bar was a stretch of death, yet she would venture it. Drawing the canvass coverings about her body so that no water could enter the canoe, she shook her sails dose into the wind and headed across. Perhaps that buccaneer ancestor, with the passion of burning ships and sacking cities for gold and maidens, animated Guilbert, for he also plunged into the threatening ruin.
Three great combers passed her before they broke, but the fourth could not be escaped. She was caught by the cap and hurled like a cork into the great hollow, buried in a smother of foam. Yet the canoe was staunch and righted without difficulty. The plunger met a similar sea and emerged with the cockpit half afloat. At last they shot out from the last great wave into the long swell of open ocean.
But she heard the churn of the fore-shoe, the complaining after-leach, and the jerk of the sheet on the noisy traveler, as the plunger gradually drew near. Now the bow was abreast of her, and so close that she could have touched it with her paddle. She shot up into the wind; but the plunger luffed, followed her about, and blanketed her on the other tack. It poised above her on a great sea—for he had thrown the helm hard up in order to run her down. There was a crash of splintering wood and a rush of water, then a strong arm grasped her and she was drawn into the cockpit.

How happily the years had flown!—she gazed dreamily into the fire and her thoughts sped back to that wild night at sea. How, amid the howling elements, he crushed her to him and forced her to listen—laid his life bare, told her all, each mishap, every error. The mother, his wife, but dead. And the boy had found a second mother in her sister. So the darkness was dispelled, and for the third time and more tempestuously than ever, he had wooed and won her.
Though the countryside shook its head and muttered fearful prophecies, they had married, and strange to say, happiness had been her lot. As for Guilbert—I AM, BECAUSE I WAS: I MIGHT BE, BECAUSE I AM.
"Helen!"
She awoke to greet him, and the dream-image, merged in past obscurity, vanished—the realization, the reality remained.

The End


3. OLD BALDY (1899)

"I DECLARE! so the deacon’s goin’ to try his hand on Old Baldy, eh?" Jim Wheeler chuckled gleefully at the news, and rubbed his hands. "Wall, mebbe somethin’ ’ll happen," he went on, "an’ mebbe it won’t, but I sh’an’t be a mite s’prised if Old Baldy comes out a-top."
"The deacon’s got a right powerful will," Sim Grimes suggested dubiously. "An’ so has Baldy—powerful’st will in the country, bar none. But critters is critters and—" And Grimes was just preparing to unload his mind of certain ideas concerning man’s primacy in the physical world, when the other cut him short.
"Now jest look here, Sim Grimes! Have you ever hearn tell of one man what limbered up Old Baldy when Old Baldy wa’n’t so minded? There’s Tucker an’ Smith an’ Johnson, an’ Olsen, an’ Ordway an’ Wellman—didn’t the whole caboodle try their luck at breakin’ Old Baldy’s sperrit, an’ didn’t the whole caboodle give it up? Jest tell me this, Sim Grimes—did you ever in yer born days hear on one man or passel of men gittin’ Old Baldy on his feet when he took it into his head to lay down?"
"Mebbe yer right," Sim Grimes assented mildly, then his old faith in Deacon Barnes returning, "But the deacon’s got a right powerful will."
"But Deacon Barnes jined a Prevention of Cruelty to Animals soci­ety, didn’t he?" Grimes nodded. "An’ he don’t b’lieve in whippin’ dumb brutes?"
"Nope."
"Then how in the land of Goshen kin he make Old Baldy git up when he ain’t in the mood?"
"It’s more’n I kin tell," Grimes answered, at the same time starting up his horses. But before he was out of earshot he turned and called back, "But the deacon’s got a powerful will!"
The farmers of Selbyville had little use for Old Baldy, and less regard; yet he was one of the finest oxen in the county, and perhaps the largest in the state. A good worker and a splendid yoke-animal, a stranger might have wondered at the celerity with which his various owners rid themselves of him, after having been inveigled into buy­ing him. The same stranger might have worked him a week before he discovered why, and again an hour would have sufficed to unearth the secret. Old Baldy had but one fault—he was stubborn. And he manifested this stubbornness in but one way. Whenever things did not exactly go to suit him, he simply lay down in his tracks, there and then, consulting neither his own nor his master’s convenience. And there he would stay. Nothing could move him. Force was useless; persuasion as bad. The heavens might roll up as a scroll, or the stars fall from their seats in the sky, but there Old Baldy would stay until of his own free will he decided to get up and move along. Never from the time yoke was first put upon him had a man succeeded in budging him against his will. It was asserted that he had caused more gray hairs to grow in the heads of the Selbyville farmers than all the mortgages of the past three generations. He always went absurdly cheap, and man after man had bought him in the fond hope of conquering him, and winning not only the approbation of his fellows, but a very good bargain. And man after man sold him for little or nothing, insanely happy at being rid of so much vexation of spirit.
"As stubborn as Old Baldy" became a figure of speech, the common property of the community. Fathers conjured obedience from their sons by its use; the schoolmaster employed it on his stiff-necked pupils; and even the minister, calling sinners to repentance, blanched the cheek of the most unregenerate with its brand. But in the language of Deacon Barnes alone, it had no place. It was his wont to smile and chuckle when others made use of the phrase, till people remarked it would be a blessing if he only got the tough old ox once in his hands. And now, after Old Baldy had become thoroughly set in the iniquity of his ways, the deacon had bought him off Joe Westfield for a song. Selbyville looked forward to the struggle with great interest, and sly grins and open skepticism were the order of the day whenever the topic was mentioned. They knew the deacon had a will of iron, but they also knew Old Baldy; and their collective opinion was that the deacon, like everybody else who had tried their hand at it, was bound to get the worst of the bargain.

Deacon Barnes and Old Baldy were coming down the last furrow of the ten-acre patch back of the pasture. Five rods more of the plow and it would be ready for the harrow. Old Baldy had been behaving splendidly and the deacon was jubilant. Besides, Bob, his promising eldest-born, had just run half-way across the pasture and shouted that dinner was ready and waiting.
"Comin’!" he shouted back, no more dreaming that he would fail to reach the end of the furrow than that the dinner call was the trumps of judgment. Just then Old Baldy stopped. The deacon looked surprised. Baldy sighed contently. "Get up!" he shouted, and Baldy, with a hurt expression on his bovine countenance, proceeded to lie down.
Deacon Barnes stepped around where he could look into his face, and talked nicely to him, with persuasion and pathos mixed; for he feared greatly for Old Baldy’s wellbeing. Not that he intended whip­ping him brutally or anything like that, but—well, he was Deacon Barnes, with the ripened will of all the male Barnes that had gone before, and he hadn’t the slightest intention of being beaten by a stub­born old ox. So they just looked each other in the eyes, he talking mildly and Baldy listening with complacent interest till Bob shouted a second time across the pasture that dinner was waiting.
"Look here, Baldy," the deacon said, rising to his feet; "if you want to lay there so mighty bad, ’tain’t in me to stop you. Only give you fair warnin’—the sweets of life do cloy, and you kin git too much of a good thing. Layin’ down in the furrer ain’t what it’s cracked up to be, an’ you’ll git a-mighty sick on it before yer done with me." Baldy gazed at him with stolid impudence, saying as plainly as though he spoke, "Well, what are you going to do about it?"
But the deacon never lost his temper. "I’m goin’ to git a bite to eat," he went on, turning away; "an’ when I come back I’ll give you one more chance. But mark my words, Baldy, it’ll be yer last."
At the table, Deacon Barnes, instead of being at all irritated, radi­ated even more geniality than was his wont, and this in the face of the fact that Mrs. Barnes had a mild attack of tantrums because he had kept dinner waiting. Afterwards, when he went out on the porch, he saw Jim Wheeler had pulled up his horses where he could look over the fence at the victorious Baldy. When he passed the house he waved his hand and smiled knowingly at the deacon, and went on to spread the news that the deacon and Old Baldy were "at it."
But there was a certain unusual exhilaration in the deacon’s face and step as he led off to the barn with Bob following in his footsteps. There he proceeded to load up his eldest-born with numerous iron and wooden pegs and old pieces of chain and rope. Then, with his ax in hand, he headed across the pasture to the scene of mutiny. "Come! Git up, Baldy!" he commanded. "It’s high time we got this furrer finished."
Baldy regarded him passively, with half-veiled, lazy eyes. "Reckon it be more comfortable where you are, eh? B’lieve in takin’ it easy, eh? All right. You can’t say Deacon Barnes is a hard master." As he talked, he worked, driving pegs all about the stubborn animal. Then from the pegs he stretched ropes and chains, passing them across Baldy till that worthy was hard and fast to mother earth—so hard and fast that it would have required a steam derrick to get him to his feet. "Jest enjoy yourself, Baldy," the deacon called, as he started away. "Ill come up to-morrer after breakfast an’ see how you be."
True to his word, in the morning the deacon paid his promised visit. But Baldy was yet strong in his will, and he behaved sullenly as animals well know how. He even tried to let on that it was real nice lying out there with nothing to do, and that the deacon worried him with his chatter, and had better go away. But Deacon Baines stayed a full quarter of an hour, talking pleasantly, with a cheery, whole-souled ring to his voice which vexed Baldy greatly.
In the evening, after supper, he made another visit. Old Baldy was feeling stiff and sore from lying in one position all day with the hot sun beating down upon him. He even betrayed anxiety and interest when he heard his master’s steps approaching, and there was a certain softening and appeal in his eyes. But the deacon made out he didn’t see it, and after talking nicely for a few minutes went home again. In the morning Baldy received another visit. By this time he was not only sore, but hungry and thirsty as well. He was no longer indifferent to his owner’s presence, and he begged so eloquently with his eyes that the deacon was touched, but he hardened his heart and went back to the house again. He had made up his mind to do what all Selbyville dur­ing a number of years had failed to accomplish, and now that he had started he was going to do it thoroughly.
When he came out again after dinner, Baldy was abject in his humility. His pleading eyes followed his master about unceasingly, and once, when the deacon turned as though to go away, he actually groaned. "Sweets do cloy, eh?" Deacon Barnes said, coming back. "Even lyin’ in the furrer is vanity and vexation, eh? Well, I guess we’ll finish this furrer now. What d’you say Baldy? And after that you kin have somethin’ to eat an’ a couple o’ buckets of water. Eh? What d’you say?"
It can never be known for a fact as to whether Baldy understood his master’s words or not, but he showed by his actions that he thoroughly understood when the ropes and chains were loosened and removed. "Kind o’ cramped, eh?" the deacon remarked as he helped him to his feet. "Well, g’long now, let’s finish this furrer."
Baldy finished that furrow, and after that there was never a furrow he commenced that he did not finish. And as for lying down—well, he manifested a new kind of stubbornness. He couldn’t be persuaded or bullied into lying down. No sir, he wouldn’t have it; he’d finish the furrow first, and all the furrows all day long. He grew real stubborn when it came to lying down. But the deacon didn’t mind. And all Selbyville marveled, and a year afterward more than one farmer, including Jim Wheeler, was offering the deacon far more for Old Baldy than he had paid. But Deacon Barnes knew a bargain when he had got it, and he was just as stubborn in refusing to sell as Old Baldy was in refusing to lie down.

The End


4. THE END OF THE CHAPTER

"YOU’VE been beastly. You’ve taken no interest in anything, gone nowhere, done nothing—played the hermit. What’s come over you, anyway? Hermitage, old man, is a synonym for hell."
"Why search so far?" Jack Lennon favored his interlocutor with an apathetic glance. "The world complies more precisely with the invoice. The world, dear chap, is the only original and simon-pure synonym for hell."
"Not so long as it holds one honest man or woman."
"Go on, Lennon prompted. "It’s certainly invigorating to listen. The enthusiasms of youth, its unsullied ideals, were ever a pleasure to me. They come like the fresh winds of the sea, rampant with the large airs of unworldly wisdom—."
"And killing with their salt the dismal fungus which rots on the worldly wise."
"Good! It is a dismal fungus—rotten, noisome. Keep to your potent illusions. Like the chastity of woman, like the bloom on her cheek, they can never renew. Once brushed aside, they can but curse by recollec­tion: memory becomes a blight, a blasted tablet to one’s own iniquities. Ah, Golden Youth, thrice Golden Youth, trail thou thy clouds of glory elsewhere. I’m going home."
"I say, don’t be in a rush. Let’s wander around town and have a—a—dickens of a time. Come on, I’ll cheer you up."
"Avoid the paths of dalliance, Oh Golden Youth; for with the prim­roses you gather, one by one; just so, one by one, do your bright-winged illusions slip away. You cannot eat your cake and keep it. I’m going home. Good-night."
"Blues, blacker than the hinges of Sheol!" the Golden Youth commended with himself as he watched Jack Lennon’s back disappear through the swinging doors. "Ten thousand a year, and not an interest in life. And nothing the matter with him." There was an aggrieved pitch to his thought. "First thing I know I’ll be called out of bed at an unseemly hour to identify some horrible cadaver at the morgue. See if I don’t. Scare-heads in the morning papers. Shocking Event. Prominent Clubman. The Erstwhile Jolly Bohemian—ough!"
The Gilded Youth shivered and sought refuge from his imagination in the noise and clatter of the billiard-room.
Home! Jack Lennon mouthed the word with intense vindictiveness and loathing of spirit, Home! This bemirrored hotel, this gaudy palace —home. He rubbed shoulders with his gregarious species, and took the elevator through the many-floored, many roomed bee-hive to his own apartments.
"Ring up for a whiskey and soda," he said to his brass-imaged serv­ing man, "and then you can go."
"Go?"
"Yes, go! To bed—anywhere. I won’t need you. In the morning, before you do anything else, you will find a couple of letters on my desk. Mail them. Understand? Before you do anything else."
"Yes, sir."
Left to himself, for a while he stood absently at the window, mooning down upon the scintillating street. Then, as though in sudden recollection of an appointment, he proceeded to make his toilet, scrupulously, if anything, with more than his customary care. When he shaved, it was with the greatest circumspection that he went over with his razor a second time. Even from the corruption of death do they draw their vigor, he thought; and Hawthorne’s auburn-haired woman in her secret sepulchre came to him with unpleasant vividness.
After manicuring his nails with fastidious consideration, and pinning a bud to the lapel of his coat, he wrote a couple of short notes at his desk, addressing, sealing, stamping them with the business-like precision of a clerk. It seemed as though many little things clamored for his attention, and that there should be nothing slovenly in the attention he afforded them. He paused in the act of drawing a black leather case from the desk drawer to light a cigar. The anodyne of the weed painted its pleasure in his eyes. Then he secured a current mag­azine from the reading stand, and in the company of the black leather case, stretched himself with a comfortable sigh on the sofa.
For while he read, consciously, receptively, so much so that he permitted the cigar to go out. He laid the periodical aside in order to relight it.
"The end of the chapter," he murmured aloud, idly watching the fantastic smoke-wreathes ascend toward the frescoed ceiling.
And why not? Was not that the one prerogative granted to him and denied to God? And being granted, why should he not exercise it? Unbidden he had come; without summons he could go. Who should say him nay? An experiment, he remembered some one had said, a ques­tion put by man to nature, an endeavor to force from her the fecund mystery or the barren falsity of existence. And either way, he reasoned, there was little to lose and much to gain.
He smiled at his dialectical subtleties, and fell to watching the lengthening ash of his Havana. Then his thoughts flew to Claudio’s panic terror and grewsome speculations on the aftermath of death: "Or to be worse than worst of those that lawless and uncertain thoughts imagine howling."
He laughed softly at the wanton vagaries of his mind, and returned to the smoke-wreathes. The humors of his imagination seized upon him, and he gave free rein, following its whimsicalities through the ed­dying draperies in much the manner of a bubble-blowing child. It gave zest to the game, to play thus on the giddy verge. The mood pleased him.
But suddenly, so swift that he failed to trace the nexus of his jostling fancies, the smoke resolved itself into white surf thundering on an ocean shore. The couch took unto itself the likeness of a yellow-sanded sea-beach. The golden-balled sun poised at the zenith, while far away, in the haze of the windless sea, melting into the mists of the sky-line, he could discern the dim canvas of a merchant-man.
He was interested. His curiosity was aroused. For a moment he tore himself away from his subjective self that he might identify the scene. Somewhere, sometime, it had been recorded on his brain, had been one of the countless factors in deepening the convolutions of his rugged gray matter. When? Where? Ah, the day he had dared Kitty to be a child again and go in wading! And did she dare? Yes; for he remembered their Predicament—how the wet sand clung to their feet when they came to resume the wool and leather gear of civilization; how they buried them in warm sand till the tiny particles were dried and brushed away; how they laughed, devoid of guile or convention. Jove! a day for the gods!
Where was Kitty? He returned to the thundering surf and the yellow beach. Holding his breath the while, he brushed the sand from one rose-tinted foot. How small it was! and soft! He caught himself covertly comparing it with his own. And he smiled at his grave deceit as he needlessly protracted the task. And the final inspection, in case one glittering grain remained—from the slender ankle, discreetly veiled by the corduroy-braided skirt, over the white-arched instep, down to the last pink wee toe. Jove!
His cigar was out. With the vision still strong upon him, he opened the black leather case and drew forth the world’s modem asp—that which was to drop the last period at the chapter’s end. He threw out the cylinder with an adroit twist of the wrist, assured himself of its contents, and jerked it into place again. But up there, among the vanishing smoke clouds, palpitated a foot, rose-tinted, white-arching. He laid the revolver on his breast and closed his eyes. It was still there, shimmering through his eyelids as though they were of gauze. A foot, replete with tender and bewitching memories. A foot, which had tripped lightly across his life’s scroll and left no trace. Well, well, the confounded thing was pretty. He would wait until it was gone. His aesthetic sense revolted at doing the deed in so fair a presence. Yes, he would wait until it saw fit to go.

An hour later he came to his feet with sudden determination and looked at himself in the mirror. A facetious smile played upon his lips.
"Jack Lennon," he said, ’’you’ve been a fool, a gorgeous fool, and now you’re going to bed to escape being a greater one."
One hand drew the bud from his coat lapel; with the other he aided the two notes in a precipitate descent from the writing desk to the paper basket.
As he drew the coverings to his chin and felt the cool contact of the sheets, he muttered: "The world? Not so long as one woman’s foot twinkles above ground. For with each foot there goes a chapter, and there be many such feet."

The End


5. SEMPER IDEM

Doctor Bicknell was in a remarkably gracious mood. Through a minor accident, a slight bit of carelessness, that was all, a man who might have pulled through had died the preceding night. Though it had been only a sailorman, one of the innumerable unwashed, the steward of the receiving hospital had been on the anxious seat all the morning. It was not that the man had died that gave him discomfort, he knew the Doctor too well for that, but his distress lay in the fact that the operation had been done so well. One of the most delicate in surgery, it had been as successful as it was clever and audacious. All had then depended upon the treatment, the nurses, the steward. And the man had died. Nothing much, a bit of carelessness, yet enough to bring the professional wrath of Doctor Bicknell about his ears and to perturb the working of the staff and nurses for twenty-four hours to come.
But, as already stated, the Doctor was in a remarkably gracious mood. When informed by the steward, in fear and trembling, of the man’s unexpected take-off, his lips did not or much as form one syllable of censure; nay, they were so pursed that snatches of rag-time floated softly from them, to be broken only by a pleasant query after the health of the other’s eldest-born. The steward, deeming it impossible that he could have caught the gist of the case, repeated it.
"Yes, yes," Doctor Bicknell said impatiently; "I understand. But how about Semper Idem? Is he ready to leave?"
"Yes. They’re helping him dress now," the steward answered, pass­ing on to the round of his duties, content that peace still reigned within the iodine-saturated walls.
It was Semper Idem’s recovery which had so fully compensated Doctor Bicknell for the loss of the sailorman. Lives were to him as nothing, the unpleasant but inevitable incidents of the profession, but cases, ah, cases were everything. People who knew him were prone to brand him a butcher, but his colleagues were at one in the belief that a bolder and yet amore capable man never stood over the table. He was not an imaginative man. He did not possess, and hence had no tolerance for, emotion. His nature was accurate, precise, scientific. Men were to him no more than pawns, without individuality or personal value. But as cases it was different. The more broken a man was, the more precarious his grip on life, the greater his significance in the eyes of Doctor Bicknell. He would as readily forsake a poet laureate suffering from a common accident for a nameless, mangled vagrant who defied every law of life by refusing to die, as would a child forsake a Punch and Judy for a circus.
So it had been in the case of Semper Idem. The mystery of the man had not appealed to him, nor had his silence and the veiled romance which the yellow reporters had so sensationally and so fruitlessly ex­ploited in divers Sunday editions. But Semper Idem’s throat had been cut. That was the point. That was where his interest had centred. Cut from ear to ear, and not one surgeon in a thousand to give a snap of the fingers for his chance of recovery. But, thanks to the swift municipal ambulance service and to Doctor Bicknell, he had been dragged back into the world he had sought to leave. The Doctor’s co-workers had shaken their heads when the case was brought in. Impossible, they said. Throat, windpipe, jugular, all but actually severed, and the loss of blood frightful. As it was such a foregone conclusion, Doctor Bicknell had employed methods and done things which made them, even in their professional capacities, shudder. And lo! the man had recovered.
So, on this morning that Semper Idem was to leave the hospital, hale and hearty, Doctor Bicknell’s geniality was in nowise disturbed by the steward’s report, and he proceeded cheerfully to bring order out of the chaos of a child’s body which had been ground and crunched be­neath the wheels of an electric car.
As many will remember, the case of Semper Idem aroused a vast deal of unseemly yet highly natural curiosity. He had been found in a slum lodging, with throat cut as aforementioned, and blood dripping down upon the inmates of the room below and disturbing their fes­tivities. He had evidently done the deed standing, with head bowed forward that he might gaze his last upon a photograph which stood on the table propped against a candlestick. It was this attitude which had made it possible for Doctor Bicknell to save him. So terrific had been the sweep of the razor that had he had his head thrown back, as he should have done to have accomplished the act properly, with his neck stretched and the elastic vascular walls distended, he would have of a certainty well-nigh decapitated himself.
At the hospital, during all the time he travelled the repugnant road bock to life, not a word had left his lips. Nor could anything be learned of him by the sleuths detailed by the chief of police. Nobody knew him, nor had ever seen or heard of him before. He was strictly, uniquely, of the present. His clothes and surroundings were those of the lowest labourer, his hands the hands of a gentleman. But not a shred of writing was discovered, nothing, save in one particular, which would serve to indicate his past or his position in life.
And that one particular was the photograph. If it were at all a likeness, the woman who gazed frankly out upon the onlooker from the card-mount must have been a striking creature indeed. It was an ama­teur production, for the detectives were baffled in that no professional photographer’s signature or studio was appended. Across a corner of the mount, in delicate feminine tracery, was written: "Semper Idem; semper fidelis." And she looked it. As many recollect, it was a face one could never forget. Clever half-tones, remarkably like, were published in all the leading papers at the time; but such procedure gave rise to nothing but the uncontrollable public curiosity and interminable copy to the space-writers.
For want of a better name, the rescued suicide was known to the hospital attendants, and to the world, as Semper Idem. And Semper Idem he remained. Reporters, detectives, and nurses gave him up in despair. Not one word could he be persuaded to utter; yet the flitting conscious light of his eyes showed that his ears heard and his brain grasped every question put to him.
But this mystery and romance played no part in Doctor Bicknell’s interest when he paused in the office to have a parting word with his patient. He, the Doctor, had performed a prodigy in the matter of this man, done what was virtually unprecedented in the annals of surgery. He did not care who or what the man was, and it was highly improbable that he should ever see him again; but, like the artist gazing upon a finished creation, he wished to look for the last time upon the work of his hand and brain.
Semper Idem still remained mute. He seemed anxious to be gone. Not a word could the Doctor extract from him, and little the Doctor cared. He examined the throat of the convalescent carefully, idling over the hideous scar with the lingering, half-caressing fondness of a parent. It was not a particularly pleasing sight. An angry line circled the throat—for all the world as though the man had just escaped the hangman’s noose—and, disappearing below the ear on either side, had the appearance of completing the fiery periphery at the nape of the neck.
Maintaining his dogged silence, yielding to the other’s examination in much the manner of a leashed lion, Semper Idem betrayed only his desire to drop from out of the public eye.
"Well, I’ll not keep you," Doctor Bicknell finally said, laying a hand on the man’s shoulder and stealing a last glance at his own handiwork. "But let me give you a bit of advice. Next time you try it on, hold your chin up, so. Don’t snuggle it down and butcher yourself like a cow. Neatness and despatch, you know. Neatness and despatch."
Semper Idem’s eyes flashed in token that he heard, and a moment later the hospital door swung to on his heel.

It was a busy day for Doctor Bicknell, and the afternoon was well along when he lighted a cigar preparatory to leaving the table upon which it seemed the sufferers almost clamoured to be laid. But the last one, an old rag-picker with a broken shoulder-blade, had been dis­posed of, and the first fragrant smoke wreaths had begun to curl about his head, when the gong of a hurrying ambulance came through the open window from the street, followed by the inevitable entry of the stretcher with its ghastly freight.
"Lay it on the table," the Doctor directed, turning for a moment to place his cigar in safety. "What is it?"
"Suicide—throat cut," responded one of the stretcher bearers. "Down on Morgan Alley. Little hope, I think, sir. He’s ’most gone."
"Eh? Well, I’ll give him a look, anyway." He leaned over the man at the moment when the quick eye made its last faint flutter and succumbed.
"It’s Semper Idem come back again," the steward said.
"Ay," replied Doctor Bicknell, "and gone again. No bungling this time. Properly done, upon my life, sir, properly done. Took my advice to the letter. I’m not required here. Take it along to the morgue."
Doctor Bicknell secured his cigar and relighted it. "That," he said between the puffs, looking at the steward, "that evens up for the one you lost last night. We’re quits now."

The End


6. THE BANKS OF THE SACRAMENTO (1904)

"And it’s blow, ye winds, heigh-ho,
For Cal-i-for-ni-o;
For there’s plenty of gold so I’ve been told,
On the banks of the Sacramento!"

It was only a little boy, singing in a shrill treble the sea chantey which seamen sing the wide world over when they man the capstan bars and break the anchors out for "Frisco" port. It was only a little boy who had never seen the sea, but two hundred feet beneath him rolled the Sacramento. "Young" Jerry he was called, after "Old" Jerry, his fa­ther, from whom he had learned the song, as well as received his shock of bright-red hair, his blue, dancing eyes, and his fair and inevitably freckled skin.
For Old Jerry had been a sailor, and had followed the sea till middle life, haunted always by the words of the ringing chantey. Then one day he had sung the song in earnest, in an Asiatic port, swinging and thrilling round the capstan-circle with twenty others. And at San Fran­cisco he turned his back upon his ship and upon the sea, and went to behold with his own eyes the banks of the Sacramento.
He beheld the gold, too, for he found employment at the Yellow Dream mine, and proved of utmost usefulness in rigging the great ore-cables across the river and two hundred feet above its surface.
After that he took charge of the cables and kept them in repair, and ran them and loved them, and became himself an indispensable fixture of the Yellow Dream mine. Then he loved pretty Margaret Kelly; but she had left him and Young Jerry, the latter barely toddling, to take up her last long sleep in the little graveyard among the great sober pines.
Old Jerry never went back to the sea. He remained by his cables, and lavished upon them and Young Jerry all the love of his nature. When evil days came to the Yellow Dream, he still remained in the em­ploy of the company as watchman over the all-but-abandoned property.
But this morning he was not visible. Young Jerry only was to be seen, sitting on the cabin step and singing the ancient chantey. He had cooked and eaten his breakfast all by himself, and had just come out to take a look at the world. Twenty feet before him stood the steel drum round which the endless cable worked. By the drum, snug and fast, was the ore-car. Following with his eyes the dizzy flight of the cables to the farther bank, he could see the other drum and the other car.
The contrivance was worked by gravity, the loaded car crossing the river by virtue of its own weight, and at the same time dragging the empty car back. The loaded car being emptied, and the empty car being loaded with more ore, the performance could be repeated—a performance which had been repeated tens of thousands of times since the day Old Jerry became the keeper of the cables.
Young Jerry broke off his song at the sound of approaching footsteps, A tall, blue-shirted man, a rifle across the hollow of his arm, came out from the gloom of the pine-trees. It was Hall, watchman of the Yellow Dragon mine, the cables of which spanned the Sacramento a mile farther up.
"Hello, younker!” was his greeting. "What you doin’ here by your lonesome?"
"Oh, bachin’," Jerry tried to answer unconcernedly, as if it were a very ordinary sort of thing. "Dad’s away, you see."
"Where’s he gone?" the man asked.
"San Francisco. Went last night. His brother’s dead in the old country, and he’s gone down to see the lawyers. Won’t be back till tomorrow night."
So spoke Jerry, and with pride, because of the responsibility which had fallen to him of keeping an eye on the property of the Yellow Dream, and the glorious adventure of living alone on the cliff above the river and of cooking his own meals.
"Well, take care of yourself," Hall said, and don’t monkey with the cables. I’m goin’ to see if I can’t pick up a deer in the Cripple Cow Canon."
"It’s goin’ to rain, I think," Jerry said, with mature deliberation.
"And it’s little I mind a wettin’," Hall laughed, as he strode away among the trees.
Jerry’s prediction concerning rain was more than fulfilled. By ten o’clock the pines were swaying and moaning, the cabin windows rattling, and the rain driving by in fierce squalls. At half past eleven he kindled a fire, and promptly at the stroke of twelve sat down to his dinner.
No out-of-doors for him that day, he decided, when he had washed the few dishes and put them neatly away; and he wondered how wet Hall was and whether he had succeeded in picking up a deer.
At one o’clock there came a knock at the door, and when he opened it a man and a woman staggered in on the breast of a great gust of wind. They were Mr. and Mrs. Spillane, ranchers who lived in a lonely valley a dozen miles back from the river.
"Where’s Hall?" was Spillane’s opening speech, and he spoke sharply and quickly.
Jerry noted that he was nervous and abrupt in his movements, and that Mrs. Spillane seemed laboring under some strong anxiety. She was a thin, washed-out, worked-out woman, whose life of dreary and un­ending toil had stamped itself harshly upon her face. It was the same life that had bowed her husband’s shoulders and gnarled his hands and turned his hair to a dry and dusty gray.
"He’s gone hunting up Cripple Cow," Jerry answered. "Did you want to cross?"
The woman began to weep quietly, while Spillane dropped a troubled exclamation and strode to the window. Jerry joined him in gazing out to where the cables lost themselves in the thick downpour.
It was the custom of the backwoods people in that section of country to cross the Sacramento on the Yellow Dragon cable. For this service a small toll was charged, which tolls the Yellow Dragon Company applied to the payment of Hall’s wages.
"We’ve got to get across, Jerry," Spillane said, at the same time jerking his thumb over his shoulder in the direction of his wife. ’’Her father’s hurt at the Clover Leaf. Powder explosion. Not expected to live. We just got word."
Jerry felt himself fluttering inwardly. He knew that Spillane wanted to cross on the Yellow Dream cable, and in the absence of his father he felt that he dared not assume such a responsibility, for the cable had never been used for passengers; in fact, had not been used at all for a long time.
"Maybe Hall will be back soon," he said.
Spillane shook his head, and demanded, "Where’s your father?"
"San Francisco," Jerry answered, briefly.
Spillane groaned, and fiercely drove his clenched fist into the palm of the other hand. His wife was crying more audibly, and Jerry could hear her murmuring, ’And daddy’s dyin’, dyin’!"
The tears welled up in his own eyes, and he stood irresolute, not knowing what he should do. But the man decided for him.
"Look here, kid," he said, with determination, "the wife and me are goin’ over on this here cable of yours! Will you run it for us?"
Jerry backed slightly away. He did it unconsciously, as if recoiling instinctively from something unwelcome.
"Better see if Hall’s back," he suggested.
"And if he ain’t?"
Again Jerry hesitated.
“I’ll stand for the risk,” Spillane added. "Don’t you see, kid, we’ve simply got to cross!"
Jerry nodded his head reluctantly.
"And there ain’t no use waitin’ for Hall," Spillane went on. ’’You know as well as me he ain’t back from Cripple Cow this time of day! So come along and let’s get started.”
No wonder that Mrs. Spillane seemed terrified as they helped her into the ore-car—so Jerry thought, as he gazed into the apparently fathomless gulf beneath her. For it was so filled with rain and cloud, hurtling and curling in the fierce blast, that the other shore, seven hun­dred feet away, was invisible, while the cliff at their feet dropped sheer down and lost itself in the swirling vapor. By all appearances it might be a mile to bottom instead of two hundred feet.
"All ready?" he asked.
"Let her go!" Spillane shouted, to make himself heard above the roar of the wind.
He had clambered in beside his wife, and was holding one of her hands in his.
Jerry looked upon this with disapproval. "You’ll need all your hands for holdin’ on, the way the wind’s yowlin’."
The man and the woman shifted their hands accordingly, tightly gripping the sides of the car, and Jerry slowly and carefully released the brake. The drum began to revolve as the endless cable passed round it, and the car slid slowly out into the chasm, its trolley wheels rolling on the stationary cable overhead, to which it was suspended.
It was not the first time Jerry had worked the cable, but it was the first time he had done so away from the supervising eye of his father. By means of the brake he regulated the speed of the car. It needed reg­ulating, for at times, caught by the stronger gusts of wind, it swayed violently back and forth; and once, just before it was swallowed up in a rain squall, it seemed about to spill out its human contents.
After that Jerry had no way of knowing where the car was except by means of the cable. This he watched keenly as it glided around the doom. "Three hundred feet," he breathed to himself, as the cable markings went by, "three hundred and fifty, four hundred; four hundred and —“
The cable had stopped. Jerry threw off the brake, but it did not move. He caught the cable with his hands and tried to start it by tug­ging smartly. Something had gone wrong. What? He could not guess; he could not see. Looking up, he could vaguely make out the empty car, which had been crossing from the opposite cliff at a speed equal to that of the loaded car. It was about two hundred and fifty feet away. That meant, he knew, that somewhere in the gray obscurity, two hundred feet above the river and two hundred and fifty feet from the other bank, Spillane and his wife were suspended and stationary.
Three times Jerry shouted with all the shrill force of his lungs, but no answering cry came out of the storm. It was impossible for him to hear them or to make himself heard. As he stood for a moment, thinking rapidly, the flying clouds seemed to thin and lift. He caught a brief glimpse of the swollen Sacramento beneath, and a briefer glimpse of the car and the man and woman. Then the clouds descended thicker than ever.
The boy examined the drum closely, and found nothing the matter with it. Evidently it was the drum on the other side that had gone wrong. He was appalled at thought of the man and woman out there in the midst of the storm, hanging over the abyss, rocking back and forth in the frail car and ignorant of what was taking place on shore. And he did not like to think of their hanging there while he went round by the Yellow Dragon cable to the other drum.
But he remembered a block and tackle in the tool-house, and ran and brought lt. They were double blocks, and he murmured aloud, "A purchase of four," as he made the tackle fast to the endless cable. Then he heaved upon it, heaved until it seemed that his arms were being drawn out from their sockets and that his shoulder muscles would be ripped asunder. Yet the cable did not budge. Nothing remained but to cross over to the other side.
He was already soaking wet, so he did not mind the rain as he can over the trail to the Yellow Dragon. The storm was with him, and it was easy going, although there was no Hall at the other end of it to man the brake for him and regulate the speed of the car. This he did for himself, however, by means of a stout rope, which he passed, with a turn, round the stationary cable.
As the full force of the wind struck him in mid-air, swaying the cable and whistling and roaring past it, and rocking and careening the car, he appreciated more fully what must be the condition of mind of Spillane and his wife. And this appreciation gave strength to him, as, safely across, he fought his way up the other bank, in the teeth of the gale, to the Yellow Dream cable.
To his consternation, he found the drum in thorough working order. Everything was running smoothly at both ends. Where was the hitch? In the middle, without a doubt.
From this side, the car containing Spillane was only two hundred and fifty feet away. He could make out the man and woman through the whirling vapor, crouching in the bottom of the car and exposed to the pelting rain and the full fury of the wind. In a lull between the squalls he shouted to Spillane to examine the trolley of the car.
Spillane heard, for he saw him rise up cautiously on his knees, and with his hands go over both trolley-wheels. Then he turned his face to­ward the bank.
"She’s all right, kid!"
Jerry heard the words, faint and far, as from a remote distance. Then what was the matter? Nothing remained but the other and empty car, which he could not see, but which he knew to be there, somewhere in that terrible gulf two hundred feet beyond Spillane’s car.
His mind was made up on the instant. He was only fourteen years old, slightly and wirily built; but his life had been lived among the mountains, his father had taught him no small measure of "sailoring," and he was not particularly afraid of heights.
In the tool-box by the drum he found an old monkey-wrench and a short bar of iron, also a coil of fairly new Manila rope. He looked in vain for apiece of board with which to rig a "boatswain’s chair." There was nothing at hand but large planks, which he had no means of sawing, so he was compelled to do without the more comfortable form of saddle.
The saddle he rigged was very simple. With the rope he made merely a large loop round the stationary cable, to which hung the empty car. When he sat in the loop his hands could just reach the cable conveniently, and where the rope was likely to fray against the cable he lashed his coat, in lieu of the old sack he would have used had he been able to find one.
These preparations swiftly completed, he swung out over the chasm, sitting in the rope saddle and pulling himself along the cable by his hands. With him he carried the monkey-wrench and short iron bar and a few spare feet of rope. It was a slightly up-hill pull, but this he did not mind an much as the wind. When the furious gusts hurled him back and forth, sometimes half twisting him about, and he gazed down into the gray depths, he was aware that he was afraid. It was an old cable. What if it should break under his weight and the pressure of the wind?
It was fear he was experiencing, honest fear, and he knew that there was a "gone" feeling in the pit of his stomach, and a trembling of the knees which he could not quell.
But he held himself bravely to the task. The cable was old and worn, sharp pieces of wire projected from it, and his hands were cut and bleeding by the time he took his first rest, and held a shouted conversation with Spillane. The car was directly beneath him and only a few feet away, so he was able to explain the condition of affairs and his errand.
"Wish I could help you," Spillane shouted at him as he started on, but the wife’s gone all to pieces! Anyway, kid, take care of yourself! I got myself in this fix, but it’s up to you to get me out!"
"Oh, I’ll do it!" Jerry shouted back. "Tell Mrs. Spillane that shell be ashore now in a jiffy!"
In the midst of pelting rain, which half-blinded him, swinging from side to side like a rapid and erratic pendulum, his torn hands paining him severely and his lungs panting from his exertions and panting from the very air which the wind sometimes blew into his mouth with strangling force, he finally arrived at the empty car.
A single glance showed him that he had not made the dangerous journey in vain. The front trolley-wheel, loose from long wear, had jumped the cable, and the cable was now jammed tightly between the wheel and the sheave-block.
One thing was clear—the wheel must be removed from the block. A second thing was equally clear—while the wheel was being removed the car would have to be fastened to the cable by the rope he had brought.
At the end of a quarter of an hour, beyond making the car secure, he had accomplished nothing. The key which bound the wheel on its axle was rusted and jammed. He hammered at it with one hand and held on the best he could with the other, but the wind persisted in swinging and twisting his body, and made his blows miss more often than not. Nine-tenths of the strength he expended was in trying to hold himself steady. For fear that he might drop the monkey-wrench he made it fast to his wrist with his handkerchief.
At the end of half an hour Jerry had hammered the key clear, but he could not draw it out. A dozen times it seemed that he must give up in despair, that all the danger and toil he had gone through were for noth­ing. Then an idea came to him, and he went through his pockets with feverish haste, and found what he sought—a ten-penny nail.
But for that nail, put in his pocket he knew not when or why, he would have had to make another trip over the cable and back. Thrusting the nail through the looped head of the key, he at last had a grip, and in no time the key was out.
Then came punching and prying with the iron bar to get the wheel itself free from where it was jammed by the cable against the side of the block. After that Jerry replaced the wheel, and by means of the rope, heaved up on the car till the trolley once more rested properly on the cable.
All this took time. More than an hour and a half had elapsed since his arrival at the empty car. And now, for the first time, he dropped out of his saddle and down into the car. He removed the detaining ropes, and the trolley-wheels began slowly to revolve. The car was moving, and he knew that somewhere beyond, although he could not see, the car of Spillane was likewise moving, and in the opposite direction.
There was no need for a brake, for his weight sufficiently counter-balanced the weight in the other car; and soon he saw the cliff rising out of the cloud depths and the old familiar drum going round and round.
Jerry climbed out and made the car securely fast. He did it deliberately and carefully, and then, quite unhero-like, he sank down by the drum, regardless of the pelting storm, and burst out sobbing.
There were many reasons why he sobbed—partly from the pain of his hands, which was excruciating; partly from exhaustion; partly from relief and release from the nerve-tension he had been under for so long; and in a large measure from thankfulness that the man and woman were saved.
They were not there to thank him; but somewhere beyond that howling, storm-driven gulf he knew they were hurrying over the trail toward the Clover Leaf.
Jerry staggered to the cabin, and his hand left the white knob red with blood as he opened the door, but he took no notice of it.
He was too proudly contented with himself, for he was certain that he had done well, and he was honest enough to admit to himself that he had done well. But a small regret arose and persisted in his thoughts —if his father had only been there to see!

The End


7. BY THE TURTLES OF TASMAN (1911)

I

Law, order, and restraint had carved Frederick Travers’ face. ft was the strong, firm face of one used to power and who had used power with wisdom and discretion. Clean living had made the healthy skin, and the lines graved in it were honest lines. Hard and devoted work had left its wholesome handiwork, that was all. Every feature of the man told the same story, from the clear blue of the eyes to the full head of hair, light brown, touched with grey, and smoothly parted and drawn straight across above the strong-domed forehead. He was a seriously groomed man, and the light summer business suit no more than befitted his alert years, while it did not shout aloud that its possessor was likewise the possessor of numerous millions of dollars and property.
For Frederick Travers hated ostentation. The machine that waited outside for him under the porte-cochere was sober black. It was the most expensive machine in the county, yet he did not care to flaunt its price or horse-power in a red flare across the landscape, which also was mostly his, from the sand dunes and the everlasting beat of the Pacific breakers, across the fat bottomlands and upland pastures, to the far summits clad with redwood forest and wreathed in fog and cloud.
A rustle of skirts caused him to look over his shoulder. Just the faintest hint of irritation showed in his manner. Not that his daughter was the object, however. Whatever it was, it seemed to lie on the desk before him.
"What is that outlandish name again?’’ she asked, ’’I know I shall never remember. See, I’ve brought a pad to write it down.’’
Her voice was low and cool, and she was a tall, well-formed, clear-skinned young woman. In her voice and complacence she, too, showed the drill-marks of order and restraint.
Frederick Travers scanned the signature of one of two letters on the desk. "Bronislawa Plaskoweitzkaia Travers," he read; then spelled the difficult first portion, letter by letter, while his daughter wrote it down.
"Now, Mary," he added, "remember Tom was always harem scarum, and you must make allowances for this daughter of his. Her very name is—ah—disconcerting. I haven’t seen him for years, and as for her.... " A shrug epitomised his apprehension. He smiled with an effort at wit. "Just the same, they’re as much your family as mine. If he is my brother, he is your uncle. And if she’s my niece, you’re both cousins."
Mary nodded. "Don’t worry, father. I’ll be nice to her, poor thing. What nationality was her mother?—to get such an awful name."
"I don’t know. Russian, or Polish, or Spanish, or something. It was just like Tom. She was an actress or singer—I don’t remember. They met in Buenos Ayres. It was an elopement. Her husband—"
’’Then she was already married!’’
Mary’s dismay was unfeigned and spontaneous, and her father’s irritation grew more pronounced. He had not meant that. It had slipped out.
"There was a divorce afterward, of course. I never knew the details. Her mother died out in China—no; in Tasmania. It was in China that Tom—" His lips shut with almost a snap. He was not going to make any more slips. Mary waited, then turned to the door, where she paused.
"I’ve given her the rooms over the rose court," she said. "And I’m going now to take a last look."
Frederick Travers turned back to the desk, as if to put the letters away, changed his mind, and slowly and ponderingly reread them.

"Dear Fred:

"It’s been a long time since I was so near to the old home, and I’d like to take a run up. Unfortunately, I played ducks and drakes with my Yucatan project—I think I wrote about it—and I’m broke as usual. Could you advance me funds for the run? I’d like to arrive first class. Polly is with me, you know. I wonder how you two will get along.
"Tom.
"PS. If it doesn’t bother you too much, send it along next mail."

"Dear Uncle Fred":

the other letter ran, in what seemed to him a strange, foreign-taught, yet distinctly feminine hand.

"Dad doesn’t know I am writing this. He told me what he said to you. It is not true. He is coming home to die. He doesn’t know it, but I’ve talked with the doctors. And he’ll have to come home, for we have no money. We’re in a stuffy little boarding house, and it is not the place for Dad. He’s helped other persons all his life, and now is the time to help him. He didn’t play ducks and drakes in Yucatan. I was with him, and I know. He dropped all he had there, and he was robbed. He can’t play the business game against New Yorkers. That explains it all, and I am proud he can’t.
"He always laughs and says I’ll never be able to get along with you. But I don’t agree with him. Besides, I’ve never seen a really, truly blood relative in my life, and there’s your daughter. Think of it!—a real live cousin!

"In anticipation,
"Your niece,
"Bronislawa Plaskoweitzkaia Travers.
"PS. You’d better telegraph the money, or you won’t see Dad at all. He doesn’t know how sick he is, and if he meets any of his old friends he’ll be off and away on some wild goose chase. He’s beginning to talk Alaska. Says it will get the fever out of his bones. Please know that we must pay the boarding house, or else we’ll arrive without luggage.
“B.P.T.”

Frederick Travers opened the door of a large, built-in safe and methodically put the letters away in a compartment labelled "Thomas Travers."
"Poor Tom! Poor Tom!” he sighed aloud.

II

The big motor car waited at the station, and Frederick Travers thrilled as he always thrilled to the distant locomotive whistle of the train plunging down the valley of Isaac Travers River. First of all westering white-men had Isaac Travers gazed on that splendid valley, its salmon-laden waters, its rich bottoms, and its virgin forest slopes. Hav­ing seen, he had grasped and never let go. "Land-poor," they had called him in the mid-settler period. But that had been in the days when the placers petered out, when there were no wagon roads nor tugs to draw in sailing vessels across the perilous bar, and when his lonely grist mill had been run under armed guards to keep the marauding Klamaths off while wheat was ground. Like father, like son, and what Isaac Travers had grasped, Frederick Travers had held. It had been the same tenacity of hold. Both had been far-visioned. Both had foreseen the transformation of the utter West, the coming of the railroad, and the building of the new empire on the Pacific shore.
Frederick Travers thrilled, too, at the locomotive whistle, because, more than any man’s, it was his railroad. His father had died still striving to bring the railroad in across the mountains that averaged a hundred thousand dollars to the mile. He, Frederick, had brought it in. He had sat up nights over that railroad; bought newspapers, entered politics, and subsidised party machines; and he had made pilgrimages, more than once, at his own expense, to the railroad chiefs of the East. While all the county knew how many miles of his land were crossed by the right of way, none of the county guessed nor dreamed the number of his dollars which had gone into guaranties and railroad bonds. He had done much for his county, and the railroad was his last and greatest achievement, the capstone of the Travers’ effort, the momentous and marvellous thing that had been brought about just yesterday. It had been running two years, and, highest proof of all of his judgment, dividends were in sight. And farther-reaching reward was in sight. It was written in the books that the next Governor of California was to be spelled Frederick A. Travers.
Twenty years had passed since he had seen his elder brother, and then it had been after a gap of ten years. He remembered that night well. Tom was the only man who dared run the bar in the dark, and that last time, between nightfall and the dawn, with a southeaster breezing up, he had sailed his schooner in and out again. There had been no warning of his corning—a clatter of hoofs at midnight, a lath­ered horse in the stable, and Tom had appeared, the salt of the sea on his face as his mother attested. An hour only he remained, and on a fresh horse was gone, while rain squalls rattled upon the windows and the rising wind moaned through the redwoods, the memory of his visit a whiff, sharp and strong, from the wild outer world. A week later, sea-hammered and bar-bound for that time, had arrived the revenue cut­ter Bear, and there had been a column of conjecture in the local paper, hints of a heavy landing of opium and of a vain quest for the mysterious schooner Halcyon. Only Fred and his mother, and the several house Indians, knew of the stiffened horse in the barn and of the devious way it was afterward smuggled back to the fishing village on the beach.
Despite those twenty years, it was the same old Tom Travers that alighted from the Pullman. To his brother’s eyes, he did not look sick. Older he was of course. The Panama hat did not hide the grey hair, and though indefinably hinting of shrunkenness, the broad shoulders were still broad and erect. As for the young woman with him, Frederick Travers experienced an immediate shock of distaste. He felt it vitally, yet vaguely. It was a challenge and a mock, yet he could not name nor place the source of it. It might have been the dress, of tailored linen and foreign cut, the shirtwaist, with its daring stripe, the black wilfulness of the hair, or the flaunt of poppies on the large straw hat, or it might have been the flash and colour of her—the black eyes and brows, the flame of rose in the cheeks, the white of the even teeth that showed too readily. "A spoiled child," was his thought, but he had no time to analyse, for his brother’s hand was in his and he was making his niece’s acquaintance.
There it was again. She flashed and talked like her colour, and she talked with her hands as well. He could not avoid noting the smallness of them. They were absurdly small, and his eyes went to her feet to make the same discovery. Quite oblivious of the curious crowd on the station platform, she had intercepted his attempt to lead to the motor car and had ranged the brothers side by side. Tom had been laughingly acquiescent, but his younger brother was ill at ease, too conscious of the many eyes of his townspeople. He knew only the old Puritan way. Family displays were for the privacy of the family, not for the public. He was glad she had not attempted to kiss him. It was remarkable she had not. Already he apprehended anything of her.
She embraced them and penetrated them with sun-warm eyes that seemed to see through them, and over them, and all about them.
"You’re really brothers," she cried, her hands flashing with her eyes. "Anybody can see it. And yet there is a difference—I don’t know, I can’t explain."
In truth, with a tact that exceeded Frederick Travers’ farthest dis­ciplined forbearance, she did not dare explain. Her wide artist-eyes had seen and sensed the whole trenchant and essential difference. Alike they looked, of the unmistakable same stock, their features reminis­cent of a common origin; and there resemblance ceased. Tom was three inches taller, and well-greyed was the long, Viking moustache. His was the same eagle-like nose as his brother’s, save that it was more eagle-like, while the blue eyes were pronouncedly so. The lines of the face were deeper, the cheek-bones higher, the hollows larger, the weather-beat darker. It was a volcanic face. There had been fire there, and the fire still lingered. Around the corners of the eyes were more laughter-wrinkles and in the eyes themselves a promise of deadlier seriousness than the younger brother possessed. Frederick was bourgeois in his carriage, but in Tom’s was a certain careless ease and distinction. It was the same pioneer blood of Isaac Travers in both men, but it had been retorted in widely different crucibles. Frederick represented the straight and expected line of descent. His brother expressed a vast and intan­gible something that was unknown in the Travers stock. And it was all this that the black-eyed girl saw and knew on the instant. All that had been inexplicable in the two men and their relationship cleared up in the moment she saw them side by side.
"Wake me up," Tom was saying. "I can’t believe I arrived on a train. And the population? There were only four thousand thirty years ago."
"Sixty thousand now," was the other’s answer. "And increasing by leaps and bounds. Want to spin around for a look at the city? There’s plenty of time."
As they sped along the broad, well-paved streets, Tom persisted in his Rip Van Winkle pose. The waterfront perplexed him. Where he had once anchored his sloop in a dozen feet of water, he found solid land and railroad yards, with wharves and shipping still farther out.
"Hold on! Stop!" he cried, a few blocks on, looking up at a solid business block. ’Where is this, Fred?"
"Fourth and Travers—don’t you remember?"
Tom stood up and gazed around, trying to discern the anciently familiar configuration of the land under its clutter of buildings.
"I … I think..." he began hesitantly. "No; by George, I’m sure of it. We used to hunt cottontails over that ground, and shoot blackbirds in the brush. And there, where the bank building is, was a pond." He turned to Polly. "I built my first raft there, and got my first taste of the sea."
"Heaven knows how many gallons of it," Frederick laughed, nodding to the chauffeur. "They rolled you on a barrel, I remember."
"Oh! More!" Polly cried, clapping her hands.
"There’s the park," Frederick pointed out a little later, indicating a mass of virgin redwoods on the first dip of the bigger hills.
"Father shot three grizzlies there one afternoon," was Tom’s remark.
"I presented forty acres of it to the city," Frederick went on. "Father bought the quarter section for a dollar an acre from Leroy."
Tom nodded, and the sparkle and flash in his eyes, like that of his daughter, were unlike anything that ever appeared in his brother’s eye.
"Yes," he affirmed, "Leroy, the negro squawman. I remember the time he carried you and me on his back to Alliance, the night the Indi­ans burned the ranch. Father stayed behind and fought."
"But he couldn’t save the grist mill. It was a serious setback to him!"
"Just the same he nailed four Indians."
In Polly’s eyes now appeared the flash and sparkle.
"An Indian-fighter!" she cried. ’’Tell me about him."
"Tell her about Travers Ferry," Tom said.
"That’s a ferry on the Klamath River on the way to Orleans Bar and Siskiyou. There was great packing into the diggings in those days, and, among other things, father had made a location there. There was rich bench-farming land, too. He built a suspension bridge—wove the cables on the spot with sailors and materials freighted in from the coast. It cost him twenty thousand dollars. The first day it was open, eight hun­dred mules crossed at a dollar a head, to say nothing of the toll for foot and horse. That night the river rose. The bridge was one hundred and forty feet above low water mark. Yet the freshet rose higher than that, and swept the bridge away. He’d have made a fortune there otherwise."
"That wasn’t it at all," Tom blurted out impatiently. "It was at Travers Ferry that father and old Jacob Vance were caught by a war party of Mad River Indians. Old Jacob was killed right outside the door of the log cabin. Father dragged the body inside and stood the Indians off for a week. Father was some shot. He buried Jacob under the cabin floor.”
“I still run the ferry," Frederick went on "though there isn’t so much travel as in the old days. I freight by wagon-road to the Reservation, and then mule-back on up the Klamath and clear in to the forks of Little Salmon. I have twelve stores on that chain now, a stage-line to the Reservation, and a hotel there. Quite a tourist trade is beginning to pick up."
And the girl, with curious brooding eyes, looked from brother to brother as they so differently voiced themselves and life.
"Ay, he was some man, father was," Tom murmured.
There was a drowsy note in his speech that drew a quick glance of anxiety from her. The machine had turned into the cemetery, and now halted before a substantial vault on the crest of the hill.
"I thought you’d like to see it," Frederick was saying. "I built that mausoleum myself, most of it with my own hands. Mother wanted it. The estate was dreadfully encumbered. The best bid I could get out of the contractors was eleven thousand. I did it myself for a little over eight."
"Must have worked nights," Tom murmured admiringly and more sleepily than before.
"I did, Tom, I did. Many a night by lantern-light. I was so busy. I was reconstructing the water works then—the artesian wells had failed —and mother’s eyes were troubling her. You remember—cataract—I wrote you. She was too weak to travel, and I brought the specialists up from San Francisco. Oh, my hands were full. I was just winding up the disastrous affairs of the steamer line father had established to San Francisco, and I was keeping up the interest on mortgages to the tune of one hundred and eighty thousand dollars."
A soft stertorous breathing interrupted him. Tom, chin on chest, was asleep. Polly, with a significant look, caught her uncle’s eye. Then her father, after an uneasy restless movement, lifted drowsy lids.
"Deuced warm day," he said with a bright apologetic laugh. "I’ve been actually asleep. Aren’t we near home?"
Frederick nodded to the chauffeur, and the car rolled on.

III

The house that Frederick Travers had built when his prosperity came was large and costly, sober and comfortable, and with no more pretence than was naturally attendant on the finest country home in the county. Its atmosphere was just the sort that he and his daughter would create. But in the days that followed his brother’s home-coming, all this was changed. Gone was the subdued and ordered repose. Frederick was neither comfortable nor happy. There was an unwonted flurry of life and violation of sanctions and traditions. Meals were irregular and protracted, and there were midnight chafing-dish suppers and bursts of laughter at the most inappropriate hours.
Frederick was abstemious. A glass of wine at dinner was his wildest excess. Three cigars a day he permitted himself, and these he smoked either on the broad veranda or in the smoking room. What else was a smoking room for? Cigarettes he detested. Yet his brother was ever rolling thin, brown-paper cigarettes and smoking them wherever he might happen to be. A litter of tobacco crumbs was always to be found in the big easy chair he frequented and among the cushions of the window-seats. Then there were the cocktails. Brought up under the stern tutelage of Isaac and Eliza Travers, Frederick looked upon liquor in the house as an abomination. Ancient cities had been smitten by God’s wrath for just such practices. Before lunch and dinner, Tom, aided and abetted by Polly, mixed an endless variety of drinks, she being particularly adept with strange swivel-stick concoctions learned at the ends of the earth. To Frederick, at such times, it seemed that his butler’s pantry and dining room had been turned into bar-rooms. When he suggested this, under a facetious show, Tom proclaimed that when he made his pile he would build a liquor cabinet in every living room of his house.
And there were more young men at the house than formerly, and they helped in disposing of the cocktails. Frederick would have liked to account in that manner for their presence, but he knew better. His brother and his brother’s daughter did what he and Mary had failed to do. They were the magnets. Youth and joy and laughter drew to them. The house was lively with young life. Ever, day and night, the motor cars honked up and down the gravelled drives. There were picnics and expeditions in the summer weather, moonlight sails on the bay, starts before dawn or home-comings at midnight, and often, of nights, the many bedrooms were filled as they had never been before. Tom must cover all his boyhood ramblings, catch trout again on Bull Creek, shoot quail over Walcott’s Prairie, get a deer on Round Mountain. That deer was a cause of pain and shame to Frederick. What if it was closed season? Tom had triumphantly brought home the buck and gleefully called it sidehill-salmon when it was served and eaten at Frederick’s own table.
They had clambakes at the head of the bay and mussel-bakes down by the roaring surf; and Tom told shamelessly of the Halcyon, and of the run of contraband, and asked Frederick before them all how he had managed to smuggle the horse back to the fishermen without discov­ery. All the young men were in the conspiracy with Polly to pamper Tom to his heart’s desire. And Frederick heard the true inwardness of the killing of the deer; of its purchase from the overstocked Golden Gate Park; of its crated carriage by train, horse-team and mule-back to the fastnesses of Round Mountain; of Tom falling asleep beside the deer-run the first time it was driven by; of the pursuit by the young men, the jaded saddle-horses, the scrambles and the falls, and the roping of it at Burnt Ranch Clearing; and, finally, of the triumphant culmi­nation, when it was driven past a second time and Tom had dropped it at fifty yards. To Frederick there was a vague hurt in it all. When had such consideration been shown him?
There were days when Tom could not go out, postponements of outdoor frolics, when, still the centre, he sat and drowsed in the big chair, waking, at times, in that unexpected queer, bright way of his, to roll a cigarette and call for his ukulele—a sort of miniature guitar of Portuguese invention. Then, with strumming and tumtuming, the live cigarette laid aside to the imminent peril of polished wood, his full baritone would roll out in South Sea hulas and sprightly French and Spanish songs.
One in particular, had pleased Frederick at first. The favourite song of a Tahitian king, Tom explained—the last of the Pomares, who had himself composed it and was wont to lie on his mats by the hour singing it. It consisted of the repetition of a few syllables. "E meu ru ru a vau," it ran, and that was all of it, sung in a stately, endless, ever-vary­ing chant, accompanied by solemn chords from the ukelele. Polly took great joy in teaching it to her uncle, but when, himself questing for some of this genial flood of life that bathed about his brother, Frederick essayed the song, he noted suppressed glee on the part of his listeners, which increased, through giggles and snickers, to a great outburst of laughter. To his disgust and dismay, he learned that the simple phrase he had repeated and repeated was nothing else than "I am so drunk." He had been made a fool of. Over and over, solemnly and gloriously, he, Frederick Travers, had announced how drunk he was. After that, he slipped quietly out of the room whenever it was sung. Nor could Polly’s later explanation that the last word was "happy," and not "drunk," rec­oncile him; for she had been compelled to admit that the old king was a toper, and that he was always in his cups when he struck up the chant.
Frederick was constantly oppressed by the feeling of being out of it all. He was a social being, and he liked fun, even if it were of a more wholesome and dignified brand than that to which his brother was addicted. He could not understand why in the past the young people had voted his house a bore and come no more, save on state and formal occasions, until now, when they flocked to it and to his brother, but not to him. Nor could he like the way the young women petted his brother, and called him Tom, while it was intolerable to see them twist and pull his buccaneer moustache in mock punishment when his sometimes too-jolly banter sank home to them.
Such conduct was a profanation to the memory of Isaac and Eliza Travers. There was too much an air of revelry in the house. The long table was never shortened, while there was extra help in the kitchen. Breakfast extended from four until eleven, and the midnight suppers, entailing raids on the pantry and complaints from the servants, were a vexation to Frederick. The house had become a restaurant, a hotel, he sneered bitterly to himself; and there were times when he was sorely tempted to put his foot down and reassert the old ways. But somehow the ancient sorcery of his masterful brother was too strong upon him; and at times he gazed upon him with a sense almost of awe, groping to fathom the alchemy of charm, battled by the strange lights and fires in his brother’s eyes, and by the wisdom of far places and of wild nights and days written in his face. What was it? What lordly vision had the other glimpsed?—he, the irresponsible and careless one? Frederick remembered a line of an old song—"Along the shining ways he came." Why did his brother remind him of that line? Had he, who in boyhood had known no law, who in manhood had exalted himself above law, in truth found the shining ways?
There was an unfairness about it that perplexed Frederick, until he found solace in dwelling upon the failure Tom had made of life. Then it was, in quiet intervals, that he got some comfort and stiffened his own pride by showing Tom over the estate.
"You have done well, Fred," Tom would say. ’’You have done very well.”
He said it often, and often he drowsed in the big smooth-running machine.
"Everything orderly and sanitary and spick and span—not a blade of grass out of place," was Polly’s comment. "How do you ever manage it? I should not like to be a blade of grass on your land,’’ she concluded, with a little shivery shudder.
’’You have worked hard," Tom said.
"Yes, I have worked hard," Frederick affirmed. "It was worth it."
He was going to say more, but the strange flash in the girl’s eyes brought him to an uncomfortable pause. He felt that she measured him, challenged him. For the first time his honourable career of build­ing a county commonwealth had been questioned—and by a chit of a girl, the daughter of a wastrel, herself but a flighty, fly-away, foreign creature.
Conflict between them was inevitable. He had disliked her from the first moment of meeting. She did not have to speak. Her mere presence made him uncomfortable. He felt her unspoken disapproval, though them were times when she did not stop at that. Nor did she mince language. She spoke forthright, like a man, and as no man had ever dared to speak to him.
"I wonder if you ever miss what you’ve missed," she told him. "Did you ever, once in your life, turn yourself loose and rip things up by the roots? Did you ever once get drunk? Or smoke yourself black in the face? Or dance a hoe-down on the ten commandments? Or stand up on your hind legs and wink like a good fellow at God?"
"Isn’t she a rare one!" Tom gurgled. "Her mother over again." Outwardly smiling and calm, there was a chill of horror at Frederick’s heart. It was incredible.
"I think it is the English; she continued, who have a saying that a man has not lived until he has kissed his woman and struck his man. I wonder—confess up, now—if you ever struck a man."
"Have you?" he countered.
She nodded, an angry reminiscent flash in her eyes, and waited.
"No, I have never had that pleasure," he answered slowly. "I early learned control."
Later, irritated by his self-satisfied complacence and after listening to a recital of how he had cornered the Klamath salmon-packing, planted the first oysters on the bay and established that lucrative monopoly, and of how, after exhausting litigation and a campaign of years he had captured the water front of Williamsport and thereby won to control of the Lumber Combine, she returned to the charge.
You seem to value life in terms of profit and loss," she said. "I wonder if you have ever known love."
The shaft went home. He had not kissed his woman. His marriage had been one of policy. It had saved the estate in the days when he had been almost beaten in the struggle to disencumber the vast holdings Isaac Travers’ wide hands had grasped. The girl was a witch. She had probed an old wound and made it hurt again. He had never had time to love. He had worked hard. He had been president of the chamber of commerce, mayor of the city, state senator, but he had missed love. At chance moments he had come upon Polly, openly and shamelessly in her father’s arms, and he had noted the warmth and tenderness in their eyes. Again he knew that he had missed love. Wanton as was the display, not even in private did he and Mary so behave. Normal, formal, and colourless, she was what was to be expected of a loveless marriage. He even puzzled to decide whether the feeling he felt for her was love. Was he himself loveless as well?
In the moment following Polly’s remark, he was aware of a great emptiness. It seemed that his hands had grasped ashes, until, glancing into the other room, he saw Tom asleep in the big chair, very grey and aged and tired. He remembered all that he had done, all that he possessed. Well, what did Tom possess? What had Tom done?—save play ducks and drakes with life and wear it out until all that remained was that dimly flickering spark in a dying body.
What bothered Frederick in Polly was that she attracted him as well as repelled him. His own daughter had never interested him in that way. Mary moved along frictionless grooves, and to forecast her actions was so effortless that it was automatic. But Polly! many-hued, protean-natured, he never knew what she was going to do next.
"Keeps you guessing, eh?" Tom chuckled.
She was irresistible. She had her way with Frederick in ways that in Mary would have been impossible. She took liberties with him, cozened him or hurt him, and compelled always in him a sharp awareness of her existence.
Once, after one of their clashes, she devilled him at the piano, play­ing a mad damned thing that stirred and irritated him and set his pulse pounding wild and undisciplined fancies in the ordered chamber of his brain. The worst of it was she saw and knew just what she was doing. She was aware before he was, and she made him aware, her face turned to look at him, on her lips a mocking, contemplative smile that was al­most a superior sneer. It was this that shocked him into consciousness of the orgy his imagination had been playing him. From the wall above her, the stiff portraits of Isaac and Eliza Travers looked down like re­proachful spectres. Infuriated, he left the room. He had never dreamed such potencies resided in music. And then, and he remembered it with shame, he had stolen back outside to listen, and she had known, and once more she had devilled him.
When Mary asked him what he thought of Polly’s playing, an unbidden contrast leaped to his mind. Mary’s music reminded him of church. It was as cold and bare as a Methodist meeting house. But Polly’s was like the mad and lawless ceremonial of some heathen temple where incense arose and nautch girls writhed.
"She plays like a foreigner,” he answered, pleased with the success and oppositeness of his evasion.
"She is an artist," Mary affirmed solemnly. "She is a genius. When does she ever practise? When did she ever practise? You know how I have. My best is like a five-finger exercise compared with the foolishest thing she ripples off. Her music tells me things—oh, things wonderful and unutterable. Mine tells me, ’one-two-three, one-two-three.’ Oh, it is maddening! I work and work and get nowhere. It is unfair. Why should she be born that way, and not I?”
"Love," was Fredericks immediate and secret thought; but before he could dwell upon the conclusion, the unprecedented had happened and Mary was sobbing in a break-down of tears. He would have liked to take her in his arms, after Tom’s fashion, but he did not know how. He tried, and found Mary as unschooled as himself. It resulted only in an embarrassed awkwardness for both of them.
The contrasting of the two girls was inevitable. Like father like daughter. Mary was no more than a pale camp-follower of a gorgeous, conquering general. Frederick’s thrift had been sorely educated in the matter of clothes. He knew just how expensive Mary’s clothes were, yet he could not blind himself to the fact that Polly’s vagabond makeshifts, cheap and apparently haphazard, were always all right and far more successful. Her taste was unerring. Her ways with a shawl were inimitable. With a scarf she performed miracles.
"She just throws things together," Mary complained. "She doesn’t even try. She can dress in fifteen minutes, and when she goes swimming she beats the boys out of the dressing rooms." Mary was honest and incredulous in her admiration. "I can’t see how she does it. No one could dare those colours, but they look just right on her."
"She’s always threatened that when I became finally flat broke she’d set up dressmaking and take care of both of us,” Tom contributed.
Frederick, looking over the top of a newspaper, was witness to an illuminating scene; Mary, to his certain knowledge, had been primping for an hour ere she appeared.
"Oh! How lovely!" was Polly’s ready appreciation. Her eyes and face glowed with honest pleasure, and her hands wove their delight in the air. "But why not wear that bow so and thus?"
Her hands flashed to the task, and in a moment the miracle of taste and difference achieved by her touch was apparent even to Frederick.
Polly was like her father, generous to the point of absurdity with her meagre possessions. Mary admired a Spanish fan—a Mexican trea­sure that had come down from one of the grand ladies of the Court of the Emperor Maximilian. Polly’s delight flamed like wild-fire. Mary found herself the immediate owner of the fan, almost labouring under the fictitious impression that she had conferred an obligation by ac­cepting it. Only a foreign woman could do such things, and Polly was guilty of similar gifts to all the young women. It was her way. It might be a lace handkerchief, a pink Paumotan pearl, or a comb of hawksbill turtle. It was all the same. Whatever their eyes rested on in joy was theirs. To women, as to men, she was irresistible.
"I don’t dare admire anything any more," was Mary’s plaint. "If I do she always gives it to me."
Frederick had never dreamed such a creature could exist. The women of his own race and place had never adumbrated such a possibility. He knew that whatever she did—her quick generosities, her hot enthusiasms or angers, her birdlike caressing ways—was unbelievably sincere. Her extravagant moods at the some time shocked and fascinated him. Her voice was as mercurial as her feelings. There were no even tones, and she talked with her hands. Yet, in her mouth, English was a new and beautiful language, softly limpid, with an audacity of phrase and tellingness of expression that conveyed subtleties and nu­ances as unambiguous and direct as they were unexpected from one of such childlikeness and simplicity. He woke up of nights and on his darkened eyelids saw bright memory-pictures of the backward turn of her vivid, laughing face.

IV

Like daughter like father. Tom, too, had been irresistible. All the world still called to him, and strange men came from time to time with its messages. Never had there been such visitors to the Travers home. Some came with the reminiscent roll of the sea in their gait. Others were black-browed ruffians; will others were fever-burnt and sallow; and about all of them was something bizarre and outlandish. Their talk was likewise bizarre and outlandish, of things to Frederick unguessed and undreamed, though he recognised the men for what they were—soldiers of fortune, adventurers, free lances of the world. But the big patent thing was the love and loyalty they bore their leader. They named him variously—Black Tom, Blondine, Husky Travers, Malemute Tom, Swiftwater Tom—but most of all he was Captain Tom. Their projects and propositions were equally various, from the South Sea trader with the discovery of a new guano island and the Latin-American with a nascent revolution on his hands, on through Siberian gold chases and the prospecting of the placer benches of the upper Kuskokeem, to darker things that were mentioned only in whispers. And Captain Tom regretted the temporary indisposition that prevented immediate departure with them, and continued to sit and drowse more and more in the big chair. It was Polly, with a camaraderie distasteful to her uncle, who got these men aside and broke the news that Captain Tom would never go out on the shining ways again. But not all of them came with projects. Many made love-calls on their leader of old and unforgettable days, and Frederick sometimes was a witness to their meeting, and he marvelled anew at the mysterious charm in his brother that drew all men to him.
"By the turtles of Tasman!" cried one, "when I heard you was in California, Captain Tom, I just had to come and shake hands. I reckon you ain’t forgot Tasman, eh?—nor the scrap at Thursday Island. Say—old Tasman was killed by his niggers only last year up German New Guinea way. Remember his cook-boy?—Ngani-Ngani? He was the ringleader. Tasman swore by him, but Ngani-Ngani hatcheted him just the same."
"Shake hands with Captain Carlsen, Fred," was Tom’s introduction of his brother to another visitor. "He pulled me out of a tight place on the West Coast once. I’d have cashed in, Carlsen, if you hadn’t happened along."
Captain Carlsen was a giant hulk of a man, with gimlet eyes of palest blue, a slash-scarred mouth that a blazing red beard could not quite hide, and a grip in his hand that made Frederick squirm.
A few minutes later, Tom had his brother aside.
"Say, Fred, do you think it will bother to advance me a thousand?"
"Of course," Frederick answered splendidly. “You know half of that I have is yours, Tom."
And when Captain Carlsen departed, Frederick was morally certain that the thousand dollars departed with him.
Small wonder Tom had made a failure of life—and come home to die. Frederick sat at his own orderly desk taking stock of the difference between him and his brother. Yes, and if it hadn’t been for him, there would have been no home for Tom to die in.
Frederick cast back for solace through their joint history. It was he who had always been the mainstay, the dependable one. Tom had laughed and rollicked, played hooky from school, disobeyed Isaac’s commandments. To the mountains or the sea, or in hot water with the neighbours and the town authorities—it was all the same; he was everywhere save where the dull plod of work obtained. And work was work in those backwoods days, and he, Frederick, had done the work. Early and late and all days he had been at it. He remembered the season when Isaac’s wide plans had taken one of their smashes, when food had been scarce on the table of a man who owned a hundred thousand acres, when there had been no money to hire harvesters for the hay, and when Isaac would not let go his grip on a single one of his acres. He, Frederick, had pitched the hay, while Isaac mowed and raked. Tom had lain in bed and run up a doctor bill with a broken leg, gained by falling off the ridge-pole of the barn—which place was the last in the world to which any one would expect to go to pitch hay. About the only work Tom had ever done, it seemed to him, was to fetch in venison and bear-oil, to break colts, and to raise a din in the valley pastures and wooded canyons with his bear-hounds.
Tom was the elder, yet when Isaac died, the estate, with all its vast possibilities would have gone to ruin, had not he, Frederick, buckled down to it and put the burden on his back. Work! He remembered the enlargement of the town water-system—how he had manoeuvred and financed, persuaded small loans at ruinous interest, and laid pipe and made joints by lantern light while the workmen slept, and then been up ahead of them to outline and direct and rack his brains over the rais­ing of the next week-end wages. For he had carried on old Isaac’s policy. He would not let go. The future would vindicate.
And Tom!—with a bigger pack of bear dogs ranging the mountains and sleeping out a week at a time. Frederick remembered the final conference in the kitchen—Tom, and he, and Eliza Travers, who still cooked and baked and washed dishes on an estate that carried a hundred and eighty thousand dollars in mortgages.
"Don’t divide." Eliza Travers had pleaded, resting her soap-flecked, parboiled arms. "Isaac was right. It will be worth millions. The country is opening up. We must all pull together."
"I don’t want the estate," Tom cried. "Let Frederick have it. What I want...”
He never completed the sentence, but all the vision of the world burned in his eyes.
“I can’t wait," he went on. "You can have the millions when they come. In the meantime let me have ten thousand. I’ll sign off quitclaim to everything. And give me the old schooner, and some day I’ll be back with a pot of money to help you out."
Frederick could see himself, in that far past day, throwing up his arms in horror and crying:
"Ten thousand!—when I’m strained to the breaking point to raise this quarter’s interest!"
"There’s the block of land next to the court house," Tom had urged. “I know the bank has a standing offer for ten thousand."
"But it will be worth a hundred thousand in ten years,” Frederick had objected.
"Call it so. Say I quitclaim everything for a hundred thousand. Sell it for ten and let me have it. It’s all I want, and I want it now. You can have the rest."
And Tom had had his will as usual (the block had been mortgaged instead of sold), and sailed away in the old schooner, the benediction of the town upon his head, for he had carried away in his crew half the riff-raff of the beach.
The bones of the schooner had been left on the coast of Java. That had been when Eliza Travers was being operated on for her eyes, and Frederick had kept it from her until indubitable proof came that Tom was still alive.
Frederick went over to his files and drew out a drawer labelled "Thomas Travers." In it were packets, methodically arranged. He went over the letters. They were from everywhere—China, Rangoon, Aus­tralia, South Africa, the Gold Coast, Patagonia, Armenia, Alaska. Briefly and infrequently written, they epitomised the wanderer’s life. Frederick ran over in his mind a few of the glimpsed highlights of Tom’s career. He had fought in some sort of foreign troubles in Armenia. He had been an officer in the Chinese army, and it was a certainty that the trade he later drove in the China Seas was illicit. He had been caught running arms into Cuba. It seemed he had always been running something somewhere that it ought not to have been run. And he had never outgrown it. One letter, on crinkly tissue paper, showed that as late as the Japanese-Russian War he had been caught running coal into Fort Arthur and been taken to the prize court at Sasebo, where his steamer was confiscated and he remained a prisoner until the end of the war.
Frederick smiled as he read a paragraph: "How do you prosper? Let me know any time a few thousands will help you." He looked at the date, April 18, 1883, and opened another packet. “May 5th, 1883 was the dated sheet he drew out. "Five thousand will put me on my feet again. If you can, and love me, send it along pronto—that’s Spanish for rush.
He glanced again at the two dates. It was evident that somewhere between April 18th and May 5th Tom had come a cropper. With a smile, half bitter, Frederick skimmed on through the correspondence: "There’s a wreck on Midway Island. A fortune in it, salvage you know. Auction in two days. Cable me four thousand." The last he examined, ran: “A deal I can swing with a little cash. It’s big I tell you. It’s so big I don’t dare tell you." He remembered that deal—a Latin-American revolution. He had sent the cash, and Tom had swung it, and himself as well into a prison cell and a death sentence.
Tom had meant well, there was no denying that. And he had always religiously forwarded his I O U’s. Frederick musingly weighed the packet of them in his hand, as though to determine if any relation ex­isted between the weight of paper and the sums of money represented on it.
He put the drawer back in the cabinet and passed out. Glancing in at the big chair he saw Polly just tiptoeing from the room. Tom’s head lay back, and his breathing was softly heavy, the sickness pronouncedly apparent on his relaxed face.

V

"I have worked hard," Frederick explained to Polly that evening on the veranda, unaware that when a man explains it is a sign his situation is growing parlous. "I have done what came to my hand—how creditably it is for others to say. And I have been paid for it. I have taken care of others and taken care of myself. The doctors say they have never seen such a constitution in a man of my years. Why, almost half my life is yet before me, and we Travers are a long-lived stock. I took care of myself, you see, and I have myself to show for it. I was not a waster. I conserved my heart and my arteries, and yet there are few men who can boast having done as much work as I have done. Look at that hand. Steady, eh? It will be as steady twenty years from now. There is nothing in playing fast and loose with oneself."
And all the while Polly had been following the invidious comparison that lurked behind his words.
"You can write ’Honourable’ before your name," she flashed up proudly. "But my father has been a king. He has lived. Have you lived? What have you got to show for it? Stocks and bonds, and houses and servants—pouf! Heart and arteries and a steady hand—is that all? Have you lived merely to live? Were you afraid to die? I’d rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet. When you are dust, my father will be ashes. That is the difference."
"But my dear child—" he began.
"What have you got to show for it?" she flamed on. "Listen!"
From within, through the open window, came the tinkling of Tom’s ukulele and the rollicking lilt of his voice in an Hawaiian hula. It ended in a throbbing, primitive love-call from the sensuous tropic night that no one could mistake. There was a burst of young voices, and a clamour for more. Frederick did not speak. He had sensed something vague and significant.
Turning, he glanced through the window at Tom, flushed and royal, surrounded by the young men and women, under his Viking moustache lighting a cigarette from a match held to him by one of the girls. It abruptly struck Frederick that never had he lighted a cigar at a match held in a woman’s hand.
"Doctor Tyler says he oughtn’t to smoke—it only aggravates," he said; and it was all he could say.
As the fall of the year came on, a new type of men began to frequent the house. They proudly called themselves "sour-doughs," and they were arriving in San Francisco on the winters furlough from the gold-diggings of Alaska. More and more of them came, and they pre-empted a large portion of one of the down-town hotels. Captain Tom was fading with the season, and almost lived in the big chair. He drowsed oftener and longer, but whenever he awoke he was sur­rounded by his court of young people, or there was some comrade waiting to sit and yarn about the old gold days and plan for the new gold days.
For Tom—Husky Travers, the Yukoners named him—never thought that the end approached. A temporary illness, he called it, the natural enfeeblement following upon a prolonged bout with Yucatan fever. In the spring he would be right and fit again. Cold weather was what he needed. His blood had been cooked. In the meantime it was a case of take it easy and make the most of the rest.
And no one undeceived him—not even the Yukoners, who smoked pipes and black cigars and chewed tobacco on Frederick’s broad verandas until he felt like an intruder in his own house. There was no touch with them. They regarded him as a stranger to be tolerated. They came to see Tom. And their manner of seeing him was provocative of innocent envy-pangs to Frederick. Day after day he watched them. He would see the Yukoners meet, perhaps one just leaving the sick room and one just going in. They would clasp hands, solemnly and silently, outside the door. The newcomer would question with his eyes, and the other would shake his head. And more than once Frederick noted the moisture in their eyes. Then the newcomer would enter and draw his chair up to Tom’s, and with jovial voice proceed to plan the outfitting for the exploration of the upper Kuskokeem; for it was there Tom was bound in the spring. Dogs could be had at Larabee’s—a clean breed, too, with no taint of the soft Southland strains. It was rough country, it was reported, but if sour-doughs couldn’t make the traverse from Larabee’s in forty days they’d like to see a chechako do it in sixty.
And so it went, until Frederick wondered, when he came to die, if there was one man in the country, much less in the adjoining county, who would come to him at his bedside.
Seated at his desk, through the open windows would drift whiffs of strong tobacco and rumbling voices, and he could not help catching snatches of what the Yukoners talked.
"D’ye recollect that Koyokuk rush in the early nineties?" he would hear one say. ’Well, him an’ me was pardners then, tradin’ an’ such. We had a dinky little steamboat, the Blatterbat. He named her that, an’ it stuck. He was a caution. Well, sir, as I was sayin’, him an’ me loaded the little Blatterbat to the guards an’ started up the Koyokuk, me firin’ an’ engineerin’ an’ him steerin’, an’ both of us deck-handin’. Once in a while we’d tie to the bank an’ cut firewood. It was the fall, an’ mush-ice was comin’ down, ad everything gettin’ ready for the freeze-up. You see, we was north of the Arctic Circle then an’ still headin’ north. But they was two hundred miners in there needin’ grub if they wintered, an’ we had the grub.
"Well, sir, pretty soon they begun to pass us, driftin’ down the river in canoes an’ rafts. They was pullin’ out. We kept track of them. When a hundred an’ ninety-four had passed, we didn’t see no reason for keepin’ on. So we turned tail and started down. A cold snap had come, an’ the water was fallin’ fast, an’ dang me if we didn’t ground on a bar —up-stream side. The Blatterbat hung up solid. Couldn’t budge her. ’It’s a shame to waste all that grub,’ says I, just as we was pullin’ out in a canoe. ’Let’s stay an’ eat it,’ says he. An’ dang me if we didn’t. We win­tered right there on the Blatterbat, huntin’ and tradin’ with the Indians, an’ when the river broke next year we brung down eight thousand dollars’ worth of skins. Now a whole winter, just two of us, is goin’ some. But never a cross word out of him. Best-tempered pardner I ever seen. But fight!"
"Huh!" came the other voice.”I remember the winter Oily Jones allowed he’d clean out Forty Mile. Only he didn’t, for about the sec­ond yap he let off he ran afoul of Husky Travers. It was in the White Caribou. ’I’m a wolf!’ yaps Jones. You know his style, a gun in his belt, fringes on his moccasins, and long hair down his back. ’I’m a wolf,’ he yaps, ’an’ this is my night to howl. Hear me, you long lean makeshift of a human critter?’—an’ this to Husky Travers."
"Well?” the other voice queried, after a pause.
In about a second an’ a half Oily Jones was on the floor an’ Husky on top askin’ somebody kindly to pass him a butcher knife. What’s he do but plumb hack off all of Oily Jones’ long hair. ’Now howl, damn you, howl,’ says Husky, gettin’ up."
“He was a cool one, for a wild one," the first voice took up. “I seen him buck roulette in the Little Wolverine, drop nine thousand in two hours, borrow some more, win it back in fifteen minutes, buy the drinks, an’ cash in—clang me, all in fifteen minutes.”
One evening Tom was unusually brightly awake, and Frederick, joining the rapt young circle, sat and listened to his brother’s serio-comic narrative of the night of wreck on the island of Blang; of the swim through the sharks where half the crew was lost; of the great pearl which Desay brought ashore with him; of the head-decorated palisade that surrounded the grass palace wherein dwelt the Malay queen with her royal consort, a shipwrecked Chinese Eurasian; of the intrigue for the pearl of Desay; of mad feasts and dances in the barbaric night, and quick dangers and sudden deaths; of the queen’s love-making to Decay, of Desay’s love-making to the queen’s daughter, and of Desay, every joint crushed, still alive, staked out on the reef at low tide to be eaten by the sharks; of the coming of the plague; of the beating of tom-toms and the exorcising of the devil-devil doctors; of the flight over the man-trapped, wild-pig runs of the mountain bush-men; and of the final rescue by Tasman, he who was hatcheted only last year and whose head reposed in some Melanesian stronghold—and all breathing of the warmth and abandon and savagery of the burning islands of the sun.
And despite himself, Frederick sat entranced; and when all the tale was told, he was aware of a queer emptiness. He remembered back to his boyhood, when he had pored over the illustrations in the old-fashioned geography. He, too, had dreamed of amazing adventure in far places and desired to go out on the shining ways. And he had planned to go; yet he had known only work and duty. Perhaps that was the difference. Perhaps that was the secret of the strange wisdom in his brother’s eyes. For the moment, faint and far, vicariously, he glimpsed the lordly vision his brother had seen. He remembered a sharp saying of Polly’s. “You have missed romance. You traded it for dividends." She was right, and yet, not fair. He had wanted romance, but the work had been placed ready to his hand. He had toiled and moiled, day and night, and been faithful to his trust. Yet he had missed love and the world-liv­ing that was forever a-whisper in his brother. And what had Tom done to deserve it?—a wastrel and an idle singer of songs.
His place was high. He was going to be the next governor of California. But what man would come to him and lie to him out of love? The thought of all his property seemed to put a dry and gritty taste in his mouth. Property! Now that he looked at it, one thousand dollars was like any other thousand dollars; and one day (of his days) was like any other day. He had never made the pictures in the geography come true. He had not struck his man, nor lighted his cigar at a match held in a woman’s hand. A man could sleep in only one bed at a time—Tom had said that. He shuddered as he strove to estimate how many beds he owned, how many blankets he had bought. And all the beds and blan­kets would not buy one man to come from the end of the earth, and grip his hand, and cry, "By the turtles of Tasman!”
Something of all this he told Polly, an undercurrent of complaint at the unfairness of things in his tale. And she had answered:
“It couldn’t have been otherwise. Father bought it. He never drove bargains. It was a royal thing, and he paid for it royally. You grudged the price, don’t you see. You saved your arteries and your money and kept your feet dry.”

VI

On an afternoon in the late fall all were gathered about the big chair and Captain Tom. Though he did not know it, he had drowsed the whole day through and only just awakened to call for his ukulele and light a cigarette at Polly’s hand. But the ukulele lay idle on his arm, and though the pine logs crackled in the huge fireplace he shivered and took note of the cold.
"Its a good sign," he said, unaware that the faintness of his voice drew the heads of his listeners closer. "The cold weather will be a tonic. It’s a hard job to work the tropics out of one’s blood. But I’m beginning to shape up now for the Kuskokeem. In the spring, Polly, we start with the dogs, and you’ll see the midnight sun. How your mother would have liked the trip. She was a game one. Forty sleeps with the dogs, and well be shaking out yellow nuggets from the moss-roots. Larabee has some fine animals. I know the breed. They’re timber wolves, that’s what they are, big grey timber wolves, though they sport brown about one in a litter—isn’t that right, Bennington?”
"One in a litter, that’s just about the average," Bennington, the Yukoner, replied promptly, but in a voice hoarsely unrecognisable.
"And you must never travel alone with them," Captain Tom went on. "For if you fall down they’ll jump you. Larabee’s brutes only respect a man when he stands upright on his legs. When he goes down, he’s meat. I remember coming over the divide from Tanana to Circle City. That was before the Klondike strike. It was in ’94 ... no, ’95, and the bot­tom had dropped out of the thermometer. There was a young Canadian with the outfit. His name was, it was ... a peculiar one ... wait a minute, it will come to me...."
His voice ceased utterly, though his lips still moved. A look of unbe­lief and vast surprise dawned on his face. Followed a sharp, convulsive shudder. And in that moment, without warning, he saw Death. He looked clear-eyed and steady, as if pondering, then turned to Polly. His hand moved impotently, as if to reach hers, and when he found it, his fingers could not close. He gazed at her with a great smile that slowly faded. The eyes drooped as the life went out, and remained a face of quietude and repose. The ukulele clattered to the floor. One by one they went softly from the room, leaving Polly alone.
From the veranda, Frederick watched a man coming up the driveway By the roll of the sea in his walk, Frederick could guess for whom the stranger came. The face was swarthy with sun and wrinkled with age that was given the lie by the briskness of his movements and the alertness in the keen black eyes. In the lobe of each ear was a tiny circlet of gold.
"How do you do, sir," the man said, and it was patent that English was not the tongue he had learned at his mother’s knee. "How’s Captain Tom? They told me in the town that he was sick."
"My brother is dead," Frederick answered.
The stranger turned his head and gazed out over the park-like grounds and up to the distant redwood peaks, and Frederick noted that he swallowed with an effort.
"By the turtles of Tasman, he was a man,” he said, in a deep, changed voice.
"By the turtles of Tasman, he was a man,” Frederick repeated; nor did he stumble over the unaccustomed oath.

The End


8. THE SEA FARMER (1912)

"That wull be the doctor’s launch," said Captain MacElrath.
The pilot grunted, while the skipper swept on with his glass from the launch to the strip of beach and to Kingston beyond, and then slowly across the entrance to Howth Head on the northern side.
"The tide’s right, and well have you docked in two hours," the pilot vouchsafed, with an effort at cheeriness. "Ring’s End Basin, is it?"
This time the skipper grunted.
“A dirty Dublin day."
Again the skipper grunted. He was weary with the night of wind in the Irish Channel behind him, the unbroken hours of which he had spent on the bridge. And he was weary with all the voyage behind him — two years and four months between home port and home port, eight hundred and fifty days by his log.
"Proper wunter weather,” he answered, after a silence. "The town is undistinct. Ut wull be rainun’ guid an’ hearty for the day.”
Captain MacElrath was a small man, just comfortably able to peep over the canvas dodger of the bridge. The pilot and third officer loomed above him, as did the man at the wheel, a bulky German, deserted from a warship, whom he had signed on in Rangoon. But his lack of inches made Captain MacElrath a no less able man. At least so the Company reckoned, and so would he have reckoned could he have had access to the carefully and minutely compiled record of him filed away in the office archives. But the Company had never given him a hint of its faith in him. It was not the way of the Company, for the Company went on the principle of never allowing an employee to think himself indispensable or even exceedingly useful; wherefore, while quick to censure, it never praised. What was Captain MacElrath, anyway, save a skipper, one skipper of the eighty-odd skippers that commanded the Company’s eighty-odd freighters on all the highways and byways of the sea?
Beneath them, on the main deck, two Chinese stokers were carry­ing breakfast for’ard across the rusty iron plates that told their own grim story of weight and wash of sea. A sailor was taking down the life-line that stretched from the forecastle, past the hatches and cargo-winches, to the bridge-deck ladder.
"A rough voyage," suggested the pilot.
"Aye, she was fair smokin’ ot times, but not thot I minded thot so much as the lossin’ of time. I hate like onythun’ tull loss time."
So saying, Captain MacElrath turned and glanced aft, aloft and alow, and the pilot, following his gaze, saw the more but convincing explanation of that loss of time. The smoke-stack, buff-coloured under­neath, was white with salt, while the whistle-pipe glittered crystalline in the random sunlight that broke for the instant through a cloud-rift. The port lifeboat was missing, its iron davits, twisted and wrenched, testifying to the mightiness of the blow that had been struck the old Tryapsic. The starboard davits were also empty. The shattered wreck of the lifeboat they had held lay on the fiddley beside the smashed engine-room skylight, which was covered by a tarpaulin. Below, to star-board, on the bridge deck, the pilot saw the crushed mess-room door, roughly bulkheaded against the pounding seas. Abreast of it, on the smokestack guys, and being taken down by the bos’n and a sailor, hung the huge square of rope netting which had failed to break those seas of their force.
"Twice afore I mentioned thot door tull the owners," said Captain MacElrath. "But they said ut would do. There was bug seas thot time. They was uncreditable bug. And thot buggest one dud the domage. Ut fair carried away the door an’ laid ut flat on the mess table an’ smashed out the chief’s room. He was a but sore about ut."
"It must’a been a big un," the pilot remarked sympathetically.
"Aye, ut was thot. Thungs was lively for a but. Ut finished the mate. He was on the brudge wuth me, an’ I told hum tull take a look tull the wedges o’ number one hatch. She was takin’ watter freely an’ I was no sure o’ number one. I dudna like the look o’ ut, an’ I was fuggerin’ maybe tull heave to tull the marn, when she took ut over abaft the brudge. My word, she was a bug one. We got a but of ut ourselves on the brudge. I dudna miss the mate ot the first, what o’ routin’ out Chips an’ bulkheadun’ thot door an’ stretchun’ the tarpaulin over the sky-light. Than he was nowhere to be found. The men ot the wheel said as he seen hum goin’ down the lodder just afore she hut us. We looked for’ard, we looked tull hus room, aye looked tull the engine-room, an’ we looked along aft on the lower deck, and there he was, on both sides the cover to the steam-pipe runnun’ tull the after-wunches."
The pilot ejaculated an oath of amazement and horror.
"Aye," the skipper went on wearily, "an’ on both sides the steam-pipe uz well. I tell ye he was in two pieces, splut clean uz a herrin’. The sea must a-caught hum on the upper brudge deck, carried hum clean across the fiddley, an’ banged hum head-on tull the pipe cover. It sheered through hum like so much butter, down atween the eyes, an’ along the middle of hum, so that one leg an’ arm was fast tull the one piece of hum, an’ one leg an’ arm fast tull the other piece of hum. I tull ye ut was fair grewsome. We putt hum together an’ rolled hum in canvas uz we pulled hum out."
The pilot swore again.
“Oh, ut wasna onythun’ tull greet about," Captain MacElrath assured him. "’Twus a guid ruddance. He was no a sailor, thot mate-fel­low. He was only fut for a pugsty, an’ a dom puir apology for thot same."
It is said that there are three kinds of Irish - Catholic, Protestant, and North-of-Ireland - and that the North-of-Ireland Irishman is a transplanted Scotchman. Captain MacElrath was a North-of-Ireland man, and, talking for much of the world like a Scotchman, nothing aroused his ire quicker than being mistaken for a Scotchman. Irish he stoutly was, and Irish he stoutly abided, though it was with a faint lip-lift of scorn that he mentioned mere South-of-Ireland men, or even Orange-men. Himself he was Presbyterian, while in his own community five men were all that ever mustered at a meeting in the Orange Men’s Hall. His community was the Island McGill, where seven thousand of his kind lived in such amity and sobriety that in the whole island there was but one policeman and never a public-house at all.
Captain MacElrath did not like the sea, and had never liked it. He wrung his livelihood from it, and that was all the sea was, the place where he worked, as the mill, the shop, and the counting-house were the places where other men worked. Romance never sang to him her siren song, and Adventure had never shouted in his sluggish blood. He lacked imagination. The wonders of the deep were without significance to him. Tornadoes, hurricanes, waterspouts and tidal waves were so many obstacles to the way of a ship on the sea and of a master on the bridge - they were that to him, and nothing more. He had seen, and yet not seen, the many marvels and wonders of far lands. Under his eyelids burned the brazen glories of the tropic seas, or ached the bitter gales of the North Atlantic or far South Pacific; but his memory of them was of mess-room doors stove in, of decks awash and hatches threatened, of undue coal consumption, of long passages, and of fresh paint-work spoiled by unexpected squalls of rain.
"I know my buzz’ness," was the way he often put it, and beyond his business was all that he did not know, all that he had seen with the mortal eyes of him and yet that he never dreamed existed. That he knew his business his owners were convinced, or at forty he would not have held command of the Tryapsic, three thousand tons net register, with a cargo capacity of nine thousand tons and valued at fifty-thousand pounds.
He had taken up seafaring through no love of it, but because it had been his destiny, because he had been the second son of his father instead of the first. Island McGill was only so large, and the land could support but a certain definite proportion of those that dwelt upon it. The balance, and a large balance it was, was driven to the sea to seek its bread. It had been so for generations. The eldest sons took the farms from their fathers; to the other sons remained the sea and its salt-ploughing. So it was that Donald MacElrath, farmer’s son and farm-boy himself, had shifted from the soil he loved to the sea he hated and which it was his destiny to farm. And farmed it he had, for twenty years, shrewd, cool-headed, sober, industrious, and thrifty, rising from ship’s boy and forecastle hand to mate and master of sailing-ships and thence into steam, second officer, first, and master, from small command to larger, and at last to the bridge of the old Tryapsic - old, to be sure, but worth her fifty thousand pounds and still able to bear up in all seas, and weather her nine thousand tons of freight.
From the bridge of the Tryapsic, the high place he had gained in the competition of men, he stared at Dublin harbour opening out, at the town obscured by the dark sky of the dreary wind-driven day, and at the tangled tracery of spars and rigging of the harbour shipping. Back from twice around the world he was, and from interminable junketings up and down on far stretches, home-coming to the wife he had not seen in eight-and-twenty months, and to the child he had never seen and that was already walking and talking. He saw the watch below of stokers and trimmers bobbing out of the forecastle doors like rabbits from a warren and making their way aft over the rusty deck to the mustering of the port doctor. They were Chinese, with expressionless, Sphinx-like faces, and they walked in peculiar shambling fashion, dragging their feet as if the clumsy brogans were too heavy for their lean shanks.
He saw them and he did not see them, as he passed his hand beneath his visored cap and scratched reflectively his mop of sandy hair. For the scene before him was but the background in his brain for the vision of peace that was his - a vision that was his often during long nights on the bridge when the old Tryapsic wallowed on the vexed ocean floor, her decks awash, her rigging thrumming in the gale gusts or snow squalls or driving tropic rain. And the vision he saw was of farm and farm-house and straw-thatched outbuildings, of children playing in the sun, and the good wife at the door, of lowing kine, and clucking fowls, and the stamp of horses in the stable, of his father’s farm next to him, with, beyond, the woodless, rolling land and the hedged fields, neat and orderly, extending to the crest of the smooth, soft hills. It was his vision and his dream, his Romance and Adventure, the goal of all his effort, the high reward for the salt-ploughing and the long, long furrows he ran up and down the whole world around in his farming of the sea.
In simple taste and homely inclination this much-travelled man was more simple and homely than the veriest yokel. Seventy-one years his father was, and had never slept a night out of his own bed in his own house on Island McGill. That was the life ideal, so Captain MacElrath considered, and he was prone to marvel that any man, not under compulsion, should leave a farm to go to sea. To this much-travelled man the whole world was as familiar as the village to the cobbler sit­ting in his shop. To Captain MacElrath the world was a village. In his mind’s eye he saw its streets a thousand leagues long, aye, and longer; turnings that doubled earth’s stormiest headlands or were the way to quiet inland ponds; cross-roads, taken one way, that led to flower-lands and summer seas, and that led the other way to bitter, ceaseless gales and the perilous bergs of the great west wind drift. And the cities, bright with lights, were as shops on these long streets - shops where business was transacted, where bunkers were replenished, cargoes taken or shifted, and orders received from the owners in London town to go elsewhere and beyond, ever along the long sea-lanes, seeking new cargoes here, carrying new cargoes there, running freights wherever shillings and pence beckoned and underwriters did not forbid. But it was all a weariness to contemplate, and, save that he wrung from it his bread, it was without profit under the sun.
The last good-bye to the wife had been at Cardiff, twenty-eight months before, when he sailed for Valparaiso with coals - nine thou­sand tons and down to his marks. From Valparaiso he had gone to Australia, light, a matter of six thousand miles on end with a stormy passage and running short of bunker coal. Coals again to Oregon, seven thousand miles, and nigh as many more with general cargo for Japan and China. Thence to Java, loading sugar for Marseilles, and back along the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, and on to Baltimore, down to her marks with some ore, buffeted by hurricanes, short again of bunker coal and calling at Bermuda to replenish. Then a time charter, Norfolk, Virginia, loading mysterious contraband coal and sailing for South Africa under orders of the mysterious German supercargo put on board by the charterers. On to Madagascar, steaming four knots by the supercargo’s orders, and the suspicion forming that the Russian fleet might want the coal. Confusion and delays, long waits at sea, international complications, the whole world excited over the old Tryapsic and her cargo of contraband, and then on to Japan and the naval port of Sassebo. Back to Australia, another time charter and general mer­chandise picked up at Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, and carried on to Mauritius, Lourenco Marques, Durban, Algoa Bay, and Cape Town. To Ceylon for orders, and from Ceylon to Rangoon to load rice for Rio Janeiro. Thence to Buenos Aires and loading maize for the United Kingdom or the Continent, stopping at St. Vincent, to receive orders to proceed to Dublin. Two years and four months, eight hundred and fifty days by the log, steaming up and down the thousand-league-long sea-lanes and back again to Dublin town. And he was well aweary.
A little tug had laid hold of the Tryapsic, and with clang and clatter and shouted command, with engines half-ahead, slow-speed, or half-astern, the battered old sea-tramp was nudged and nosed and shoul­dered through the dock-gates into Ring’s End Basin. Lines were flung ashore, fore and aft, and a ’midship spring got out. Already a small group of the happy shore-staying folk had clustered on the dock.
"Ring off," Captain MacElrath commanded in his slow thick voice; and the third officer worked the lever of the engine-room telegraph.
"Gangway out!" called the second officer; and when this was accomplished, "That will do."
It was the last task of all, gangway out. "That will do" was the dismissal. The voyage was ended, and the crew shambled eagerly forward across the rusty decks to where their sea-bags were packed and ready for the shore. The taste of the land was strong in the men’s mouths, and strong it was in the skipper’s mouth as he muttered a gruff good day to the departing pilot, and himself went down to his cabin. Up the gang­way were trooping the customs officers, the surveyor, the agent’s clerk, and the stevedores. Quick work disposed of these and cleared his cabin, the agent waiting to take him to the office.
"Dud ye send word tull the wife?" had been his greeting to the clerk.
“Yes, a telegram, as soon as you were reported!”
"She’ll likely be cumin’ down on the marnin’ train," the skipper had soliloquized, and gone inside to change his clothes and wash.
He took a last glance about the room and at two photographs on the wall, one of the wife the other of an infant - the child he had never seen. He stepped out into the cabin, with its panelled walls of cedar and maple, and with its long table that seated ten, and at which he had eaten by himself through all the weary time. No laughter and clatter and wordy argument of the mess-room had been his. He had eaten silently, almost morosely, his silence emulated by the noiseless Asiatic who had served him. It came to him suddenly, the overwhelming real­ization of the loneliness of those two years and more. All his vexations and anxieties had been his own. He had shared them with no one. His two young officers were too young and flighty, the mate too stupid. There was no consulting with them. One tenant had shared the cabin with him, that tenant his responsibility. They had dined and supped together, walked the bridge together, and together they had bedded.
"Och!" he muttered to that grim companion, "I’m quit of you, an’ wull quit ... for a wee."
Ashore he passed the last of the seamen with their bags, and, at the agent’s, with the usual delays, put through his ship business. When asked out by them to drink he took milk and soda.
“I am no teetotaler," he explained; "but for the life o’ me I canna bide beer or whusky."
In the early afternoon, when he finished paying off his crew, he hurried to the private office where he had been told his wife was waiting.
His eyes were for her first, though the temptation was great to have more than a hurried glimpse of the child in the chair beside her. He held her off from him after the long embrace, and looked into her face long and steadily, drinking in every feature of it and wondering that he could mark no changes of time. A warm man, his wife thought him, though had the opinion of his officers been asked it would have been: a harsh man and a bitter one.
"Wull, Annie, how is ut wi’ ye?" he queried, and drew her to him again.
And again he held her away from him, this wife of ten years and of whom he knew so little. She was almost a stranger - more a stranger than his Chinese steward, and certainly far more a stranger than his own officers whom he had seen every day, day and day, for eight hun­dred and fifty days. Married ten years, and in that time he had been with her nine weeks - scarcely a honeymoon. Each time home had been a getting acquainted again with her. It was the fate of the men who went out to the salt-ploughing. Little they knew of their wives and less of their children. There was his chief engineer - old, near-sighted MacPherson - who told the story of returning home to be locked out of his house by his four-year kiddie that never had laid eyes on him before.
"An’ thus ’ull be the loddie," the skipper said reaching out a hesi­tant hand to the child’s cheek.
But the boy drew away from him, sheltering against the mother’s side.
"Och!" she cried, ’’and he doesna know his own father.”
"Nor I hum. Heaven knows I could no a-picked hum out of a crowd, though he’ll be havin’ your nose I’m thunkun’."
"An’ your own eyes, Donald. Look ut them. He’s your own father, laddie. Kiss hum like the little mon ye are."
But the child drew closer to her, his expression of fear and distrust growing stronger, and when the father attempted to take him in his arms he threatened to cry.
The skipper straightened up, and to conceal the pang at his heart he drew out his watch and looked at it.
"Ut’s time to go, Annie," he said. "Thot train ’ull be startun’.”
He was silent on the train at first, divided between watching the wife with the child going to sleep in her arms and looking out of the window at the tilled fields and green unforested hills vague and indis­tinct in the driving drizzle that had set in. They had the compartment to themselves. When the boy slept she laid him out on the seat and wrapped him warmly. And when the health of relatives and friends had been inquired after, and the gossip of Island McGill narrated, along with the weather and the price of land and crops, there was little left to talk about save themselves, and Captain MacElrath took up the tale brought home for the good wife from all his world’s-end wandering. But it was not a tale of marvels he told, nor of beautiful flower-lands nor mysterious Eastern cities.
"What like is Java?" she asked once.
“Full o’ fever. Half the crew down wuth ut an’ luttle work. Ut was quinine an’ quinine the whole blessed time. Each marnun’ ’twas quinine an’ gin for all hands on an empty stomach. An’ they who was no sick made ut out to be hovun’ ut bad uz the rest."
Another time she asked about Newcastle.
"Coals an’ coal-dust - thot’s all. No a nice sutty. I lost two Chinks there, stokers the both of them. An’ the owners paid a fine tull the Gov­ernment of a hundred pounds each for them. ’We regret tull note,’ they wrut me - I got the letter tull Oregon - We regret tull note the loss o’ two Chinese members o’ yer crew ot Newcastle, an’ we recommend greater carefulness un the future.’ Greater carefulness! And I could no a-been more careful. The Chinks hod forty-five pounds each comun’ tull them in wages, an’ I was no a-thunkun’ they ’ud run.
"But thot’s their way - ’we regret tull note,’ ’we beg tull advise,’ ’we recommend,’ ’we canna understand’ – an’ the like o’ thot. Domned cargo tank! An’ they would thunk I could drive her like a Lucania, an’ wi’out burnun’ coals. There was thot propeller. I was after them a guid while for ut. The old one was iron, thuck on the edges, an’ we couldna make our speed. An’ the new one was bronze - nine hundred pounds ut cost, an’ then wantun’ their returns out o’ ut, an’ me wuth a bod passage an’ lossin’ time every day. ’We regret tull note your long passage from Voloparaiso tull Sydney wuth an average daily run o’ only one hun­dred an’ suxty-seven. We hod expected better results wuth the new propeller. You should a-made an average daily run o’ two hundred and suxteen.’
"An’ me on a wunter passage, blowin’ a luvin’ gale half the time, wuth hurricane force in atweenwhiles, an’ hove to sux days, wuth en­gines stopped an’ bunker coal runnun’ short, an’ me wuth a mate thot stupid he could no pass a shup’s light ot night wi’out callun’ me tull the brudge. I wrut an’ told ’em so. An’ then: ’Our nautical adviser suggests you kept too far south,’ an’ ’We are lookun’ for better results from thot propeller.’ Nautical adviser! - shore pilot! Ut was the regular latitude for a wunter passage from Voloparaiso tull Sydney.
"An’ when I come un tull Auckland short o’ coal, after lettun’ her druft sux days wuth the fires out tull save the coal, an’ wuth only twenty tons in my bunkers, I was thunkun’ o’ the lossin’ o’ time an’ the expense, an’ tull save the owners I took her un an’ out wi’out pilotage. Pilotage was no compulsory. An’ un Yokohama, who should I meet but Captun Robinson o’ the Dyapsic. We got a-talkun’ about ports an’ places down Australia-way, an’ first thing he says: ’Speakun’ o’ Auckland - of course, Captun, you was never un Auckland?’ ’Yus,’ I says, ’I was un there very recent.’ ’Oh, ho,’ he says, very angry-like, ’so you was the smart Aleck thot fetched me thot letter from the owners: "We note item of fufteen pounds for pilotage ot Auckland. A shup o’ ours was un tull Auckland recently an’ uncurred no such charge. We beg tull advise you thot we conseeder thus pilotage an onnecessary expense which should no be uncurred un the future.” ’
"But dud they say a word tull me for the fufteen pounds I saved tull them? No a word. They send a letter tull Capture Robinson for no savun’ them the fufteen pounds, an’ tull me: ’We note item of two guineas doctor’s fee at Auckland for crew. Please explain thus onusual expunditure.’ Ut was two o’ the Chinks. I was thunkun’ they hod beri-beri, an’ thot was the why o’ sendun’ for the doctor. I buried the two of them at sea not a week after. But ut was: ’Please explain thus onusual expunditure; an’ tull Captun Robinson, ’We beg tull advise you that we conseeder thus pilotage an onnecessary expense.’
"Dudna I cable them from Newcastle, tellun’ them the old tank was that foul she needed dry-dock? Seven months out o’ drydock, an’ the West Coast the quickest place for foulun’ un the world. But freights was up, an’ they hod a charter o’ coals for Portland. The Arrata, one o’ the Woor Line, left port the same day uz us, bound for Portland, an’ the old Tryapsic makun’ sux knots, seven ot the best. An’ ut was ot Comox, takun’ un bunker coal, I got the letter from the owners. The boss humself hod signed ut, an’ ot the bottom he wrut un hus own bond, ’The Arcata beat you by four an’ a half days. Am dusappointed.’ Dusappointed! When I had cabled them from Newcastle. When she drydocked ot Portland, there was whuskers on her a foot long, barna­cles the size o’ me fust, oysters like young sauce plates. Ut took them two days afterward tull clean the dock o’ shells an’ muck.
"An’ there was the motter o’ them fire-bars ot Newcastle. The firm ashore made them heavier than the engineer’s speecifications, an’ then forgot tull charge for the dufference. Ot the last moment, wuth me ashore gettun’ me clearance, they come wuth the bill: ’Tull error on fire-bars, sux pounds.’ They’d been tull the shup an’ MacPherson hod O.K.’d. ut. I said ut was strange an’ would no pay. ’Then you are dootun’ the chief engineer,’ says they. ’I’m no dootun,’ says I, ’but I canna see my way tull sign. Come wuth me tull the shup. The launch wull cost ye naught an’ ut ’ull brung ye back. An’ we wull see what MacPherson says.’
"But they would no come. Ot Portland I got the bill un a letter. I took no notice. Ot Hong-Kong I got a letter from the owners. The bill hod been sent toll them. I wrut them from Java explainun’. At Mar­seilles the owners wrut me: ’Tull extra work un engine-room, sux pounds. The engineer has O.K.’d ut, an’ you have no O.K.’d ut. Are you dootun’ the engineer’s honesty?’ I wrut an’ told them I was no dootun’ his honesty; that the bill was for extra weight o’ fire-bars; an’ that ut was O.K. Dud they pay ut? They no dud. They must unvestigate. An’ some clerk un the office took sick, an’ the bill was lost. An’ there was more letters. I got letters from the owners an’ the firm - ’Tull error on fire-bars, sux pounds’ - ot Baltimore, ot Delagoa Bay, ot Moji, ot Ran­goon, ot Rio, an’ of Montevuddio. Ut uz no settled yut. I tell ye, Annie, the owners are hard tull please."
He communed with himself for a moment, and then muttered in­dignantly: "Tull error on fire-bars, sux pounds."
"Hov ye heard of Jamie?" his wife asked in the pause.
Captain MacElrath shook his head.
"He was washed off the poop wuth three seamen."
"Whereabouts?"
"Off the Horn. ’Twas on the Thornsby."
"They would be runnun’ homeward bound?"
"Aye," she nodded. "We only got the word three days gone. His wife is greetin’ like tull die."
"A good lod, Jamie," he commented, "but a stiff one ot carryun’ on. I mind me when we was mates together un the Abion. An so Jamie’s gone.”
Again a pause fell, to be broken by the wife.
"An’ ye will no a-heard o’ the Bankshire? MacDougall lost her in Magellan Straits. ’Twas only yesterday ut was in the paper."
"A cruel place, them Magellan Straits," he said. "Dudna that domned mate-fellow nigh putt me ashore twice on the one passage through? He was a eediot, a lunatuc. I wouldna have hum on the brudge a munut. Comun’ tull Narrow Reach, thuck weather, wuth snow squalls, me un the chart-room, dudna I guv hum the changed course? ’South-east-by-east,’ I told hum. ’South-east-by-east, sir; says he. Fufteen munuts after I comes on tull the brudge. ’Funny,’ says thot mate-fellow, ’I’m no rememberun’ ony islands un the mouth o’ Narrow Reach. I took one look ot the islands an’ yells, ’Putt your wheel hard a-starboard’ tull the mon ot the wheel. An’ ye should a-seen the old Tryapsic turnun’ the sharpest circle she ever turned. I waited for the snow toll clear, an’ there was Narrow Reach, nice uz ye please, tull the east’ard an’ the islands un the mouth o’ False Bay tull the south’ard. ’What course was ye steerun’?’ I says tull the mon of the wheel. ’South-by-east, sir,’ says he. I looked tull the mate-fellow. What could I say? I was thot wroth I could a-kult hum. Four points dufference. Five munuts more an’ the old Tryapsic would a-been funushed.
"An’ was ut no the same when we cleared the Straits tull the east’ard? Four hours would a-seen us guid an’ clear. I was forty hours then on the brudge. I guv the mate his course, an’ the beacon’ o’ the Askthar Light astern. ’Don’t let her bear more tull the north’ard than west-by-north,’ I said tull hum, ’an’ ye wull be all right.’ An’ I went below an’ turned un. But I couldna sleep for worryun’. After forty hours on the brudge, what was four hours more? I thought. An’ for them four hours wull ye be lettun’ the mate loss her on ye? ’No,’ I says to myself. An’ wuth that I got up, hod a wash an’ a cup o’ coffee, an’ went tull the brudge. I took one look ot the bearun’ o’ Askthar Light. ’Twas nor’west-by-west, and the old Tryapsic down on the shoals. He was a eediot, thot mate-fellow. Ye could look override an’ see the duscoloration of the watter. ’Twas a close call for the old Tryapsic I’m tellun’ ye. Twice un thirty hours he’d a-hod her ashore uf ut hod no been for me."
Captain MacElrath fell to gazing at the sleeping child with mild wonder in his small blue eyes, and his wife sought to divert him from his woes.
"Ye remember Jummy MacCaul?" she asked. "Ye went tull school wuth hus two boys. Old Jummy MacCaul thot hoz the farm beyond Doctor Haythorn’s place."
"Oh, aye, an’ what o’ hum? Uz he dead?"
"No, but he was after askun’ your father, when he sailed last time for Voloparaiso, uf ye’d been there afore. An’ when your father says no, then Jummy says, ’An’ how wull he be knowun a’ tull find hus way?’ An’ with thot your father says: ’Verry sumple ut uz, Jummy. Supposun’ you was goin’ tull the mainland tull a mon who luved un Belfast. Belfast uz a bug sutty, Jummy, an’ how would ye be findun’ your way?’ ’By way o’ me tongue,’ says Jummy; ’I’d be askun’ the folk I met.’ ’I told ye ut was sumple,’ says your father. ’Ut’s the very same way my Donald finds the road tull Voloparaiso. He asks every shup he meets upon the sea tull ot last he meets wuth a shup thot’s been tull Voloparaiso, an’ the captun o’ thot shup tells hum the way.’ An’ Jummy scratches hus head an’ says he understands an’ thot ut’s a very sumple motter after all."
The skipper chuckled at the joke, and his tired blue eyes were merry for the moment.
"He was a thun chap, thot mate-fellow, oz than oz you an’ me putt together," he remarked after a time, a slight twinkle in his eye of appre­ciation of the bull. But the twinkle quickly disappeared and the blue eyes took on a bleak and wintry look. "What dud he do ot Voloparaiso but land sux hundred fathom o’ chain cable an’ take never a receipt from the lighter-mon. I was gettun’ my clearance ot the time. When we got tull sea, I found he hod no receipt for the cable.
"’An’ ye no took a receipt for ut?’ says I.
“’No,’ says he. ’Wasna ut goin’ direct tull the agents?’
"’How long ha’ ye been goin’ tull sea,’ says I, ’not tull be knowin’ the mate’s duty uz tull deluver no cargo wuthout receipt for same? An’ on the West Coast ot thot. What’s tull stop the lighter-mon from stealun’ a few lengths o’ ut?’
"An’ ut come out uz I said. Sux hundred went over the side, but four hundred an’ ninety-five was all the agents received. The lighter-mon swore ut was all he received from the mate - four hundred an ninety-five fathom. I got a letter from the owners ot Portland. They no blamed the mate for ut, but me, an’ me ashore of the time on shup’s buzz’ness. I could no be in the two places ot the one time. An’ the letters from the owners an’ the agents uz still comun’ tull me.
"Thot mate-fellow was no a proper sailor, an’ no a mon tull work for owners. Dudna he want tull break me wuth the Board of Trade for bein’ below my marks? He said as much tull the bos’n. An’ he told me tull my face homeward bound thot I’d been half an inch under my marks. ’Twas at Portland, loadun’ cargo un fresh watter an’ goin’ tull Comox tull load bunker coal un salt watter. I tell ye, Annie, ut takes dose fuggerin’, an’ I WAS half an inch under the load-line when the bunker coal was un. But I’m no tellun’ any other body but you. An’ thot mate-fellow untendun’ toll report me tull the Board o’ Trade, only for thot he saw fut tull be sliced un two pieces on the steam-pipe cover.
“He was a fool. After loadun’ ot Portland I hod tull take on suxty tons o’ coal toll last me toll Comox. The charges for lighterun’ was heavy, an’ no room ot the coal dock. A French barque was lyin’ alongside the dock an’ I spoke tull the captun, askun’ hum what he would charge when work for the day was done, tull haul clear for a couple o’ hours an’ let me un. ’Twenty dollars,’ said he. Ut was savun’ money on lighters tull the owner, an’ I gave ut tull hum. An’ thot night, after dark, I hauled un an’ took on the coal. Then I started tull go out un the stream an’ drop anchor - under me own steam, of course.
"We hod tull go out stem first, an’ somethun’ went wrong wuth the reversun’ gear. Old MacPherson said he could work ut by hond, but very slow ot thot. An’ I said ’All right.’ We started. The pilot was on board. The tide was ebbun’ stuffly, an’ right abreast an’ a but below was a shup lyin’ wuth a lighter on each side. I saw the shup’s ridun’ lights, but never a light on the lighters. Ut was dose quarters to shuft a bug vessel onder steam, wuth MacPherson workun’ the reversun’ gear by hond. We hod to come close down upon the shup afore I could go ahead an’ clear o’ the shups on the dock-ends. An’ we struck the lighter stern-on, just uz I rung tull MacPherson half ahead.
“ ’What was thot?’ says the pilot, when we struck the lighter.
“ ’I dunna know,’ says I, ’an’ I’m wonderun’.’
"The pilot was no keen, ye see, tull hus job. I went on tull a guid place an’ dropped anchor, an’ ut would all a-been well but for thot domned eediot mate.
“ ’We smashed thot lighter,’ says he, comun’ up the ladder tull the brudge – an’ the pilot stondun’ there wuth his ears cocked tull hear.
" ’What lighter?’ says I.
" ’Thot lighter alongside the shup,’ says the mate.
" ’I dudna see no lighter,’ says I, and wuth thot I steps on hus fut guid an’ hard.
"After the pilot was gone I says tull the mate: Uf you dunna know onythun’, old mon, for Heaven’s sake keep your mouth shut.’
" ’But ye dud smash thot lighter, dudn’t ye?’ says he.
" ’Uf we dud,’ says I, ’ut’s no your buzz’ness tull be tellun’ the pilot - though, mind ye, I’m no admuttun’ there was ony lighter.’
An’ next marnun’, just uz I’m after dressun’, the steward says, ’A mon toll see ye, sir.’ Fetch hum un,’ says I. An’ un he come. ’Sut down,’ says I. An’ he sot down.
"He was the owner of the lighter, an’ when he hod told hus story, I says, ’I dudna see ony lighter.’
" ’What, mon?’ says he. ’No see a two-hundred-ton lighter, bug oz a house, alongside thot shup?’
" ’I was goin’ by the shup’s lights,’ says I, ’an’ I dudna touch the shup, that I know.’
" ’But ye dud touch the lighter,’ says he. ’Ye smashed her. There’s a thousand dollars’ domage done, an’ I’ll see ye pay for ut.’
" ’Look here, muster,’ says I, ’when I’m shuftun’ a shup ot night I follow the law, an’ the law dustunctly says I must regulate me actions by the lights o’ the shuppun’. Your lighter never hod no ridun’ light, nor dud I look for ony lighter wuthout lights tull show ut.’
" ’The mate says - ’ he beguns.
" ’Domn the mate,’ says I. ’Dud your lighter hov a ridun light?’
" ’No, ut dud not,’ says he, ’but ut was a clear night wuth the moon a-showun’.’
" ’Ye seem tull know your buzz’ness,’ says I. ’But let me tell ye that I know my buzz’ness uz well, an’ thot I’m no a-lookun’ for lighters wuthout lights. Uf ye thunk ye hov a case, go ahead. The steward will show ye out. Guid day.’
An’ thot was the end o’ ut. But ut wull show ye what a puir fellow thot mate was. I call ut a blessun’ for all masters thot he was sliced un two on that steam-pipe cover. He had a pull un the office an’ that was the why he was kept on."
“The Welkley farm wull soon be for sale, so the agents be tellun’ me,” his wife remarked, slyly watching what effect her announcement would have upon him.
His eyes flashed eagerly on the instant, and he straightened up as might a man about to engage in some agreeable task. It was the farm of his vision, adjoining his father’s, and her own people farmed not a mile away.
"We wall be buyun’ ut," he said, "though we wull be no tellun’ a soul of ut ontul ut’s bought an’ the money paid down. I’ve savun’ consuderable these days, though pickun’s uz no what they used to be, an’ we hov a tidy nest-egg laid by. I wull see the father an’ hove the money ready tull hus hond, so uf I’m ot sea he can buy whenever the land offers.”
He rubbed the frosted moisture from the inside of the window and peered out at the pouring rain, through which he could discern nothing.
"When I was a young men I used tull be afeard that the owners would guv me the sack. Stull afeard I am of the sack. But once that farm is mine I wull no be afeard ony longer. Ut’s a puir job thus sea-farmun’. Me managin’ un all seas an’ weather an’ perils o’ the deep a shup worth fufty thousand pounds, wuth cargoes ot times worth fufty thousand more - a hundred thousand pounds, half a million dollars uz the Yankees say, an’ me wuth all the responsubility gettun’ a screw o’ twenty pounds a month. What mon ashore, managin’ a buzz’ness worth a hundred thousand pounds wull be gettun’ uz small a screw uz twenty pounds? An’ wuth such masters uz a captun serves - the owners, the underwriters, an’ the Board o’ Trade, all pullun’ an wantun’ dufferent thungs - the owners wantun’ quick passages an’ domn the rusk, the underwriters wantun’ safe passages an’ domn the delay, an’ the Board o’ Trade wantun’ cautious passages an’ caution always meanun’ delay. Three dufferent masters, an’ all three able an’ wullun’ to break ye uf ye don’t serve their dufferent wushes."
He felt the train slackening speed, and peered again through the misty window. He stood up, buttoned his overcoat, turned up the col­lar, and awkwardly gathered the child, still asleep, in his arms.
“I wull see the father," he said ’’an hov the money ready tull hus hond so of I’m ot sea when the land offers he wull no muss the chance tull buy. An’ then the owners can guv me the sack uz soon uz they like. Ut will be all right un, an’ I wull be wuth you Annie, an’ the sea can go tull hell."
Happiness was in both their faces at the prospect, and for a mo­ment both saw the same vision of peace. Annie leaned toward him, and as the train stopped they kissed each other across the sleeping child.

The End


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