Part 3 out of 4
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 Here's'--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 lee-bow the 'We're Heres'. But a yell of laughter went up as
a dory shot from her station with exceeding speed, its occupant
pulling madly on the roding.
"Give her slack!" roared twenty voices. "Let him shake it out."
"What's the matter?" said Harvey, as the boat flashed away to
the~southward. "He's anchored, isn't he?"
"Anchored, sure enough, but his graound-tackle's kinder shifty,"
said Dan, laughing. "Whale's fouled it. . . . Dip Harve! Here they
The sea round them clouded and darkened, and then frizzed up in
showers of tiny silver fish, and over a space of five or six acres the
cod began to leap like trout in May; while behind the cod three or
four broad gray-backs broke the water into boils.
Then everybody shouted and tried to haul up his anchor to get
among the school, and fouled his neighbour's line and said what
was in his heart, and dipped furiously with his dip-net, and shrieked
cautions and advice to his companions, while the deep fizzed like
freshly opened soda-water, and cod, men, and whales together
flung in upon the luckless bait. Harvey was nearly knocked
overboard by the handle of Dan's net. But in all the wild tumult he
noticed, and never forgot, the wicked, set little eye-something like
a circus elephant's eye-of a whale that drove along almost level with
the water, and, so be ~aid, winked at him. Three boats found their
rodings fouled by these reckless mid-sea hunters, and were towed
half a mile ere their horses shook the line free.
Then the caplin moved off, and five minutes later there was no
sound except the splash of the sinkers overside, the flapping of the
cod, and the whack of the muckles as the men stunned them. It
was wonderful fishing. Harvey could see the glimmering cod
below, swimming slowly in droves, biting as steadily as they
swam. Bank law strictly forbids more than one hook on one line
when the dories are on the Virgin or the Eastern Shoals; but so
close lay the boats that even single hooks snarled, and Harvey
found himself in hot argument with a genfle, hairy Newfoundlander
on one side and a howling Portuguese on the other.
Worse than any tangle of fishing-lines was the confusion of the
dory-rodings below water. Each man had anchored where it
seemed good to him, drifting and rowing round his fixed point As
the fish struck on less quickly, each man wanted to haul up and get
to better ground; but every third man found himself intimately
connected with some four or five neighbours. To cut another's
roding is crime unspeakable on the Banks; yet it was done, and
done without detection, three or four times that day. Tom Platt
caught a Maine man in the black act and knocked him over the
gunwale with an oar, and Manuel served a fellow- countryman in
the same way. But Harvey's anchor-line was cut, and so was
Penn's, and they were turned into relief-boats to carry fish to the
'We're Here' as the dories filled. The caplin schooled once more at
twilight, when the mad clamour was repeated; and at dusk they
rowed back to dress down by the light of kerosene-lamps on the
edge of the pen.
It was a huge pile, and they went to sleep while they were dressing.
Next day several boats fished right above the cap of the Virgin;
and Harvey, with them, looked down on the very weed of that
lonely rock, which rises to within twenty feet of the surface. The
cod were there in legions, marching solemnly over the leathery
kelp. When they bit, they bit all together; and so when they
stopped. There was a slack time at noon, and the dories began to
search for amusement. It was Dan who sighted the Hope Of Prague
just coming up, and as her boats joined the company they were
greeted with the question: "Who's the meanest man in the Fleet?"
Three hundred voices answered cheerily: "Nick Bra-ady." It
sounded like an organ chant.
"Who stole the lam~wicks?" That was Dan's contribution.
"Nick Bra-ady," sang the boats.
"Who biled the salt bait fer soup?" This was an unknown backbiter
a quarter of a mile away.
Again the joyful chorus. Now, Brady was not especially mean,
but he had that reputation, and the Fleet made the most of it.
Then they discovered a man from a Truro boat who, six years
before, had been convicted of using a tackle with five or six
hooks-a "scrowger," they call it~n the Shoals. Naturally, he had
been christened "Scrowger Jim"; and though he had hidden
himself on the Georges ever since, he found his honours waiting for
him full blown. They took it up in a sort of firecracker chorus:
"Jim! 0 Jim! Jim! 0 Jim! Sssscrowger Jim!" That pleased
everybody. And when a poetical Beverly man-he had been making
it up all day, and talked about it for weeks-sang, "The Carrie
Pitman's anchor doesn't hold her for a cent" the dories felt that they
were indeed fortunate. Then they had to ask that Beverly man how
he was off for beans, because even poets must not have things all
their own way. Every schooner and nearly every man got it in turn.
Was there a careless or dirty cook anywhere? The dories sang
about him and his food. Was a schooner badly found? The Fleet
was told at full length. Had a man hooked tobacco from a
mess-mate? He was named in meeting; the name tossed from roller
to roller. Disko's infallible judgments, Long Jack's market-boat that
he had sold years ago, Dan's sweetheart (oh, but Dan was an angry
boy!), Penn's bad luck with dory-anchors, Salter's views on
manure, Manuel's little slips from virtue ashore, and Harvey's
ladylike handling of the oar-all were laid before the public; and as
the fog fell around them in silvery sheets beneath the sun, the
voices sounded like a bench of invisible judges pronouncing
The dories roved and fished and squabbled till a swell underran the
sea. Then they drew more apart to save their sides, and some one
called that if the swell continued the Virgin would break. A
reckless Galway man with his nephew denied this, hauled up
anchor, and rowed over the very rock itself. Many voices called
them to come away, while others dared them to hold on. As the
smooth-backed rollers passed to the southward, they hove the dory
high and high into the mist, and dropped her in ugly, sucking,
dimpled water, where she spun round her anchor, within a foot or
two of the hidden rock. It was playing with death for mere
bravado; and the boats looked on in uneasy silence till Long
Jack rowed up behind his countrymen and quietly cut their roding.
"Can't ye hear ut knockin'?" he cried. "Pull for you miserable
The men swore and tried to argue as the boat drifted; but the next
swell checked a little, like a man tripping on a carpet. There was a
deep sob and a gathering roar, and the Virgin flung up a couple of
acres of foaming water, white, furious, and ghastly over the shoal
sea. Then all the boats greatly applauded Long Jack, and the
Galway men held their tongue.
"Ain't it elegant?" said Dan, bobbing like a young seal at home.
"She'll break about once every ha'af hour now, 'les the swell piles
up good. What's her reg'lar time when she's at work, Tom Platt?"
"Once ivry fifteen minutes, to the tick. Harve, you've seen the
greatest thing on the Banks; an' but for Long Jack you'd seen some
dead men too."
There came a sound of merriment where the fog lay thicker and
the schooners were ringing their bells. A big bark nosed cautiously
out of the mist, and was received with shouts and cries of, "Come
along, darlin'," from the Irishry.
"Another Frenchman?" said Harvey.
"Hain't you eyes? She's a Baltimore boat; goin' in fear an'
tremblin'," said Dan. "We'll guy the very sticks out of her. Guess
it's the fust time her skipper ever met up with the Fleet this way."
She was a black, buxom, eight-hundred-ton craft. Her mainsail was
looped up, and her topsail flapped undecidedly in what little wind
was moving. Now a bark is feminine beyond all other daughters of
the sea, and this tall, hesitating creature, with her white and gilt
figurehead, looked just like a bewildered woman half lifting her
skirts to cross a muddy street under the jeers of bad little boys.
That was very much her situation. She knew she was somewhere
in the neighbourhood of the Virgin, had caught the roar of it, and
was, therefore, asking her way. This is a small part of what she
heard from the dancing dories:
"The Virgin? Fwhat are you talkin' of? 'This is Le
104 Rudyard Kipling
Have on a Sunday mornin'. Go home an' sober up."
"Go home, ye tarrapin! Go home an' tell 'em we're comm.
Half a dozen voices together, in a most tuneful chorus, as her stern
went down with a roll and a bubble into the troughs:
"Hard up! Hard up fer your life! You're on top of her now."
"Daown! Hard daown! Let go everything!"
"All hands to the pumps!"
"Daown jib an' pole her!"
Here the skipper lost his temper and said things. instantly fishing
was suspended to answer him, and he heard many curious facts
about his boat and her next port of call. They asked him if he were
insured; and whence he had stolen his anchor, because, they said' it
belonged to the Carrie Pitman; they called his boat a mud-scow,
and accused him of dumping garbage to frighten the fish; they
offered to tow him and charge it to his wife; and one audacious
youth slipped up almost under the counter, smacked it with his
open palm, and yelled: "Gid up, Buck!"
The cook emptied a pan of ashes on him, and he replied with
cod-heads. The bark's crew fired small coal from the galley, and
the dories threatened to come aboard and "razee" her. They would
have warned her at once had she been in real peril; but, seeing her
well clear of the Virgin, they made the most of their chances. The
fun was spoilt when the rock spoke again, a half-mile to windward,
and the tormented bark set everything that would draw and went
her ways; but the dories felt that the honours lay with them.
All that night the Virgin roared hoarsely; and next morning, over
an angry, white-headed sea, Harvey saw the Fleet with flickering
masts waiting for a lead. Not a dory was hove out till ten o'clock,
when the two Jeraulds of the Day's Eye, imagining a lull which did
not exist, set the example. In a minute half the boats were out and
bobbing in the cockly swells, but Troop kept the 'We're Heres' at
work dressing down. He saw no sense in "dares"; and as the storm
grew that evening they had the pleasure of receiving wet strangers
only too glad to make any refuge in the gale. The boys stood by the
dory-tackles with lanterns, the men ready to haul, one eye cocked
for the sweeping wave that would make them drop everything and
hold on for dear life. Out of the dark would come a yell of "Dory,
dory!" They would hook up and haul in a drenched man and a
half-sunk boat, till their decks were littered down with nests of
dories and the bunks were full. Five times in their watch did
Harvey, with Dan, jump at the foregaff where it lay lashed on the
boom, and cling with arms, legs, and teeth to rope and spar and
sodden canvas as a big wave filled the decks. One dory was
smashed to pieces, and the sea pitched the man head first on to the
decks, cutting his forehead open; and about dawn, when the racing
seas glimmered white all along their cold edges, another man, blue
and ghastly, crawled in with a broken hand, asking news of his
brother. Seven extra mouths sat down to breakfast: A Swede; a
Chatham skipper; a boy from Hancock, Maine; one Duxbury, and
three Provincetown men.
There was a general sorting out among the Fleet next day; and
though no one said anything, all ate with better appetites when
boat after boat reported full crews aboard. Only a couple of
Portuguese and an old man from Gloucester were drowned, but
many were cut or bruised; and two schooners had parted their
tackle and been blown to the southward, three days' sail. A man
died on a Frenchman-it was the same bark that had traded tobacco
with the 'We're Heres'. She slipped away quite quietly one wet,
white morning, moved to a patch of deep water, her sails all
hanging anyhow, and Harvey saw the funeral through Disko's
spy-glass. It was only an oblong bundle slid overside. They did not
seem to have any form of service, but in the night, at anchor,
Harvey heard them across the star-powdered black water, singing
something that sounded like a hymn. it went to a very slow tune.
Qui va tourner,
Roule et s'incline
Oh, Vierge Marie,
Pour moi priez Dieul
Tom Platt visited her, because, he said, the dead man was his
brother as a Freemason. It came out that a wave had doubled the
poor fellow over the heel of the bowsprit and broken his back. The
news spread like a flash, for, contrary to general custom, the
Frenchman held an auction of the dead man's kit,-he had no friends
at St Malo or Miquelon,-and everything was spread out on the top
of the house, from his red knitted cap to the leather belt with the
sheath-knife at the back. Dan and Harvey were out on
twenty-fathom water in the Hattie S., and naturally rowed over to
join the crowd. It was a long pull, and they stayed some little time
while Dan bought the knife, which had a curious brass handle.
When they dropped overside and pushed off into a drizzle of rain
and a lop of sea, it occurred to them that they might get into
trouble for neglecting the lines.
"Guess 'twon't hurt us any to be warmed up," said Dan, shivering
under his oilskins, and they rowed on into the heart of a white fog,
which, as usual, dropped on them without warning.
"There's too much blame tide hereabouts to trust to your instinks,"
he said. "Heave over the anchor, Harve, and we'll fish a piece till
the thing lifts. Bend on your biggest lead. Three pound ain't any
too much in this water. See how she's tightened on her rodin'
There was quite a little bubble at the bows, where some
irresponsible Bank current held the dory full stretch on her rope;
but they could not see a boat's length in any direction. Harvey
turned up his collar and bunched himself over his reel with the air
of a wearied navigator. Fog had no special terrors for him now.
They fished a while in silence, and found the cod struck on well.
Then Dan drew the sheath-knife and tested the edge of it on the
"That's a daisy," said Harvey. "How did you get it so cheap?"
"On account o' their blame Cath'lic superstitions," said Dan,
jabbing with the bright blade. "They don't fancy takin'
iron from off a dead man, so to speak. 'See them Arichat
Frenchmen step back when I bid?"
"But an auction ain't taking anythink off a dead man. It's business."
"We know it ain't, but there's no goin' in the teeth o' superstition.
That's one o' the advantages o' livin' in a progressive country."
And Dan began whistling:
"Oh, Double Thatcher, how are you?
Now Eastern Point comes inter view.
The girls an' boys we soon shall see,
At anchor off Cape Ann!"
"Why didn't that Eastport man bid, then? He bought his boots.
Ain't Maine progressive?"
"Maine? Pshaw! They don't know enough, or they hain't got
money enough, to paint their haouses in Maine. I've seen 'em. The
Eastport man he told me that the knife had been used-so the
French captain told him-used up on the French coast last year."
"Cut a man? Heave's the muckle." Harvey hauled in his fish,
rebaited, and threw over.
"Killed him! Course, when I heard that I was keener'n ever to get
"Christmas! I didn't know it," said Harvey, turning round. "I'll give
you a dollar for it when I-get my wages. Say, I'll give you two
"Honest? D'you like it as much as all that?" said Dan, flushing.
"Well, to tell the truth, I kinder got it for you-to give; but I didn't
let on till I saw how you'd take it. It's yours and welcome, Harve,
because we're dory-mates, and so on and so forth, an' so followin'.
He held it out, belt and all.
"But look at here. Dan, I don't see-"
"Take it. 'Tain't no use to me. I wish you to hev it." The temptation
was irresistible. "Dan, you're a white man," said Harvey. "I'll keep
it as long as I live."
"That's good hearin'," said Dan, with a pleasant laugh; and then,
anxious to change the subject: " 'Look's if your line was fast to
"Fouled, I guess," said Harve, tugging. Before he pulled up he
fastened the belt round him, and with deep delight heard the tip of
the sheath click on the thwart. "Concern the thing!" he cried. "She
acts as though she were on strawberry-bottom. It's all sand here,
Dan reached over and gave a judgmatic tweak. "Hollbut'll act that
way 'f he's sulky. Thet's no strawberry-bottom. Yank her once or
twice. She gives, sure. Guess we'd better haul up an' make certain."
They pulled together, making fast at each turn on the cleats, and
the hidden weight rose sluggishly.
"Prize, oh! Haul!" shouted Dan, but the shout ended in a shrill,
double shriek of horror, for out of the sea cam~the body of the
dead Frenchman buried two days before! The hook had caught him
under the right armpit, and he swayed, erect and horrible, head and
shoulders above water. His arms were tied to his side, and-he had
no face. The boys fell over each other in a heap at the bottom of
the dory, and there they lay while the thing bobbed alongside, held
on the shortened line.
"The tide-the tide brought him!" said Harvey with quivering lips, as
he fumbled at the clasp of the belt.
"Oh, Lord! Oh, Harve!" groaned Dan, "be quick. He's come for it.
Let him have it. Take it off."
"I don't want it! 1 don't want it!" cried Harvey. "I can't find the
"Quick, Harve! He's on your line!"
Harvey sat up to unfasten the belt, facing the head that had no face
under its streaming hair. "He's fast still," he whispered to Dan, who
slipped out his knife and cut the line, as Harvey flung the belt far
overside. The body shot down with a plop, and Dan cautiously rose
to his knees, whiter than the fog.
"He come for it. He come for it. I've seen a stale one hauled up on
a trawl and I didn't much care, but he come to us special."
"I wish-I wish I hadn't taken the knife. Then he'd have come on
"Dunno as thet would ba' made any differ. We're both scared out
o' ten years' growth. Oh, Harve, did ye see his head?"
"Did I? I'll never forget it. But look at here, Dan; it couldn't have
been meant. It was only the tide."
"Tide! He come for it, Harve. Why, they sunk him six miles to
south'ard o' the Fleet, an' we're two miles from where she's lyin'
now. They told me he was weighted with a fathom an' a half o'
'Wonder what he did with the knife-up on the French coast?"
"Something bad. 'Guess he's bound to take k with him to the
Judgment, an' so-- What are you doin' with the fish?"
"Heaving 'em overboard," said Harvey.
"What for? We sha'n't eat 'em."
"I don't care. I had to look at his face while I was takin' the belt off.
You can keep your catch if you like. I've no use for mine."
Dan said nothing, but threw his fish over again.
"Guess ifs best to be on the safe side," he murmured at last. "I'd
give a month's pay if this fog 'u'd lift. Things go abaout in a fog
that ye don't see in clear weather -yo-hoes an' hollerers and such
like. I'm sorter relieved he come the way he did instid o' walkin'.
He might ha' walked."
"Do~n't, Dan! We're right on top of him now. 'Wish I was safe
aboard, hem' pounded by Uncle Saltem."
"They'll be lookin' fer us in a little. Gimme the tooter." Dan took
the tin dinner-horn, but paused before he blew.
"Go on," said Harvey. "I don't want to stay here all night"
"Question is, haow he'd take it. There was a man frurn down the
coast told me once he was in a schooner where they darsen't ever
blow a horn to the dories, becaze the skipper-not the man he was
with, but a captain that had run her five years before-he'd drowned
a boy alongside in a drunk fit; an' ever after, that boy he'd row
along-side too and shout, 'Dory! dory!' with the rest"
"Dory! dory!" a muffled voice cried through the fog. They cowered
again, and the horn dropped from Dan's hand.
"Hold on!" cried Harvey; "it's the cook."
"Dunno what made me think o' thet fool tale, either," said Dan.
"It's the doctor, sure enough."
"Dan! Danny! Oooh, Dan! Harve! Harvey! Oooh, Haarveee!"
"We're here," sung both boys together. They heard oars, but could
see nothing till the cook, shining and dripping, rowed into them.
"What iss happened?" said he. "You will be beaten at home."
"Thet's what we want. Thet's what we're sufferin' for" said Dan.
"Anything homey's good enough fer us. We've had kinder
depressin' company." As the cook passed. them a line, Dan told
him the tale.
"Yess! He come for hiss knife," was all he said at the end.
Never had the little rocking 'We're Here' looked so deliciously
home-like as when the cook, born and bred in fogs, rowed them
back to her. There was a warm glow of light from the cabin and a
satisfying smell of food forward, and it was heavenly to hear Disko
and the others, all quite alive and solid, leaning over the rail and
promising them a first-class pounding. But the cook was a black.
master of strategy. He did not get the dories aboard till he had
given the more striking points of the tale, explaining as he backed
and bumped round the counter how Harvey was the mascot to
destroy any possible bad luck. So the boys came override as rather
uncanny heroes, and every one asked them questions instead of
pounding them for making trouble. Little Penn delivered quite a
speech on the folly of superstitions; but public opinion was against
him and in favour of Long Jack, who told the most excruciating
ghost-stories, till nearly midnight. Under that influence no one
except Salters and Penn said anything about "idolatry," when the
cook put a lighted candle, a cake of flour and water, and a pinch of
salt on a shingle, and floated them out astern to keep the
Frenchman quiet in case he was still restless. Dan lit the candle
because he had bought the belt, and the cook grunted and muttered
charms as long as be could see the ducking point of flame.
Said Harvey to Dan, as they turned in after watch:
"How about progress and Catholic superstitions?"
"Huh! I guess I'm as enlightened and progressive as the next man,
but when it comes to a dead St Malo deck-hand scarin' a couple o'
pore boys stiff fer the sake of a thirty-cent knife, why, then, the
cook can take hold fer all o' me. I mistrust furriners, livin' or
Next morning all, except the cook, were rather ashamed of the
ceremonies, and went to work double tides, speaking gruffly to one
The 'We're Here' was racing neck and neck for her last few loads
against the Parry Norman; and so close was the struggle that the
Fleet took side and betted tobacco. All hands worked at the lines
or dressing-down till they fell asleep where they stood-beginning
before dawn and ending when it was too dark to see. They even
used the cook as pitcher, and turned Harvey into the hold to pass
salt, while Dan helped to dress down. Luckily a Parry Norman man
sprained his ankle falling down the foc'sle, and the 'We're Heres'
gained. Harvey could not see how one more fish could be
crammed into her, but Disko and Tom Platt stowed and stowed, and
planked the mass down with big stones from the ballast, and there
was always "jest another day's work." Disko did not tell them when
all the salt was wetted. He rolled to the lazarette aft the cabin and
began hauling out the big mainsail. This was at ten in the morning.
The riding-sail was down and the main- and topsail were up by
noon, and dories came alongside with letters for home, envying
their good fortune. At last she cleared decks, hoisted her flag,-as is
the right of the first boat off the Banks,-up~anchored, and began to
move. Disko pretended that he wished to accommodate folk who
had not sent in their mail, and so worked her gracefully in and out
among the schooners. In reality, that was his little triumphant
procession, and for the fifth year running it showed what kind of
mariner he was. Dan's accordion and Tom Platt's fiddle supplied
the music of the magic verse you must not sing till all the salt is
"Hih! Yih'. Yoho! Send your letters raound!
All our salt is wetted, an' the anchor's off the graound!
Bend, oh, bend your mains'1, we're back to Yankeeland-
With fifteen hunder' quintal,
An' fifteen hunder' quintal,
'Teen hunder' toppin' quintal,
'Twix' old 'Queereau an' Grand."
The last letters pitched on deck wrapped round pieces of coal, and
the Gloucester men shouted messages to their wives and
womenfolks and owners, while the 'We're Here' finished the
musical ride through the Fleet, her headsails quivering like a man's
hand when he raises it to say good-by.
Harvey very soon discovered that the 'We're Here', with her
riding-sail, strolling from berth to berth, and the 'We're Here'
headed west by south under home canvas, were two very different
boats. There was a bite and kick to the wheel even in "boy's"
weather; he could feel the dead weight in the hold flung forward
mightily across the surges, and the streaming line of bubbles
overside made his eyes dizzy.
Disko kept them busy fiddling with the sails; and when those were
flattened like a racing yacht's, Dan had to wait on the big topsail,
which was put over by hand every time she went about. In spare
moments they pumped, for the packed fish dripped brine, which
does not improve a cargo. But since there was no fishing, Harvey
had time to look at the sea from another point of view. The,
low-sided schooner was naturally on most intimate terms with her
surroundings. They saw little of the horizon save when she topped
a swell; and usually she was elbowing, fidgeting, and coa'ing
her steadfast way through gray, gray-blue, or black hollows l
aced across and across with streaks of shivering foam; or
rubbing herself caressingly along the flank of some bigger
water-hill. It was as if she said: "You wouldn't hurt me, surely?
I'm ouly the little 'We're Here'." Then she would slide away
chuckling softly to herself till she was brought up by some
fresh obstacle. The dullest of folk cannot see this kind of thing
hour after hour through long days without noticing it; and Harvey,
being anything but dull, began to comprehend and enjoy the dry
chorus of wave-tops turning over with a sound of incessant
tearing; the hurry of the winds working across open spaces and
herding the purple-blue cloud-shadows; the splendid upheaval of
the red sunrise; the folding and packing away of the morning
mists, wall after wall withdrawn across the white floors; the salty
glare and blaze of noon; the kiss of rain falling over thousands of
dead, flat square miles; the chilly blackening of everything at the
day's end; and the million wrinkles of the sea under the moonlight,
when the jib-boom solemnly poked at the low stars, and Harvey
went down to get a doughnut from the cook.
But the best fun was when the boys were put on the wheel
together, Tom Platt within hail, and she cuddled her lee-rail down
to the crashing blue, and kept a little home-made rainbow arching
unbroken over her windlass. Then the jaws of the booms whined
against the masts, and the sheets creaked, and the sails filled with
roaring; and when she slid into a hollow she trampled like a
woman tripped in her own silk dress, and came out, her jib wet
half-way up, yearning and peering for the tall twin-lights of
They left the cold gray of the Bank sea, saw the lumber-ships
making for Quebec by the Straits of St. Lawrence, with the Jersey
salt-brigs from Spain and Sicily; found a friendly northeaster off
Artimon Bank that drove them within view of the East light of
Sable Island,-a sight Disko did not linger over,-and stayed with
them past Western and Le Have, to the northern fringe of George's.
From there they picked up the deeper water, and let her go merrily.
"Hattie's pulling on the string," Dan confided to Harvey. "Hattie an'
Ma. Next Sunday you'll be hirin' a boy to throw water on the
windows to make ye go to sleep. 'Guess you'll keep with us till
your folks come. Do you know the best of gettin' ashore again?"
"Hot bath?" said Harvey. His eyebrows were all white with dried
"That's good, but a night-shirt's better. I've been dreamin' o'
night-shirts ever since we bent our mainsail. Ye can wiggle your
toes then. Ma'll hev a new one fer me, all washed soft. It's home,
Harve. It's home! Ye can sense it in the air. We're riurnin' into the
aidge of a hot wave naow, an' I can smell the bayberries. Wonder
if we'll get in fer supper. Port a trifle."
The hesitating sails flapped and lurched in the close air as the deep
smoothed out, blue and oily, round them. When they whistled for a
wind only the rain came in spiky rods, bubbling and drumming,
and behind the rain the thunder and the lightning of mid-August.
They lay on the deck with bare feet and arms, telling one another
what they would order at their first meal ashore; for now the land
was in plain sight. A Gloucester swordfish-boat drifted alongside,
a man in the little pulpit on the bowsprit flourished his harpoon,
his bare head plastered down with the wet. "And all's well!" he
sang cheerily, as though he were watch on a big liner.
"Wouverman's waiting fer you, Disko. What's the news o' the
Disko shouted it and passed on, while the wild summer storm
pounded overhead and the lightning flickered along the capes from
four different quarters at once. It gave the low circle of hills round
Gloucester Harbor, Ten Pound Island, the fish-sheds, with the
broken line of house-roofs, and each spar and buoy on the water, in
blinding photographs that came and went a dozen times to the
minute as the 'We're Here' crawled in on half-flood, and the
whistling-buoy moaned and mourned behind her. Then the storm
died out in long, separated, vicious dags of blue-white flame,
followed by a single roar like the roar of a mortar-battery, and the
shaken air tingled under the stars as it got back to silence.
"The flag, the flag!" said Disko, suddenly, pointing upward.
"What is Ut?" said Long Jack.
"Otto! Ha'af mast. They can see us frum shore now."
"I'd clean forgot He's no folk to Gloucester, has he?"
"Girl he was goin' to be married to this fall."
"Mary pity her!" said Long Jack, and lowered the little flag
half-mast for the sake of Otto, swept overboard in a gale off Le
Have three months before.
Disko wiped the wet from his eyes and led the 'We're Here' to
Wouverman's wharf, giving his orders in whispers, while she
swung round moored tugs and night-watchmen hailed her from the
ends of inky-black piers. Over and above the darkness and the
mystery of the procession, Harvey could feel the land close round
him once more, with all its thousands of people asleep, and the
smell of earth after rain, and the familiar noise of a switching-engine
coughing to herself in a freight-yard; and all those things made his
heart beat and his throat dry up as he stood by the foresheet. They
heard the anchor-watch snoring on a lighthouse-tug, nosed into a
pocket of darkness where a lantern glimmered on either side;
somebody waked with a grunt, threw them a rope, and they made
fast to a silent wharf flanked with great iron-roofed sheds fall of
warm emptiness, and lay there without a sound.
Then Harvey sat down by the wheel, and sobbed and sobbed as
though his heart would break, and a tall woman who had been
sitting on a weigh-scale dropped down into the schooner and
kissed Dan once on the cheek; for she was his mother, and she had
seen the We~re Here by the lightning flashes. She took no notice
of Harvey till he had recovered himself a little and Disko had told
her his story. Then they went to Disko's house together as the dawn
was breaking; and until the telegraph office was open and he could
wire his folk, Harvey Cheyne was perhaps the loneliest boy in all
America. But the curious thing was that Disko and Dan seemed to
think none the worse of him for crying.
Wouverman was not ready for Disko's prices till Disko, sure that
the 'We're Here' was at least a week ahead of any other Gloucester
boat, had given him a few days to swallow them; so all hands
played about the streets, and Long Jack stopped the Rocky Neck
trolley, on principle, as be said, till the conductor let him ride free.
But Dan went about with his freckled nose in the air, bung-full of
mystery and most haughty to his family.
"Dan, I'll hev to lay inter you ef you act this way," said Troop,
pensively. "Sence we've come ashore this time you've bin a heap
"I'd lay into him naow ef he was mine," said Uncle Salters, sourly.
He and Penn boarded with the Troops.
"Oho!" said Dan, shuffling with the accordion round the backyard,
ready to leap the fence if the enemy advanced. "Dan, you're
welcome to your own judgment, but remember I've warned ye.
Your own flesh an' blood ha' warned ye! 'Tain't any o' my fault
ef you're mistook, but I'll be on deck to watch ye An' ez fer yeou,
Uncle Salters, Pharaoh's chief butler ain't in it 'longside o' you!
You watch aout an' wak. You'll be plowed under like your own
blamed clover; but me-Dan Troop-I'll flourish
like a green bay-tree because I warn't stuck on my own opinion."
Disko was smoking in all his shore dignity and a pair of beautiful
carpet-slippers. "You're gettin' ez crazy as poor Harve. You two go
araound gigglin' an' squinchin' an' kickin' each other under the
table till there's no peace in the haouse," said he.
"There's goin' to be a heap less-fer some folks," Dan replied. "You
wait an' see."
He and Harvey went out on the trolley to East Gloucester, where
they tramped through the bayberry bushes to the lighthouse, and
lay down on the big red boulders and laughed themselves hungry.
Harvey had shown Dan a telegram, and the two swore to keep
silence till the shell burst
"Harve's folk?" said Dan, with an unruffled face after supper.
"Well, I guess they don't amount to much of anything, or we'd ha'
heard from 'em by naow. His pop keeps a kind o' store out West.
Maybe he'll give you 's much as five dollars, Dad."
"What did I tell ye?" said Salters. "Don't sputter over your vittles,
Whatever his private sorrows may be, a multimillionaire, like any
other workingman, should keep abreast of his business. Harvey
Cheyne, senior, had gone East late in June to meet a woman
broken down, hall mad, who dreamed day and night of her son
drowning in the gray seas. He had surrounded her 'with doctors,
trained nurses, massage-women, and even faith-cure companions,
but they were useless. Mrs. Cheyne lay still and moaned, or talked
of her boy by the hour together to any one who would listen. Hope
she had none, and who could offer it? All she needed was
assurance that drowning did not hurt; and her husband watched to
guard lest she should make the experiment. Of his own sorrow he
spoke little-hardly realized the depth of it till he caught himself
ask'ng the calendar on his writing-desk, "What's the use of going
There had always lain a pleasant notion at the back of his head
that, some day, when he had rounded off everything and the boy
had left college, he would take his son to his heart and lead him
into his possessions. Then that boy, he argued, as busy fathers do,
would instantly become his companion, partner, and ally, and there
would follow splendid years of great works carried out
together-the old head backing the young fire. Now his boy was
dead-lost at sea, as it might have been a Swede sailor from one of
Cheyne's big teaships; the wife dying, or worse; he himself was
trodden down by platoons of women and doctors and maids and
attendants; worried almost beyond endurance by the shift and
change of her poor restless whims; hopeless, with no heart to meet
his many enemies.
He had taken the wife to his raw new palace in San Diego, where
she and her people occupied a wing of great price,
and Cheyne, in a veranda-room, between a secretary and a
typewriter, who was also a telegraphist, toiled along wearily from
day to day. There was a war of rates among four Western railroads
in which he was supposed to be interested; a devastating strike had
developed in his lumber camps in Oregon, and the legislature of
the State of California, which has no love for its makers, was
preparing open war against him.
Ordinarily he would have accepted battle ere it was offered, and
have waged a pleasant and unscrupulous campaign. But now he sat
limply, his soft black hat pushed forward on to his nose, his big
body shrunk inside his loose clothes, staring at his boots or the
Chinese junks in the bay, and assenting absently to the secretary's
questions as he opened the Saturday mail.
Cheyne was wondering how much it would cost to drop everything
and pull out. He carried huge insurances, could buy himself royal
annuities, and between one of his places in Colorado and a little
society (that would do the wife good), say in Washington and the
South Carolina islands, a man might forget plans that had come to
nothing. On the other hand
The click of the typewriter stopped; the girl was looking at the
secretary, who had turned white.
He passed Cheyne a telegram repeated from San Francisco:
Picked up by fishing schooner 'We're Here' having fallen off boat
great times on Banks fishing all well waiting Gloucester Mass care
Disko Troop for money or orders wire what shall do and how is
Mama Harvey N. Cheyne.
The father let it fall, laid his head down on the roller-top of the
shut desk, and breathed heavily. The secretary ran for Mrs.
Cheyne's doctor who found Cheyne pacing to and fro.
'~What-what d' you think of it? Is it possible? Is there any meaning
to it? I can't quite make it out," he cried.
"I can," said the doctor. "I lose seven thousand a year-that's all." He
thought of the struggling New York practice he had dropped at
Cheyne's imperious bidding, and returned the telegram with a sigh.
"You mean you'd tell her? 'May be a fraud?"
"What's the motive?" said the doctor, coolly. "Detection's too
certain. It's the boy sure enough."
Enter a French maid, impudently, as an indispensable one who is
kept on only by large wages.
"Mrs. Cheyne she say you must come at once. She think you are
The master of thirty millions bowed his head meekly and followed
Suzanne; and a thin, high voice on the upper landing of the great
white-wood square staircase cried: "What is it? What has
No doors could keep out the shriek that rang through the echoing
house a moment later, when her husband blurted out the news.
"And that's all right," said the doctor, serenely, to the typewriter.
"About the only medical statement in novels with any truth to it is
that joy don't kill, Miss Kinzey."
"I know it; but we've a heap to do first." Miss Kinzey was from
Milwaukee, somewhat direct of speech; and as her fancy leaned
towards the secretary, she divined there was work in hand. He was
looking earnestly at the vast roller-map of America on the wall.
"Milsom, we're going right across. Private car-straight
through-Boston. Fix the connections," shouted Cheyne down the
"I thought so."
The secretary turned to the typewriter, and their eyes met (out of
that was born a story-nothing to do with this story). She looked
inquiringly, doubtful of his resources. He signed to her to move to
the Morse as a general brings brigades into action. Then he swept
his hand musician-wise through his hair, regarded the ceiling, and
set to work, while Miss Kinzey's white fingers called up the
Continent of America.
"K. H. Wade, Los Angeles The 'Constance' is at Los Angeles, isn't
she, Miss Kinzey?"
"Yep." Miss Kinzey nodded between clicks as the secretary looked
at his watch.
"Ready? Send 'Constance,' private car, here, and arrange for
special to leave here Sunday in time to connect with New York
Limited at Sixteenth Street, Chicago, Tuesday next."
Click~lick~lick! "Couldn't you better that?"
"Not on those grades. That gives 'em sixty hours from here to
Chicago. They won't gain anything by taking a special east of that.
Ready? Also arrange with Lake Shore and Michigan Southern to
take 'Constance' on New York Central and Hudson River Buffalo
to Albany, and B. and A. the same Albany to Boston. Indispensable
I should reach Boston Wednesday evening. Be sure nothing
prevents. Have also wired Canniff, Toucey, and Barnes. --Sign,
Miss Kinzey nodded, and the secretary went on.
"Now then. Canniff, Toucey, and Barnes, of course. Ready?
Canniff, Chicago. Please take my private car 'Constance' from
Santa Fe' at Sixteenth Street next Tuesday p. m. on N. Y. Limited
through to Buffalo and deliver N. Y. C. for Albany.-Ever bin to N'
York, Miss Kinzey? We'll go some day.-Ready? Take car Buffalo
to Albany on Limited Tuesday p. m. That's for Toucey."
"Haven't bin to Noo York, but I know that!" with a toss of the
"Beg pardon. Now, Boston and Albany, Barnes, same instructions
from Albany through to Boston. Leave three-five P. M. (you
needn't wire that); arrive nine-five P. M. Wednesday. That covers
everything Wade will do, but it pays to shake up the managers."
"It's great," said Miss Kinzey, with a look of admiration. This was
the kind of man she understood and appreciated.
'Tisn't bad," said Milsom, modestly. "Now, any one but me would
have lost thirty hours and spent a week working out the run,
instead of handing him over to the Santa Fe' straight through to
"But see here, about that Noo York Limited. Chauncey Depew
himself couldn't hitch his car to her," Miss Kinzey suggested,
"Yes, but this isn't Chauncey. It's Cheyne--lightiiing. It goes."
"Even so. Guess we'd better wire the boy. You've forgotten that,
When he returned with the father's message bidding Harvey meet
them in Boston at an appointed hour, he found Miss Kinzey
laughing over the keys. Then Milsom laughed too, for the frantic
clicks from Los Angeles ran: "We want to know why-why-why?
General uneasiness developed and spreading."
Ten minutes later Chicago appealed to Miss Kinzey in these
words: ~'lf crime of century is maturing please warn friends in
time. We are all getting to cover here."
This was capped by a message from Topeka (and wherein Topeka
was concerned even Milsom could not guess): "Don't shoot,
Colonel. We'll come down."
Cheyne smiled grimly at the consternation of his enemies when the
telegrams were laid before him. "They think we're on the warpath.
Tell 'em we don't feel like fighting just now, Milsom. Tell 'em
what we're going for. I guess you and Miss Kinsey had better come
along, though it isn't likely I shall do any business on the road. Tell
'em the truth-for once."
So the truth was told. Miss Kinzey clicked in the sentiment while
the secretary added the memorable quotation, "Let us have peace,"
and in board rooms two thousand miles away the representatives
of sixty-three million dollars' worth of variously manipulated
railroad interests breathed more freely. Cheyne was flying to meet
the only son, so miraculously restored to him. The bear was
seeking his cub, not the bulls. Hard men who had their knives
drawn to fight for their financial lives put away the weapons and
wished him God-speed, while half a dozen panic-smitten tin-pot
roads perked up their heads and spoke of the wonderful things they
would have done had not Cheyne buried the hatchet.
It was a busy week-end among the wires; for now that their anxiety
was removed, men and cities hastened to accommodate. Los
Angeles called to San Diego and Barstow that the Southern
California engineers might know and be ready in their lonely
roundhouses; Barstow passed the word to the Atlantic and Pacific;
and Albuquerque flung it the whole length of the Atchinson,
Topeka, and Santa Fe management, even into Chicago. An engine,
combination-car with crew, and the great and gilded "Constance"
private car were to be "expedited" over those two thousand three
hundred and fifty miles. The train would take precedence of one
hundred and seventy-seven others meeting and passing; despatchers
and crews of every one of those said trains must be notified. Sixteen
locomotives, sixteen engineers, and sixteen firemen would be
needed-each and every one the best available. Two and one half
minutes would be allowed for changing engines, three for
watering, and two for coaling. "Warn the men, and arrange tanks
and chutes accordingly; for Harvey Cheyne is in a hurry, a hurry-a
hurry," sang the wires. "Forty miles an hour will be expected, and
division superintendents will accompany this special over their
respective divisions. From San Diego to Sixteenth Street, Chicago,
let the magic carpet be laid down. Hurry! Oh, hurry!"
"It will be hot," said Cheyne, as they rolled out of San Diego in the
dawn of Sunday. "We're going to hurry, Mama, just as fast as ever
we can; but I really don't think there's any good of your putting on
your bonnet and gloves yet. You'd much better lie down and take
your medicine. I'd play you a game of dominoes, but it's Sunday."
"I'll be good. Oh, I will be good. Only-taking off my bonnet makes
me feel as if we'd never get there."
"Try to sleep a little, Mama, and we'll be in Chicago before you
"But it's Boston, Father. Tell them to hurry."
The six-foot drivers were hammering their way to San Bernardino
and the Mohave wastes, but this was no grade for speed. That
would come later. The heat of the desert followed the heat of the
hills as they turned east to the Needles and the Colorado River.
The car cracked in the utter drouth and glare, and they put crushed
ice to Mrs. Cheyne's neck, and toiled up the long, long grades, past
Ash Fork, towards Flagstaff, where the forests and quarries are,
under the dry, remote skies. The needle of the speed-indicator
flicked and wagged to and fro; the cinders rattled on the roof, and
a whirl of dust sucked after the whirling wheels. The crew of the
combination sat on their bunks, panting in their shirtsleeves, and
Cheyne found himself - among them shouting old, old stories of
the railroad that every trainman knows, above the roar of the car.
He told them about his son, and how the sea had given up its dead,
and they nodded and spat and rejoiced with him; asked after "her,
back there," and whether she could stand it if the engineer "let her
out a piece," and Cheyne thought she could. Accordingly, the great
fire-horse was "let~ut" from Flagstaff to Winslow, till a division
But Mrs. Cheyne, in the boudoir stateroom, where the French
maid, sallow-white with fear, clung to the silver door-handle, only
moaned a little and begged her husband to bid them "hurry." And
so they dropped the dry sands and moon-struck rocks of Arizona
behind them, and grilled on till the crash of the couplings and the
wheeze of the brake-hose told them they were at Coolidge by the
Three bold and experienced men-cool, confident, and dry when
they began; white, quivering, and wet when they finished their
trick at those terrible wheels-swung her over the great lift from
Albuquerque to Glorietta and beyond Springer, up and up to the
Raton Tunnel on the State line, whence they dropped rocking into
La Junta, had sight of the Arkansaw, and tore down the long slope
to Dodge City, where Cheyne took comfort once again from
setting his watch an hour ahead.
There was very little talk in the car. The secretary and typewriter
sat together on the stamped Spanish-leather cushions by the
plate-glass observation-window at the rear end, watching the surge
and ripple of the ties crowded back behind them, and, it is
believed, making notes of the scenery. Cheyne moved nervously
between his own extravagant gorgeousness and the naked
necessity of the combination, an unlit cigar in his teeth, till the
pitying crews forgot that he was their tribal enemy, and did their
best to entertain him.
At night the bunched electrics lit up that distressful palace of all
the luxuries, and they fared sumptuously, swinging on through the
emptiness of abject desolation.
124 Rudyard Kipling
Now they heard the swish of a water-tank, and the guttural voice
of a Chinaman, the click-clink of hammers that tested the Krupp
steel wheels, and the oath of a tramp chased off the rear- platform;
now the solid crash of coal shot into the tender; and now a beating
back of noises as they flew past a waiting train. Now they looked
out into great abysses, a trestle purring beneath their tread, or up to
rocks that barred out half the stars. Now scaur and ravine changed
and rolled back to jagged mountains on the horizon's edge, and
now broke into hills lower and lower, till at last came the true
At Dodge City an unknown hand threw in a copy of a Kansas
paper containing some sort of an interview with Harvey, who had
evidently fallen in with an enterprising reporter, telegraphed on
from Boston. The joyful journalese revealed that it was beyond
question their boy, and it soothed Mrs. Cheyne for a while. Her
one word "hurry" was conveyed by the crews to the engineers at
Nickerson, Topeka, and Marceline, where the grades are easy, and
they brushed the Continent behind them. Towns and villages were
close together now, and a man could feel here that he moved
"I can't see the dial, and my eyes ache so. What are we doing?"
"The very best we can, Mama. There's no sense in getting in before
the Limited. We'd only have to wait."
"I don't care. I want to feel we're moving. Sit down and tell me the
Cheyne sat down and read the dial for her (there were some miles
which stand for records to this day), but the seventy-foot car never
changed its long steamer-like roll, moving through the heat with
the hum of a giant bee. Yet the speed was not enough for Mrs.
Cheyne; and the heat, the remorseless August heat, was making
her giddy; the clock-hands would not move, and when, oh, when
would they be in Chicago?
It is not true that, as they changed engines at Fort Madison, Cheyne
passed over to the Amalgamated Brotherhood of Locomotive
Engineers an endowment sufficient to enable them to fight him
and his fellows on equal terms for evermore. He paid his
obligations to engineers and firemen as he believed they deserved,
and only his bank knows what he gave the crews who had
sympathized with him. It is on record that the last crew took entire
charge of switching operations at Sixteenth Street, because "she" was
in a doze at last, and Heaven was to help any one who bumped her.
Now the highly paid specialist who conveys the Lake Shore and
Michigan Southern Limited from Chicago to Elkhart is something
of an autocrat, and he does not approve of being told how to back
up to a car. None the less he handled the "Constance" as if she
might have been a load of dynamite, and when the crew rebuked
him, they did it in whispers and dumb show.
"Pshaw!" said the Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe men,
discussing life later, "we weren't runnin' for a record. Harvey
Cheyne's wife, she were sick back, an' we didn't want to jounce
her. 'Come to think of it, our runnin' time from San~Diego to
Chicago was 57.54. You can tell that to them Eastern way-trains.
When we're tryin' for a record, we'll let you know."
To the Western man (though this would not please either city)
Chicago and Boston are cheek by jowl, and some railroads
encourage the delusion. The Limited whirled the "Constance" into
Buffalo and the arms of the New York Central and Hudson River
(illustrious magnates with white whiskers and gold charms on their
watch-chains boarded her here to talk a little business to Cheyne),
who slid her gracefully into Albany, where the Boston and Albany
completed the run from tide-water to tide- water-total time,
eighty-seven hours and thirty-five minutes, or three days, fifteen
hours and one half. Harvey was waiting for them.
Alter violent emotion most people and all boys demand food.
They feasted the returned prodigal behind drawn curtains, cut off
in their great happiness, while the trains roared in and out around
them. Harvey ate, drank, and enlarged on his adventures all in one
breath, and when he had a hand free his mother fondled it. His
voice was thickened with living in the open, salt air; his palms
were rough and hard, his wrists dotted with marks of gurrysores;
and a fine full flavour of codfish hung round rubber boots and blue
The father, well used to judging men, looked at him keenly. He did
not know what enduring harm the boy might have taken. Indeed,
he caught himself thinking that he knew very little whatever of his
son; but he distinctly remembered an unsatisfied, dough-faced
youth who took delight in "calling down the old man," and
reducing his mother to tears-such a person as adds to the gaiety of
public rooms and hotel piazzas, where the ingenuous young of the
wealthy play with or revile the bell-boys. But this well set-up
fisher-youth did not wriggle, looked at him with eyes steady, clear,
and unflinching, and spoke in a tone distinctly, even startlingly,
respectful. There was that in his voice, too, which seemed to
promise that the change might be permanent, and that the new
Harvey had come to stay.
"Some one's been coercing him," thought Cheyne. "Now
Constance would never have allowed that. Don't see as Europe
could have done it any better."
"But why didn't you tell this man, Troop, who you were?" the
mother repeated, when Harvey had expanded his story at least
"Disko Troop, dear. The best man that ever walked a deck. I don't
care who the next is."
"Why didn't you tell him to put you ashore? You know Papa would
have made it up to him ten times over."
"I know it; but he thought I was crazy. I'm afraid I called him a
thief because I couldn't find the bills in my pocket."
"A sailor found them by the flagstaff that-that night," sobbed Mrs.
"That explains it, then. I don't blame Troop any. I just said I
wouldn't work-on a Banker, too--and of course he hit me on the
nose, and oh! I bled like a stuck hog."
"My poor darling! They must have abused you horribly."
"Dunno quite. Well, after that, I saw a light."
Cheyne slapped his leg and chuckled. This was going to be a boy
after his own hungry heart. He had never seen precisely that
twinkle in Harvey's eye before.
"And the old man gave me ten and a half a month; he's paid me
half now; and I took hold with Dan and pitched right in. I can't do
a man's work yet. But I can handle a dory 'most as well as Dan,
and I don't get rattled in a fog-much; and I can take my trick in
light winds-that's steering, dear-and I can 'most bait up a trawl,
and I know my ropes, of course; and I can pitch fish till the cows
come home, and I'm great on old Josephus, and I'll show you how
I can clear coffee with a piece of fish-skin, and-I think I'll have
another cup, please. Say, you've no notion what a heap of work
there is in ten and a half a month!"
"I began with eight and a half, my son," said Cheyne.
'That so? You never told me, sir."
"You never asked, Harve. I'll tell you about it some day, if you care
to listen. Try a stuffed olive."
"Troop says the most interesting thing in the world is to find out how the
next man gets his vittles. It's great to have a trimmed-up meal again. W
e were well fed, though. But mug on the Banks. Disko fed us first-class.
He's a great man.And Dan-that's his son-Dan's my partner. And
there's Uncle Salters and his manures, an' he reads Josephus. He's
sure I'm crazy yet. And there's poor little Penn, and he is crazy.
You mustn't talk to him about Johnstown, because-
And, oh, you must know Tom Platt and Long Jack and Manuel.
Manuel saved my life. I'm sorry he's a Portuguee. He can't talk
much, but he's an everlasting musk ian. He found me struck
adrift and drifting, and hauied me in."
"I wonder your nervous system isn't completely wrecked," said
"What for, Mama? I worked like a horse and I ate like a hog and I
slept like a dead man."
That was too much for Mrs. Cheyne, who began to think of her
visions of a corpse rocking on the salty seas. She went to her
stateroom, and Harvey curled up beside his father, explaining
"You can depend upon me to do everything I can for the crowd,
Harve. They seem to be good men on your showing."
"Best in the Fleet, sir. Ask at Gloucester," said Harvey. "But Disko
believes still he's cured me of being crazy. Dan's the only one I've
let on to about you, and our private cars and all the rest of it, and
I'm not quite sure Dan believes. I want to paralyze 'em to-morrow.
Say, can't they run the 'Constance' over to Gloucester? Mama don't
look fit to be moved, anyway, and we're bound to finish cleaning
out by tomorrow. Wouverman takes our fish. You see, we're the
first off the Banks this season, and it's four twenty-five a quintal.
We held out till he paid it. They want it quick."
"You mean you'll have to work to-morrow, then?"
"I told Troop I would. I'm on the scales. I've brought the tallies
with me." He looked at the greasy notebook with an air of
importance that made his father choke. "There isn't but three-
no-two ninety-four or five quintal more by my reckoning."
"Hire a substitute," suggested Cheyne, to see what Harvey would
"Can't, sir. I'm tally-man for the schooner. Troop says I've a better
head for figures than Dan. Troop's a mighty just man."
"Well, suppose I don't move the 'Constance' to-night, how'll you fix
Harvey looked at the clock, which marked twenty past eleven.
"Then I'll sleep here till three and catch the four o'clock freight.
They let us men from the Fleet ride free as a rule."
"That's a notion. But I think we can get the 'Constance' around
about as soon as your men's freight. Better go to bed now."
Harvey spread himself on the sofa, kicked off his boots, and was
asleep before his father could shade the electrics. Cheyne sat
watching the young face under the shadow of the arm thrown over
the forehead, and among many things that occurred to him was the
notion that he might perhaps have been neglectful as a father.
"One never knows when one's taking one's biggest risks," he said.
"It might have been worse than drowning; but I don't think it has-I
don't think it has. If it hasn't, I haven't enough to pay Troop, that's
all; and I don't think it has."
Morning brought a fresh sea breeze through the windows, the
"Constance" was side-tracked among freight-cars at Gloucester,
and Harvey had gone to his business.
"Then he'll fall overboard again and he drowned," the mother said
"We'll go and look, ready to throw him a rope m case. You've
never seen him working for his bread," said the father.
"What nonsense! As if any one expected
"Well, the man that hired him did. He's about right, too."
They went down between the stores full of fishermen's oilskins to
Wouverman's wharf where the 'We're Here' rode high, her Bank flag
still flying, all hands busy as beavers in the glorious morning light.
Disko stood by the main hatch superintending Manuel, Penn, and
Uncle Salters at the tackle. Dan was swinging the loaded baskets
inboard as Long Jack and Tom Platt filled them, and Harvey, with
a notebook, represented the skipper's interests before the clerk of
the scales on the salt-sprinkled wharf-edge.
"Ready!" cried the voices below. "Haul!" cried Disko. "Hi!" said
Manuel. "Here!" said Dan, swinging the basket. Then they heard
Harvey's voice, clear and fresh, checking the weights.
The last of the fish had been whipped out, and Harvey leaped from
the string-piece six feet to a ratline, as the shortest way to hand
Disko the tally, shouting, "Two ninety-seven, and an empty hold!"
"What's the total, Harve?" said Disko.
"Eight sixty-five. Three thousand six hundred and seventy-six
dollars and a quarter. 'Wish I'd share as well as wage."
"Well, I won't go so far as to say you hevn't deserved it, Harve.
Don't you want to slip up to Wouverman's office and take him our
"Who's that boy?" said Cheyne to Dan, well used to all manner of
questions from those idle imbeciles called summer boarders.
"Well, he's kind o' supercargo," was the answer. "We picked him
up struck adrift on the Banks. Fell overboard from a liner, he sez.
He was a passenger. He's by way o' hem' a fisherman now."
"Is he worth his keep?"
"Ye-ep. Dad, this man wants to know ef Harve's worth his keep.
Say, would you like to go aboard? We'll fix up a ladder for her."
"I should very much, indeed. 'Twon't hurt you, Mama, and you'll be
able to see for yourself."
The woman who could not lift her head a week ago scrambled
down the ladder, and stood aghast amid the mess and tangle aft.
"Be you anyways interested in Harve?" said Disko.
"He's a good boy, an' ketches right hold jest as he's bid. You've
heard haow we found him? He was sufferin' from nervous
prostration, I guess, 'r else his head had hit somethin', when we
hauled him aboard. He's all over that naow. Yes, this is the cabin.
'Tain't in order, but you're quite welcome to look araound. Those
are his figures on the stove-pipe, where we keep the reckonin'
"Did he sleep here?" said Mrs. Cheyne, sitting on a yellow locker
and surveying the disorderly bunks.
"No. He berthed forward, madam, an' only fer him an' my boy
hookin' fried pies an muggin' up when they ought to ha' been
asleep, I dunno as I've any special fault to find with him."
"There weren't nothin' wrong with Harve," said Uncle Salters,
descending the steps. "He hung my boots on the main-truck, and he
ain't over an' above respectful to such as knows more'n he do,
specially about farmin'; but he were mostly misled by Dan."
Dan in the meantime, profiting by dark hints from Harvey early
that morning, was executing a war-dance on deck. "Tom, Tom!" he
whispered down the hatch. "His folks has come, an' Dad hain't
caught on yet, an' they're pow-wowin' in the cabin. She's a daisy,
an' he's all Harve claimed he was, by the looks of him."
"Howly Smoke!" said Long Jack, climbing out covered with salt
and fish-skin. "D'ye belave his tale av the kid an' the little
four-horse rig was thrue?"
"I knew it all along," said Dan. "Come an' see Dad mistook in his
They came delightedly, just in time to hear Cheyne say: "I'm glad he
has a good character, because-he's my son."
Disko's jaw fell,-Long Jack always vowed that he heard the click
of it,-and he stared alternately at the man and the woman.
"I got his telegram in San Diego four days ago, and we came over."
"In a private car?" said Dan. "He said ye might."
"In a private car, of course."
Dan looked at his father with a hurricane of irreverent winks.
"There was a tale he told us av drivin' four little ponies in a rig av
his own," said Long Jack. "Was that thrue now?"
"Very likely," said Cheyne. "Was it, Mama?"
"He had a little drag when we were in Toledo, I think," said the
Long Jack whistled. "Oh, Disko!" said he, and that was all.
"I wuz-I am mistook in my jedgments-worse'n the men o'
Marblehead," said Disko, as though the words were being
windlassed out of him. "I don't mind ownin' to you, Mr. Cheyne, as
I mistrusted the boy to he crary. He talked kinder odd about
"So he told me."
"Did he tell ye anything else? 'Cause I pounded him once." This
with a somewhat anxious glance at Mrs. Cheyne.
"Oh, yes," Cheyne replied. "I should say it probably did him more
good than anything else in the world."
"I jedged 'twuz necessary, er I wouldn't ha' done it. I don't want you
to think we abuse our boys any on this packet."
"I don't think you do, Mr. Troop."
Mrs. Cheyne had been looking at the faces-Disko's ivory-yellow,
hairless, iron countenance; Uncle Salters's, with its rim of
agricultural hair; Penn's bewildered simplicity; Manuel's quiet
smile; Long Jack's grin of delight, and Tom Platt's scar. Rough, by
her standards, they certainly were; but she had a mother's wits in
her eyes, and she rose with out-stretched hands.
"Oh, tell me, which is who?" said she, half sobbing. "I want to
thank you and bless you-all of you."
"Faith, that pays me a hunder time," said Long Jack.
Disko introduced them all in due form. The captain of an old-time
Chinaman could have done no better, and Mrs. Cheyne babbled
incoherently. She nearly threw herself into Manuel's arms when
she understood that he had first found Harvey.
"But how shall I leave him dreeft?" said poor Manuel. "What do
you yourself if you find him so? Eh, wha-at? We are in one good
boy, and I am ever so pleased he come to be your son."
"And he told me Dan was his partner!" she cried. Dan was already
sufficiently pink, but he turned a rich crimson when Mrs. Cheyne
kissed him on both cheeks before the assembly. Then they led her
forward to show her the foc'sle, at which she wept again, and must
needs go down to see Harvey's identical bunk, and there she found
the nigger cook cleaning up the stove, and he nodded as though
she were some one he had expected to meet for years. They tried,
two at a time, to explain the boat's daily life to her, and she sat by
the pawl-post, her gloved hands on the greasy table, laughing with
trembling lips and crying with dancing eyes.
"And who's ever to use the 'We're Here' after this?" said Long Jack
to Tom Platt. "I feel as if she'd made a cathedral av ut all."
"Cathedral!" sneered Tom Platt. "Oh, if it had bin even the Fish
C'mmission boat instid of this bally-hoo o' blazes. If we only hed
some decency an' order an' side-boys when she goes over! She'll
have to climb that ladder like a hen, an' we-we ought to be mannin'
"Then Harvey was not mad," said Penn, slowly, to Cheyne.
"No, indeed-thank God," the big millionaire replied, stooping
"It must be terrible to be mad. Except to lose your child, I do not
know anything more terrible. But your child has come back? Let us
thank God for that."
"Hello!" cried Harvey, looking down upon them benignly from the
"I wuz mistook, Harve. I wuz mistook," said Disko, swiftly,
holding up a hand. "I wuz mistook in my jedgments. Ye needn't
rub in any more."
"Guess I'll take care o' that," said Dan, under his breath.
"You'll be goin' off naow, won't ye?"
"Well, not without the balance of my wages, 'less you want to have
the 'We're Here' attached."
"Thet's so; I'd clean forgot"; and he counted out the remaining
dollars. "You done all you contracted to do, Harve; and you done it
'baout's well as if you'd been brought up-" Here Disko brought
himself up. He did not quite see where the sentence was going to
"Outside of a private car?" suggested Dan, wickedly.
"Come on, and I'll show her to you," said Harvey.
Cheyne stayed to talk with Disko, but the others made a
procession to the depot, with Mrs. Cheyne at the head. The French
maid shrieked at the invasion; and Harvey laid the glories of the
"Constance" before them without a word. They took them in in
equal silence-stamped leather, silver door-handles and rails, cut
velvet, plate-glass, nickel, bronze, hammered iron, and the rare
woods of the continent inlaid.
"I told you," said Harvey; "I told you." This was his crowning
revenge, and a most ample one.
Mrs. Cheyne decreed a meal, and that nothing might be lacking to
the tale Long Jack told afterwards in his boarding-house, she
waited on them herself. Men who are accustomed to eat at tiny
tables in howling gales have curiously neat and finished manners;
but Mrs. Cheyne, who did not know this, was surprised. She
longed to have Manuel for a butler; so silently and easily did he
comport himself among the frail glassware and dainty silver. Tom
Platt remembered the great days on the Ohio and the manners of
foreign potentates who dined with the officers; and Long Jack,
being Irish, supplied the small talk till all were at their ease.
In the 'We're Here's' cabin the fathers took stock of each other
behind their cigars. Cheyne knew well enough when he dealt with
a man to whom he could not offer money; equally well he knew
that no money could pay for what Disko had done. He kept his
own counsel and waited for an opening.
"I hevn't done anything to your boy or fer your boy excep' make
him work a piece an' learn him how to handle the hog-yoke," said
Disko. "He has twice my boy's head for figgers."
"By the way," Cheyne answered casually, "what d'you calculate to
make of your boy?"
Disko removed his cigar and waved it comprehensively round the
cabin. "Dan's jest plain boy, an' he don't allow me to do any of his
thinkin'. He'll hev this able little packet when I'm laid by. He ain't
noways anxious to quit the business. I know that."
"Mmm! 'Ever been West, Mr. Troop?"
'Bin's fer ez Noo York once in a boat. I've no use for railroads. No
more hez Dan. Salt water's good enough fer the Troops. I've been
'most everywhere-in the nat'ral way, o' course."
"I can give him all the salt water he's likely to need-till he's a
"Haow's that? I thought you wuz a kinder railroad king. Harve told
me so when-I was mistook in my jedgments."
"We're all apt to be mistaken. I fancied perhaps you might know I
own a line of tea-clippers~an Francisco to Yokohama-six of
'em-iron-built, about seventeen hundred and eighty tons apiece.
"Blame that boy! He never told. I'd ha' listened to that, instid o' his
truck abaout railroads an' ponycarriages."
"He dldn't know."
"'Little thing like that slipped his mind, I guess."
"No, I only capt-took hold of the 'Blue M.' freighters -Morgan
and McQuade's old lin~this summer." Disko collapsed where he
sat, beside the stove.
"Great Caesar Almighty! I mistrust I've been fooled from one end
to the other. Why, Phil Airheart he went from this very town six
year back-no, seven-an' he's mate on the San Jose-- now-twenty-six
days was her time out. His sister she's livin' here yet, an' she reads
his letters to my woman. An' you own the 'Blue M.' freighters?"
"If I'd known that I'd ha' jerked the 'We're Here' back to port all
standin', on the word."
"Perhaps that wouldn't have been so good for Harvey."
"If I'd only known! If he'd only said about the cussed Line, I'd ha'
understood! I'll never stand on my own jedgments again-never.
They're well-found packets. Phil Airheart he says so."
"I'm glad to have a recommend from that quarter. Airheart's
skipper of the San Jose now. What I was getting at is to know
whether you'd lend me Dan for a year or two, and we'll see if we
can't make a mate of him. Would you trust him to Airheart?"
"It's a resk taking a raw boy--"
"I know a man who did more for me."
"That's diff'runt. Look at here naow, I ain't recommendin' Dan
special because he's my own flesh an' blood. I know Bank ways
ain't clipper ways, but he hain't much to learn. Steer he can-no boy
better, if I say it-an' the rest's in our blood an' get; but I could wish
he warn't so cussed weak on navigation."
"Airheart will attend to that. He'll ship as boy for a voyage or two,
and then we can put him in the way of doing better. Suppose you
take him in hand this winter, and I'll send for him early in the
spring. I know the Pacific's a long ways off
"Pshaw! We Troops, livin' an' dead, are all around the earth an' the
"But I want you to understand-and I mean this-any time you think
you'd like to see him, tell me, and I'll attend to the transportation.
'Twon't cost you a cent."
"If you'll walk a piece with me, we'll go to my house an' talk this
to my woman. I've bin so crazy mistook in all my jedgments, it
don't seem to me this was like to be real."
They went blue-trimmed of nasturtiums over to Troop's
eighteen-hundred-dollar, white house, with a retired dory full in
the front yard and a shuttered parlour which was a museum of
oversea plunder. There sat a large woman, silent and grave, with
the dim eyes of those who look long to sea for the return of their
beloved. Cheyne addressed himself to her, and she gave consent
"We lose one hundred a year from Gloucester only, Mr. Cheyne,"
she said-"one hundred boys an' men; and I've come so's to hate the
sea as if 'twuz alive an' listenin'. God never made it fer humans to
anchor on. These packets o' yours they go straight out, I take it'
and straight home again?"
"As straight as the winds let 'em, and I give a bonus for record
passages. Tea don't improve by being at sea."
"When he wuz little he used to play at keeping store, an' I had
hopes he might follow that up. But soon's he could paddle a dory I
knew that were goin' to be denied me."
"They're square-riggers, Mother; iron-built an' well found.
Remember what Phil's sister reads you when she gits his letters."
"I've never known as Phil told lies, but he's too venturesome (like
most of 'em that use the sea). If Dan sees fit, Mr. Cheyne, he can
go-fer all o' me."
"She jest despises the ocean," Disko explained, "an' I-I dunno haow
to act polite, I guess, er I'd thank you better."
"My father-my own eldest brother-two nephews-an' my second
sister's man," she said, dropping her head on her hand. "Would you
care fer any one that took all those?"
Cheyne was relieved when Dan turned up and accepted with more
delight than he was able to put into words. Indeed, the offer meant
a plain and sure road to all desirable things; but Dan thought most
of commanding watch on broad decks, and looking into far-away
Mrs. Cheyne had spoken privately to the unaccountable Manuel in
the matter of Harvey's rescue. He seemed to have no desire for
money. Pressed hard, he said that he would take five dollars,
because he wanted to buy something for a girl. Otherwise-"How
shall I take money when I make so easy my eats and smokes? You
will giva some if I like or no? Eh, wha-at?. Then you shall giva me
money, but not that way. You shall giva all you can think." He
introduced her to a snuffy Portuguese priest with a list of semi-destitute
widows as long as his cassock. As a strict Unitarian, Mrs. Cheyne
could not sympathize with the creed, but she ended by respecting the
brown, voluble little man.
Manuel, faithful son of the Church, appropriated all the blessings
showered on her for her charity. "That letta me out," said he. "I
have now ver' good absolutions for six months"; and he strolled
forth to get a handkerchief for the girl of the hour and to break the
hearts of all the others.
Salters went West for a season with Penn, and left no address
behind. He had a dread that these mlllionary people, with wasteful
private cars, might take undue interest in his companion. It was
better to visit inland relatives till the coast was clear. "Never you
be adopted by rich folk, Penn," he said in the cars, "or I'll take 'n'
break this checker-board over your head. Ef you forgif your name
agin-which is Pratt-you remember you belong with Salters Troop,
an' set down right where you are till I come fer you. Don't go
taggin' araound after them whose eyes bung out with fatness,
accordin' to Scripcher."
But it was otherwise with the 'We're Here's' silent cook, for he came
up, his kit in a handkerchief, and boarded the "Constance." Pay
was no particular object, and he did not in the least care where he
slept. His business, as revealed to him in dreams, was to follow
Harvey for the rest of his days. They tried argument and, at last,
persuasion; but there is a difference between one Cape Breton and
two Alabama negroes, and the matter was referred to Cheyne by
the cook and porter. The millionaire only laughed. He presumed
Harvey might need a body-servant some day or other, and was sure
that one volunteer was worth five hirelings. Let the man stay,
therefore; even though he called himself MacDonald and swore in
Gaelic. The car could go back to Boston, where, if he were still of
the same mind, they would take him West.
With the "Constance," which in his heart of hearts he loathed,
departed the last remnant of Cheyne's millionairedom, and he gave
himself up to an energetic idleness. This Gloucester was a new
town in a new land, and he purposed to "take it in," as of old he
had taken in all the cities from Snohomish to San Diego of that
world whence he hailed. They made money along the crooked
street which was half wharf and half ship's store: as a leading
professional he wished to learn how the noble game was played.
Men said that four out of every five fish-balls served at New
England's Sunday breakfast came from Gloucester, and
overwhelmed him with figures in proof-statistics of boats, gear,
wharf-frontage, capital invested, salting, packing, factories,
insurance, wages, repairs, and profits. He talked with the owners
of the large fleets whose skippers were little more than hired men,
and whose crews were almost all Swedes or Portuguese. Then he
conferred with Disko, one of the few who owned their craft, and
compared notes in his vast head. He coiled himself away on
chain-cables in marine junk-shops, asking questions with cheerful,
unslaked Western curiosity, till all the water-front wanted to know
"what in thunder that man was after, anyhow." He prowled into the
Mutual Insurance rooms, and demanded explanations of the mysterious
remarks chalked up on the blackboard day by day; and that brought
down upon him secretaries of every Fisherman's Widow and Orphan
Aid Society within the city limits. They begged shamelessly, each
man anxious to beat the other institution's record, and Cheyne
tugged at his beard and handed them all over to Mrs. Cheyne.
She was resting in a boarding-house near Eastern Point-a strange
establishment, managed, apparently, by the boarders, where the
table-cloths were red-and-white-checkered and the population,
who seemed to have known one another intimately for years, rose
up at midnight to make Welsh rarebits if it felt hungry. On the
second morning of her stay Mrs. Cheyne put away her diamond
solitaires before she came down to breakfast.
"They're most delightful people," she confided to her husband; "so
friendly and simple, too, though they are all Boston, nearly."
"That isn't simpleness, Mama," he said, looking across the
boulders behind the apple-trees where the hammocks were slung.
"It's the other thing, that w~that I haven't got."
"It can't be," said Mrs. Cheyne quietly. "There isn't a woman here
owns a dress that cost a hundred dollars. Why, we~"
"I know it, dear. We have~f course we have. I guess it's only the
style they wear East. Are you having a good time?"
"I don't see very much of Harvey; he's always with you; but I ain't
near as nervous as I was."
'7 haven't had such a good time since Willie died. I never rightly
understood that I had a son before this. Harve's got to be a great
boy. 'Anything I can fetch
140 Rudyard Kipling
you, dear? 'Cushion under your head? Well, we'll go down to the
wharf again and look around."
Harvey was his father's shadow in those days, and the two strolled
along side by side, Cheyne using the grades as an excuse for laying
his hand on the boy's square shoulder. It was then that Harvey
noticed and admired what had never struck him before-his father's
curious power of getting at the heart of new matters as learned
from men in the street.
"How d'you make 'em tell you everything without opening your
head?" demanded the son, as they came out of a rigger's loft.
"I've dealt with quite a few men In my time, Harve, and one sizes
'em up somehow, I guess. I know something about myself, too."
Then, after a pause, as they sat down on a wharf-edge: "Men can
'most always tell when a man has handled things for himself, and
then they treat him as one of themselves."
"Same as they treat me down at Wouverman's wharf. I'm one of the
crowd now. Disko has told every one I've earned my pay." Harvey
spread out his hands and rubbed the palms together. "They're all
soft again," he said dolefully.
"Keep 'em that way for the next few years, while you're getting
your education. You can harden 'em up after."
"Ye-es, I suppose so," was the reply, in no delighted voice.
"It rests with you, Harve. You can take cover behind your mama,
of course, and put her on to fussing about your nerves and your
high-strungness and all that kind of poppycock."
"Have I ever done that?" said Harvey, uneasily.
His father turned where he sat and thrust out a long hand. "You
know as well as I do that I can't make anything of you if you don't
act straight by me. I can handle you alone if you'll stay alone, but I
don't pretend to manage both you and Mama. Life's too short,
"Don't make me out much of a fellow, does it?"
"I guess it was my fault a good deal; but if you want the truth, you
haven't been much of anything up to date. Now, have you?"
"Umm! Disko thinks . . . Say, what d'you reckon it's cost you to
raise me from the start-first, last and all over?"
Cheyne smiled. "I've never kept track, but I should estimate, in
dollars and cents, nearer fifty than forty thousand; maybe sixty.
The young generation comes high. It has to have things, and it tires
of 'em, and-the old man foots the bill."
Harvey whistled, but at heart he was rather pleased to think that
his upbringing had cost so much. "And all that's sunk capital, isn't
"Invested, Harve. Invested, I hope."
"Making it only thirty thousand, the thirty I've earned is about ten
cents on the hundred. That's a mighty poor catch." Harvey wagged
his head solemnly.
Cheyne laughed till he nearly fell off the pile into the water.
"Disko has got a heap more than that out of Dan since he was ten;
and Dan's at school half the year, too."
"Oh, that's what you're after, is it?"
"No. I'm not after anything. I'm not stuck on myself any just
now-that's all. . . . I ought to be kicked."
"I can't do it, old man; or I would, I presume, if I'd been made that
"Then I'd have remembered it to the last day I lived-and never
forgiven you," said Harvey, his chin on his doubled fists.
"Exactly. That's about what I'd do. You see?"
"I see. The fault's with me and no one else. All the samey,
something's got to be done about it."
Cheyne drew a cigar from his vest-pocket, bit off the end, and fell
to smoking. Father and son were very much alike; for the beard hid
Cheyne's mouth, and Harvey had his father's slightly aquiline nose,
close-set black eyes, and narrow, high cheek-bones. With a touch
of brown paint he would have made up very picturesquely as a Red
Indian of the story-books.
"Now you can go on from here," said Cheyne, slowly, "costing me
between six or eight thousand a year till you're a voter. Well, we'll
call you a man then. You can go right on from that, living on me to
the tune of forty or fitty thousand, besides what your mother will
give you, with a valet and a yacht or a fancy-ranch where you can
pretend to raise trotting-stock and play cards with your own crowd."
"Like Lorry Tuck?" Harvey put in.
"Yep; or the two De Vitre boys or old man McQuade's son.
California's full of 'em, and here's an Eastern sample while we're
A shiny black steam-yacht, with mahogany deck-house,
nickel-plated binnacles, and pink-and-white-striped awnings
puffed up the harbour, flying the burgee of some New York club.
Two young men in what they conceived to be sea costumes were
playing cards by the saloon skylight; and a couple of women with
red and blue parasols looked on and laughed noisily.
"Shouldn't care to be caught out in her in any sort of a breeze. No
beam," said Harvey, critically, as the yacht slowed to pick up her
"They're having what stands them for a good time. I can give you
that, and twice as much as that, Harve. How'd you like it?"
"Caesar! That's no way to get a dinghy overside," said Harvey, still
intent on the yacht. "If I couldn't slip a tackle better than that I'd
stay ashore. . . . What if I don't?"
"Stay ashore-or what?"
"Yacht and ranch and live on 'the old man,' and-get behind Mama
where there's trouble," said Harvey, with a twinkle in his eye.
"Why, in that case, you come right in with me, my son."
"Ten dollars a month?" Another twinkle.
"Not a cent more until you're worth it, and you won't begin to
touch that for a few years."
"I'd sooner begin sweeping out the office-isn't that how the big bugs
start?-and touch something now than .
"I know it; we all feel that way. But I guess we can hire any
sweeping we need. I made the same mistake myself of starting in
"Thirty million dollars' worth o' mistake, wasn't it? I'd risk it for
"I lost some; and I gained some. I'll tell you."
Cheyne pulled his beard and smiled as he looked over the still
water, and spoke away from Harvey, who presently began to be
aware that his father was telling the story of his life. He talked in a
low, even voice, without gesture and without expression; and it
was a history for which a dozen leading journals would cheerfully
have paid many dollars-the story of forty years that was at the
same time the story of the New West, whose story is yet to be
It began with a kinless boy turned loose in Texas, and went on
fantastically through a hundred changes and chops of life, the
scenes shifting from State after Western State, from cities that
sprang up m a month and- in a season utterly withered away, to
wild ventures in wilder camps that are now laborious, paved
municipalities. It covered the building of three railroads and the
deliberate wreck of a fourth. It told of steamers, townships, forests,
and mines, and the men of every nation under heaven, manning,
creating, hewing, and digging these. It touched on chances of
gigantic wealth flung before eyes that could not see, or missed by
the merest accident of time and travel; and through the mad shift
of things, sometimes on horseback, more often afoot, now rich,
now poor, in and out, and back and forth, deck-hand, train-hand,
contractor, boarding-house keeper, journalist, engineer, drummer,
real-estate agent, politician, dead-beat, rum-seller, mine~owner,
speculator, cattle-man, or tramp, moved Harvey Cheyne, alert and
quiet, seeking his own ends, and, so he said, the glory and
advancement of his country.
He told of the faith that never deserted him even when he hung on
the ragged edge of despair-the faith that comes of knowing men
and things. He enlarged, as though he were talking to himself, on
his very great courage and resource at all times. The thing was so
evident in the man's mind that he never even changed his tone. He
described how he had bested his enemies, or forgiven them,
exactly as they had bested or forgiven him in those careless days;
how he had entreated, cajoled, and bullied towns, companies, and
syndicates, all for their enduring good; crawled round, through, or
under mountains and ravines, dragging a string and hoop-iron railroad
after him, and in the end, how he had sat still while promiscuous
communities tore the last fragments of his character to shreds.
The tale held Harvey almost breathless, his head a little cocked to
one side, his eyes fixed on his father's face, as the twilight
deepened and the red cigar-end lit up the furrowed cheeks and
heavy eyebrows. It seemed to him like watching a locomotive
storming across country in the dark-a mile between each glare of
the open fire-door: but this locomotive could talk, and the words
shook and stirred the boy to the core of his soul. At last Cheyne
pitched away the cigar-butt, and the two sat in the dark over the
"I've never told that to any one before,"said the father.
Harvey gasped. "It's just the greatest thing that ever was!" said he.
"That's what I got. Now I'm coming to what I didn't get. It won't
sound much of anything to you, but I don't wish you to be as old as
I am before you find out. I can handle men, of course, and I'm no
fool along my own lines, but-but-I can't compete with the man who
has been taught! I've picked up as I went along, and I guess it
sticks out all over me."
"I've never seen it," said the son, indignantly.
"You will, though, Harve. You will-just as soon as you're through
college. Don't I know it? Don't I know the look on men's faces
when they think me a-a 'mucker,' as they call it out here? I can
break them to little pieces-yes-but I can't get back at 'em to hurt
'em where they live. I don't say they're 'way 'way up, but I feel I'm
'way, 'way, 'way off, somehow. Now you've got your chance.
You've got to soak up all the learning that's around, and you'll live
with a crowd that are doing the same thing. They'll be doing it for
a few thousand dollars a year at most; but remember you'll be
doing it for millions. You'll learn law enough to look after your
own property when I'm out o' the light, and you'll have to be solid
with the best men in the market (they are useful later); and above
all, you'll have to stow away the plain, common, sit-down-with-your
chin-on your-elbows book-learning. Nothing pays like that, Harve,
and it's bound to pay more and more each year in our country-in
business and in politics. You'll see."
"There's no sugar in my end of the deal," said Harvey. "Four years
at college! 'Wish I'd chosen the valet and the yacht!"
"Never mind, my son," Cheyne insisted. "You're investing your
capital where it'll bring in the best returns; and I guess you won't
find our property shrunk any when you're ready to take hold. Think
it over, and let me know in the morning. Hurry! We'll be late for
As this was a business talk, there was no need for Harvey to tell his
mother about it; and Cheyne naturally took the same point of view.
But Mrs. Cheyne saw and feared, and was a little jealous. Her boy,
who rode rough-shod over her, was gone, and in his stead reigned a
keen-faced youth, abnormally silent, who addressed most of his
conversation to his father. She understood it was business, and
therefore a matter beyond her premises. If she had any doubts, they
were resolved when Cheyne went to Boston and brought back a
new diamond marquise ring.
"What have you two been doing now?" she said, with a weak little
smile, as she turned it in the light.
"Talking-just talking, Mama; there's nothing mean about Harvey."
There was not. The boy had made a treaty on his own account.
Railroads, he explained gravely, interested him as little as lumber,
real estate, or mining. What his soul yearned alter was control of
his father's newly purchased sailing-ship. If that could be promised
him within what he conceived to be a reasonable time, he, for his
part, guaranteed diligence and sobriety at college for four or five
years. In vacation he was to be allowed full access to all details