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Chapter 10

CHAPTER X

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, un-
slaked 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 rare-bits 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 we - 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 - of course we have. I guess it's only
the style they wear East. Are you having a good time?"

"I don't see very much of Harvey; he's always with you; but I
ain't near as nervous as I was."

"I haven't had such a good time since Willie died. I never rightly
understood that I had a son before this. Harve's got to be a great
boy. 'Anything I can fetch you, dear? 'Cushion under your head?
Well, we'll go down to the wharf again and look around."

Harvey was his father's shadow in those days, and the two strolled
along side by side, Cheyne using the grades as an excuse for
laying his hand on the boy's square shoulder. It was then that
Harvey noticed and admired what had never struck him before - his
father's curious power of getting at the heart of new matters as
learned from men in the street.

"How d'you make 'em tell you everything without opening your
head?" demanded the son, as they came out of a rigger's loft.

"I've dealt with quite a few men in my time, Harve, and one sizes
'em up somehow, I guess. I know something about myself, too."
Then, after a pause, as they sat down on a wharf-edge: "Men can
'most always tell when a man has handled things for himself, and
then they treat him as one of themselves."

"Same as they treat me down at Wouverman's wharf. I'm one of the
crowd now. Disko has told every one I've earned my pay." Harvey
spread out his hands and rubbed the palms together. "They're all
soft again," he 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
highstrungness and all that kind of poppycock."


"Have I ever done that?" said Harvey, uneasily.

His father turned where he sat and thrust out a long hand. "You
know as well as I do that I can't make anything of you if you
don't act straight by me. I can handle you alone if you'll stay
alone, but I don't pretend to manage both you and mama. Life's too
short, anyway."

"Don't make me out much of a fellow, does it?"

"I guess it was my fault a good deal; but if you want the truth,
you haven't been much of anything up to date. Now, have you?"

"Umm! Disko thinks . . . Say, what d'you reckon it's cost you to
raise me from the start - first, last, and all over?"

Cheyne smiled. "I've never kept track, but I should estimate, in
dollars and cents, nearer fifty than forty thousand; maybe sixty.
The young generation comes high. It has to have things, and it
tires of 'em, and - the old man foots the bill."

Harvey whistled, but at heart he was rather pleased to think that
his upbringing had cost so much. "And all that's sunk capital,
isn't it?"

"Invested, Harve. Invested, I hope."

"Making it only thirty thousand, the thirty I've earned is about
ten cents on the hundred. That's a mighty poor catch." Harvey
wagged his 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 way."

"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 fifty thousand, besides what your
mother will give you, with a valet and a yacht or a fancy-ranch
where you can pretend to raise trotting stock and play cards with
your own crowd."

"Like Lorry Tuck?" Harvey put in.

"Yep; or the two De Vitré boys or old man McQuade's son.
California's full of 'em, and here's an Eastern sample while we're
talking."

A shiny black steam-yacht, with mahogany deck-house, nickel-plated
binnacles, and pink-and-white-striped awnings, puffed up the
harbour, flying the burgee of some New York club. Two young men,
in what they conceived to be sea costumes, were playing cards by
the saloon skylight; and a couple of women with red and blue
parasols looked on and laughed 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 mooring-buoy.

"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 over-side," 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
when there's trouble," said Harvey, with a twinkle in his eye.

"Why, in that case, you come right in with me, my son."

"Ten dollars a month?" Another twinkle.

"Not a cent more until you're worth it, and you won't begin to
touch that for a few years."

"I'd sooner begin sweeping out the office -isn't that how the big
bugs start? - and touch something now than -"

"I know it; we all feel that way. But I guess we can hire any
sweeping we need. I made the same mistake myself of starting in
too soon."

"Thirty million dollars' worth o' mistake, wasn't it? I'd risk it
for that."

"I lost some; and I gained some. I'll tell you."

Cheyne pulled his beard and smiled as he looked over the still
water, and spoke away from Harvey, who presently began to be aware
that his father was telling the story of his life. He talked in a
low, even voice, without gesture and without expression; and it
was a history for which a dozen leading journals would cheerfully
have paid many dollars - the story of forty years that was at the
same time the story of the New West, whose story is yet to be
written.

It began with a kinless boy turned loose in Texas, and went on
fantastically through a hundred changes and chops of life, the
scenes shifting from State after Western State, from cities that
sprang up in a month and in a season utterly withered away, to
wild ventures in wilder camps that are now laborious, paved
municipalities. It covered the building of three railroads and the
deliberate wreck of a fourth. It told of steamers, townships,
forests, and mines, and the men of every nation under heaven,
manning, creating, hewing, and digging these. It touched on
chances of gigantic wealth flung before eyes that could not see,
or missed by the merest accident of time and travel; and through
the mad shift of things, sometimes on horseback, more often afoot,
now rich, now poor, in and out, and back and forth, deck-hand,
train-hand, contractor, boardinghouse keeper, journalist,
engineer, drummer, real-estate agent, politician, dead-beat,
rumseller, 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 opened fire-door: but this locomotive could talk, and the
words shook and stirred the boy to the core of his soul. At last
Cheyne pitched away the cigar-butt, and the two sat in the dark
over the lapping water.

"I've never told that to any one before," said the father.

Harvey gasped. "It's just the greatest thing that ever was!" said
he.

"That's what I got. Now I'm coming to what I didn't get. It won't
sound much of anything to you, but I don't wish you to be as old
as I am before you find out. I can handle men, of course, and I'm
no fool along my own lines, but - but
I can't compete with the man who has been taught! I've picked up
as I went along, and I guess it sticks out all 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 my end of the deal," said Harvey. "Four years at
college! "Wish I'd chosen the valet and the yacht!"

"Never mind, my son," Cheyne insisted. "You're investing your
capital where it'll bring in the best returns; and I guess you
won't find our property shrunk any when you're ready to take hold.
Think it over, and let me know in the morning. Hurry! We'll be
late for supper!"

As this was a business talk, there was no need for Harvey to tell
his mother about it; and Cheyne naturally took the same point of
view. But Mrs. Cheyne saw and feared, and was a little jealous.
Her boy, who rode rough-shod over her, was gone, and in his stead
reigned a keen-faced youth, abnormally silent, who addressed most
of his conversation to his father. She understood it was business,
and therefore a matter beyond her premises. If she had any doubts,
they were resolved when Cheyne went to Boston and brought back a
new diamond marquise-ring.

"What have you two men been doing now?" she said, with a weak
little smile, as she turned it in the light.

"Talking - just talking, mama; there's nothing mean about Harvey."

There was not. The boy had made a treaty on his own account.
Railroads, he explained gravely, interested him as little as
lumber, real estate, or mining. What his soul yearned after was
control of his father's newly purchased sailing-ships. If that
could be promised him within what he conceived to be a reasonable
time, he, for his part, guaranteed diligence and sobriety at
college for four or five years. In vacation he was to be allowed
full access to all details connected with the line, - he had asked
not more than two thousand questions about it, - from his father's
most private papers in the safe to the tug in San Francisco
harbour.

"It's a deal," said Cheyne at the last. "You'll alter your mind
twenty times before you leave college, o' course; but if you take
hold of it in proper shape, and if you don't tie it up before
you're twenty-three, I'll make the thing over to you. How's that,
Harve?"

"Nope; never pays to split up a going concern There's too much
competition in the world anyway, and Disko says 'blood-kin hev to
stick together.' His crowd never go back on him. That's one
reason, he says, why they make such big fares. Say, the "We're
Here" goes off to the Georges on Monday. They don't stay long
ashore, do they?"

"Well, we ought to be going, too, I guess. I've left my business
hung up at loose ends between two oceans, and it's time to connect
again. I just hate to do it, though; haven't had a holiday like
this for twenty years."

"We can't go without seeing Disko off," said Harvey; "and Monday's
Memorial Day. Let's stay over that, anyway."

"What is this memorial business? They were talking about it at the
boarding-house," said Cheyne, weakly. He, too, was not anxious to
spoil the golden days.

"Well, as far as I can make out, this business is a sort of song-
and-dance act, whacked up for the summer boarders. Disko don't
think much of it, he says, because they take up a collection for
the widows and orphans. Disko's independent. Haven't you noticed
that?"

Well - yes. A little. In spots. Is it a town show, then?"

"The summer convention is. They read out the names of the fellows
drowned or gone astray since last time, and they make speeches,
and recite, and all. Then, Disko says, the secretaries of the Aid
Societies go into the back yard and fight over the catch. The real
show, he says, is in the spring. The ministers all take a hand
then, and there aren't any summer boarders around."

"I see," said Cheyne, with the brilliant and perfect comprehension
of one born into and bred up to city pride. "We'll stay over for
Memorial Day, and get off in the afternoon."

"Guess I'll go down to Disko's and make him bring his crowd up
before they sail. I'll have to stand with them, of course."

"Oh, that's it, is it," said Cheyne. "I'm only a poor summer
boarder, and you're -"

"A Banker - full-blooded Banker," Harvey called back as he boarded
a trolley, and Cheyne went on with his blissful dreams for the
future.

Disko had no use for public functions where appeals were made for
charity, but Harvey pleaded that the glory of the day would be
lost, so far as he was concerned, if the "We're Heres" absented
themselves. Then Disko made conditions. He had heard - it was
astonishing how all the world knew all the world's business along
the waterfront - he had heard that a "Philadelphia actress-woman"
was going to take part in the exercises; and he mistrusted that
she would deliver "Skipper Ireson's Ride." Personally, he had as
little use for actresses as for summer boarders; but justice was
justice, and though he himself (here Dan giggled) had once slipped
up on a matter of judgment, this thing must not be. So Harvey came
back to East Gloucester, and spent half a day explaining to an
amused actress with a royal reputation on two seaboards the
inwardness of the mistake she contemplated; and she admitted that
it was justice, even as Disko had said.
-
Cheyne knew by old experience what would happen; but anything of
the nature of a public palaver was meat and drink to the man's
soul. He saw the trolleys hurrying west, in the hot, hazy morning,
full of women in light summer dresses, and white-faced straw-
hatted men fresh from Boston desks; the stack of bicycles outside
the post-office; the come-and-go of busy officials, greeting one
another; the slow flick and swash of bunting in the heavy air; and
the important man with a hose sluicing the brick sidewalk.

"Mother," he said suddenly, "don't you remember - after Seattle
was burned out -and they got her going again?"

Mrs. Cheyne nodded, and looked critically down the crooked street.
Like her husband, she understood these gatherings, all the West
over, and compared them one against another. The fishermen began
to mingle with the crowd about the town-hall doors - blue-jowled
Portuguese, their women bare-headed or shawled for the most part;
clear-eyed Nova Scotians, and men of the Maritime Provinces;
French, Italians, Swedes, and Danes, with outside crews of
coasting schooners; and everywhere women in black, who saluted one
another with a gloomy pride, for this was their day of great days.
And there were ministers of many creeds, - pastors of great, gilt-
edged congregations, at the seaside for a rest, with shepherds of
the regular work, - from the priests of the Church on the Hill to
bush-bearded ex-sailor Lutherans, hail-fellow with the men of a
score of boats. There were owners of lines of schooners, large
contributors to the societies, and small men, their few craft
pawned to the mastheads, with bankers and marine-insurance agents,
captains of tugs and water-boats, riggers, fitters, lumpers,
salters, boat-builders, and coopers, and all the mixed population
of the water-front.

They drifted along the line of seats made gay with the dresses of
the summer boarders, and one of the town officials patrolled and
perspired till he shone all over with pure civic pride. Cheyne had
met him for five minutes a few days before, and between the two
there was entire understanding.

"Well, Mr. Cheyne, and what d'you think of our city? - Yes, madam,
you can sit anywhere you please. - You have this kind of thing out
West, I presume?"

"Yes, but we aren't as old as you."

"That's so, of course. You ought to have been at the exercises
when we celebrated our two hundred and fiftieth birthday. I tell
you, Mr. Cheyne, the old city did herself credit."

"So I heard. It pays, too. What's the matter with the town that it
don't have a first-class hotel, though?"

"Right over there to the left, Pedro. Heaps o' room for you and
your crowd. -Why, that's what I tell 'em all the time, Mr. Cheyne.
There's big money in it, but I presume that don't affect you any.
What we want is -"

A heavy hand fell on his broadcloth shoulder, and the flushed
skipper of a Portland coal-and-ice coaster spun him half round.
"What in thunder do you fellows mean by clappin' the law on the
town when all decent men are at sea this way? Heh? Town's dry's a
bone, an' smells a sight worse sence I quit. 'Might ha' left us
one saloon for soft drinks, anyway."

"Don't seem to have hindered your nourishment this morning,
Carsen. I'll go into the politics of it later. Sit down by the
door and think over your arguments till I come back."

"What good's arguments to me? In Miquelon champagne's eighteen
dollars a case, and -" The skipper lurched into his seat as an
organ-prelude silenced him.

"Our new organ," said the official proudly to Cheyne. "Cost us
four thousand dollars, too. We'll have to get back to high-licence
next year to pay for it. I wasn't going to let the ministers have
all the religion at their convention. Those are some of our
orphans standing up to sing. My wife taught 'em. See you again
later, Mr. Cheyne. I'm wanted on the platform."

High, clear, and true, children's voices bore down the last noise
of those settling into their places.

"O all ye Works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise him, and
magnify him for ever!"

The women throughout the hall leaned forward to look as the
reiterated cadences filled the air. Mrs. Cheyne, with some others,
began to breathe short; she had hardly imagined there were so many
widows in the world; and instinctively searched for Harvey. He had
found the "We're Heres" at the back of the audience, and was
standing, as by right, between Dan and Disko. Uncle Salters,
returned the night before with Penn, from Pamlico Sound, received
him suspiciously.

"Hain't your folk gone yet?" he grunted. "What are you doin' here,
young feller?"

"O ye Seas and Floods, bless ye the Lord: praise him, and magnify
him for ever!"

"Hain't he good right?" said Dan. "He's bin there, same as the
rest of us."

"Not in them clothes," Salters snarled.

"Shut your head, Salters," said Disko. "Your bile's gone back on
you. Stay right where ye are, Harve."

Then up and spoke the orator of the occasion, another pillar of
the municipality, bidding the world welcome to Gloucester, and
incidentally pointing out wherein Gloucester excelled the rest of
the world. Then he turned to the sea-wealth of the city, and spoke
of the price that must be paid for the yearly harvest. They would
hear later the names of their lost dead - one hundred and
seventeen of them. (The widows stared a little, and looked at one
another here.) Gloucester could not boast any overwhelming mills
or factories. Her sons worked for such wage as the sea gave; and
they all knew that neither Georges nor the Banks were cow-
pastures. The utmost that folk ashore could accomplish was to help
the widows and the orphans; and after a few general remarks he
took this opportunity of thanking, in the name of the city, those
who had so public-spiritedly consented to participate in the
exercises of the occasion.

"I jest despise the beggin' pieces in it," growled Disko. "It
don't give folk a fair notion of us."

"Ef folk won't be fore-handed an' put by when they've the chance,"
returned Salters, "it stands in the nature o' things they hev to
be 'shamed. You take warnin' by that, young feller. Riches
endureth but for a season, ef you scatter them araound on
lugsuries -"

"But to lose everything - everything," said Penn. "What can you do
then? Once I" - the watery blue eyes stared up and down, as
looking for something to steady them - "once I read - in a book, I
think - of a boat where every one was run down - except some one -
and he said to me -"

"Shucks!" said Salters, cutting in. "You read a little less an'
take more int'rust in your vittles, and you'll come nearer earnin'
your keep, Penn."

Harvey, jammed among the fishermen, felt a creepy, crawly,
tingling thrill that began in the back of his neck and ended at
his boots. He was cold, too, though it was a stifling day.

"'That the actress from Philadelphia?" said Disko Troop, scowling
at the platform. "You've fixed it about old man Ireson, hain't ye,
Harve? Ye know why naow."

It was not "Ireson's Ride" that the woman delivered, but some sort
of poem about a fishing-port called Brixham and a fleet of
trawlers beating in against storm by night, while the women made a
guiding fire at the head of the quay with everything they could
lay hands on.

"They took the grandam's blanket,
Who shivered and bade them go;
They took the baby's cradle,
Who could not say them no."

"Whew!" said Dan, peering over Long Jack's shoulder. "That's
great! Must ha' bin expensive, though."

"Ground-hog case," said the Galway man. "Badly lighted port,
Danny."

"And knew not all the while
If they were lighting a bonfire
Or only a funeral pile."

The wonderful voice took hold of people by their heartstrings; and
when she told how the drenched crews were flung ashore, living and
dead, and they carried the bodies to the glare of the fires,
asking: "Child, is this your father?" or "Wife, is this your man?"
you could hear hard breathing all over the benches.

"And when the boats of Brixham
Go out to face the gales,
Think of the love that travels
Like light upon their sails!"


There was very little applause when she finished. The women were
looking for their handkerchiefs, and many of the men stared at the
ceiling with shiny eyes.

"H'm," said Salters; "that 'u'd cost ye a dollar to hear at any
theater - maybe two. Some folk, I presoom, can afford it. 'Seems
downright waste to me. . . . Naow, how in Jerusalem did Cap Bart
Edwardes strike adrift here?"

"No keepin' him under," said an Eastport man behind. "He's a poet,
an' he's baound to say his piece. 'Comes from daown aour way,
too."

He did not say that Captain B. Edwardes had striven for five
consecutive years to be allowed to recite a piece of his own
composition on Gloucester Memorial Day. An amused and exhausted
committee had at last given him his desire. The simplicity and
utter happiness of the old man, as he stood up in his very best
Sunday clothes, won the audience ere he opened his mouth. They sat
unmurmuring through seven-and-thirty hatchet-made verses
describing at fullest length the loss of the schooner Joan Hasken
off the Georges in the gale of 1867, and when he came to an end
they shouted with one kindly throat.

A far-sighted Boston reporter slid away for a full copy of the
epic and an interview with the author; so that earth had nothing
more to offer Captain Bart Edwardes, ex-whaler, shipwright,
master-fisherman, and poet, in the seventy-third year of his age.

"Naow, I call that sensible," said an Eastport man. "I've bin over
that graound with his writin', jest as he read it, in my two
hands, and I can testify that he's got it all in."

"If Dan here couldn't do better'n that with one hand before
breakfast, he ought to be switched," said Salters, upholding the
honour of Massachusetts on general principles. "Not but what I'm
free to own he's considerable litt'ery - fer Maine. Still -"

"Guess Uncle Salters's goin' to die this trip. Fust compliment
he's ever paid me," Dan sniggered. "What's wrong with you, Harve?
You act all quiet and you look greenish. Feelin' sick?"

"Don't know what's the matter with me," Harvey replied. "Seems if
my insides were too big for my outsides. I'm all crowded up and
shivery."

"Dispepsy? Pshaw-too bad. We'll wait for the readin', an' then
we'll quit, an' catch the tide."

The widows - they were nearly all of that season's making - braced
themselves rigidly like people going to be shot in cold blood, for
they knew what was coming. The summer-boarder girls in pink and
blue shirt-waists stopped tittering over Captain Edwardes's
wonderful poem, and looked back to see why all was silent. The
fishermen pressed forward as that town official who had talked
with Cheyne bobbed up on the platform and began to read the year's
list of losses, dividing them into months. Last September's
casualties were mostly single men and strangers, but his voice
rang very loud in the stillness of the hall.

"September 9th. - Schooner "Florrie Anderson" lost, with all
aboard, off the Georges.
"Reuben Pitman, master, 50, single, Main Street, City.
"Emil Olsen, 19, single, 329 Hammond Street, City; Denmark.
"Oscar Stanberg, single, 25, Sweden.
"Carl Stanberg, single, 28, Main Street, City.
"Pedro, supposed Madeira, single, Keene's boarding-house, City.
"Joseph Welsh, alias Joseph Wright, 30, St. John's, Newfoundland."

"No - Augusty, Maine," a voice cried from the body of the hall.

"He shipped from St. John's," said the reader, looking to see.

"I know it. He belongs in Augusty. My nevvy."

The reader made a pencilled correction on the margin of the list,
and resumed:

"Same schooner, Charlie Ritchie, Liverpool, Nova Scotia, 33,
single.
"Albert May, 267 Rogers Street, City, 27, single.
"September 27th. - Orvin Dollard, 30, married, drowned in dory off
Eastern Point."

That shot went home, for one of the widows flinched where she sat,
clasping and unclasping her hands. Mrs. Cheyne, who had been
listening with wide-opened eyes, threw up her head and choked.
Dan's mother, a few seats to the right, saw and heard and quickly
moved to her side. The reading went on. By the time they reached
the January and February wrecks the shots were falling thick and
fast, and the widows drew breath between their teeth.

"February i4th. - Schooner "Harry Randolph" dismasted on the way
home from Newfoundland; Asa Musie, married, 32, Main Street, City,
lost overboard.
"February a 3d. - Schooner "Gilbert Hope"; went astray in dory,
Robert Beavon, 29, married, native of Pubnico, Nova Scotia."


But his wife was in the hall. They heard a low cry, as though a
little animal had been hit. It was stifled at once, and a girl
staggered out of the hail. She had been hoping against hope for
months, because some who have gone adrift in dories have been
miraculously picked up by deep-sea sailing-ships. Now she had her
certainty, and Harvey could see the policeman on the sidewalk
hailing a hack for her. "It's fifty cents to the depot" - the
driver began, but the policeman held up his hand - "but I'm goin'
there anyway. Jump right in. Look at here, Alf; you don't pull me
next time my lamps ain't lit. See?"

The side-door closed on the patch of bright sunshine, and Harvey's
eyes turned again to the reader and his endless list.

"April 19th. - Schooner "Mamie Douglas" lost on the Banks with all
hands.
"Edward Canton, 43, master, married, City.
"D. Hawkins, alias Williams, 34, married, Shelbourne, Nova Scotia.
"G. W. Clay, coloured, 28, married, City."

And so on, and so on. Great lumps were rising in Harvey's throat,
and his stomach reminded him of the day when he fell from the
liner.

"May 10th. - Schooner "We're Here" [the blood tingled all over
him]. Otto Svendson, 20, single, City, lost overboard."

Once more a low, tearing cry from somewhere at the back of the
hall.

"She shouldn't ha' come. She shouldn't ha' come," said Long Jack,
with a cluck of pity.
"Don't scrowge, Harve," grunted Dan. Harvey heard that much, but
the rest was all darkness spotted with fiery wheels. Disko leaned
forward and spoke to his wife, where she sat with one arm round
Mrs. Cheyne, and the other holding down the snatching, catching,
ringed hands.

"Lean your head daown - right daown!" she whispered. "It'll go off
in a minute."

"I ca-an't! I do-don't! Oh, let me -" Mrs. Cheyne did not at all
know what she said.

"You must," Mrs. Troop repeated. "Your boy's jest fainted dead
away. They do that some when they're gettin' their growth. 'Wish
to tend to him? We can git aout this side. Quite quiet. You come
right along with me. Psha', my dear, we're both women, I guess. We
must tend to aour men-folk. Come!"

The "We're Heres" promptly went through the crowd as a body-guard,
and it was a very white and shaken Harvey that they propped up on
a bench in an anteroom.

"Favours his ma," was Mrs. Troop's only comment, as the mother
bent over her boy.

"How d'you suppose he could ever stand it?" she cried indignantly
to Cheyne, who had said nothing at all. "It was horrible -
horrible! We shouldn't have come. It's wrong and wicked! It - it
isn't right! Why - why couldn't they put these things in the
papers, where they belong? Are you better, darling?"

That made Harvey very properly ashamed. "Oh, I'm all right, I
guess," he said, struggling to his feet, with a broken giggle.
"Must ha' been something I ate for breakfast."

"Coffee, perhaps," said Cheyne, whose face was all in hard lines,
as though it had been cut out of bronze. "We won't go back again."

"Guess 'twould be 'baout's well to git daown to the wharf," said
Disko. "It's close in along with them Dagoes, an' the fresh air
will fresh Mrs. Cheyne up."

Harvey announced that he never felt better in his life; but it was
not till he saw the "We're Here", fresh from the lumper's hands,
at Wouverman's wharf, that he lost his all-overish feelings in a
queer mixture of pride and sorrowfulness. Other people - summer
boarders and such-like - played about in cat-boats or looked at
the sea from pier-heads; but he understood things from the inside
- more things than he could begin to think about. None the less,
he could have sat down and howled because the little schooner was
going off. Mrs. Cheyne simply cried and cried every step of the
way, and said most extraordinary things to Mrs. Troop, who
"babied" her till Dan, who had not been "babied" since he was six,
whistled aloud.

And so the old crowd - Harvey felt like the most ancient of
mariners - dropped into the old schooner among the battered
dories, while Harvey slipped the stern-fast from the pier-head,
and they slid her along the wharf-side with their hands. Every one
wanted to say so much that no one said anything in particular.
Harvey bade Dan take care of Uncle Salters's sea-boots and Penn's
dory-anchor, and Long Jack entreated Harvey to remember his
lessons in seamanship; but the jokes fell flat in the presence of
the two women, and it is hard to be funny with green harbour-water
widening between good friends.

"Up jib and fores'l! "shouted Disko, getting to the wheel, as the
wind took her. "See you later, Harve. Dunno but I come near
thinkin' a heap o' you an' your folks."

Then she glided beyond ear-shot, and they sat down to watch her up
the harbour. And still Mrs. Cheyne wept.

"Psha', my dear," said Mrs. Troop; "we're both women, I guess.
Like's not it'll ease your heart to hev your cry aout. God He
knows it never done me a mite o' good; but then He knows I've had
something to cry fer!"

Now it was a few years later, and upon the other edge of America,
that a young man came through the clammy sea-fog up a windy street
which is flanked with most expensive houses built of wood to
imitate stone. To him, as he was standing by a hammered iron gate,
entered on horseback - and the horse would have been cheap at a
thousand dollars - another young man. And this is what they said:

"Hello, Dan!"

"Hello, Harve!"

"What's the best with you?"

"Well, I'm so's to be that kind o' animal called second mate this
trip. Ain't you most through with that triple-invoiced college o'
yours?"

"Getting that way. I tell you, the Leland Stanford Junior isn't a
circumstance to the old "We're Here"; but I'm coming into the
business for keeps next fall."

"Meanin' aour packets?"

"Nothing else. You just wait till I get my knife into you, Dan.
I'm going to make the old line lie down and cry when I take hold."

"I'll resk it," said Dan, with a brotherly grin, as Harvey
dismounted and asked whether he were coming in.

"That's what I took the cable fer; but, say, is the doctor
anywheres araound? I'll draown that crazy nigger some day, his one
cussed joke an' all."

There was a low, triumphant chuckle, as the ex-cook of the "We're
Here" came out of the fog to take the horse's bridle. He allowed
no one but himself to attend to any of Harvey's wants.

"Thick as the Banks, ain't it, doctor?" said Dan, propitiatingly.

But the coal-black Celt with the second-sight did not see fit to
reply till he had tapped Dan on the shoulder, and for the
twentieth time croaked the old, old prophecy in his ear:

"Master - man. Man - master," said he. "You remember, Dan Troop,
what I said? On the 'We're Here'?"

"Well, I won't go so far as to deny that it do look like it as
things stand at present," said Dan. "She was an able packet, and
one way an' another I owe her a heap - her and dad."

"Me too," quoth Harvey Cheyne.


Rudyard Kipling

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