Part 2 out of 4
Harvey rang lustily, for he felt two lives depended on him. But
Disko in the cabin, scrawling in the log-book, did not look like a
murderer, and when he went to supper he even smiled dryly at the
"This ain't no weather," said Dan. "Why, you an' me could set thet
trawl! They've only gone out jest far 'nough so's not to foul our
cable. They don't need no bell reelly."
"Clang! clang! clang!" Harvey kept it up, varied with occasional
rub-a-dubs, for another half-hour. There was a bellow and a bump
alongside. Manuel and Dan raced to the hooks of the dory-tackle;
Long Jack and Tom Platt arrived on deck together, it seemed, one
half the North Atlantic at their backs, and the dory followed them
in the air, landing with a clatter.
"Nary snarl," said Tom Platt as he dripped. "Danny, you'll do yet."
"The pleasure av your comp'ny to the banquit," said Long Jack,
squelching the water from his boots as he capered like an elephant
and stuck an oil-skinned arm into Harvey's face. "We do be
condescending to honour the second half wid our presence." And
off they all four rolled to supper, where Harvey stuffed himself to
the brim on fish-chowder and fried pies, and fell fast asleep just as
Manuel produced from a locker a lovely two-foot model of the
Lucy Holmes, his first boat, and was going to show Harvey the
ropes. Harvey never even twiddled his fingers as Penn pushed him
into his bunk.
"It must be a sad thing-a very sad thing," said Penn, watching the
boy's face, "for his mother and his father, who think he is dead. To
lose a child-to lose a man-child!"
"Git out o' this, Penn," said Dan. "Go aft and finish your game
with Uncle Salters. Tell Dad I'll stand Harve's watch ef he don't
keer. He's played aout"
"Ver' good boy," said Manuel, slipping out of his boots and
disappearing into the black shadows of the lower bunk. "Expec' he
make good man, Danny. I no see he is any so mad as your parpa he
says. Eh, wha-at?"
Dan chuckled, but the chuckle ended in a snore.
It was thick weather outside, with a rising wind, and the elder men
stretched their watches. The hour struck clear in the cabin; the
nosing bows slapped and scuffed with the seas; the foc'sle
stove-pipe hissed and sputtered as the spray caught it; and the boys
slept on, while Disko, Long Jack, Tom Platt, and Uncle Salters,
each in turn, stumped alt to look at the wheel, forward to see that
the anchor held, or to veer out a little more cable against chafing,
with a glance at the dim anchor-light between each round.
Harvey waked to find the "first half" at breakfast, the foc'sle door
drawn to a crack, and every square inch of the schooner singing its
own tune. The black bulk of the cook balanced behind the tiny
galley over the glare of the stove, and the pots and pans in the
pierced wooden board before it jarred and racketed to each plunge.
Up and up the foc'sle climbed, yearning and surging and quivering,
and then, with a clear, sickle-like swoop, came down into the seas.
He could hear the flaring bows cut and squelch, and there was a
pause ere the divided waters came down on the deck above, like a
volley of buckshot. Followed the woolly sound of the cable in the
hawse-hole; and a grunt and squeal of the windlass; a yaw, a punt,
and a kick, and the We're Here gathered herself together to repeat
"Now, ashore," he heard Long Jack saying, "ye've chores, an' ye
must do thim in any weather. Here we're well clear of the fleet, an'
we've no chores-an' that's a blessin'. Good night, all." He passed
like a big snake from the table to his bunk, and began to smoke.
Tom Platt followed his example; Uncle Salters, with Penn, fought
his way up the ladder to stand his watch, and the cook set for the
It came out of its bunks as the others had entered theirs, with a
shake and a yawn. It ate till it could eat no more; and then Manuel
filled his pipe with some terrible tobacco, crotched himself
between the pawl-post and a forward bunk, cocked his feet up on
the table, and smiled tender and indolent smiles at the smoke. Dan
lay at length in his bunk, wrestling with a gaudy, gilt-stopped
accordion, whose tunes went up and down with the pitching of the
We're Here. The cook, his shoulders against the locker where he
kept the fried pies ([)an was fond of fried pies), peeled potatoes,
with one eye on the stove in event of too much water finding its
way down the pipe; and the general smell and smother were past
Harvey considered affairs, wondered that he was not deathly sick,
and crawled into his bunk again, as the softest and safest place,
while Dan struck up, "I don't want to play in your yard," as
accurately as the wild jerks allowed.
"How long is this for?" Harvey asked of Manuel.
"Till she get a little quiet, and we can row to trawl. Perhaps
to-night. Perhaps two days more. You do not like? Eh, wha-at?"
"I should have been crazy sick a week ago, but it doesn't seem to
upset me now-much."
"That is because we make you fisherman, these days. If I was you,
when I come to Gloucester I would give two, three big candles for
my good luck."
"To be sure-the Virgin of our Church on the Hill. She is very good
to fishermen all the time. That is why so few of us Portugee men
ever are drowned."
"You're a Roman Catholic, then?"
"I am a Madeira man. I am not a Porto Pico boy. Shall I be Baptist,
then? Eh, wha-at? I always give candles-two, three more when I
come to Gloucester. The good Virgin she never forgets me,
"I don't sense it that way," Tom Platt put in from his bunk, his
scarred face lit up by the glare of a match as he sucked at his pipe.
"It stands to reason the sea's the sea; and you'll get jest about what's
goin', candles or kerosene, fer that matter."
"'Tis a mighty good thing," said Long Jack, "to have a find at
coort, though. I'm o' Manuel's way o' thinkin' About tin years back
I was crew to a Sou' Boston market-boat. We was off Minot's
Ledge wid a northeaster, butt first, atop of us, thicker'n burgoo.
The ould man was dhrunk, his chin waggin' on the tiller, an' I sez
to myself, 'If iver I stick my boat-huk into T-wharf again, I'll show
the saints fwhat manner o' craft they saved me out av.' Now, I'm
here, as ye can well sec, an' the model of the dhirty ould Kathleen,
that took me a month to make, I gave ut to the priest, an' he hung
ut up forninst the altar. There's more sense in givin' a model that's
by way o' bein' a work av art than any candle. Ye can buy candles
at store, but a model shows the good saints ye've tuk trouble an' are
"D'you believe that, Irish?" said Tom Platt, turning on his elbow.
"Would I do ut if I did not, Ohio?"
"Wa-al, Enoch Fuller he made a model o' the old Ohio, and she's
to Calem museum now. Mighty pretty model, too, but I guess
Enoch he never done it fer no sacrifice; an' the way I take it is~"
There were the makings of an hour-long discussion of the kind that
fishermen love, where the talk runs in shouting circles and no one
proves anything at the end, had not Dan struck up this cheerful
"Up jumped the mackerel with his stripe'd back.
Reef in the mainsail, and haul on the tack; For it's windy
Here Long Jack joined in:
And it's blowy weather;
When the winds begin to blow, pipe all hands together!"
Dan went on, with a cautious look at Tom Platt, holding the
accordion low in the bunk:
"Up jumped the cod with his chuckle-head,
Went to the main-chains to heave at the lead;
For it's windy weather," etc.
Tom Platt seemed to be hunting for sometliing. Dan crouched
lower, but sang louder:
"Up jumped the flounder that swims to the ground.
Chuckle-head! Chuckle-head! Mind where ye sound!"
Tom Platt's huge rubber boot whirled across the foc'sle and caught
Dan's uplifted arm. There was war between the man and the boy
ever since Dan had discovered that the mere whistling of that tune
would make him angry as he heaved the lead.
"Thought I'd fetch yer," said Dan, returning the gift with precision.
"Ef you don't like my music, git out your fiddle. I ain't goin' to lie
here all day an' listen to you an' Long Jack arguin' 'baout candles.
Fiddle, Tom Platt; or I'll learn Harve here the tune!"
Tom Platt leaned down to a locker and brought up an old white
fiddle. Manuel's eye glistened, and from somewhere behind the
pawl-post he drew out a tiny, guitar-like thing with wire strings,
which he called a machette.
'Tis a concert," said Long Jack, beaming through the smoke. "A
reg'lar Boston concert."
There was a burst of spray as the hatch opened, and Disko, in
yellow oilskins, descended.
"Ye're just in time, Disko. Fwhat's she doin' outside?"
"Jest this!" He dropped on to the lockers with the push and heave
of the We're Here.
"We're singin' to kape our breakfasts down. Ye'll lead, av course,
Disko," said Long Jack.
"Guess there ain't more'n 'baout two old songs I know, an' ye've
heerd them both."
His excuses were cut short by Tom Platt launching into a most
dolorous tune, like unto the moaning of winds and the creaking of
masts. With his eyes fixed on the beams above, Disko began this
ancient, ancient ditty, Tom Platt flourishing all round him to make
the tune and words fit a little:
"There is a crack packet-crack packet o' fame,
She hails from Noo York, an' the Dreadnought's her
Youmay talk o' your fliers-Swallowtail and Black
But the Dreadnought's the packet that can beat them
"Now the Dreadnought she lies in the River Mersey, Because of
the tug-boat to take her to sea;
But when she's off soundings you shortly will know
She's the Liverpool packet~ Lord, let her go!
"Now the Dreadnought she's howlin' crost the Banks o'
Where the water's all shallow and the bottom's all sand.
Sez all the little fishes that swim to and fro:
'She's the Liverpool packet- Lord, let her go!'',
There were scores of verses, for he worked the Dreadnought every
mile of the way between Liverpool and New York as
conscientiously as though he were on her deck, and the accordion
pumped and the fiddle squeaked beside him. Tom Platt followed
with something about "the rough and tough McGinn, who would
pilot the vessel in." Then they called on Harvey, who felt very
flattered, to contribute to the entertainment; but all that he could
remember were some pieces of "Skipper Ireson's Ride" that he had
been taught at the camp-school in the Adirondacks. It seemed that
they might be appropriate to the time and place, but he had no
more than mentioned the title when Disko brought down one foot
with a bang, and cried, "Don't go on, young feller. That's a
mistaken jedgment-one o' the worst kind, too, becaze it's catchin' to
"I orter ha' warned you," said Dan. "Thet allus fetches Dad."
"What's wrong?" said Harvey, surprised and a little angry.
"All you're goin' to say," said Disko. "All dead wrong from start to
finish, an' Whittier he's to blame. I have no special call to right any
Marblehead man, but 'tweren't no fault o' Ireson's. My father he
told me the tale time an' again, an' this is the way 'twuz."
"For the wan hundredth time," put in Long Jack under his breath
"Ben Ireson he was skipper o' the Betty, young feller, comin' home
frum the Banks-that was before the war of 1812, but jestice is
jestice at all times. They fund the Active o' Portland, an' Gibbons
o' that town he was her skipper; they fund her leakin' off Cape Cod
Light. There was a terr'ble gale on, an' they was gettin' the Betty
home's fast as they could craowd her. Well, Ireson he said there
warn't any sense to reskin' a boat in that sea; the men they wouldn't
hev it; and he laid it before them to stay by the Active till the sea
run daown a piece. They wouldn't hev that either, hangin' aracund
the Cape in any sech weather, leak or no leak. They jest up stays'l
an' quit, nat'rally takin' Ireson with 'em. Folks to Marblehead was
mad at him not runnin' the risk, and becaze nex' day, when the sea
was ca'am (they never stopped to think o' that), some of the
Active's folks was took off by a Truro man. They come into
Marblehead with their own tale to tell, sayin' how Ireson had
shamed his town, an' so forth an' so on, an' Ireson's men they was
scared, seein' public feelin' agin' 'em, an' they went back on Ireson,
an' swore he was respons'ble for the hull act. 'Tweren't the women
neither that tarred and feathered him-Marblehead women don't act
that way-'twas a passel o' men an' boys, an' they carted him
aranund town in an old dory till the bottom fell aout, and Ireson he
told 'em they'd be sorry for it some day. Well, the facts come aout
later, same's they usually do, too late to be any ways useful to an
honest man; an' Whittier he come along an' picked up the slack
eend of a lyin' tale, an' tarred and feathered Ben Ireson all over
onct more after he was dead. 'Twas the only tune Whittier ever
slipped up, an' 'tweren't fair. I whaled Dan good when he brought
that piece back from school. You don't know no better, o' course;
but I've give you the facts, hereafter an' evermore to be
remembered. Ben Ireson weren't no sech kind o' man as Whittier
makes aout; my father he knew him well, before an' after that
business, an' you beware o' hasty jedgments, young feller. Next!"
Harvey had never heard Disko talk so long, and collapsed with
burning cheeks; but, as Dan said promptly, a boy could ouly learn
what he was taught at school, and life was too short to keep track
of every lie along the coast.
Then Manuel touched the jangling, jarring little machette to a
queer tune, and sang something in Portuguese about "Nina,
innocente!" ending with a full-handed sweep that brought the song
up with a jerk. Then Disko obliged with his second song, to an
old-fashioned creaky tune, and all joined in the chorus. This is one
"Now Aprile is over and melted the snow,
And outer Noo Bedford we shortly must tow;
Yes, out o' Noo Bedford we shortly must clear,
We're the whalers that never see wheat in the ear.'t
Here the fiddle went very softly for a while by itself, and then:
"Wheat-in-the-ear, my true-love's posy blowin,
Wheat-in-the-ear, we're goin' off to sea;
Wheat-in-the-ear, I left you fit for sowin,
When I come back a loaf o' bread you'll be!"
That made Harvey almost weep, though he could not tell why. But
it was much worse when the cook dropped the potatoes and held
out his hands for the fiddle. Still leaning against the locker door,
he struck into a tune that was like something very bad but sure to
happen whatever you did. After a little he sang, in an unknown
tongue, his big chin down on the fiddle-tail, his white eyeballs
glaring in the lam~light. Harvey swung out of his bunk to hear
better; and amid the straining of the timbers and the wash of the
waters the tune crooned and moaned on, like lee surf in a blind
fog, till it ended with a wail.
"Jimmy Christmas! Thet gives me the blue creevles," said Dan.
"What in thunder is it?"
"The song of Fin McCoul," said the cook, "when he wass going to
Norway." His English was not thick, but all clear-cut, as though it
came from a phonograph.
"Faith, I've been to Norway, but I didn't make that unwholesim
noise. 'Tis like some of the old songs, though," said Long Jack,
"Don't let's hev another 'thout somethin' between," said Dan; and
the accordion struck up a rattling, catchy tune that ended:
"It's six an' twenty Sundays sence las' we saw the land,
With fifteen hunder quintal,
An' fifteen hunder quintal,
'Teen hunder toppin' quintal,
'Twix' old 'Queereau an' Grand!"
"Hold on!" roared Tom Platt. "D'ye want to nail the trip, Dan?
That's Jonah sure, 'less you sing it after all our salt's wet."
"No, 'tain't Is it, Dad? Not unless you sing the very las' verse. You
can't learn me anything on Jonahs!"
"What's that?" said Harvey. "What's a Jonah?"
"A Jonah's anything that spoils the luck. Sometimes it's a
man-sometimes it's a boy-or a bucket. I've known a splittin'-knife
Jonah two trips till we was on to her," said Tom Platt. "There's all
sorts o' Jonahs. Jim Bourke was one till he was drowned on
Georges. I'd never ship with Jim Bourke, not if I was starin'. There
wuz a green dory on the Ezra Flood. Thet was a Jonah, too, the
worst sort o' Jonah. Drowned four men, she did, an' used to shine
fiery 0, nights in the nest"
"And you believe that?" said Harvey, remembering what Tom Platt
had said about candles and models. "Haven't we all got to take
A mutter of dissent ran round the bunks. "Outboard, yes; inboard,
things can happen," said Disko. "Don't you go makin' a mock of
Jonahs, young feller."
"Well, Harve ain't no Jonah. Day after we catched him," Dan cut
in, "we had a toppin' good catch."
The cook threw up his head and laughed suddenly-a queer, thin
laugh. He was a most disconcerting nigger.
"Murder!" said Long Jack. "Don't do that again, doctor. We ain't
used to ut"
"What's wrong?" said Dan. "Ain't he our mascot, and didn't they
strike on good after we'd struck him?"
"Oh! yess," said the cook. "I know that, but the catch iss not finish
"He ain't goin' to do us any harm," said Dan, hotly. "Where are ye
hintin' an' edgin' to? He's all right"
"No harm. No. But one day he will be your master, Danny."
"That all?" said Dan, placidly. "He wun't-not by a jugful."
"Master!" said the cook, pointing to Harvey. "Man!" and he
pointed to Dan.
"That's news. Haow soon?" said Dan, with a laugh.
"In some years, and I shall see it. Master and man-man and
"How in thunder d'ye work that out?" said Tom Platt.
"In my head, where I can see."
"Haow?" This from all the others at once.
"I do not know, but so it will be." He dropped his head, and went
on peeling the potatoes, and not another word could they get out of
"Well," said Dan, "a heap o' things'll hev to come abaout 'fore
Harve's any master o' mine; but I'm glad the doctor ain't choosen to
mark him for a Jonah. Now, I mistrust Uncle Salters fer the
Jonerest Jonah in the Fleet regardin' his own special luck. Dunno
ef it's spreadin' same's smallpox. He ought to be on the Carrie
Pitman. That boat's her own Jonah, sure-crews an' gear made no
differ to her driftin'. Jiminy Christmas! She'll etch loose in a flat
"We're well clear o' the Fleet, anyway," said Disko. "Carrie
Pitman an' all." There was a rapping on the deck.
"Uncle Salters has catched his luck," said Dan as his father
"It's blown clear," Disko cried, and all the foc'sle tumbled up for a
bit of fresh air. The fog had gone, but a sullen sea ran in great
rollers behind it. The We're Here slid, as it were, into long, sunk
avenues and ditches which felt quite sheltered and homelike if they
would only stay still; but they changed without rest or mercy, and
flung up the schooner to crown one peak of a thousand gray hills,
while the wind hooted through her rigging as she zigzagged down
the slopes. Far away a sea would burst into a sheet of foam, and
the others would follow suit as at a signal, till Harvey's eyes swam
with the vision of interlacing whites and grays. Four or five Mother
Carey's chickens stormed round in circles, shrieking as they swept
past the bows. A rain-squall or two strayed aimlessly over the
hopeless waste, ran down 'wind and back again, and melted away.
"Seerns to me I saw somethin' flicker jest naow over yonder," said
Uncle Salters, pointing to the northeast.
"Can't be any of the fleet," said Disko, peering under his eyebrows,
a hand on the foc'sle gangway as the solid bows hatcheted into the
troughs. "Sea's oilin' over dretful fast. Danny, don't you want to
skip up a piece an' see how aour trawl-buoy lays?"
Danny, in his big boots, trotted rather than climbed up the main
rigging (this consumed Harvey with envy), hitched himself around
the reeling cross-trees, and let his eye rove till it caught the tiny
black buoy-flag on the shoulder of a mile-away swell.
"She's all right," he hailed. "Sail 0! Dead to the no'th'ard, corain'
down like smoke! Schooner she be, too.',.
They waited yet another half-hour, il~e sky clearing in patches,
with a flicker of sickly sun from time to time that made patches of
olive-green water. Then a stump-foremast lifted, ducked, and
disappeared, to. be followed on the next wave by a high stern with
old-fash-ioned wooden snail's-horn davits. The snails were
"Frenchmen!" shouted Dan. "No, 'tain't, neither. Daad!"
'That's no French," said Disko. "Salters, your blame luck holds
tighter'n a screw in a keg-head."
"I've eyes. It's Uncle Abishai."
"You can't nowise tell fer sure."
"The head-king of all Jonahs," groaned Tom Platt. "Oh, Salters,
Salters, why wasn't you abed an' asleep?"
"How could I tell?" said poor Salters, as the schooner swung up.
She might have been the very Flying Dutchman, so foul, draggled,
and unkempt was every rope and stick aboard. Her old-style
quarterdeck was some or five feet high, and her rigging flew
knotted and tangled like weed at a wharf-end. She was running
before the wind-yawing frightfully-her staysail let down to act as a
sort of extra foresail,-"scandalized," they call it,-and her foreboom
guyed out over the side. Her bowsprit cocked up like an
old-fashioned frigate's; her jib-boom had been fished and s~iced
and nailed and clamped beyond further repair; and as she hove
herself forward, and sat down on her broad tail, she looked for all
the world like a blouzy, frouzy, bad old woman sneering at a
"That's Abishal," said Salters. "Full o' gin an' Judique men, an' the
judgments o' Providence layin' fer him an' never takin' good holt
He's run in to bait, Miquelon way."
"He'll run her under," said Long Jack. "That's no rig fer this
"Not he, 'r he'd'a done it long ago," Disko replied. "Looks 's if he
cal'lated to run us under. Ain't she daown by the head more 'n
natural, Tom Platt?"
"Ef it's his style o' loadin' her she ain't safe," said the sailor slowly.
"Ef she's spewed her oakum he'd better git to his pumps mighty
The creature threshed up, wore round with a clatter and raffle, and
lay head to wind within ear-shot.
A gray-beard wagged over the bulwark, and a thick voice yelled
something Harvey could not understand. But Disko's face
darkened. "He'd resk every stick he hez to carry bad news. Says
we're in fer a shift o' wind. He's in fer worse. Abishai! Abi-shai!"
He waved his arm up and down with the gesture of a man at the
pumps, and pointed forward. The crew mocked him and laughed.
"Jounce ye, an' strip ye an' trip ye!" yelled Uncle Abishal. "A livin'
gale-a livin' gale. Yab! Cast up fer your last trip, all you Gloucester
haddocks. You won't see Gloucester no more, no more!"
"Crazy full-as usual," said Tom Platt. "Wish he hadn't spied us,
She drifted out of hearing while the gray-head yelled something
about a dance at the Bay of Bulls and a dead man in the foc'sle.
Harvey shuddered. He had seen the sloven tilled decks and the
"An' that's a fine little floatin' hell fer her draught," said Long Jack.
"I wondher what mischief he's been at ashore."
"He's a trawler," Dan explained to Harvey, "an' he runs in fer bait
all along the coast. Oh, no, not home, he don't go. He deals along
the south an' east shore up yonder." He nodded in the direction of
the pitiless Newfoundland beaches. "Dad won't never take me
ashore there. They're a mighty tough crowd-an' Abishal's the
toughest. You saw his boat? Well, she's nigh seventy year old, they
say; the last o' the old Marblehead heel-tappers. They don't make
them quarterdecks any more. Abishal don't use Marblehead,
though. He ain't wanted there. He jes' drif's araound, in debt,
trawlin' an' cussin' like you've heard. Bin a Jonah fer years an,
years, he hez. 'Gits liquor frum the Feecamp boats fer makin' spells
an' selling winds an' such truck. Crazy, I guess."
'Twon't be any use underrunnin' the trawl to-night," said Tom Platt,
with quiet despair. "He come alongside special to cuss us. l'd give
my wage an' share to see him at the gangway o' the old Ohio 'fore
we quit fioggin'. Jest abaout six dozen, an' Sam Mocatta layin' 'em
The disheveled "heel-tapper" danced drunkenly down wind, and
all eyes followed her. Suddenly the cook cried in his phonograph
voice: "It wass his own death made him speak so! He iss fey-fey, I
tell you! Look!" She sailed into a patch of watery sunshine three or
four miles distant. The patch dulled and faded out, and even as the
light passed so did the schooner. She dropped into a hollow
"Run under, by the Great Hook-Block!" shouted Disko, jumping
aft. "Drunk or sober, we've got to help 'em. Heave short and break
her out! Smart!"
Harvey was thrown on the deck by the shock that followed the
setting of the jib and foresail, for they hove short on the cable, and
to save time, jerked the anchor bodily from the bottom, heaving
in~as they moved away. This is a bit of brute force seldom resorted
to except in matters of life and death, and the little We're Here
complained like a human. They ran down to where Abishal's craft
had vanished; found two or three trawl-tubs, a gin-bottle, and a
stove-in dory, but nothing more. "Let 'em go," said Disko, though
no one had hinted at picking them up. "I wouldn't hev a match that
belonged to Abishai aboard. Guess she run clear under. Must ha'
been spewin' her oakum fer a week, an' they never thought to pump
her. That's one more boat gone along o' leavin' port all hands
"Glory be!" said Long Jack. "We'd ha' been obliged to help 'em if
they was top o' water."
"'Thinkin' o' that myself," said Tom Platt.
"Fey! Fey!" said the cook, rolling his eyes. "He haas taken his own
luck with him."
"Ver' good thing, I think, to tell the Fleet when we see. Eh,
wha-at?" said Manuel. "If you runna that way before the 'wind, and
she work open her seams-" He threw out his hands with an
indescribable gesture, while Penn sat down on the house and
sobbed at the sheer horror and pity of it all. Harvey could not
realize that he had seen death on the open waters, but he felt very
sick. p Then Dan went up the cross-trees, and Disko steered them
back to within sight of their own trawl-buoys just before the fog
blanketed the sea once again.
"We go mighty quick hereabouts when we do go," was all he said
to Harvey. "You think on that fer a spell, young feller. That was
"After dinner it was calm enough to fish from the decks,-Penn and
Uncle Salters were very zealous this time,-and the catch was large
and large fish.
"Abishal has shorely took his luck with him," said Salters. "The
wind hain't backed ner riz ner nothin'. How abaout the trawl? I
despise superstition, anyway."
Tom Platt insisted that they had much better haul the thing and
make a new berth. But the cook said: "The luck iss in two pieces.
You will find it so when you look. I know." This so tickied Long
Jack that he overbore Tom Platt and the two went out together.
Underrunning a trawl means pulling it in on one side of the dory,
picking off the fish, rebaiting the hooks, and passing them back to
the sea again-something like pinning and unpinning linen on a
wash-line. It is a lengthy business and rather dangerous, for the
long, sagging line may twitch a boat under in a flash. But when
they heard, "And naow to thee, 0 Capting," booming out of the fog,
the crew of the We're Here took heart. The dory swirled alongside
well loaded, Tom Platt yelling for Manuel to act as relief-boat.
"The luck's cut square in two pieces," said long Jack, forking in the
fish, while Harvey stood open-mouthed at the skill with which the
plunging dory was saved from destruction. "One half was jest
punkins. Tom Platt wanted to haul her an' ha' done wid Ut; but I
said, "I'll back the doctor that has the second sight, an' the other
half come up sagging full o' big uns. Hurry, Man'nle, an' bring's a
tub o' bait. There's luck afloat to-night."
The fish bit at the newly baited hooks from which their brethren
had just been taken, and Tom Platt and Long Jack moved
methodically up and down the length of the trawl, the boat's nose
surging under the wet line of hooks, stripping the sea-cucumbers
that they called pumpkins, slatting off the fresh-caught cod against
the gunwale, rebaiting, and loading Manuel's dory till dusk.
"I'll take no risks," said Disko then-"not with him floatin' around so
near. Abishal won't sink fer a week. Heave in the dories an' we'll
dress daown after supper."
That was a mighty dressing-down, attended by three or four
blowing grampuses. It lasted till nine o'clock, and Disko was thrice
heard to chuckle as Harvey pitched the split fish into the hold.
"Say, you're haulin' ahead dretful fast," said Dan, when they
ground the knives after the men had turned m. "There's somethin'
of a sea to-night, an' I hain't heard you make no remarks on it."
"Too busy," Harvey replied, testing a blade's edge. "Come to think
of it, she is a high-kicker."
The little schooner was gambolling all around her anchor among
the silver-tipped waves. Backing with a start of affected surprise at
the sight of the strained cable, she pounced on it like a kitten,
while the spray of her descent burst through the hawse-holes with
the report of a gun. Shaking her head, she would say: "Well, I'm
sorry I can't stay any longer with you. I'm going North," and would
sidle off, halting suddenly with a dramatic rattle of her rigging.
"As I was just going to observe," she would begin, as gravely as a
drunken man addressing a lamp-post. The rest of the sentence (she
acted her words in dumb-show, of course) was lost in a fit of the
fidgets, when she behaved like a puppy chewing a string, a clumsy
woman in a side-saddle, a hen with her head cut off, or a cow stung
by a hornet, exactly as the whims of the sea took her.
"See her sayin' her piece. She's Patrick Henry naow," said Dan.
She swung sideways on a roller, and gesticulated with her
jib~boom from port to starboard.
"But-ez-fer me, give me liberty-er give me-death!"
Wop! She sat down in the moon-path on the water, courtesying
with a flourish of pride impressive enough had not the wheel-gear
sniggered mockingly in its box.
Harvey laughed aloud. "Why, it's just as if she was alive," he said.
"She's as stiddy as a haouse an' as dry as a herrin'," said Dan
enthusiastically, as he was slung across the deck in a batter of
spray. "Fends 'em off an' fends 'em off, an' 'Don't ye come anigh
me,' she sez. Look at her-jest look at her! Sakes! You should see
one o' them toothpicks histin' up her anchor on her spike outer
"What's a toothpick, Dan?"
"Them new haddockers an' herrin'-boats. Fine's a yacht forward,
with yacht sterns to 'em, an' spike bowsprits, an' a haouse that 'u'd
take our hold. I've heard that Burgess himself he made the models
fer three or four of 'em. Dad's sot agin 'em on account o' their
pitchin' an' joltin', but there's heaps o' money in 'em. Dad can find
fish, but he ain't no ways progressive-he don't go with the march
o' the times. They're chock-full o' labour-savin' ' ech all. 'Ever
seed the Elector o' Gloucester? She's a daisy, ef she is a
"What do they cost, Dan?"
"Hills o' dollars. Fifteen thousand, p'haps; more, mebbe. There's
gold-leaf an' everything you kin think of." Then to himself, half
under his breath, "Guess I'd call her Hattie S., too."
That was the first of many talks with Dan, who told Harvey why he
would transfer his dory's name to the imaginary Burgess-modelled
haddocker. Harvey heard a good deal about the real Hattie at
Gloucester; saw a lock of her hair-which Dan, finding fair words
of no avail, had "hooked" as she sat in front of him at school that
winter-and a photograph. Hattie was about fourteen years old, with
an awful contempt for boys, and had been trampling on Dan's heart
through the winter. All this was revealed under oath of solemn
secrecy on moonlit decks, in the dead dark, or in choking fog; the
whining wheel behind them, the climbing deck before, and
without, the unresting, clamorous sea. Once, of course, as the boys
came to know each other, there was a fight, which raged from bow
to stern till Penn came up and separated them, but promised not to
tell Disko, who thought fighting on watch rather worse than
sleeping. Harvey was no match for Dan physically, but it says a
great deal for his new training that he took his defeat and did not
try to get even with his conqueror by underhand methods.
That was after he had been cured of a string of boils between his
elbows and wrists, where the wet jersey and oilskins cut into the
flesh. The salt water stung them unpleasantly, but when they were
ripe Dan treated them with Disko's razor, and assured Harvey that
now he was a "blooded Banker"; the affliction of gurry-sores being
the mark of the caste that claimed him.
Since he was a boy and very busy, he did not bother his head with
too much thinking. He was exceedingly sorry for his mother, and
often longed to see her and above all to tell her of this wonderful
new life, and how brilliantly he was acquitting himself in it.
Otherwise he preferred not to wonder too much how she was
bearing the shock of his supposed death. But one day, as he stood
on the foc'sle ladder, guying the cook, who had accused him and
Dan of hooking fried pies, it occurred to him that this was a vast
improvement on being snubbed by strangers in the smoking-room
of a hired liner.
He was a recognized part of the scheme of things on the We're
Here; had his place at the table and among the bunks; and could
hold his own in the long talks on stormy days, when the others
were always ready to listen to what they called his "fairy-tales" of
his life ashore. It did not take him more than two days and a
quarter to feel that if he spoke of his own life-it seemed very far
away-no one except Dan (and even Dan's belief was sorely tried)
credited him. So he invented a friend, a boy he had heard of, who
drove a miniature four-pony drag in Toledo, Ohio, and ordered
five suits of clothes at a time and led things called "germans" at
parties where the oldest girl was not quite fifteen, but all the
presents were solid silver. Salters protested that this kind of yarn
was desperately wicked, if not indeed positively blasphemous, but
he listened as greedily as the others; and their criticisms at the end
gave Harvey entirely new notions on "germans," clothes, cigarettes
with gold-leaf tips, rings, watches, scent, small dinner-parties,
champagne, card-playing, and hotel accommodation. Little by little
he changed his tone when speaking of his "friend," whom long
Jack had christened "the Crazy Kid," "the Gilt-edged Baby," "the
Suckin' Vanderpoop," and other pet names; and with his
sea-booted feet cocked up on the table would even invent histories
about silk pajamas and specially imported neckwear, to the
"friend's" discredit. Harvey was a very adaptable person, with a
keen eye and ear for every face and tone about him.
Before long he knew where Disko kept the old greencrusted
quadrant that they called the "hog-yoke"-under the bed-bag in his
bunk. When he took the sun, and with the help of "The Old
Farmer's" almanac found the latitude, Harvey would jump down
into the cabin and scratch the reckoning and date with a nail on the
rust of the stove-pipe. Now, the chief engineer of the liner could
have done no more, and no engineer of thirty years' service could
have assumed one half of the ancient-mariner air with which
Harvey, first careful to spit over the side, made public the
schooner's position for that day, and then and not till then relieved
Disko of the quadrant. There is an etiquette in all these things.
The said "hog-yoke," an Eldridge chart, the farming almanac,
Blunt's "Coast Pilot," and Bowditch's "Navigator" were all the
weapons Disko needed to guide him, except the deep-sea lead that
was his spare eye. Harvey nearly slew Penn with it when Tom Platt
taught him first how to "fly the blue pigeon"; and, though his
strength was not equal to continuous sounding in any sort of a sea,
for calm weather with a seven-pound lead on shoal water Disko
used him freely. As Dan said:
'Tain't soundin's dad wants. It's samples. Grease her up good,
Harve." Harvey would tallow the cup at the ~end, and carefully
bring the sand, shell, sludge, or whatever it might be, to Disko,
who fingered and smelt it and gave judgment As has been said,
when Disko thought of cod he thought as a cod; and by some
long-tested mixture of instinct and experience, moved the We~re
Here from berth to berth, always with the fish, as a blindfolded
chess-player moves on the unseen board.
But Disko's board was the Grand Bank-a triangle two hundred and
fifty miles on each side-a waste of wallowing sea, cloaked with
dank fog, vexed with gales, harried with drifting ice, scored by the
tracks of the reckless liners, and dotted with the sails of the
For days they worked in fog-Harvey at the bell-till, grown familiar
with the thick airs, he went out with Tom Platt, his heart rather in
his mouth. But the fog would not lift, and the fish were biting, and
no one can stay helplessly afraid for six hours at a time. Harvey
devoted himself to his lines and the gaff or gob-stick as Tom Platt
called for them; and they rowed back to the schooner guided by
the bell and Tom's instinct; Manuel's conch sounding thin and faint
beside them. But it was an unearthly experience, and, for the first
time in a month, Harvey dreamed of the shifting, smoking floors of
water round the dory, the lines that strayed away into nothing, and
the air above that melted on the sea below ten feet from his
straining eyes. A few days later he was out with Manuel on what
should have been forty-fathom bottom, but the whole length of the
roding ran out, and still the anchor found nothing, and Harvey
grew mortally afraid, for that his last touch with earth was lost.
"Whale-hole," said Manuel, hauling m. "That is good joke on
Disko. Come!" and he rowed to the schooner to find Tom Platt and
the others jeering at the skipper because, for once, he had led them
to the edge of the barren Whale-deep, the blank hole of the Grand
Bank. They made another berth through the fog, and that time the
hair of Harvey's head stood up when he went out in Manuel's dory.
A whiteness moved in the whiteness of the fog with a breath like
the breath of the grave, and there was a roaring, a plunging, and
spouting. It was his first introduction to the dread summer berg of
the Banks, and he cowered in the bottom of the boat while Manuel
laughed. There were days, though, clear and soft and warm, when
it seemed a sin to do anything but loaf over the hand-lines and
spank the drifting "sun-scalds" with an oar; and there were days of
light airs, when Harvey was taught how to steer the schooner from
one berth to another.
It thrilled through him when he first felt the keel answer to his
band on the spokes and slide over the long hollows as the foresail
scythed back and forth against the blue sky. That was magnificent,
in spite of Disko saying that it would break a snake's back to
follow his wake. But, as usual, pride ran before a fall. They were
sailing on the wind with the staysail-an old one, luckily-set, and
Harvey jammed her right into it to show Dan how completely he
had mastered the art. The foresail went over with a bang, and the
foregaff stabbed and ripped through the staysail, which was, of
course, prevented from going over by the mainstay. They lowered
the wreck in awful silence, and Harvey spent his leisure hours for
the next few days under Tom Platt's lee, learning to use a needle
and palm. Dan hooted with joy, for, as he said, he had made the
very same blunder himself in his early days.
Boylike, Harvey imitated all the men by turns, till he had
combined Disko's peculiar stoop at the wheel, Long Jack's
swinging overhand when the lines were hauled, Manuel's
round-shouldered but effective stroke in a dory, and Tom Platt's
generous Ohio stride along the deck.
'Tis beautiful to see how he takes to ut," said Long Jack, when
Harvey was looking out by the windlass one thick noon. "I'll lay
my wage an' share 'tis more'n half play-actin' to him, an' he
consates himself he's a bowld mariner. Watch his little bit av a
"That's the way we all begin," said Tom Platt. "The boys they make
believe all the time till they've cheated 'emselves into bein' men,
an' so till they die-pretendin' an' pretendin'. I done it on the old
Ohio, I know. Stood my first watch-harbor-watch-feelin' finer'n
Farragut. Dan's full o' the same kind o' notions. See 'em now,
actin' to be genewine moss-backs-very hair a rope-yarn an' blood
Stockholm tar." He spoke down the cabin stairs. "Guess you're
mistook in your judgments fer once, Disko. What in Rome made
ye tell us all here the kid was crazy?"
"He wuz," Disko replied. "Crazy ez a loon when he come aboard;
but I'll say he's sobered up consid'ble sence. I cured him."
"He yarns good," said Tom Platt. "T'other night he told us abaout a
kid of his own size steerin' a cunnin' little rig an' four ponies up an'
down Toledo, Ohio, I think 'twas, an' givin' suppers to a crowd o'
sim'lar kids. Cur'us kind o' fairy-tale, but blame interestin'. He
knows scores of 'em."
"Guess he strikes 'em outen his own head," Disko called from the
cabin, where he was busy with the logbook. "Stands to reason that
sort is all made up. It don't take in no one but Dan, an' he laughs at
it. I've heard him, behind my back."
"Yever hear what Sim'on Peter Ca'honn said when they whacked
up a match 'twix' his sister Hitty an' Lorin' Jerauld, an' the boys put
up that joke on him daown to Georges?" drawled Uncle Salters,
who was dripping peaceably under the lee of the starboard
Tom Platt puffed at his pipe in scornful silence: he was a Cape
Cod man, and had not known that tale more than twenty years.
Uncle Salters went on with a rasping chuckie:
"Sim'on Peter Ca'honn he said, an' he was jest right, abaout Lorin',
'Ha'af on the taown,' he said, 'an' t'other ha'af blame fool; an' they
told me she's married a 'ich man.' Sim'on Peter Ca'honn he hedn't
no roof to his mouth, an' talked that way."
"He didn't talk any Pennsylvania Dutch," Tom Platt replied. "You'd
better leave a Cape man to tell that tale. The Ca'houns was gypsies
frum 'way back."
"Wal, I don't profess to be any elocutionist," Salters said. "I'm
comin' to the moral o' things. That's jest abaout what aour Harve
be! Ha'af on the taown, an' t'other ha'af blame fool; an' there's
some'll believe he's a rich man. Yah!"
"Did ye ever think how sweet 'twould be to sail wid a full crew o'
Salterses?" said Long Jack. "Ha'af in the furrer an' other ha'af in the
muck-heap, as Ca'houn did not say, an' makes out he's a
A little laugh went round at Salters's expense.
Disko held his tongue, and wrought over the log-book that he kept
in a hatchet-faced, square hand; this was the kind of thing that ran
on, page after soiled page:
"July 17. This day thick fog and few fish. Made berth to
northward. So ends this day.
'July 18. This day comes in with thick fog. Caught a few fish.
"July 19. This day comes in with light breeze from N.E. and fine
weather. Made a berth to eastward. Caught plenty fish.
"July 20. This, the Sabbath, comes in with fog and light winds. So
ends this day. Total fish caught this week, 3,478."
They never worked on Sundays, but shaved, and washed
themselves if it were fine, and Pennsylvania sang hymns. Once or
twice he suggested that, if ft was not an impertinence, he thought
he could preach a little. Uncle Salters nearly jumped down his
throat at the mere notion, reminding him that he was not a
preacher and mustn't think of such things. "We'd hev him
rememberin' Johns-town next," Salters explained, "an' what would
happen then?" so they compromised on his reading aloud from a
book called "Josephus." It was an old leather-bound volume,
smelling of a hundred voyages, very solid and very like the Bible,
but enlivened with accounts of battles and sieges; and they read it
nearly from cover to cover. Otherwise Penn was a silent little
body. He would not utter a word for three days on end sometimes,
though he played checkers, listened to the songs, and laughed at
the stories. When they tried to stir him up, he would answer: "I
don't wish to seem unneighbourly, but it is because I have nothing
to say. My head feels quite empty. I've almost forgotten my name."
He would turn to Uncle Salters with an expectant smile.
"Why, Pennsylvania Pratt," Salters would shout "You'll fergit me
"No-never," Penn would say, shutting his lips firmly.
"Pennsylvania Pratt, of course," he would repeat over and over.
Sometimes it was Uncle Salters who forgot, and told him he was
Haskins or Rich or McVitty; but Penn was equally content-till next
He was always very tender with Harvey, whom he pitied both as a
lost child and as a lunatic; and when Salters saw that Penn liked
the boy, he relaxed, too. Salters was not an amiable person (He
esteemed it his business to keep the boys in order); and the first
time Harvey, in fear and trembling, on a still day, managed to shin
up to the main-truck (')an was behind him ready to help), he
esteemed it his duty to hang Salters's big sea-boots up there-a sight
of shame and derision to the nearest schooner. With Disko, Harvey
took no liberties; not even when the old man dropped direct
orders, and treated him, like the rest of the crew, to "Don't you
want to do so and so?" and "Guess you'd better," and so forth.
There was something about the clean-shaven lips and the puckered
corners of the eyes that was mightily sobering to young blood.
Disko showed him the meaning of the thumbed and pricked chart,
which, he said, laid over any government publication whatsoever;
led him, pencil in hand, from berth to berth over the whole string
of banks-Le Have, Western, Banquereau, St. Pierre, Green, and
Grand -talking "cod" meantime. Taught him, too, the principle on
which the "hog-yoke" was worked.
In this Harvey excelled Dan, for he had inherited a head for
figures, and the notion of stealing information from one glimpse of
the sullen Bank sun appealed to all his keen wits. For other
sea-matters his age handicapped him. As Disko said, he should
have begun when he was ten. Dan could bait up trawl or lay his
hand on any rope in the dark; and at a pinch, when Uncle Salters
had a gurry-score on his palm, could dress down by sense of touch.
He could steer in anything short of half a gale from the feel of the
wind on his face, humouring the We're Here just when she needed
it These things he did as automatically as he skipped about the
rigging, or made his dory a part of his own will and body. But he
could not communicate his knowledge to Harvey.
Still there was a good deal of general information flying about the
schooner on stormy days, when they lay up in the foc'sle or sat on
the cabin lockers, while spare eye-bolts, leads, and rings rolled and
rattled in the pauses of the talk. Disko spoke of whaling voyages in
the Fifties; of great she-whales slain beside their young; of death
agonies on the black tossing seas, and blood that spurted forty feet
in the air; of boats smashed to splinters; of patent rockets that went
off wrong-end-first and bombarded the trembling crews; of
cutting-in and boiling-down, and that terrible "nip" of '71, when
twelve hundred men were made homeless on the ice in three
days-wonderful tales, all true. But more wonderful still were his
stories of the cod, and how they argued and reasoned on their
private businesses deep down below the keel.
Long Jack's tastes ran more to the supernatural. He held them
silent with ghastly stories of the "Yo-hoes" on Monomoy Beach,
that mock and terrify lonely clam-diggers; of sand-walkers and
dune-haunters who were never properly buried; of hidden treasure
on Fire Island guarded by the spirits of Kidd's men; of ships that
sailed in the fog straight over Truro township; of that harbor in
Maine where no one but a stranger will lie at anchor twice in a
certain place because of a dead crew who row alongside at
midnight with the anchor in the bow of their old-fashioned boat,
whistling-not calling, hut whistling-for the soul of the man who
broke their regt.
Harvey had a notion that the east coast of his native land, from
Mount Desert south, was populated chiefly by people who took
their horses there in the summer and entertained in country-houses
with hardwood floors and Vantine portires. He laughed at the
ghost-tales,-not as much as he would have done a month
before,-but ended by sifting still and shuddering.
Tom Platt dealt with his interminable trip round the Horn on the
old Ohio in flogging days, with a navy more extinct than the
dodo-the navy that passed away in the great war. He told them how
red-hot shot are dropped into a cannon, a wad of wet clay between
them and the cartridge; how they sizzle and reek when they strike
wood, and how the little ship-boys of the Miss Jim Buck hove
water over them and shouted to the fort to try again. And he told
tales of blockade-long weeks of swaying at anchor, varied only by
the departure and return of steamers that had used up their coal
(there was no chance for the sailing-ships); of gales and cold~ld
that kept two hundred men, night and day, pounding and chopping
at the ice on cable, blocks, and rigging, when the galley was as
red-hot as the fort's shot, and men drank cocoa by the bucket Tom
Platt had no use for steam. His service closed when that thing was
comparatively new. He admitted that it was a specious invention in
time of peace, but looked hope-fully for the day when sails should
come back again on ten-thousand-ton frigates with
Manuel's talk was slow and gentle-all about pretty girls in Madeira
washing clothes in the dry beds of streams, by moonlight, under
waving bananas; legends of saints, and tales of queer dances or
fights away in the cold Newfoundland baiting-ports Salters was
mainly agricultural; for, though he read "Josephus" and expounded
it, his mission in life was to prove the value of green manures, and
specially of clover, against every form of phosphate whatsoever.
He grew libellous about phosphates; he dragged greasy "Orange
Judd" books from his bunk and intoned them, wagging his finger at
Harvey, to whom it was all Greek. Little Penn was so genuinely
pained when Harvey made fun of Salters's lectures that the boy
gave it up, and suffered in polite silence. That was very good for
The cook naturally did not loin in these conversations. As a rule,
he spoke only when it was absolutely necessary; but at times a
queer gift of speech descended on him, and he held forth, half in
Gaelic, half in broken English, an hour at a time. He was
especially communicative with the boys, and he never withdrew
his prophecy that one day Harvey would be Dan's master, and that
he would see it. He told them of mall-carrying in the 'winter up
Cape Breton way, of the dog-train that goes to Coudray, and of the
ram-steamer Arctic, that breaks the ice between the mainland and
Prince Edward Island. Then he told them stories that his mother
had told him, of life far to the southward, where water never froze;
and he said that when he died his soul would go to lie down on a
warm white beach of sand with palm-trees waving above. That
seemed to the boys a very odd idea for a man who had never seen a
palm in his life. Then, too, regularly at each meal, he would ask
Harvey, and Harvey alone, whether the cooking was to his taste;
and this always made the "second half' laugh. Yet they had a great
respect for the cook's judgment, and in their hearts considered
Harvey something of a mascot by consequence.
And while Harvey was taking in knowledge of new things at each
pore and hard health with every gulp of the good air, the We're
Here went her ways and did her business on the Bank, and the
silvery-gray kenches of well-pressed fish mounted higher and
higher in the hold. No one day's work was out of common, but the
average days were many and close together.
Naturally, a man of Disko's reputation was closely
watched-"scrowged upon," Dan called it-by his neighbours, but he
had a very pretty knack of giving them the slip through the
curdling, glidy fog-banks. Disko avoided company for two reasons.
He wished to make his own experirnents, in the first place; and in
the second, he objected to the mixed gatherings of a fleet of all
nations. The bulk of them were mamly Gloucester boats,
with a scattering from Provincetown, Harwich, Chatham, and
some of the Maine ports, but the crews drew from goodness knows
where. Risk breeds recklessness, and when greed is added there
are fine chances for every kind of accident in the crowded fleet,
which, like a mob of sheep, is huddled round some unrecognized
leader. "Let the two Jeraulds lead 'em," said Disko. "We're baound
to lay among 'em for a spell on the Eastern Shoals; though ef luck
holds, we won't hev to lay long. Where we are naow, Harve, ain't
considered noways good graound."
"Ain't it?" said Harvey, who was drawing water (he had learned
just how to wiggle the bucket), after an unusually long
dressing-down. "Shouldn't mind striking some poor ground for a
"All the graound I want to see-don't want to strike her-is Eastern
Point," said Dan. "Say, Dad, it looks's if we wouldn't hev to lay
more'n two weeks on the Shoals. You'll meet all the comp'ny you
want then, Harve. That's the time we begin to work. No reg'lar
meals fer no one then. 'Mug-up when ye're hungry, an' sleep when
ye can't keep awake. Good job you wasn't picked up a month later
than you was, or we'd never ha' had you dressed in shape fer the
Harvey understood from the Eldridge chart that the Old Virgin and
a nest of curiously named shoals were the turning-point of the
cruise, and that with good luck they would wet the balance of their
salt there. But seeing the size of the Virgin (it was one tiny dot), he
wondered how even Disko with the hog-yoke and the lead could
find her. He learned later that Disko was entirely equal to that and
any other business and could even help others. A big four-by-five
blackboard hung in the cabin, and Harvey never understood the
need of it till, after some blinding thick days, they heard the
unmelodious tooting of a foot-power fog-horn-a machine whose
note is as that of a consumptive elephant.
They were making a short berth, towing the anchor under their
foot to save trouble. "Square-rigger bellowin' fer his latitude," said
Long Jack. The dripping red head-sails of a bark glided out of the
fog, and the We're Here rang her bell thrice, using sea shorthand.
The larger boat backed her topsail with shrieks and shoutings.
"Frenchman," said Uncle Salters, scornfully. "Miquelon boat from
St. Malo." The farmer had a weatherly sea-eye. "I'm 'most outer
'baccy, too, Disko."
"Same here," said Tom Platt. "Hi! Backez vous-backez vous!
Standez awayez, you butt-ended mucho-bono! Where you from-
St. Malo, eh?"
"Ah, ha! Mucho bono! Oui! oui! Clos Poulet--St. Malo! St. Pierre
et Miquelon," cried the other crowd, waving woollen caps and
laughing. Then all together, "Bord! Bord!"
"Bring up the board, Danny. Beats me how them Frenchmen fetch
anywheres, exceptin' America's fairish broadly. Forty-six
forty-nine's good enough fer them; an' I guess it's abaout right, too"
Dan chalked the figures on the board, and they hung it in the
main-rigging to a chorus of mercis from the bark.
"Seems kinder uneighbourly to let 'em swedge off like this,"
Salters suggested, feeling in his pockets
"Hev ye learned French then sence last trip?" said Disko. "I don't
want no more stone-ballast hove at us 'long 0' your callin'
Miquelon boats 'footy cochins,' same's you did off Le Have."
"Harmon Rush he said that was the way to rise 'em. Plain United
States is good enough fer me. We're all dretful short- on tearakker.
Young feller, don't you speak French?"
"Oh, yes," said Harvey valiantly; and he bawled:
"Hi! Say! Arretez vous! Attendez! Nous sommes venant pour
"Ah, tabac, tabac!" they cried, and laughed again.
"That hit 'em. Let's heave a dory over, anyway," said Tom Platt. "I
don't exactly hold no certificates on French, but I know another
lingo that goes, I guess. Come on, Harve, an' interpret."
The raffle and confusion when he and Harvey were hauled up the
bark's black side was indescribable. Her cabin was all stuck round
with glaring coloured prints of the Virgin-the Virgin of
Newfoundland, they called her. Harvey found his French of no
recognized Bank brand, and his conversation was limited to nods and grins. But
Tom Platt waved his arms and got along swimmingly. The captain
gave him a drink of unspeakable gin, and the opera-comique crew,
with their hairy throats, red caps, and long knives, greeted him as a
brother. Then the trade began. They had tobacco, plenty of
it-American, that had never paid duty to France. They wanted
chocolate and crackers. Harvey rowed back to arrange with the
cook and Disko, who owned the stores, and on his return the
cocoa-tins and cracker-bags were counted out by the Frenchman's
wheel. It looked like a piratical division of loot; but Tom Platt
came out of it roped with black pigtail and stuffed with cakes of
chewing and smoking tobacco. Then those jovial mariners swung
off into the mist, and the last Harvey heard was a gay chorus:
"Par derriere chez ma tante, fly a un bois joli,
Et le rossignol y chante
Et le jour et la nuit....
Que donneriez vous, belle,
Qui 1'arnenerait ici?
Je donneral Quebec,
Sorel et Saint Denis."
"How was it my French didn't go, and your sign-talk did?" Harvey
demanded when the batter had been distributed among the We're
"Sign-talk!" Platt guffawed. "Well, yes, 'twas sign-talk, but a heap
older'n your French, Harve. Them French boats are chockfull o'
Freemasons, an' that's why."
"Are you a Freemason, then?"
"Looks that way, don't it?" said the man-o'-war's man, stuffing his
pipe; and Harvey had another mystery of the deep sea to brood
The thing that struck him most was the exceedingly casual way in
which some craft loafed about the broad Atlantic. Fishing-boats, as
Dan said, were naturally dependent on the courtesy and wisdom of
their neighbours; but one expected better things of steamers. That
was alter another interesting interview, when they had been chased
for three miles by a big lumbering old cattle-boat, all boarded over
on the upper deck, that smelt like a thousand cattle-pens. A very
excited officer yelled at them through a speaking-trumpet, and she
lay and lollopped helplessly on the water while Disko ran the
We're Here under her lee and gave the skipper a piece of his mind.
"Where might ye be-eh? Ye don't deserve to be anywheres. You
barn-yard tramps go hoggin' the road on the high seas with no
blame consideration fer your neighbours, an' your eyes in your
coffee-cups instid o' in your silly heads."
At this the skipper danced on the bridge and said something about
Disko's own eyes. "We haven't had an observation for three days.
D'you suppose we can run her blind?" he shouted-
"Wa-al, I can," Disko retorted. "What's come to your lead? Et it?
Can't ye smell bottom, or are them cattle too rank?"
"What d' ye feed 'em?" said Uncle Salters with intense seriousness,
for the smell of the pens woke all the farmer in him. "They say
they fall off dretful on a v'yage. Dunno as it's any o' my business,
but I've a kind o' notion that oil-cake broke small an' sprinkled
"Thunder!" said a cattle-man in a red jersey as he looked over the
side. "What asylum did they let His Whiskers out of?"
"Young feller," Salters began, standing up in the fore-rigging, "let
me tell yeou 'fore we go any further that I've~"
The officer on the bridge took off his cap with immense
politeness. "Excuse me," he said, "but I've asked for my reckoning.
If the agricultural person with the hair will kindly shut his head,
the sea-green barnacle 'with the wall-eye may per-haps condescend
to enlighten us."
"Naow you've made a show o' me, Salters," said Disko, angrily. He
could not stand up to that particular sort of talk, and snapped out
the latitude and longitude without more lectures.
"Well, that's a boat-load of lunatics, sure," said the skipper, as he
rang up the engine-room and tossed a bundle of newspapers into
"Of all the blamed fools, next to you, Salters, him an' his crowd are
abaout the likeliest I've ever seen," said Disko as the We're Here
slid away. "I was jest givin' him my jedgment on lullsikin' round
these waters like a lost child, an' you must cut in with your fool
farmin'. Can't ye never keep things sep'rate?"
Harvey, Dan, and the others stood back, winking one to the other
and full of joy; but Disko and Salters wrangled seriously till
evening, Salters arguing that a cattle-boat was practically a barn on
blue water, and Disko insisting that, even if this were the case,
decency and fisher-pride demanded that he should have kept
"things sep'rate." Long Jack stood it in silence for a time,-an angry
skipper makes an unhappy crew,-and then he spoke across the
table after supper:
"Fwhat's the good o' bodderin' fwhat they'll say?" said he.
"They'll tell that tale agin us fer years-that's all," said Disko.
"With salt, o' course," said Salters, Impenitent, reading the
farming reports from a week-old New York paper.
"It's plumb mortifyin' to all my feelin's," the skipper went on.
"Can't see Ut that way," said Long Jack, the peacemaker "Look at
here, Disko! Is there another packet afloat this day in this weather
cud ha' met a tramp an, over an' above givin' her her reckonin',
-over an' above that, I say,-cud ha' discoorsed wid her quite intelligent
on the management av steers an' such at sea? Forgit ut! Av coorse they
will not. 'Twas the most compenjus conversation that iver accrued.
Double game an' twice runnin'-all to us." Dan kicked Harvey under
the table, and Harvey choked in his cup.
"Well," said Salters, who felt that his honour had been somewhat
plastered, "I said I didn't know as 'twuz any business o' mine, 'fore
"An' right there," said Tom Platt, experienced in discipline and
etiquette- "right there, I take it, Disko, you should ha' asked him to
stop ef the conversation wuz likely, in your jedgment, to be
anyways-what it shouldn't."
'Dunno but that's so," said Disko, who saw his way to an
honourable retreat from a fit of the dignities.
"Why, o' course it was so," said Salters, "you bein' skipper here;
an' I'd cheerful hev stopped on a hint-not from any leadin' or
conviction, but fer the sake o' bearin' an example to these two
blame boys of aours."
"Didn't I tell you, Harve, 'twould come araound to us 'fore we'd
done? Always those blame boys. But I wouldn't have missed the
show fer a half-share in a halibutter," Dan whispered.
"Still, things should ha' been kep' sep'rate," said Disko, and the
light of new argument lit in Salters's eye as he crumbled cut plug
into his pipe.
"There's a power av vartue in keepin' things sep'rate," said Long
Jack, intent on stilling the storm. "That's fwhat Steyning of
Steyning and Hare's f'und when he sent Counahan fer skipper on
the Manila D. Kuhn, instid o' Cap. Newton that was took with
inflam'try rheumatism an' couldn't go. Counahan the Navigator we
"Nick Counahan he never went aboard fer a night 'thout a pond o'
rum somewheres in the manifest," said Tom Platt, playing up to
the lead. "He used to bum araound the c'mission houses to Boston
lookin' fer the Lord to make him captain of a tow-boat on his
merits. Sam Coy, up to Atlantic Avenoo, give him his board free
fer a year or more on account of his stories.
Counahan the Navigator! Tck! Tck! Dead these fifteen year, ain't
"Seventeen, I guess. He died the year the Caspar McVeagh was
built; but he could niver keep things sep'rate. Steyning tuk him fer
the reason the thief tuk the hot stove-bekaze there was nothin' else
that season. The men was all to the Banks, and Counahan he
whacked up an iverlastin' hard crowd fer crew. Rum! Ye cud ha'
floated the Manila, insurance an' all, in fwhat they stowed aboard
her. They lef' Boston Harbour for the great Grand Bank wid a
roarin' nor'wester behind 'em an' all hands full to the bung. An' the
hivens looked after thim, for divil a watch did they set, an' divil a
rope did they lay hand to, till they'd seen the bottom av a
fifteen-gallon cask o' bug-juice. That was about wan week, so far
as Counahan remembered. (If I cud only tell the tale as he told ut!)
All that whoile the wind blew like ould glory, an' the Marilla-'twas
summer, and they'd give her a foretopmast-struck her gait and kept
ut. Then Counahan tuk the hog-yoke an' thrembled over it for a
whoile, an' made out, betwix' that an' the chart an' the singin' in his
head, that they was to the south'ard o' Sable Island, gettin' along
glorious, but speakin' nothin'. Then they broached another keg, an'
quit speculatin' about anythin' fer another spell. The Marilla she
lay down whin she dropped Boston Light, and she never lufted her
lee-rail up to that time-hustlin' on one an' the same slant. But they
saw no weed, nor gulls, nor schooners; an' prisintiy they obsarved
they'd bin out a matter o' fourteen days and they mis-trusted the
Bank has suspinded payment. So they sounded, an' got sixty
fathom. 'That's me,' sez Counahan. 'That's me iv'ry time! I've run
her slat on the Bank fer you, an' when we get thirty fathom we'll
turn in like little men. Counahan is the b'y,' sez he. 'Counahan the
"Nex' cast they got ninety. Sez Counahan: 'Either the lead-line's tuk
to stretchin' or else the Bank's sunk.'
"They hauled ut up, bein' just about in that state when ut seemed
right an' reasonable, and sat down on the deck countin' the knots,
an' gettin' her snarled up hijjus. The Marilla she'd struck her gait,
an' she hild ut, an' prisindy along came a tramp, an' Counahan
'Hev ye seen any fishin'-boats now?' sez he, quite casual.
'There's lashin's av them off the Irish coast,' sez the tramp.
'Aah! go shake yerseif,' sez Counahan. 'Fwhat have I to do wid the
"'Then fwhat are ye doin' here?' sez the tramp.
'Sufferin' Christianity!' sez Counahan (he always said that whin his
pumps sucked an' he was not feelin' good)-'Sufferin' Christianity!'
he sez, 'where am I at?'
'Thirty-five mile west-sou'west o' Cape Clear,' sez the tramp, 'if
that's any consolation to you.'
"Counahan fetched wan jump, four feet sivin inches, measured by
'Consolation!' sez he, bould as brass. 'D'ye take me fer a dialect?
Thirty-five mile from Cape Clear, an' fourteen days from Boston
Light. Sufferin' Christianity, 'tis a record, an' by the same token I've
a mother to Skibbereen!' Think av ut! The gall av um! But ye see
he could niver keep things sep'rate.
"The crew was mostly Cork an' Kerry men, barrin' one Marylander
that wanted to go back, but they called him a mutineer, an' they ran
the ould Marilla into Skibbereen, an' they had an illigant time
visitin' around with frinds on the ould sod fer a week. Thin they
wint back, an' it cost 'em two an' thirty days to beat to the Banks
again. 'Twas gettin' on towards fall, and grub was low, so
Counahan ran - her back to Boston, wid no more bones to ut."
"And what did the firm say?" Harvey demanded.
"Fwhat could they? The fish was on the Banks, an' Counahan was
at. T-wharf talkin' av his record trip east! They tuk their
satisfaction out av that, an' ut all came av not keepin' the crew and
the rum sep'rate in the first place; an' confusin' Skibbereen wid
'Queereau, in the second. Counahan the Navigator, rest his sowi!
He was an imprompju citizen!"
"Once I was in the Lucy Holmes," said Manuel, in his gentle voice.
"They not want any of her feesh in Gloucester. Eh, wha-at? Give us
no price. So we go across the water, and think to sell to some Fayal
man. Then it blow fresh, and we cannot see well. Eh, wha-at? Then
it blow some mQre fresh, and we go down below and drive very
fast-no one know where. By and by we see a land, and it get some
hot. Then come two, three nigger in a brick. Eh, wha-at? We ask
where we are, and they say-now, what you all think?"
"Grand Canary," said Disko, alter a moment. Manuel shook his
"Blanco," said Tom Platt.
"No. Worse than that. We was below Bezagos, and the brick she
was from Liberia! So we sell our feesh there! Not bad, so? Eh,
"Can a schooner like this go right across to Africa?" said Harvey.
"Go araound the Horn ef there's anythin' worth goin' fer, and the
grub holds aout," said Disko. "My father he run his packet, an' she
was a kind o' pinkey, abaout fifty ton, I guess,-the Rupert,-he run
her over to Greenland's icy mountains the year ha'af our fleet was
tryin' alter cod there. An' what's more, he took my mother along
with him,-to show her haow the money was earned, I presoom,-an'
they was all iced up, an' I was born at Disko. Don't remember
nothin' abaout it, o' course. We come back when the ice eased in
the spring, but they named me fer the place. Kinder mean trick to
put up on a baby, but we're all baound to make mistakes in aour
"Sure! Sure!" said Salters, wagging his head. "All baound to make
mistakes, an' I tell you two boys here thet alter you've made a
mistake-ye don't make fewer'n a hundred a day-the next best
thing's to own up to it like men."
Long Jack winked one tremendous wink that embraced all hands
except Disko and Salters, and the incident was closed.
Then they made berth alter berth to the northward, the dories out
almost every day, running along the east edge of the Grand Bank in
thirty- to forty-fathom water, and fishing steadily.
It was here Harvey first met the squid, who is one of the best
cod-baits, but uncertain in his moods. They
88 Rudyard Kipling
were waked out of their bunks one black night by yells of "Squid
0!" from Salters, and for an hour and a half every soul aboard hung
over his squid-jig-a piece of lead painted red and armed at the
lower end with a circle of pins bent backward like half-opened
umbrella ribs. The squid-for some unknown reason-likes, and
wraps himself round, this thing, and is hauled up ere he can escape
from the pins. But as he leaves his home he squirts first water and
next ink into his captor's face; and it was curious to see the men
weaving their heads from side to side to dodge the shot. They were
as black as sweeps when the flurry ended; but a pile of fresh squid
lay on the deck, and the large cod thinks very well of a little shiny
piece of squid tentacle at the tip of a clam-baited hook. Next day
they caught many fish, and met the Carrie Pitman, to whom they
shouted their luck, and she wanted to trade-seven cod for one
fair-sized squid; but Disko would not agree at the price, and the
Carrie dropped sullenly to leeward and anchored half a mile away,
in the hope of striking on to some for herself.
Disco said nothing till after supper, when he sent Dan and Manuel
out to buoy the We're Here's cable and announced his intention of
turning in with the broad-axe. Dan naturally repeated these
remarks to the dory from the Carrie, who wanted to know why
they were buoying their cable, since they were not on rocky
"Dad sez he wouldn't trust a ferryboat within five mile o' you,"
Dan howled cheerfully.
"Why don't he git out, then? Who's hinderin'?" said the other.
"'Cause you've jest the same ex lee-bowed him, an' he don't take that
from any boat, not to speak o' sech a driftin' gurry-butt as you be."
"She ain't driftin' any this trip," said the man angrily, for the Carrie
Pitman had an unsavory reputation for breaking her ground- tackle.
"Then haow d'you make berths?" said Dan. "It's her best p'int o'
sailin'. An' ef she's quit driftin', what in thunder are you doin' with
a new jib-boom?" That shot went home.
"Hey, you Portugoosy organ-grinder, take your monkey back to
Gloucester. Go back to school, Dan Troop," was the answer.
"0-ver-alls! 0-ver-alls!" yelled Dan, who knew that one of the
Carrie's crew had worked in an overall factory the winter before.
"Shrimp! Gloucester shrimp! Git aout, you Novy!"
To call a Gloucester man a Nova Scotian is not well received. Dan
answered in kind.
"Novy yourself, ye Scrabble-towners! ye Chatham wreckers! Git
aout with your brick in your stockin'!" And the forces separated,
but Chatharn had the worst of it.
"I knew haow 'twould be," said Disko. "She's drawed the wind
raound already. Some one oughter put a deesist on thet packet.
She'll snore till midnight, an' jest when we're gettin' our sleep she'll
strike adrift. Good job we ain't crowded with craft hereaways. But
I ain't goin' to up anchor fer Chatham. She may hold."
The wind, which had hauled round, rose at sundown and blew
steadily. There was not enough sea, though, to disturb even a
dory's tackle, but the Carrie Pitman was a law unto herself. At the
end of the boys' watch they heard the crack-crack-crack of a huge
muzzle-loading revolver aboard her.
"Gory, glory, hallelujah!" sung Dan. "Here she comes, Dad;
butt-end first, walkin' in her sleep same's she done on 'Queereau."
Had she been any other boat Disko would have taken his chances,
but now he cut the cable as the Carrie Pitman, with all the North
Atlantic to play in, lurched down directly upon them. The We're
Here, under jib and riding-sail, gave her no more room than was
absolutely necessary,-Disko did not wish to spend a week hunting
for his cable,-but scuttled up into the wind as the Carrie passed
within easy hail, a silent and angry boat, at the mercy of a raking
broadside of Bank chaff.
"Good evenin'," said Disko, raising his head-gear, "an' haow does
your garden grow?"
"Go to Ohio an' hire a mule," said Uncle Salters. "We don't want
no farmers here."
"Will I lend YOU my dory-anchor?" cried Long Jack.
"Unship your rudder an' stick it in the mud," Bald Tom Platt.
"Say!" Dan's voice rose shrill and high, as he stood on the
wheel-box. "Sa-ay! Is there a strike in the o-ver-all factory; or hev
they hired girls, ye Shackamaxons?"
"Veer out the tiller-lines," cried Harvey, "and nail 'em to the
bottom~' That was a salt-flavoured jest he had been put up to by
Tom Platt. Manuel leaned over the stern and yelled: "Johanna
Morgan play the organ! Ahaaaa!" He flourished his broad thumb
with a gesture of unspeakable contempt and derision, while little
Penn covered himself with glory by piping up: "Gee a little! Hssh!
Come here. Haw!"
They rode on their chain for the rest of the night, a short, snappy,
uneasy motion, as Harvey found, and wasted half the forenoon
recovering the cable. But the boys agreed the trouble was cheap at
the price of triumph and glory, and they thought with grief over all
the beautiful things that they might have said to the discomfited
Next day they fell in with more sails, all circling slowly from the
east northerly towards the west. But just when they expected to
make the shoals by the Virgin the fog shut down, and they
anchored, surrounded by the tinklings of invisible bells. There was
not much fishing, but occasionally dory met dory in the fog and
That night, a little before dawn, Dan and Harvey, who had been
sleeping most of the day, tumbled out to "hook" fried pies. There
was no reason why they should not have taken them openly; but
they tasted better so, and it made the cook angry. The heat and
smell below drove them on deck with their plunder, and they
found Disko at the bell, which he handed over to Harvey.
"Keep her goin'," said he. "I mistrust I hear somethin'. Ef it's
anything, I'm best where I am so's to get at things."
It was a forlorn little jingle; the thick air seemed to pinch it off,
and in the pauses Harvey heard the muffled shriek of a liner's
siren, and he knew enough of the Banks to know what that meant.
It came to him, with horrible distinctness, how a boy in a
cherry-coloured jersey-he despised fancy blazers now with all a
fisher-man's contempt-how an ignorant, rowdy boy had once
said it would be "great" if a steamer ran down a fishing-boat.
That boy had a stateroom with a hot and cold bath, and spent
ten minutes each morning picking over a gilt-edged bill of fare.
And that same boy-no, his very much older brother- was up at
four of the dim dawn in streaming, crackling oilskins, hammering,
literally for the dear life, on a bell smaller than the steward's
breakfast-bell, while somewhere close at hand a thirty-foot steel
stem was storming along at twenty miles an hour! The bitterest
thought of all was that there were folks asleep in dry,
upholstered cabins who would never learn that. they had
massacred a boat before breakfast. So Harvey rang the bell.
"Yes, they slow daown one turn o' their blame propeller," said
Dan, applying himself to Manuel's conch, "fer to keep inside the
law, an' that's consolin' when we're all at the bottom. Hark to her!
She's a humper!"
"Aooo-whoo-whupp!" went the siren. "Wingle-tingle-tink," went
the belL "Graaa-ouch!" went the conch, while sea and
sky were all mrned up in milky fog. Then Harvey fek that
he was near a moving body, and found himself looking up
and up at the wet edge of a cliff-like bow, leaping, it seemed,
directly over the schooner. A jaunty little feather of water curled in
front of it, and as it lifted it showed a long ladder of Roman
numerals-XV., XVI., XVII., XVIII., and sd forth-on a
salmon-coloured gleaming side. It tilted forward and downward
with a heart-stilling "Ssssooo"; the ladder disappeared; a line of
brass-rimmed port-holes flashed past; a jet of steam puffed in
Harvey's helplessly uplifted hands; a spout of hot water roared
along the rail of the We're Here, and the little schooner staggered
and shook in a rush of screw-torn water, as a liner's stern vanished
in the fog. Harvey got ready to faint or be sick, or both, when he
heard a crack like a trunk thrown on a sidewalk, and, all small in
his ear, a far-away telephone voice drawling: "Heave to! You've
"Is it us?" he gasped.
"No! Boat out yonder. Ring! We're goin' to look," said Dan,
running out a dory.
In half a minute all except Harvey, Penn, and the cook were
overside and away. Presently a schooner's stump-foremast, snapped
clean across, drifted past the bows. Then an empty green dory
came by, knocking on the We're Here's side, as though she wished
to be taken in. Then followed something, face down, in a blue
jersey, but-it was not the whole of a man. Penn changed colour and
caught his breath with a click. Harvey pounded despairingly at the
bell, for he feared they
93 might be sunk at any minute, and he jumped at Dan's hail as
the crew came back.
"The Jennie Cushman," said Dan, hysterically, "cut clean in
half-graound up an' trompled on at that! Not a quarter of a mile
away. Dad's got the old man. There ain't any one else, and-there
was his son, too. Oh, Harve, Harve, I can't stand it! I've seen-" He
dropped his head on his arms and sobbed while the others dragged
a gray-headed man aboard.
"What did you pick me up for?" the stranger groaned. "Disko, what
did you pick me up for?"
Disko dropped a heavy hand on his shoulder, for the man's eyes
were wild and his lips trembled as he stared at the silent crew.
Then up and spoke Pennsylvania Pratt, who was also Haskins or
Rich or MeVitty when Uncle Salters forgot; and his face was
changed on him from the face of a fool to the countenance of an
old, wise man, and he said in a strong voice: "The Lord gave, and
the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord! I was-I
am a minister of the Gospel. Leave him to me."
"Oh, you be, be you?" said the man. "Then pray my son back to
me! Pray back a nine-thousand-dollar boat an' a thousand quintal of
fish. If you'd left me alone my widow could ha' gone on to the
Provident an' worked fer her board, an' never known-an' never
known. Now I'll hev to tell her."
"There ain't notbin' to say," said Disko. "Better lie down a piece,
When a man has lost his only son, his summer's work, and his
means of livelihood, in thirty counted seconds, it is hard to give
"All Gloucester men, wasn't they?" said Tom Platt, fiddling
helplessly with a dory-becket.
"Oh, that don't make no odds," said Jason, wringing the wet from
his beard. "I'll be rowin' summer boarders araound East Gloucester
this fall." He rolled heavily to the rail, singing:
"Happy birds that sing and fly
Round thine altars, 0 Most High!"
"Come with me. Come below!" said Penn, as though he had a right
to give orders. Their eyes met and fought for a quarter of
"I dunno who you be, but I'll come," said Jason submissively.
"Mebbe I'll get back some o' the-some o' the-nine thousand
dollars." Penn led him into the cabin and slid the door behind.
"That ain't Penn," cried Uncle Salters. "It's Jacob Boiler, an'-he's
remembered Johnstown! I never seed stich eyes in any livin' man's
head. What's to do naow? What'll I do naow?"
They could hear Penn's voice and Jason's together. Then Penn's
went on alone, and Salters slipped off his hat, for Penn was
praying. Presently the little man came up the steps, huge drops of
sweat on his face, and looked at the crew. Dan was still sobbing by
"He don't know us," Salters groaned. "It's all to do over again,
checkers and everything-an' what'll he say to me?"
Penn spoke; they could hear that it was to strangers. "I have
prayed," said he. "Our people believe in prayer. I have prayed for
the life of this ma~'s son. Mine were drowned before my eyes-she
and my eldest and-the others. Shall a man be more wise than his
Maker? I prayed never for their lives, but I have prayed for this
man's son, and he will surely be sent him.
Salters looked pleadingly at Penn to see if he remembered.
"How long have I been mad?" Penn asked suddenly. His mouth
"Pshaw, Penn! You weren't never mad," Salters began "Only a
little distracted like."
"I saw the houses strike the bridge before the fires broke out. I do
not remember any more. How long ago is that?"
"I can't stand it! I can't stand it!" cried Dan, and Harvey whimpered
"Abaout five year," said Disko, in a shaking voice.
"Then I have been a charge on some one for every day of that time.
Who was the man?"
Disko pointed to Salters.
"Ye hain't-ye hain't!" cried the sea-farmer, twisting his hands
together. "Ye've more'n earned your keep twice-told; an' there's
money owm' you, Penn, besides ha'af o' my quarter-share in
the boat, which is yours fer value received."
"You are good men. I can see that in your faces. But--"
"Mother av Mercy," whispered Long Jack, "an' he's been wid
us~all these trips! He's clean bewitched."
A schooner's bell struck up alongside, and a voice hailed through
the fog: "0 Disko! 'Heard abaout the Jennie Cushman?"
"They have found his son," cried Penn. "Stand you still and see the
salvation of the Lord!"
"Got Jason aboard here," Disko answered, but his voice quavered.
"There-warn't any one else?"
"We've fund one, though. 'Run acrost him snarled up in a mess o'
lumber thet might ha' bin a foc'sle. His head's cut some."
"Who is he?"
The We're Here's heart-beats answered one another.
"Guess it's young Olley," the voice drawled.
Penn raised his hands and said something in German. Harvey
could have sworn that a bright sun was shining upon his lifted
face; but the drawl went on: "Sa-ay! You fellers guyed us
consid'rable t'other night."
"We don't feel like guyin' any now," said Disko.
"I know it; but to tell the honest truth we was kinder-kinder driftin'
when we run agin young Olley."
It was the irrepressible Carrie Pitman, and a roar of unsteady
laughter went up from the deck of the We're Here.
"Hedn't you 'baout's well send the old man aboard? We're runnin'
in fer more bait an' graound-tackle. Guess you won't want him,
anyway, an' this blame windlass work makes us short-handed.
We'll take care of him. He married my woman's aunt."
"I'll give you anything in the boat," said Troop.
"Don't want nothin', 'less, mebbe, an anchor that'll hold. Say!
Young Olley's gittin' kinder baulky an' excited. Send the old man
Penn waked him from his stupor of despair, and Tom Platt rowed
him over. He went away without a word
96 Rudyard Kipling of thanks, not knowing what was to come;
and the fog closed over all.
"And now," said Penn, drawing a deep breath as though about to
preach. "And now"-the erect body sank like a sword driven home
into the scabbard; the light faded from the overbright eyes; the
voice returned to its usual pitiful little titter- "and now," said
Pennsylvania Pratt, "do you think it's too early for a little game of
checkers, Mr. Salters?"
"The very thing-the very thing I was goin' to say myself," cried
Salters promptly. "It beats all, Penn, how ye git on to what's in a
The little fellow blushed and meekly followed Salters forward.
"Up anchor! Hurry! Let's quit these crazy waters," shouted Disko,
and never was he more swiftly obeyed.
"Now what in creation d'ye suppose is the meanin' o' that all?" said
Long Jack, when they were working through the fog once more,
damp, dripping, and bewildered.
"The way I sense it," said Disko, at the wheel, "is this: The Jennie
Cushman business comin' on an empty stummick--"
"H~we saw one of them go by," sobbed Harvey.
"An' that, o' course, kinder hove him outer water, julluk runnin' a
craft ashore; hove him right aout, I take it, to rememberin'
Johnstown an' Jacob Boiler an' such-like reminiscences. Well,
consolin' Jason there held him up a piece, same's shorin' up a boat.
Then, bein' weak, them props slipped an' slipped, an' he slided
down the ways, an' naow he's water-borne agin. That's haow I
They decided that Disko was entirely correct
'Twould ha' bruk Salters all up," said Long Jack, "if Penn had
stayed Jacob Bollerin'. Did ye see his face when Penn asked who
he'd been charged on all these years? How is ut, Salters?"
"Asleep-dead asleep. Turned in like a child," Salters replied,
tiptoeing alt. "There won't be no grub till he wakes, natural. Did ye
ever see sech a gift in prayer? He everlastin'ly hiked young Olley
outer the ocean. Thet's my belief. Jason was tur'ble praoud of his
boy, an' I mistrusted all along 'twas a jedgment on worshippin' vain
"There's others jes as sot;" said Disko.
"That's dif runt," Salters retorted quickly. "Penn's not all caulked,
an' I ain't only but doin' my duty by him."
They waited, those hungry men, three hours, till Penn reappeared
with a smooth face and a blank mini He said he believed that he
had been dreaming. Then he wanted to know why they were so
silent, and they could not tell him.
Disko worked all hands mercilessly for the next three or four days;
and when they could not go out, turned them into the hold to stack
the ship's stores into smaller compass, to make more room for the
fish. The packed mass ran from the cabin partition to the sliding
door behind the foc'sle stove; and Disko showed how there is great
art in stowing cargo so as to bring a schooner to her best draft. The
crew were thus kept lively till they recovered their spirits; and
Harvey was tickled with a rope's end by Long Jack for being, as the
Galway man said, "sorrowful as a sick cat over fwhat couldn't be
helped." He did a great deal of thinking in those weary days, and
told Dan what he thought, and Dan agreed with him-even to the
extent of asking for fried pies instead of hooking them.
But a week later the two nearly upset the Haitie S. in a wild
attempt to stab a shark with an old bayonet tied to a stick. The
grim brute rubbed alongside the dory begging for small fish, and
between the three of them it was a mercy they all got off alive.
At last, after playing blindman's-buff in the fog, there came a
morning when Disko shouted down the foc'sle: "Hurry, boys!
We're in taown!"
To the end of his days, Harvey will never forget that sight. The
sun was just clear of the horizon they had not seen for nearly a
week, and his low red light struck into the riding-sails of three
fleets of anchored schooners--one to the north, one to the westward,
and one to the south. There must have been nearly a hundred of
them, of every possible make and build, with, far away, a
square-rigged Frenchman, all bowing and courtesying one to the
other. From every boat dories were dropping away like bees from a
crowded hive, and the clamour of voices, the rattling of ropes and
blocks, and the splash of the oars carried for miles across the
heaving water. The sails turned all colours, black, pearly-gray, and
white, as the sun mounted; and more boats swung up through the
mists to the southward.
The dories gathered in clusters, separated, reformed, and broke
again, all heading one way; while men hailed and whistled and
cat-called and sang, and the water was speckled with rubbish
"It's a town," said Harvey. "Disko was right. It U' a town!"
"I've seen smaller," said Disko. "There's about a thousand men
here; an' yonder's the Virgin." He pointed to a vacant space of
greenish sea, where there were no dories.
The We're Here skirted round the northern squadron, Disko
waving his hand to friend after friend, and anchored as nearly as a
racing yacht at the end of the season. The Bank fleet pass good
seamanship in silence; but a bungler is jeered all along the line.
"Jest in time fer the caplin," cried the Mary Chilton.
"'Salt 'most wet?" asked the King Philip.
"Hey, Tom Platt! Come t' supper t0-night?" said the Henry Clay;
and so questions and answers flew back and forth. Men had met
one another before, dory-fishing in the fog, and there is no place
for gossip like the Bank fleet. They all seemed to know about
Harvey's rescue, and asked if be were worth his salt yet. The young
bloods jested with Dan, who had a lively tongue of his own, and
inquired alter their health by the town-nicknames they least liked.
Manuel's countrymen jabbered at him in their own language; and
even the silent cook was seen riding the jib-boom and shouting
Gaelic to a friend as black as himself. After they had buoyed the
cable--all around the Virgin is rocky bottom, and carelessness
means chafed ground-tackle and danger from drifting-after they
had buoyed the cable, their dories went forth to join the mob of
boats anchored about a mile away. The schooners rocked and
dipped at a safe distance, like mother ducks watching their brood,
while the dories behaved like mannerless ducklings.
As they drove into the confusion, boat banging boat, Harvey's ears
tingled at the comments on his rowing. Every dialect from
Labrador to Long Island, with Portuguese, Neapolitan, Lingua
Franca, French, and Gaelic, with songs and shoutings and new
oaths, rattled round him, and he seemed to be the butt of it all. For
the first time in his life he felt shy-perhaps that came from living
so long with only the We're Heres-among the scores of wild faces
that rose and fell with the reeling small craft. A gentle, breathing
swell, three furlongs from trough to barrel, would quietly shoulder
up a string of variously painted dories. They hung for an instant, a
wonderful frieze against the sky-line, and their men pointed and
hailed. Next moment the open mouths, waving arms, and bare
chests disappeared, while on another swell came up an entirely
new line of characters like paper figures in a toy theatre. So
Harvey stared. "Watch out!" said Dan, flourishing a dip-net "When
I tell you dip, you dip. The caplin'll school any time from naow on.
Where'll we lay, Tom Platt?"
Pushing, shoving, and hauling, greeting old friends here and
warning old enemies there, Commodore Tom
100 Rudyard Kipling
Platt led his little fleet well to leeward of the general crowd, and
immediately three or four men began to haul on their anchors with
intent to le~bow the We're Heres. But a yell of laughter went up as
a dory shot from her station with exceeding speed, its occupant
pulling madly on the roding.
"Give her slack!" roared twenty voices. "Let him shake it out."
"What's the matter?" said Harvey, as the boat flashed away to
the~southward. "He's anchored, isn't he?"
"Anchored, sure enough, but his graound-tackle's kinder shifty,"
said Dan, laughing. "Whale's fouled it. . . . Dip Harve! Here they
The sea round them clouded and darkened, and then frizzed up in
showers of tiny silver fish, and over a space of five or six acres the
cod began to leap like trout in May; while behind the cod three or
four broad gray-backs broke the water into boils.
Then everybody shouted and tried to haul up his anchor to get