Infomotions, Inc.The Wrecker / Stevenson, Robert Louis



Author: Stevenson, Robert Louis
Title: The Wrecker
Publisher: Wiretap Electronic Text Archive
Tag(s): carthew; pinkerton; loudon; nares; dodd; trent; jim; flying scud; captain trent; captain; english literature
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 137,317 words (average) Grade range: 9-11 (high school) Readability score: 64 (easy)
Identifier: stevenson-wrecker-167
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        THE INTERNET WIRETAP ELECTRONIC EDITION OF

                      The Wrecker

                           By
                 Robert Louis Stevenson

             written in collaboration with
                     Lloyd Osbourne

                    Edinburgh Edition
                          1896

     Prepared by John Hamm <John_Hamm@MindLink.bc.ca>

             This text is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN,
                   released January 1994

     Scanned with OmniPage Professional OCR software
               donated by Caere Corporation.

                           
                           
                       PROLOGUE
                           
                           
                   IN THE MARQUESAS

IT was about three o'clock of a winter's afternoon in
Tai-o-hae, the French capital and port of entry of the
Marquesas Islands.  The trades blew strong and squally;
the surf roared loud on the shingle beach; and the
fifty-ton schooner of war, that carries the flag and
influence of France about the islands of the cannibal
group, rolled at her moorings under Prison Hill.  The
clouds hung low and black on the surrounding
amphitheatre of mountains; rain had fallen earlier in
the day, real tropic rain, a waterspout for violence;
and the green and gloomy brow of the mountain was still
seamed with many silver threads of torrent.

In these hot and healthy islands winter is but a name.
The rain had not refreshed, nor could the wind
invigorate, the dwellers of Tai-o-hae: away at one end,
indeed, the commandant was directing some changes in
the residency garden beyond Prison Hill; and the
gardeners, being all convicts, had no choice but to
continue to obey.  All other folks slumbered and took
their rest: Vaekehu, the native Queen, in her trim
house under the rustling palms; the Tahitian
commissary, in his be-flagged official residence; the
merchants, in their deserted stores; and even the club-
servant in the club, his head fallen forward on the
bottle-counter, under the map of the world and the
cards of navy officers.  In the whole length of the
single shoreside street, with its scattered board
houses looking to the sea, its grateful shade of palms
and green jungle of puraos, no moving figure could be
seen.  Only, at the end of the rickety pier, that once
(in the prosperous days of the American rebellion) was
used to groan under the cotton of John Hart, there
might have been spied upon a pile of lumber the famous
tattooed white man, the living curiosity of Tai-o-hae.

His eyes were open, staring down the bay.  He saw the
mountains droop, as they approached the entrance, and
break down in cliffs: the surf boil white round the two
sentinel islets; and between, on the narrow bight of
blue horizon, Ua-pu upraise the ghost of her pinnacled
mountain-tops.  But his mind would take no account of
these familiar features; as he dodged in and out along
the frontier line of sleep and waking, memory would
serve him with broken fragments of the past: brown
faces and white, of skipper and shipmate, king and
chief, would arise before his mind and vanish; he would
recall old voyages, old landfalls in the hour of dawn;
he would hear again the drums beat for a man-eating
festival; perhaps he would summon up the form of that
island princess for the love of whom he had submitted
his body to the cruel hands of the tattooer, and now
sat on the lumber, at the pier-end of Tai-o-hae, so
strange a figure of a European.  Or perhaps, from yet
further back, sounds and scents of England and his
childhood might assail him: the merry clamour of
cathedral bells, the broom upon the foreland, the song
of the river on the weir.

It is bold water at the mouth of the bay; you can steer
a ship about either sentinel, close enough to toss a
biscuit on the rocks.  Thus it chanced that, as the
tattooed man sat dozing and dreaming, he was startled
into wakefulness and animation by the appearance of a
flying jib beyond the western islet.  Two more
headsails followed; and before the tattooed man had
scrambled to his feet, a topsail schooner, of some
hundred tons, had luffed about the sentinel, and was
standing up the bay, close-hauled.

The sleeping city awakened by enchantment.  Natives
appeared upon all sides, hailing each other with the
magic cry "Ehippy"--ship; the Queen stepped forth on
her verandah, shading her eyes under a hand that was a
miracle of the fine art of tattooing; the commandant
broke from his domestic convicts and ran into the
residency for his glass; the harbour-master, who was
also the gaoler, came speeding down the Prison Hill;
the seventeen brown Kanakas and the French boatswain's
mate, that make up the complement of the war-schooner,
crowded on the forward deck; and the various English,
Americans, Germans, Poles, Corsicans, and Scots--the
merchants and the clerks of Tai-o-hae--deserted their
places of business, and gathered, according to
invariable custom, on the road before the club.

So quickly did these dozen whites collect, so short are
the distances in Tai-o-hae, that they were already
exchanging guesses as to the nationality and business
of the strange vessel, before she had gone about upon
her second board towards the anchorage.  A moment
after, English colours were broken out at the main
truck.

"I told you she was a Johnny Bull--knew it by her
headsails," said an evergreen old salt, still qualified
(if he could anywhere have found an owner unacquainted
with his story) to adorn another quarter-deck and lose
another ship.

"She has American lines, anyway," said the astute Scots
engineer of the gin-mill; "it's my belief she's a
yacht."

"That's it," said the old salt, "a yacht! look at her
davits, and the boat over the stern."

"A yacht in your eye!" said a Glasgow voice.  "Look at
her red ensign! A yacht! not much she isn't!"

"You can close the store, anyway, Tom," observed a
gentlemanly German.  "BON JOUR, MON PRINCE!" he
added, as a dark, intelligent native cantered by on a
neat chestnut.  "VOUS ALLEZ BOIRE UN VERRE DE
BIERE?"

But Prince Stanila Moanatini, the only reasonably busy
human creature on the island, was riding hot-spur to
view this morning's landslip on the mountain road; the
sun already visibly declined; night was imminent; and
if he would avoid the perils of darkness and precipice,
and the fear of the dead, the haunters of the jungle,
he must for once decline a hospitable invitation.  Even
had he been minded to alight, it presently appeared
there would be difficulty as to the refreshment
offered.

"Beer!" cried the Glasgow voice.  "No such a thing; I
tell you there's only eight bottles in the club! Here's
the first time I've seen British colours in this port!
and the man that sails under them has got to drink that
beer."

The proposal struck the public mind as fair, though far
from cheering; for some time back, indeed, the very
name of beer had been a sound of sorrow in the club,
and the evenings had passed in dolorous computation.

"Here is Havens," said one, as if welcoming a fresh
topic.--"What do you think of her, Havens?"

"I don't think," replied Havens, a tall, bland, cool-
looking, leisurely Englishman, attired in spotless
duck, and deliberately dealing with a cigarette.  "I
may say I know.  She's consigned to me from Auckland by
Donald and Edenborough.  I am on my way aboard."

"What ship is she?" asked the ancient mariner.

"Haven't an idea," returned Havens.  "Some tramp they
have chartered."

With that he placidly resumed his walk, and was soon
seated in the stern-sheets of a whaleboat manned by
uproarious Kanakas, himself daintily perched out of the
way of the least maculation, giving his commands in an
unobtrusive, dinner-table tone of voice, and sweeping
neatly enough alongside the schooner.

A weather-beaten captain received him at the gangway.

"You are consigned to us, I think," said he.  "I am Mr.
Havens."

"That is right, sir," replied the captain, shaking
hands.  "You will find the owner, Mr. Dodd, below.
Mind the fresh paint on the house."

Havens stepped along the alley-way, and descended the
ladder into the main cabin.

"Mr. Dodd, I believe," said he, addressing a smallish,
bearded gentleman, who sat writing at the table.--
"Why," he cried, "it isn't Loudon Dodd?"

"Myself, my dear fellow," replied Mr. Dodd, springing
to his feet with companionable alacrity.  "I had a
half-hope it might be you, when I found your name on
the papers.  Well, there's no change in you; still the
same placid, fresh-looking Britisher."

"I can't return the compliment; for you seem to have
become a Britisher yourself," said Havens.

"I promise you, I am quite unchanged," returned Dodd.
"The red tablecloth at the top of the stick is not my
flag; it's my partner's.  He is not dead, but sleepeth.
There he is," he added, pointing to a bust which formed
one of the numerous unexpected ornaments of that
unusual cabin.

Havens politely studied it.  "A fine bust," said he;
"and a very nice-looking fellow."

"Yes; he's a good fellow," said Dodd.  "He runs me now.
It's all his money."

"He doesn't seem to be particularly short of it," added
the other, peering with growing wonder round the cabin.

"His money--my taste," said Dodd.  "The black walnut
bookshelves are old English; the books all mine--mostly
Renaissance French.  You should see how the beach-
combers wilt away when they go round them, looking for
a change of seaside library novels.  The mirrors are
genuine Venice; that's a good piece in the corner.  The
daubs are mine--and his; the mudding mine."

"Mudding? What is that?" asked Havens.

"These bronzes," replied Dodd.  "I began life as a
sculptor."

"Yes; I remember something about that," said the other.
"I think, too, you said you were interested in
Californian real estate."

"Surely I never went so far as that," said Dodd.
"Interested? I guess not.  Involved, perhaps.  I was
born an artist; I never took an interest in anything
but art.  If I were to pile up this old schooner to-
morrow," he added, "I declare I believe I would try the
thing again!"

"Insured?" inquired Havens.

"Yes," responded Dodd.  "There's some fool in 'Frisco
who insures us, and comes down like a wolf on the fold
on the profits; but we'll get even with him some day."

"Well, I suppose it's all right about the cargo," said
Havens.

"O, I suppose so!" replied Dodd.  "Shall we go into the
papers?"

"We'll have all to-morrow, you know," said Havens; "and
they'll be rather expecting you at the club.  C'EST
L'HEURE DE L'ABSINTHE.  Of course, Loudon, you'll dine
with me later on?"

Mr. Dodd signified his acquiescence; drew on his white
coat, not without a trifling difficulty, for he was a
man of middle age, and well-to-do; arranged his beard
and moustaches at one of the Venetian mirrors; and,
taking a broad felt hat, led the way through the trade-
room into the ship's waist.

The stern boat was waiting alongside--a boat of an
elegant model, with cushions and polished hard-wood
fittings.

"You steer," observed Loudon.  "You know the best place
to land."

"I never like to steer another man's boat," replied
Havens.

"Call it my partner's, and cry quits," returned Loudon,
getting nonchalantly down the side.

Havens followed and took the yoke lines without further
protest.

"I am sure I don't know how you make this pay," he
said.  "To begin with, she is too big for the trade, to
my taste; and then you carry so much style."

"I don't know that she does pay," returned Loudon.

"I never pretend to be a business man.  My partner
appears happy; and the money is all his, as I told you;
I only bring the want of business habits."

"You rather like the berth, I suppose?" suggested
Havens.

"Yes," said Loudon; "it seems odd, but I rather do."

While they were yet on board, the sun had dipped; the
sunset gun (a rifle) had cracked from the war-schooner,
and the colours had been handed down.  Dusk was
deepening as they came ashore; and the CERCLE
INTERNATIONAL (as the club is officially and
significantly named) began to shine, from under its low
verandahs, with the light of many lamps.  The good
hours of the twenty-four drew on; the hateful,
poisonous day-fly of Nukahiva was beginning to desist
from its activity; the land-breeze came in refreshing
draughts; and the club-men gathered together for the
hour of absinthe.  To the commandant himself, to the
man whom he was then contending with at billiards--a
trader from the next island, honorary member of the
club, and once carpenter's mate on board a Yankee war-
ship--to the doctor of the port, to the Brigadier of
Gendarmerie, to the opium-farmer, and to all the white
men whom the tide of commerce, or the chances of
shipwreck and desertion, had stranded on the beach of
Tai-o-hae, Mr. Loudon Dodd was formally presented; by
all (since he was a man of pleasing exterior, smooth
ways, and an unexceptionable flow of talk, whether in
French or English) he was excellently well received;
and presently, with one of the last eight bottles of
beer on a table at his elbow, found himself the rather
silent centre-piece of a voluble group on the verandah.

Talk in the South Seas is all upon one pattern; it is a
wide ocean, indeed, but a narrow world: you shall never
talk long and not hear the name of Bully Hayes, a naval
hero whose exploits and deserved extinction left Europe
cold; commerce will be touched on, copra, shell,
perhaps cotton or fungus; but in a far-away, dilettante
fashion, as by men not deeply interested; through all,
the names of schooners and their captains will keep
coming and going, thick as may-flies; and news of the
last shipwreck will be placidly exchanged and debated.
To a stranger, this conversation will at first seem
scarcely brilliant; but he will soon catch the tone;
and by the time he shall have moved a year or so in the
island world, and come across a good number of the
schooners, so that every captain's name calls up a
figure in pyjamas or white duck, and becomes used to a
certain laxity of moral tone which prevails (as in
memory of Mr. Hayes) on smuggling, ship-scuttling,
barratry, piracy, the labour trade, and other kindred
fields of human activity, he will find Polynesia no
less amusing and no less instructive than Pall Mall or
Paris.

Mr. Loudon Dodd, though he was new to the group of the
Marquesas, was already an old, salted trader; he knew
the ships and the captains; he had assisted, in other
islands, at the first steps of some career of which he
now heard the culmination, or (VICE VERSA) he had
brought with him from further south the end of some
story which had begun in Tai-o-hae.  Among other matter
of interest, like other arrivals in the South Seas, he
had a wreck to announce.  The JOHN T. RICHARDS, it
appeared, had met the fate of other island schooners.

"Dickinson piled her up on Palmerston Island," Dodd
announced.

"Who were the owners?" inquired one of the club-men.

"O, the usual parties!" returned Loudon.  "Capsicum and
Co."

A smile and a glance of intelligence went round the
group; and perhaps Loudon gave voice to the general
sentiment by remarking--

"Talk of good business! I know nothing better than a
schooner, a competent captain, and a sound reliable
reef."

"Good business! There's no such a thing!" said the
Glasgow man.  "Nobody makes anything but the
missionaries--dash it!"

"I don't know," said another; "there's a good deal in
opium.

"It's a good job to strike a tabooed pearl-island--say,
about the fourth year," remarked a third, "skim the
whole lagoon on the sly, and up stick and away before
the French get wind of you."

"A pig nokket of cold is good," observed a German.

"There's something in wrecks, too," said Havens.  "Look
at that man in Honolulu, and the ship that went ashore
on Waikiki Reef; it was blowing a kona, hard; and she
began to break up as soon as she touched.  Lloyd's
agent had her sold inside an hour; and before dark,
when she went to pieces in earnest, the man that bought
her had feathered his nest.  Three more hours of
daylight, and he might have retired from business.  As
it was, he built a house on Beretania Street, and
called it after the ship."

"Yes, there's something in wrecks sometimes," said the
Glasgow voice; "but not often."

"As a general rule, there's deuced little in anything,"
said Havens.

"Well, I believe that's a Christian fact," cried the
other.  "What I want is a secret, get hold of a rich
man by the right place, and make him squeal."

"I suppose you know it's not thought to be the ticket,"
returned Havens.

"I don't care for that; it's good enough for me," cried
the man from Glasgow, stoutly.  "The only devil of it
is, a fellow can never find a secret in a place like
the South Seas: only in London and Paris."

"M'Gibbon's been reading some dime novel, I suppose,"
said one club-man.

"He's been reading AURORA FLOYD," remarked another.

"And what if I have?" cried M'Gibbon.  "It's all true.
Look at the newspapers! It's just your confounded
ignorance that sets you snickering.  I tell you, it's
as much a trade as underwriting, and a dashed sight
more honest."

The sudden acrimony of these remarks called Loudon (who
was a man of peace) from his reserve.  "It's rather
singular," said he, "but I seem to have practised about
all these means of livelihood."

"Tit you effer find a nokket?" inquired the
inarticulate German, eagerly.

"No.  I have been most kinds of fool in my time,"
returned Loudon, "but not the gold-digging variety.
Every man has a sane spot somewhere."

"Well, then," suggested some one, "did you ever smuggle
opium?"

"Yes, I did," said Loudon.

"Was there money in that?"

"All the way," responded Loudon.

"And perhaps you bought a wreck?" asked another.

"Yes, sir," said Loudon.

"How did that pan out?" pursued the questioner.

"Well, mine was a peculiar kind of wreck," replied
Loudon.  "I don't know, on the whole, that I can
recommend that branch of industry."

"Did she break up?" asked some one.

"I guess it was rather I that broke down," says Loudon.
"Head not big enough."

"Ever try the blackmail?" inquired Havens.

"Simple as you see me sitting here!" responded Dodd.

"Good business?"

"Well, I'm not a lucky man, you see," returned the
stranger.  "It ought to have been good."

"You had a secret?" asked the Glasgow man.

"As big as the State of Texas."

"And the other man was rich?"

"He wasn't exactly Jay Gould, but I guess he could buy
these islands if he wanted."

"Why, what was wrong, then? Couldn't you get hands on
him?"

"It took time, but I had him cornered at last; and
then----

"What then?"

"The speculation turned bottom up.  I became the man's
bosom friend."

"The deuce you did!"

"He couldn't have been particular, you mean?" asked
Dodd pleasantly.  "Well, no; he's a man of rather large
sympathies."

"If you're done talking nonsense, Loudon," said Havens,
"let's be getting to my place for dinner."

Outside, the night was full of the roaring of the surf.
Scattered lights glowed in the green thicket.  Native
women came by twos and threes out of the darkness,
smiled and ogled the two whites, perhaps wooed them
with a strain of laughter, and went by again,
bequeathing to the air a heady perfume of palm-oil and
frangipani blossom.  From the club to Mr. Havens's
residence was but a step or two, and to any dweller in
Europe they must have seemed steps in fairyland.  If
such an one could but have followed our two friends
into the wide-verandahed house, sat down with them in
the cool trellised room, where the wine shone on the
lamp-lighted table-cloth; tasted of their exotic food--
the raw fish, the bread-fruit, the cooked bananas, the
roast pig served with the inimitable miti, and that
king of delicacies, palm-tree salad; seen and heard by
fits and starts, now peering round the corner of the
door, now railing within against invisible assistants,
a certain comely young native lady in a sacque, who
seemed too modest to be a member of the family, and too
imperious to be less; and then if such an one were
whisked again through space to Upper Tooting, or
wherever else he honoured the domestic gods, "I have
had a dream," I think he would say, as he sat up,
rubbing his eyes, in the familiar chimney-corner chair,
"I have had a dream of a place, and I declare I believe
it must be heaven." But to Dodd and his entertainer,
all this amenity of the tropic night, and all these
dainties of the island table, were grown things of
custom; and they fell to meat like men who were hungry,
and drifted into idle talk like men who were a trifle
bored.

The scene in the club was referred to.

"I never heard you talk so much nonsense, Loudon," said
the host.

"Well, it seemed to me there was sulphur in the air, so
I talked for talking," returned the other.  "But it was
none of it nonsense."

"Do you mean to say it was true?" cried Havens--"that
about the opium and the wreck, and the blackmailing,
and the man who became your friend?"

"Every last word of it," said Loudon.

"You seem to have been seeing life," returned the
other.

"Yes, it's a queer yarn," said his friend; "if you
think you would like, I'll tell it you."

Here follows the yarn of Loudon Dodd, not as he told it
to his friend, but as he subsequently wrote it.

                       THE YARN
                           
                           
                           
                       CHAPTER I
                           
                           
             A SOUND COMMERCIAL EDUCATION

THE beginning of this yarn is my poor father's
character.  There never was a better man, nor a
handsomer, nor (in my view) a more unhappy--unhappy in
his business, in his pleasures, in his place of
residence, and (I am sorry to say it) in his son.  He
had begun life as a land-surveyor, soon became
interested in real estate, branched off into many other
speculations, and had the name of one of the smartest
men in the State of Muskegon.  "Dodd has a big head,"
people used to say; but I was never so sure of his
capacity.  His luck, at least, was beyond doubt for
long; his assiduity, always.  He fought in that daily
battle of money-grubbing, with a kind of sad-eyed
loyalty like a martyr's; rose early, ate fast, came
home dispirited and over-weary, even from success;
grudged himself all pleasure, if his nature was capable
of taking any, which I sometimes wondered; and laid
out, upon some deal in wheat or corner in aluminium,
the essence of which was little better than highway
robbery, treasures of conscientiousness and self-
denial.

Unluckily, I never cared a cent for anything but art,
and never shall.  My idea of man's chief end was to
enrich the world with things of beauty, and have a
fairly good time myself while doing so.  I do not think
I mentioned that second part, which is the only one I
have managed to carry out; but my father must have
suspected the suppression, for he branded the whole
affair as self-indulgence.

"Well," I remember crying once, "and what is your life?
You are only trying to get money, and to get it from
other people at that."

He sighed bitterly (which was very much his habit), and
shook his poor head at me.

"Ah, Loudon, Loudon!" said he, "you boys think
yourselves very smart.  But, struggle as you please, a
man has to work in this world.  He must be an honest
man or a thief, Loudon."

You can see for yourself how vain it was to argue with
my father.  The despair that seized upon me after such
an interview was, besides, embittered by remorse; for I
was at times petulant, but he invariably gentle; and I
was fighting, after all, for my own liberty and
pleasure, he singly for what he thought to be my good.
And all the time he never despaired.  "There is good
stuff in you, Loudon," he would say; "there is the
right stuff in you.  Blood will tell, and you will come
right in time.  I am not afraid my boy will ever
disgrace me; I am only vexed he should sometimes talk
nonsense." And then he would pat my shoulder or my hand
with a kind of motherly way he had, very affecting in a
man so strong and beautiful.

As soon as I had graduated from the high school, he
packed me off to the Muskegon Commercial Academy.  You
are a foreigner, and you will have a difficulty in
accepting the reality of this seat of education.  I
assure you before I begin that I am wholly serious.
The place really existed, possibly exists to-day: we
were proud of it in the State, as something
exceptionally nineteenth-century and civilised; and my
father, when he saw me to the cars, no doubt considered
he was putting me in a straight line for the Presidency
and the New Jerusalem.

"Loudon," said he, "I am now giving you a chance that
Julius Caesar could not have given to his son--a chance
to see life as it is, before your own turn comes to
start in earnest.  Avoid rash speculation, try to
behave like a gentleman; and if you will take my
advice, confine yourself to a safe, conservative
business in railroads.  Breadstuffs are tempting, but
very dangerous; I would not try breadstuffs at your
time of life; but you may feel your way a little in
other commodities.  Take a pride to keep your books
posted, and never throw good money after bad.  There,
my dear boy, kiss me good-bye; and never forget that
you are an only chick, and that your dad watches your
career with fond suspense."

The commercial college was a fine, roomy establishment,
pleasantly situate among woods.  The air was healthy,
the food excellent, the premium high.  Electric wires
connected it (to use the words of the prospectus) with
"the various world centres." The reading-room was well
supplied with "commercial organs." The talk was that of
Wall Street; and the pupils (from fifty to a hundred
lads) were principally engaged in rooking or trying to
rook one another for nominal sums in what was called
"college paper." We had class hours, indeed, in the
morning, when we studied German, French, book-keeping,
and the like goodly matters; but the bulk of our day
and the gist of the education centred in the exchange,
where we were taught to gamble in produce and
securities.  Since not one of the participants
possessed a bushel of wheat or a dollar's worth of
stock, legitimate business was of course impossible
from the beginning.  It was cold-drawn gambling,
without colour or disguise.  Just that which is the
impediment and destruction of all genuine commercial
enterprise, just that we were taught with every luxury
of stage effect.  Our simulacrum of a market was ruled
by the real markets outside, so that we might
experience the course and vicissitude of prices.  We
must keep books, and our ledgers were overhauled at the
month's end by the principal or his assistants.  To add
a spice of verisimilitude, "college paper" (like poker
chips) had an actual marketable value.  It was bought
for each pupil by anxious parents and guardians at the
rate of one cent for the dollar.  The same pupil, when
his education was complete, resold, at the same figure,
so much as was left him to the college; and even in the
midst of his curriculum, a successful operator would
sometimes realise a proportion of his holding, and
stand a supper on the sly in the neighbouring hamlet.
In short, if there was ever a worse education, it must
have been in that academy where Oliver met Charles
Bates.

When I was first guided into the exchange to have my
desk pointed out by one of the assistant teachers, I
was overwhelmed by the clamour and confusion.  Certain
blackboards at the other end of the building were
covered with figures continually replaced.  As each new
set appeared, the pupils swayed to and fro, and roared
out aloud with a formidable and to me quite meaningless
vociferation; leaping at the same time upon the desks
and benches, signalling with arms and heads, and
scribbling briskly in note-books.  I thought I had
never beheld a scene more disagreeable; and when I
considered that the whole traffic was illusory, and all
the money then upon the market would scarce have
sufficed to buy a pair of skates, I was at first
astonished, although not for long.  Indeed, I had no
sooner called to mind how grown-up men and women of
considerable estate will lose their temper about
halfpenny points, than (making an immediate allowance
for my fellow-students) I transferred the whole of my
astonishment to the assistant teacher, who--poor
gentleman--had quite forgot to show me to my desk, and
stood in the midst of this hurly-burly, absorbed and
seemingly transported.

"Look, look," he shouted in my ear; "a falling market!
The bears have had it all their own way since
yesterday."

"It can't matter," I replied, making him hear with
difficulty, for I was unused to speak in such a babel,
"since it is all fun."

"True," said he; "and you must always bear in mind that
the real profit is in the book-keeping.  I trust, Dodd,
to be able to congratulate you upon your books.  You
are to start in with ten thousand dollars of college
paper, a very liberal figure, which should see you
through the whole curriculum, if you keep to a safe,
conservative business....  Why, what's that?" he broke
off, once more attracted by the changing figures on the
board.  "Seven, four, three! Dodd, you are in luck:
this is the most spirited rally we have had this term.
And to think that the same scene is now transpiring in
New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and rival business
centres! For two cents, I would try a flutter with the
boys myself," he cried, rubbing his hands; "only it's
against the regulations."

"What would you do, sir?" I asked.

"Do?" he cried, with glittering eyes.  "Buy for all I
was worth!"

"Would that be a safe, conservative business?" I
inquired, as innocent as a lamb.

He looked daggers at me.  "See that sandy-haired man in
glasses?" he asked, as if to change the subject.
"That's Billson, our most prominent undergraduate.  We
build confidently on Billson's future.  You could not
do better, Dodd, than follow Billson."

Presently after, in the midst of a still growing
tumult, the figures coming and going more busily than
ever on the board, and the hall resounding like
Pandemonium with the howls of operators, the assistant
teacher left me to my own resources at my desk.  The
next boy was posting up his ledger, figuring his
morning's loss, as I discovered later on; and from this
ungenial task he was readily diverted by the sight of a
new face.

"Say, Freshman," he said, "what's your name? What? Son
of Big Head Dodd? What's your figure? Ten thousand? O,
you're away up! What a soft-headed clam you must be to
touch your books!"

I asked him what else I could do, since the books were
to be examined once a month.

"Why, you galoot, you get a clerk!" cries he.  "One of
our dead beats--that's all they're here for.  If you're
a successful operator, you need never do a stroke of
work in this old college."

The noise had now become deafening; and my new friend,
telling me that some one had certainly "gone down,"
that he must know the news, and that he would bring me
a clerk when he returned, buttoned his coat and plunged
into the tossing throng.  It proved that he was right:
some one had gone down; a prince had fallen in Israel;
the corner in lard had proved fatal to the mighty; and
the clerk who was brought back to keep my books, spare
me all work, and get all my share of the education, at
a thousand dollars a month, college paper (ten dollars,
United States currency) was no other than the prominent
Billson whom I could do no better than follow.  The
poor lad was very unhappy.  It's the only good thing I
have to say for Muskegon Commercial College, that we
were all, even the small fry, deeply mortified to be
posted as defaulters; and the collapse of a merchant
prince like Billson, who had ridden pretty high in his
days of prosperity, was, of course, particularly hard
to bear.  But the spirit of make-believe conquered even
the bitterness of recent shame; and my clerk took his
orders, and fell to his new duties, with decorum and
civility.

Such were my first impressions in this absurd place of
education; and, to be frank, they were far from
disagreeable.  As long as I was rich, my evenings and
afternoons would be my own; the clerk must keep my
books, the clerk could do the jostling and bawling in
the exchange; and I could turn my mind to landscape-
painting and Balzac's novels, which were then my two
pre-occupations.  To remain rich, then, became my
problem; or, in other words, to do a safe, conservative
line of business.  I am looking for that line still;
and I believe the nearest thing to it in this imperfect
world is the sort of speculation sometimes insidiously
proposed to childhood, in the formula, "Heads I win;
tails you lose." Mindful of my father's parting words,
I turned my attention timidly to railroads; and for a
month or so maintained a position of inglorious
security, dealing for small amounts in the most inert
stocks, and bearing (as best I could) the scorn of my
hired clerk.  One day I had ventured a little further
by way of experiment; and, in the sure expectation they
would continue to go down, sold several thousand
dollars of Pan-Handle Preference (I think it was).  I
had no sooner made this venture than some fools in New
York began to bull the market; Pan-Handles rose like a
balloon; and in the inside of half an hour I saw my
position compromised.  Blood will tell, as my father
said; and I stuck to it gallantly: all afternoon I
continued selling that infernal stock, all afternoon it
continued skying.  I suppose I had come (a frail
cockle-shell) athwart the hawse of Jay Gould; and,
indeed, I think I remember that this vagary in the
market proved subsequently to be the first move in a
considerable deal.  That evening, at least, the name of
H. Loudon Dodd held the first rank in our collegiate
gazette, and I and Billson (once more thrown upon the
world) were competing for the same clerkship.  The
present object takes the present eye.  My disaster, for
the moment, was the more conspicuous; and it was I that
got the situation.  So, you see, even in Muskegon
Commercial College there were lessons to be learned.

For my own part, I cared very little whether I lost or
won at a game so random, so complex, and so dull; but
it was sorry news to write to my poor father, and I
employed all the resources of my eloquence.  I told him
(what was the truth) that the successful boys had none
of the education; so that, if he wished me to learn, he
should rejoice at my misfortune.  I went on (not very
consistently) to beg him to set me up again, when I
would solemnly promise to do a safe business in
reliable railroads.  Lastly (becoming somewhat carried
away), I assured him I was totally unfit for business,
and implored him to take me away from this abominable
place, and let me go to Paris to study art.  He
answered briefly, gently, and sadly, telling me the
vacation was near at hand, when we could talk things
over.

When the time came, he met me at the depot, and I was
shocked to see him looking older.  He seemed to have no
thought but to console me and restore (what he supposed
I had lost) my courage.  I must not be down-hearted;
many of the best men had made a failure in the
beginning.  I told him I had no head for business, and
his kind face darkened.  "You must not say that,
Loudon," he replied; "I will never believe my son to be
a coward."

"But I don't like it," I pleaded.  "It hasn't got any
interest for me, and art has.  I know I could do more
in art," and I reminded him that a successful painter
gains large sums; that a picture of Meissonier's would
sell for many thousand dollars.

"And do you think, Loudon," he replied, "that a man who
can paint a thousand-dollar picture has not grit enough
to keep his end up in the stock market? No, sir; this
Mason (of whom you speak) or our own American
Bierstadt--if you were to put them down in a wheat-pit
to-morrow, they would show their mettle.  Come, Loudon,
my dear; heaven knows I have no thought but your own
good, and I will offer you a bargain.  I start you
again next term with ten thousand dollars; show
yourself a man, and double it, and then (if you still
wish to go to Paris, which I know you won't) I'll let
you go.  But to let you run away as if you were
whipped, is what I am too proud to do."

My heart leaped at this proposal, and then sank again.
It seemed easier to paint a Meissonier on the spot than
to win ten thousand dollars on that mimic stock
exchange.  Nor could I help reflecting on the
singularity of such a test for a man's capacity to be a
painter.  I ventured even to comment on this.

He sighed deeply.  "You forget, my dear," said he, "I
am a judge of the one, and not of the other.  You might
have the genius of Bierstadt himself, and I would be
none the wiser."

"And then," I continued, "it's scarcely fair.  The
other boys are helped by their people, who telegraph
and give them pointers.  There's Jim Costello, who
never budges without a word from his father in New
York.  And then, don't you see, if anybody is to win,
somebody must lose?"

"I'll keep you posted," cried my father, with unusual
animation; "I did not know it was allowed.  I'll wire
you in the office cipher, and we'll make it a kind of
partnership business, Loudon:--Dodd and Son, eh?" and
he patted my shoulder and repeated, "Dodd and Son, Dodd
and Son," with the kindliest amusement.

If my father was to give me pointers, and the
commercial college was to be a stepping-stone to Paris,
I could look my future in the face.  The old boy, too,
was so pleased at the idea of our association in this
foolery, that he immediately plucked up spirit.  Thus
it befell that those who had met at the depot like a
pair of mutes, sat down to table with holiday faces.

And now I have to introduce a new character that never
said a word nor wagged a finger, and yet shaped my
whole subsequent career.  You have crossed the States,
so that in all likelihood you have seen the head of it,
parcel-gilt and curiously fluted, rising among trees
from a wide plain; for this new character was no other
than the State capitol of Muskegon, then first
projected.  My father had embraced the idea with a
mixture of patriotism and commercial greed, both
perfectly genuine.  He was of all the committees, he
had subscribed a great deal of money, and he was making
arrangements to have a finger in most of the contracts.
Competitive plans had been sent in; at the time of my
return from college my father was deep in their
consideration; and as the idea entirely occupied his
mind, the first evening did not pass away before he had
called me into council.  Here was a subject at last
into which I could throw myself with pleasurable zeal.
Architecture was new to me, indeed; but it was at least
an art; and for all the arts I had a taste naturally
classical, and that capacity to take delighted pains
which some famous idiot has supposed to be synonymous
with genius.  I threw myself headlong into my father's
work, acquainted myself with all the plans, their
merits and defects, read besides in special books, made
myself a master of the theory of strains, studied the
current prices of materials, and (in one word)
"devilled" the whole business so thoroughly, that when
the plans came up for consideration, Big Head Dodd was
supposed to have earned fresh laurels.  His arguments
carried the day, his choice was approved by the
committee, and I had the anonymous satisfaction to know
that arguments and choice were wholly mine.  In the re-
casting of the plan which followed, my part was even
larger; for I designed and cast with my own hand a hot-
air grating for the offices, which had the luck or
merit to be accepted.  The energy and aptitude which I
displayed throughout delighted and surprised my father,
and I believe, although I say it, whose tongue should
be tied, that they alone prevented Muskegon capitol
from being the eyesore of my native State.

Altogether, I was in a cheery frame of mind when I
returned to the commercial college; and my earlier
operations were crowned with a full measure of success.
My father wrote and wired to me continually.  "You are
to exercise your own judgment, Loudon," he would say.
"All that I do is to give you the figures; but whatever
operation you take up must be upon your own
responsibility, and whatever you earn will be entirely
due to your own dash and forethought." For all that, it
was always clear what he intended me to do, and I was
always careful to do it.  Inside of a month I was at
the head of seventeen or eighteen thousand dollars,
college paper.  And here I fell a victim to one of the
vices of the system.  The paper (I have already
explained) had a real value of one per cent; and cost,
and could be sold for, currency.  Unsuccessful
speculators were thus always selling clothes, books,
banjos, and sleeve-links, in order to pay their
differences; the successful, on the other hand, were
often tempted to realise, and enjoy some return upon
their profits.  Now I wanted thirty dollars' worth of
artist truck, for I was always sketching in the woods;
my allowance was for the time exhausted; I had begun to
regard the exchange (with my father's help) as a place
where money was to be got for stooping; and in an evil
hour I realised three thousand dollars of the college
paper and bought my easel.

It was a Wednesday morning when the things arrived, and
set me in the seventh heaven of satisfaction.  My
father (for I can scarcely say myself) was trying at
this time a "straddle" in wheat between Chicago and New
York; the operation so called is, as you know, one of
the most tempting and least safe upon the chess-board
of finance.  On the Thursday, luck began to turn
against my father's calculations; and by the Friday
evening I was posted on the boards as a defaulter for
the second time.  Here was a rude blow: my father would
have taken it ill enough in any case; for however much
a man may resent the incapacity of an only son, he will
feel his own more sensibly.  But it chanced that, in
our bitter cup of failure, there was one ingredient
that might truly be called poisonous.  He had been
keeping the run of my position; he missed the three
thousand dollars, paper; and in his view, I had stolen
thirty dollars, currency.  It was an extreme view
perhaps; but in some senses, it was just: and my
father, although (to my judgment) quite reckless of
honesty in the essence of his operations, was the soul
of honour as to their details.  I had one grieved
letter from him, dignified and tender; and during the
rest of that wretched term, working as a clerk, selling
my clothes and sketches to make futile speculations, my
dream of Paris quite vanished.  I was cheered by no
word of kindness and helped by no hint of counsel from
my father.

All the time he was no doubt thinking of little else
but his son, and what to do with him.  I believe he had
been really appalled by what he regarded as my laxity
of principle, and began to think it might be well to
preserve me from temptation; the architect of the
capitol had, besides, spoken obligingly of my design;
and while he was thus hanging between two minds,
Fortune suddenly stepped in, and Muskegon State capitol
reversed my destiny.

"Loudon," said my father, as he met me at the depot,
with a smiling countenance, "if you were to go to
Paris, how long would it take you to become an
experienced sculptor?"

"How do you mean, father?" I cried--'experienced?"

"A man that could be intrusted with the highest
styles," he answered; "the nude, for instance; and the
patriotic and emblematical styles."

"It might take three years," I replied.

"You think Paris necessary?" he asked.  "There are
great advantages in our own country; and that man
Prodgers appears to be a very clever sculptor, though I
suppose he stands too high to go around giving
lessons."

"Paris is the only place," I assured him.

"Well, I think myself it will sound better," he
admitted.  "A Young Man, a Native of this State, Son of
a Leading Citizen, Studies Prosecuted under the Most
Experienced Masters in Paris," he added relishingly.

"But, my dear dad, what is it all about?" I
interrupted.  "I never even dreamed of being a
sculptor."

"Well, here it is," said he.  "I took up the statuary
contract on our new capitol; I took it up at first as a
deal; and then it occurred to me it would be better to
keep it in the family.  It meets your idea; there's
considerable money in the thing; and it's patriotic.
So, if you say the word, you shall go to Paris, and
come back in three years to decorate the capitol of
your native State.  It's a big chance for you, Loudon;
and I'll tell you what--every dollar you earn, I'll put
another alongside of it.  But the sooner you go, and
the harder you work, the better; for if the first half-
dozen statues aren't in a line with public taste in
Muskegon, there will be trouble."

                      CHAPTER II
                           
                           
                    ROUSSILLON WINE

MY mother's family was Scottish, and it was judged
fitting I should pay a visit, on my way Paris-ward to
my uncle Adam Loudon, a wealthy retired grocer of
Edinburgh.  He was very stiff and very ironical; he fed
me well, lodged me sumptuously, and seemed to take it
out of me all the time, cent. per cent., in secret
entertainment which caused his spectacles to glitter
and his mouth to twitch.  The ground of this ill-
suppressed mirth (as well as I could make out) was
simply the fact that I was an American.  "Well," he
would say, drawing out the word to infinity "and I
suppose now in your country things will be so-and-so."
And the whole group of my cousins would titter
joyously.  Repeated receptions of this sort must be at
the root, I suppose, of what they call the Great
American Jest; and I know I was myself goaded into
saying that my friends went naked in the summer months,
and that the Second Methodist Episcopal Church in
Muskegon was decorated with scalps.  I cannot say that
these flights had any great success; they seemed to
awaken little more surprise than the fact that my
father was a Republican, or that I had been taught in
school to spell COLOUR without the U.  If I had
told them (what was, after all, the truth) that my
father had paid a considerable annual sum to have me
brought up in a gambling-hell, the tittering and
grinning of this dreadful family might perhaps have
been excused.

I cannot deny but I was sometimes tempted to knock my
uncle Adam down; and indeed I believe it must have come
to a rupture at last, if they had not given a dinner-
party at which I was the lion.  On this occasion I
learned (to my surprise and relief) that the incivility
to which I had been subjected was a matter for the
family circle, and might be regarded almost in the
light of an endearment.  To strangers I was presented
with consideration; and the account given of "my
American brother-in-law, poor Janie's man, James K.
Dodd, the well-known millionaire of Muskegon," was
calculated to enlarge the heart of a proud son.

An aged assistant of my grandfather's, a pleasant,
humble creature with a taste for whisky, was at first
deputed to be my guide about the city.  With this
harmless but hardly aristocratic companion I went to
Arthur's Seat and the Calton Hill, heard the band play
in Princes Street Gardens, inspected the regalia and
the blood of Rizzio, and fell in love with the great
castle on its cliff, the innumerable spires of
churches, the stately buildings, the broad prospects,
and those narrow and crowded lanes of the old town
where my ancestors had lived and died in the days
before Columbus.

But there was another curiosity that interested me more
deeply--my grandfather, Alexander Loudon.  In his time
the old gentleman had been a working mason, and had
risen from the ranks--more, I think, by shrewdness than
by merit.  In his appearance, speech, and manners, he
bore broad marks of his origin, which were gall and
wormwood to my uncle Adam.  His nails, in spite of
anxious supervision, were often in conspicuous
mourning; his clothes hung about him in bags and
wrinkles, like a ploughman's Sunday coat; his accent
was rude, broad, and dragging.  Take him at his best,
and even when he could be induced to hold his tongue,
his mere presence in a corner of the drawing-room, with
his open-air wrinkles, his scanty hair, his battered
hands, and the cheerful craftiness of his expression,
advertised the whole gang of us for a self-made family.
My aunt might mince and my cousins bridle, but there
was no getting over the solid, physical fact of the
stonemason in the chimney-corner.

That is one advantage of being an American.  It never
occurred to me to be ashamed of my grandfather, and the
old gentleman was quick to mark the difference.  He
held my mother in tender memory, perhaps because he was
in the habit of daily contrasting her with Uncle Adam,
whom he detested to the point of frenzy; and he set
down to inheritance from his favourite my own becoming
treatment of himself.  On our walks abroad, which soon
became daily, he would sometimes (after duly warning me
to keep the matter dark from "Aadam") skulk into some
old familiar pot-house, and there (if he had the luck
to encounter any of his veteran cronies) he would
present me to the company with manifest pride, casting
at the same time a covert slur on the rest of his
descendants.  "This is my Jeannie's yin," he would say.
"He's a fine fallow, him." The purpose of our
excursions was not to seek antiquities or to enjoy
famous prospects, but to visit one after another a
series of doleful suburbs, for which it was the old
gentleman's chief claim to renown that he had been the
sole contractor, and too often the architect besides.
I have rarely seen a more shocking exhibition: the
brick seemed to be blushing in the walls, and the
slates on the roof to have turned pale with shame; but
I was careful not to communicate these impressions to
the aged artificer at my side; and when he would direct
my attention to some fresh monstrosity--perhaps with
the comment, "There's an idee of mine's; it's cheap and
tasty, and had a graand run; the idee was soon stole,
and there's whole deestricts near Glesgie with the
goathic addeetion and that plunth," I would civilly
make haste to admire and (what I found particularly
delighted him) to inquire into the cost of each
adornment.  It will be conceived that Muskegon capitol
was a frequent and a welcome ground of talk.  I drew
him all the plans from memory; and he, with the aid of
a narrow volume full of figures and tables, which
answered (I believe) to the name of Molesworth, and was
his constant pocket-companion, would draw up rough
estimates and make imaginary offers on the various
contracts.  Our Muskegon builders he pronounced a pack
of cormorants; and the congenial subject, together with
my knowledge of architectural terms, the theory of
strains, and the prices of materials in the States,
formed a strong bond of union between what might have
been otherwise an ill-assorted pair, and led my
grandfather to pronounce me, with emphasis, "a real
intalligent kind of a chield." Thus a second time, as
you will presently see, the capitol of my native State
had influentially affected the current of my life.

I left Edinburgh, however, with not the least idea that
I had done a stroke of excellent business for myself,
and singly delighted to escape out of a somewhat dreary
house and plunge instead into the rainbow city of
Paris.  Every man has his own romance; mine clustered
exclusively about the practice of the arts, the life of
Latin Quarter students, and the world of Paris as
depicted by that grimy wizard, the author of the
COMEDIE HUMAINE.  I was not disappointed--I could not
have been; for I did not see the facts, I brought them
with me ready-made.  Z. Marcas lived next door to me in
my ungainly, ill-smelling hotel of the Rue Racine; I
dined at my villainous restaurant with Lousteau and
with Rastignac: if a curricle nearly ran me down at a
street-crossing, Maxime de Trailles would be the
driver.  I dined, I say, at a poor restaurant and lived
in a poor hotel; and this was not from need, but
sentiment.  My father gave me a profuse allowance, and
I might have lived (had I chosen) in the Quartier de
l'Etoile and driven to my studies daily.  Had I done
so, the glamour must have fled: I should still have
been but Loudon Dodd; whereas now I was a Latin Quarter
student, Murger's successor, living in flesh and blood
the life of one of those romances I had loved to read,
to re-read, and to dream over, among the woods of
Muskegon.

At this time we were all a little Murger-mad in the
Latin Quarter.  The play of the VIE DE BOHEME (a
dreary, snivelling piece) had been produced at the
Odeon, had run an unconscionable time--for Paris--and
revived the freshness of the legend.  The same
business, you may say, or there and thereabout, was
being privately enacted in consequence in every garret
of the neighbourhood, and a good third of the students
were consciously impersonating Rodolphe or Schaunard,
to their own incommunicable satisfaction.  Some of us
went far, and some farther.  I always looked with awful
envy (for instance) on a certain countryman of my own
who had a studio in the Rue Monsieur le Prince, wore
boots, and long hair in a net, and could be seen
tramping off, in this guise, to the worst eating-house
of the quarter, followed by a Corsican model, his
mistress, in the conspicuous costume of her race and
calling.  It takes some greatness of soul to carry even
folly to such heights as these; and for my own part, I
had to content myself by pretending very arduously to
be poor, by wearing a smoking-cap on the streets, and
by pursuing, through a series of misadventures, that
extinct mammal the grisette.  The most grievous part
was the eating and the drinking.  I was born with a
dainty tooth and a palate for wine; and only a genuine
devotion to romance could have supported me under the
cat-civets that I had to swallow, and the red ink of
Bercy I must wash them down withal.  Every now and
again, after a hard day at the studio, where I was
steadily and far from unsuccessfully industrious, a
wave of distaste would overbear me; I would slink away
from my haunts and companions, indemnify myself for
weeks of self-denial with fine wines and dainty dishes;
seated perhaps on a terrace, perhaps in an arbour in a
garden, with a volume of one of my favourite authors
propped open in front of me, and now consulted a while,
and now forgotten: so remain, relishing my situation,
till night fell and the lights of the city kindled; and
thence stroll homeward by the river-side, under the
moon or stars, in a heaven of poetry and digestion.

One such indulgence led me in the course of my second
year into an adventure which I must relate: indeed, it
is the very point I have been aiming for, since that
was what brought me in acquaintance with Jim Pinkerton.
I sat down alone to dinner one October day when the
rusty leaves were falling and scuttling on the
boulevard, and the minds of impressionable men inclined
in about an equal degree towards sadness and
conviviality.  The restaurant was no great place, but
boasted a considerable cellar and a long printed list
of vintages.  This I was perusing with the double zest
of a man who is fond of wine and a lover of beautiful
names, when my eye fell (near the end of the card) on
that not very famous or familiar brand, Roussillon.  I
remembered it was a wine I had never tasted, ordered a
bottle, found it excellent, and when I had discussed
the contents, called (according to my habit) for a
final pint.  It appears they did not keep Roussillon in
half-bottles.  "All right," said I, "another bottle."
The tables at this eating-house are close together; and
the next thing I can remember, I was in somewhat loud
conversation with my nearest neighbours.  From these I
must have gradually extended my attentions; for I have
a clear recollection of gazing about a room in which
every chair was half turned round and every face turned
smilingly to mine.  I can even remember what I was
saying at the moment; but after twenty years the embers
of shame are still alive, and I prefer to give your
imagination the cue by simply mentioning that my muse
was the patriotic.  It had been my design to adjourn
for coffee in the company of some of these new friends;
but I was no sooner on the sidewalk than I found myself
unaccountably alone.  The circumstance scarce surprised
me at the time, much less now; but I was somewhat
chagrined a little after to find I had walked into a
kiosque.  I began to wonder if I were any the worse for
my last bottle, and decided to steady myself with
coffee and brandy.  In the Cafe de la Source, where I
went for this restorative, the fountain was playing,
and (what greatly surprised me) the mill and the
various mechanical figures on the rockery appeared to
have been freshly repaired, and performed the most
enchanting antics.  The cafe was extraordinarily hot
and bright, with every detail of a conspicuous
clearness--from the faces of the guests, to the type of
the newspapers on the tables--and the whole apartment
swang to and fro like a hammock, with an exhilarating
motion.  For some while I was so extremely pleased with
these particulars that I thought I could never be weary
of beholding them: then dropped of a sudden into a
causeless sadness; and then, with the same swiftness
and spontaneity, arrived at the conclusion that I was
drunk and had better get to bed.

It was but a step or two to my hotel, where I got my
lighted candle from the porter, and mounted the four
flights to my own room.  Although I could not deny that
I was drunk, I was at the same time lucidly rational
and practical.  I had but one preoccupation--to be up
in time on the morrow for my work; and when I observed
the clock on my chimney-piece to have stopped, I
decided to go down-stairs again and give directions to
the porter.  Leaving the candle burning and my door
open, to be a guide to me on my return, I set forth
accordingly.  The house was quite dark; but as there
were only the three doors on each landing, it was
impossible to wander, and I had nothing to do but
descend the stairs until I saw the glimmer of the
porter's night-light.  I counted four flights: no
porter.  It was possible, of course, that I had
reckoned incorrectly; so I went down another and
another, and another, still counting as I went, until I
had reached the preposterous figure of nine flights.
It was now quite clear that I had somehow passed the
porter's lodge without remarking it; indeed, I was, at
the lowest figure, five pairs of stairs below the
street, and plunged in the very bowels of the earth.
That my hotel should thus be founded upon catacombs was
a discovery of considerable interest; and if I had not
been in a frame of mind entirely business-like, I might
have continued to explore all night this subterranean
empire.  But I was bound I must be up betimes on the
next morning, and for that end it was imperative that I
should find the porter.  I faced about accordingly, and
counting with painful care, remounted towards the level
of the street.  Five, six, and seven flights I climbed,
and still there was no porter.  I began to be weary of
the job, and reflecting that I was now close to my own
room, decided I should go to bed.  Eight, nine, ten,
eleven, twelve, thirteen flights I mounted; and my open
door seemed to be as wholly lost to me as the porter
and his floating dip.  I remembered that the house
stood but six stories at its highest point, from which
it appeared (on the most moderate computation) I was
now three stories higher than the roof.  My original
sense of amusement was succeeded by a not unnatural
irritation.  "My room has just GOT to be here,"
said I, and I stepped towards the door with outspread
arms.  There was no door and no wall; in place of
either there yawned before me a dark corridor, in which
I continued to advance for some time without
encountering the smallest opposition.  And this in a
house whose extreme area scantily contained three small
rooms, a narrow landing, and the stair! The thing was
manifestly nonsense; and you will scarcely be surprised
to learn that I now began to lose my temper.  At this
juncture I perceived a filtering of light along the
floor, stretched forth my hand, which encountered the
knob of a door-handle, and without further ceremony
entered a room.  A young lady was within: she was going
to bed, and her toilet was far advanced--or the other
way about, if you prefer.

"I hope you will pardon this intrusion," said I; "but
my room is No. 12, and something has gone wrong with
this blamed house."

She looked at me a moment; and then, "If you will step
outside for a moment, I will take you there," says she.

Thus, with perfect composure on both sides, the matter
was arranged.  I waited a while outside her door.
Presently she rejoined me, in a dressing-gown, took my
hand, led me up another flight, which made the fourth
above the level of the roof, and shut me into my own
room, where (being quite weary after these contra-
ordinary explorations) I turned in and slumbered like a
child.

I tell you the thing calmly, as it appeared to me to
pass; but the next day, when I awoke and put memory in
the witness-box, I could not conceal from myself that
the tale presented a good many improbable features.  I
had no mind for the studio, after all, and went instead
to the Luxembourg gardens, there, among the sparrows
and the statues and the falling leaves, to cool and
clear my head.  It is a garden I have always loved.
You sit there in a public place of history and fiction.
Barras and Fouche have looked from these windows.
Lousteau and De Banville (one as real as the other)
have rhymed upon these benches.  The city tramples by
without the railings to a lively measure; and within
and about you, trees rustle, children and sparrows
utter their small cries, and the statues look on for
ever.  Here, then, in a seat opposite the gallery
entrance, I set to work on the events of the last
night, to disengage (if it were possible) truth from
fiction.

The house, by daylight, had proved to be six stories
high, the same as ever.  I could find, with all my
architectural experience, no room in its altitude for
those interminable stairways, no width between its
walls for that long corridor, where I had tramped at
night.  And there was yet a greater difficulty.  I had
read somewhere an aphorism that everything may be false
to itself save human nature.  A house might elongate or
enlarge itself--or seem to do so to a gentleman who had
been dining.  The ocean might dry up, the rocks melt in
the sun, the stars fall from heaven like autumn apples;
and there was nothing in these incidents to boggle the
philosopher.  But the case of the young lady stood upon
a different foundation.  Girls were not good enough, or
not good that way, or else they were too good.  I was
ready to accept any of these views: all pointed to the
same conclusion, which I was thus already on the point
of reaching, when a fresh argument occurred, and
instantly confirmed it.  I could remember the exact
words we had each said; and I had spoken, and she had
replied, in English.  Plainly, then, the whole affair
was an illusion: catacombs, and stairs, and charitable
lady, all were equally the stuff of dreams.

I had just come to this determination, when there blew
a flaw of wind through the autumnal gardens; the dead
leaves showered down, and a flight of sparrows, thick
as a snowfall, wheeled above my head with sudden
pipings.  This agreeable bustle was the affair of a
moment, but it startled me from the abstraction into
which I had fallen like a summons.  I sat briskly up,
and as I did so my eyes rested on the figure of a lady
in a brown jacket and carrying a paint-box.  By her
side walked a fellow some years older than myself, with
an easel under his arm; and alike by their course and
cargo I might judge they were bound for the gallery,
where the lady was, doubtless, engaged upon some
copying.  You can imagine my surprise when I recognised
in her the heroine of my adventure.  To put the matter
beyond question our eyes met, and she, seeing herself
remembered, and recalling the trim in which I had last
beheld her, looked swiftly on the ground with just a
shadow of confusion.

I could not tell you to-day if she were plain or
pretty; but she had behaved with so much good sense,
and I had cut so poor a figure in her presence, that I
became instantly fired with the desire to display
myself in a more favourable light.  The young man,
besides, was possibly her brother; brothers are apt to
be hasty, theirs being a part in which it is possible,
at a comparatively early age, to assume the dignity of
manhood; and it occurred to me it might be wise to
forestall all possible complications by an apology.

On this reasoning I drew near to the gallery door, and
had hardly got in position before the young man came
out.  Thus it was that I came face to face with my
third destiny, for my career has been entirely shaped
by these three elements--my father, the capitol of
Muskegon, and my friend Jim Pinkerton.  As for the
young lady, with whom my mind was at the moment chiefly
occupied, I was never to hear more of her from that day
forward--an excellent example of the Blind Man's Buff
that we call life.

                      CHAPTER III
                           
                           
              TO INTRODUCE MR. PINKERTON

THE stranger, I have said, was some years older than
myself: a man of a good stature, a very lively face,
cordial, agitated manners, and a grey eye as active as
a fowl's.

"May I have a word with you?" said I.

"My dear sir," he replied, "I don't know what it can be
about, but you may have a hundred if you like."

"You have just left the side of a young lady," I
continued, "towards whom I was led (very
unintentionally) into the appearance of an offence.  To
speak to herself would be only to renew her
embarrassment, and I seize the occasion of making my
apology, and declaring my respect, to one of my own sex
who is her friend, and perhaps," I added, with a bow,
"her natural protector."

"You are a countryman of mine; I know it!" he cried: "I
am sure of it by your delicacy to a lady.  You do her
no more than justice.  I was introduced to her the
other night at tea, in the apartment of some people,
friends of mine; and meeting her again this morning, I
could not do less than carry her easel for her.  My
dear sir, what is your name?"

I was disappointed to find he had so little bond with
my young lady; and but that it was I who had sought the
acquaintance, might have been tempted to retreat.  At
the same time something in the stranger's eye engaged
me.

"My name," said I, "is Loudon Dodd; I am a student of
sculpture here from Muskegon."

"Of sculpture?" he cried, as though that would have
been his last conjecture.  "Mine is James Pinkerton; I
am delighted to have the pleasure of your
acquaintance."

"Pinkerton!" it was now my turn to exclaim.  "Are you
Broken-Stool Pinkerton?"

He admitted his identity with a laugh of boyish
delight; and indeed any young man in the quarter might
have been proud to own a sobriquet thus gallantly
acquired.

In order to explain the name, I must here digress into
a chapter of the history of manners in the nineteenth
century, very well worth commemoration for its own
sake.  In some of the studios at that date, the hazing
of new pupils was both barbarous and obscene.  Two
incidents, following one on the heels of the other,
tended to produce an advance in civilisation by the
means (as so commonly happens) of a passing appeal to
savage standards.  The first was the arrival of a
little gentleman from Armenia.  He had a fez upon his
head and (what nobody counted on) a dagger in his
pocket.  The hazing was set about in the customary
style, and, perhaps in virtue of the victim's head-
gear, even more boisterously than usual.  He bore it at
first with an inviting patience; but upon one of the
students proceeding to an unpardonable freedom, plucked
out his knife and suddenly plunged it in the belly of
the jester.  This gentleman, I am pleased to say,
passed months upon a bed of sickness before he was in a
position to resume his studies.  The second incident
was that which had earned Pinkerton his reputation.  In
a crowded studio, while some very filthy brutalities
were being practised on a trembling DEBUTANT, a
tall pale fellow sprang from his stool and (without the
smallest preface or explanation) sang out, "All English
and Americans to clear the shop!" Our race is brutal,
but not filthy; and the summons was nobly responded to.
Every Anglo-Saxon student seized his stool; in a moment
the studio was full of bloody coxcombs, the French
fleeing in disorder for the door, the victim liberated
and amazed.  In this feat of arms both English-speaking
nations covered themselves with glory; but I am proud
to claim the author of the whole for an American, and a
patriotic American at that, being the same gentleman
who had subsequently to be held down in the bottom of a
box during a performance of L'ONCLE SAM, sobbing at
intervals, "My country! O my country!" while yet
another (my new acquaintance Pinkerton) was supposed to
have made the most conspicuous figure in the actual
battle.  At one blow he had broken his own stool, and
sent the largest of his opponents back foremost through
what we used to call a "conscientious nude." It appears
that, in the continuation of his flight, this fallen
warrior issued on the boulevard still framed in the
burst canvas.

It will be understood how much talk the incident
aroused in the students' quarter, and that I was highly
gratified to make the acquaintance of my famous
countryman.  It chanced I was to see more of the
Quixotic side of his character before the morning was
done; for, as we continued to stroll together, I found
myself near the studio of a young Frenchman whose work
I had promised to examine, and in the fashion of the
quarter carried up Pinkerton along with me.  Some of my
comrades of this date were pretty obnoxious fellows.  I
could almost always admire and respect the grown-up
practitioners of art in Paris; but many of those who
were still in a state of pupilage were sorry specimens-
-so much so that I used often to wonder where the
painters came from, and where the brutes of students
went to.  A similar mystery hangs over the intermediate
stages of the medical profession, and must have
perplexed the least observant.  The ruffian, at least,
whom I now carried Pinkerton to visit, was one of the
most crapulous in the quarter.  He turned out for our
delectation a huge "crust" (as we used to call it) of
St. Stephen, wallowing in red upon his belly in an
exhausted receiver, and a crowd of Hebrews in blue,
green, and yellow, pelting him--apparently with buns;
and while we gazed upon this contrivance, regaled us
with a piece of his own recent biography, of which his
mind was still very full, and which, he seemed to
fancy, represented him in an heroic posture.  I was one
of those cosmopolitan Americans who accept the world
(whether at home or abroad) as they find it, and whose
favourite part is that of the spectator; yet even I was
listening with ill-suppressed disgust, when I was aware
of a violent plucking at my sleeve.

"Is he saying he kicked her down-stairs?" asked
Pinkerton, white as St. Stephen.

"Yes," said I: "his discarded mistress; and then he
pelted her with stones.  I suppose that's what gave him
the idea for his picture.  He has just been alleging
the pathetic excuse that she was old enough to be his
mother."

Something like a sob broke from Pinkerton.  "Tell him,"
he gasped--"I can't speak this language, though I
understand a little; I never had any proper education--
tell him I'm going to punch his head."

"For God's sake do nothing of the sort!" I cried, "they
don't understand that sort of thing here"; and I tried
to bundle him out.

"Tell him first what we think of him," he objected.
"Let me tell him what he looks in the eyes of a pure-
minded American"

"Leave that to me," said I, thrusting Pinkerton clear
through the door.

"QU'EST-CE QU'IL A?"[1] inquired the student.

[1] "What's the matter with him?"

"MONSIEUR SE SENT MAL AU COEUR D'AVOIR TROP REGARDE
VOTRE CROUTE,"[2] said I, and made my escape, scarce
with dignity, at Pinkerton's heels.

[2] "The gentleman is sick at his stomach from having
looked too long at your daub."

"What did you say to him?" he asked.

"The only thing that he could feel," was my reply.

After this scene, the freedom with which I had ejected
my new acquaintance, and the precipitation with which I
had followed him, the least I could do was to propose
luncheon.  I have forgot the name of the place to which
I led him, nothing loath; it was on the far side of the
Luxembourg at least, with a garden behind, where we
were speedily set face to face at table, and began to
dig into each other's history and character, like
terriers after rabbits, according to the approved
fashion of youth.

Pinkerton's parents were from the Old Country; there,
too, I incidentally gathered, he had himself been born,
though it was a circumstance he seemed prone to forget.
Whether he had run away, or his father had turned him
out, I never fathomed; but about the age of twelve he
was thrown upon his own resources.  A travelling tin-
type photographer picked him up, like a haw out of a
hedgerow, on a wayside in New Jersey; took a fancy to
the urchin; carried him on with him in his wandering
life; taught him all he knew himself--to take tin-types
(as well as I can make out) and doubt the Scriptures;
and died at last in Ohio at the corner of a road.  "He
was a grand specimen," cried Pinkerton; "I wish you
could have seen him, Mr. Dodd He had an appearance of
magnanimity that used to remind me of the patriarchs."
On the death of this random protector, the boy
inherited the plant and continued the business.  "It
was a life I could have chosen, Mr. Dodd!" he cried.
"I have been in all the finest scenes of that
magnificent continent that we were born to be the heirs
of I wish you could see my collection of tin-types; I
wish I had them here.  They were taken for my own
pleasure, and to be a memento: and they show Nature in
her grandest as well as her gentlest moments." As he
tramped the Western States and Territories, taking tin-
types, the boy was continually getting hold of books,
good, bad, and indifferent, popular and abstruse, from
the novels of Sylvanus Cobb to Euclid's Elements, both
of which I found (to my almost equal wonder) he had
managed to peruse: he was taking stock by the way, of
the people, the products, and the country, with an eye
unusually observant and a memory unusually retentive;
and he was collecting for himself a body of magnanimous
and semi-intellectual nonsense, which he supposed to be
the natural thoughts and to contain the whole duty of
the born American.  To be pure-minded, to be patriotic,
to get culture and money with both hands and with the
same irrational fervour--these appeared to be the chief
articles of his creed.  In later days (not of course
upon this first occasion) I would sometimes ask him
why; and he had his answer pat.  "To build up the
type!" he would cry.

"We're all committed to that; we're all under bond to
fulfil the American Type! Loudon, the hope of the world
is there.  If we fail, like these old feudal
monarchies, what is left?"

The trade of a tin-typer proved too narrow for the
lad's ambition; it was insusceptible of expansion, he
explained; it was not truly modern; and by a sudden
conversion of front he became a railroad-scalper.  The
principles of this trade I never clearly understood;
but its essence appears to be to cheat the railroads
out of their due fare.  "I threw my whole soul into it;
I grudged myself food and sleep while I was at it; the
most practised hands admitted I had caught on to the
idea in a month and revolutionised the practice inside
of a year," he said.  "And there's interest in it, too.
It's amusing to pick out some one going by, make up
your mind about his character and tastes, dash out of
the office, and hit him flying with an offer of the
very place he wants to go to.  I don't think there was
a scalper on the continent made fewer blunders.  But I
took it only as a stage.  I was saving every dollar; I
was looking ahead.  I knew what I wanted--wealth,
education, a refined home, and a conscientious cultured
lady for a wife; for, Mr. Dodd"--this with a formidable
outcry--"every man is bound to marry above him: if the
woman's not the man's superior, I brand it as mere
sensuality.  There was my idea, at least.  That was
what I was saving for; and enough, too! But it isn't
every man, I know that--it's far from every man--could
do what I did: close up the livest agency in Saint Jo,
where he was coining dollars by the pot, set out alone,
without a friend, or a word of French, and settle down
here to spend his capital learning art."

"Was it an old taste?" I asked him, "or a sudden
fancy?"

"Neither, Mr. Dodd," he admitted.  "Of course I had
learned in my tin-typing excursions to glory and exult
in the works of God.  But it wasn't that.  I just said
to myself, "What is most wanted in my age and country?
More culture and more art," I said; and I chose the
best place, saved my money, and came here to get them."

The whole attitude of this young man warmed and shamed
me.  He had more fire in his little toe than I had in
my whole carcase; he was stuffed to bursting with the
manly virtues; thrift and courage glowed in him; and
even if his artistic vocation seemed (to one of my
exclusive tenets) not quite clear, who could predict
what might be accomplished by a creature so full-
blooded and so inspired with animal and intellectual
energy? So, when he proposed that I should come and see
his work (one of the regular stages of a Latin Quarter
friendship), I followed him with interest and hope.

He lodged parsimoniously at the top of a tall house
near the Observatory, in a bare room principally
furnished with his own trunks, and papered with his own
despicable studies.  No man has less taste for
disagreeable duties than myself; perhaps there is only
one subject on which I cannot flatter a man without a
blush; but upon that, upon all that touches art, my
sincerity is Roman.  Once and twice I made the circuit
of his walls in silence, spying in every corner for
some spark of merit; he meanwhile following close at my
heels, reading the verdict in my face with furtive
glances, presenting some fresh study for my inspection
with undisguised anxiety, and (after it had been
silently weighed in the balances and found wanting)
whisking it away with an open gesture of despair.  By
the time the second round was completed, we were both
extremely depressed.

"Oh!" he groaned, breaking the long silence, "it's
quite unnecessary you should speak!"

"Do you want me to be frank with you? I think you are
wasting time," said I.

"You don't see any promise?" he inquired, beguiled by
some return of hope, and turning upon me the
embarrassing brightness of his eye.  "Not in this
still-life here of the melon? One fellow thought it
good."

It was the least I could do to give the melon a more
particular examination; which, when I had done, I could
but shake my head.  "I am truly sorry, Pinkerton," said
I, "but I can't advise you to persevere."

He seemed to recover his fortitude at the moment,
rebounding from disappointment like a man of india-
rubber.  "Well," said he stoutly, "I don't know that
I'm surprised.  But I'll go on with the course; and
throw my whole soul into it too.  You mustn't think the
time is lost.  It's all culture; it will help me to
extend my relations when I get back home; it may fit me
for a position on one of the illustrateds; and then I
can always turn dealer," he said, uttering the
monstrous proposition, which was enough to shake the
Latin Quarter to the dust, with entire simplicity.
"It's all experience, besides," he continued; "and it
seems to me there's a tendency to underrate experience,
both as net profit and investment.  Never mind.  That's
done with.  But it took courage for you to say what you
did, and I'll never forget it.  Here's my hand, Mr.
Dodd.  I'm not your equal in culture or talent."

"You know nothing about that," I interrupted.  "I have
seen your work, but you haven't seen mine.

"No more I have," he cried; "and let's go see it at
once! But I know you are away up; I can feel it here."

To say truth, I was almost ashamed to introduce him to
my studio--my work, whether absolutely good or bad,
being so vastly superior to his.  But his spirits were
now quite restored; and he amazed me, on the way, with
his light-hearted talk and new projects.  So that I
began at last to understand how matters lay: that this
was not an artist who had been deprived of the practice
of his single art; but only a business man of very
extended interests, informed (perhaps something of the
most suddenly) that one investment out of twenty had
gone wrong.

As a matter of fact, besides (although I never
suspected it), he was already seeking consolation with
another of the muses, and pleasing himself with the
notion that he would repay me for my sincerity, cement
our friendship, and (at one and the same blow) restore
my estimation of his talents.  Several times already,
when I had been speaking of myself, he had pulled out a
writing-pad and scribbled a brief note; and now, when
we entered the studio, I saw it in his hand again, and
the pencil go to his mouth, as he cast a comprehensive
glance round the uncomfortable building.

"Are you going to make a sketch of it?" I could not
help asking, as I unveiled the Genius of Muskegon.

"Ah, that's my secret," said he.  "Never you mind.  A
mouse can help a lion."

He walked round my statue, and had the design explained
to him.  I had represented Muskegon as a young, almost
a stripling mother, with something of an Indian type;
the babe upon her knees was winged, to indicate our
soaring future; and her seat was a medley of sculptured
fragments, Greek, Roman, and Gothic, to remind us of
the older worlds from which we trace our generation.

"Now, does this satisfy you, Mr. Dodd?" he inquired, as
soon as I had explained to him the main features of the
design.

"Well," I said, "the fellows seem to think it's not a
bad BONNE FEMME for a beginner.  I don't think it's
entirely bad myself Here is the best point; it builds
up best from here.  No, it seems to me it has a kind of
merit," I admitted; "but I mean to do better."

"Ah, that's the word!" cried Pinkerton.  "There's the
word I love!" and he scribbled in his pad.

"What in creation ails you?" I inquired.  "It's the
most commonplace expression in the English language."

"Better and better!" chuckled Pinkerton.  "The
unconsciousness of genius.  Lord, but this is coming in
beautiful!" and he scribbled again.

"If you're going to be fulsome," said I, "I'll close
the place of entertainment"; and I threatened to
replace the veil upon the Genius.

"No, no," said he; "don't be in a hurry.  Give me a
point or two.  Show me what's particularly good."

"I would rather you found that out for yourself," said
I.

"The trouble is," said he, "that I've never turned my
attention to sculpture--beyond, of course, admiring it,
as everybody must who has a soul.  So do just be a good
fellow, and explain to me what you like in it, and what
you tried for, and where the merit comes in.  It'll be
all education for me."

"Well, in sculpture, you see, the first thing you have
to consider is the masses.  It's, after all, a kind of
architecture," I began, and delivered a lecture on that
branch of art, with illustrations from my own
masterpiece there present--all of which, if you don't
mind, or whether you mind or not, I mean to
conscientiously omit.  Pinkerton listened with a fiery
interest, questioned me with a certain uncultivated
shrewdness, and continued to scratch down notes, and
tear fresh sheets from his pad.  I found it inspiring
to have my words thus taken down like a professor's
lecture; and having had no previous experience of the
press, I was unaware that they were all being taken
down wrong.  For the same reason (incredible as it must
appear in an American) I never entertained the least
suspicion that they were destined to be dished up with
a sauce of penny-a-lining gossip; and myself, my
person, and my works of art, butchered to make a
holiday for the readers of a Sunday paper.  Night had
fallen over the Genius of Muskegon before the issue of
my theoretic eloquence was stayed, nor did I separate
from my new friend without an appointment for the
morrow.

I was, indeed, greatly taken with this first view of my
countryman, and continued, on further acquaintance, to
be interested, amused, and attracted by him in about
equal proportions.  I must not say he had a fault, not
only because my mouth is sealed by gratitude, but
because those he had sprang merely from his education,
and you could see he had cultivated and improved them
like virtues.  For all that, I can never deny he was a
troublous friend to me, and the trouble began early.

It may have been a fortnight later that I divined the
secret of the writing-pad.  My wretch (it leaked out)
wrote letters for a paper in the West, and had filled a
part of one of them with descriptions of myself I
pointed out to him that he had no right to do so
without asking my permission.

"Why, this is just what I hoped!" he exclaimed.  "I
thought you didn't seem to catch on; only it seemed too
good to be true."

"But, my good fellow, you were bound to warn me," I
objected.

"I know it's generally considered etiquette," he
admitted; "but between friends, and when it was only
with a view of serving you, I thought it wouldn't
matter.  I wanted it (if possible) to come on you as a
surprise; I wanted you just to waken, like Lord Byron,
and find the papers full of you.  You must admit it was
a natural thought.  And no man likes to boast of a
favour beforehand."

"But, heavens and earth! how do you know I think it a
favour?" I cried.

He became immediately plunged in despair.  "You think
it a liberty," said he; "I see that.  I would rather
have cut off my hand.  I would stop it now, only it's
too late; it's published by now.  And I wrote it with
so much pride and pleasure!"

I could think of nothing but how to console him.  "O, I
daresay it's all right," said I.  "I know you meant it
kindly, and you would be sure to do it in good taste."

"That you may swear to," he cried.  "It's a pure,
bright, A number 1 paper; the St.  Jo SUNDAY
HERALD. The idea of the series was quite my own; I
interviewed the editor, put it to him straight; the
freshness of the idea took him, and I walked out of
that office with the contract in my pocket, and did my
first Paris letter that evening in Saint Jo.  The
editor did no more than glance his eye down the
headlines.  'You're the man for us,' said he."

I was certainly far from reassured by this sketch of
the class of literature in which I was to make my first
appearance; but I said no more, and possessed my soul
in patience, until the day came when I received a copy
of a newspaper marked in the corner, "Compliments of J.
P." I opened it with sensible shrinkings; and there,
wedged between an account of a prize-fight and a
skittish article upon chiropody--think of chiropody
treated with a leer!--I came upon a column and a half
in which myself and my poor statue were embalmed.  Like
the editor with the first of the series, I did but
glance my eye down the head-lines, and was more than
satisfied.

          ANOTHER OF PINKERTON'S SPICY CHATS.
                           
              ART PRACTITIONERS IN PARIS.
                           
             MUSKEGON'S COLUMNED CAPITOL.
                           
               SON OF MILLIONAIRE DODD,
                           
                  PATRIOT AND ARTIST.
                           
               "HE MEANS TO DO BETTER."

In the body of the text, besides, my eye caught, as it
passed, some deadly expressions: "Figure somewhat
fleshy," "bright, intellectual smile," "the
unconsciousness of genius," "'Now, Mr. Dodd,' resumed
the reporter, 'what would be your idea of a
distinctively American quality in sculpture?'" It was
true the question had been asked; it was true, alas!
that I had answered: and now here was my reply, or some
strange hash of it, gibbeted in the cold publicity of
type.  I thanked God that my French fellow-students
were ignorant of English; but when I thought of the
British--of Myner (for instance) or the Stennises--I
think I could have fallen on Pinkerton and beat him.

To divert my thoughts (if it were possible) from this
calamity, I turned to a letter from my father which had
arrived by the same post.  The envelope contained a
strip of newspaper cutting; and my eye caught again,
"Son of Millionaire Dodd--Figure somewhat fleshy," and
the rest of the degrading nonsense.  What would my
father think of it? I wondered, and opened his
manuscript.  "My dearest boy," it began, "I send you a
cutting which has pleased me very much, from a St.
Joseph paper of high standing.  At last you seem to be
coming fairly to the front, and I cannot but reflect
with delight and gratitude how very few youths of your
age occupy nearly two columns of press-matter all to
themselves.  I only wish your dear mother had been here
to read it over my shoulder; but we will hope she
shares my grateful emotion in a better place.  Of
course I have sent a copy to your grandfather and uncle
in Edinburgh; so you can keep the one I enclose.  This
Jim Pinkerton seems a valuable acquaintance; he has
certainly great talent; and it is a good general rule
to keep in with pressmen."

I hope it will be set down to the right side of my
account, but I had no sooner read these words, so
touchingly silly, than my anger against Pinkerton was
swallowed up in gratitude.  Of all the circumstances of
my career--my birth, perhaps, excepted--not one had
given my poor father so profound a pleasure as this
article in the SUNDAY HERALD.  What a fool, then,
was I to be lamenting! when I had at last, and for
once, and at the cost of only a few blushes, paid back
a fraction of my debt of gratitude.  So that, when I
next met Pinkerton, I took things very lightly; my
father was pleased, and thought the letter very clever,
I told him; for my own part, I had no taste for
publicity; thought the public had no concern with the
artist, only with his art; and though I owned he had
handled it with great consideration, I should take it
as a favour if he never did it again.

"There it is," he said despondingly.  "I've hurt you.
You can't deceive me, Loudon.  It's the want of tact,
and it's incurable." He sat down, and leaned his head
upon his hand.  "I had no advantages when I was young,
you see," he added.

"Not in the least, my dear fellow," said I.  "Only the
next time you wish to do me a service, just speak about
my work; leave my wretched person out, and my still
more wretched conversation; and above all," I added,
with an irrepressible shudder, "don't tell them how I
said it! There's that phrase, now: "With a proud, glad
smile." Who cares whether I smiled or not?"

"Oh, there now, Loudon, you're entirely wrong," he
broke in.  "That's what the public likes; that's the
merit of the thing, the literary value.  It's to call
up the scene before them; it's to enable the humblest
citizen to enjoy that afternoon the same as I did.
Think what it would have been to me when I was tramping
around with my tin-types to find a column and a half of
real, cultured conversation--an artist, in his studio
abroad, talking of his art,--and to know how he looked
as he did it, and what the room was like, and what he
had for breakfast; and to tell myself, eating tinned
beans beside a creek, that if all went well, the same
sort of thing would, sooner or later, happen to myself;
why, Loudon, it would have been like a peep-hole into
heaven!"

"Well, if it gives so much pleasure," I admitted, "the
sufferers shouldn't complain.  Only give the other
fellows a turn."

The end of the matter was to bring myself and the
journalist in a more close relation.  If I know
anything at all of human nature--and the IF is no
mere figure of speech, but stands for honest doubt--no
series of benefits conferred, or even dangers shared,
would have so rapidly confirmed our friendship as this
quarrel avoided, this fundamental difference of taste
and training accepted and condoned.

                      CHAPTER IV
                           
                           
       IN WHICH I EXPERIENCE EXTREMES OF FORTUNE

WHETHER it came from my training and repeated
bankruptcy at the Commercial College, or by direct
inheritance from old Loudon, the Edinburgh mason, there
can be no doubt about the fact that I was thrifty.
Looking myself impartially over, I believe that is my
only manly virtue.  During my first two years in Paris
I not only made it a point to keep well inside of my
allowance, but accumulated considerable savings in the
bank.  You will say, with my masquerade of living as a
penniless student, it must have been easy to do so: I
should have had no difficulty, however, in doing the
reverse.  Indeed, it is wonderful I did not; and early
in the third year, or soon after I had known Pinkerton,
a singular incident proved it to have been equally
wise.  Quarter-day came, and brought no allowance.  A
letter of remonstrance was despatched, and, for the
first time in my experience, remained unanswered.  A
cablegram was more effectual; for it brought me at
least a promise of attention.  "Will write at once," my
father telegraphed, but I waited long for his letter.
I was puzzled, angry, and alarmed; but, thanks to my
previous thrift, I cannot say that I was ever
practically embarrassed.  The embarrassment, the
distress, the agony, were all for my unhappy father at
home in Muskegon, struggling for life and fortune
against untoward chances, returning at night, from a
day of ill-starred shifts and ventures, to read and
perhaps to weep over that last harsh letter from his
only child, to which he lacked the courage to reply.

Nearly three months after time, and when my economies
were beginning to run low, I received at last a letter
with the customary bills of exchange.

"My dearest boy," it ran, "I believe, in the press of
anxious business, your letters, and even your
allowance, have been somewhile neglected.  You must try
to forgive your poor old dad, for he has had a trying
time; and now when it is over, the doctor wants me to
take my shot-gun and go to the Adirondacks for a
change.  You must not fancy I am sick, only over-driven
and under the weather.  Many of our foremost operators
have gone down: John T. M'Brady skipped to Canada with
a trunkful of boodle; Billy Sandwith, Charlie Downs,
Joe Kaiser, and many others of our leading men in this
city bit the dust.  But Big Head Dodd has again
weathered the blizzard, and I think I have fixed things
so that we may be richer than ever before autumn.

"Now I will tell you, my dear, what I propose.  You say
you are well advanced with your first statue; start in
manfully and finish it, and if your teacher--I can
never remember how to spell his name--will send me a
certificate that it is up to market standard, you shall
have ten thousand dollars to do what you like with,
either at home or in Paris.  I suggest, since you say
the facilities for work are so much greater in that
city, you would do well to buy or build a little home;
and the first thing you know, your dad will be dropping
in for a luncheon.  Indeed, I would come now--for I am
beginning to grow old, and I long to see my dear boy,--
but there are still some operations that want watching
and nursing.  Tell your friend Mr. Pinkerton that I
read his letters every week; and though I have looked
in vain lately for my Loudon's name, still I learn
something of the life he is leading in that strange Old
World depicted by an able pen."

Here was a letter that no young man could possibly
digest in solitude.  It marked one of those junctures
when the confidant is necessary; and the confidant
selected was none other than Jim Pinkerton.  My
father's message may have had an influence in this
decision; but I scarce suppose so, for the intimacy was
already far advanced.  I had a genuine and lively taste
for my compatriot; I laughed at, I scolded, and I loved
him.  He, upon his side, paid me a kind of dog-like
service of admiration, gazing at me from afar off, as
at one who had liberally enjoyed those "advantages"
which he envied for himself.  He followed at heel; his
laugh was ready chorus; our friends gave him the
nickname of "The Henchman." It was in this insidious
form that servitude approached me.

Pinkerton and I read and re-read the famous news: he, I
can swear, with an enjoyment as unalloyed and far more
vocal than my own.  The statue was nearly done: a few
days' work sufficed to prepare it for exhibition; the
master was approached; he gave his consent; and one
cloudless morning of May beheld us gathered in my
studio for the hour of trial.  The master wore his
many-hued rosette; he came attended by two of my French
fellow-pupils--friends of mine, and both considerable
sculptors in Paris at this hour.  "Corporal John" (as
we used to call him), breaking for once those habits of
study and reserve which have since carried him so high
in the opinion of the world, had left his easel of a
morning to countenance a fellow-countryman in some
suspense.  My dear old Romney was there by particular
request; for who that knew him would think a pleasure
quite complete unless he shared it, or not support a
mortification more easily if he were present to
console? The party was completed by John Myner, the
Englishman; by the brothers Stennis--Stennis-AINE
and Stennis-FRERE, as they used to figure on their
accounts at Barbizon--a pair of hare-brained Scots; and
by the inevitable Jim, as white as a sheet and bedewed
with the sweat of anxiety.

I suppose I was little better myself when I unveiled
the Genius of Muskegon.  The master walked about it
seriously; then he smiled.

"It is already not so bad," said he, in that funny
English of which he was so proud; "no, already not so
bad."

We all drew a deep breath of relief; and Corporal John
(as the most considerable junior present) explained to
him it was intended for a public building, a kind of
prefecture.

"HE! QUOI?" cried he, relapsing into French.
"QU'EST-CE QUE VOUS ME CHANTEZ LA?  O, in America," he
added, on further information being hastily furnished.
"That is anozer sing.  O, very good--very good."

The idea of the required certificate had to be
introduced to his mind in the light of a pleasantry--
the fancy of a nabob little more advanced than the Red
Indians of "Fennimore Cooperr"; and it took all our
talents combined to conceive a form of words that would
be acceptable on both sides.  One was found, however:
Corporal John engrossed it in his undecipherable hand,
the master lent it the sanction of his name and
flourish, I slipped it into an envelope along with one
of the two letters I had ready prepared in my pocket,
and as the rest of us moved off along the boulevard to
breakfast, Pinkerton was detached in a cab and duly
committed it to the post.

The breakfast was ordered at Lavenue's, where no one
need be ashamed to entertain even the master; the table
was laid in the garden; I had chosen the bill of fare
myself; on the wine question we held a council of war,
with the most fortunate results; and the talk, as soon
as the master laid aside his painful English, became
fast and furious.  There were a few interruptions,
indeed, in the way of toasts.  The master's health had
to be drunk, and he responded in a little well-turned
speech, full of neat allusions to my future and to the
United States; my health followed; and then my father's
must not only be proposed and drunk, but a full report
must be despatched to him at once by cablegram--an
extravagance which was almost the means of the master's
dissolution.  Choosing Corporal John to be his
confidant (on the ground, I presume, that he was
already too good an artist to be any longer an American
except in name) he summed up his amazement in one oft-
repeated formula--"C'EST BARBARE!" Apart from these
genial formalities, we talked, talked of art, and
talked of it as only artists can.  Here in the South
Seas we talk schooners most of the time; in the Quarter
we talked art with the like unflagging interest, and
perhaps as much result.

Before very long the master went away; Corporal John
(who was already a sort of young master) followed on
his heels; and the rank and file were naturally
relieved by their departure.  We were now among equals;
the bottle passed, the conversation sped.  I think I
can still hear the Stennis brothers pour forth their
copious tirades; Dijon, my portly French fellow-
student, drop witticisms, well-conditioned like
himself; and another (who was weak in foreign
languages) dash hotly into the current of talk with
some "JE TROVE QUE PORE OON SONTIMONG DE DELICACY,
COROT ...," or some "POUR MOI COROT EST LE PLOU
...," and then, his little raft of French foundering
at once, scramble silently to shore again.  He at least
could understand; but to Pinkerton, I think the noise,
the wine, the sun, the shadows of the leaves, and the
esoteric glory of being seated at a foreign festival,
made up the whole available means of entertainment.

We sat down about half-past eleven; I suppose it was
two when, some point arising and some particular
picture being instanced, an adjournment to the Louvre
was proposed.  I paid the score, and in a moment we
were trooping down the Rue de Renne.  It was smoking
hot; Paris glittered with that superficial brilliancy
which is so agreeable to the man in high spirits, and
in moods of dejection so depressing; the wine sang in
my ears, it danced and brightened in my eyes.  The
pictures that we saw that afternoon, as we sped briskly
and loquaciously through the immortal galleries, appear
to me, upon a retrospect, the loveliest of all; the
comments we exchanged to have touched the highest mark
of criticism, grave or gay.

It was only when we issued again from the museum that a
difference of race broke up the party.  Dijon proposed
an adjournment to a cafe, there to finish the afternoon
on beer; the elder Stennis revolted at the thought,
moved for the country--a forest, if possible--and a
long walk.  At once the English speakers rallied to the
name of any exercise; even to me, who have been often
twitted with my sedentary habits, the thought of
country air and stillness proved invincibly attractive.
It appeared, upon investigation, we had just time to
hail a cab and catch one of the fast trains for
Fontainebleau.  Beyond the clothes we stood in all were
destitute of what is called, with dainty vagueness,
personal effects; and it was earnestly mooted, on the
other side, whether we had not time to call upon the
way and pack a satchel? But the Stennis boys exclaimed
upon our effeminacy.  They had come from London, it
appeared, a week before with nothing but great-coats
and tooth-brushes.  No baggage--there was the secret of
existence.  It was expensive, to be sure, for every
time you had to comb your hair a barber must be paid,
and every time you changed your linen one shirt must be
bought and another thrown away; but anything was
better, argued these young gentlemen, than to be the
slaves of haversacks.  "A fellow has to get rid
gradually of all material attachments: that was
manhood," said they; "and as long as you were bound
down to anything--house, umbrella, or portmanteau--you
were still tethered by the umbilical cord." Something
engaging in this theory carried the most of us away.
The two Frenchmen, indeed, retired scoffing to their
bock, and Romney, being too poor to join the excursion
on his own resources, and too proud to borrow, melted
unobtrusively away.  Meanwhile the remainder of the
company crowded the benches of a cab; the horse was
urged, as horses have to be, by an appeal to the pocket
of the driver; the train caught by the inside of a
minute; and in less than an hour and a half we were
breathing deep of the sweet air of the forest, and
stretching our legs up the hill from Fontainebleau
octroi, bound for Barbizon.  That the leading members
of our party covered the distance in fifty-one minutes
and a half is, I believe, one of the historic landmarks
of the colony; but you will scarce be surprised to
learn that I was somewhat in the rear.  Myner, a
comparatively philosophic Briton, kept me company in my
deliberate advance; the glory of the sun's going down,
the fall of the long shadows, the inimitable scent, and
the inspiration of the woods, attuned me more and more
to walk in a silence which progressively infected my
companion; and I remember that, when at last he spoke,
I was startled from a deep abstraction.

"Your father seems to be a pretty good kind of a
father," said he.  "Why don't he come to see you?" I
was ready with some dozen of reasons, and had more in
stock; but Myner, with that shrewdness which made him
feared and admired, suddenly fixed me with his eye-
glass and asked, "Ever press him?"

The blood came in my face.  No, I had never pressed
him; I had never even encouraged him to come.  I was
proud of him, proud of his handsome looks, of his kind,
gentle ways, of that bright face he could show when
others were happy; proud, too--meanly proud, if you
like--of his great wealth and startling liberalities.
And yet he would have been in the way of my Paris life,
of much of which he would have disapproved.  I had
feared to expose to criticism his innocent remarks on
art; I had told myself, I had even partly believed, he
did not want to come; I had been, and still am,
convinced that he was sure to be unhappy out of
Muskegon; in short, I had a thousand reasons, good and
bad, not all of which could alter one iota of the fact
that I knew he only waited for my invitation.

"Thank you, Myner," said I; "you're a much better
fellow than ever I supposed.  I'll write to-night."

"O, you're a pretty decent sort yourself," returned
Myner, with more than his usual flippancy of manner,
but, as I was gratefully aware, not a trace of his
occasional irony of meaning.

Well, these were brave days, on which I could dwell for
ever.  Brave, too, were those that followed, when
Pinkerton and I walked Paris and the suburbs, viewing
and pricing houses for my new establishment, or covered
ourselves with dust and returned laden with Chinese
gods and brass warming-pans from the dealers in
antiquities.  I found Pinkerton well up in the
situation of these establishments as well as in the
current prices, and with quite a smattering of critical
judgment.  It turned out he was investing capital in
pictures and curiosities for the States, and the
superficial thoroughness of the creature appeared in
the fact that although he would never be a connoisseur,
he was already something of an expert.  The things
themselves left him as near as may be cold, but he had
a joy of his own in understanding how to buy and sell
them.

In such engagements the time passed until I might very
well expect an answer from my father.  Two mails
followed each other, and brought nothing.  By the third
I received a long and almost incoherent letter of
remorse, encouragement, consolation, and despair.  From
this pitiful document, which (with a movement of piety)
I burned as soon as I had read it, I gathered that the
bubble of my father's wealth was burst, that he was now
both penniless and sick; and that I, so far from
expecting ten thousand dollars to throw away in
juvenile extravagance, must look no longer for the
quarterly remittances on which I lived.  My case was
hard enough; but I had sense enough to perceive, and
decency enough to do, my duty.  I sold my curiosities--
or, rather, I sent Pinkerton to sell them; and he had
previously bought, and now disposed of them, so wisely
that the loss was trifling.  This, with what remained
of my last allowance, left me at the head of no less
than five thousand francs.  Five hundred I reserved for
my own immediate necessities: the rest I mailed inside
of the week to my father at Muskegon, where they came
in time to pay his funeral expenses.

The news of his death was scarcely a surprise and
scarce a grief to me.  I could not conceive my father a
poor man.  He had led too long a life of thoughtless
and generous profusion to endure the change; and though
I grieved for myself, I was able to rejoice that my
father had been taken from the battle.  I grieved, I
say, for myself; and it is probable there were at the
same date many thousands of persons grieving with less
cause.  I had lost my father; I had lost the allowance;
my whole fortune (including what had been returned from
Muskegon) scarce amounted to a thousand francs; and, to
crown my sorrows, the statuary contract had changed
hands.  The new contractor had a son of his own, or
else a nephew; and it was signified to me, with
business-like plainness, that I must find another
market for my pigs.  In the meanwhile I had given up my
room, and slept on a truckle-bed in the corner of the
studio, where, as I read myself to sleep at night, and
when I awoke in the morning, that now useless bulk, the
Genius of Muskegon, was ever present to my eyes.  Poor
stone lady! born to be enthroned under the gilded,
echoing dome of the new capitol, whither was she now to
drift? for what base purposes be ultimately broken up,
like an unseaworthy ship? and what should befall her
ill-starred artificer, standing with his thousand
francs on the threshold of a life so hard as that of
the unbefriended sculptor?

It was a subject often and earnestly debated by myself
and Pinkerton.  In his opinion I should instantly
discard my profession.  "Just drop it, here and now,"
he would say.  "Come back home with me, and let's throw
our whole soul into business.  I have the capital; you
bring the culture.  DODD AND PINKERTON--I never saw
a better name for an advertisement; and you can't
think, Loudon, how much depends upon a name." On my
side I would admit that a sculptor should possess one
of three things--capital, influence, or an energy only
to be qualified as hellish.  The first two I had now
lost; to the third I never had the smallest claim; and
yet I wanted the cowardice (or, perhaps it was the
courage) to turn my back on my career without a fight.
I told him, besides, that however poor my chances were
in sculpture, I was convinced they were yet worse in
business, for which I equally lacked taste and
aptitude.  But upon this head he was my father over
again; assured me that I spoke in ignorance; that any
intelligent and cultured person was bound to succeed;
that I must, besides, have inherited some of my
father's fitness; and, at any rate, that I had been
regularly trained for that career in the commercial
college.

"Pinkerton," I said, "can't you understand that, as
long as I was there, I never took the smallest interest
in any stricken thing? The whole affair was poison to
me."

"It's not possible," he would cry; "it can't be; you
couldn't live in the midst of it and not feel the
charm; with all your poetry of soul you couldn't help!
Loudon," he would go on, "you drive me crazy.  You
expect a man to be all broken up about the sunset, and
not to care a dime for a place where fortunes are
fought for and made and lost all day; or for a career
that consists in studying up life till you have it at
your finger-ends, spying out every cranny where you can
get your hand in and a dollar out, and standing there
in the midst--one foot on bankruptcy, the other on a
borrowed dollar, and the whole thing spinning round you
like a mill--raking in the stamps, in spite of fate and
fortune."

To this romance of dickering I would reply with the
romance (which is also the virtue) of art: reminding
him of those examples of constancy through many
tribulations, with which the ROLE of Apollo is
illustrated--from the case of Millet, to those of many
of our friends and comrades, who had chosen this
agreeable mountain path through life, and were now
bravely clambering among rocks and brambles, penniless
and hopeful.

"You will never understand it, Pinkerton," I would say.
"You look to the result, you want to see some profit of
your endeavours: that is why you could never learn to
paint, if you lived to be Methusalem.  The result is
always a fizzle: the eyes of the artist are turned in;
he lives for a frame of mind.  Look at Romney now.
There is the nature of the artist.  He hasn't a cent;
and if you offered him to-morrow the command of an
army, or the presidentship of the United States, he
wouldn't take it, and you know he wouldn't."

"I suppose not," Pinkerton would cry, scouring his hair
with both his hands; "and I can't see why; I can't see
what in fits he would be after, not to; I don't seem to
rise to these views.  Of course it's the fault of not
having had advantages in early life; but, Loudon, I'm
so miserably low that it seems to me silly.  The fact
is," he might add, with a smile, "I don't seem to have
the least use for a frame of mind without square meals;
and you can't get it out of my head that it's a man's
duty to die rich, if he can."

"What for?" I asked him once.

"O, I don't know," he replied.  "Why in snakes should
anybody want to be a sculptor, if you come to that? I
would love to sculp myself.  But what I can't see is
why you should want to do nothing else.  It seems to
argue a poverty of nature."

Whether or not he ever came to understand me--and I
have been so tossed about since then that I am not very
sure I understand myself--he soon perceived that I was
perfectly in earnest; and after about ten days of
argument, suddenly dropped the subject, and announced
that he was wasting capital, and must go home at once.
No doubt he should have gone long before, and had
already lingered over his intended time for the sake of
our companionship and my misfortune; but man is so
unjustly minded that the very fact, which ought to have
disarmed, only embittered my vexation.  I resented his
departure in the light of a desertion; I would not say,
but doubtless I betrayed it; and something hang-dog in
the man's face and bearing led me to believe he was
himself remorseful.  It is certain at least that,
during the time of his preparations, we drew sensibly
apart--a circumstance that I recall with shame.  On the
last day he had me to dinner at a restaurant which he
knew I had formerly frequented, and had only forsworn
of late from considerations of economy.  He seemed ill
at ease; I was myself both sorry and sulky; and the
meal passed with little conversation.

"Now, Loudon," said he, with a visible effort, after
the coffee was come and our pipes lighted, "you can
never understand the gratitude and loyalty I bear you.
You don't know what a boon it is to be taken up by a
man that stands on the pinnacle of civilisation; you
can't think how it's refined and purified me, how it's
appealed to my spiritual nature; and I want to tell you
that I would die at your door like a dog.

I don't know what answer I tried to make, but he cut me
short.

"Let me say it out!" he cried.  "I revere you for your
whole-souled devotion to art; I can't rise to it, but
there's a strain of poetry in my nature, Loudon, that
responds to it.  I want you to carry it out, and I mean
to help you."

"Pinkerton, what nonsense is this?" I interrupted.

"Now don't get mad, Loudon; this is a plain piece of
business," said he; "it's done every day; it's even
typical.  How are all those fellows over here in Paris,
Henderson, Sumner, Long?--it's all the same story: a
young man just plum full of artistic genius on the one
side, a man of business on the other who doesn't know
what to do with his dollars

"But, you fool, you're as poor as a rat," I cried.

"You wait till I get my irons in the fire!" returned
Pinkerton.  "I'm bound to be rich; and I tell you I
mean to have some of the fun as I go along.  Here's
your first allowance; take it at the hand of a friend;
I'm one that holds friendship sacred, as you do
yourself It's only a hundred francs; you'll get the
same every month, and as soon as my business begins to
expand we'll increase it to something fitting.  And so
far from its being a favour, just let me handle your
statuary for the American market, and I'll call it one
of the smartest strokes of business in my life."

It took me a long time, and it had cost us both much
grateful and painful emotion, before I had finally
managed to refuse his offer and compounded for a bottle
of particular wine.  He dropped the subject at last
suddenly with a "Never mind; that's all done with"; nor
did he again refer to the subject, though we passed
together the rest of the afternoon, and I accompanied
him, on his departure; to the doors of the waiting-room
at St. Lazare.  I felt myself strangely alone; a voice
told me that I had rejected both the counsels of wisdom
and the helping hand of friendship; and as I passed
through the great bright city on my homeward way, I
measured it for the first time with the eye of an
adversary.

                       CHAPTER V
                           
                           
        IN WHICH I AM DOWN ON MY LUCK IN PARIS

IN no part of the world is starvation an agreeable
business; but I believe it is admitted there is no
worse place to starve in than this city of Paris.  The
appearances of life are there so especially gay, it is
so much a magnified beer-garden, the houses are so
ornate, the theatres so numerous, the very pace of the
vehicles is so brisk, that a man in any deep concern of
mind or pain of body is constantly driven in upon
himself.  In his own eyes, he seems the one serious
creature moving in a world of horrible unreality;
voluble people issuing from a cafe, the QUEUE at
theatre-doors, Sunday cabfuls of second-rate pleasure-
seekers, the bedizened ladies of the pavement, the show
in the jewellers' windows--all the familiar sights
contributing to flout his own unhappiness, want, and
isolation.  At the same time, if he be at all after my
pattern, he is perhaps supported by a childish
satisfaction.  "This is life at last," he may tell
himself; "this is the real thing.  The bladders on
which I was set swimming are now empty; my own weight
depends upon the ocean: by my own exertions I must
perish or succeed; and I am now enduring, in the vivid
fact, what I so much delighted to read of in the case
of Lousteau or Lucien, Rodolphe or Schaunard."

Of the steps of my misery I cannot tell at length.  In
ordinary times what were politically called "loans"
(although they were never meant to be repaid) were
matters of constant course among the students, and many
a man has partly lived on them for years.  But my
misfortune befell me at an awkward juncture.  Many of
my friends were gone; others were themselves in a
precarious situation.  Romney (for instance) was
reduced to tramping Paris in a pair of country sabots,
his only suit of clothes so imperfect (in spite of
cunningly-adjusted pins) that the authorities at the
Luxembourg suggested his withdrawal from the gallery.
Dijon, too, was on a lee-shore, designing clocks and
gas-brackets for a dealer: and the most he could do was
to offer me a corner of his studio where I might work.
My own studio (it will be gathered) I had by that time
lost; and in the course of my expulsion the Genius of
Muskegon was finally separated from her author.  To
continue to possess a full-sized statue, a man must
have a studio, a gallery, or at least the freedom of a
back-garden.  He cannot carry it about with him, like a
satchel, in the bottom of a cab, nor can he cohabit in
a garret ten by fifteen with so momentous a companion.
It was my first idea to leave her behind at my
departure.  There, in her birthplace, she might lend an
inspiration, methought, to my successor.  But the
proprietor, with whom I had unhappily quarrelled,
seized the occasion to be disagreeable, and called upon
me to remove my property.  For a man in such straits as
I now found myself, the hire of a lorry was a
consideration; and yet even that I could have faced, if
I had had anywhere to drive to after it was hired.
Hysterical laughter seized upon me as I beheld (in
imagination) myself, the waggoner, and the Genius of
Muskegon, standing in the public view of Paris, without
the shadow of a destination; perhaps driving at last to
the nearest rubbish-heap, and dumping there, among the
ordures of a city, the beloved child of my invention.
From these extremities I was relieved by a seasonable
offer, and I parted from the Genius of Muskegon for
thirty francs.  Where she now stands, under what name
she is admired or criticised, history does not inform
us; but I like to think she may adorn the shrubbery of
some suburban tea-garden, where holiday shop-girls hang
their hats upon the mother, and their swains (by way of
an approach of gallantry) identify the winged infant
with the god of love.

In a certain cabman's eating-house on the outer
boulevard I got credit for my midday meal.  Supper I
was supposed not to require, sitting down nightly to
the delicate table of some rich acquaintances.  This
arrangement was extremely ill-considered.  My fable,
credible enough at first, and so long as my clothes
were in good order, must have seemed worse than
doubtful after my coat became frayed about the edges,
and my boots began to squelch and pipe along the
restaurant floors.  The allowance of one meal a day,
besides, though suitable enough to the state of my
finances, agreed poorly with my stomach.  The
restaurant was a place I had often visited
experimentally, to taste the life of students then more
unfortunate than myself; and I had never in those days
entered it without disgust, or left it without nausea.
It was strange to find myself sitting down with
avidity, rising up with satisfaction, and counting the
hours that divided me from my return to such a table.
But hunger is a great magician; and so soon as I had
spent my ready cash, and could no longer fill up on
bowls of chocolate or hunks of bread, I must depend
entirely on that cabman's eating-house, and upon
certain rare, long-expected, long-remembered windfalls.
Dijon (for instance) might get paid for some of his
pot-boiling work, or else an old friend would pass
through Paris; and then I would be entertained to a
meal after my own soul, and contract a Latin Quarter
loan, which would keep me in tobacco and my morning
coffee for a fortnight.  It might be thought the latter
would appear the more important.  It might be supposed
that a life, led so near the confines of actual famine,
should have dulled the nicety of my palate.  On the
contrary, the poorer a man's diet, the more sharply is
he set on dainties.  The last of my ready cash, about
thirty francs, was deliberately squandered on a single
dinner; and a great part of my time when I was alone
was passed upon the details of imaginary feasts.

One gleam of hope visited me--an order for a bust from
a rich Southerner.  He was free-handed, jolly of
speech, merry of countenance; kept me in good-humour
through the sittings, and, when they were over, carried
me off with him to dinner and the sights of Paris.  I
ate well, I laid on flesh; by all accounts I made a
favourable likeness of the being, and I confess I
thought my future was assured.  But when the bust was
done, and I had despatched it across the Atlantic, I
could never so much as learn of its arrival.  The blow
felled me; I should have lain down and tried no stroke
to right myself, had not the honour of my country been
involved.  For Dijon improved the opportunity in the
European style, informing me (for the first time) of
the manners of America: how it was a den of banditti,
without the smallest rudiment of law or order, and
debts could be there only collected with a shot-gun.
"The whole world knows it," he would say; "you are
alone, MON PETIT Loudon--you are alone, to be in
ignorance of these facts.  The judges of the Supreme
Court fought but the other day with stilettos on the
bench at Cincinnati.  You should read the little book
of one of my friends, LE TOURISTE DANS LE FAR-WEST,
you will see it all there in good French." At last,
incensed by days of such discussion, I undertook to
prove to him the contrary, and put the affair in the
hands of my late father's lawyer.  From him I had the
gratification of hearing, after a due interval, that my
debtor was dead of the yellow fever in Key West, and
had left his affairs in some confusion.  I suppress his
name; for though he treated me with cruel nonchalance,
it is probable he meant to deal fairly in the end.

Soon after this a shade of change in my reception at
the cabman's eating-house marked the beginning of a new
phase in my distress.  The first day I told myself it
was but fancy; the next, I made quite sure it was a
fact; the third, in mere panic I stayed away, and went
for forty-eight hours fasting.  This was an act of
great unreason; for the debtor who stays away is but
the more remarked, and the boarder who misses a meal is
sure to be accused of infidelity.  On the fourth day,
therefore, I returned, inwardly quaking.  The
proprietor looked askance upon my entrance; the
waitresses (who were his daughters) neglected my wants,
and sniffed at the affected joviality of my
salutations; last, and most plain, when I called for a
SUISSE (such as was being served to all the other
diners), I was bluntly told there were no more.  It was
obvious I was near the end of my tether; one plank
divided me from want, and now I felt it tremble.  I
passed a sleepless night, and the first thing in the
morning took my way to Myner's studio.  It was a step I
had long meditated and long refrained from; for I was
scarce intimate with the Englishman; and though I knew
him to possess plenty of money, neither his manner nor
his reputation were the least encouraging to beggars.

I found him at work on a picture, which I was able
conscientiously to praise, dressed in his usual tweeds-
-plain, but pretty fresh, and standing out in
disagreeable contrast to my own withered and degraded
outfit.  As we talked, he continued to shift his eyes
watchfully between his handiwork and the fat model, who
sat at the far end of the studio in a state of nature,
with one arm gallantly arched above her head.  My
errand would have been difficult enough under the best
of circumstances: placed between Myner, immersed in his
art, and the white, fat, naked female in a ridiculous
attitude, I found it quite impossible.  Again and again
I attempted to approach the point, again and again fell
back on commendations of the picture; and it was not
until the model had enjoyed an interval of repose,
during which she took the conversation in her own hands
and regaled us (in a soft, weak voice) with details as
to her husband's prosperity, her sister's lamented
decline from the paths of virtue, and the consequent
wrath of her father, a peasant of stern principles, in
the vicinity of Chalons on the Marne--it was not, I
say, until after this was over, and I had once more
cleared my throat for the attack, and once more dropped
aside into some commonplace about the picture, that
Myner himself brought me suddenly and vigorously to the
point.

"You didn't come here to talk this rot," said he.

"No," I replied sullenly; "I came to borrow money."

He painted a while in silence.

"I don't think we were ever very intimate?" he asked.

"Thank you," said I.  "I can take my answer," and I
made as if to go, rage boiling in my heart.

"Of course you can go if you like," said Myner, "but I
advise you to stay and have it out."

"What more is there to say?" I cried.  "You don't want
to keep me here for a needless humiliation?"

"Look here, Dodd; you must try and command your
temper," said he.  "This interview is of your own
seeking, and not mine; if you suppose it's not
disagreeable to me, you're wrong; and if you think I
will give you money without knowing thoroughly about
your prospects, you take me for a fool.  Besides," he
added, "if you come to look at it, you've got over the
worst of it by now: you have done the asking, and you
have every reason to know I mean to refuse.  I hold out
no false hopes, but it may be worth your while to let
me judge."

Thus--I was going to say--encouraged, I stumbled
through my story; told him I had credit at the cab-
man's eating-house, but began to think it was drawing
to a close; how Dijon lent me a corner of his studio,
where I tried to model ornaments, figures for clocks,
Time with the scythe, Leda and the swan, musketeers for
candlesticks, and other kickshaws, which had never (up
to that day) been honoured with the least approval.

"And your room?" asked Myner.

"O, my room is all right, I think," said I.  "She is a
very good old lady, and has never even mentioned her
bill."

"Because she is a very good old lady, I don't see why
she should be fined," observed Myner.

"What do you mean by that?" I cried.

"I mean this," said he.  "The French give a great deal
of credit amongst themselves; they find it pays on the
whole, or the system would hardly be continued; but I
can't see where WE come in; I can't see that it's
honest of us Anglo-Saxons to profit by their easy ways,
and then skip over the Channel or (as you Yankees do)
across the Atlantic."

"But I'm not proposing to skip," I objected.

"Exactly," he replied.  "And shouldn't you? There's the
problem.  You seem to me to have a lack of sympathy for
the proprietors of cabmen's eating-houses.  By your own
account you're not getting on; the longer you stay,
it'll only be the more out of the pocket of the dear
old lady at your lodgings.  Now, I'll tell you what
I'll do: if you consent to go, I'll pay your passage to
New York, and your railway fare and expenses to
Muskegon (if I have the name right), where your father
lived, where he must have left friends, and where, no
doubt, you'll find an opening.  I don't seek any
gratitude, for of course you'll think me a beast; but I
do ask you to pay it back when you are able.  At any
rate, that's all I can do.  It might be different if I
thought you a genius, Dodd; but I don't, and I advise
you not to."

"I think that was uncalled for, at least," said I.

"I daresay it was," he returned with the same
steadiness.  "It seemed to me pertinent; and, besides,
when you ask me for money upon no security, you treat
me with the liberty of a friend, and it's to be
presumed that I can do the like.  But the point is, do
you accept?"

"No, thank you," said I; "I have another string to my
bow."

"All right," says Myner; "be sure it's honest."

"Honest? honest?" I cried.  "What do you mean by
calling my honesty in question?"

"I won't, if you don't like it," he replied.  "You seem
to think honesty as easy as Blind Man's Buff: I don't.
It's some difference of definition."

I went straight from this irritating interview, during
which Myner had never discontinued painting, to the
studio of my old master.  Only one card remained for me
to play, and I was now resolved to play it: I must drop
the gentleman and the frock-coat, and approach art in
the workman's tunic.

"TIENS, this little Dodd!" cried the master; and
then, as his eye fell on my dilapidated clothing, I
thought I could perceive his countenance to darken.

I made my plea in English; for I knew, if he were vain
of anything, it was of his achievement of the island
tongue.  "Master," said I, "will you take me in your
studio again--but this time as a workman?"

"I sought your fazer was immensely reech?" said he.

I explained to him that I was now an orphan, and
penniless.

He shook his head.  "I have betterr workmen waiting at
my door," said he, "far betterr workmen.

"You used to think something of my work, sir," I
pleaded.

"Somesing, somesing--yes!" he cried; "enough for a son
of a reech man--not enough for an orphan.  Besides, I
sought you might learn to be an artist; I did not sink
you might learn to be a workman."

On a certain bench on the outer boulevard, not far from
the tomb of Napoleon--a bench shaded at that date by a
shabby tree, and commanding a view of muddy roadway and
blank wall--I sat down to wrestle with my misery.  The
weather was cheerless and dark; in three days I had
eaten but once; I had no tobacco; my shoes were soaked,
my trousers horrid with mire; my humour and all the
circumstances of the time and place lugubriously
attuned.  Here were two men who had both spoken fairly
of my work while I was rich and wanted nothing; now
that I was poor and lacked all: "No genius," said the
one; "not enough for an orphan," the other; and the
first offered me my passage like a pauper immigrant,
and the second refused me a day's wage as a hewer of
stone--plain dealing for an empty belly.  They had not
been insincere in the past; they were not insincere to-
day: change of circumstance had introduced a new
criterion, that was all.

But if I acquitted my two Job's comforters of
insincerity, I was yet far from admitting them
infallible.  Artists had been contemned before, and had
lived to turn the laugh on their contemners.  How old
was Corot before he struck the vein of his own precious
metal? When had a young man been more derided (or more
justly so) than the god of my admiration, Balzac? Or,
if I required a bolder inspiration, what had I to do
but turn my head to where the gold dome of the
Invalides glittered against inky squalls, and recall
the tale of him sleeping there: from the day when a
young artillery sub could be giggled at and nicknamed
Puss-in-Boots by frisky misses, on to the days of so
many crowns and so many victories, and so many hundred
mouths of cannon, and so many thousand war-hoofs
trampling the roadways of astonished Europe eighty
miles in front of the grand army? To go back, to give
up, to proclaim myself a failure, an ambitious failure-
-first a rocket, then a stick! I, Loudon Dodd, who had
refused all other livelihoods with scorn, and been
advertised in the Saint Joseph SUNDAY HERALD as a
patriot and an artist, to be returned upon my native
Muskegon like damaged goods, and go the circuit of my
father's acquaintance, cap in hand, and begging to
sweep offices! No, by Napoleon! I would die at my
chosen trade; and the two who had that day flouted me
should live to envy my success, or to weep tears of
unavailing penitence behind my pauper coffin.

Meantime, if my courage was still undiminished, I was
none the nearer to a meal.  At no great distance my
cabman's eating-house stood, at the tail of a muddy
cab-rank, on the shores of a wide thoroughfare of mud,
offering (to fancy) a face of ambiguous invitation.  I
might be received, I might once more fill my belly
there; on the other hand, it was perhaps this day the
bolt was destined to fall, and I might be expelled
instead, with vulgar hubbub.  It was policy to make the
attempt, and I knew it was policy; but I had already,
in the course of that one morning, endured too many
affronts, and I felt I could rather starve than face
another.  I had courage and to spare for the future,
none left for that day, courage for the main campaign,
but not a spark of it for that preliminary skirmish of
the cabman's restaurant.  I continued accordingly to
sit upon my bench, not far from the ashes of Napoleon,
now drowsy, now light-headed, now in complete mental
obstruction, or only conscious of an animal pleasure in
quiescence; and now thinking, planning, and remembering
with unexampled clearness, telling myself tales of
sudden wealth, and gustfully ordering and greedily
consuming imaginary meals, in the course of which I
must have dropped asleep.

It was towards dark that I was suddenly recalled to
famine by a cold souse of rain, and sprang shivering to
my feet.  For a moment I stood bewildered; the whole
train of my reasoning and dreaming passed afresh
through my mind; I was again tempted, drawn as if with
cords, by the image of the cabman's eating-house, and
again recoiled from the possibility of insult.  "QUI
DORT DINE," thought I to myself; and took my homeward
way with wavering footsteps, through rainy streets in
which the lamps and the shop-windows now began to
gleam, still marshalling imaginary dinners as I went.

"Ah, Monsieur Dodd," said the porter, "there has been a
registered letter for you.  The facteur will bring it
again to-morrow."

A registered letter for me, who had been so long
without one? Of what it could possibly contain I had no
vestige of a guess, nor did I delay myself guessing;
far less form any conscious plan of dishonesty: the
lies flowed from me like a natural secretion.

"Oh," said I, "my remittance at last! What a bother I
should have missed it! Can you lend me a hundred francs
until to-morrow?"

I had never attempted to borrow from the porter till
that moment; the registered letter was, besides, my
warranty; and he gave me what he had--three napoleons
and some francs in silver.  I pocketed the money
carelessly, lingered a while chaffing, strolled
leisurely to the door; and then (fast as my trembling
legs could carry me) round the corner to the Cafe de
Cluny.  French waiters are deft and speedy; they were
not deft enough for me: and I had scarce decency to let
the man set the wine upon the table or put the butter
alongside the bread, before my glass and my mouth were
filled.  Exquisite bread of the Cafe Cluny, exquisite
first glass of old Pomard tingling to my wet feet,
indescribable first olive culled from the HORS
D'OEUVRE--I suppose, when I come to lie dying, and the
lamp begins to grow dim, I shall still recall your
savour.  Over the rest of that meal, and the rest of
the evening, clouds lie thick; clouds perhaps of
Burgundy: perhaps, more properly, of famine and
repletion.

I remember clearly, at least, the shame, the despair,
of the next morning, when I reviewed what I had done,
and how I had swindled the poor honest porter: and, as
if that were not enough, fairly burnt my ships, and
brought bankruptcy home to that last refuge, my garret.
The porter would expect his money; I could not pay him;
here was scandal in the house; and I knew right well
the cause of scandal would have to pack.  "What do you
mean by calling my honesty in question?" I had cried
the day before, turning upon Myner.  Ah, that day
before! the day before Waterloo, the day before the
Flood; the day before I had sold the roof over my head,
my future, and my self-respect, for a dinner at the
Cafe Cluny!

In the midst of these lamentations the famous
registered letter came to my door, with healing under
its seal.  It bore the postmark of San Francisco, where
Pinkerton was already struggling to the neck in
multifarious affairs; it renewed the offer of an
allowance, which his improved estate permitted him to
announce at the figure of two hundred francs a month;
and in case I was in some immediate pinch, it enclosed
an introductory draft for forty dollars.  There are a
thousand excellent reasons why a man, in this self-
helpful epoch, should decline to be dependent on
another; but the most numerous and cogent
considerations all bow to a necessity as stern as mine;
and the banks were scarce open ere the draft was
cashed.

It was early in December that I thus sold myself into
slavery, and for six months I dragged a slowly
lengthening chain of gratitude and uneasiness.  At the
cost of some debt I managed to excel myself and eclipse
the Genius of Muskegon, in a small but highly patriotic
"Standard Bearer" for the Salon; whither it was duly
admitted, where it stood the proper length of days
entirely unremarked, and whence it came back to me as
patriotic as before.  I threw my whole soul (as
Pinkerton would have phrased it) into clocks and
candlesticks; the devil a candlestick-maker would have
anything to say to my designs.  Even when Dijon, with
his infinite good-humour and infinite scorn for all
such journey-work, consented to peddle them in
indiscriminately with his own, the dealers still
detected and rejected mine.  Home they returned to me,
true as the Standard Bearer, who now, at the head of
quite a regiment of lesser idols, began to grow an
eyesore in the scanty studio of my friend.  Dijon and I
have sat by the hour, and gazed upon that company of
images.  The severe, the frisky, the classical, the
Louis Quinze, were there--from Joan of Arc in her
soldierly cuirass to Leda with the swan; nay--and God
forgive me for a man that knew better!--the humorous
was represented also.  We sat and gazed, I say; we
criticised, we turned them hither and thither; even
upon the closest inspection they looked quite like
statuettes; and yet nobody would have a gift of them!

Vanity dies hard; in some obstinate cases it out-lives
the man: but about the sixth month, when I already owed
near two hundred dollars to Pinkerton, and half as much
again in debts scattered about Paris, I awoke one
morning with a horrid sentiment of oppression, and
found I was alone; my vanity had breathed her last
during the night.  I dared not plunge deeper in the
bog; I saw no hope in my poor statuary; I owned myself
beaten at last; and sitting down in my night-shirt,
beside the window, whence I had a glimpse of the tree-
tops at the corner of the boulevard, and where the
music of its early traffic fell agreeably upon my ear,
I penned my farewell to Paris, to art, to my whole past
life, and my whole former self.  "I give in," I wrote.
"When the next allowance arrives, I shall go straight
out West, where you can do what you like with me."

It is to be understood that Pinkerton had been, in a
sense, pressing me to come from the beginning;
depicting his isolation among new acquaintances, "who
have none of them your culture," he wrote; expressing
his friendship in terms so warm that it sometimes
embarrassed me to think how poorly I could echo them;
dwelling upon his need for assistance; and the next
moment turning about to commend my resolution and press
me to remain in Paris.  "Only remember, Loudon," he
would write, "if you ever DO tire of it, there's
plenty of work here for you--honest, hard, well-paid
work, developing the resources of this practically
virgin State.  And, of course, I needn't say what a
pleasure it would be to me if we were going at it
SHOULDER TO SHOULDER." I marvel, looking back, that I
could so long have resisted these appeals, and continue
to sink my friend's money in a manner that I knew him
to dislike.  At least, when I did awake to any sense of
my position, I awoke to it entirely, and determined not
only to follow his counsel for the future, but, even as
regards the past, to rectify his losses.  For in this
juncture of affairs I called to mind that I was not
without a possible resource, and resolved, at whatever
cost of mortification, to beard the Loudon family in
their historic city.

In the excellent Scots phrase, I made a moonlight
flitting, a thing never dignified, but in my case
unusually easy.  As I had scarce a pair of boots worth
portage I deserted the whole of my effects without a
pang.  Dijon fell heir to Joan of Arc, the Standard
Bearer, and the Musketeers.  He was present when I
bought and frugally stocked my new portmanteau, and it
was at the door of the trunk-shop that I took my leave
of him, for my last few hours in Paris must be spent
alone.  It was alone, and at a far higher figure than
my finances warranted, that I discussed my dinner;
alone that I took my ticket at Saint Lazare; all alone,
though in a carriage full of people, that I watched the
moon shine on the Seine flood with its tufted isles, on
Rouen with her spires, and on the shipping in the
harbour of Dieppe.  When the first light of the morning
called me from troubled slumbers on the deck, I beheld
the dawn at first with pleasure; I watched with
pleasure the green shores of England rising out of rosy
haze; I took the salt air with delight into my
nostrils; and then all came back to me--that I was no
longer an artist, no longer myself; that I was leaving
all I cared for, and returning to all that I detested,
the slave of debt and gratitude, a public and a branded
failure.

From this picture of my own disgrace and wretchedness
it is not wonderful if my mind turned with relief to
the thought of Pinkerton waiting for me, as I knew,
with unwearied affection, and regarding me with a
respect that I had never deserved, and might therefore
fairly hope that I should never forfeit.  The
inequality of our relation struck me rudely.  I must
have been stupid, indeed, if I could have considered
the history of that friendship without shame--I who had
given so little, who had accepted and profited by so
much.  I had the whole day before me in London, and I
determined, at least in words, to set the balance
somewhat straighter.  Seated in the corner of a public
place, and calling for sheet after sheet of paper, I
poured forth the expression of my gratitude, my
penitence for the past, my resolutions for the future.
Till now, I told him, my course had been mere
selfishness.  I had been selfish to my father and to my
friend, taking their help and denying them (which was
all they asked) the poor gratification of my company
and countenance.

Wonderful are the consolations of literature! As soon
as that letter was written and posted the consciousness
of virtue glowed in my veins like some rare vintage.

                      CHAPTER VI
                           
                           
                  IN WHICH I GO WEST

I REACHED my uncle's door next morning in time to sit
down with the family to breakfast.  More than three
years had intervened--almost without mutation in that
stationary household--since I had sat there first, a
young American freshman, bewildered among unfamiliar
dainties (Finnan haddock, kippered salmon, baps, and
mutton-ham), and had wearied my mind in vain to guess
what should be under the tea-cosy.  If there were any
change at all, it seemed that I had risen in the family
esteem.  My father's death once fittingly referred to,
with a ceremonial lengthening of Scots upper lips and
wagging of the female head, the party launched at once
(God help me!) into the more cheerful topic of my own
successes.  They had been so pleased to hear such good
accounts of me; I was quite a great man now; where was
that beautiful statue of the Genius of Something or
other?" You haven't it here? Not here? Really?" asks
the sprightliest of my cousins, shaking curls at me; as
though it were likely I had brought it in a cab, or
kept it concealed about my person like a birthday
surprise.  In the bosom of this family, unaccustomed to
the tropical nonsense of the West, it became plain the
SUNDAY HERALD and poor blethering Pinkerton had
been accepted for their face.  It is not possible to
invent a circumstance that could have more depressed
me; and I am conscious that I behaved all through that
breakfast like a whipped schoolboy.

At length, the meal and family prayers being both
happily over, I requested the favour of an interview
with Uncle Adam on "the state of my affairs." At sound
of this ominous expression the good man's face
conspicuously lengthened; and when my grandfather,
having had the proposition repeated to him (for he was
hard of hearing), announced his intention of being
present at the interview, I could not but think that
Uncle Adam's sorrow kindled into momentary irritation.
Nothing, however, but the usual grim cordiality
appeared upon the surface; and we all three passed
ceremoniously to the adjoining library, a gloomy
theatre for a depressing piece of business.  My
grandfather charged a clay pipe, and sat tremulously
smoking in a corner of the fireless chimney; behind
him, although the morning was both chill and dark, the
window was partly open and the blind partly down: I
cannot depict what an air he had of being out of place,
like a man shipwrecked there.  Uncle Adam had his
station at the business-table in the midst.  Valuable
rows of books looked down upon the place of torture;
and I could hear sparrows chirping in the garden, and
my sprightly cousin already banging the piano and
pouring forth an acid stream of song from the drawing-
room overhead.

It was in these circumstances that, with all brevity of
speech and a certain boyish sullenness of manner,
looking the while upon the floor, I informed my
relatives of my financial situation: the amount I owed
Pinkerton; the hopelessness of any maintenance from
sculpture; the career offered me in the States; and
how, before becoming more beholden to a stranger, I had
judged it right to lay the case before my family.

"I am only sorry you did not come to me at first," said
Uncle Adam.  "I take the liberty to say it would have
been more decent."

"I think so too, Uncle Adam," I replied; "but you must
bear in mind I was ignorant in what light you might
regard my application."

"I hope I would never turn my back on my own flesh and
blood," he returned with emphasis; but, to my anxious
ear, with more of temper than affection.  "I could
never forget you were my sister's son.  I regard this
as a manifest duty.  I have no choice but to accept the
entire responsibility of the position you have made."

I did not know what else to do but murmur "Thank you."

"Yes," he pursued, "and there is something providential
in the circumstance that you come at the right time.
In my old firm there is a vacancy; they call themselves
Italian Warehousemen now," he continued, regarding me
with a twinkle of humour; "so you may think yourself in
luck: we were only grocers in my day.  I shall place
you there to-morrow."

"Stop a moment, Uncle Adam," I broke in.  "This is not
at all what I am asking.  I ask you to pay Pinkerton,
who is a poor man.  I ask you to clear my feet of debt,
not to arrange my life or any part of it."

"If I wished to be harsh, I might remind you that
beggars cannot be choosers," said my uncle; "and as to
managing your life, you have tried your own way
already, and you see what you have made of it.  You
must now accept the guidance of those older and
(whatever you may think of it) wiser than yourself.
All these schemes of your friend (of whom I know
nothing, by the by) and talk of openings in the West, I
simply disregard.  I have no idea whatever of your
going troking across a continent on a wild-goose chase.
In this situation, which I am fortunately able to place
at your disposal, and which many a well-conducted young
man would be glad to jump at, you will receive, to
begin with, eighteen shillings a week."

"Eighteen shillings a week!" I cried.  "Why, my poor
friend gave me more than that for nothing!"

"And I think it is this very friend you are now trying
to repay?" observed my uncle, with an air of one
advancing a strong argument.

"Aadam," said my grandfather.

"I'm vexed you should be present at this business,"
quoth Uncle Adam, swinging rather obsequiously towards
the stonemason; "but I must remind you it is of your
own seeking."

"Aadam!" repeated the old man.

"Well, sir, I am listening," says my uncle.

My grandfather took a puff or two in silence: and then,
"Ye're makin' an awfu' poor appearance, Aadam," said
he.

My uncle visibly reared at the affront.  "I'm sorry you
should think so," said he, "and still more sorry you
should say so before present company."

"A believe that; A ken that, Aadam," returned old
Loudon dryly; "and the curiis thing is, I'm no very
carin'.--See here, ma man," he continued, addressing
himself to me.  "A'm your grandfaither, amn't I not?
Never you mind what Aadam says.  A'll see justice dune
ye.  A'm rich."

"Father," said Uncle Adam, "I would like one word with
you in private."

I rose to go.

"Set down upon your hinderlands," cried my grandfather,
almost savagely.  "If Aadam has anything to say, let
him say it.  It's me that has the money here; and, by
Gravy! I'm goin' to be obeyed."

Upon this scurvy encouragement it appeared that my
uncle had no remark to offer: twice challenged to
"speak out and be done with it," he twice sullenly
declined; and I may mention that about this period of
the engagement I began to be sorry for him.

"See here, then, Jeannie's yin!" resumed my
grandfather.  "A'm goin' to give ye a set-off.  Your
mither was always my fav'rite, for A never could agree
with Aadam.  A like ye fine yoursel'; there's nae
noansense aboot ye; ye've a fine nayteral idee of
builder's work; ye've been to France, where, they tell
me, they're grand at the stuccy.  A splendid thing for
ceilin's the stuccy! and it's a vailyable disguise,
too; A don't believe there's a builder in Scotland has
used more stuccy than me.  But, as A was sayin', if
ye'll follie that trade, with the capital that A'm
goin' to give ye, ye may live yet to be as rich as
mysel'.  Ye see, ye would have always had a share of it
when A was gone; it appears ye're needin' it now; well,
ye'll get the less, as is only just and proper."

Uncle Adam cleared his throat.  "This is very handsome,
father," said he; "and I am sure Loudon feels it so.
Very handsome, and, as you say, very just; but will you
allow me to say that it had better, perhaps, be put in
black and white?"

The enmity always smouldering between the two men, at
this ill-judged interruption almost burst in flame.
The stonemason turned upon his offspring, his long
upper lip pulled down for all the world like a
monkey's.  He stared a while in virulent silence; and
then "Get Gregg!" said he.

The effect of these words was very visible.  "He will
be gone to his office," stammered my uncle.

"Get Gregg!" repeated my grandfather.

"I tell you, he will be gone to his office," reiterated
Adam.

"And I tell ye, he's takin' his smoke," retorted the
old man.

"Very well, then," cried my uncle, getting to his feet
with some alacrity, as upon a sudden change of thought,
"I will get him myself"

"Ye will not!" cried my grandfather.  "Ye will sit
there upon your hinderland."

"Then how the devil am I to get him?" my uncle broke
forth, with not unnatural petulance.

My grandfather (having no possible answer) grinned at
his son with the malice of a schoolboy; then he rang
the bell.

"Take the garden key," said Uncle Adam to the servant;
"go over to the garden, and if Mr. Gregg the lawyer is
there (he generally sits under the red hawthorn), give
him old Mr. Loudon's compliments, and will he step in
here for a moment?"

"Mr. Gregg the lawyer!" At once I understood (what had
been puzzling me) the significance of my grandfather
and the alarm of my poor uncle: the stonemason's will,
it was supposed, hung trembling in the balance.

"Look here, grandfather," I said, "I didn't want any of
this.  All I wanted was a loan of, say, two hundred
pounds.  I can take care of myself; I have prospects
and opportunities, good friends in the States----"

The old man waved me down.  "It's me that speaks here,"
he said curtly; and we waited the coming of the lawyer
in a triple silence.  He appeared at last, the maid
ushering him in--a spectacled, dry, but not ungenial-
looking man.

"Here, Gregg," cried my grandfather, "just a question:
What has Aadam got to do with my will?"

"I'm afraid I don't quite understand," said the lawyer,
staring.

"What has he got to do with it?" repeated the old man,
smiting with his fist upon the arm of his chair.  "Is
my money mine's, or is it Aadam's? Can Aadam
interfere?"

"O, I see," said Mr. Gregg.  "Certainly not.  On the
marriage of both of your children a certain sum was
paid down and accepted in full of legitim.  You have
surely not forgotten the circumstance, Mr. Loudon?"

"So that, if I like," concluded my grandfather,
hammering out his words, "I can leave every doit I die
possessed of to the Great Magunn?"--meaning probably
the Great Mogul.

"No doubt of it," replied Gregg, with a shadow of a
smile.

"Ye hear that, Aadam?" asked my grandfather.

"I may be allowed to say I had no need to hear it,"
said my uncle.

"Very well," says my grandfather.  "You and Jeannie's
yin can go for a bit walk.  Me and Gregg has business."

When once I was in the hall alone with Uncle Adam, I
turned to him, sick at heart.  "Uncle Adam," I said,
"you can understand, better than I can say, how very
painful all this is to me."

"Yes, I am sorry you have seen your grandfather in so
unamiable a light," replied this extraordinary man.
"You shouldn't allow it to affect your mind, though.
He has sterling qualities, quite an extraordinary
character; and I have no fear but he means to behave
handsomely to you."

His composure was beyond my imitation: the house could
not contain me, nor could I even promise to return to
it: in concession to which weakness, it was agreed that
I should call in about an hour at the office of the
lawyer, whom (as he left the library) Uncle Adam should
waylay and inform of the arrangement.  I suppose there
was never a more topsy-turvy situation; you would have
thought it was I who had suffered some rebuff, and that
iron-sided Adam was a generous conqueror who scorned to
take advantage.

It was plain enough that I was to be endowed: to what
extent and upon what conditions I was now left for an
hour to meditate in the wide and solitary thoroughfares
of the new town, taking counsel with street-corner
statues of George IV. and William Pitt, improving my
mind with the pictures in the window of a music-shop,
and renewing my acquaintance with Edinburgh east wind.
By the end of the hour I made my way to Mr. Gregg's
office, where I was placed, with a few appropriate
words, in possession of a cheque for two thousand
pounds and a small parcel of architectural works.

"Mr. Loudon bids me add," continued the lawyer,
consulting a little sheet of notes, "that although
these volumes are very valuable to the practical
builder, you must be careful not to lose originality.
He tells you also not to be "hadden doun"--his own
expression--by the theory of strains, and that Portland
cement, properly sanded, will go a long way."

I smiled, and remarked that I supposed it would.

"I once lived in one of my excellent client's houses,"
observed the lawyer; "and I was tempted, in that case,
to think it had gone far enough."

"Under these circumstances, sir," said I, "you will be
rather relieved to hear that I have no intention of
becoming a builder."

At this he fairly laughed; and, the ice being broken, I
was able to consult him as to my conduct.  He insisted
I must return to the house--at least, for luncheon, and
one of my walks with Mr. Loudon.  "For the evening, I
will furnish you with an excuse, if you please," said
he, "by asking you to a bachelor dinner with myself But
the luncheon and the walk are unavoidable.  He is an
old man, and, I believe, really fond of you; he would
naturally feel aggrieved if there were any appearance
of avoiding him; and as for Mr. Adam, do you know, I
think your delicacy out of place.... And now, Mr. Dodd,
what are you to do with this money?"

Ay, there was the question.  With two thousand pounds--
fifty thousand francs--I might return to Paris and the
arts, and be a prince and millionaire in that thrifty
Latin Quarter.  I think I had the grace, with one
corner of my mind, to be glad that I had sent the
London letter: I know very well that with the rest and
worst of me, I repented bitterly of that precipitate
act.  On one point, however, my whole multiplex estate
of man was unanimous: the letter being gone, there was
no help but I must follow.  The money was accordingly
divided in two unequal shares: for the first, Mr. Gregg
got me a bill in the name of Dijon to meet my
liabilities in Paris; for the second, as I had already
cash in hand for the expenses of my journey, he
supplied me with drafts on San Francisco.

The rest of my business in Edinburgh, not to dwell on a
very agreeable dinner with the lawyer or the horrors of
the family luncheon, took the form of an excursion with
the stonemason, who led me this time to no suburb or
work of his old hands, but, with an impulse both
natural and pretty, to that more enduring home which he
had chosen for his clay.  It was in a cemetery, by some
strange chance immured within the bulwarks of a prison;
standing, besides, on the margin of a cliff, crowded
with elderly stone memorials, and green with turf and
ivy.  The east wind (which I thought too harsh for the
old man) continually shook the boughs, and the thin sun
of a Scottish summer drew their dancing shadows.

"I wanted ye to see the place," said he.  "Yon's the
stane.  EUPHEMIA ROSS: that was my goodwife, your
grandmither--hoots! I'm wrong; that was my first yin; I
had no bairns by her;--yours is the second, MARY
MURRAY, BORN 1819, DIED 1850; that's her--a fine,
plain, decent sort of a creature, tak' her a'thegether.
ALEXANDER LOUDON, BORN SEVENTEEN NINETY-TWO, DIED--
And then a hole in the ballant: that's me.
Alexander's my name.  They ca'd me Ecky when I was a
boy.  Eh, Ecky! ye're an awfu' auld man!"

I had a second and sadder experience of graveyards at
my next alighting-place, the city of Muskegon, now
rendered conspicuous by the dome of the new capitol
encaged in scaffolding.  It was late in the afternoon
when I arrived, and raining; and as I walked in great
streets, of the very name of which I was quite
ignorant--double, treble, and quadruple lines of horse-
cars jingling by--hundred-fold wires of telegraph and
telephone matting heaven above my head--huge, staring
houses, garish and gloomy, flanking me from either
hand--the thought of the Rue Racine, ay, and of the
cabman's eating-house, brought tears to my eyes.  The
whole monotonous Babel had grown--or, I should rather
say, swelled--with such a leap since my departure that
I must continually inquire my way; and the very
cemetery was brand-new.  Death, however, had been
active; the graves were already numerous, and I must
pick my way in the rain among the tawdry sepulchres of
millionaires, and past the plain black crosses of
Hungarian labourers, till chance or instinct led me to
the place that was my father's.  The stone had been
erected (I knew already) "by admiring friends"; I could
now judge their taste in monuments.  Their taste in
literature, methought, I could imagine, and I refrained
from drawing near enough to read the terms of the
inscription.  But the name was in larger letters and
stared at me--JAMES K. DODD.  "What a singular
thing is a name!" I thought; "how it clings to a man,
and continually misrepresents, and then survives him!"
And it flashed across my mind, with a mixture of regret
and bitter mirth, that I had never known, and now
probably never should know, what the K had represented.
King, Kilter, Kay, Kaiser, I went, running over names
at random, and then stumbled, with ludicrous
misspelling, on Kornelius, and had nearly laughed
aloud.  I have never been more childish; I suppose
(although the deeper voices of my nature seemed all
dumb) because I have never been more moved.  And at
this last incongruous antic of my nerves I was seized
with a panic of remorse, and fled the cemetery.

Scarce less funereal was the rest of my experience in
Muskegon, where, nevertheless, I lingered, visiting my
father's circle, for some days.  It was in piety to him
I lingered; and I might have spared myself the pain.
His memory was already quite gone out.  For his sake,
indeed, I was made welcome; and for mine the
conversation rolled a while with laborious effort on
the virtues of the deceased.  His former comrades
dwelt, in my company, upon his business talents or his
generosity for public purposes: when my back was
turned, they remembered him no more.  My father had
loved me; I had left him alone, to live and die among
the indifferent; now I returned to find him dead and
buried and forgotten.  Unavailing penitence translated
itself in my thoughts to fresh resolve.  There was
another poor soul who loved me--Pinkerton.  I must not
be guilty twice of the same error.

A week perhaps had been thus wasted, nor had I prepared
my friend for the delay.  Accordingly, when I had
changed trains at Council Bluffs, I was aware of a man
appearing at the end of the car with a telegram in his
hand and inquiring whether there were any one aboard
"of the name of LONDON Dodd"? I thought the name
near enough, claimed the despatch, and found it was
from Pinkerton: "What day do you arrive? Awfully
important." I sent him an answer, giving day and hour,
and at Ogden found a fresh despatch awaiting me: "That
will do.  Unspeakable relief.  Meet you at Sacramento."
In Paris days I had a private name for Pinkerton: "The
Irrepressible" was what I had called him in hours of
bitterness, and the name rose once more on my lips.
What mischief was he up to now? What new bowl was my
benignant monster brewing for his Frankenstein? In what
new imbroglio should I alight on the Pacific coast? My
trust in the man was entire, and my distrust perfect.
I knew he would never mean amiss; but I was convinced
he would almost never (in my sense) do aright.

I suppose these vague anticipations added a shade of
gloom to that already gloomy place of travel: Nebraska,
Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, scowled in my face at least, and
seemed to point me back again to that other native land
of mine, the Latin Quarter.

But when the Sierras had been climbed, and the train,
after so long beating and panting, stretched itself
upon the downward track--when I beheld that vast extent
of prosperous country rolling seaward from the woods
and the blue mountains, that illimitable spread of
rippling corn, the trees growing and blowing in the
merry weather, the country boys thronging aboard the
train with figs and peaches, and the conductors, and
the very darky stewards, visibly exulting in the
change--up went my soul like a balloon; Care fell from
his perch upon my shoulders; and when I spied my
Pinkerton among the crowd at Sacramento, I thought of
nothing but to shout and wave for him, and grasp him by
the hand, like what he was--my dearest friend.

"O, Loudon!" he cried; "man, how I've pined for you!
And you haven't come an hour too soon.  You're known
here and waited for; I've been booming you already:
you're billed for a lecture to-morrow night: "Student
Life in Paris, Grave and Gay": twelve hundred places
booked at the last stock! Tut, man, you're looking
thin! Here, try a drop of this." And he produced a case
bottle, staringly labelled PINKERTON'S THIRTEEN STAR
GOLDEN STATE BRANDY, WARRANTED ENTIRE.

"God bless me!" said I, gasping and winking after my
first plunge into this fiery fluid; "and what does
'Warranted Entire' mean?"

"Why, Loudon, you ought to know that!" cried Pinkerton.
"It's real, copper-bottomed English; you see it on all
the old-time wayside hostelries over there."

"But if I'm not mistaken, it means something Warranted
Entirely different," said I, "and applies to the
public-house, and not the beverages sold."

"It's very possible," said Jim, quite unabashed.  "It's
effective, anyway; and I can tell you, sir, it has
boomed that spirit: it goes now by the gross of cases.
By the way, I hope you won't mind; I've got your
portrait all over San Francisco for the lecture,
enlarged from that carte de visite: "H. Loudon Dodd,
the Americo-Parisienne Sculptor." Here's a proof of the
small handbills; the posters are the same, only in red
and blue, and the letters fourteen by one."

I looked at the handbill, and my head turned.  What was
the use of words? why seek to explain to Pinkerton the
knotted horrors of "Americo-Parisienne"? He took an
early occasion to point it out as "rather a good
phrase; gives the two sides at a glance: I wanted the
lecture written up to that." Even after we had reached
San Francisco, and at the actual physical shock of my
own effigy placarded on the streets I had broken forth
in petulant words, he never comprehended in the least
the ground of my aversion.

"If I had only known you disliked red lettering!" was
as high as he could rise.  "You are perfectly right: a
clear-cut black is preferable, and shows a great deal
further.  The only thing that pains me is the portrait:
I own I thought that a success.  I'm dreadfully and
truly sorry, my dear fellow: I see now it's not what
you had a right to expect; but I did it, Loudon, for
the best; and the press is all delighted."

At the moment, sweeping through green tule swamps, I
fell direct on the essential.  "But, Pinkerton," I
cried, "this lecture is the maddest of your madnesses.
How can I prepare a lecture in thirty hours?"

"All done, Loudon!" he exclaimed in triumph.  "All
ready.  Trust me to pull a piece of business through.
You'll find it all type-written in my desk at home.  I
put the best talent of San Francisco on the job: Harry
Miller, the brightest pressman in the city."

And so he rattled on, beyond reach of my modest
protestations, blurting out his complicated interests,
crying up his new acquaintances, and ever and again
hungering to introduce me to some "whole-souled, grand
fellow, as sharp as a needle," from whom, and the very
thought of whom, my spirit shrank instinctively.

Well, I was in for it--in for Pinkerton, in for the
portrait, in for the type-written lecture.  One promise
I extorted--that I was never again to be committed in
ignorance.  Even for that, when I saw how its extortion
puzzled and depressed the Irrepressible, my soul
repented me, and in all else I suffered myself to be
led uncomplaining at his chariot-wheels.  The
Irrepressible, did I say? The Irresistible were nigher
truth.

But the time to have seen me was when I sat down to
Harry Miller's lecture.  He was a facetious dog, this
Harry Miller.  He had a gallant way of skirting the
indecent, which in my case produced physical nausea,
and he could be sentimental and even melodramatic about
grisettes and starving genius.  I found he had enjoyed
the benefit of my correspondence with Pinkerton;
adventures of my own were here and there horridly
misrepresented, sentiments of my own echoed and
exaggerated till I blushed to recognise them.  I will
do Harry Miller justice: he must have had a kind of
talent, almost of genius; all attempts to lower his
tone proving fruitless, and the Harry-Millerism
ineradicable.  Nay, the monster had a certain key of
style, or want of style, so that certain milder
passages, which I sought to introduce, discorded
horribly and impoverished, if that were possible, the
general effect.

By an early hour of the numbered evening I might have
been observed at the sign of "The Poodle Dog" dining
with my agent--so Pinkerton delighted to describe
himself.  Thence, like an ox to the slaughter, he led
me to the hall, where I stood presently alone,
confronting assembled San Francisco, with no better
allies than a table, a glass of water, and a mass of
manuscript and typework, representing Harry Miller and
myself I read the lecture; for I had lacked both time
and will to get the trash by heart--read it hurriedly,
humbly, and with visible shame.  Now and then I would
catch in the auditorium an eye of some intelligence,
now and then in the manuscript would stumble on a
richer vein of Harry Miller, and my heart would fail
me, and I gabbled.  The audience yawned, it stirred
uneasily, it muttered, grumbled, and broke forth at
last in articulate cries of "Speak up!" and "Nobody can
hear!" I took to skipping, and, being extremely ill-
acquainted with the country, almost invariably cut in
again in the unintelligible midst of some new topic.
What struck me as extremely ominous, these misfortunes
were allowed to pass without a laugh.  Indeed, I was
beginning to fear the worst, and even personal
indignity, when all at once the humour of the thing
broke upon me strongly.  I could have laughed aloud,
and, being again summoned to speak up, I faced my
patrons for the first time with a smile.  "Very well,"
I said, "I will try, though I don't suppose anybody
wants to hear, and I can't see why anybody should."
Audience and lecturer laughed together till the tears
ran down, vociferous and repeated applause hailed my
impromptu sally.  Another hit which I made but a little
after, as I turned three pages of the copy--"You see, I
am leaving out as much as I possibly can"--increased
the esteem with which my patrons had begun to regard
me; and when I left the stage at last, my departing
form was cheered with laughter, stamping, shouting, and
the waving of hats.

Pinkerton was in the waiting-room, feverishly jotting
in his pocket-book.  As he saw me enter, he sprang up,
and I declare the tears were trickling on his cheeks.

"My dear boy," he cried, "I can never forgive myself,
and you can never forgive me.  Never mind, I did it for
the best.  And how nobly you clung on! I dreaded we
should have had to return the money at the doors."

"It would have been more honest if we had," said I.

The pressmen followed me, Harry Miller in the front
ranks; and I was amazed to find them, on the whole, a
pleasant set of lads, probably more sinned against than
sinning, and even Harry Miller apparently a gentleman.
I had in oysters and champagne--for the receipts were
excellent--and, being in a high state of nervous
tension, kept the table in a roar.  Indeed, I was never
in my life so well inspired as when I described my
vigil over Harry Miller's literature or the series of
my emotions as I faced the audience.  The lads vowed I
was the soul of good company and the prince of
lecturers; and--so wonderful an institution is the
popular press--if you had seen the notices next day in
all the papers you must have supposed my evening's
entertainment an unqualified success.

I was in excellent spirits when I returned home that
night, but the miserable Pinkerton sorrowed for us
both.

"O, Loudon," he said, "I shall never forgive myself.
When I saw you didn't catch on to the idea of the
lecture, I should have given it myself!"

                      CHAPTER VII
                           
                           
                   IRONS IN THE FIRE
                           
                   Opes Strepitumque

THE food of the body differs not so greatly for the
fool or the sage, the elephant or the cock-sparrow; and
similar chemical elements, variously disguised, support
all mortals.  A brief study of Pinkerton in his new
setting convinced me of a kindred truth about that
other and mental digestion by which we extract what is
called "fun for our money" out of life.  In the same
spirit as a schoolboy deep in Mayne Reid handles a
dummy gun and crawls among imaginary forests, Pinkerton
sped through Kearney Street upon his daily business,
representing to himself a highly-coloured part in
life's performance, and happy for hours if he should
have chanced to brush against a millionaire.  Reality
was his romance; he gloried to be thus engaged: he
wallowed in his business.  Suppose a man to dig up a
galleon on the Coromandel coast, his rakish schooner
keeping the while an offing under easy sail, and he, by
the blaze of a great fire of wreckwood, to measure
ingots by the bucketful on the uproarious beach; such
an one might realise a greater material spoil; he
should have no more profit of romance than Pinkerton
when he cast up his weekly balance-sheet in a bald
office.  Every dollar gained was like something brought
ashore from a mysterious deep; every venture made was
like a diver's plunge; and as he thrust his bold hand
into the plexus of the money-market he was delightedly
aware of how he shook the pillars of existence, turned
out men, as at a battle-cry, to labour in far
countries, and set the gold twitching in the drawers of
millionaires.

I could never fathom the full extent of his
speculations; but there were five separate businesses
which he avowed and carried like a banner.  The
THIRTEEN STAR GOLDEN STATE BRANDY, WARRANTED ENTIRE (a
very flagrant distillation) filled a great part of his
thoughts, and was kept before the public in an eloquent
but misleading treatise, "Why Drink French Brandy? A
Word to the Wise." He kept an office for advertisers,
counselling, designing, acting as middleman with
printers and bill-stickers, for the inexperienced or
the uninspired: the dull haberdasher came to him for
ideas, the smart theatrical agent for his local
knowledge, and one and all departed with a copy of his
pamphlet, "How, When, and Where; or, The Advertiser's
Vade-Mecum." He had a tug chartered every Saturday
afternoon and night, carried people outside the Heads,
and provided them with lines and bait for six hours'
fishing, at the rate of five dollars a person.  I am
told that some of them (doubtless adroit anglers) made
a profit on the transaction.  Occasionally he bought
wrecks and condemned vessels; these latter (I cannot
tell you how) found their way to sea again under
aliases, and continued to stem the waves triumphantly
enough under the colours of Bolivia or Nicaragua.
Lastly, there was a certain agricultural engine,
glorying in a great deal of vermilion and blue paint,
and filling (it appeared) a "long-felt want," in which
his interest was something like a tenth.

This for the face or front of his concerns.  "On the
outside," as he phrased it, he was variously and
mysteriously engaged.  No dollar slept in his
possession; rather, he kept all simultaneously flying,
like a conjurer with oranges.  My own earnings, when I
began to have a share, he would but show me for a
moment, and disperse again, like those illusive money
gifts which are flashed in the eyes of childhood, only
to be entombed in the missionary-box.  And he would
come down radiant from a weekly balance-sheet, clap me
on the shoulder, declare himself a winner by Gargantuan
figures, and prove destitute of a quarter for a drink.

"What on earth have you done with it?" I would ask.

"Into the mill again; all re-invested!" he would cry,
with infinite delight.  "Investment was ever his word.
He could not bear what he called gambling "Never touch
stocks, Loudon," he would say; "nothing but legitimate
business." And yet, Heaven knows, many an indurated
gambler might have drawn back appalled at the first
hint of some of Pinkerton's investments! One which I
succeeded in tracking home, and instance for a
specimen, was a seventh share in the charter of a
certain ill-starred schooner bound for Mexico--to
smuggle weapons on the one trip, and cigars upon the
other.  The latter end of this enterprise, involving
(as it did) shipwreck, confiscation, and a lawsuit with
the underwriters, was too painful to be dwelt upon at
length.  "It's proved a disappointment," was as far as
my friend would go with me in words; but I knew, from
observation, that the fabric of his fortunes tottered.
For the rest, it was only by accident I got wind of the
transaction; for Pinkerton, after a time, was shy of
introducing me to his arcana: the reason you are to
hear presently.

The office which was (or should have been) the point of
rest for so many evolving dollars stood in the heart of
the city--a high and spacious room, with many plate-
glass windows.  A glazed cabinet of polished redwood
offered to the eye a regiment of some two hundred
bottles, conspicuously labelled.  These were all
charged with Pinkerton's Thirteen Star, although from
across the room it would have required an expert to
distinguish them from the same number of bottles of
Courvoisier.  I used to twit my friend with this
resemblance, and propose a new edition of the pamphlet,
with the title thus improved, "Why Drink French Brandy,
When We give You the same Labels?" The doors of the
cabinet revolved all day upon their hinges; and if
there entered any one who was a stranger to the merits
of the brand, he departed laden with a bottle.  When I
used to protest at this extravagance, "My dear Loudon,"
Pinkerton would cry, "you don't seem to catch on to
business principles! The prime cost of the spirit is
literally nothing.  I couldn't find a cheaper
advertisement if I tried." Against the side-post of the
cabinet there leaned a gaudy umbrella, preserved there
as a relic.  It appears that when Pinkerton was about
to place Thirteen Star upon the market, the rainy
season was at hand.  He lay dark, almost in penury,
awaiting the first shower, at which, as upon a signal,
the main thoroughfares became dotted with his agents,
vendors of advertisements; and the whole world of San
Francisco, from the businessman fleeing for the ferry-
boat, to the lady waiting at the corner for her car,
sheltered itself under umbrellas with this strange
device: ARE YOU, WET? TRY THIRTEEN STAR.  "It was a
mammoth boom," said Pinkerton, with a sigh of delighted
recollection.  "there wasn't another umbrella to be
seen.  I stood at this window, Loudon, feasting my
eyes; and I declare, I felt like Vanderbilt." And it
was to this neat application of the local climate that
he owed, not only much of the sale of Thirteen Star,
but the whole business of his advertising agency.

The large desk (to resume our survey of the office)
stood about the middle, knee-deep in stacks of hand-
bills and posters of "Why Drink French Brandy?" and
"The Advertiser's Vade-Mecum." It was flanked upon the
one hand by two female type-writers, who rested not
between the hours of nine and four, and upon the other
by a model of the agricultural machine.  The walls,
where they were not broken by telephone-boxes and a
couple of photographs--one representing the wreck of
the JAMES L. MOODY on a bold and broken coast, the
other the Saturday tug alive with amateur fishers--
almost disappeared under oil-paintings gaudily framed.
Many of these were relics of the Latin Quarter, and I
must do Pinkerton the justice to say that none of them
were bad, and some had remarkable merit.  They went off
slowly, but for handsome figures; and their places were
progressively supplied with the work of local artists.
These last it was one of my first duties to review and
criticise.  Some of them were villainous, yet all were
saleable.  I said so; and the next moment saw myself,
the figure of a miserable renegade, bearing arms in the
wrong camp.  I was to look at pictures thenceforward,
not with the eye of the artist, but the dealer; and I
saw the stream widen that divided me from all I loved.

"Now, Loudon," Pinkerton had said, the morning after
the lecture,--"now, Loudon, we can go at it shoulder to
shoulder.  This is what I have longed for: I wanted two
heads and four arms; and now I have 'em.  You'll find
it's just the same as art--all observation and
imagination; only more movement.  Just wait till you
begin to feel the charm!"

I might have waited long.  Perhaps I lack a sense; for
our whole existence seemed to me one dreary bustle, and
the place we bustled in fitly to be called the Place of
Yawning.  I slept in a little den behind the office;
Pinkerton, in the office itself, stretched on a patent
sofa which sometimes collapsed, his slumbers still
further menaced by an imminent clock with an alarm.
Roused by this diabolical contrivance, we rose early,
went forth early to breakfast, and returned by nine to
what Pinkerton called work, and I distraction.  Masses
of letters must be opened, read, and answered; some by
me at a subsidiary desk which had been introduced on
the morning of my arrival; others by my bright-eyed
friend, pacing the room like a caged lion as he
dictated to the tinkling type-writers.  Masses of wet
proof had to be overhauled and scrawled upon with a
blue pencil--"rustic"; "six-inch caps"; "bold spacing
here"; or sometimes terms more fervid--as, for
instance, this (which I remember Pinkerton to have
spirted on the margin of an advertisement of Soothing
Syrup), "Throw this all down.  Have you never printed
an advertisement? I'll be round in half-an-hour." The
ledger and sale-book, besides, we had always with us.
Such was the backbone of our occupation, and tolerable
enough; but the far greater proportion of our time was
consumed by visitors--whole-souled, grand fellows no
doubt, and as sharp as a needle, but to me
unfortunately not diverting.  Some were apparently
half-witted, and must be talked over by the hour before
they could reach the humblest decision, which they only
left the office to return again (ten minutes later) and
rescind.  Others came with a vast show of hurry and
despatch, but I observed it to be principally show.
The agricultural model, for instance, which was
practicable, proved a kind of fly-paper for these
busybodies.  I have seen them blankly turn the crank of
it for five minutes at a time, simulating (to nobody's
deception) business interest: " Good thing this,
Pinkerton? Sell much of it? Ha! Couldn't use it, I
suppose, as a medium of advertisement for my article?"-
-which was perhaps toilet soap.  Others (a still worse
variety) carried us to neighbouring saloons to dice for
cocktails and (after the cocktails were paid) for
dollars on a corner of the counter.  The attraction of
dice for all these people was, indeed, extraordinary:
at a certain club where I once dined in the character
of "my partner, Mr. Dodd," the dice-box came on the
table with the wine, an artless substitute for after-
dinner wit.

Of all our visitors, I believe I preferred Emperor
Norton; the very mention of whose name reminds me I am
doing scanty justice to the folks of San Francisco.  In
what other city would a harmless madman who supposed
himself emperor of the two Americas have been so
fostered and encouraged? Where else would even the
people of the streets have respected the poor soul's
illusion? Where else would bankers and merchants have
received his visits, cashed his cheques, and submitted
to his small assessments? Where else would he have been
suffered to attend and address the exhibition days of
schools and colleges? Where else, in God's green earth,
have taken his pick of restaurants, ransacked the bill
of fare, and departed scatheless? They tell me he was
even an exacting patron, threatening to withdraw his
custom when dissatisfied; and I can believe it, for his
face wore an expression distinctly gastronomical.
Pinkerton had received from this monarch a cabinet
appointment; I have seen the brevet, wondering mainly
at the good-nature of the printer who had executed the
forms, and I think my friend was at the head either of
foreign affairs or education: it mattered, indeed,
nothing, the prestation being in all offices identical.
It was at a comparatively early date that I saw Jim in
the exercise of his public functions.  His Majesty
entered the office--a portly, rather flabby man, with
the face of a gentleman, rendered unspeakably pathetic
and absurd by the great sabre at his side and the
peacock's feather in his hat.

"I have called to remind you, Mr. Pinkerton, that you
are somewhat in arrear of taxes," he said, with old-
fashioned, stately courtesy.

"Well, your Majesty, what is the amount?" asked Jim;
and, when the figure was named (it was generally two or
three dollars), paid upon the nail and offered a bonus
in the shape of Thirteen Star.

"I am always delighted to patronise native industries,"
said Norton the First.  "San Francisco is public-
spirited in what concerns its emperor; and indeed, sir,
of all my domains, it is my favourite city."

"Come," said I, when he was gone, "I prefer that
customer to the lot."

"It's really rather a distinction," Jim admitted.  "I
think it must have been the umbrella racket that
attracted him."

We were distinguished under the rose by the notice of
other and greater men.  There were days when Jim wore
an air of unusual capacity and resolve, spoke with more
brevity, like one pressed for time, and took often on
his tongue such phrases as "Longhurst told me so this
morning," or "I had it straight from Longhurst
himself." It was no wonder, I used to think, that
Pinkerton was called to council with such Titans; for
the creature's quickness and resource were beyond
praise.  In the early days when he consulted me without
reserve, pacing the room, projecting, ciphering,
extending hypothetical interests, trebling imaginary
capital, his "engine" (to renew an excellent old word)
labouring full steam ahead, I could never decide
whether my sense of respect or entertainment were the
stronger.  But these good hours were destined to
curtailment.

"Yes, It's smart enough," I once observed.  "But,
Pinkerton, do you think it's honest?"

"You don't think it's honest?" he wailed.  "O dear me,
that ever I should have heard such an expression on
your lips."

At sight of his distress I plagiarised unblushingly
from Myner.  "You seem to think honesty as simple as
Blind Man's Buff" said I.  "It's a more delicate affair
than that: delicate as any art."

"O well, at that rate!" he exclaimed, with complete
relief; "that's casuistry."

"I am perfectly certain of one thing; that what you
propose is dishonest," I returned.

"Well, say no more about it; that's settled," he
replied.

Thus, almost at a word, my point was carried.  But the
trouble was that such differences continued to recur,
until we began to regard each other with alarm.  If
there were one thing Pinkerton valued himself upon, it
was his honesty; if there were one thing he clung to,
it was my good opinion; and when both were involved, as
was the case in these commercial cruces, the man was on
the rack.  My own position, if you consider how much I
owed him, how hateful is the trade of fault-finder, and
that yet I lived and fattened on these questionable
operations, was perhaps equally distressing.  If I had
been more sterling or more combative, things might have
gone extremely far.  But, in truth, I was just base
enough to profit by what was not forced on my
attention, rather than seek scenes; Pinkerton quite
cunning enough to avail himself of my weakness; and it
was a relief to both when he began to involve his
proceedings in a decent mystery.

Our last dispute, which had a most unlooked-for
consequence, turned on the refitting of condemned
ships.  He had bought a miserable hulk, and came,
rubbing his hands, to inform me she was already on the
slip, under a new name, to be repaired.  When first I
had heard of this industry I suppose I scarcely
comprehended; but much discussion had sharpened my
faculties, and now my brow became heavy.

"I can be no party to that, Pinkerton," said I.

He leaped like a man shot.  "What next?" he cried.
"What ails you anyway? You seem to me to dislike
everything that's profitable."

"This ship has been condemned by Lloyd's agent," said
I.

"But I tell you it's a deal.  The ship's in splendid
condition; there's next to nothing wrong with her but
the garboard streak and the sternpost.  I tell you,
Lloyd's is a ring, like everybody else; only it's an
English ring, and that's what deceives you.  If it was
American, you would be crying it down all day.  It's
Anglomania--common Anglomania," he cried, with growing
irritation.

"I will not make money by risking men's lives," was my
ultimatum.

"Great Caesar! isn't all speculation a risk? Isn't the
fairest kind of shipowning to risk men's lives? And
mining--how's that for risk? And look at the elevator
business--there's danger if you like! Didn't I take my
risk when I bought her? She might have been too far
gone; and where would I have been? Loudon," he cried,
"I tell you the truth: you're too full of refinement
for this world!"

"I condemn you out of your own lips," I replied.  "'The
fairest kind of shipowning,' says you.  If you please,
let us only do the fairest kind of business."

The shot told; the Irrepressible was silenced; and I
profited by the chance to pour in a broadside of
another sort.  He was all sunk in money-getting, I
pointed out; he never dreamed of anything but dollars.
Where were all his generous, progressive sentiments?
Where was his culture? I asked.  And where was the
American Type?

"It's true, Loudon," he cried, striding up and down the
room, and wildly scouring at his hair.  "You're
perfectly right.  I'm becoming materialised.  O, what a
thing to have to say, what a confession to make!
Materialised! Me! Loudon, this must go on no longer.
You've been a loyal friend to me once more; give me
your hand--you've saved me again.  I must do something
to rouse the spiritual side; something desperate; study
something, something dry and tough.  What shall it be?
Theology? Algebra? What's algebra?"

"It's dry and tough enough," said I; "a squared + 2ab +
b squared."

"It's stimulating, though?" he inquired.

I told him I believed so, and that it was considered
fortifying to Types.

"Then that's the thing for me.  I'll study algebra," he
concluded.

The next day, by application to one of his type-writing
women, he got word of a young lady, one Miss Mamie
McBride, who was willing and able to conduct him in
these bloomless meadows; and, her circumstances being
lean, and terms consequently moderate, he and Mamie
were soon in agreement for two lessons in the week.  He
took fire with unexampled rapidity; he seemed unable to
tear himself away from the symbolic art; an hour's
lesson occupied the whole evening; and the original two
was soon increased to four, and then to five.  I bade
him beware of female blandishments.  "The first thing
you know, you'll be falling in love with the
algebraist," said I.

"Don't say it, even in jest," he cried.  "She's a lady
I revere.  I could no more lay a hand upon her than I
could upon a spirit Loudon, I don't believe God ever
made a purer-minded woman."

Which appeared to me too fervent to be reassuring.

Meanwhile I had been long expostulating with my friend
upon a different matter.  "I'm the fifth wheel," I kept
telling him.  "For any use I am, I might as well be in
Senegambia.  The letters you give me to attend to might
be answered by a sucking child.  And I tell you what it
is, Pinkerton; either you've got to find me some
employment, or I'll have to start in and find it for
myself"

This I said with a corner of my eye in the usual
quarter, toward the arts, little dreaming what destiny
was to provide.

"I've got it, Loudon," Pinkerton at last replied.  "Got
the idea on the Potrero cars.  Found I hadn't a pencil,
borrowed one from the conductor, and figured on it
roughly all the way in town.  I saw it was the thing at
last; gives you a real show.  All your talents and
accomplishments come in.  Here's a sketch
advertisement.  Just run your eye over it.  "SUN,
OZONE AND MUSIC! PINKERTON'S HEBDOMADARY PICNICS!"
(That's a good, catching phrase, "hebdomadary," though
it's hard to say.  I made a note of it when I was
looking in the dictionary how to spell HECTAGONAL
'Well, you're a boss word,' I said.  'Before you're
very much older, I'll have you in type as long as
yourself.' And here it is, you see.) 'FIVE DOLLARS A
HEAD, AND LADIES FREE.  MONSTER OLIO OF ATTRACTIONS.'
(How does that strike you?) 'FREE LUNCHEON UNDER THE
GREENWOOD TREE.  DANCE ON THE ELASTIC SWARD.  HOME
AGAIN IN THE BRIGHT EVENING HOURS.  MANAGER AND
HONORARY STEWARD, H. LOUDON DODD, ESQ., THE WELL-KNOWN
CONNOISSEUR.'"

Singular how a man runs from Scylla to Charybdis! I was
so intent on securing the disappearance of a single
epithet that I accepted the rest of the advertisement
and all that it involved without discussion.  So it
befell that the words "well-known connoisseur" were
deleted; but that H. Loudon Dodd became manager and
honorary steward of Pinkerton's Hebdomadary Picnics,
soon shortened, by popular consent, to The Dromedary.

By eight o'clock, any Sunday morning, I was to be
observed by an admiring public on the wharf.  The garb
and attributes of sacrifice consisted of a black
frockcoat, rosetted, its pockets bulging with
sweetmeats and inferior cigars, trousers of light blue,
a silk hat like a reflector, and a varnished wand.  A
goodly steamer guarded my one flank, panting and
throbbing, flags fluttering fore and aft of her,
illustrative of the Dromedary and patriotism.  My other
flank was covered by the ticket-office, strongly held
by a trusty character of the Scots persuasion, rosetted
like his superior, and smoking a cigar to mark the
occasion festive.  At half-past, having assured myself
that all was well with the free luncheons, I lit a
cigar myself, and awaited the strains of the "Pioneer
Band." I had never to wait long--they were German and
punctual--and by a few minutes after the half-hour I
would hear them booming down street with a long
military roll of drums, some score of gratuitous asses
prancing at the head in bearskin hats and buckskin
aprons, and conspicuous with resplendent axes.  The
band, of course, we paid for; but so strong is the San
Franciscan passion for public masquerade, that the
asses (as I say) were all gratuitous, pranced for the
love of it, and cost us nothing but their luncheon.

The musicians formed up in the bows of my steamer, and
struck into a skittish polka; the asses mounted guard
upon the gangway and the ticket-office; and presently
after, in family parties of father, mother, and
children, in the form of duplicate lovers or in that of
solitary youth, the public began to descend upon us by
the carful at a time; four to six hundred perhaps, with
a strong German flavour, and all merry as children.
When these had been shepherded on board, and the
inevitable belated two or three had gained the deck
amidst the cheering of the public, the hawser was cast
off, and we plunged into the bay.

And now behold the honorary steward in hour of duty and
glory; see me circulate amid crowd, radiating
affability and laughter, liberal with my sweetmeats and
cigars.  I say unblushing things to hobbledehoy girls,
tell shy young persons this is the married people's
boat, roguishly ask the abstracted if they are thinking
of their sweethearts, offer paterfamilias a cigar, am
struck with the beauty and grow curious about the age
of mamma's youngest, who (I assure her gaily) will be a
man before his mother; or perhaps it may occur to me,
from the sensible expression of her face, that she is a
person of good counsel, and I ask her earnestly if she
knows any particularly pleasant place on the Saucelito
or San Rafael coast--for the scene of our picnic is
always supposed to be uncertain.  The next moment I am
back at my giddy badinage with the young ladies,
wakening laughter as I go, and leaving in my wake
applausive comments of "Isn't Mr. Dodd a funny
gentleman?" and "O, I think he's just too nice!"

An hour having passed in this airy manner, I start upon
my rounds afresh, with a bag full of coloured tickets,
all with pins attached, and all with legible
inscriptions: "Old Germany," "California," "True Love,"
"Old Fogies," "La Belle France," "Green Erin," "The
Land of Cakes," "Washington," "Blue Jay," "Robin Red-
Breast"--twenty of each denomination; for when it comes
to the luncheon we sit down by twenties.  These are
distributed with anxious tact--for, indeed, this is the
most delicate part of my functions--but outwardly with
reckless unconcern, amidst the gayest flutter and
confusion; and are immediately after sported upon hats
and bonnets, to the extreme diffusion of cordiality,
total strangers hailing each other by "the number of
their mess"--so we humorously name it--and the deck
ringing with cries of, "Here, all Blue Jays to the
rescue!" or, "I say, am I alone in this blame' ship?
Ain't there no more Californians?"

By this time we are drawing near to the appointed spot.
I mount upon the bridge, the observed of all observers.

"Captain," I say, in clear, emphatic tones, heard far
and wide, "the majority of the company appear to be in
favour of the little cove beyond One-Tree Point."

"All right, Mr. Dodd," responds the captain heartily;
"all one to me.  I am not exactly sure of the place you
mean; but just you stay here and pilot me."

I do, pointing with my wand.  I do pilot him, to the
inexpressible entertainment of the picnic, for I am
(why should I deny it?) the popular man.  We slow down
off the mouth of a grassy valley, watered by a brook
and set in pines and redwoods.  The anchor is let go,
the boats are lowered--two of them already packed with
the materials of an impromptu bar--and the Pioneer
Band, accompanied by the resplendent asses, fill the
other, and move shoreward to the inviting strains of
"Buffalo Gals, won't you come out to-night?" It is a
part of our programme that one of the asses shall, from
sheer clumsiness, in the course of this embarkation,
drop a dummy axe into the water, whereupon the mirth of
the picnic can hardly be assuaged.  Upon one occasion
the dummy axe floated, and the laugh turned rather the
wrong way.

In from ten to twenty minutes the boats are along-side
again, the messes are marshalled separately on the
deck, and the picnic goes ashore, to find the band and
the impromptu bar awaiting them.  Then come the
hampers, which are piled up on the beach, and
surrounded by a stern guard of stalwart asses, axe on
shoulder.  It is here I take my place, note-book in
hand, under a banner bearing the legend, "Come here for
hampers." Each hamper contains a complete outfit for a
separate twenty--cold provender, plates, glasses,
knives, forks, and spoons.  An agonised printed appeal
from the fevered pen of Pinkerton, pasted on the inside
of the lid, beseeches that care be taken of the glass
and silver.  Beer, wine, and lemonade are flowing
already from the bar, and the various clans of twenty
file away into the woods, with bottles under their arms
and the hampers strung upon a stick.  Till one they
feast there, in a very moderate seclusion, all being
within earshot of the band.  From one till four dancing
takes place upon the grass; the bar does a roaring
business; and the honorary steward, who has already
exhausted himself to bring life into the dullest of the
messes, must now indefatigably dance with the plainest
of the women.  At four a bugle-call is sounded, and by
half-past behold us on board again--Pioneers,
corrugated iron bar, empty bottles, and all; while the
honorary steward, free at last, subsides into the
captain's cabin over a brandy and soda and a book.
Free at last, I say; yet there remains before him the
frantic leavetakings at the pier, and a sober journey
up to Pinkerton's office with two policemen and the
day's takings in a bag.

What I have here sketched was the routine.  But we
appealed to the taste of San Francisco more distinctly
in particular fetes.  "Ye Olde Time Pycke-Nycke,"
largely advertised in hand-bills beginning "Oyez,
Oyez!" and largely frequented by knights, monks, and
cavaliers, was drowned out by unseasonable rain, and
returned to the city one of the saddest spectacles I
ever remember to have witnessed.  In pleasing contrast,
and certainly our chief success, was "The Gathering of
the Clans," or Scottish picnic.  So many milk-white
knees were never before simultaneously exhibited in
public, and, to judge by the prevalence of "Royal
Stewart" and the number of eagles' feathers, we were a
high-born company.  I threw forward the Scottish flank
of my own ancestry, and passed muster as a clansman
with applause.  There was, indeed, but one small cloud
on this red-letter day.  I had laid in a large supply
of the national beverage in the shape of the "Rob Roy
MacGregor O' Blend, Warranted Old and Vatted"; and this
must certainly have been a generous spirit, for I had
some anxious work between four and half-past, conveying
on board the inanimate forms of chieftains.

To one of our ordinary festivities, where he was the
life and soul of his own mess, Pinkerton himself came
incognito, bringing the algebraist on his arm.  Miss
Mamie proved to be a well-enough-looking mouse, with a
large limpid eye, very good manners, and a flow of the
most correct expressions I have ever heard upon the
human lip.  As Pinkerton's incognito was strict, I had
little opportunity to cultivate the lady's
acquaintance, but I was informed afterwards that she
considered me "the wittiest gentleman she had ever
met."  "The Lord mend your taste in wit!" thought I;
but I cannot conceal that such was the general
impression.  One of my pleasantries even went the round
of San Francisco, and I have heard it (myself all
unknown) bandied in saloons.  To be unknown began at
last to be a rare experience; a bustle woke upon my
passage, above all, in humble neighbourhoods.  "Who's
that?" one would ask, and the other would cry, "That!
why, Dromedary Dodd!" or, with withering scorn, "Not
know Mr. Dodd of the picnics? Well!" and, indeed, I
think it marked a rather barren destiny; for our
picnics, if a trifle vulgar, were as gay and innocent
as the age of gold.  I am sure no people divert
themselves so easily and so well, and even with the
cares of my stewardship I was often happy to be there.

Indeed, there were but two drawbacks in the least
considerable.  The first was my terror of the hobble-
dehoy girls, to whom (from the demands of my situation)
I was obliged to lay myself so open.  The other, if
less momentous, was more mortifying.  In early days--at
my mother's knee, as a man may say--I had acquired the
unenviable accomplishment (which I have never since
been able to lose) of singing "Just before the Battle."
I have what the French call a fillet of voice--my best
notes scarce audible about a dinner-table, and the
upper register rather to be regarded as a higher power
of silence.  Experts tell me, besides, that I sing
flat; nor, if I were the best singer in the world, does
"Just before the Battle" occur to my mature taste as
the song that I would choose to sing.  In spite of all
which considerations, at one picnic, memorably dull,
and after I had exhausted every other art of pleasing,
I gave, in desperation, my one song.  From that hour my
doom was gone forth.  Either we had a chronic passenger
(though I could never detect him), or the very wood and
iron of the steamer must have retained the tradition.
At every successive picnic word went round that Mr.
Dodd was a singer; that Mr. Dodd sang "Just before the
Battle"; and, finally, that now was the time when Mr.
Dodd sang "Just before the Battle." So that the thing
became a fixture, like the dropping of the dummy axe;
and you are to conceive me, Sunday after Sunday, piping
up my lamentable ditty, and covered, when it was done,
with gratuitous applause.  It is a beautiful trait in
human nature that I was invariably offered an encore.

I was well paid, however, even to sing.  Pinkerton and
I, after an average Sunday, had five hundred dollars to
divide.  Nay, and the picnics were the means, although
indirectly, of bringing me a singular windfall.  This
was at the end of the season, after the "Grand Farewell
Fancy Dress Gala." Many of the hampers had suffered
severely; and it was judged wiser to save storage,
dispose of them, and lay in a fresh stock when the
campaign reopened.  Among my purchasers was a working
man of the name of Speedy, to whose house, after
several unavailing letters, I must proceed in person,
wondering to find myself once again on the wrong side,
and playing the creditor to some one else's debtor.
Speedy was in the belligerent stage of fear.  He could
not pay.  It appeared he had already resold the
hampers, and he defied me to do my worst.  I did not
like to lose my own money; I hated to lose Pinkerton's;
and the bearing of my creditor incensed me.

"Do you know, Mr. Speedy, that I can send you to the
penitentiary?" said I, willing to read him a lesson.

The dire expression was overheard in the next room.  A
large, fresh, motherly Irishwoman ran forth upon the
instant, and fell to besiege me with caresses and
appeals.  "Sure now, and ye couldn't have the heart to
ut, Mr. Dodd--you, that's so well known to be a
pleasant gentleman; and it's a pleasant face ye have,
and the picture of me own brother that's dead and gone.
It's a truth that he's been drinking.  Ye can smell it
off of him, more blame to him.  But, indade, and
there's nothing in the house beyont the furnicher, and
Thim Stock.  It's the stock that ye'll be taking, dear.
A sore penny it has cost me, first and last, and, by
all tales, not worth an owld tobacco-pipe." Thus
adjured, and somewhat embarrassed by the stern attitude
I had adopted, I suffered myself to be invested with a
considerable quantity of what is called "wild-cat
stock," in which this excellent if illogical female had
been squandering her hard-earned gold.  It could scarce
be said to better my position, but the step quieted the
woman; and, on the other hand, I could not think I was
taking much risk, for the shares in question (they were
those of what I will call the Catamount Silver Mine)
had fallen some time before to the bed-rock quotation,
and now lay perfectly inert, or were only kicked (like
other waste-paper) about the kennel of the exchange by
bankrupt speculators.

A month or two after I perceived by the stock-list that
Catamount had taken a bound; before afternoon "thim
stock" were worth a quite considerable pot of money;
and I learned, upon inquiry, that a bonanza had been
found in a condemned lead, and the mine was now
expected to do wonders.  Remarkable to philosophers how
bonanzas are found in condemned leads, and how the
stock is always at freezing-point immediately before!
By some stroke of chance the Speedys had held on to the
right thing; they had escaped the syndicate; yet a
little more, if I had not come to dun them, and Mrs.
Speedy would have been buying a silk dress.  I could
not bear, of course, to profit by the accident, and
returned to offer restitution.  The house was in a
bustle; the neighbours (all stock-gamblers themselves)
had crowded to condole; and Mrs. Speedy sat with
streaming tears, the centre of a sympathetic group.
"For fifteen year I've been at ut," she was lamenting
as I entered, "and grudging the babes the very milk--
more shame to me!--to pay their dhirty assessments.
And now, my dears, I should be a lady, and driving in
my coach, if all had their rights; and a sorrow on that
man Dodd! As soon as I set eyes on him, I seen the
divil was in the house."

It was upon these words that I made my entrance, which
was therefore dramatic enough, though nothing to what
followed.  For when it appeared that I was come to
restore the lost fortune, and when Mrs. Speedy (after
copiously weeping on my bosom) had refused the
restitution, and when Mr. Speedy (summoned to that end
from a camp of the Grand Army of the Republic) had
added his refusal, and when I had insisted, and they
had insisted, and the neighbours had applauded and
supported each of us in turn; and when at last it was
agreed we were to hold the stock together, and share
the proceeds in three parts--one for me, one for Mr.
Speedy, and one for his spouse--I will leave you to
conceive the enthusiasm that reigned in that small,
bare apartment, with the sewing-machine in the one
corner, and the babes asleep in the other, and pictures
of Garfield and the Battle of Gettysburg on the yellow
walls.  Port-wine was had in by a sympathiser, and we
drank it mingled with tears.

"And I dhrink to your health, my dear," sobbed Mrs.
Speedy, especially affected by my gallantry in the
matter of the third share; "and I'm sure we all dhrink
to his health--Mr. Dodd of the picnics, no gentleman
better known than him; and it's my prayer, dear, the
good God may be long spared to see ye in health and
happiness!"

In the end I was the chief gainer; for I sold my third
while it was worth five thousand dollars, but the
Speedys more adventurously held on until the syndicate
reversed the process, when they were happy to escape
with perhaps a quarter of that sum.  It was just as
well; for the bulk of the money was (in Pinkerton's
phrase) reinvested; and when next I saw Mrs. Speedy,
she was still gorgeously dressed from the proceeds of
the late success, but was already moist with tears over
the new catastrophe.  "We're froze out, me darlin"! All
the money we had, dear, and the sewing-machine, and
Jim's uniform, was in the Golden West; and the vipers
has put on a new assessment."

By the end of the year, therefore, this is how I stood.
I had made

     By Catamount Silver Mine.......... $5,000
     By the picnics....................  3,000
     By the lecture....................    600
     By profit and loss on capital in
          Pinkerton's business.........  1,350
                                        ------
                                        $9,950
to which must be added

     What remained of my grandfather's
          donation.....................  8,500
                                        ------
                                       $18,450

It appears, on the other hand, that

     I had spent.......................  4,000
                                        ------
     Which thus left me to the good... $14,450

a result on which I am not ashamed to say I looked with
gratitude and pride.  Some eight thousand (being late
conquest) was liquid and actually tractile in the bank;
the rest whirled beyond reach and even sight (save in
the mirror of a balance-sheet) under the compelling
spell of wizard Pinkerton.  Dollars of mine were
tacking off the shores of Mexico, in peril of the deep
and the guarda-costas; they rang on saloon counters in
the city of Tombstone, Arizona; they shone in faro-
tents among the mountain diggings; the imagination
flagged in following them, so wide were they diffused,
so briskly they span to the turning of the wizard's
crank.  But here, there, or everywhere I could still
tell myself it was all mine, and--what was more
convincing--draw substantial dividends.  My fortune, I
called it; and it represented, when expressed in
dollars, or even British pounds, an honest pot of
money; when extended into francs, a veritable fortune.
Perhaps I have let the cat out of the bag; perhaps you
see already where my hopes were pointing, and begin to
blame my inconsistency.  But I must first tell you my
excuse, and the change that had befallen Pinkerton.

About a week after the picnic to which he escorted
Mamie, Pinkerton avowed the state of his affections.
From what I had observed on board the steamer--where,
methought, Mamie waited on him with her limpid eyes--I
encouraged the bashful lover to proceed; and the very
next evening he was carrying me to call on his
affianced.

"You must befriend her, Loudon, as you have always
befriended me," he said pathetically.

"By saying disagreeable things? I doubt if that be the
way to a young lady's favour," I replied; "and since
this picnicking I begin to be a man of some
experience."

"Yes, you do nobly there; I can't describe how I admire
you," he cried.  "Not that she will ever need it; she
has had every advantage.  God knows what I have done to
deserve her.  O man, what a responsibility this is for
a rough fellow and not always truthful!"

"Brace up, old man--brace up!" said I.

But when we reached Mamie's boarding-house, it was
almost with tears that he presented me.  "Here is
Loudon, Mamie," were his words.  "I want you to love
him; he has a grand nature."

"You are certainly no stranger to me, Mr. Dodd," was
her gracious expression.  "James is never weary of
descanting on your goodness."

"My dear lady," said I, "when you know our friend a
little better, you will make a large allowance for his
warm heart.  My goodness has consisted in allowing him
to feed and clothe and toil for me when he could ill
afford it.  If I am now alive, it is to him I owe it;
no man had a kinder friend.  You must take good care of
him," I added, laying my hand on his shoulder, "and
keep him in good order, for he needs it."

Pinkerton was much affected by this speech, and so, I
fear, was Mamie.  I admit it was a tactless
performance.  "When you know our friend a little
better," was not happily said; and even "keep him in
good order, for he needs it," might be construed into
matter of offence.  But I lay it before you in all
confidence of your acquittal: was the general tone of
it "patronising"? Even if such was the verdict of the
lady, I cannot but suppose the blame was neither wholly
hers nor wholly mine; I cannot but suppose that
Pinkerton had already sickened the poor woman of my
very name; so that if I had come with the songs of
Apollo, she must still have been disgusted.

Here, however, were two finger-posts to Paris--Jim was
going to be married, and so had the less need of my
society; I had not pleased his bride, and so was,
perhaps, better absent.  Late one evening I broached
the idea to my friend.  It had been a great day for me;
I had just banked my five thousand Catamountain
dollars; and as Jim had refused to lay a finger on the
stock, risk and profit were both wholly mine, and I was
celebrating the event with stout and crackers.  I began
by telling him that if it caused him any pain or any
anxiety about his affairs, he had but to say the word,
and he should hear no more of my proposal.  He was the
truest and best friend I ever had, or was ever like to
have; and it would be a strange thing if I refused him
any favour he was sure he wanted.  At the same time I
wished him to be sure; for my life was wasting in my
hands.  I was like one from home: all my true interests
summoned me away.  I must remind him, besides, that he
was now about to marry and assume new interests, and
that our extreme familiarity might be even painful to
his wife.  "O no, Loudon; I feel you are wrong there,"
he interjected warmly; "she DOES appreciate your
nature." "So much the better, then," I continued; and
went on to point out that our separation need not be
for long; that, in the way affairs were going, he might
join me in two years with a fortune--small, indeed, for
the States, but in France almost conspicuous; that we
might unite our resources, and have one house in Paris
for the winter and a second near Fontainebleau for
summer, where we could be as happy as the day was long,
and bring up little Pinkertons as practical artistic
workmen, far from the money-hunger of the West.  "Let
me go, then," I concluded; "not as a deserter, but as
the vanguard, to lead the march of the Pinkerton men."

So I argued and pleaded, not without emotion; my friend
sitting opposite, resting his chin upon his hand and
(but for that single interjection) silent.  "I have
been looking for this, Loudon," said he, when I had
done.  "It does pain me, and that's the fact--I'm so
miserably selfish.  And I believe it's a death-blow to
the picnics; for it's idle to deny that you were the
heart and soul of them with your wand and your gallant
bearing, and wit and humour and chivalry, and throwing
that kind of society atmosphere about the thing.  But,
for all that, you're right, and you ought to go.  You
may count on forty dollars a week; and if Depew City--
one of nature's centres for this State--pan out the
least as I expect, it may be double.  But it's forty
dollars anyway; and to think that two years ago you
were almost reduced to beggary!"

"I WAS reduced to it," said I.

"Well, the brutes gave you nothing, and I'm glad of it
now!" cried Jim.  "It's the triumphant return I glory
in! Think of the master, and that cold-blooded Myner
too! Yes, just let the Depew City boom get on its legs,
and you shall go; and two years later, day for day,
I'll shake hands with you in Paris, with Mamie on my
arm, God bless her!"

We talked in this vein far into the night.  I was
myself so exultant in my new-found liberty, and
Pinkerton so proud of my triumph, so happy in my
happiness, in so warm a glow about the gallant little
woman of his choice, and the very room so filled with
castles in the air and cottages at Fontainebleau, that
it was little wonder if sleep fled our eyelids, and
three had followed two upon the office-clock before
Pinkerton unfolded the mechanism of his patent sofa.

                     CHAPTER VIII
                           
                           
                FACES ON THE CITY FRONT

IT is very much the custom to view life as if it were
exactly ruled in two, like sleep and waking--the
provinces of play and business standing separate.  The
business side of my career in San Francisco has been
now disposed of; I approach the chapter of diversion;
and it will be found they had about an equal share in
building up the story of the Wrecker--a gentleman whose
appearance may be presently expected.

With all my occupations, some six afternoons and two or
three odd evenings remained at my disposal every week:
a circumstance the more agreeable as I was a stranger
in a city singularly picturesque.  From what I had once
called myself, "The Amateur Parisian," I grew (or
declined) into a water-side prowler, a lingerer on
wharves, a frequenter of shy neighbourhoods, a scraper
of acquaintance with eccentric characters.  I visited
Chinese and Mexican gambling-hells, German secret
societies, sailors' boarding-houses, and "dives" of
every complexion of the disreputable and dangerous.  I
have seen greasy Mexican hands pinned to the table with
a knife for cheating, seamen (when blood-money ran
high) knocked down upon the public street and carried
insensible on board short-handed ships, shots
exchanged, and the smoke (and the company) dispersing
from the doors of the saloon.  I have heard cold-minded
Polacks debate upon the readiest method of burning San
Francisco to the ground, hot-headed working men and
women bawl and swear in the tribune at the Sandlot, and
Kearney himself open his subscription for a gallows,
name the manufacturers who were to grace it with their
dangling bodies, and read aloud to the delighted
multitude a telegram of adhesion from a member of the
State legislature: all which preparations of
proletarian war were (in a moment) breathed upon and
abolished by the mere name and fame of Mr. Coleman.
That lion of the Vigilantes had but to rouse himself
and shake his ears, and the whole brawling mob was
silenced.  I could not but reflect what a strange
manner of man this was, to be living unremarked there
as a private merchant, and to be so feared by a whole
city; and if I was disappointed, in my character of
looker-on, to have the matter end ingloriously without
the firing of a shot or the hanging of a single
millionaire, philosophy tried to tell me that this
sight was truly the more picturesque.  In a thousand
towns and different epochs I might have had occasion to
behold the cowardice and carnage of street-fighting;
where else, but only there and then, could I have
enjoyed a view of Coleman (the intermittent despot)
walking meditatively up hill in a quiet part of town,
with a very rolling gait, and slapping gently his great
thigh?

MINORA CANAMUS.  This historic figure stalks
silently through a corner of the San Francisco of my
memory.  The rest is bric-a-brac, the reminiscences of
a vagrant sketcher.  My delight was much in slums.
"Little Italy" was a haunt of mine.  There I would look
in at the windows of small eating-shops transported
bodily from Genoa or Naples, with their macaroni, and
chianti flasks, and portraits of Garibaldi, and
coloured political caricatures; or (entering in) hold
high debate with some ear-ringed fisher of the bay as
to the designs of "Mr. Owstria" and "Mr. Rooshia." I
was often to be observed (had there been any to observe
me) in that dis-peopled, hill-side solitude of "Little
Mexico," with its crazy wooden houses, endless crazy
wooden stairs, and perilous mountain-goat paths in the
sand.  Chinatown by a thousand eccentricities drew and
held me; I could never have enough of its ambiguous,
inter-racial atmosphere, as of a vitalised museum;
never wonder enough at its outlandish, necromantic-
looking vegetables set forth to sell in commonplace
American shop-windows, its temple-doors open and the
scent of the joss-stick streaming forth on the American
air, its kites of Oriental fashion hanging fouled in
Western telegraph-wires, its flights of paper prayers
which the trade-wind hunts and dissipates along Western
gutters.  I was a frequent wanderer on North Beach,
gazing at the straits, and the huge Cape Horners
creeping out to sea, and imminent Tamalpais.  Thence,
on my homeward way, I might visit that strange and
filthy shed, earth-paved and walled with the cages of
wild animals and birds, where at a ramshackle counter,
amid the yells of monkeys and a poignant atmosphere of
menagerie, forty-rod whisky was administered by a
proprietor as dirty as his beasts.  Nor did I even
neglect Nob Hill, which is itself a kind of slum, being
the habitat of the mere millionaire.  There they dwell
upon the hill-top, high raised above man's clamour, and
the trade-wind blows between their palaces about
deserted streets.

But San Francisco is not herself only.  She is not only
the most interesting city in the Union, and the hugest
smelting-pot of races and the precious metals.  She
keeps, besides, the doors of the Pacific, and is the
port of entry to another world and an earlier epoch in
man's history.  Nowhere else shall you observe (in the
ancient phrase) so many tall ships as here convene from
round the Horn, from China, from Sydney, and the
Indies.  But, scarce remarked amid that crowd of deep-
sea giants, another class of craft, the Island
schooner, circulates--low in the water, with lofty
spars and dainty lines, rigged and fashioned like a
yacht, manned with brown-skinned, soft-spoken, sweet-
eyed native sailors, and equipped with their great
double-ender boats that tell a tale of boisterous sea-
beaches.  These steal out and in again, unnoted by the
world or even the newspaper press, save for the line in
the clearing column, "Schooner So-and-so for Yap and
South Sea Islands"--steal out with nondescript cargoes
of tinned salmon, gin, bolts of gaudy cotton stuff,
women's hats, and Waterbury watches, to return, after a
year, piled as high as to the eaves of the house with
copra, or wallowing deep with the shells of the
tortoise or the pearl oyster.  To me, in my character
of the Amateur Parisian, this island traffic, and even
the island world, were beyond the bounds of curiosity,
and how much more of knowledge? I stood there on the
extreme shore of the West and of to-day.  Seventeen
hundred years ago, and seven thousand miles to the
east, a legionary stood, perhaps, upon the wall of
Antoninus, and looked northward toward the mountains of
the Picts.  For all the interval of time and space, I,
when I looked from the cliff-house on the broad
Pacific, was that man's heir and analogue: each of us
standing on the verge of the Roman Empire (or, as we
now call it, Western civilisation), each of us gazing
onward into zones unromanised.  But I was dull.  I
looked rather backward, keeping a kind eye on Paris;
and it required a series of converging incidents to
change my attitude of nonchalance for one of interest,
and even longing, which I little dreamed that I should
live to gratify.

The first of these incidents brought me in acquaintance
with a certain San Francisco character, who had
something of a name beyond the limits of the city, and
was known to many lovers of good English.  I had
discovered a new slum, a place of precarious sandy
cliffs, deep sandy cuttings, solitary ancient houses,
and the butt-ends of streets.  It was already
environed.  The ranks of the street-lamps threaded it
unbroken.  The city, upon all sides of it, was tightly
packed, and growled with traffic.  To-day, I do not
doubt the very landmarks are all swept away; but it
offered then, within narrow limits, a delightful peace,
and (in the morning, when I chiefly went there) a
seclusion almost rural.  On a steep sandhill in this
neighbourhood toppled, on the most insecure foundation,
a certain row of houses, each with a bit of garden, and
all (I have to presume) inhabited.  Thither I used to
mount by a crumbling footpath, and in front of the last
of the houses would sit down to sketch.

The very first day I saw I was observed out of the
ground-floor window by a youngish, good-looking fellow,
prematurely bald, and with an expression both lively
and engaging.  The second, as we were still the only
figures in the landscape, it was no more than natural
that we should nod.  The third he came out fairly from
his intrenchments, praised my sketch, and with the
IMPROMPTU cordiality of artists carried me into his
apartment; where I sat presently in the midst of a
museum of strange objects--paddles, and battle-clubs,
and baskets, rough-hewn stone images, ornaments of
threaded shell, cocoa-nut bowls, snowy cocoa-nut
plumes--evidences and examples of another earth,
another climate, another race, and another (if a ruder)
culture.  Nor did these objects lack a fitting
commentary in the conversation of my new acquaintance.
Doubtless you have read his book.  You know already how
he tramped and starved, and had so fine a profit of
living in his days among the islands; and meeting him
as I did, one artist with another, after months of
offices and picnics, you can imagine with what charm he
would speak, and with what pleasure I would hear.  It
was in such talks, which we were both eager to repeat,
that I first heard the names--first fell under the
spell--of the islands; and it was from one of the first
of them that I returned (a happy man) with "Omoo" under
one arm, and my friend's own adventures under the
other.

The second incident was more dramatic, and had,
besides, a bearing on my future.  I was standing one
day near a boat-landing under Telegraph Hill.  A large
barque, perhaps of eighteen hundred tons, was coming
more than usually close about the point to reach her
moorings; and I was observing her with languid
inattention, when I observed two men to stride across
the bulwarks, drop into a shore boat, and, violently
dispossessing the boatman of his oars, pull toward the
landing where I stood.  In a surprisingly short time
they came tearing up the steps, and I could see that
both were too well dressed to be foremast hands--the
first even with research, and both, and specially the
first, appeared under the empire of some strong
emotion.

"Nearest police office!" cried the leader.

"This way," said I, immediately falling in with their
precipitate pace.  "What's wrong? What ship is that?"

"That's the GLEANER," he replied.  "I am chief
officer, this gentleman's third, and we've to get in
our depositions before the crew.  You see, they might
corral us with the captain, and that's no kind of berth
for me.  I've sailed with some hard cases in my time,
and seen pins flying like sand on a squally day--but
never a match to our old man.  It never let up from the
Hook to the Farallones, and the last man was dropped
not sixteen hours ago.  Packet rats our men were, and
as tough a crowd as ever sand-bagged a man's head in;
but they looked sick enough when the captain started in
with his fancy shooting."

"O, he's done up," observed the other.  "He won't go to
sea no more."

"You make me tired," retorted his superior.  "If he
gets ashore in one piece, and isn't lynched in the next
ten minutes, he'll do yet.  The owners have a longer
memory than the public, they'll stand by him; they
don't find as smart a captain every day in the year."

"O, he's a son of a gun of a fine captain; there ain't
no doubt of that," concurred the other heartily.  "Why,
I don't suppose there's been no wages paid aboard that
GLEANER for three trips."

"No wages?" I exclaimed, for I was still a novice in
maritime affairs.

"Not to sailor-men before the mast," agreed the mate.
"Men cleared out; wasn't the soft job they maybe took
it for.  She isn't the first ship that never paid
wages."

I could not but observe that our pace was progressively
relaxing; and, indeed, I have often wondered since
whether the hurry of the start were not intended for
the gallery alone.  Certain it is, at least, that when
we had reached the police office, and the mates had
made their deposition, and told their horrid tale of
five men murdered--some with savage passion, some with
cold brutality--between Sandy Hook and San Francisco,
the police were despatched in time to be too late.
Before we arrived the ruffian had slipped out upon the
dock, and mingled with the crowd, and found a refuge in
the house of an acquaintance; and the ship was only
tenanted by his late victims.  Well for him that he had
been thus speedy; for when word began to go abroad
among the shore-side characters, when the last victim
was carried by to the hospital, when those who had
escaped (as by miracle) from that floating shambles
began to circulate and show their wounds in the crowd,
it was strange to witness the agitation that seized and
shook that portion of the city.  Men shed tears in
public; bosses of lodging-houses, long inured to
brutality--and, above all, brutality to sailors--shook
their fists at heaven.  If hands could have been laid
on the captain of the GLEANER, his shrift would
have been short.  That night (so gossip reports) he was
headed up in a barrel and smuggled across the bay.  In
two ships already he had braved the penitentiary and
the gallows; and yet, by last accounts, he now commands
another on the Western Ocean.

As I have said, I was never quite certain whether Mr.
Nares (the mate) did not intend that his superior
should escape.  It would have been like his preference
of loyalty to law; it would have been like his
prejudice, which was all in favour of the after-guard.
But it must remain a matter of conjecture only.  Well
as I came to know him in the sequel, he was never
communicative on that point--nor, indeed, on any that
concerned the voyage of the GLEANER.  Doubtless he
had some reason for his reticence.  Even during our
walk to the police office he debated several times with
Johnson, the third officer, whether he ought not to
give up himself, as well as to denounce the captain.
He had decided in the negative, arguing that "it would
probably come to nothing; and even if there was a
stink, he had plenty good friends in San Francisco."
And to nothing it came; though it must have very nearly
come to something, for Mr. Nares disappeared
immediately from view, and was scarce less closely
hidden than his captain.

Johnson, on the other hand, I often met.  I could never
learn this man's country; and though he himself claimed
to be American, neither his English nor his education
warranted the claim.  In all likelihood he was of
Scandinavian birth and blood, long pickled in the
forecastles of English and American ships.  It is
possible that, like so many of his race in similar
positions, he had already lost his native tongue.  In
mind, at least, he was quite denationalised; thought
only in English--to call it so; and though by nature
one of the mildest, kindest, and most feebly playful of
mankind, he had been so long accustomed to the cruelty
of sea discipline that his stories (told perhaps with a
giggle) would sometimes turn me chill.  In appearance
he was tall, light of weight, bold and high-bred of
feature, dusky-haired, and with a face of a clean even
brown--the ornament of outdoor men.  Seated in a chair,
you might have passed him off for a baronet or a
military officer; but let him rise, and it was
Fo'c's'le Jack that came rolling toward you, crab-like;
let him but open his lips, and it was Fo'c's'le Jack
that piped and drawled his ungrammatical gibberish.  He
had sailed (among other places) much among the islands;
and after a Cape Horn passage with its snow-squalls and
its frozen sheets, he announced his intention of
"taking a turn among them Kanakas." I thought I should
have lost him soon; but, according to the unwritten
usage of mariners, he had first to dissipate his wages.
"Guess I'll have to paint this town red," was his
hyperbolical expression; for sure no man ever embarked
upon a milder course of dissipation, most of his days
being passed in the little parlour behind Black Tom's
public-house, with a select corps of old particular
acquaintances, all from the South Seas, and all patrons
of a long yarn, a short pipe, and glasses round.

Black Tom's, to the front, presented the appearance of
a fourth-rate saloon, devoted to Kanaka seamen, dirt,
negrohead tobacco, bad cigars, worse gin, and guitars
and banjos in a state of decline.  The proprietor, a
powerful coloured man, was at once a publican, a ward
politician, leader of some brigade of "lambs" or
"smashers," at the wind of whose clubs the party bosses
and the mayor were supposed to tremble, and (what hurt
nothing) an active and reliable crimp.  His front
quarters, then, were noisy, disreputable, and not even
safe.  I have seen worse-frequented saloons where there
were fewer scandals; for Tom was often drunk himself:
and there is no doubt the Lambs must have been a useful
body, or the place would have been closed.  I remember
one day, not long before an election, seeing a blind
man, very well dressed, led up to the counter and
remain a long while in consultation with the negro.
The pair looked so ill-assorted, and the awe with which
the drinkers fell back and left them in the midst of an
IMPROMPTU privacy was so unusual in such a place,
that I turned to my next neighbour with a question.  He
told me the blind man was a distinguished party boss,
called by some the King of San Francisco, but perhaps
better known by his picturesque Chinese nickname of the
Blind White Devil.  "The Lambs must be wanted pretty
bad, I guess," my informant added.  I have here a
sketch of the Blind White Devil leaning on the counter;
on the next page, and taken the same hour, a jotting of
Black Tom threatening a whole crowd of customers with a
long Smith and Wesson--to such heights and depths we
rose and fell in the front parts of the saloon!

Meanwhile, away in the back quarters, sat the small
informal South Sea club, talking of another world, and
surely of a different century.  Old schooner captains
they were, old South Sea traders, cooks, and mates;
fine creatures, softened by residence among a softer
race: full men besides, though not by reading, but by
strange experience; and for days together I could hear
their yarns with an unfading pleasure.  All had,
indeed, some touch of the poetic; for the beach-comber,
when not a mere ruffian, is the poor relation of the
artist.  Even through Johnson's inarticulate speech,
his "O yes, there ain't no harm in them Kanakas," or "O
yes, that's a son of a gun of a fine island,
mountainious right down; I didn't never ought to have
left that island," there pierced a certain gusto of
appreciation; and some of the rest were master-talkers.
From their long tales, their traits of character and
unpremeditated landscape, there began to piece itself
together in my head some image of the islands and the
island life; precipitous shores, spired mountaintops,
the deep shade of hanging forests, the unresting surf
upon the reef, and the unending peace of the lagoon;
sun, moon, and stars of an imperial brightness; man
moving in these scenes scarce fallen, and woman
lovelier than Eve; the primal curse abrogated, the bed
made ready for the stranger, life set to perpetual
music, and the guest welcomed, the boat urged, and the
long night beguiled with poetry and choral song.  A man
must have been an unsuccessful artist; he must have
starved on the streets of Paris; he must have been
yoked to a commercial force like Pinkerton, before he
can conceive the longings that at times assailed me.
The draughty, rowdy city of San Francisco, the bustling
office where my friend Jim paced like a caged lion
daily between ten and four, even (at times) the
retrospect of Paris, faded in comparison.  Many a man
less tempted would have thrown up all to realise his
visions; but I was by nature unadventurous and
uninitiative; to divert me from all former paths and
send me cruising through the isles of paradise, some
force external to myself must be exerted; Destiny
herself must use the fitting wedge; and, little as I
deemed it, that tool was already in her hand of brass.

I sat, one afternoon, in the corner of a great, glassy,
silvered saloon, a free lunch at my one elbow, at the
other a "conscientious nude" from the brush of local
talent; when, with the tramp of feet and a sudden buzz
of voices, the swing-doors were flung broadly open, and
the place carried as by storm.  The crowd which thus
entered (mostly seafaring men, and all prodigiously
excited) contained a sort of kernel or general centre
of interest, which the rest merely surrounded and
advertised, as children in the Old World surround and
escort the Punch-and-Judy man; the word went round the
bar like wildfire that these were Captain Trent and the
survivors of the British brig FLYING SCUD, picked
up by a British war-ship on Midway Island, arrived that
morning in San Francisco Bay, and now fresh from making
the necessary declarations.  Presently I had a good
sight of them; four brown, seamanlike fellows, standing
by the counter, glass in hand, the centre of a score of
questioners.  One was a Kanaka--the cook, I was
informed; one carried a cage with a canary, which
occasionally trilled into thin song; one had his left
arm in a sling, and looked gentleman-like and somewhat
sickly, as though the injury had been severe and he was
scarce recovered; and the captain himself--a red-faced,
blue-eyed, thickset man of five-and-forty--wore a
bandage on his right hand.  The incident struck me; I
was struck particularly to see captain, cook, and
foremost hands walking the street and visiting saloons
in company; and, as when anything impressed me, I got
my sketch-book out, and began to steal a sketch of the
four castaways.  The crowd, sympathising with my
design, made a clear lane across the room; and I was
thus enabled, all unobserved myself, to observe with a
still growing closeness the face and the demeanour of
Captain Trent.

Warmed by whisky and encouraged by the eagerness of the
bystanders, that gentleman was now rehearsing the
history of his misfortune.  It was but scraps that
reached me: how he "filled her on the starboard tack,"
and how "it came up sudden out of the nor'-nor'-west,"
and "there she was, high and dry." Sometimes he would
appeal to one of the men--"That was how it was, Jack?"-
-and the man would reply, "That was the way of it,
Captain Trent." Lastly, he started a fresh tide of
popular sympathy by enunciating the sentiment, "Damn
all these Admiralty Charts, and that's what I say!"
From the nodding of heads and the murmurs of assent
that followed, I could see that Captain Trent had
established himself in the public mind as a gentleman
and a thorough navigator: about which period, my sketch
of the four men and the canary-bird being finished, and
all (especially the canary-bird) excellent likenesses,
I buckled up my book and slipped from the saloon.

Little did I suppose that I was leaving Act I.  Scene 1
of the drama of my life; and yet the scene--or rather
the captain's face--lingered for some time in my
memory.  I was no prophet, as I say; but I was
something else--I was an observer; and one thing I
knew--I knew when a man was terrified.  Captain Trent,
of the British brig FLYING SCUD, had been glib; he
had been ready; he had been loud; but in his blue eyes
I could detect the chill, and in the lines of his
countenance spy the agitation, of perpetual terror.
Was he trembling for his certificate? In my judgment it
was some livelier kind of fear that thrilled in the
man's marrow as he turned to drink.  Was it the result
of recent shock, and had he not yet recovered the
disaster to his brig? I remembered how a friend of mine
had been in a railway accident, and shook and started
for a month; and although Captain Trent of the
FLYING SCUD had none of the appearance of a nervous
man, I told myself, with incomplete conviction, that
his must be a similar case.

                      CHAPTER IX
                           
                           
            THE WRECK OF THE "FLYING SCUD"

THE next morning I found Pinkerton, who had risen
before me, seated at our usual table, and deep in the
perusal of what I will call the DAILY OCCIDENTAL.
This was a paper (I know not if it be so still) that
stood out alone among its brethren in the West.  The
others, down to their smallest item, were defaced with
capitals, head-lines, alliterations, swaggering
misquotations, and the shoddy picturesque and
unpathetic pathos of the Harry Millers: the
OCCIDENTAL alone appeared to be written by a dull,
sane, Christian gentleman, singly desirous of
communicating knowledge.  It had not only this merit--
which endeared it to me--but was admittedly the best
informed on business matters, which attracted
Pinkerton.

"Loudon," said he, looking up from the journal, "you
sometimes think I have too many irons in the fire.  My
notion, on the other hand, is, when you see a dollar
lying, pick it up! Well, here I've tumbled over a whole
pile of 'em on a reef in the middle of the Pacific."

"Why, Jim, you miserable fellow!" I exclaimed; haven't
we Depew City, one of God's green centres for this
State? haven't we----"

"Just listen to this," interrupted Jim.  "It's
miserable copy; these OCCIDENTAL reporter fellows
have no fire; but the facts are right enough, I guess."
And he began to read:--

WRECK OF THE BRITISH BRIG "FLYING SCUD."

H.B.M.S.  TEMPEST, which arrived yesterday at this
port, brings Captain Trent and four men of the British
brig FLYING SCUD, cast away February 12th on Midway
Island, and most providentially rescued the next day.
The FLYING SCUD was of 200 tons burthen, owned in
London, and has been out nearly two years tramping.
Captain Trent left Hong Kong December 8th, bound for
this port in rice and a small mixed cargo of silks,
teas, and China notions, the whole valued at $10,000,
fully covered by insurance.  The log shows plenty of
fine weather, with light airs, calms, and squalls.  In
lat. 28 N., long. 177 W., his water going rotten, and
misled by Hoyt's NORTH PACIFIC DIRECTORY, which
informed him there was a coaling station on the island,
Captain Trent put in to Midway Island.  He found it a
literal sandbank, surrounded by a coral reef, mostly
submerged.  Birds were very plenty, there was good fish
in the lagoon, but no firewood; and the water, which
could be obtained by digging, brackish.  He found good
holding-ground off the north end of the larger bank in
fifteen fathoms water; bottom sandy, with coral
patches.  Here he was detained seven days by a calm,
the crew suffering severely from the water, which was
gone quite bad; and it was only on the evening of the
12th that a little wind sprang up, coming puffy out of
N.N.E.  Late as it was, Captain Trent immediately
weighed anchor and attempted to get out.  While the
vessel was beating up to the passage, the wind took a
sudden lull, and then veered squally into N., and even
N.N.W., driving the brig ashore on the sand at about
twenty minutes before six o'clock.  John Wallen, a
native of Finland, and Charles Holdorsen, a native of
Sweden, were drowned alongside, in attempting to lower
a boat, neither being able to swim, the squall very
dark, and the noise of the breakers drowning
everything.  At the same time John Brown, another of
the crew, had his arm broken by the falls.  Captain
Trent further informed the OCCIDENTAL reporter that
the brig struck heavily at first bows on, he supposes
upon coral; that she then drove over the obstacle, and
now lies in sand, much down by the head, and with a
list to starboard.  In the first collision she must
have sustained some damage, as she was making water
forward.  The rice will probably be all destroyed: but
the more valuable part of the cargo is fortunately in
the after-hold.  Captain Trent was preparing his long-
boat for sea, when the providential arrival of the
TEMPEST, pursuant to Admiralty orders to call at
islands in her course for castaways, saved the gallant
captain from all further danger.  It is scarcely
necessary to add that both the officers and men of the
unfortunate vessel speak in high terms of the kindness
they received on board the man-of-war.  We print a list
of the survivors: Jacob Trent, master, of Hull,
England; Elias Goddedaal, mate, native of
Christiansand, Sweden; Ah Wing, cook, native of Sana,
China; John Brown, native of Glasgow, Scotland; John
Hardy, native of London, England.  The FLYING SCUD
is ten years old, and this morning will be sold as she
stands, by order of Lloyd's agent, at public auction,
for the benefit of the underwriters.  The auction will
take place in the Merchants" Exchange at ten o'clock.

FURTHER PARTICULARS.--Later in the afternoon the
occidental reporter found Lieutenant Sebright, first
officer of H.B.M.S. TEMPEST, at the Palace Hotel.
The gallant officer was somewhat pressed for time, but
confirmed the account given by Captain Trent in all
particulars.  He added that the FLYING SCUD is in
an excellent berth, and, except in the highly
improbable event of a heavy N.W. gale, might last until
next winter.

"You will never know anything of literature," said I,
when Jim had finished.  "That is a good, honest, plain
piece of work, and tells the story clearly.  I see only
one mistake: the cook is not a Chinaman; he is a
Kanaka, and, I think, a Hawaiian."

"Why, how do you know that?" asked Jim.

"I saw the whole gang yesterday in a saloon," said I.
"I even heard the tale, or might have heard it, from
Captain Trent himself, who struck me as thirsty and
nervous."

"Well, that's neither here nor there," cried Pinkerton;
"the point is, how about these dollars lying on a
reef?"

"Will it pay?" I asked.

"Pay like a sugar trust!" exclaimed Pinkerton.  "Don't
you see what this British officer says about the
safety? Don't you see the cargo's valued at ten
thousand? Schooners are begging just now; I can get my
pick of them at two hundred and fifty a month; and how
does that foot up? It looks like three hundred per
cent. to me."

"You forget," I objected, "the captain himself declares
the rice is damaged."

"That's a point, I know," admitted Jim.  "But the rice
is the sluggish article, anyway; it's little more
account than ballast; it's the tea and silks that I
look to: all we have to find is the proportion, and one
look at the manifest will settle that.  I've rung up
Lloyd's on purpose; the captain is to meet me there in
an hour, and then I'll be as posted on that brig as if
I built her.  Besides, you've no idea what pickings
there are about a wreck--copper, lead, rigging,
anchors, chains, even the crockery, Loudon!"

"You seem to me to forget one trifle," said I.  "Before
you pick that wreck you've got to buy her, and how much
will she cost?"

"One hundred dollars," replied Jim, with the
promptitude of an automaton.

"How on earth do you guess that?" I cried.

"I don't guess; I know it," answered the Commercial
Force.  "My dear boy, I may be a galoot about
literature, but you'll always be an outsider in
business.  How do you suppose I bought the JAMES L.
MOODY for two hundred and fifty, her boats alone worth
four times the money? Because my name stood first in
the list Well, it stands there again; I have the naming
of the figure, and I name a small one because of the
distance: but it wouldn't matter what I named; that
would be the price."

"It sounds mysterious enough," said I.  "Is this public
auction conducted in a subterranean vault? Could a
plain citizen--myself, for instance--come and see?"

"O, everything's open and above-board!" he cried
indignantly.  "Anybody can come, only nobody bids
against us; and if he did, he would get frozen out.
It's been tried before now, and once was enough.  We
hold the plant; we've got the connection; we can afford
to go higher than any outsider; there's two million
dollars in the ring; and we stick at nothing.  Or
suppose anybody did buy over our head--I tell you,
Loudon, he would think this town gone crazy; he could
no more get business through on the city front than I
can dance; schooners, divers, men--all he wanted--the
prices would fly right up and strike him."

"But how did you get in?" I asked.  "You were once an
outsider like your neighbours, I suppose?"

"I took hold of that thing, Loudon, and just studied it
up," he replied.  "It took my fancy; it was so
romantic, and then I saw there was boodle in the thing;
and I figured on the business till no man alive could
give me points.  Nobody knew I had an eye on wrecks
till one fine morning I dropped in upon Douglas B.
Longhurst in his den, gave him all the facts and
figures, and put it to him straight: "Do you want me in
this ring, or shall I start another?" He took half an
hour, and when I came back, "Pink," says he, "I've put
your name on." The first time I came to the top it was
that MOODY racket; now it's the FLYING SCUD

Whereupon Pinkerton, looking at his watch, uttered an
exclamation, made a hasty appointment with myself for
the doors of the Merchants' Exchange, and fled to
examine manifests and interview the skipper.  I
finished my cigarette with the deliberation of a man at
the end of many picnics; reflecting to myself that of
all forms of the dollar-hunt, this wrecking had by far
the most address to my imagination.  Even as I went
down town, in the brisk bustle and chill of the
familiar San Francisco thoroughfares, I was haunted by
a vision of the wreck, baking so far away in the strong
sun, under a cloud of sea-birds; and even then, and for
no better reason, my heart inclined towards the
adventure.  If not myself, something that was mine,
some one at least in my employment, should voyage to
that ocean-bounded pin-point and descend to that
deserted cabin.

Pinkerton met me at the appointed moment, pinched of
lip, and more than usually erect of bearing, like one
conscious of great resolves.

"Well?" I asked.

"Well," said he, "it might be better, and it might be
worse.  This Captain Trent is a remarkably honest
fellow--one out of a thousand.  As soon as he knew I
was in the market, he owned up about the rice in so
many words.  By his calculation, if there's thirty mats
of it saved, it's an outside figure.  However, the
manifest was cheerier.  There's about five thousand
dollars of the whole value in silks and teas and nut-
oils and that, all in the lazarette, and as safe as if
it was in Kearney Street.  The brig was new coppered a
year ago.  There's upwards of a hundred and fifty
fathom away-up chain.  It's not a bonanza, but there's
boodle in it; and we'll try it on."

It was by that time hard on ten o'clock, and we turned
at once into the place of sale.  The FLYING SCUD,
although so important to ourselves, appeared to attract
a very humble share of popular attention.  The
auctioneer was surrounded by perhaps a score of
lookers-on--big fellows for the most part, of the true
Western build, long in the leg, broad in the shoulder,
and adorned (to a plain man's taste) with needless
finery.  A jaunty ostentatious comradeship prevailed.
Bets were flying, and nicknames.  "The boys" (as they
would have called themselves) were very boyish; and it
was plain they were here in mirth, and not on business.
Behind, and certainly in strong contrast to these
gentlemen, I could detect the figure of my friend
Captain Trent, come (as I could very well imagine that
a captain would) to hear the last of his old vessel.
Since yesterday he had rigged himself anew in ready-
made black clothes, not very aptly fitted; the upper
left-hand pocket showing a corner of silk handkerchief,
the lower, on the other side, bulging with papers.
Pinkerton had just given this man a high character.
Certainly he seemed to have been very frank, and I
looked at him again to trace (if possible) that virtue
in his face.  It was red and broad and flustered and (I
thought) false.  The whole man looked sick with some
unknown anxiety; and as he stood there, unconscious of
my observation, he tore at his nails, scowled on the
floor, or glanced suddenly, sharply, and fearfully at
passers-by.  I was still gazing at the man in a kind of
fascination, when the sale began.

Some preliminaries were rattled through, to the
irreverent, uninterrupted gambolling of the boys; and
then, amid a trifle more attention, the auctioneer
sounded for some two or three minutes the pipe of the
charmer.  "Fine brig--new copper--valuable fittings--
three fine boats--remarkably choice cargo--what the
auctioneer would call a perfectly safe investment; nay,
gentlemen, he would go further, he would put a figure
on it: he had no hesitation (had that bold auctioneer)
in putting it in figures; and in his view, what with
this and that, and one thing and another, the purchaser
might expect to clear a sum equal to the entire
estimated value of the cargo; or, gentlemen, in other
words, a sum of ten thousand dollars." At this modest
computation the roof immediately above the speaker's
head (I suppose, through the intervention of a
spectator of ventriloquial tastes) uttered a clear
"Cock-a-doodle-doo!"--whereat all laughed, the
auctioneer himself obligingly joining.

"Now, gentlemen, what shall we say?" resumed that
gentleman, plainly ogling Pinkerton,--"what shall we
say for this remarkable opportunity?"

"One hundred dollars," said Pinkerton.

"One hundred dollars from Mr. Pinkerton," went the
auctioneer, "one hundred dollars.  No other gentleman
inclined to make any advance? One hundred dollars, only
one hundred dollars----"

The auctioneer was droning on to some such tune as
this, and I, on my part, was watching with something
between sympathy and amazement the undisguised emotion
of Captain Trent, when we were all startled by the
interjection of a bid.

"And fifty," said a sharp voice.

Pinkerton, the auctioneer, and the boys, who were all
equally in the open secret of the ring, were now all
equally and simultaneously taken aback.

"I beg your pardon," said the auctioneer; "anybody
bid?"

"And fifty," reiterated the voice, which I was now able
to trace to its origin, on the lips of a small unseemly
rag of human-kind.  The speaker's skin was grey and
blotched; he spoke in a kind of broken song, with much
variety of key; his gestures seemed (as in the disease
called Saint Vitus's dance) to be imperfectly under
control; he was badly dressed; he carried himself with
an air of shrinking assumption, as though he were proud
to be where he was and to do what he was doing, and yet
half expected to be called in question and kicked out.
I think I never saw a man more of a piece; and the type
was new to me: I had never before set eyes upon his
parallel, and I thought instinctively of Balzac and the
lower regions of the COMEDIE HUMAINE.

Pinkerton stared a moment on the intruder with no
friendly eye, tore a leaf from his note-book, and
scribbled a line in pencil, turned, beckoned a
messenger boy, and whispered, "To Longhurst." Next
moment the boy had sped upon his errand, and Pinkerton
was again facing the auctioneer.

"Two hundred dollars," said Jim.

"And fifty," said the enemy.

"This looks lively," whispered I to Pinkerton.

"Yes; the little beast means cold-drawn biz," returned
my friend.  "Well, he'll have to have a lesson.  Wait
till I see Longhurst.--Three hundred," he added aloud.

"And fifty," came the echo.

It was about this moment when my eye fell again on
Captain Trent.  A deeper shade had mounted to his
crimson face; the new coat was unbuttoned and all
flying open, the new silk handkerchief in busy
requisition; and the man's eye, of a clear sailor blue,
shone glassy with excitement.  He was anxious still,
but now (if I could read a face) there was hope in his
anxiety.

"Jim," I whispered, "look at Trent.  Bet you what you
please he was expecting this."

"Yes," was the reply, "there's some blame' thing going
on her"; and he renewed his bid.

The figure had run up into the neighbourhood of a
thousand when I was aware of a sensation in the faces
opposite, and, looking over my shoulder, saw a very
large, bland, handsome man come strolling forth and
make a little signal to the auctioneer.

"One word, Mr. Borden," said he; and then to Jim,
"Well, Pink, where are we up to now?"

Pinkerton gave him the figure.  "I ran up to that on my
own responsibility, Mr. Longhurst," he added, with a
flush.  "I thought it the square thing."

"And so it was," said Mr. Longhurst, patting him kindly
on the shoulder, like a gratified uncle.  "Well, you
can drop out now; we take hold ourselves.  You can run
it up to five thousand; and if he likes to go beyond
that, he's welcome to the bargain."

"By-the-bye, who is he?" asked Pinkerton.  "He looks
away down."

"I've sent Billy to find out"; and at the very moment
Mr. Longhurst received from the hands of one of the
expensive young gentlemen a folded paper.  It was
passed round from one to another till it came to me,
and I read: "Harry D. Bellairs, Attorney-at-Law;
defended Clara Varden: twice nearly disbarred."

"Well, that gets me!" observed Mr. Longhurst.  "Who can
have put up a shyster [1] like that? No-body with
money, that's a sure thing.  Suppose you tried a big
bluff? I think I would, Pink.  Well, ta-ta! Your
partner, Mr. Dodd? Happy to have the pleasure of your
acquaintance, sir"; and the great man withdrew.

[1] A low lawyer.

"Well, what do you think of Douglas B.?" whispered
Pinkerton, looking reverently after him as he departed.
"Six foot of perfect gentleman and culture to his
boots."

During this interview the auction had stood
transparently arrested--the auctioneer, the spectators,
and even Bellairs, all well aware that Mr. Longhurst
was the principal, and Jim but a speaking-trumpet.  But
now that the Olympian Jupiter was gone, Mr. Borden
thought proper to affect severity.

"Come, come, Mr. Pinkerton; any advance?" he snapped.

And Pinkerton, resolved on the big bluff, replied, "Two
thousand dollars."

Bellairs preserved his composure.  "And fifty," said
he.  But there was a stir among the onlookers, and--
what was of more importance--Captain Trent had turned
pale and visibly gulped.

"Pitch it in again, Jim," said I.  "Trent is
weakening."

"Three thousand," said Jim.

"And fifty," said Bellairs.

And then the bidding returned to its original movement
by hundreds and fifties; but I had been able in the
meanwhile to draw two conclusions.  In the first place,
Bellairs had made his last advance with a smile of
gratified vanity, and I could see the creature was
glorying in the KUDOS of an unusual position and
secure of ultimate success.  In the second, Trent had
once more changed colour at the thousand leap, and his
relief when he heard the answering fifty was manifest
and unaffected.  Here, then, was a problem: both were
presumably in the same interest, yet the one was not in
the confidence of the other.  Nor was this all.  A few
bids later it chanced that my eye encountered that of
Captain Trent, and his, which glittered with
excitement, was instantly, and I thought guiltily,
withdrawn.  He wished, then, to conceal his interest?
As Jim had said, there was some blamed thing going on.
And for certain here were these two men, so strangely
united, so strangely divided, both sharp-set to keep
the wreck from us, and that at an exorbitant figure.

Was the wreck worth more than we supposed? A sudden
heat was kindled in my brain; the bids were nearing
Longhurst's limit of five thousand; another minute and
all would be too late.  Tearing a leaf from my sketch-
book, and inspired (I suppose) by vanity in my own
powers of inference and observation, I took the one mad
decision of my life.  "If you care to go ahead," I
wrote, "I'm in for all I'm worth."

Jim read and looked round at me like one bewildered;
then his eyes lightened, and turning again to the
auctioneer he bid, "Five thousand one hundred dollars."

"And fifty," said monotonous Bellairs.

Presently Pinkerton scribbled, "What can it be?" and I
answered, still on paper: "I can't imagine, but there's
something.  Watch Bellairs; he'll go up to the ten
thousand, see if he don't."

And he did, and we followed.  Long before this word had
gone abroad that there was battle royal.  We were
surrounded by a crowd that looked on wondering, and
when Pinkerton had offered ten thousand dollars (the
outside value of the cargo, even were it safe in San
Francisco Bay) and Bellairs, smirking from ear to ear
to be the centre of so much attention, had jerked out
his answering "And fifty," wonder deepened to
excitement.

"Ten thousand one hundred," said Jim; and even as he
spoke he made a sudden gesture with his hand, his face
changed, and I could see that he had guessed, or
thought that he had guessed, the mystery.  As he
scrawled another memorandum in his note-book, his hand
shook like a telegraph operator's.

"Chinese ship," ran the legend; and then in big,
tremulous half-text, and with a flourish that overran
the margin, "Opium!"

"To be sure," thought I, "this must be the secret." I
knew that scarce a ship came in from any Chinese port
but she carried somewhere, behind a bulkhead or in some
cunning hollow of the beams, a nest of the valuable
poison.  Doubtless there was some such treasure on the
FLYING SCUD.  How much was it worth? We knew not;
we were gambling in the dark.  But Trent knew, and
Bellairs; and we could only watch and judge.

By this time neither Pinkerton nor I were of sound
mind.  Pinkerton was beside himself, his eyes like
lamps; I shook in every member.  To any stranger
entering, say, in the course of the fifteenth thousand,
we should probably have cut a poorer figure than
Bellairs himself.  But we did not pause; and the crowd
watched us--now in silence, now with a buzz of
whispers.

Seventeen thousand had been reached, when Douglas B.
Longhurst, forcing his way into the opposite row of
faces, conspicuously and repeatedly shook his head at
Jim.  Jim's answer was a note of two words: "My
racket!" which, when the great man had perused, he
shook his finger warningly and departed--I thought,
with a sorrowful countenance.

Although Mr. Longhurst knew nothing of Bellairs, the
shady lawyer knew all about the Wrecker Boss.  He had
seen him enter the ring with manifest expectation; he
saw him depart, and the bids continue, with manifest
surprise and disappointment.  "Hullo," he plainly
thought, "this is not the ring I'm fighting, then?" And
he determined to put on a spurt.

"Eighteen thousand," said he.

"And fifty," said Jim, taking a leaf out of his
adversary's book.

"Twenty thousand," from Bellairs.

"And fifty," from Jim, with a little nervous titter.

And with one consent they returned to the old pace--
only now it was Bellairs who took the hundreds, and Jim
who did the fifty business.  But by this time our idea
had gone abroad.  I could hear the word "opium" pass
from mouth to mouth, and by the looks directed at us I
could see we were supposed to have some private
information.  And here an incident occurred highly
typical of San Francisco.  Close at my back there had
stood for some time a stout middle-aged gentleman, with
pleasant eyes, hair pleasantly grizzled, and a ruddy
pleasing face.  All of a sudden he appeared as a third
competitor, skied the FLYING SCUD with four fat
bids of a thousand dollars each, and then as suddenly
fled the field, remaining thenceforth (as before) a
silent, interested spectator.

Ever since Mr. Longhurst's useless intervention
Bellairs had seemed uneasy, and at this new attack he
began (in his turn) to scribble a note between the
bids.  I imagined, naturally enough, that it would go
to Captain Trent; but when it was done, and the writer
turned and looked behind him in the crowd, to my
unspeakable amazement he did not seem to remark the
captain's presence.

"Messenger boy, messenger boy!" I heard him say.
"Somebody call me a messenger boy."

At last somebody did, but it was not the captain.

"HE'S SENDING FOR INSTRUCTIONS," I wrote to
Pinkerton.

"For money," he wrote back.  "Shall I strike out? I
think this is the time."

I nodded.

"Thirty thousand," said Pinkerton, making a leap of
close upon three thousand dollars.

I could see doubt in Bellairs's eye; then, sudden
resolution.  "Thirty-five thousand," said he.

"Forty thousand," said Pinkerton.

There was a long pause, during which Bellairs's
countenance was as a book; and then, not much too soon
for the impending hammer, "Forty thousand and five
dollars," said he.

Pinkerton and I exchanged eloquent glances.  We were of
one mind.  Bellairs had tried a bluff; now he perceived
his mistake, and was bidding against time; he was
trying to spin out the sale until the messenger boy
returned.

"Forty-five thousand dollars," said Pinkerton: his
voice was like a ghost's and tottered with emotion.

"Forty-five thousand and five dollars," said Bellairs.

"Fifty thousand," said Pinkerton.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Pinkerton.  Did I hear you make
an advance, sir?" asked the auctioneer.

"I--I have a difficulty in speaking," gasped Jim.
"It's fifty thousand, Mr. Borden."

Bellairs was on his feet in a moment.  "Auctioneer," he
said, "I have to beg the favour of three moments at the
telephone.  In this matter I am acting on behalf of a
certain party to whom I have just written----"

"I have nothing to do with any of this," said the
auctioneer brutally.  "I am here to sell this wreck.
Do you make any advance on fifty thousand?"

"I have the honour to explain to you, sir," returned
Bellairs, with a miserable assumption of dignity,
"fifty thousand was the figure named by my principal;
but if you will give me the small favour of two moments
at the telephone

"O, nonsense!" said the auctioneer.  "If you make no
advance, I'll knock it down to Mr. Pinkerton."

"I warn you," cried the attorney, with sudden
shrillness.  "Have a care what you're about.  You are
here to sell for the underwriters, let me tell you--not
to act for Mr. Douglas Longhurst.  This sale has been
already disgracefully interrupted to allow that person
to hold a consultation with his minions; it has been
much commented on."

"There was no complaint at the time," said the
auctioneer, manifestly discountenanced.  "You should
have complained at the time."

"I am not here to conduct this sale," replied Bellairs;
"I am not paid for that."

"Well, I am, you see," retorted the auctioneer, his
impudence quite restored; and he resumed his sing-song.
"Any advance on fifty thousand dollars? No advance on
fifty thousand? No advance, gentlemen? Going at fifty
thousand, the wreck of the brig FLYING SCUD--going-
-going--gone!"

"My God, Jim, can we pay the money?" I cried, as the
stroke of the hammer seemed to recall me from a dream.

"It's got to be raised," said he, white as a sheet.
"It'll be a hell of a strain, Loudon.  The credit's
good for it, I think; but I shall have to get around.
Write me a cheque for your stuff.  Meet me at the
Occidental in an hour."

I wrote my cheque at a desk, and I declare I could
never have recognised my signature.  Jim was gone in a
moment; Trent had vanished even earlier; only Bellairs
remained, exchanging insults with the auctioneer; and,
behold! as I pushed my way out of the exchange, who
should run full tilt into my arms but the messenger
boy!

It was by so near a margin that we became the owners of
the FLYING SCUD.

                       CHAPTER X
                           
                           
               IN WHICH THE CREW VANISH

AT the door of the exchange I found myself along-side
of the short middle-aged gentleman who had made an
appearance, so vigorous and so brief, in the great
battle.

"Congratulate you, Mr. Dodd," he said.  "You and your
friend stuck to your guns nobly."

"No thanks to you, sir," I replied, "running us up a
thousand at a time, and tempting all the speculators in
San Francisco to come and have a try."

"O, that was temporary insanity," said he; "and I thank
the higher powers I am still a free man.  Walking this
way, Mr. Dodd? I'll walk along with you.  It's pleasant
for an old fogey like myself to see the young bloods in
the ring; I've done some pretty wild gambles in my time
in this very city, when it was a smaller place and I
was a younger man.  Yes, I know you, Mr. Dodd.  By
sight, I may say I know you extremely well, you and
your followers, the fellows in the kilts, eh? Pardon
me.  But I have the misfortune to own a little box on
the Saucelito shore.  I'll be glad to see you there any
Sunday--without the fellows in kilts, you know; and I
can give you a bottle of wine, and show you the best
collection of Arctic voyages in the States.  Morgan is
my name--Judge Morgan--a Welshman and a forty-niner."

"O, if you're a pioneer," cried I, "come to me and I'll
provide you with an axe."

"You'll want your axes for yourself, I fancy," he
returned, with one of his quick looks.  "Unless you
have private knowledge, there will be a good deal of
rather violent wrecking to do before you find that--
opium, do you call it?"

"Well, it's either opium, or we are stark staring mad,"
I replied.  "But I assure you we have no private
information.  We went in (as I suppose you did
yourself) on observation."

"An observer, sir?" inquired the judge.

"I may say it is my trade--or, rather, was," said I.

"Well now, and what did you think of Bellairs?" he
asked.

"Very little indeed," said I.

"I may tell you," continued the judge, "that to me the
employment of a fellow like that appears inexplicable.
I knew him: he knows me, too; he has often heard from
me in court; and I assure you the man is utterly blown
upon; it is not safe to trust him with a dollar, and
here we find him dealing up to fifty thousand.  I can't
think who can have so trusted him, but I am very sure
it was a stranger in San Francisco."

"Some one for the owners, I suppose," said I.

"Surely not!" exclaimed the judge.  "Owners in London
can have nothing to say to opium smuggled between Hong
Kong and San Francisco.  I should rather fancy they
would be the last to hear of it--until the ship was
seized.  No; I was thinking of the captain.  But where
would he get the money--above all, after having laid
out so much to buy the stuff in China?--unless, indeed,
he were acting for some one in 'Frisco; and in that
case--here we go round again in the vicious circle--
Bellairs would not have been employed."

"I think I can assure you it was not the captain," said
I, "for he and Bellairs are not acquainted."

"Wasn't that the captain with the red face and coloured
handkerchief? He seemed to me to follow Bellairs's game
with the most thrilling interest," objected Mr. Morgan.

"Perfectly true," said I.  "Trent is deeply interested;
he very likely knew Bellairs, and he certainly knew
what he was there for; but I can put my hand in the
fire that Bellairs didn't know Trent."

"Another singularity," observed the judge.  "Well, we
have had a capital forenoon.  But you take an old
lawyer's advice, and get to Midway Island as fast as
you can.  There's a pot of money on the table, and
Bellairs and Co. are not the men to stick at trifles."

With this parting counsel Judge Morgan shook hands and
made off along Montgomery Street, while I entered the
Occidental Hotel, on the steps of which we had finished
our conversation.  I was well known to the clerks, and
as soon as it was understood that I was there to wait
for Pinkerton and lunch, I was invited to a seat inside
the counter.  Here, then, in a retired corner, I was
beginning to come a little to myself after these so
violent experiences, when who should come hurrying in,
and (after a moment with a clerk) fly to one of the
telephone-boxes but Mr. Henry D. Bellairs in person!
Call it what you will, but the impulse was
irresistible, and I rose and took a place immediately
at the man's back.  It may be some excuse that I had
often practised this very innocent form of eaves-
dropping upon strangers and for fun.  Indeed, I scarce
know anything that gives a lower view of man's
intelligence than to overhear (as you thus do) one side
of a communication.

"Central," said the attorney, "2241 and 584 B" (or some
such numbers)--"Who's that?--All right--Mr. Bellairs--
Occidental; the wires are fouled in the other place--
Yes, about three minutes--Yes--Yes--Your figure, I am
sorry to say--No--I had no authority--Neither more nor
less--I have every reason to suppose so--O, Pinkerton,
Montana Block--Yes--Yes--Very good, sir--As you will,
sir--Disconnect 584 B."

Bellairs turned to leave; at sight of me behind him, up
flew his hands, and he winced and cringed, as though in
fear of bodily attack.  "O, it's you!" he cried; and
then, somewhat recovered, "Mr.  Pinkerton's partner, I
believe? I am pleased to see you, sir--to congratulate
you on your late success"; and with that he was gone,
obsequiously bowing as he passed.

And now a madcap humour came upon me.  It was plain
Bellairs had been communicating with his principal; I
knew the number, if not the name.  Should I ring up at
once? It was more than likely he would return in person
to the telephone.  Why should not I dash (vocally) into
the presence of this mysterious person, and have some
fun for my money? I pressed the bell.

"Central," said I, "connect again 2241 and 584 B."

A phantom central repeated the numbers; there was a
pause, and then "Two two four one," came in a tiny
voice into my ear--a voice with the English sing-song--
the voice plainly of a gentleman.  "Is that you again,
Mr. Bellairs?" it trilled.  "I tell you it's no use.
Is that you, Mr. Bellairs? Who is that?"

"I only want to put a single question," said I,
civilly.  "Why do you want to buy the FLYING SCUD?"

No answer came.  The telephone vibrated and hummed in
miniature with all the numerous talk of a great city:
but the voice of 2241 was silent.  Once and twice I put
my question; but the tiny sing-song English voice I
heard no more.  The man, then, had fled--fled from an
impertinent question.  It scarce seemed natural to me--
unless on the principle that the wicked fleeth when no
man pursueth.  I took the telephone list and turned the
number up: "2241, Mrs. Keane, res. 942 Mission Street"
And that, short of driving to the house and renewing my
impertinence in person, was all that I could do.

Yet, as I resumed my seat in the corner of the office,
I was conscious of a new element of the uncertain, the
underhand, perhaps even the dangerous, in our
adventure; and there was now a new picture in my mental
gallery, to hang beside that of the wreck under its
canopy of sea-birds and of Captain Trent mopping his
red brow--the picture of a man with a telephone dice-
box to his ear, and at the small voice of a single
question struck suddenly as white as ashes.

From these considerations I was awakened by the
striking of the clock.  An hour and nearly twenty
minutes had elapsed since Pinkerton departed for the
money: he was twenty minutes behind time; and to me,
who knew so well his gluttonous despatch of business,
and had so frequently admired his iron punctuality, the
fact spoke volumes.  The twenty minutes slowly
stretched into an hour; the hour had nearly extended to
a second; and I still sat in my corner of the office,
or paced the marble pavement of the hall, a prey to the
most wretched anxiety and penitence.  The hour for
lunch was nearly over before I remembered that I had
not eaten.  Heaven knows I had no appetite; but there
might still be much to do--it was needful I should keep
myself in proper trim, if it were only to digest the
now too probable bad news; and leaving word at the
office for Pinkerton, I sat down to table and called
for soup, oysters, and a pint of champagne.

I was not long set before my friend returned.  He
looked pale and rather old, refused to hear of food,
and called for tea.

"I suppose all's up?" said I, with an incredible
sinking.

"No," he replied; "I've pulled it through, Loudon--just
pulled it through.  I couldn't have raised another cent
in all 'Frisco.  People don't like it; Longhurst even
went back on me; said he wasn't a three-card-monte
man."

"Well, what's the odds?" said I.  "That's all we
wanted, isn't it?"

"Loudon, I tell you I've had to pay blood for that
money," cried my friend, with almost savage energy and
gloom.  "It's all on ninety days, too; I couldn't get
another day--not another day.  If we go ahead with this
affair, Loudon, you'll have to go yourself and make the
fur fly.  I'll stay, of course--I've got to stay and
face the trouble in this city; though, I tell you, I
just long to go.  I would show these fat brutes of
sailors what work was; I would be all through that
wreck and out at the other end, before they had boosted
themselves upon the deck! But you'll do your level
best, Loudon; I depend on you for that.  You must be
all fire and grit and dash from the word "go." That
schooner, and the boodle on board of her, are bound to
be here before three months, or it's B U S T--bust."

"I'll swear I'll do my best, Jim; I'll work double
tides," said I.  "It is my fault that you are in this
thing, and I'll get you out again, or kill myself.  But
what is that you say? 'If we go ahead?' Have we any
choice, then?"

"I'm coming to that," said Jim.  "It isn't that I doubt
the investment.  Don't blame yourself for that; you
showed a fine sound business instinct: I always knew it
was in you, but then it ripped right out.  I guess that
little beast of an attorney knew what he was doing; and
he wanted nothing better than to go beyond.  No,
there's profit in the deal; it's not that; it's these
ninety-day bills, and the strain I've given the credit-
-for I've been up and down borrowing, and begging and
bribing to borrow.  I don't believe there's another man
but me in 'Frisco," he cried, with a sudden fervour of
self-admiration, "who could have raised that last ten
thousand! Then there's another thing.  I had hoped you
might have peddled that opium through the islands,
which is safer and more profitable.  But with this
three-month limit, you must make tracks for Honolulu
straight, and communicate by steamer.  I'll try to put
up something for you there; I'll have a man spoken to
who's posted on that line of biz.  Keep a bright look-
out for him as soon's you make the islands; for it's on
the cards he might pick you up at sea in a whaleboat or
a steam-launch, and bring the dollars right on board."

It shows how much I had suffered morally during my
sojourn in San Francisco that even now, when our
fortunes trembled in the balance, I should have
consented to become a smuggler--and (of all things) a
smuggler of opium.  Yet I did, and that in silence;
without a protest, not without a twinge.

"And suppose," said I, "suppose the opium is so
securely hidden that I can't get hands on it?"

"Then you will stay there till that brig is kindling-
wood, and stay and split that kindling-wood with your
penknife," cried Pinkerton.  "The stuff is there; we
know that; and it must be found.  But all this is only
the one string to our bow--though I tell you I've gone
into it head-first, as if it was our bottom dollar.
Why, the first thing I did before I'd raised a cent,
and with this other notion in my head already--the
first thing I did was to secure the schooner.  The
NORAH CREINA she is, sixty-four tons--quite big enough
for our purpose since the rice is spoiled, and the
fastest thing of her tonnage out of San Francisco.  For
a bonus of two hundred, and a monthly charter of three,
I have her for my own time; wages and provisions, say
four hundred more: a drop in the bucket.  They began
firing the cargo out of her (she was part loaded) near
two hours ago; and about the same time John Smith got
the order for the stores.  That's what I call
business."

"No doubt of that," said I; "but the other notion?"

"Well, here it is," said Jim.  "You agree with me that
Bellairs was ready to go higher?"

"I saw where he was coming.  "Yes--and why shouldn't
he?" said I.  "Is that the line?"

"That's the line, Loudon Dodd," assented Jim.  "If
Bellairs and his principal have any desire to go me
better, I'm their man."

A sudden thought, a sudden fear, shot into my mind.
What if I had been right? What if my childish
pleasantry had frightened the principal away, and thus
destroyed our chance? Shame closed my mouth; I began
instinctively a long course of reticence; and it was
without a word of my meeting with Bellairs, or my
discovery of the address in Mission Street, that I
continued the discussion.

"Doubtless fifty thousand was originally mentioned as a
round sum," said I, "or, at least, so Bellairs
supposed.  But at the same time it may be an outside
sum; and to cover the expenses we have already incurred
for the money and the schooner--I am far from blaming
you; I see how needful it was to be ready for either
event--but to cover them we shall want a rather large
advance."

"Bellairs will go to sixty thousand; it's my belief, if
he were properly handled, he would take the hundred,"
replied Pinkerton.  "Look back on the way the sale ran
at the end."

"That is my own impression as regards Bellairs, I
admitted; "the point I am trying to make is that
Bellairs himself may be mistaken; that what he supposed
to be a round sum was really an outside figure."

"Well, Loudon, if that is so," said Jim, with
extraordinary gravity of face and voice, "if that is
so, let him take the FLYING SCUD at fifty thousand,
and joy go with her! I prefer the loss."

"Is that so, Jim? Are we dipped as bad as that?" I
cried.

"We've put our hand farther out than we can pull it in
again, Loudon," he replied.  "Why, man, that fifty
thousand dollars, before we get clear again, will cost
us nearer seventy.  Yes, it figures up overhead to more
than ten per cent. a month; and I could do no better,
and there isn't the man breathing could have done as
well.  It was a miracle, Loudon.  I couldn't but admire
myself.  O, if we had just the four months! And you
know, Loudon, it may still be done.  With your energy
and charm, if the worst comes to the worst, you can run
that schooner as you ran one of your picnics; and we
may have luck.  And O man! if we do pull it through,
what a dashing operation it will be! What an
advertisement! what a thing to talk of and remember all
our lives! However," he broke off suddenly, "we must
try the safe thing first.  Here's for the shyster!"

There was another struggle in my mind, whether I should
even now admit my knowledge of the Mission Street
address.  But I had let the favourable moment slip.  I
had now, which made it the more awkward, not merely the
original discovery, but my late suppression to confess.
I could not help reasoning, besides, that the more
natural course was to approach the principal by the
road of his agent's office; and there weighed upon my
spirits a conviction that we were already too late, and
that the man was gone two hours ago.  Once more, then,
I held my peace; and after an exchange of words at the
telephone to assure ourselves he was at home, we set
out for the attorney's office.

The endless streets of any American city pass, from one
end to another, through strange degrees and
vicissitudes of splendour and distress, running under
the same name between monumental warehouses, the dens
and taverns of thieves, and the sward and shrubbery of
villas.  In San Francisco the sharp inequalities of the
ground, and the sea bordering on so many sides, greatly
exaggerate these contrasts.  The street for which we
were now bound took its rise among blowing sands,
somewhere in view of the Lone Mountain Cemetery; ran
for a term across that rather windy Olympus of Nob
Hill, or perhaps just skirted its frontier; passed
almost immediately after through a stage of little
houses, rather impudently painted, and offering to the
eye of the observer this diagnostic peculiarity, that
the huge brass plates upon the small and highly-
coloured doors bore only the first names of ladies--
Norah or Lily or Florence; traversed China Town, where
it was doubtless undermined with opium cellars, and its
blocks pierced, after the similitude of rabbit-warrens,
with a hundred doors and passages and galleries;
enjoyed a glimpse of high publicity at the corner of
Kearney; and proceeded, among dives and warehouses,
towards the City Front and the region of the water-
rats.  In this last stage of its career, where it was
both grimy and solitary, and alternately quiet and
roaring to the wheels of drays, we found a certain
house of some pretension to neatness, and furnished
with a rustic outside stair.  On the pillar of the
stair a black plate bore in gilded lettering this
device: "Harry D. Bellairs, Attorney-at-law.
Consultations, 9 to 6." On ascending the stairs a door
was found to stand open on the balcony, with this
further inscription, "Mr. Bellairs In."

"I wonder what we do next," said I.

"Guess we sail right in," returned Jim, and suited the
action to the word.

The room in which we found ourselves was clean, but
extremely bare.  A rather old-fashioned secretaire
stood by the wall, with a chair drawn to the desk; in
one corner was a shelf with half-a-dozen law-books; and
I can remember literally not another stick of
furniture.  One inference imposed itself: Mr. Bellairs
was in the habit of sitting down himself and suffering
his clients to stand.  At the far end, and veiled by a
curtain of red baize, a second door communicated with
the interior of the house.  Hence, after some coughing
and stamping, we elicited the shyster, who came
timorously forth, for all the world like a man in fear
of bodily assault, and then, recognising his guests,
suffered from what I can only call a nervous paroxysm
of courtesy.

"Mr. Pinkerton and partner!" said he.  "I will go and
fetch you seats."

"Not the least," said Jim.  "No time.  Much rather
stand.  This is business, Mr. Bellairs.  This morning,
as you know, I bought the wreck FLYING SCUD."

The lawyer nodded.

"And bought her," pursued my friend, "at a figure out
of all proportion to the cargo and the circumstances,
as they appeared."

"And now you think better of it, and would like to be
off with your bargain? I have been figuring upon this,"
returned the lawyer.  "My client, I will not hide from
you, was displeased with me for putting her so high.  I
think we were both too heated, Mr. Pinkerton: rivalry--
the spirit of competition.  But I will be quite frank--
I know when I am dealing with gentlemen--and I am
almost certain, if you leave the matter in my hands, my
client would relieve you of the bargain, so as you
would lose"--he consulted our faces with gimlet-eyed
calculation--"nothing," he added shrilly.

And here Pinkerton amazed me.

"That's a little too thin," said he.  "I have the
wreck.  I know there's boodle in her, and I mean to
keep her.  What I want is some points which may save me
needless expense, and which I'm prepared to pay for,
money down.  The thing for you to consider is just
this, Am I to deal with you or direct with your
principal? If you are prepared to give me the facts
right off, why, name your figure.  Only one thing,"
added Jim, holding a finger up, "when I say 'money
down' I mean bills payable when the ship returns, and
if the information proves reliable.  I don't buy pigs
in pokes."

I had seen the lawyer's face light up for a moment, and
then, at the sound of Jim's proviso, miserably fade.
"I guess you know more about this wreck than I do, Mr.
Pinkerton," said he.  "I only know that I was told to
buy the thing, and tried, and couldn't."

"What I like about you, Mr. Bellairs, is that you waste
no time," said Jim.  "Now then, your client's name and
address."

"On consideration," replied the lawyer, with
indescribable furtivity, "I cannot see that I am
entitled to communicate my client's name.  I will sound
him for you with pleasure, if you care to instruct me,
but I cannot see that I can give you his address."

"Very well," said Jim, and put his hat on.  "Rather a
strong step, isn't it?" (Between every sentence was a
clear pause.) "Not think better of it? Well, come, call
it a dollar?"

"Mr. Pinkerton, sir!" exclaimed the offended attorney;
and, indeed, I myself was almost afraid that Jim had
mistaken his man and gone too far.

"No present use for a dollar?" says Jim.  "Well, look
here, Mr. Bellairs--we're both busy men, and I'll go to
my outside figure with you right away--"

"Stop this, Pinkerton," I broke in.  "I know the
address: 924 Mission Street."

I do not know whether Pinkerton or Bellairs was the
more taken aback.

"Why in snakes didn't you say so, Loudon?" cried my
friend.

"You didn't ask for it before," said I, colouring to my
temples under his troubled eyes.

It was Bellairs who broke silence, kindly supplying me
with all that I had yet to learn.  "Since you know Mr.
Dickson's address," said he, plainly burning to be rid
of us, "I suppose I need detain you no longer."

I do not know how Pinkerton felt, but I had death in my
soul as we came down the outside stair from the den of
this blotched spider.  My whole being was strung,
waiting for Jim's first question, and prepared to blurt
out--I believe, almost with tears--a full avowal.  But
my friend asked nothing.

"We must hack it," said he, tearing off in the
direction of the nearest stand.  "No time to be lost.
You saw how I changed ground.  No use in paying the
shyster's commission."

Again I expected a reference to my suppression; again I
was disappointed.  It was plain Jim feared the subject,
and I felt I almost hated him for that fear.  At last,
when we were already in the hack and driving towards
Mission Street, I could bear my suspense no longer.

"You do not ask me about that address," said I.

"No," said he, quickly and timidly, "what was it? I
would like to know."

The note of timidity offended me like a buffet; my
temper rose as hot as mustard.  "I must request you do
not ask me," said I; "it is a matter I cannot explain."

The moment the foolish words were said, that moment I
would have given worlds to recall them; how much more
when Pinkerton, patting my hand, replied, "All right,
dear boy, not another word; that's all done; I'm
convinced it's perfectly right!"  To return upon the
subject was beyond my courage; but I vowed inwardly
that I should do my utmost in the future for this mad
speculation, and that I would cut myself in pieces
before Jim should lose one dollar.

We had no sooner arrived at the address than I had
other things to think of.

"Mr. Dickson? He's gone," said the landlady.

Where had he gone?

"I'm sure I can't tell you," she answered.  "He was
quite a stranger to me."

"Did he express his baggage, ma'am?" asked Pinkerton.

"Hadn't any," was the reply.  "He came last night, and
left again to-day with a satchel."

"When did he leave?" I inquired.

"It was about noon," replied the landlady.  "Some one
rang up the telephone, and asked for him; and I reckon
he got some news, for he left right away, although his
rooms were taken by the week.  He seemed considerable
put out: I reckon it was a death."

My heart sank; perhaps my idiotic jest had indeed
driven him away; and again I asked myself, "Why?" and
whirled for a moment in a vortex of untenable
hypotheses.

"What was he like, ma'am?" Pinkerton was asking, when I
returned to consciousness of my surroundings.

"A clean-shaved man," said the woman, and could be led
or driven into no more significant description.

"Pull up at the nearest drug-store," said Pinkerton to
the driver; and when there, the telephone was put in
operation, and the message sped to the Pacific Mail
Steamship Company's office--this was in the days before
Spreckels had arisen--"When does the next China steamer
touch at Honolulu?"

"The CITY OF PEKIN; she cast off the dock to-day,
at half-past one," came the reply.

"It's a clear case of bolt," said Jim.  "He's skipped,
or my name's not Pinkerton.  He's gone to head us off
at Midway Island."

Somehow I was not so sure; there were elements in the
case not known to Pinkerton--the fears of the captain,
for example--that inclined me otherwise; and the idea
that I had terrified Mr. Dickson into flight, though
resting on so slender a foundation, clung obstinately
in my mind.

"Shouldn't we see the list of passengers?" I asked.

"Dickson is such a blamed common name," returned Jim;
"and then, as like as not, he would change it."

At this I had another intuition.  A negative of a
street scene, taken unconsciously when I was absorbed
in other thought, rose in my memory with not a feature
blurred: a view, from Bellairs's door as we were coming
down, of muddy roadway, passing drays, matted telegraph
wires, a China-boy with a basket on his head, and
(almost opposite) a corner grocery with the name of
Dickson in great gilt letters.

"Yes," said I, "you are right; he would change it.  And
anyway, I don't believe it was his name at all; I
believe he took it from a corner grocery beside
Bellairs's."

"As like as not," said Jim, still standing on the side
walk with contracted brows.

"Well, what shall we do next?" I asked.

"The natural thing would be to rush the schooner," he
replied.  "But I don't know.  I telephoned the captain
to go at it head down and heels in air; he answered
like a little man; and I guess he's getting around.  I
believe, Loudon, we'll give Trent a chance.  Trent was
in it; he was in it up to the neck; even if he couldn't
buy, he could give us the straight tip."

"I think so, too," said I.  "Where shall we find him?"

"British consulate, of course," said Jim.  "And that's
another reason for taking him first.  We can hustle
that schooner up all evening; but when the consulate's
shut, it's shut."

At the consulate we learned that Captain Trent had
alighted (such is, I believe, the classic phrase) at
the What Cheer House.  To that large and unaristocratic
hostelry we drove, and addressed ourselves to a large
clerk, who was chewing a toothpick and looking straight
before him.

"Captain Jacob Trent?"

"Gone," said the clerk.

"Where has he gone?" asked Pinkerton.

"Cain't say," said the clerk.

"When did he go?" I asked.

"Don't know," said the clerk, and with the simplicity
of a monarch offered us the spectacle of his broad
back.

What might have happened next I dread to picture, for
Pinkerton's excitement had been growing steadily, and
now burned dangerously high; but we were spared
extremities by the intervention of a second clerk.

"Why, Mr. Dodd!" he exclaimed, running forward to the
counter.  "Glad to see you, sir! Can I do anything in
your way?"

How virtuous actions blossom! Here was a young man to
whose pleased ears I had rehearsed "Just before the
Battle, Mother," at some weekly picnic; and now, in
that tense moment of my life, he came (from the
machine) to be my helper.

"Captain Trent, of the wreck? O yes, Mr. Dodd; he left
about twelve; he and another of the men.  The Kanaka
went earlier, by the CITY OF PEKIN; I know that; I
remember expressing his chest.  Captain Trent? I'll
inquire, Mr. Dodd.  Yes, they were all here.  Here are
the names on the register; perhaps you would care to
look at them while I go and see about the baggage?"

I drew the book toward me, and stood looking at the
four names, all written in the same hand--rather a big,
and rather a bad one: Trent, Brown, Hardy, and (instead
of Ah Sing) Jos. Amalu.

"Pinkerton," said I, suddenly, "have you that
OCCIDENTAL in your pocket?"

"Never left me," said Pinkerton, producing the paper.

I turned to the account of the wreck.

"Here," said I, "here's the name.  "Elias Goddedaal,
mate." Why do we never come across Elias Goddedaal?"

"That's so," said Jim.  "Was he with the rest in that
saloon when you saw them?"

"I don't believe it," said I.  "They were only four,
and there was none that behaved like a mate."

At this moment the clerk returned with his report.

"The captain," it appeared, "came with some kind of an
express wagon, and he and the man took off three chests
and a big satchel.  Our porter helped to put them on,
but they drove the cart themselves.  The porter thinks
they went down town.  It was about one."

"Still in time for the CITY OF PEKIN," observed
Jim.

"How many of them were here?" I inquired.

"Three, sir, and the Kanaka," replied the clerk.  "The
third, but he's gone too."

"Mr. Goddedaal, the mate, wasn't here then?" I asked.

"No, Mr. Dodd, none but what you see," says the clerk.

"Nor you never heard where he was?"

"No.  Any particular reason for finding these men, Mr.
Dodd?" inquired the clerk.

"This gentleman and I have bought the wreck," I
explained; "we wished to get some information, and it
is very annoying to find the men all gone."

A certain group had gradually formed about us, for the
wreck was still a matter of interest; and at this, one
of the bystanders, a rough seafaring man, spoke
suddenly.

"I guess the mate won't be gone," said he.  "He's main
sick; never left the sick-bay aboard the TEMPEST;
so they tell ME."

Jim took me by the sleeve.  "Back to the consulate,"
said he.

But even at the consulate nothing was known of Mr.
Goddedaal.  The doctor of the TEMPEST had certified
him very sick; he had sent his papers in, but never
appeared in person before the authorities.

"Have you a telephone laid on to the TEMPEST?"
asked Pinkerton.

"Laid on yesterday," said the clerk.

"Do you mind asking, or letting me ask? We are very
anxious to get hold of Mr. Goddedaal."

"All right," said the clerk, and turned to the
telephone.  "I'm sorry," he said presently, "Mr.
Goddedaal has left the ship, and no one knows where he
is."

"Do you pay the men's passage home?" I inquired, a
sudden thought striking me.

"If they want it," said the clerk; "sometimes they
don't.  But we paid the Kanaka's passage to Honolulu
this morning; and by what Captain Trent was saying, I
understand the rest are going home together."

"Then you haven't paid them?" said I.

"Not yet," said the clerk.

"And you would be a good deal surprised if I were to
tell you they were gone already?" I asked.

"O, I should think you were mistaken," said he.

"Such is the fact, however," said I.

"I am sure you must be mistaken," he repeated.

"May I use your telephone one moment?" asked Pinkerton;
and as soon as permission had been granted, I heard him
ring up the printing-office where our advertisements
were usually handled.  More I did not hear, for,
suddenly recalling the big bad hand in the register of
the What Cheer House, I asked the consulate clerk if he
had a specimen of Captain Trent's writing.  Whereupon I
learned that the captain could not write, having cut
his hand open a little before the loss of the brig;
that the latter part of the log even had been written
up by Mr. Goddedaal; and that Trent had always signed
with his left hand.  By the time I had gleaned this
information Pinkerton was ready.

"That's all that we can do.  Now for the schooner,"
said he; "and by to-morrow evening I lay hands on
Goddedaal, or my name's not Pinkerton."

"How have you managed?" I inquired.

"You'll see before you get to bed," said Pinkerton.
"And now, after all this backwarding and forwarding,
and that hotel clerk, and that bug Bellairs, it'll be a
change and a kind of consolation to see the schooner.
I guess things are humming there."

But on the wharf, when we reached it, there was no sign
of bustle, and, but for the galley smoke, no mark of
life on the Norah Creina.  Pinkerton's face grew pale
and his mouth straightened as he leaped on board.

"Where's the captain of this----?" and he left the
phrase unfinished, finding no epithet sufficiently
energetic for his thoughts.

It did not appear whom or what he was addressing; but a
head, presumably the cook's, appeared in answer at the
galley door.

"In the cabin, at dinner," said the cook deliberately,
chewing as he spoke.

"Is that cargo out?"

"No, sir."

"None of it?"

"O, there's some of it out.  We'll get at the rest of
it livelier to-morrow, I guess."

"I guess there'll be something broken first," said
Pinkerton, and strode to the cabin.

Here we found a man, fat, dark, and quiet, seated
gravely at what seemed a liberal meal.  He looked up
upon our entrance; and seeing Pinkerton continue to
stand facing him in silence, hat on head, arms folded,
and lips compressed, an expression of mingled wonder
and annoyance began to dawn upon his placid face.

"Well!" said Jim; and so this is what you call rushing
around?"

"Who are you?" cries the captain.

"Me! I'm Pinkerton!" retorted Jim, as though the name
had been a talisman.

"You're not very civil, whoever you are," was the
reply.  But still a certain effect had been produced,
for he scrambled to his feet, and added hastily, "A man
must have a bit of dinner, you know, Mr. Pinkerton."

"Where's your mate?" snapped Jim.

"He's up town," returned the other.

"Up town!" sneered Pinkerton.  "Now, I'll tell you what
you are--you're a Fraud; and if I wasn't afraid of
dirtying my boot, I would kick you and your dinner into
that dock."

"I'll tell you something, too," retorted the captain,
duskily flushing.  "I wouldn't sail this ship for the
man you are, if you went upon your knees.  I've dealt
with gentlemen up to now."

"I can tell you the names of a number of gentlemen
you'll never deal with any more, and that's the whole
of Longhurst's gang," said Jim.  "I'll put your pipe
out in that quarter, my friend.  Here, rout out your
traps as quick as look at it, and take your vermin
along with you.  I'll have a captain in, this very
night, that's a sailor, and some sailors to work for
him."

"I'll go when I please, and that's to-morrow morning,"
cried the captain after us, as we departed for the
shore.

"There's something gone wrong with the world to-day; it
must have come bottom up!" wailed Pinkerton.
"Bellairs, and then the hotel clerk, and now this
Fraud! And what am I to do for a captain, Loudon, with
Longhurst gone home an hour ago and the boys all
scattered?"

"I know," said I; "jump in!" And then to the driver:
"Do you know Black Tom's?"

Thither then we rattled, passed through the bar, and
found (as I had hoped) Johnson in the enjoyment of club
life.  The table had been thrust upon one side; a South
Sea merchant was discoursing music from a mouth-organ
in one corner; and in the middle of the floor Johnson
and a fellow-seaman, their arms clasped about each
other's bodies, somewhat heavily danced.  The room was
both cold and close; a jet of gas, which continually
menaced the heads of the performers, shed a coarse
illumination; the mouth-organ sounded shrill and
dismal; and the faces of all concerned were church-like
in their gravity.  It were, of course, indelicate to
interrupt these solemn frolics; so we edged ourselves
to chairs, for all the world like belated comers in a
concert-room, and patiently waited for the end.  At
length the organist, having exhausted his supply of
breath, ceased abruptly in the middle of a bar.  With
the cessation of the strain the dancers likewise came
to a full stop, swayed a moment, still embracing, and
then separated, and looked about the circle for
applause.

"Very well danced!" said one; but it appears the
compliment was not strong enough for the performers,
who (forgetful of the proverb) took up the tale in
person.

"Well," said Johnson, "I mayn't be no sailor, but I can
dance!"

And his late partner, with an almost pathetic
conviction, added, "My foot is as light as a feather."

Seeing how the wind set, you may be sure I added a few
words of praise before I carried Johnson alone into the
passage: to whom, thus mollified, I told so much as I
judged needful of our situation, and begged him, if he
would not take the job himself, to find me a smart man.

"Me!" he cried; "I couldn't no more do it than I could
try to go to hell!"

"I thought you were a mate?" said I.

"So I am a mate," giggled Johnson, "and you don't catch
me shipping noways else.  But I'll tell you what: I
believe I can get you Arty Nares.  You seen Arty;
first-rate navigator, and a son of a gun for style."
And he proceeded to explain to me that Mr. Nares, who
had the promise of a fine barque in six months, after
things had quieted down, was in the meantime living
very private, and would be pleased to have a change of
air.

I called out Pinkerton and told him.  "Nares!" he
cried, as soon as I had come to the name, "I would jump
at the chance of a man that had had Nares's trousers
on! Why, Loudon, he's the smartest deep-water mate out
of San Francisco, and draws his dividends regular in
service and out." This hearty indorsation clinched the
proposal; Johnson agreed to produce Nares before six
the following morning; and Black Tom, being called into
the consultation, promised us four smart hands for the
same hour, and even (what appeared to all of us
excessive) promised them sober.

The streets were fully lighted when we left Black
Tom's: street after street sparkling with gas or
electricity, line after line of distant luminaries
climbing the steep sides of hills towards the over-
vaulting darkness; and on the other hand, where the
waters of the bay invisibly trembled, a hundred riding
lanterns marked the position of a hundred ships.  The
sea-fog flew high in heaven; and at the level of man's
life and business it was clear and chill.  By silent
consent we paid the hack off, and proceeded arm-in-arm
towards the "Poodle Dog" for dinner.

At one of the first hoardings I was aware of a bill-
sticker at work: it was a late hour for this
employment, and I checked Pinkerton until the sheet
should be unfolded.  This is what I read:--

              TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD.
                           
                OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE
              WRECKED BRIG "FLYING SCUD"
                           
                       APPLYING,
               PERSONALLY OR BY LETTER,
   AT THE OFFICE OF JAMES PINKERTON, MONTANA BLOCK,
         BEFORE NOON TO-MORROW, TUESDAY, 12TH,
                     WILL RECEIVE
                           
              TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD.

"This is your idea, Pinkerton!" I cried.

"Yes.  They've lost no time; I'll say that for them--
not like the Fraud," said he.  "But mind you, Loudon,
that's not half of it.  The cream of the idea's here:
we know our man's sick; well, a copy of that has been
mailed to every hospital, every doctor, and every drug-
store in San Francisco."

Of course, from the nature of our business, Pinkerton
could do a thing of the kind at a figure extremely
reduced; for all that, I was appalled at the
extravagance, and said so.

"What matter a few dollars now?" he replied sadly;
"it's in three months that the pull comes, Loudon."

We walked on again in silence, not without a shiver.
Even at the "Poodle Dog" we took our food with small
appetite and less speech; and it was not until he was
warmed with a third glass of champagne that Pinkerton
cleared his throat and looked upon me with a
deprecating eye.

"Loudon," said he, "there was a subject you didn't wish
to be referred to.  I only want to do so indirectly.
It wasn't"--he faltered--"it wasn't because you were
dissatisfied with me?" he concluded, with a quaver.

"Pinkerton!" cried I.

"No, no, not a word just now," he hastened to proceed;
"let me speak first.  I appreciate, though I can't
imitate, the delicacy of your nature; and I can well
understand you would rather die than speak of it, and
yet might feel disappointed.  I did think I could have
done better myself.  But when I found how tight money
was in this city, and a man like Douglas B. Longhurst--
a forty-niner, the man that stood at bay in a corn
patch for five hours against the San Diablo squatters--
weakening on the operation, I tell you, Loudon, I began
to despair; and--I may have made mistakes, no doubt
there are thousands who could have done better--but I
give you a loyal hand on it, I did my best."

"My poor Jim," said I, "as if I ever doubted you! as if
I didn't know you had done wonders! All day I've been
admiring your energy and resource.  And as for that
affair----"

"No, Loudon, no more--not a word more! don't want to
hear," cried Jim.

"Well, to tell you the truth, I don't want to tell
you," said I; "for it's a thing I'm ashamed of."

"Ashamed, Loudon? O, don't say that; don't use such an
expression, even in jest!" protested Pinkerton.

"Do you never do anything you're ashamed of?" I
inquired.

"No," says he, rolling his eyes; "why? I'm sometimes
sorry afterwards, when it pans out different from what
I figured.  But I can't see what I would want to be
ashamed for."

I sat a while considering with admiration the
simplicity of my friend's character.  Then I sighed.
"Do you know, Jim, what I'm sorriest for?" said I.  "At
this rate I can't be best man at your marriage."

"My marriage!" he repeated, echoing the sigh.  "No
marriage for me now.  I'm going right down to-night to
break it to her.  I think that's what's shaken me all
day.  I feel as if I had had no right (after I was
engaged) to operate so widely."

"Well, you know, Jim, it was my doing, and you must lay
the blame on me," said I.

"Not a cent of it!" he cried.  "I was as eager as
yourself, only not so bright at the beginning.  No;
I've myself to thank for it; but it's a wrench."

While Jim departed on his dolorous mission, I returned
alone to the office, lit the gas, and sat down to
reflect on the events of that momentous day: on the
strange features of the tale that had been so far
unfolded, the disappearances, the terrors, the great
sums of money; and on the dangerous and ungrateful task
that awaited me in the immediate future.

It is difficult, in the retrospect of such affairs, to
avoid attributing to ourselves in the past a measure of
the knowledge we possess to-day.  But I may say, and
yet be well within the mark, that I was consumed that
night with a fever of suspicion and curiosity;
exhausted my fancy in solutions, which I still
dismissed as incommensurable with the facts; and in the
mystery by which I saw myself surrounded found a
precious stimulus for my courage and a convenient
soothing draught for conscience.  Even had all been
plain sailing, I do not hint that I should have drawn
back.  Smuggling is one of the meanest of crimes, for
by that we rob a whole country PRO RATA, and are
therefore certain to impoverish the poor: to smuggle
opium is an offence particularly dark, since it stands
related--not so much to murder, as to massacre.  Upon
all these points I was quite clear; my sympathy was all
in arms against my interest; and had not Jim been
involved, I could have dwelt almost with satisfaction
on the idea of my failure.  But Jim, his whole fortune,
and his marriage depended upon my success; and I
preferred the interests of my friend before those of
all the islanders in the South Seas.  This is a poor,
private morality, if you like; but it is mine, and the
best I have; and I am not half so much ashamed of
having embarked at all on this adventure, as I am proud
that (while I was in it, and for the sake of my friend)
I was up early and down late, set my own hand to
everything, took dangers as they came, and for once in
my life played the man throughout.  At the same time I
could have desired another field of energy; and I was
the more grateful for the redeeming element of mystery.
Without that, though I might have gone ahead and done
as well, it would scarce have been with ardour; and
what inspired me that night with an impatient greed of
the sea, the island, and the wreck, was the hope that I
might stumble there upon the answer to a hundred
questions, and learn why Captain Trent fanned his red
face in the exchange, and why Mr. Dickson fled from the
telephone in the Mission Street lodging-house.

                      CHAPTER XI
                           
                           
        IN WHICH JIM AND I TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS

I WAS unhappy when I closed my eyes; and it was to
unhappiness that I opened them again next morning, to a
confused sense of some calamity still inarticulate, and
to the consciousness of jaded limbs and of a swimming
head.  I must have lain for some time inert and
stupidly miserable before I became aware of a
reiterated knocking at the door; with which discovery
all my wits flowed back in their accustomed channels,
and I remembered the sale and the wreck, and Goddedaal
and Nares, and Johnson and Black Tom, and the troubles
of yesterday and the manifold engagements of the day
that was to come.  The thought thrilled me like a
trumpet in the hour of battle.  In a moment I had
leaped from bed, crossed the office where Pinkerton lay
in a deep trance of sleep on the convertible sofa, and
stood in the doorway, in my night gear, to receive our
visitor.

Johnson was first, by way of usher, smiling.  From a
little behind, with his Sunday hat tilted forward over
his brow and a cigar glowing between his lips, Captain
Nares acknowledged our previous acquaintance with a
succinct nod.  Behind him again, in the top of the
stairway, a knot of sailors, the new crew of the
NORAH CREINA, stood polishing the wall with back and
elbow.  These I left without to their reflections.  But
our two officers I carried at once into the office,
where (taking Jim by the shoulder) I shook him slowly
into consciousness.  He sat up, all abroad for the
moment, and stared on the new captain.

"Jim," said I, "this is Captain Nares.  Captain, Mr.
Pinkerton."

Nares repeated his curt nod, still without speech; and
I thought he held us both under a watchful scrutiny.

"O!" says Jim, "this is Captain Nares, is it? Good-
morning, Captain Nares.  Happy to have the pleasure of
your acquaintance, sir.  I know you well by
reputation."

Perhaps, under the circumstances of the moment, this
was scarce a welcome speech.  At least, Nares received
it with a grunt.

"Well, Captain," Jim continued, "you know about the
size of the business? You're to take the Norah Creina
to Midway Island, break up a wreck, call at Honolulu,
and back to this port? I suppose that's understood?"

"Well," returned Nares, with the same unamiable
reserve, "for a reason, which I guess you know, the
cruise may suit me: but there's a point or two to
settle.  We shall have to talk, Mr. Pinkerton.  But
whether I go or not, somebody will.  There's no sense
in losing time; and you might give Mr. Johnson a note,
let him take the hands right down, and set to to
overhaul the rigging.  The beasts look sober," he
added, with an air of great disgust, "and need putting
to work to keep them so."

This being agreed upon, Nares watched his subordinate
depart, and drew a visible breath.

"And now we're alone and can talk," said he "What's
this thing about? It's been advertised like Barnum's
museum; that poster of yours has set the Front talking.
That's an objection in itself, for I'm laying a little
dark just now; and, anyway, before I take the ship, I
require to know what I'm going after."

Thereupon Pinkerton gave him the whole tale, beginning
with a business-like precision, and working himself up,
as he went on, to the boiling-point of narrative
enthusiasm.  Nares sat and smoked, hat still on head,
and acknowledged each fresh feature of the story with a
frowning nod.  But his pale blue eyes betrayed him, and
lighted visibly.

"Now you see for yourself," Pinkerton concluded;
"there's every last chance that Trent has skipped to
Honolulu, and it won't take much of that fifty thousand
dollars to charter a smart schooner down to Midway.
Here's where I want a man!" cried Jim, with contagious
energy.  "That wreck's mine; I've paid for it, money
down; and if it's got to be fought for, I want to see
it fought for lively.  If you're not back in ninety
days, I tell you plainly I'll make one of the biggest
busts ever seen upon this coast.  It's life or death
for Mr. Dodd and me.  As like as not it'll come to
grapples on the island; and when I heard your name last
night--and a blame' sight more this morning when I saw
the eye you've got in your head--I said, 'Nares is good
enough for me!'"

"I guess," observed Nares, studying the ash of his
cigar, "the sooner I get that schooner outside the
Farallones the better you'll be pleased."

"You're the man I dreamed of!" cried Jim, bouncing on
the bed.  "There's not five per cent. of fraud in all
your carcase."

"Just hold on," said Nares.  "There's another point.  I
heard some talk about a supercargo."

"That's Mr. Dodd here, my partner," said Jim.

"I don't see it," returned the captain drily.  "One
captain's enough for any ship that ever I was aboard."

"Now don't you start disappointing me," said Pinkerton,
"for you're talking without thought.  I'm not going to
give you the run of the books of this firm, am I? I
guess not.  Well, this is not only a cruise, it's a
business operation, and that's in the hands of my
partner.  You sail that ship, you see to breaking up
that wreck and keeping the men upon the jump, and
you'll find your hands about full.  Only, no mistake
about one thing; it has to be done to Mr. Dodd's
satisfaction, for it's Mr. Dodd that's paying."

"I'm accustomed to give satisfaction," said Mr. Nares,
with a dark flush.

"And so you will here!" cried Pinkerton.  "I understand
you.  You're prickly to handle, but you're straight all
through."

"The position's got to be understood, though," returned
Nares, perhaps a trifle mollified.  "My position, I
mean.  I'm not going to ship sailing-master; it's
enough out of my way already, to set a foot on this
mosquito schooner."

"Well, I'll tell you," retorted Jim, with an
indescribable twinkle: "you just meet me on the
ballast, and we'll make it a barquantine."

Nares laughed a little; tactless Pinkerton had once
more gained a victory in tact.  "Then there's another
point," resumed the captain, tacitly relinquishing the
last.  "How about the owners?"

"O, you leave that to me; I'm one of Longhurst's crowd,
you know," said Jim, with sudden bristling vanity.
"Any man that's good enough for me, is good enough for
them."

"Who are they?" asked Nares.

"M'Intyre and Spittal," said Jim.

"O well, give me a card of yours," said the captain;
"you needn't bother to write; I keep M'Intyre and
Spittal in my vest-pocket."

Boast for boast; it was always thus with Nares and
Pinkerton--the two vainest men of my acquaintance.  And
having thus reinstated himself in his own opinion, the
captain rose, and, with a couple of his stiff nods,
departed.

"Jim," I cried, as the door closed behind him, "I don't
like that man."

"You've just got to, Loudon," returned Jim.  "He's a
typical American seaman--brave as a lion, full of
resource, and stands high with his owners.  He's a man
with a record."

"For brutality at sea," said I.

"Say what you like," exclaimed Pinkerton, "it was a
good hour we got him in: I'd trust Mamie's life to him
to-morrow."

"Well, and talking of Mamie?" says I.

Jim paused with his trousers half on.  "She's the
gallantest little soul God ever made!" he cried.
"Loudon, I'd meant to knock you up last night, and I
hope you won't take it unfriendly that I didn't.  I
went in and looked at you asleep; and I saw you were
all broken up, and let you be.  The news would keep,
anyway; and even you, Loudon, couldn't feel it the same
way as I did."

"What news?" I asked.

"It's this way," says Jim.  "I told her how we stood,
and that I backed down from marrying.  'Are you tired
of me?' says she: God bless her!  Well, I explained the
whole thing over again, the chance of smash, your
absence unavoidable, the point I made of having you for
the best man, and that.  'If you're not tired of me, I
think I see one way to manage,' says she.  "Let's get
married to-morrow, and Mr. Loudon can be best man
before he goes to sea." That's how she said it, crisp
and bright, like one of Dickens's characters.  It was
no good for me to talk about the smash.  'You'll want
me all the more,' she said.  Loudon, I only pray I can
make it up to her; I prayed for it last night beside
your bed, while you lay sleeping--for you, and Mamie
and myself; and--I don't know if you quite believe in
prayer, I'm a bit Ingersollian myself--but a kind of
sweetness came over me, and I couldn't help but think
it was an answer.  Never was a man so lucky! You and me
and Mamie; it's a triple cord, Loudon.  If either of
you were to die! And she likes you so much, and thinks
you so accomplished and distingue-looking, and was just
as set as I was to have you for best man.  'Mr.
Loudon,' she calls you; seems to me so friendly! And
she sat up till three in the morning fixing up a
costume for the marriage; it did me good to see her,
Loudon, and to see that needle going, going, and to say
'All this hurry, Jim, is just to marry you!' I couldn't
believe it; it was so like some blame' fairy story.  To
think of those old tin-type times about turned my head;
I was so unrefined then, and so illiterate, and so
lonesome; and here I am in clover, and I'm blamed if I
can see what I've done to deserve it."

So he poured forth with innocent volubility the fulness
of his heart; and I, from these irregular
communications, must pick out, here a little and there
a little, the particulars of his new plan.  They were
to be married, sure enough, that day; the wedding
breakfast was to be at Frank's; the evening to be
passed in a visit of God-speed aboard the NORAH
CREINA; and then we were to part, Jim and I--he to his
married life, I on my sea-enterprise.  If ever I
cherished an ill-feeling for Miss Mamie, I forgave her
now; so brave and kind, so pretty and venturesome, was
her decision.  The weather frowned overhead with a
leaden sky, and San Francisco had never (in all my
experience) looked so bleak and gaunt, and shoddy and
crazy, like a city prematurely old; but through all my
wanderings and errands to and fro, by the dockside or
in the jostling street, among rude sounds and ugly
sights, there ran in my mind, like a tiny strain of
music, the thought of my friend's happiness.

For that was indeed a day of many and incongruous
occupations.  Breakfast was scarce swallowed before Jim
must run to the City Hall and Frank's about the cares
of marriage, and I hurry to John Smith's upon the
account of stores, and thence, on a visit of
certification, to the NORAH CREINA.  Methought she
looked smaller than ever, sundry great ships
overspiring her from close without.  She was already a
nightmare of disorder; and the wharf alongside was
piled with a world of casks and cases and tins, and
tools and coils of rope, and miniature barrels of giant
powder, such as it seemed no human ingenuity could
stuff on board of her.  Johnson was in the waist, in a
red shirt and dungaree trousers, his eye kindled with
activity.  With him I exchanged a word or two; thence
stepped aft along the narrow alleyway between the house
and the rail, and down the companion to the main cabin,
where the captain sat with the commissioner at wine.

I gazed with disaffection at the little box which for
many a day I was to call home.  On the starboard was a
stateroom for the captain; on the port a pair of frowsy
berths, one over the other, and abutting astern upon
the side of an unsavoury cupboard.  The walls were
yellow and damp, the floor black and greasy; there was
a prodigious litter of straw, old newspapers, and
broken packing-cases; and by way of ornament, only a
glass-rack, a thermometer presented "with compliments"
of some advertising whisky-dealer, and a swinging lamp.
It was hard to foresee that, before a week was up, I
should regard that cabin as cheerful, lightsome, airy,
and even spacious.

I was presented to the commissioner, and to a young
friend of his whom he had brought with him for the
purpose (apparently) of smoking cigars; and after we
had pledged one another in a glass of California port,
a trifle sweet and sticky for a morning beverage, the
functionary spread his papers on the table, and the
hands were summoned.  Down they trooped, accordingly,
into the cabin; and stood eyeing the ceiling or the
floor, the picture of sheepish embarrassment, and with
a common air of wanting to expectorate and not quite
daring.  In admirable contrast stood the Chinese cook,
easy, dignified, set apart by spotless raiment, the
hidalgo of the seas.

I daresay you never had occasion to assist at the farce
which followed.  Our shipping laws in the United States
(thanks to the inimitable Dana) are conceived in a
spirit of paternal stringency, and proceed throughout
on the hypothesis that poor Jack is an imbecile, and
the other parties to the contract, rogues and ruffians.
A long and wordy paper of precautions, a fo'c's'le bill
of rights, must be read separately to each man.  I had
now the benefit of hearing it five times in brisk
succession; and you would suppose I was acquainted with
its contents.  But the commissioner (worthy man) spends
his days in doing little else; and when we bear in mind
the parallel case of the irreverent curate, we need not
be surprised that he took the passage TEMPO
PRESTISSIMO, in one roulade of gabble--that I, with
the trained attention of an educated man, could gather
but a fraction of its import--and the sailors nothing.
No profanity in giving orders, no sheath-knives, Midway
Island and any other port the master may direct, not to
exceed six calendar months, and to this port to be paid
off: so it seemed to run, with surprising verbiage; so
ended.  And with the end the commissioner, in each
case, fetched a deep breath, resumed his natural voice,
and proceeded to business.  "Now, my man," he would
say, "you ship A. B. at so many dollars, American gold
coin.  Sign your name here, if you have one, and can
write." Whereupon, and the name (with infinite hard
breathing) being signed, the commissioner would proceed
to fill in the man's appearance, height, etc., on the
official form.  In this task of literary portraiture he
seemed to rely wholly upon temperament; for I could not
perceive him to cast one glance on any of his models.
He was assisted, however, by a running commentary from
the captain: "Hair blue and eyes red, nose five foot
seven, and stature broken"--jests as old, presumably,
as the American marine; and, like the similar
pleasantries of the billiard board, perennially
relished.  The highest note of humour was reached in
the case of the Chinese cook, who was shipped under the
name of "One Lung," to the sound of his own protests
and the self-approving chuckles of the functionary.

"Now, captain," said the latter, when the men were
gone, and he had bundled up his papers, "the law
requires you to carry a slop-chest and a chest of
medicines."

"I guess I know that," said Nares.

"I guess you do," returned the commissioner, and helped
himself to port.

But when he was gone, I appealed to Nares on the same
subject, for I was well aware we carried none of these
provisions.

"Well," drawled Nares, "there's sixty pounds of
niggerhead on the quay, isn't there? and twenty pounds
of salts; and I never travel without some pain-killer
in my gripsack."

As a matter of fact, we were richer.  The captain had
the usual sailor's provision of quack medicines, with
which, in the usual sailor fashion, he would daily drug
himself, displaying an extreme inconstancy, and
flitting from Kennedy's Red Discovery to Kennedy's
White, and from Hood's Sarsaparilla to Mother Seigel's
Syrup.  And there were, besides, some mildewed and
half-empty bottles, the labels obliterated, over which
Nares would sometimes sniff and speculate.  "Seems to
smell like diarrhaea stuff," he would remark.  "I
wish't I knew, and I would try it." But the slop-chest
was indeed represented by the plugs of niggerhead, and
nothing else.  Thus paternal laws are made, thus they
are evaded; and the schooner put to sea, like plenty of
her neighbours, liable to a fine of six hundred
dollars.

This characteristic scene, which has delayed me
overlong, was but a moment in that day of exercise and
agitation.  To fit out a schooner for sea and improvise
a marriage, between dawn and dusk, involves heroic
effort.  All day Jim and I ran and tramped, and laughed
and came near crying, and fell in sudden anxious
consultations, and were sped (with a prepared sarcasm
on our lips) to some fallacious milliner, and made
dashes to the schooner and John Smith's, and at every
second corner were reminded (by our own huge posters)
of our desperate estate.  Between-whiles I had found
the time to hover at some half a dozen jewellers'
windows; and my present, thus intemperately chosen, was
graciously accepted.  I believe, indeed, that was the
last (though not the least) of my concerns, before the
old minister, shabby and benign, was routed from his
house and led to the office like a performing poodle;
and there, in the growing dusk, under the cold glitter
of Thirteen Star, two hundred strong, and beside the
garish glories of the agricultural engine, Mamie and
Jim were made one.  The scene was incongruous, but the
business pretty, whimsical, and affecting; the
typewriters with such kindly faces and fine posies,
Mamie so demure, and Jim--how shall I describe that
poor, transfigured Jim? He began by taking the minister
aside to the far end of the office.  I knew not what he
said, but I have reason to believe he was protesting
his unfitness, for he wept as he said it; and the old
minister, himself genuinely moved, was heard to console
and encourage him, and at one time to use this
expression: "I assure you, Mr. Pinkerton, there are not
many who can say so much"--from which I gathered that
my friend had tempered his self-accusations with at
least one legitimate boast.  From this ghostly
counselling, Jim turned to me; and though he never got
beyond the explosive utterance of my name and one
fierce handgrip, communicated some of his own emotion,
like a charge of electricity, to his best man.  We
stood up to the ceremony at last, in a general and
kindly discomposure.  Jim was all abroad; and the
divine himself betrayed his sympathy in voice and
demeanour, and concluded with a fatherly allocution, in
which he congratulated Mamie (calling her "my dear")
upon the fortune of an excellent husband, and protested
he had rarely married a more interesting couple.  At
this stage, like a glory descending, there was handed
in, EX MACHINA, the card of Douglas B. Longhurst,
with congratulations and four dozen Perrier-Jouet.  A
bottle was opened, and the minister pledged the bride,
and the bridesmaids simpered and tasted, and I made a
speech with airy bacchanalianism, glass in hand.  But
poor Jim must leave the wine untasted.  "Don't touch
it," I had found the opportunity to whisper; "in your
state it will make you as drunk as a fiddler." And Jim
had wrung my hand with a "God bless you, Loudon!--saved
me again!"

Hard following upon this, the supper passed off at
Frank's with somewhat tremulous gaiety; and thence,
with one-half of the Perrier-Jouet--I would accept no
more--we voyaged in a hack to the NORAH CREINA.

"What a dear little ship!" cried Mamie, as our
miniature craft was pointed out to her; and then, on
second thought, she turned to the best man.  "And how
brave you must be, Mr. Dodd," she cried, "to go in that
tiny thing so far upon the ocean!" And I perceived I
had risen in the lady's estimation.

The "dear little ship" presented a horrid picture of
confusion, and its occupants of weariness and ill-
humour.  From the cabin the cook was storing tins into
the lazarette, and the four hands, sweaty and sullen,
were passing them from one to another from the waist.
Johnson was three parts asleep over the table; and in
his bunk, in his own cabin, the captain sourly chewed
and puffed at a cigar.

"See here," he said, rising; "you'll be sorry you came.
We can't stop work if we're to get away to-morrow.  A
ship getting ready for sea is no place for people,
anyway.  You'll only interrupt my men."

I was on the point of answering something tart; but
Jim, who was acquainted with the breed, as he was with
most things that had a bearing on affairs, made haste
to pour in oil.

"Captain," he said, "I know we're a nuisance here, and
that you've had a rough time.  But all we want is that
you should drink one glass of wine with us, Perrier-
Jouet, from Longhurst, on the occasion of my marriage,
and Loudon's--Mr. Dodd's--departure."

"Well, it's your look-out," said Nares.  "I don't mind
half an hour.  Spell, O!" he added to the men; "go and
kick your heels for half an hour, and then you can turn
to again a trifle livelier.  Johnson, see if you can't
wipe off a chair for the lady."

His tone was no more gracious than his language; but
when Mamie had turned upon him the soft fire of her
eyes, and informed him that he was the first sea-
captain she had ever met, "except captains of steamers,
of course"--she so qualified the statement--and had
expressed a lively sense of his courage, and perhaps
implied (for I suppose the arts of ladies are the same
as those of men) a modest consciousness of his good
looks, our bear began insensibly to soften; and it was
already part as an apology, though still with
unaffected heat of temper, that he volunteered some
sketch of his annoyances.

"A pretty mess we've had!" said he.  "Half the stores
were wrong; I'll wring John Smith's neck for him some
of these days.  Then two newspaper beasts came down,
and tried to raise copy out of me, till I threatened
them with the first thing handy; and then some kind of
missionary bug, wanting to work his passage to Raiatea
or somewhere.  I told him I would take him off the
wharf with the butt end of my boot, and he went away
cursing.  This vessel's been depreciated by the look of
him."

While the captain spoke, with his strange, humorous,
arrogant abruptness, I observed Jim to be sizing him
up, like a thing at once quaint and familiar, and with
a scrutiny that was both curious and knowing.

"One word, dear boy," he said, turning suddenly to me.
And when he had drawn me on deck--"That man," says he,
"will carry sail till your hair grows white; but never
you let on--never breathe a word.  I know his line:
he'll die before he'll take advice; and if you get his
back up, he'll run you right under.  I don't often jam
in my advice, Loudon; and when I do, it means I'm
thoroughly posted."

The little party in the cabin, so disastrously begun,
finished, under the mellowing influence of wine and
woman, in excellent feeling and with some hilarity.
Mamie, in a plush Gainsborough hat and a gown of wine-
coloured silk, sat, an apparent queen, among her rude
surroundings and companions.  The dusky litter of the
cabin set off her radiant trimness: tarry Johnson was a
foil to her fair beauty; she glowed in that poor place,
fair as a star; until even I, who was not usually of
her admirers, caught a spark of admiration; and even
the captain, who was in no courtly humour, proposed
that the scene should be commemorated by my pencil.  It
was the last act of the evening.  Hurriedly as I went
about my task, the half-hour had lengthened out to more
than three before it was completed: Mamie in full
value, the rest of the party figuring in outline only,
and the artist himself introduced in a back view, which
was pronounced a likeness.  But it was to Mamie that I
devoted the best of my attention; and it was with her I
made my chief success.

"O!" she cried, "am I really like that?  No wonder Jim
..." She paused.  "Why, it's just as lovely as he's
good!" she cried: an epigram which was appreciated, and
repeated as we made our salutations, and called out
after the retreating couple as they passed away under
the lamplight on the wharf."

Thus it was that our farewells were smuggled through
under an ambuscade of laughter, and the parting over
ere I knew it was begun.  The figures vanished, the
steps died away along the silent city front; on board,
the men had returned to their labours, the captain to
his solitary cigar; and after that long and complex day
of business and emotion, I was at last alone and free.
It was, perhaps, chiefly fatigue that made my heart so
heavy.  I leaned, at least, upon the house, and stared
at the foggy heaven, or over the rail at the wavering
reflection of the lamps, like a man that was quite done
with hope and would have welcomed the asylum of the
grave.  And all at once, as I thus stood, the CITY
OF PEKIN flashed into my mind, racing her thirteen
knots for Honolulu, with the hated Trent--perhaps with
the mysterious Goddedaal--on board; and with the
thought, the blood leaped and careered through all my
body.  It seemed no chase at all; it seemed we had no
chance, as we lay there bound to iron pillars, and
fooling away the precious moments over tins of beans.
"Let them get there first!" I thought.  "Let them! We
can't be long behind." And from that moment I date
myself a man of a rounded experience: nothing had
lacked but this--that I should entertain and welcome
the grim thought of bloodshed.

It was long before the toil remitted in the cabin, and
it was worth my while to get to bed; long after that,
before sleep favoured me; and scarce a moment later (or
so it seemed) when I was recalled to consciousness by
bawling men and the jar of straining hawsers.

The schooner was cast off before I got on deck.  In the
misty obscurity of the first dawn I saw the tug heading
us with glowing fires and blowing smoke, and heard her
beat the roughened waters of the bay.  Beside us, on
her flock of hills, the lighted city towered up and
stood swollen in the raw fog.  It was strange to see
her burn on thus wastefully, with half-quenched
luminaries, when the dawn was already grown strong
enough to show me, and to suffer me to recognise, a
solitary figure standing by the piles.

Or was it really the eye, and not rather the heart,
that identified that shadow in the dusk, among the
shoreside lamps? I know not.  It was Jim, at least;
Jim, come for a last look; and we had but time to wave
a valedictory gesture and exchange a wordless cry.
This was our second parting, and our capacities were
now reversed.  It was mine to play the Argonaut, to
speed affairs, to plan and to accomplish--if need were,
at the price of life; it was his to sit at home, to
study the calendar, and to wait.  I knew, besides,
another thing that gave me joy--I knew that my friend
had succeeded in my education; that the romance of
business, if our fantastic purchase merited the name,
had at last stirred my dilettante nature; and as we
swept under cloudy Tamalpais and through the roaring
narrows of the bay, the Yankee blood sang in my veins
with suspense and exultation.

Outside the heads, as if to meet my desire, we found it
blowing fresh from the north-east.  No time had been
lost.  The sun was not yet up before the tug cast off
the hawser, gave us a salute of three whistles, and
turned homeward toward the coast, which now began to
gleam along its margin with the earliest rays of day.
There was no other ship in view when the NORAH
CREINA, lying over under all plain sail, began her
long and lonely voyage to the wreck.

                      CHAPTER XII
                           
                           
                  THE "NORAH CREINA"

I LOVE to recall the glad monotony of a Pacific voyage,
when the trades are not stinted, and the ship, day
after day, goes free.  The mountain scenery of trade-
wind clouds, watched (and in my case painted) under
every vicissitude of light--blotting stars, withering
in the moon's glory, barring the scarlet eve, lying
across the dawn collapsed into the unfeatured morning
bank, or at noon raising their snowy summits between
the blue roof of heaven and the blue floor of sea; the
small, busy, and deliberate world of the schooner, with
its unfamiliar scenes, the spearing of dolphin from the
bowsprit end, the holy war on sharks, the cook making
bread on the main hatch; reefing down before a violent
squall, with the men hanging out on the foot-ropes; the
squall itself, the catch at the heart, the opened
sluices of the sky; and the relief, the renewed
loveliness of life, when all is over, the sun forth
again, and our out-fought enemy only a blot upon the
leeward sea.  I love to recall, and would that I could
reproduce that life, the unforgettable, the
unrememberable.  The memory, which shows so wise a
backwardness in registering pain, is besides an
imperfect recorder of extended pleasures; and a long-
continued wellbeing escapes (as it were, by its mass)
our petty methods of commemoration.  On a part of our
life's map there lies a roseate, undecipherable haze,
and that is all.

Of one thing, if I am at all to trust my own annals, I
was delightedly conscious.  Day after day, in the sun-
gilded cabin, the whisky-dealer's thermometer stood at
84 degrees.  Day after day the air had the same
indescribable liveliness and sweetness, soft and
nimble, and cool as the cheek of health.  Day after day
the sun flamed; night after night the moon beaconed, or
the stars paraded their lustrous regiment.  I was aware
of a spiritual change, or, perhaps, rather a molecular
reconstitution.  My bones were sweeter to me.  I had
come home to my own climate, and looked back with pity
on those damp and wintry zones miscalled the temperate.

"Two years of this, and comfortable quarters to live
in, kind of shake the grit out of a man," the captain
remarked; "can't make out to be happy anywhere else.  A
townie of mine was lost down this way, in a coalship
that took fire at sea.  He struck the beach somewhere
in the Navigators; and he wrote to me that when he left
the place it would be feet first.  He's well off, too,
and his father owns some coasting craft Down East; but
Billy prefers the beach, and hot rolls off the bread-
fruit trees."

A voice told me I was on the same track as Billy.  But
when was this? Our outward track in the NORAH
CREINA lay well to the northward; and perhaps it is
but the impression of a few pet days which I have
unconsciously spread longer, or perhaps the feeling
grew upon me later, in the run to Honolulu.  One thing
I am sure: it was before I had ever seen an island
worthy of the name that I must date my loyalty to the
South Seas.  The blank sea itself grew desirable under
such skies; and wherever the trade-wind blows I know no
better country than a schooner's deck.

But for the tugging anxiety as to the journeys end, the
journey itself must thus have counted for the best of
holidays.  My physical wellbeing was over-proof;
effects of sea and sky kept me for ever busy with my
pencil; and I had no lack of intellectual exercise of a
different order in the study of my inconsistent friend,
the captain.  I call him friend, here on the threshold;
but that is to look well ahead.  At first I was too
much horrified by what I considered his barbarities,
too much puzzled by his shifting humours, and too
frequently annoyed by his small vanities, to regard him
otherwise than as the cross of my existence.  It was
only by degrees, in his rare hours of pleasantness,
when he forgot (and made me forget) the weaknesses to
which he was so prone, that he won me to a kind of
unconsenting fondness.  Lastly, the faults were all
embraced in a more generous view; I saw them in their
place, like discords in a musical progression; and
accepted them and found them picturesque, as we accept
and admire, in the habitable face of nature, the smoky
head of the volcano or the pernicious thicket of the
swamp.

He was come of good people Down East, and had the
beginnings of a thorough education.  His temper had
been ungovernable from the first; and it is likely the
defect was inherited, and the blame of the rupture not
entirely his.  He ran away at least to sea; suffered
horrible maltreatment, which seemed to have rather
hardened than enlightened him; ran away again to shore
in a South American port; proved his capacity and made
money, although still a child; fell among thieves and
was robbed; worked back a passage to the States, and
knocked one morning at the door of an old lady whose
orchard he had often robbed.  The introduction appears
insufficient; but Nares knew what he was doing.  The
sight of her old neighbourly depredator shivering at
the door in tatters, the very oddity of his appeal,
touched a soft spot in the spinster's heart.  "I always
had a fancy for the old lady," Nares said, "even when
she used to stampede me out of the orchard, and shake
her thimble and her old curls at me out of the window
as I was going by; I always thought she was a kind of
pleasant old girl.  Well, when she came to the door
that morning, I told her so, and that I was stone-
broke; and she took me right in, and fetched out the
pie." She clothed him, taught him, and had him to sea
again in better shape, welcomed him to her hearth on
his return from every cruise, and when she died
bequeathed him her possessions.  "She was a good old
girl," he would say; "I tell you, Mr. Dodd, it was a
queer thing to see me and the old lady talking a
PASEAR in the garden, and the old man scowling at us
over the pickets.  She lived right next door to the old
man, and I guess that's just what took me there.  I
wanted him to know that I was badly beat, you see, and
would rather go to the devil than to him.  What made
the dig harder, he had quarrelled with the old lady
about me and the orchard: I guess that made him rage.
Yes, I was a beast when I was young; but I was always
pretty good to the old lady." Since then he had
prospered, not uneventfully, in his profession; the old
lady's money had fallen in during the voyage of the
GLEANER, and he was now, as soon as the smoke of that
engagement cleared away, secure of his ship.  I suppose
he was about thirty: a powerful, active man, with a
blue eye, a thick head of hair, about the colour of
oakum and growing low over the brow; clean-shaved and
lean about the jaw; a good singer; a good performer on
that sea-instrument, the accordion; a quick observer, a
close reasoner; when he pleased, of a really elegant
address; and when he chose, the greatest brute upon the
seas.

His usage of the men, his hazing, his bullying, his
perpetual fault-finding for no cause, his perpetual and
brutal sarcasm, might have raised a mutiny in a slave-
galley.  Suppose the steersman's eye to have wandered;
"You ----, ----, little, mutton-faced Dutchman," Nares
would bawl, "you want a booting to keep you on your
course! I know a little city-front slush when I see
one.  Just you glue your eye to that compass, or I'll
show you round the vessel at the butt-end of my boot."
Or suppose a hand to linger aft, whither he had perhaps
been summoned not a minute before.  "Mr. Daniells, will
you oblige me by stepping clear of that main-sheet?"
the captain might begin, with truculent courtesy.
"Thank you.  And perhaps you'll be so kind as to tell
me what the hell you're doing on my quarter-deck?  I
want no dirt of your sort here.  Is there nothing for
you to do? Where's the mate? Don't you set me to find
work for you, or I'll find you some that will keep you
on your back a fortnight." Such allocutions, conceived
with a perfect knowledge of his audience, so that every
insult carried home, were delivered with a mien so
menacing, and an eye so fiercely cruel, that his
unhappy subordinates shrank and quailed.  Too often
violence followed; too often I have heard and seen and
boiled at the cowardly aggression; and the victim, his
hands bound by law, has risen again from deck and
crawled forward stupefied--I know not what passion of
revenge in his wronged heart.

It seems strange I should have grown to like this
tyrant.  It may even seem strange that I should have
stood by and suffered his excesses to proceed.  But I
was not quite such a chicken as to interfere in public,
for I would rather have a man or two mishandled than
one half of us butchered in a mutiny and the rest
suffer on the gallows.  And in private I was unceasing
in my protests.

"Captain," I once said to him, appealing to his
patriotism, which was of a hardy quality, "this is no
way to treat American seamen.  You don't call it
American to treat men like dogs?"

"Americans?" he said grimly.  "Do you call these
Dutchmen and Scattermouches [1] Americans? I've been
fourteen years to sea, all but one trip under American
colours, and I've never laid eye on an American
foremast hand.  There used to be such things in the old
days, when thirty-five dollars were the wages out of
Boston; and then you could see ships handled and run
the way they want to be.  But that's all past and gone,
and nowadays the only thing that flies in an American
ship is a belaying-pin.  You don't know, you haven't a
guess.  How would you like to go on deck for your
middle watch, fourteen months on end, with all your
duty to do, and every one's life depending on you, and
expect to get a knife ripped into you as you come out
of your state-room, or be sand-bagged as you pass the
boat, or get trapped into the hold if the hatches are
off in fine weather? That kind of shakes the starch out
of the brotherly love and New Jerusalem business.  You
go through the mill, and you'll have a bigger grudge
against every old shellback that dirties his plate in
the three oceans than the Bank of California could
settle up.  No; it has an ugly look to it, but the only
way to run a ship is to make yourself a terror."

[1] In sea lingo (Pacific) DUTCHMAN includes all
Teutons and folk from the basin of the Baltic;
SCATTERMOUCH, all Latins and Levantines.

"Come, captain," said I, "there are degrees in
everything.  You know American ships have a bad name,
you know perfectly well if it wasn't for the high wage
and the good food, there's not a man would ship in one
if he could help; and even as it is, some prefer a
British ship, beastly food and all."

"O, the limejuicers?" said he.  "There's plenty booting
in limejuicers, I guess; though I don't deny but what
some of them are soft." And with that he smiled, like a
man recalling something.  "Look here, that brings a
yarn in my head," he resumed, "and for the sake of the
joke I'll give myself away.  It was in 1874 I shipped
mate in the British ship MARIA, from 'Frisco for
Melbourne.  She was the queerest craft in some ways
that ever I was aboard of.  The food was a caution;
there was nothing fit to put your lips to but the
limejuice, which was from the end bin no doubt; it used
to make me sick to see the men's dinners, and sorry to
see my own.  The old man was good enough, I guess.
Green was his name--a mild, fatherly old galoot.  But
the hands were the lowest gang I ever handled, and
whenever I tried to knock a little spirit into them the
old man took their part.  It was Gilbert and Sullivan
on the high seas; but you bet I wouldn't let any man
dictate to me.  'You give me your orders, Captain
Green,' I said, 'and you'll find I'll carry them out;
that's all you've got to say.  You'll find I do my
duty,' I said; 'how I do it is my look-out, and there's
no man born that's going to give me lessons.'  Well,
there was plenty dirt on board that MARIA first and
last.  Of course the old man put my back up, and of
course he put up the crew's, and I had to regular fight
my way through every watch.  The men got to hate me,
so's I would hear them grit their teeth when I came up.
At last one day I saw a big hulking beast of a Dutchman
booting the ship's boy.  I made one shoot of it off the
house and laid that Dutchman out.  Up he came, and I
laid him out again.  'Now,' I said, 'if there's a kick
left in you, just mention it, and I'll stamp your ribs
in like a packing-case.' He thought better of it, and
never let on; lay there as mild as a deacon at a
funeral, and they took him below to reflect on his
native Dutchland.  One night we got caught in rather a
dirty thing about 25 south.  I guess we were all
asleep, for the first thing I knew there was the fore-
royal gone.  I ran forward, bawling blue hell; and just
as I came by the foremast something struck me right
through the forearm and stuck there.  I put my other
hand up, and, by George, it was the grain; the beasts
had speared me like a porpoise.  'Cap'n!' I cried.
'What's wrong?' says he.  'They've grained me,' says I.
'Grained you?' says he.  'Well, I've been looking for
that.' 'And by God,' I cried, 'I want to have some of
these beasts murdered for it!' 'Now, Mr. Nares,' says
he, 'you better go below.  If I had been one of the
men, you'd have got more than this.  And I want no more
of your language on deck.  You've cost me my fore-royal
already,' says he; 'and if you carry on, you'll have
the three sticks out of her.' That was old man Green's
idea of supporting officers.  But you wait a bit; the
cream's coming.  We made Melbourne right enough, and
the old man said: 'Mr. Nares, you and me don't draw
together.  You're a first-rate seaman, no mistake of
that; but you're the most disagreeable man I ever
sailed with, and your language and your conduct to the
crew I cannot stomach.  I guess we'll separate.' I
didn't care about the berth, you may be sure; but I
felt kind of mean, and if he made one kind of stink I
thought I could make another.  So I said I would go
ashore and see how things stood; went, found I was all
right, and came aboard again on the top rail.  'Are you
getting your traps together, Mr. Nares?' says the old
man.  'No,' says I, 'I don't know as we'll separate
much before 'Frisco--at least,' I said, 'it's a point
for your consideration.  I'm very willing to say good-
bye to the Maria, but I don't know whether you'll care
to start me out with three months' wages.' He got his
money-box right away.  'My son,' says he, 'I think it
cheap at the money.' He had me there."

It was a singular tale for a man to tell of himself;
above all, in the midst of our discussion; but it was
guite in character for Nares.  I never made a good hit
in our disputes, I never justly resented any act or
speech of his, but what I found it long after carefully
posted in his day-book and reckoned (here was the man's
oddity) to my credit.  It was the same with his father,
whom he had hated; he would give a sketch of the old
fellow, frank and credible, and yet so honestly touched
that it was charming.  I have never met a man so
strangely constituted: to possess a reason of the most
equal justice, to have his nerves at the same time
quivering with petty spite, and to act upon the nerves
and not the reason.

A kindred wonder in my eyes was the nature of his
courage.  There was never a braver man: he went out to
welcome danger; an emergency (came it never so sudden)
stung him like a tonic.  And yet, upon the other hand,
I have known none so nervous, so oppressed with
possibilities, looking upon the world at large, and the
life of a sailor in particular, with so constant and
haggard a consideration of the ugly chances.  All his
courage was in blood, not merely cold, but icy with
reasoned apprehension.  He would lay our little craft
rail under, and "hang on" in a squall, until I gave
myself up for lost, and the men were rushing to their
stations of their own accord.  "There," he would say,
"I guess there's not a man on board would have hung on
as long as I did that time: they'll have to give up
thinking me no schooner sailor.  I guess I can shave
just as near capsizing as any other captain of this
vessel, drunk or sober." And then he would fall to
repining and wishing himself well out of the
enterprise, and dilate on the peril of the seas, the
particular dangers of the schooner rig, which he
abhorred, the various ways in which we might go to the
bottom, and the prodigious fleet of ships that have
sailed out in the course of history, dwindled from the
eyes of watchers, and returned no more.  "Well," he
would wind up, "I guess it don't much matter.  I can't
see what any one wants to live for, anyway.  If I could
get into some one else's apple-tree, and be about
twelve years old, and just stick the way I was, eating
stolen apples, I won't say.  But there's no sense in
this grown-up business--sailorising, politics, the
piety mill, and all the rest of it.  Good clean
drowning is good enough for me." It is hard to imagine
any more depressing talk for a poor landsman on a dirty
night; it is hard to imagine anything less sailor-like
(as sailors are supposed to be, and generally are) than
this persistent harping on the minor.

But I was to see more of the man's gloomy constancy ere
the cruise was at an end.

On the morning of the seventeenth day I came on deck,
to find the schooner under double reefs, and flying
rather wild before a heavy run of sea.  Snoring trades
and humming sails had been our portion hitherto.  We
were already nearing the island.  My restrained
excitement had begun again to overmaster me; and for
some time my only book had been the patent log that
trailed over the taffrail, and my chief interest the
daily observation and our caterpillar progress across
the chart.  My first glance, which was at the compass,
and my second, which was at the log, were all that I
could wish.  We lay our course; we had been doing over
eight since nine the night before, and I drew a heavy
breath of satisfaction.  And then I know not what odd
and wintry appearance of the sea and sky knocked
suddenly at my heart.  I observed the schooner to look
more than usually small, the men silent and studious of
the weather.  Nares, in one of his rusty humours,
afforded me no shadow of a morning salutation.  He,
too, seemed to observe the behaviour of the ship with
an intent and anxious scrutiny.  What I liked still
less, Johnson himself was at the wheel, which he span
busily, often with a visible effort; and as the seas
ranged up behind us, black and imminent, he kept
casting behind him eyes of animal swiftness, and
drawing in his neck between his shoulders, like a man
dodging a blow.  From these signs I gathered that all
was not exactly for the best; and I would have given a
good handful of dollars for a plain answer to the
questions which I dared not put.  Had I dared, with the
present danger-signal in the captain's face, I should
only have been reminded of my position as supercargo--
an office never touched upon in kindness--and advised,
in a very indigestible manner, to go below.  There was
nothing for it, therefore, but to entertain my vague
apprehensions as best I should be able, until it
pleased the captain to enlighten me of his own accord.
This he did sooner than I had expected--as soon,
indeed, as the Chinaman had summoned us to breakfast,
and we sat face to face across the narrow board.

"See here, Mr. Dodd," he began, looking at me rather
queerly, "here is a business point arisen.  This sea's
been running up for the last two days, and now it's too
high for comfort.  The glass is falling, the wind is
breezing up, and I won't say but what there's dirt in
it.  If I lay her to, we may have to ride out a gale of
wind, and drift God knows where--on these French
Frigate Shoals, for instance.  If I keep her as she
goes, we'll make that island to-morrow afternoon, and
have the lee of it to lie under, if we can't make out
to run in.  The point you have to figure on, is whether
you'll take the big chances of that Captain Trent
making the place before you, or take the risk of
something happening.  I'm to run this ship to your
satisfaction," he added, with an ugly sneer.  "Well,
here's a point for the supercargo."

"Captain," I returned, with my heart in my mouth, "risk
is better than certain failure."

"Life is all risk, Mr. Dodd," he remarked.  "But
there's one thing: it's now or never; in half an hour
Archdeacon Gabriel couldn't lay her to, if he came
down-stairs on purpose."

"All right," said I; "let's run."

"Run goes," said he; and with that he fell to
breakfast, and passed half an hour in stowing away pie,
and devoutly wishing himself back in San Francisco.

When we came on deck again, he took the wheel from
Johnson--it appears they could trust none among the
hands--and I stood close beside him, feeling safe in
this proximity, and tasting a fearful joy from our
surroundings and the consciousness of my decision.  The
breeze had already risen, and as it tore over our
heads, it uttered at times a long hooting note that
sent my heart into my boots.  The sea pursued us
without remission, leaping to the assault of the low
rail.  The quarter-deck was all awash, and we must
close the companion doors.

"And all this, if you please, for Mr. Pinkerton's
dollars!" the captain suddenly exclaimed.  "There's
many a fine fellow gone under, Mr. Dodd, because of
drivers like your friend.  What do they care for a ship
or two? Insured, I guess.  What do they care for
sailors' lives alongside of a few thousand dollars?
What they want is speed between ports, and a damned
fool of a captain that'll drive a ship under as I'm
doing this one.  You can put in the morning, asking why
I do it."

I sheered off to another part of the vessel as fast as
civility permitted.  This was not at all the talk that
I desired, nor was the train of reflection which it
started anyway welcome.  Here I was, running some
hazard of my life, and perilling the lives of seven
others; exactly for what end, I was now at liberty to
ask myself.  For a very large amount of a very deadly
poison, was the obvious answer; and I thought if all
tales were true, and I were soon to be subjected to
cross-examination at the bar of Eternal Justice, it was
one which would not increase my popularity with the
court.  "Well, never mind, Jim," thought I; "I'm doing
it for you."

Before eleven a third reef was taken in the main-sail,
and Johnson filled the cabin with a storm-sail of No. 1
duck, and sat cross-legged on the streaming floor,
vigorously putting it to rights with a couple of the
hands.  By dinner I had fled the deck, and sat in the
bench corner, giddy, dumb, and stupefied with terror.
The frightened leaps of the poor NORAH CREINA,
spanking like a stag for bare existence, bruised me
between the table and the berths.  Overhead, the wild
huntsman of the storm passed continuously in one blare
of mingled noises; screaming wind, straining timber,
lashing rope's-end, pounding block and bursting sea
contributed; and I could have thought there was at
times another, a more piercing, a more human note, that
dominated all, like the wailing of an angel; I could
have thought I knew the angel's name, and that his
wings were black.  It seemed incredible that any
creature of man's art could long endure the barbarous
mishandling of the seas, kicked as the schooner was
from mountain-side to mountain-side, beaten and blown
upon and wrenched in every joint and sinew, like a
child upon the rack.  There was not a plank of her that
did not cry aloud for mercy; and as she continued to
hold together, I became conscious of a growing sympathy
with her endeavours, a growing admiration for her
gallant staunchness, that amused and at times
obliterated my terrors for myself God bless every man
that swung a mallet on that tiny and strong hull! It
was not for wages only that he laboured, but to save
men's lives.

All the rest of the day, and all the following night, I
sat in the corner or lay wakeful in my bunk; and it was
only with the return of morning that a new phase of my
alarms drove me once more on deck.  A gloomier interval
I never passed.  Johnson and Nares steadily relieved
each other at the wheel and came below.  The first
glance of each was at the glass, which he repeatedly
knuckled and frowned upon; for it was sagging lower all
the time.  Then, if Johnson were the visitor, he would
pick a snack out of the cupboard, and stand, braced
against the table, eating it, and perhaps obliging me
with a word or two of his hee-haw conversation: how it
was "a son of a gun of a cold night on deck, Mr. Dodd"
(with a grin); how "it wasn't no night for panjammers,
he could tell me"; having transacted all which, he
would throw himself down in his bunk and sleep his two
hours with compunction.  But the captain neither ate
nor slept.  "You there, Mr. Dodd?" he would say, after
the obligatory visit to the glass.  "Well, my son,
we're one hundred and four miles" (or whatever it was)
"off the island, and scudding for all we're worth.
We'll make it to-morrow about four, or not, as the case
may be.  That's the news.  And now, Mr. Dodd, I've
stretched a point for you; you can see I'm dead tired;
so just you stretch away back to your bunk again." And
with this attempt at geniality, his teeth would settle
hard down on his cigar, and he would pass his spell
below staring and blinking at the cabin lamp through a
cloud of tobacco-smoke.  He has told me since that he
was happy, which I should never have divined.  "You
see," he said, "the wind we had was never anything out
of the way; but the sea was really nasty, the schooner
wanted a lot of humouring, and it was clear from the
glass that we were close to some dirt.  We might be
running out of it, or we might be running right crack
into it.  Well, there's always something sublime about
a big deal like that; and it kind of raises a man in
his own liking.  We're a queer kind of beasts, Mr.
Dodd."

The morning broke with sinister brightness; the air
alarmingly transparent, the sky pure, the rim of the
horizon clear and strong against the heavens.  The wind
and the wild seas, now vastly swollen, indefatigably
hunted us.  I stood on deck, choking with fear; I
seemed to lose all power upon my limbs; my knees were
as paper when she plunged into the murderous valleys;
my heart collapsed when some black mountain fell in
avalanche beside her counter, and the water, that was
more than spray, swept round my ankles like a torrent.
I was conscious of but one strong desire--to bear
myself decently in my terrors, and, whatever should
happen to my life, preserve my character: as the
captain said, we are a queer kind of beasts.
Breakfast-time came, and I made shift to swallow some
hot tea.  Then I must stagger below to take the time,
reading the chronometer with dizzy eyes, and marvelling
the while what value there could be in observations
taken in a ship launched (as ours then was) like a
missile among flying seas.  The forenoon dragged on in
a grinding monotony of peril; every spoke of the wheel
a rash but an obliged experiment--rash as a forlorn
hope, needful as the leap that lands a fireman from a
burning staircase.  Noon was made; the captain dined on
his day's work, and I on watching him; and our place
was entered on the chart with a meticulous precision
which seemed to me half pitiful and half absurd, since
the next eye to behold that sheet of paper might be the
eye of an exploring fish.  One o'clock came, then two;
the captain gloomed and chafed, as he held to the
coaming of the house, and if ever I saw dormant murder
in man's eye, it was in his.  God help the hand that
should have disobeyed him!

Of a sudden he turned towards the mate, who was doing
his trick at the wheel.

"Two points on the port bow," I heard him say; and he
took the wheel himself.

Johnson nodded, wiped his eyes with the back of his wet
hand, watched a chance as the vessel lunged up hill,
and got to the main rigging, where he swarmed aloft.
Up and up I watched him go, hanging on at every ugly
plunge, gaining with every lull of the schooner's
movement, until, clambering into the cross-trees and
clinging with one arm around the masts, I could see him
take one comprehensive sweep of the south-westerly
horizon.  The next moment he had slid down the backstay
and stood on deck, with a grin, a nod, and a gesture of
the finger that said "yes"; the next again, and he was
back sweating and squirming at the wheel, his tired
face streaming and smiling, and his hair and the rags
and corners of his clothes lashing round him in the
wind.

Nares went below, fetched up his binocular, and fell
into a silent perusal of the sea-line: I also, with my
unaided eyesight.  Little by little, in that white
waste of water, I began to make out a quarter where the
whiteness appeared more condensed: the sky above was
whitish likewise, and misty like a squall; and little
by little there thrilled upon my ears a note deeper and
more terrible than the yelling of the gale--the long
thundering roll of breakers.  Nares wiped his night-
glass on his sleeve and passed it to me, motioning, as
he did so, with his hand.  An endless wilderness of
raging billows came and went and danced in the circle
of the glass; now and then a pale corner of sky, or the
strong line of the horizon rugged with the heads of
waves; and then of a sudden--come and gone ere I could
fix it, with a swallow's swiftness--one glimpse of what
we had come so far and paid so dear to see; the masts
and rigging of a brig pencilled on heaven, with an
ensign streaming at the main, and the ragged ribbons of
a topsail thrashing from the yard.  Again and again,
with toilful searching, I recalled that apparition.
There was no sign of any land; the wreck stood between
sea and sky, a thing the most isolated I had ever
viewed; but as we drew nearer, I perceived her to be
defended by a line of breakers which drew off on either
hand, and marked, indeed, the nearest segment of the
reef.  Heavy spray hung over them like a smoke, some
hundred feet into the air; and the sound of their
consecutive explosions rolled like a cannonade.

In half an hour we were close in; for perhaps as long
again we skirted that formidable barrier toward its
farther side; and presently the sea began insensibly to
moderate and the ship to go more sweetly.  We had
gained the lee of the island, as (for form's sake) I
may call that ring of foam and haze and thunder; and
shaking out a reef, wore ship and headed for the
passage.

                     CHAPTER XIII
                           
                           
               THE ISLAND AND THE WRECK

ALL hands were filled with joy.  It was betrayed in
their alacrity and easy faces: Johnson smiling broadly
at the wheel, Nares studying the sketch chart of the
island with an eye at peace, and the hands clustered
forward, eagerly talking and pointing: so manifest was
our escape, so wonderful the attraction of a single
foot of earth after so many suns had set and risen on
an empty sea! To add to the relief, besides, by one of
those malicious coincidences which suggest for Fate the
image of an underbred and grinning schoolboy, we had no
sooner worn ship than the wind began to abate.

For myself, however, I did but exchange anxieties.  I
was no sooner out of one fear than I fell upon another;
no sooner secure that I should myself make the intended
haven, than I began to be convinced that Trent was
there before me.  I climbed into the rigging, stood on
the board, and eagerly scanned that ring of coral reef
and bursting breaker, and the blue lagoon which they
enclosed.  The two islets within began to show plainly-
-Middle Brooks and Lower Brooks Island, the Directory
named them: two low, bush-covered, rolling strips of
sand, each with glittering beaches, each perhaps a mile
or a mile and a half in length, running east and west,
and divided by a narrow channel.  Over these,
innumerable as maggots, there hovered, chattered, and
screamed millions of twinkling sea-birds; white and
black; the black by far the largest.  With singular
scintillations, this vortex of winged life swayed to
and fro in the strong sunshine, whirled continually
through itself, and would now and again burst asunder
and scatter as wide as the lagoon: so that I was
irresistibly reminded of what I had read of nebular
convulsions.  A thin cloud overspread the area of the
reef and the adjacent sea--the dust, as I could not but
fancy, of earlier explosions.  And, a little apart,
there was yet another focus of centrifugal and
centripetal flight, where, hard by the deafening line
of breakers, her sails (all but the tattered topsail)
snugly furled down, and the red rag that marks Old
England on the seas beating, union down, at the main--
the FLYING SCUD, the fruit of so many toilers, a
recollection in so many lives of men, whose tall spars
had been mirrored in the remotest corners of the sea--
lay stationary at last and for ever, in the first stage
of naval dissolution.  Towards her the taut NORAH
CREINA, vulture-wise, wriggled to windward: come from
so far to pick her bones.  And, look as I pleased,
there was no other presence of man or of man's
handiwork; no Honolulu schooner lay there crowded with
armed rivals, no smoke rose from the fire at which I
fancied Trent cooking a meal of sea-birds.  It seemed,
after all, we were in time, and I drew a mighty breath.

I had not arrived at this reviving certainty before the
breakers were already close aboard, the leadsman at his
station, and the captain posted in the fore cross-trees
to con us through the coral lumps of the lagoon.  All
circumstances were in our favour, the light behind, the
sun low, the wind still fresh and steady, and the tide
about the turn.  A moment later we shot at racing speed
betwixt two pier heads of broken water; the lead began
to be cast, the captain to bawl down his anxious
directions, the schooner to tack and dodge among the
scattered dangers of the lagoon; and at one bell in the
first dog-watch we had come to our anchor off the
north-east end of Middle Brooks Island, in five fathoms
water.  The sails were gasketed and covered, the boats
emptied of the miscellaneous stores and odds and ends
of sea-furniture, that accumulate in the course of a
voyage, the kedge sent ashore, and the decks tidied
down: a good three-quarters of an hour's work, during
which I raged about the deck like a man with a strong
toothache.  The transition from the wild sea to the
comparative immobility of the lagoon had wrought
strange distress among my nerves: I could not hold
still whether in hand or foot; the slowness of the men,
tired as dogs after our rough experience outside,
irritated me like something personal; and the
irrational screaming of the sea-birds saddened me like
a dirge.  It was a relief when, with Nares, and a
couple of hands, I might drop into the boat and move
off at last for the FLYING SCUD.

"She looks kind of pitiful, don't she?" observed the
captain, nodding towards the wreck, from which we were
separated by some half a mile.  "Looks as if she didn't
like her berth, and Captain Trent had used her badly.--
Give her ginger, boys," he added to the hands, "and you
can all have shore liberty to-night to see the birds
and paint the town red."

We all laughed at the pleasantry, and the boat skimmed
the faster over the rippling face of the lagoon.  The
FLYING SCUD would have seemed small enough beside
the wharves of San Francisco, but she was some thrice
the size of the NORAH CREINA, which had been so
long our continent; and as we craned up at her wall-
sides, she impressed us with a mountain magnitude.  She
lay head to the reef, where the huge blue wall of the
rollers was for ever ranging up and crumbling down; and
to gain her starboard side, we must pass below the
stern.  The rudder was hard aport, and we could read
the legend--

                      FLYING SCUD
                           
                         HULL.

On the other side, about the break of the poop, some
half a fathom of rope-ladder trailed over the rail, and
by this we made our entrance.

She was a roomy ship inside, with a raised poop
standing some three feet higher than the deck, and a
small forward house, for the men's bunks and the
galley, just abaft the foremast.  There was one boat on
the house, and another and larger one, in beds on deck,
on either hand of it.  She had been painted white, with
tropical economy, outside and in; and we found, later
on, that the stanchions of the rail, hoops of the
scuttle-butt, etc., were picked out with green.  At
that time, however, when we first stepped aboard, all
was hidden under the droppings of innumerable sea-
birds.

The birds themselves gyrated and screamed meanwhile
among the rigging; and when we looked into the galley,
their outrush drove us back.  Savage-looking fowl they
were, savagely beaked, and some of the black ones great
as eagles.  Half-buried in the slush, we were aware of
a litter of kegs in the waist; and these, on being
somewhat cleaned, proved to be water-beakers and
quarter-casks of mess beef with some colonial brand,
doubtless collected there before the TEMPEST hove
in sight, and while Trent and his men had no better
expectation than to strike for Honolulu in the boats.
Nothing else was notable on deck, save where the loose
topsail had played some havoc with the rigging, and
there hung, and swayed, and sang in the declining wind,
a raffle of intorted cordage.

With a shyness that was almost awe, Nares and I
descended the companion.  The stair turned upon itself
and landed us just forward of a thwart-ship bulkhead
that cut the poop in two.  The fore part formed a kind
of miscellaneous store-room, with a double-bunked
division for the cook (as Nares supposed) and second
mate.  The after part contained, in the midst, the main
cabin, running in a kind of bow into the curvature of
the stern; on the port side, a pantry opening forward
and a state-room for the mate; and on the starboard,
the captain's berth and water-closet.  Into these we
did but glance, the main cabin holding us.  It was
dark, for the sea-birds had obscured the skylight with
their droppings; it smelt rank and fusty: and it was
beset with a loud swarm of flies that beat continually
in our faces.  Supposing them close attendants upon man
and his broken meat, I marvelled how they had found
their way to Midway Reef; it was sure at least some
vessel must have brought them, and that long ago, for
they had multiplied exceedingly.  Part of the floor was
strewn with a confusion of clothes, books, nautical
instruments, odds and ends of finery, and such trash as
might be expected from the turning out of several
seamen's chests, upon a sudden emergency, and after a
long cruise.  It was strange in that dim cabin,
quivering with the near thunder of the breakers, and
pierced with the screaming of the fowls, to turn over
so many things that other men had coveted, and prized,
and worn on their warm bodies--frayed old
underclothing, pyjamas of strange design, duck suits in
every stage of rustiness, oil-skins, pilot coats,
embroidered shirts, jackets of Ponjee silk--clothes for
the night watch at sea or the day ashore in the hotel
verandah: and mingled among these, books, cigars,
bottles of scent, fancy pipes, quantities of tobacco,
many keys, a rusty pistol, and a sprinkling of cheap
curiosities--Benares brass, Chinese jars and pictures,
and bottles of odd shells in cotton, each designed, no
doubt, for somebody at home--perhaps in Hull, of which
Trent had been a native and his ship a citizen.

Thence we turned our attention to the table, which
stood spread, as if for a meal, with stout ship's
crockery and the remains of food--a pot of marmalade,
dregs of coffee in the mugs, unrecognisable remains of
food, bread, some toast, and a tin of condensed milk.
The table-cloth, originally of a red colour, was
stained a dark brown at the captain's end, apparently
with coffee; at the other end it had been folded back,
and a pen and ink-pot stood on the bare table.  Stools
were here and there about the table, irregularly
placed, as though the meal had been finished and the
men smoking and chatting; and one of the stools lay on
the floor, broken.

"See! they were writing up the log," said Nares,
pointing to the ink-bottle.  "Caught napping, as usual.
I wonder if there ever was a captain yet that lost a
ship with his log-book up to date? He generally has
about a month to fill up on a clean break, like Charles
Dickens and his serial novels.--What a regular
limejuicer spread!" he added contemptuously.
"Marmalade--and toast for the old man!  Nasty slovenly
pigs!"

There was something in this criticism of the absent
that jarred upon my feelings.  I had no love indeed for
Captain Trent or any of his vanished gang; but the
desertion and decay of this once habitable cabin struck
me hard.  The death of man's handiwork is melancholy,
like the death of man himself; and I was impressed with
an involuntary and irrational sense of tragedy in my
surroundings.

"This sickens me," I said; "let's go on deck and
breathe."

The captain nodded.  "It IS kind of lonely, isn't
it?" he said; "but I can't go up till I get the code
signals.  I want to run up "Got Left" or something,
just to brighten up this island home.  Captain Trent
hasn't been here yet, but he'll drop in before long;
and it'll cheer him up to see a signal on the brig."

"Isn't there some official expression we could use?" I
asked, vastly taken by the fancy.  "'Sold for the
benefit of the underwriters: for further particulars
apply to J. Pinkerton, Montana Block, S.F.'"

"Well," returned Nares, "I won't say but what an old
navy quartermaster might telegraph all that, if you
gave him a day to do it in and a pound of tobacco for
himself.  But it's above my register.  I must try
something short and sweet: KB, urgent signal, 'Heave
all aback'; or LM, urgent, 'The berth you're now in is
not safe'; or what do you say to PQH?--'Tell my owners
the ship answers remarkably well.'"

"It's premature," I replied; "but it seems calculated
to give pain to Trent.  PQH for me."

The flags were found in Trent's cabin, neatly stored
behind a lettered grating; Nares chose what he
required, and (I following) returned on deck, where the
sun had already dipped, and the dusk was coming.

"Here! don't touch that, you fool!" shouted the captain
to one of the hands, who was drinking from the scuttle-
butt. "That water's rotten!"

"Beg pardon, sir," replied the man.  "Tastes quite
sweet."

"Let me see," returned Nares, and he took the dipper
and held it to his lips.  "Yes, it's all right," he
said.  "Must have rotted and come sweet again.--Queer,
isn't it, Mr. Dodd? Though I've known the same on a
Cape Horner."

There was something in his intonation that made me look
him in the face; he stood a little on tiptoe to look
right and left about the ship, like a man filled with
curiosity, and his whole expression and bearing
testified to some suppressed excitement.

"You don't believe what you're saying!" I broke out.

"O, I don't know but what I do!" he replied, laying a
hand upon me soothingly.  "The thing's very possible.
Only, I'm bothered about something else."

And with that he called a hand, gave him the code
flags, and stepped himself to the main signal
halliards, which vibrated under the weight of the
ensign overhead.  A minute later, the American colours,
which we had brought in the boat, replaced the English
red, and PQH was fluttering at the fore.

"Now, then," said Nares, who had watched the breaking
out of his signal with the old-maidish particularity of
an American sailor, "out with those handspikes, and
let's see what water there is in the lagoon."

The bars were shoved home; the barbarous cacophony of
the clanking pump rose in the waist; and streams of
ill-smelling water gushed on deck and made valleys in
the slab guano.  Nares leaned on the rail, watching the
steady stream of bilge as though he found some interest
in it.

"What is it that bothers you?" I asked.

"Well, I'll tell you one thing shortly," he replied.
"But here's another.  Do you see those boats there, one
on the house and two on the beds? Well, where is the
boat Trent lowered when he lost the hands?"

"Got it aboard again, I suppose," said I.

"Well, if you'll tell me why!" returned the captain.

"Then it must have been another," I suggested.

"She might have carried another on the main hatch, I
won't deny," admitted Nares, "but I can't see what she
wanted with it, unless it was for the old man to go out
and play the accordion in on moonlight nights."

"It can't much matter, anyway," I reflected.

"O, I don't suppose it does," said he, glancing over
his shoulder at the spouting of the scuppers.

"And how long are we to keep up this racket?" I asked.
"We're simply pumping up the lagoon.  Captain Trent
himself said she had settled down and was full
forward."

"Did he?" said Nares, with a significant dryness.  And
almost as he spoke the pumps sucked, and sucked again,
and the men threw down their bars.  "There, what do you
make of that?" he asked.  "Now, I'll tell, Mr. Dodd,"
he went on, lowering his voice, but not shifting from
his easy attitude against the rail, "this ship is as
sound as the NORAH CREINA.  I had a guess of it
before we came aboard, and now I know."

"It's not possible!" I cried.  "What do you make of
Trent?"

"I don't make anything of Trent; I don't know whether
he's a liar or only an old wife; I simply tell you
what's the fact," said Nares.  "And I'll tell you
something more," he added: "I've taken the ground
myself in deep-water vessels; I know what I'm saying;
and I say that, when she first struck and before she
bedded down, seven or eight hours' work would have got
this hooker off, and there's no man that ever went two
years to sea but must have known it."

I could only utter an exclamation.

Nares raised his finger warningly.  "Don't let THEM
get hold of it," said he.  "Think what you like, but
say nothing."

I glanced round; the dusk was melting into early night;
the twinkle of a lantern marked the schooner's position
in the distance; and our men, free from further labour,
stood grouped together in the waist, their faces
illuminated by their glowing pipes.

"Why didn't Trent get her off?" inquired the captain.
"Why did he want to buy her back in 'Frisco for these
fabulous sums, when he might have sailed her into the
bay himself?"

"Perhaps he never knew her value until then," I
suggested.

"I wish we knew her value now," exclaimed Nares.
"However, I don't want to depress you; I'm sorry for
you, Mr. Dodd; I know how bothering it must be to you,
and the best I can say's this: I haven't taken much
time getting down, and now I'm here I mean to work this
thing in proper style.  I just want to put your mind at
rest; you shall have no trouble with me."

There was something trusty and friendly in his voice;
and I found myself gripping hands with him, in that
hard, short shake that means so much with English-
speaking people.

"We'll do, old fellow," said he.  "We've shaken down
into pretty good friends, you and me; and you won't
find me working the business any the less hard for that
And now let's scoot for supper."

After supper, with the idle curiosity of the seafarer,
we pulled ashore in a fine moonlight, and landed on
Middle Brooks Island.  A flat beach surrounded it upon
all sides; and the midst was occupied by a thicket of
bushes, the highest of them scarcely five feet high, in
which the sea-fowl lived.  Through this we tried at
first to strike; but it were easier to cross Trafalgar
Square on a day of demonstration than to invade these
haunts of sleeping sea-birds.  The nests sank, and the
eggs burst under footing; wings beat in our faces,
beaks menaced our eyes, our minds were confounded with
the screeching, and the coil spread over the island and
mounted high into the air.

"I guess we'll saunter round the beach," said Nares,
when we had made good our retreat.

The hands were all busy after sea-birds' eggs, so there
were none to follow us.  Our way lay on the crisp sand
by the margin of the water: on one side, the thicket
from which we had been dislodged; on the other, the
face of the lagoon, barred with a broad path of
moonlight, and beyond that the line, alternately dark
and shining, alternately hove high and fallen prone, of
the external breakers.  The beach was strewn with bits
of wreck and drift: some redwood and spruce logs, no
less than two lower masts of junks, and the stern-post
of a European ship--all of which we looked on with a
shade of serious concern, speaking of the dangers of
the sea and the hard case of castaways.  In this sober
vein we made the greater part of the circuit of the
island; had a near view of its neighbour from the
southern end; walked the whole length of the westerly
side in the shadow of the thicket; and came forth again
into the moonlight at the opposite extremity.

On our right, at the distance of about half a mile, the
schooner lay faintly heaving at her anchors.  About
half a mile down the beach, at a spot still hidden from
us by the thicket, an upboiling of the birds showed
where the men were still (with sailor-like
insatiability) collecting eggs.  And right before us,
in a small indentation of the sand, we were aware of a
boat lying high and dry, and right side up.

Nares crouched back into the shadow of the bushes.

"What the devil's this?" he whispered.

"Trent," I suggested, with a beating heart.

"We were damned fools to come ashore unarmed," said he.
"But I've got to know where I stand." In the shadow,
his face looked conspicuously white, and his voice
betrayed a strong excitement.  He took his boat's
whistle from his pocket "In case I might want to play a
tune," said he grimly, and thrusting it between his
teeth, advanced into the moonlit open, which we crossed
with rapid steps, looking guiltily about us as we went.
Not a leaf stirred; and the boat, when we came up to
it, offered convincing proof of long desertion.  She
was an eighteen-foot whaleboat of the ordinary type,
equipped with oars and thole-pins.  Two or three
quarter-casks lay on the bilge amidships, one of which
must have been broached, and now stank horribly; and
these, upon examination, proved to bear the same New
Zealand brand as the beef on board the wreck.

"Well, here's the boat," said I; "here's one of your
difficulties cleared away."

"H'm," said he.  There was a little water in the bilge,
and here he stooped and tasted it.

"Fresh," he said.  "Only rain-water."

"You don't object to that?" I asked.

"No," said he.

"Well, then, what ails you?" I cried.

"In plain United States, Mr. Dodd," he returned, "a
whaleboat, five ash sweeps, and a barrel of stinking
pork."

"Or, in other words, the whole thing?" I commented.

"Well, it's this way," he condescended to explain.
"I've no use for a fourth boat at all; but a boat of
this model tops the business.  I don't say the type's
not common in these waters; it's as common as dirt; the
traders carry them for surf-boats.  But the FLYING
SCUD? a deep-water tramp, who was lime-juicing around
between big ports, Calcutta and Rangoon and 'Frisco and
the Canton River? No, I don't see it."

We were leaning over the gunwale of the boat as we
spoke.  The captain stood nearest the bow, and he was
idly playing with the trailing painter, when a thought
arrested him.  He hauled the line in hand over hand,
and stared, and remained staring, at the end.

"Anything wrong with it?" I asked.

"Do you know, Mr. Dodd," said he, in a queer voice,
"this painter's been cut? A sailor always seizes a
rope's end, but this is sliced short off with the cold
steel.  This won't do at all for the men," he added.
"Just stand by till I fix it up more natural."

"Any guess what it all means?" I asked.

"Well, it means one thing," said he.  "It means Trent
was a liar.  I guess the story of the FLYING SCUD
was a sight more picturesque than he gave out."

Half an hour later the whaleboat was lying astern of
the NORAH CREINA; and Nares and I sought our bunks,
silent and half-bewildered by our late discoveries.

                      CHAPTER XIV
                           
                           
            THE CABIN OF THE "FLYING SCUD"

THE sun of the morrow had not cleared the morning bank:
the lake of the lagoon, the islets, and the wall of
breakers now beginning to subside, still lay clearly
pictured in the flushed obscurity of early day, when we
stepped again upon the deck of the FLYING SCUD:
Nares, myself, the mate, two of the hands, and one
dozen bright, virgin axes, in war against that massive
structure.  I think we all drew pleasurable breath; so
profound in man is the instinct of destruction, so
engaging is the interest of the chase.  For we were now
about to taste, in a supreme degree, the double joys of
demolishing a toy and playing "Hide the handkerchief"--
sports from which we had all perhaps desisted since the
days of infancy.  And the toy we were to burst in
pieces was a deep-sea ship; and the hidden good for
which we were to hunt was a prodigious fortune.

The decks were washed down, the main hatch removed, and
a gun-tackle purchase rigged before the boat arrived
with breakfast.  I had grown so suspicious of the
wreck, that it was a positive relief to me to look down
into the hold, and see it full, or nearly full, of
undeniable rice packed in the Chinese fashion in
boluses of matting.  Breakfast over, Johnson and the
hands turned to upon the cargo; while Nares and I,
having smashed open the sky-light and rigged up a
windsail on deck, began the work of rummaging the
cabins.

I must not be expected to describe our first day's
work, or (for that matter) any of the rest, in order
and detail as it occurred.  Such particularity might
have been possible for several officers and a draft of
men from a ship of war, accompanied by an experienced
secretary with a knowledge of shorthand.  For two plain
human beings, unaccustomed to the use of the broad-axe,
and consumed with an impatient greed of the result, the
whole business melts, in the retrospect, into a
nightmare of exertion, heat, hurry, and bewilderment;
sweat pouring from the face like rain, the scurry of
rats, the choking exhalations of the bilge, and the
throbs and splinterings of the toiling axes.  I shall
content myself with giving the cream of our discoveries
in a logical rather than a temporal order; though the
two indeed practically coincided, and we had finished
our exploration of the cabin before we could be certain
of the nature of the cargo.

Nares and I began operations by tossing up pell-mell
through the companion, and piling in a squalid heap
about the wheel, all clothes, personal effects, the
crockery, the carpet, stale victuals, tins of meat,
and, in a word, all movables from the main cabin.
Thence we transferred our attention to the captain's
quarters on the starboard side.  Using the blankets for
a basket, we sent up the books, instruments, and
clothes to swell our growing midden on the deck; and
then Nares, going on hands and knees, began to forage
underneath the bed.  Box after box of Manilla cigars
rewarded his search.  I took occasion to smash some of
these boxes open, and even to guillotine the bundles of
cigars; but quite in vain--no secret CACHE of opium
encouraged me to continue.

"I guess I've got hold of the dicky now!" exclaimed
Nares, and turning round from my perquisitions, I found
he had drawn forth a heavy iron box, secured to the
bulkhead by chain and padlock.  On this he was now
gazing, not with the triumph that instantly inflamed my
own bosom, but with a somewhat foolish appearance of
surprise.

"By George, we have it now!" I cried, and would have
shaken hands with my companion; but he did not see, or
would not accept, the salutation.

"Let's see what's in it first," he remarked dryly.  And
he adjusted the box upon its side, and with some blows
of an axe burst the lock open.  I threw myself beside
him, as he replaced the box on its bottom and removed
the lid.  I cannot tell what I expected; a million's
worth of diamonds might perhaps have pleased me; my
cheeks burned, my heart throbbed to bursting; and lo!
there was disclosed but a trayful of papers, neatly
taped, and a cheque-book of the customary pattern.  I
made a snatch at the tray to see what was beneath, but
the captain's hand fell on mine, heavy and hard.

"Now, boss!" he cried, not unkindly, "is this to be run
shipshape? or is it a Dutch grab-racket?"

And he proceeded to untie and run over the contents of
the papers, with a serious face and what seemed an
ostentation of delay.  Me and my impatience it would
appear he had forgotten; for when he was quite done, he
sat a while thinking, whistled a bar or two, refolded
the papers, tied them up again; and then, and not
before, deliberately raised the tray.

I saw a cigar-box, tied with a piece of fishing-line,
and four fat canvas bags.  Nares whipped out his knife,
cut the line, and opened the box.  It was about half-
full of sovereigns.

"And the bags?" I whispered.

The captain ripped them open one by one, and a flood of
mixed silver coin burst forth and rattled in the rusty
bottom of the box.  Without a word, he set to work to
count the gold.

"What is this?" I asked.

"It's the ship's money," he returned, doggedly
continuing his work.

"The ship's money?" I repeated.  "That's the money
Trent tramped and traded with.  And there's his cheque-
book to draw upon his owners? And he has left it?"

"I guess he has," said Nares austerely, jotting down a
note of the gold; and I was abashed into silence till
his task should be completed.

It came, I think, to three hundred and seventy-eight
pounds sterling; some nineteen pounds of it in silver:
all of which we turned again into the chest.

"And what do you think of that?" I asked.

"Mr. Dodd," he replied, "you see something of the
rumness of this job, but not the whole.  The specie
bothers you, but what gets me is the papers.  Are you
aware that the master of a ship has charge of all the
cash in hand, pays the men advances, receives freight
and passage-money, and runs up bills in every port? All
this he does as the owner's confidential agent, and his
integrity is proved by his receipted bills.  I tell
you, the captain of a ship is more likely to forget his
pants than these bills which guarantee his character.
I've known men drown to save them--bad men, too; but
this is the ship-master's honour.  And here this
Captain Trent--not hurried, not threatened with
anything but a free passage in a British man-of-war--
has left them all behind.  I don't want to express
myself too strongly, because the facts appear against
me, but the thing is impossible."

Dinner came to us not long after, and we ate it on
deck, in a grim silence, each privately racking his
brain for some solution of the mysteries.  I was,
indeed, so swallowed up in these considerations that
the wreck, the lagoon, the islets, and the strident
sea-fowl, the strong sun then beating on my head, and
even the gloomy countenance of the captain at my elbow,
all vanished from the field of consciousness.  My mind
was a blackboard on which I scrawled and blotted out
hypotheses, comparing each with the pictorial records
in my memory--ciphering with pictures.  In the course
of this tense mental exercise I recalled and studied
the faces of one memorial masterpiece, the scene of the
saloon; and here I found myself, on a sudden, looking
in the eyes of the Kanaka.

"There's one thing I can put beyond doubt, at all
events," I cried, relinquishing my dinner and getting
briskly afoot.  "There was that Kanaka I saw in the bar
with Captain Trent, the fellow the newspapers and
ship's articles made out to be a Chinaman.  I mean to
rout his quarters out and settle that."

"All right," said Nares.  "I'll lazy off a bit longer,
Mr. Dodd; I feel pretty rocky and mean."

We had thoroughly cleared out the three after-
compartments of the ship; all the stuff from the main
cabin and the mate's and captain's quarters lay piled
about the wheel; but in the forward state-room with the
two bunks, where Nares had said the mate and cook most
likely berthed, we had as yet done nothing.  Thither I
went.  It was very bare; a few photographs were tacked
on the bulkhead, one of them indecent; a single chest
stood open, and, like all we had yet found, it had been
partly rifled.  An armful of two-shilling novels proved
to me beyond a doubt it was a European's; no Chinaman
would have possessed any, and the most literate Kanaka
conceivable in a ship's galley was not likely to have
gone beyond one.  It was plain, then, that the cook had
not berthed aft, and I must look elsewhere.

The men had stamped down the nests and driven the birds
from the galley, so that I could now enter without
contest.  One door had been already blocked with rice;
the place was in part darkness, full of a foul stale
smell, and a cloud of nasty flies; it had been left,
besides, in some disorder, or else the birds, during
their time of tenancy, had knocked the things about;
and the floor, like the deck before we washed it, was
spread with pasty filth.  Against the wall, in the far
corner, I found a handsome chest of camphor-wood bound
with brass, such as Chinamen and sailors love, and
indeed all of mankind that plies in the Pacific.  From
its outside view I could thus make no deduction; and,
strange to say, the interior was concealed.  All the
other chests, as I have said already, we had found
gaping open, and their contents scattered abroad; the
same remark we found to apply afterwards in the
quarters of the seamen; only this camphor-wood chest, a
singular exception, was both closed and locked.

I took an axe to it, readily forced the paltry Chinese
fastening, and, like a Custom-House officer, plunged my
hands among the contents.  For some while I groped
among linen and cotton.  Then my teeth were set on edge
with silk, of which I drew forth several strips covered
with mysterious characters.  And these settled the
business, for I recognised them as a kind of bed-
hanging popular with the commoner class of the Chinese.
Nor were further evidences wanting, such as night-
clothes of an extraordinary design, a three-stringed
Chinese fiddle, a silk handkerchief full of roots and
herbs, and a neat apparatus for smoking opium, with a
liberal provision of the drug.  Plainly, then, the cook
had been a Chinaman; and, if so, who was Jos. Amalu? Or
had Jos. stolen the chest before he proceeded to ship
under a false name and domicile? It was possible, as
anything was possible in such a welter; but, regarded
as a solution, it only led and left me deeper in the
bog.  For why should this chest have been deserted and
neglected, when the others were rummaged or removed?
and where had Jos. come by that second chest, with
which (according to the clerk at the What Cheer) he had
started for Honolulu?

"And how have YOU fared?" inquired the captain,
whom I found luxuriously reclining in our mound of
litter.  And the accent on the pronoun, the heightened
colour of the speaker's face, and the contained
excitement in his tones, advertised me at once that I
had not been alone to make discoveries.

"I have found a Chinaman's chest in the galley," said
I, "and John (if there was any John) was not so much as
at the pains to take his opium."

Nares seemed to take it mighty quietly.  "That so?"
said he.  "Now, cast your eyes on that and own you're
beaten!" And with a formidable clap of his open hand he
flattened out before me, on the deck, a pair of
newspapers.

I gazed upon them dully, being in no mood for fresh
discoveries.

"Look at them, Mr. Dodd," cried the captain sharply.
"Can't you look at them?" And he ran a dirty thumb
along the title.  "'SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, November
26th,' can't you make that out?" he cried, with rising
energy.  "And don't you know, sir, that not thirteen
days after this paper appeared in New South Pole, this
ship we're standing in heaved her blessed anchors out
of China? How did the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD get to
Hong Kong in thirteen days? Trent made no land, he
spoke no ship, till he got here.  Then he either got it
here or in Hong Kong.  I give you your choice, my son!"
he cried, and fell back among the clothes like a man
weary of life.

"Where did you find them?" I asked.  "In that black
bag?"

"Guess so," he said.  "You needn't fool with it.
There's nothing else but a lead-pencil and a kind of
worked-out knife."

I looked in the bag, however, and was well rewarded.

"Every man to his trade, captain," said I.  "You're a
sailor, and you've given me plenty of points; but I am
an artist, and allow me to inform you this is quite as
strange as all the rest.  The knife is a palette-knife;
the pencil a Winsor and Newton, and a B B B at that.  A
palette-knife and a B B B on a tramp brig! It's against
the laws of nature."

"It would sicken a dog, wouldn't it?" said Nares.

"Yes," I continued, "it's been used by an artist, too:
see how it's sharpened--not for writing--no man could
write with that.  An artist, and straight from Sydney?
How can he come in?"

"O, that's natural enough," sneered Nares.  "They
cabled him to come up and illustrate this dime novel."

We fell a while silent.

"Captain," I said at last, "there is something deuced
underhand about this brig.  You tell me you've been to
sea a good part of your life.  You must have seen shady
things done on ships, and heard of more.  Well, what is
this? is it insurance? is it piracy? what is it
ABOUT? what can it be for?"

"Mr. Dodd," returned Nares, "you're right about me
having been to sea the bigger part of my life.  And
you're right again when you think I know a good many
ways in which a dishonest captain mayn't be on the
square, nor do exactly the right thing by his owners,
and altogether be just a little too smart by ninety-
nine and three-quarters.  There's a good many ways, but
not so many as you'd think; and not one that has any
mortal thing to do with Trent.  Trent and his whole
racket has got to do with nothing--that's the bed-rock
fact; there's no sense to it, and no use in it, and no
story to it--it's a beastly dream.  And don't you run
away with that notion that landsmen take about ships.
A society actress don't go around more publicly than
what a ship does, nor is more interviewed, nor more
humbugged, nor more run after by all sorts of little
fussinesses in brass buttons.  And more than an
actress, a ship has a deal to lose; she's capital, and
the actress only character--if she's that.  The ports
of the world are thick with people ready to kick a
captain into the penitentiary if he's not as bright as
a dollar and as honest as the morning star; and what
with Lloyd keeping watch and watch in every corner of
the three oceans, and the insurance leeches, and the
consuls, and the Customs bugs, and the medicos, you can
only get the idea by thinking of a landsman watched by
a hundred and fifty detectives, or a stranger in a
village down east."

"Well, but at sea?" I said.

"You make me tired," retorted the captain.  "What's the
use--at sea? Everything's got to come to bearings at
some port, hasn't it? You can't stop at sea for ever,
can you?--No; the FLYING SCUD is rubbish; if it
meant anything, it would have to mean something so
almighty intricate that James G. Blaine hasn't got the
brains to engineer it; and I vote for more axeing,
pioneering, and opening up the resources of this
phenomenal brig, and less general fuss," he added,
arising.  "The dime-museum symptoms will drop in of
themselves, I guess, to keep us cheery."

But it appeared we were at the end of discoveries for
the day; and we left the brig about sundown, without
being further puzzled or further enlightened.  The best
of the cabin spoils--books, instruments, papers, silks,
and curiosities--we carried along with us in a blanket,
however, to divert the evening hours; and when supper
was over, and the table cleared, and Johnson set down
to a dreary game of cribbage between his right hand and
his left, the captain and I turned out our blanket on
the floor, and sat side by side to examine and appraise
the spoils.

The books were the first to engage our notice.  These
were rather numerous (as Nares contemptuously put it)
"for a limejuicer." Scorn of the British mercantile
marine glows in the breast of every Yankee merchant
captain; as the scorn is not reciprocated, I can only
suppose it justified in fact; and certainly the Old
Country mariner appears of a less studious disposition.
The more credit to the officers of the FLYING SCUD,
who had quite a library, both literary and
professional.  There were Findlay's five directories of
the world--all broken-backed, as is usual with Findlay,
and all marked and scribbled over with corrections and
additions,--several books of navigation, a signal-code,
and an Admiralty book of a sort of orange hue, called
ISLANDS OF THE EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN, vol. iii.,
which appeared from its imprint to be the latest
authority, and showed marks of frequent consultation in
the passages about the French Frigate Shoals, the
Harman, Cure, Pearl, and Hermes Reefs, Lisiansky
Island, Ocean Island, and the place where we then lay--
Brooks or Midway.  A volume of Macaulay's ESSAYS
and a shilling Shakespeare led the van of the BELLES
LETTRES; the rest were novels.  Several Miss
Braddon's--of course, AURORA FLOYD, which has
penetrated to every island of the Pacific, a good many
cheap detective books, ROB ROY, Auerbach's AUF
DER HOHE, in the German, and a prize temperance story,
pillaged (to judge by the stamp) from an Anglo-Indian
circulating library.

"The Admiralty man gives a fine picture of our island,"
remarked Nares, who had turned up Midway Island.  "He
draws the dreariness rather mild, but you can make out
he knows the place."

"Captain," I cried, "you've struck another point in
this mad business.  See here," I went on eagerly,
drawing from my pocket a crumpled fragment of the
DAILY OCCIDENTAL which I had inherited from Jim:
"Misled by Hoyt's PACIFIC DIRECTORY? Where's Hoyt?"

"Let's look into that," said Nares.  "I got that book
on purpose for this cruise." Therewith he fetched it
from the shelf in his berth, turned to Midway Island,
and read the account aloud.  It stated with precision
that the Pacific Mail Company were about to form a
depot there, in preference to Honolulu, and that they
had already a station on the island.

"I wonder who gives these directory men their
information," Nares reflected.  "Nobody can blame Trent
after that.  I never got in company with squarer lying;
it reminds a man of a presidential campaign."

"All very well," said I; "that's your Hoyt, and a fine,
tall copy.  But what I want to know is, where is
Trent's Hoyt?"

"Took it with him," chuckled Nares; "he had left
everything else, bills and money and all the rest: he
was bound to take something, or it would have aroused
attention on the TEMPEST.  'Happy thought,' says
he, 'let's take Hoyt.'"

"And has it not occurred to you," I went on, "that all
the Hoyts in creation couldn't have misled Trent, since
he had in his hand that red Admiralty book, an official
publication, later in date, and particularly full on
Midway Island?"

"That's a fact!" cried Nares; "and I bet the first Hoyt
he ever saw was out of the mercantile library of San
Francisco.  Looks as if he had brought her here on
purpose, don't it? But then that's inconsistent with
the steam-crusher of the sale.  That's the trouble with
this brig racket; any one can make half a dozen
theories for sixty or seventy per cent. of it; but when
they're made, there's always a fathom or two of slack
hanging out of the other end."

I believe our attention fell next on the papers, of
which we had altogether a considerable bulk.  I had
hoped to find among these matter for a full-length
character of Captain Trent; but here I was doomed, on
the whole, to disappointment.  We could make out he was
an orderly man, for all his bills were docketed and
preserved.  That he was convivial, and inclined to be
frugal even in conviviality, several documents
proclaimed.  Such letters as we found were, with one
exception, arid notes from tradesmen.  The exception,
signed Hannah Trent, was a somewhat fervid appeal for a
loan.  "You know what misfortunes I have had to bear,"
wrote Hannah, "and how much I am disappointed in
George.  The land-lady appeared a true friend when I
first came here, and I thought her a perfect lady.  But
she has come out since then in her TRUE COLOURS;
and if you will not be softened by this last appeal, I
can't think what is to become of your affectionate----"
and then the signature.  This document was without
place or date, and a voice told me that it had gone
likewise without answer.  On the whole, there were few
letters anywhere in the ship; but we found one before
we were finished, in a seaman's chest, of which I must
transcribe some sentences.  It was dated from some
place on the Clyde.  "My dearist son," it ran, "this is
to tell you your dearist father passed away, Jan
twelft, in the peace of the Lord.  He had your photo
and dear David's lade upon his bed, made me sit by him.
Let's be a' thegither, he said, and gave you all his
blessing.  O my dear laddie, why were nae you and Davie
here? He would have had a happier passage.  He spok of
both of ye all night most beautiful, and how ye used to
stravaig on the Saturday afternoons, and of AULD
KELVINSIDE.  Sooth the tune to me, he said, though it
was the Sabbath, and I had to sooth him 'Kelvin Grove,'
and he looked at his fiddle, the dear man.  I cannae
bear the sight of it, he'll never play it mair.  O my
lamb, come home to me, I'm all by my lane now." The
rest was in a religious vein, and quite conventional.
I have never seen any one more put out than Nares, when
I handed him this letter.  He had read but a few words,
before he cast it down; it was perhaps a minute ere he
picked it up again, and the performance was repeated
the third time before he reached the end.

"It's touching, isn't it?" said I.

For all answer, Nares exploded in a brutal oath; and it
was some half an hour later that he vouchsafed an
explanation.  "I'll tell you what broke me up about
that letter," said he.  "My old man played the fiddle,
played it all out of tune: one of the things he played
was 'Martyrdom,' I remember--it was all martyrdom to
me.  He was a pig of a father, and I was a pig of a
son; but it sort of came over me I would like to hear
that fiddle squeak again.  Natural," he added; "I guess
we're all beasts."

"All sons are, I guess," said I.  "I have the same
trouble on my conscience: we can shake hands on that."
Which (oddly enough, perhaps) we did.

Amongst the papers we found a considerable sprinkling
of photographs; for the most part either of very
debonair-looking young ladies or old women of the
lodging-house persuasion.  But one among them was the
means of our crowning discovery.

"They're not pretty, are they, Mr. Dodd?" said Nares,
as he passed it over.

"Who?" I asked, mechanically taking the card (it was a
quarter-plate) in hand, and smothering a yawn; for the
hour was late, the day had been laborious, and I was
wearying for bed.

"Trent and Company," said he.  "That's a historic
picture of the gang."

I held it to the light, my curiosity at a low ebb: I
had seen Captain Trent once, and had no delight in
viewing him again.  It was a photograph of the deck of
the brig, taken from forward: all in apple-pie order;
the hands gathered in the waist, the officers on the
poop.  At the foot of the card was written "Brig
FLYING SCUD, Rangoon," and a date; and above or below
each individual figure the name had been carefully
noted.

As I continued to gaze, a shock went through me; the
dimness of sleep and fatigue lifted from my eyes, as
fog lifts in the Channel; and I beheld with startled
clearness the photographic presentment of a crowd of
strangers.  "J. Trent, Master" at the top of the card
directed me to a smallish, wizened man, with bushy
eyebrows and full white beard, dressed in a frock-coat
and white trousers; a flower stuck in his button-hole,
his bearded chin set forward, his mouth clenched with
habitual determination.  There was not much of the
sailor in his looks, but plenty of the martinet; a dry,
precise man, who might pass for a preacher in some
rigid sect; and, whatever he was, not the Captain Trent
of San Francisco.  The men, too, were all new to me:
the cook, an unmistakable Chinaman, in his
characteristic dress, standing apart on the poop steps.
But perhaps I turned on the whole with the greatest
curiosity to the figure labelled "E. Goddedaal, 1st
off." He whom I had never seen, he might be the
identical; he might be the clue and spring of all this
mystery; and I scanned his features with the eye of a
detective.  He was of great stature, seemingly blonde
as a Viking, his hair clustering round his head in
frowsy curls, and two enormous whiskers, like the tusks
of some strange animal, jutting from his cheeks.  With
these virile appendages and the defiant attitude in
which he stood, the expression of his face only
imperfectly harmonised.  It was wild, heroic, and
womanish-looking; and I felt I was prepared to hear he
was a sentimentalist, and to see him weep.

For some while I digested my discovery in private,
reflecting how best, and how with most of drama, I
might share it with the captain.  Then my sketch-book
came in my head, and I fished it out from where it lay,
with other miscellaneous possessions, at the foot of my
bunk, and turned to my sketch of Captain Trent and the
survivors of the British brig FLYING SCUD in the
San Francisco bar-room.

"Nares," said I, "I've told you how I first saw Captain
Trent in that saloon in 'Frisco? how he came with his
men, one of them a Kanaka with a canary-bird in a cage;
and how I saw him afterwards at the auction, frightened
to death, and as much surprised at how the figures
skipped up as anybody there.  Well," said I, "there's
the man I saw"--and I laid the sketch before him--
"there's Trent of 'Frisco and there are his three
hands.  Find one of them in the photograph, and I'll be
obliged."

Nares compared the two in silence.  "Well," he said at
last, "I call this rather a relief: seems to clear the
horizon.  We might have guessed at something of the
kind from the double ration of chests that figured."

"Does it explain anything?" I asked.

"It would explain everything," Nares replied, "but for
the steam-crusher.  It'll all tally as neat as a patent
puzzle, if you leave out the way these people bid the
wreck up.  And there we come to a stone wall.  But
whatever it is, Mr. Dodd, it's on the crook."

"And looks like piracy," I added.

"Looks like blind hookey!" cried the captain.  "No,
don't you deceive yourself; neither your head nor mine
is big enough to put a name on this business.

                      CHAPTER XV
                           
                           
            THE CARGO OF THE "FLYING SCUD"

IN my early days I was a man, the most wedded to his
idols of my generation.  I was a dweller under roofs;
the gull of that which we call civilisation; a
superstitious votary of the plastic arts; a cit, and a
prop of restaurants.  I had a comrade in those days,
somewhat of an outsider, though he moved in the company
of artists, and a man famous in our small world for
gallantry, knee-breeches, and dry and pregnant sayings.
He, looking on the long meals and waxing bellies of the
French, whom I confess I somewhat imitated, branded me
as "a cultivator of restaurant fat." And I believe he
had his finger on the dangerous spot; I believe, if
things had gone smooth with me, I should be now swollen
like a prize-ox in body, and fallen in mind to a thing
perhaps as low as many types of BOURGEOIS--the
implicit or exclusive artist.  That was a home word of
Pinkerton's, deserving to be writ in letters of gold on
the portico of every school of art: " What I can't see
is why you should want to do nothing else."  The dull
man is made, not by the nature, but by the degree of
his immersion in a single business.  And all the more
if that be sedentary, uneventful, and ingloriously
safe.  More than one half of him will then remain
unexercised and undeveloped; the rest will be distended
and deformed by over-nutrition, over-cerebration, and
the heat of rooms.  And I have often marvelled at the
impudence of gentlemen who describe and pass judgment
on the life of man, in almost perfect ignorance of all
its necessary elements and natural careers.  Those who
dwell in clubs and studios may paint excellent pictures
or write enchanting novels.  There is one thing that
they should not do: they should pass no judgment on
man's destiny, for it is a thing with which they are
unacquainted.  Their own life is an excrescence of the
moment, doomed, in the vicissitude of history, to pass
and disappear.  The eternal life of man, spent under
sun and rain and in rude physical effort, lies upon one
side, scarce changed since the beginning.

I would I could have carried along with me to Midway
Island all the writers and the prating artists of my
time.  Day after day of hope deferred, of heat, of
unremitting toil; night after night of aching limbs,
bruised hands, and a mind obscured with the grateful
vacancy of physical fatigue.  The scene, the nature of
my employment, the rugged speech and faces of my
fellow-toilers, the glare of the day on deck, the
stinking twilight in the bilge, the shrill myriads of
the ocean-fowl; above all, the sense of our immitigable
isolation from the world and from the current epoch--
keeping another time, some eras old; the new day
heralded by no daily paper, only by the rising sun; and
the State, the churches, the peopled empires, war, and
the rumours of war, and the voices of the arts, all
gone silent as in the days ere they were yet invented.
Such were the conditions of my new experience in life,
of which (if I had been able) I would have had all my
confreres and contemporaries to partake, forgetting,
for that while, the orthodoxies of the moment, and
devoted to a single and material purpose under the eye
of heaven.

Of the nature of our task I must continue to give some
summary idea.  The forecastle was lumbered with ship's
chandlery, the hold nigh full of rice, the lazarette
crowded with the teas and silks.  These must all be dug
out; and that made but a fraction of our task.  The
hold was ceiled throughout; a part, where perhaps some
delicate cargo was once stored, had been lined, in
addition, with inch boards; and between every beam
there was a movable panel into the bilge.  Any of
these, the bulkheads of the cabins, the very timbers of
the hull itself, might be the place of hiding.  It was
therefore necessary to demolish, as we proceeded, a
great part of the ship's inner skin and fittings, and
to auscultate what remained, like a doctor sounding for
a lung disease.  Upon the return, from any beam or
bulkhead, of a doubtful sound, we must up axe and hew
into the timber: a violent and--from the amount of dry
rot in the wreck--a mortifying exercise.  Every night
saw a deeper inroad into the bones of the FLYING
SCUD--more beams tapped and hewn in splinters, more
planking peeled away and tossed aside--and every night
saw us as far as ever from the end and object of our
arduous devastation.  In this perpetual disappointment,
my courage did not fail me, but my spirits dwindled;
and Nares himself grew silent and morose.  At night,
when supper was done, we passed an hour in the cabin,
mostly without speech: I, sometimes dozing over a book;
Nares, sullenly but busily drilling sea-shells with the
instrument called a Yankee fiddle.  A stranger might
have supposed we were estranged; as a matter of fact,
in this silent comradeship of labour, our intimacy
grew.

I had been struck, at the first beginning of our
enterprise upon the wreck, to find the men so ready at
the captain's lightest word.  I dare not say they
liked, but I can never deny that they admired him
thoroughly.  A mild word from his mouth was more valued
than flattery and half a dollar from myself; if he
relaxed at all from his habitual attitude of censure,
smiling alacrity surrounded him; and I was led to think
his theory of captainship, even if pushed to excess,
reposed upon some ground of reason.  But even terror
and admiration of the captain failed us before the end.
The men wearied of the hopeless, unremunerative quest
and the long strain of labour.  They began to shirk and
grumble.  Retribution fell on them at once, and
retribution multiplied the grumblings.  With every day
it took harder driving to keep them to the daily
drudge; and we, in our narrow boundaries, were kept
conscious every moment of the ill-will of our
assistants.

In spite of the best care, the object of our search was
perfectly well known to all on board; and there had
leaked out, besides, some knowledge of those
inconsistencies that had so greatly amazed the captain
and myself.  I could overhear the men debate the
character of Captain Trent, and set forth competing
theories of where the opium was stowed; and, as they
seemed to have been eavesdropping on ourselves, I
thought little shame to prick up my ears when I had the
return chance of spying upon them.  In this way I could
diagnose their temper and judge how far they were
informed upon the mystery of the FLYING SCUD.  It
was after having thus overheard some almost mutinous
speeches that a fortunate idea crossed my mind.  At
night I matured it in my bed, and the first thing the
next morning broached it to the captain.

"Suppose I spirit up the hands a bit," I asked, "by the
offer of a reward?"

"If you think you're getting your month's wages out of
them the way it is, I don't," was his reply.  "However,
they are all the men you've got, and you're the
supercargo."

This, from a person of the captain's character, might
be regarded as complete adhesion; and the crew were
accordingly called aft.  Never had the captain worn a
front more menacing.  It was supposed by all that some
misdeed had been discovered, and some surprising
punishment was to be announced.

"See here, you!" he threw at them over his shoulder as
he walked the deck.  "Mr. Dodd here is going to offer a
reward to the first man who strikes the opium in that
wreck.  There's two ways of making a donkey go--both
good, I guess; the one's kicks and the other's carrots.
Mr. Dodd's going to try the carrots.  Well, my sons"--
and here he faced the men for the first time with his
hands behind him--"if that opium's not found in five
days you can come to me for the kicks."

He nodded to the present narrator, who took up the
tale.  "Here is what I propose, men," said I: "I put up
one hundred and fifty dollars.  If any man can lay
hands on the stuff right away, and off his own club, he
shall have the hundred and fifty down.  If any one can
put us on the scent of where to look, he shall have a
hundred and twenty-five, and the balance shall be for
the lucky one who actually picks it up.  We'll call it
the Pinkerton Stakes, captain," I added, with a smile.

"Call it the Grand Combination Sweep, then," cries he.
"For I go you better.--Look here, men, I make up this
jack-pot to two hundred and fifty dollars, American
gold coin."

"Thank you, Captain Nares," said I; "that was
handsomely done."

"It was kindly meant," he returned.

The offer was not made in vain; the hands had scarce
yet realised the magnitude of the reward, they had
scarce begun to buzz aloud in the extremity of hope and
wonder, ere the Chinese cook stepped forward with
gracious gestures and explanatory smiles.

"Captain," he began, "I serv-um two year Melican navy;
serv-um six year mail-boat steward.  Savvy plenty."

"Oho!" cried Nares, "you savvy plenty, do you?
(Beggar's seen this trick in the mail-boat, I guess.)
Well, why you no savvy a little sooner, sonny?"

"I think bimeby make-um reward," replied the cook, with
smiling dignity.

"Well, you can't say fairer than that," the captain
admitted; "and now the reward's offered you'll talk?
Speak up then.  Suppose you speak true you get reward.
See?"

"I think long time," replied the Chinaman.  "See plenty
litty mat lice; too muchy plenty litty mat lice; sixty
ton litty mat lice.  I think all-e-time perhaps plenty
opium plenty litty mat lice."

"Well, Mr. Dodd, how does that strike you?" asked the
captain.  "He may be right, he may be wrong.  He's
likely to be right, for if he isn't, where can the
stuff be? On the other hand, if he's wrong we destroy a
hundred and fifty tons of good rice for nothing.  It's
a point to be considered."

"I don't hesitate," said I.  "Let's get to the bottom
of the thing.  The rice is nothing; the rice will
neither make nor break us."

"That's how I expected you to see it," returned Nares.

And we called the boat away and set forth on our new
quest.

The hold was now almost entirely emptied; the mats (of
which there went forty to the short ton) had been
stacked on deck, and now crowded the ship's waist and
forecastle.  It was our task to disembowel and explore
six thousand individual mats, and incidentally to
destroy a hundred and fifty tons of valuable food.  Nor
were the circumstances of the day's business less
strange than its essential nature.  Each man of us,
armed with a great knife, attacked the pile from his
own quarter, slashed into the nearest mat, burrowed in
it with his hands, and shed forth the rice upon the
deck, where it heaped up, overflowed, and was trodden
down, poured at last into the scuppers, and
occasionally spouted from the vents.  About the wreck
thus transformed into an overflowing granary, the sea-
fowl swarmed in myriads and with surprising insolence.
The sight of so much food confounded them; they
deafened us with their shrill tongues, swooped in our
midst, dashed in our faces, and snatched the grain from
between our fingers.  The men--their hands bleeding
from these assaults--turned savagely on the offensive,
drove their knives into the birds, drew them out
crimsoned, and turned again to dig among the rice,
unmindful of the gawking creatures that struggled and
died among their feet.  We made a singular picture--the
hovering and diving birds; the bodies of the dead
discolouring the rice with blood; the scuppers vomiting
breadstuff; the men, frenzied by the gold hunt,
toiling, slaying, and shouting aloud; over all the
lofty intricacy of rigging and the radiant heaven of
the Pacific.  Every man there toiled in the immediate
hope of fifty dollars, and I of fifty thousand.  Small
wonder if we waded callously in blood and food.

It was perhaps about ten in the forenoon when the scene
was interrupted.  Nares, who had just ripped open a
fresh mat, drew forth and slung at his feet, among the
rice, a papered tin box.

"How's that?" he shouted.

A cry broke from all hands.  The next moment,
forgetting their own disappointment in that contagious
sentiment of success, they gave three cheers that
scared the sea-birds; and the next they had crowded
round the captain, and were jostling together and
groping with emulous hands in the new-opened mat.  Box
after box rewarded them, six in all; wrapped, as I have
said, in a paper envelope, and the paper printed on in
Chinese characters.

Nares turned to me and shook my hand.  "I began to
think we should never see this day," said he.  "I
congratulate you, Mr. Dodd, on having pulled it
through."

The captain's tones affected me profoundly; and when
Johnson and the men pressed round me in turn with
congratulations, the tears came in my eyes.

"These are five-tael boxes, more than two pounds," said
Nares, weighing one in his hand.  "Say two hundred and
fifty dollars to the mat.  Lay into it, boys! We'll
make Mr. Dodd a millionaire before dark."

It was strange to see with what a fury we fell to.  The
men had now nothing to expect; the mere idea of great
sums inspired them with disinterested ardour.  Mats
were slashed and disembowelled, the rice flowed to our
knees in the ship's waist, the sweat ran in our eyes
and blinded us, our arms ached to agony; and yet our
fire abated not.  Dinner came; we were too weary to
eat, too hoarse for conversation; and yet dinner was
scarce done, before we were afoot again and delving in
the rice.  Before nightfall not a mat was unexplored,
and we were face to face with the astonishing result.

For of all the inexplicable things in the story of the
FLYING SCUD, here was the most inexplicable.  Out
of the six thousand mats, only twenty were found to
have been sugared; in each we found the same amount,
about twelve pounds of drug; making a grand total of
two hundred and forty pounds.  By the last San
Francisco quotation, opium was selling for a fraction
over twenty dollars a pound; but it had been known not
long before to bring as much as forty in Honolulu,
where it was contraband.

Taking, then, this high Honolulu figure, the value of
the opium on board the FLYING SCUD fell
considerably short of ten thousand dollars, while at
the San Francisco rate it lacked a trifle of five
thousand.  And fifty thousand was the price that Jim
and I had paid for it.  And Bellairs had been eager to
go higher!  There is no language to express the stupor
with which I contemplated this result.

It may be argued we were not yet sure; there might be
yet another CACHE; and you may be certain in that
hour of my distress the argument was not forgotten.
There was never a ship more ardently perquested; no
stone was left unturned, and no expedient untried; day
after day of growing despair, we punched and dug in the
brig's vitals, exciting the men with promises and
presents; evening after evening Nares and I sat face to
face in the narrow cabin, racking our minds for some
neglected possibility of search.  I could stake my
salvation on the certainty of the result: in all that
ship there was nothing left of value but the timber and
the copper nails.  So that our case was lamentably
plain; we had paid fifty thousand dollars, borne the
charges of the schooner, and paid fancy interest on
money; and if things went well with us, we might
realise fifteen per cent. of the first outlay.  We were
not merely bankrupt, we were comic bankrupts--a fair
butt for jeering in the streets.  I hope I bore the
blow with a good countenance; indeed, my mind had long
been quite made up, and since the day we found the
opium I had known the result.  But the thought of Jim
and Mamie ached in me like a physical pain, and I
shrank from speech and companionship.

I was in this frame of mind when the captain proposed
that we should land upon the island.  I saw he had
something to say, and only feared it might be
consolation, for I could just bear my grief, not
bungling sympathy; and yet I had no choice but to
accede to his proposal.

We walked a while along the beach in silence.  The sun
overhead reverberated rays of heat; the staring sand,
the glaring lagoon, tortured our eyes; and the birds
and the boom of the far-away breakers made a savage
symphony.

"I don't require to tell you the game's up?" Nares
asked.

"No," said I.

"I was thinking of getting to sea to-morrow," he
pursued.

"The best thing you can do," said I.

"Shall we say Honolulu?" he inquired.

"O, yes; let's stick to the programme," I cried.
"Honolulu be it!"

There was another silence, and then Nares cleared his
throat.

"We've been pretty good friends, you and me, Mr. Dodd,"
he resumed.  "We've been going through the kind of
thing that tries a man.  We've had the hardest kind of
work, we've been badly backed, and now we're badly
beaten.  And we've fetched through without a word of
disagreement.  I don't say this to praise myself: it's
my trade; it's what I'm paid for, and trained for, and
brought up to.  But it was another thing for you; it
was all new to you; and it did me good to see you stand
right up to it and swing right into it--day in, day
out.  And then see how you've taken this
disappointment, when everybody knows you must have been
tautened up to shying-point! I wish you'd let me tell
you, Mr. Dodd, that you've stood out mighty manly and
handsomely in all this business, and made every one
like you and admire you.  And I wish you'd let me tell
you, besides, that I've taken this wreck business as
much to heart as you have; something kind of rises in
my throat when I think we're beaten; and if I thought
waiting would do it, I would stick on this reef until
we starved."

I tried in vain to thank him for these generous words,
but he was beforehand with me in a moment.

"I didn't bring you ashore to sound my praises," he
interrupted.  "We understand one another now, that's
all; and I guess you can trust me.  What I wished to
speak about is more important, and it's got to be
faced.  What are we to do about the FLYING SCUD and
the dime novel?"

"I really have thought nothing about that," I replied;
"but I expect I mean to get at the bottom of it, and if
the bogus Captain Trent is to be found on the earth's
surface, I guess I mean to find him."

"All you've got to do is talk," said Nares; "you can
make the biggest kind of boom; it isn't often the
reporters have a chance at such a yarn as this; and I
can tell you how it will go.  It will go by telegraph,
Mr. Dodd; it'll be telegraphed by the column, and head-
lined, and frothed up, and denied by authority, and
it'll hit bogus Captain Trent in a Mexican bar-room,
and knock over bogus Goddedaal in a slum somewhere up
the Baltic, and bowl down Hardy and Brown in sailors'
music-halls round Greenock.  O, there's no doubt you
can have a regular domestic Judgment Day.  The only
point is whether you deliberately want to."

"Well," said I, "I deliberately don't want one thing: I
deliberately don't want to make a public exhibition of
myself and Pinkerton: so moral--smuggling opium; such
damned fools--paying fifty thousand for a 'dead
horse'!"

"No doubt it might damage you in a business sense," the
captain agreed; "and I'm pleased you take that view,
for I've turned kind of soft upon the job.  There's
been some crookedness about, no doubt of it; but, law
bless you! if we dropped upon the troupe, all the
premier artists would slip right out with the boodle in
their grip-sacks, and you'd only collar a lot of old
mutton-headed shell-backs that didn't know the back of
the business from the front.  I don't take much stock
in mercantile Jack, you know that, but, poor devil,
he's got to go where he's told; and if you make
trouble, ten to one it'll make you sick to see the
innocents who have to stand the racket.  It would be
different if we understood the operation; but we don't,
you see: there's a lot of queer corners in life, and my
vote is to let the blame' thing lie."

"You speak as if we had that in our power," I objected.

"And so we have," said he.

"What about the men?" I asked.  "They know too much by
half, and you can't keep them from talking."

"Can't I?" returned Nares.  "I bet a boarding-master
can! They can be all half-seas-over when they get
ashore, blind drunk by dark, and cruising out of the
Golden Gate in different deep-sea ships by the next
morning.  Can't keep them from talking, can't I? Well,
I can make 'em talk separate, least-ways.  If a whole
crew came talking, parties would listen; but if it's
only one lone old shell-back, it's the usual yarn.  And
at least, they needn't talk before six months, or--if
we have luck, and there's a whaler handy--three years.
And by that time, Mr. Dodd, it's ancient history."

"That's what they call Shanghaiing, isn't it?" I asked.
"I thought it belonged to the dime novel."

"O, dime novels are right enough," returned the
captain.  "Nothing wrong with the dime novel, only that
things happen thicker than they do in life, and the
practical seamanship is off colour."

"So we can keep the business to ourselves," I mused.

"There's one other person that might blab," said the
captain.  "Though I don't believe she has anything left
to tell."

"And who is SHE?" I asked.

"The old girl there," he answered, pointing to the
wreck; "I know there's nothing in her; but somehow I'm
afraid of some one else--it's the last thing you'd
expect, so it's just the first that'll happen--some one
dropping into this God-forgotten island where nobody
drops in, waltzing into that wreck that we've grown old
with searching, stooping straight down, and picking
right up the very thing that tells the story.  What's
that to me? you may ask, and why am I gone Soft Tommy
on this Museum of Crooks? They've smashed up you and
Mr. Pinkerton; they've turned my hair grey with
conundrums; they've been up to larks, no doubt; and
that's all I know of them--you say.  Well, and that's
just where it is.  I don't know enough; I don't know
what's uppermost; it's just such a lot of miscellaneous
eventualities as I don't care to go stirring up; and I
ask you to let me deal with the old girl after a patent
of my own."

"Certainly--what you please," said I, scarce with
attention, for a new thought now occupied my brain.
"Captain," I broke out, "you are wrong: we cannot hush
this up.  There is one thing you have forgotten."

"What is that?" he asked.

"A bogus Captain Trent, a bogus Goddedaal, a whole
bogus crew, have all started home," said I.  "If we are
right, not one of them will reach his journey's end.
And do you mean to say that such a circumstance as that
can pass without remark?"

"Sailors," said the captain, "only sailors! If they
were all bound for one place in a body, I don't say so;
but they're all going separate--to Hull, to Sweden, to
the Clyde, to the Thames.  Well, at each place, what is
it? Nothing new.  Only one sailor-man missing: got
drunk, or got drowned, or got left--the proper sailor's
end."

Something bitter in the thought and in the speaker's
tones struck me hard.  "Here is one that has got left!"
I cried, getting sharply to my feet, for we had been
some time seated.  "I wish it were the other.  I don't-
-don't relish going home to Jim with this!"

"See here," said Nares, with ready tact, "I must be
getting aboard.  Johnson's in the brig annexing
chandlery and canvas, and there's some things in the
NORAH that want fixing against we go to sea.  Would
you like to be left here in the chicken-ranch? I'll
send for you to supper."

I embraced the proposal with delight.  Solitude, in my
frame of mind, was not too dearly purchased at the risk
of sunstroke or sand-blindness; and soon I was alone on
the ill-omened islet.  I should find it hard to tell of
what I thought--of Jim, of Mamie, of our lost fortune,
of my lost hopes, of the doom before me: to turn to at
some mechanical occupation in some subaltern rank, and
to toil there, unremarked and unamused, until the hour
of the last deliverance.  I was, at least, so sunk in
sadness that I scarce remarked where I was going; and
chance (or some finer sense that lives in us, and only
guides us when the mind is in abeyance) conducted my
steps into a quarter of the island where the birds were
few.  By some devious route, which I was unable to
retrace for my return, I was thus able to mount,
without interruption, to the highest point of land.
And here I was recalled to consciousness by a last
discovery.

The spot on which I stood was level, and commanded a
wide view of the lagoon, the bounding reef, the round
horizon.  Nearer hand I saw the sister islet, the
wreck, the NORAH CREINA, and the NORAH'S boat
already moving shoreward.  For the sun was now low,
flaming on the sea's verge; and the galley chimney
smoked on board the schooner.

It thus befell that though my discovery was both
affecting and suggestive, I had no leisure to examine
further.  What I saw was the blackened embers of fire
of wreck.  By all the signs, it must have blazed to a
good height and burned for days; from the scantling of
a spar that lay upon the margin only half consumed, it
must have been the work of more than one; and I
received at once the image of a forlorn troop of
castaways, houseless in that lost corner of the earth,
and feeding there their fire of signal.  The next
moment a hail reached me from the boat; and bursting
through the bushes and the rising sea-fowl, I said
farewell (I trust for ever) to that desert isle.

                      CHAPTER XVI
                           
                           
   IN WHICH I TURN SMUGGLER, AND THE CAPTAIN CASUIST

THE last night at Midway I had little sleep; the next
morning, after the sun was risen, and the clatter of
departure had begun to reign on deck, I lay a long
while dozing; and when at last I stepped from the
companion, the schooner was already leaping through the
pass into the open sea.  Close on her board, the huge
scroll of a breaker unfurled itself along the reef with
a prodigious clamour; and behind I saw the wreck
vomiting into the morning air a coil of smoke.  The
wreaths already blew out far to leeward, flames already
glittered in the cabin skylight, and the sea-fowl were
scattered in surprise as wide as the lagoon.  As we
drew farther off, the conflagration of the FLYING
SCUD flamed higher; and long after we had dropped all
signs of Midway Island, the smoke still hung in the
horizon like that of a distant steamer.  With the
fading out of that last vestige, the NORAH CREINA,
passed again into the empty world of cloud and water by
which she had approached; and the next features that
appeared, eleven days later, to break the line of sky,
were the arid mountains of Oahu.

It has often since been a comfortable thought to me
that we had thus destroyed the tell-tale remnants of
the FLYING SCUD; and often a strange one that my
last sight and reminiscence of that fatal ship should
be a pillar of smoke on the horizon.  To so many others
besides myself the same appearance had played a part in
the various stages of that business; luring some to
what they little imagined, filling some with
unimaginable terrors.  But ours was the last smoke
raised in the story; and with its dying away the secret
of the FLYING SCUD became a private property.

It was by the first light of dawn that we saw, close on
board, the metropolitan island of Hawaii.  We held
along the coast, as near as we could venture, with a
fresh breeze and under an unclouded heaven; beholding,
as we went, the arid mountain sides and scrubby cocoa-
palms of that somewhat melancholy archipelago.  About
four of the afternoon we turned Waimanolo Point, the
westerly headland of the great bight of Honolulu;
showed ourselves for twenty minutes in full view, and
then fell again to leeward, and put in the rest of
daylight, plying under shortened sail under the lee of
Waimanolo.

A little after dark we beat once more about the point,
and crept cautiously toward the mouth of the Pearl
Lochs, where Jim and I had arranged I was to meet the
smugglers.  The night was happily obscure, the water
smooth.  We showed, according to instructions, no light
on deck; only a red lantern dropped from either cathead
to within a couple of feet of the water.  A look-out
was stationed on the bowsprit end, another in the
cross-trees; and the whole ship's company crowded
forward, scouting for enemies or friends.  It was now
the crucial moment of our enterprise; we were now
risking liberty and credit, and that for a sum so small
to a man in my bankrupt situation, that I could have
laughed aloud in bitterness.  But the piece had been
arranged, and we must play it to the finish.

For some while we saw nothing but the dark mountain
outline of the island, the torches of native fishermen
glittering here and there along the fore-shore, and
right in the midst that cluster of brave lights with
which the town of Honolulu advertises itself to the
seaward.  Presently a ruddy star appeared inshore of
us, and seemed to draw near unsteadily.  This was the
anticipated signal; and we made haste to show the
countersign, lowering a white light from the quarter,
extinguishing the two others, and laying the schooner
incontinently to.  The star approached slowly; the
sounds of oars and of men's speech came to us across
the water; and then a voice hailed us--

"Is that Mr. Dodd?"

"Yes," I returned.  "Is Jim Pinkerton there?"

"No, sir," replied the voice.  "But there's one of his
crowd here, name of Speedy."

"I'm here, Mr. Dodd," added Speedy himself "I have
letters for you."

"All right," I replied.  "Come aboard, gentlemen, and
let me see my mail."

A whaleboat accordingly ranged alongside, and three men
boarded us: my old San Francisco friend, the stock-
gambler Speedy, a little wizened person of the name of
Sharpe, and a big, flourishing, dissipated-looking man
called Fowler.  The two last (I learned afterward) were
frequent partners; Sharpe supplied the capital, and
Fowler, who was quite a character in the islands, and
occupied a considerable station, brought activity,
daring, and a private influence, highly necessary in
the case.  Both seemed to approach the business with a
keen sense of romance; and I believe this was the chief
attraction, at least with Fowler--for whom I early
conceived a sentiment of liking.  But in that first
moment I had something else to think of than to judge
my new acquaintances; and before Speedy had fished out
the letters, the full extent of our misfortune was
revealed.

"We've rather bad news for you, Mr. Dodd," said Fowler.
"Your firm's gone up."

"Already?" I exclaimed.

"Well, it was thought rather a wonder Pinkerton held on
as long as he did," was the reply.  "The wreck deal was
too big for your credit; you were doing a big business,
no doubt, but you were doing it on precious little
capital, and when the strain came, you were bound to
go.  Pinkerton's through all right: seven cents
dividend, some remarks made, but nothing to hurt; the
press let you down easy--I guess Jim had relations
there.  The only trouble is, that all this FLYING
SCUD affair got in the papers with the rest;
everybody's wide awake in Honolulu, and the sooner we
get the stuff in and the dollars out, the better for
all concerned."

"Gentlemen," said I, "you must excuse me.  My friend,
the captain here, will drink a glass of champagne with
you to give you patience; but as for myself, I am unfit
even for ordinary conversation till I have read these
letters."

They demurred a little, and indeed the danger of delay
seemed obvious; but the sight of my distress, which I
was unable entirely to control, appealed strongly to
their good-nature, and I was suffered at last to get by
myself on deck, where, by the light of a lantern
smuggled under shelter of the low rail, I read the
following wretched correspondence:--

  "MY DEAR LOUDON," ran the first, "this will be handed
  you by your friend Speedy of the CATAMOUNT.  His
  sterling character and loyal devotion to yourself
  pointed him out as the best man for our purposes in
  Honolulu--the parties on the spot being difficult to
  manipulate.  A man called Billy Fowler (you must have
  heard of Billy) is the boss; he is in politics some,
  and squares the officers.  I have hard times before
  me in the city, but I feel as bright as a dollar and
  as strong as John L. Sullivan.  What with Mamie here,
  and my partner speeding over the seas, and the
  bonanza in the wreck, I feel like I could juggle with
  the Pyramids of Egypt, same as conjurers do with
  aluminium balls.  My earnest prayers follow you,
  Loudon, that you may feel the way I do--just
  inspired! My feet don't touch the ground; I kind of
  swim.  Mamie is like Moses and Aaron that held up the
  other individual's arms.  She carries me along like a
  horse and buggy.  I am beating the record.
  
  "Your true partner,
  
  "J. PINKERTON.

Number two was in a different style:--

  "MY DEAREST LOUDON,--How am I to prepare you for this
  dire intelligence? O dear me, it will strike you to
  the earth.  The fiat has gone forth; our firm went
  bust at a quarter before twelve.  It was a bill of
  Bradley's (for two hundred dollars) that brought
  these vast operations to a close, and evolved
  liabilities of upwards of two hundred and fifty
  thousand.  O the shame and pity of it, and you but
  three weeks gone! Loudon, don't blame your partner;
  if human hands and brains could have sufficed I would
  have held the thing together.  But it just slowly
  crumbled; Bradley was the last kick, but the blamed
  business just MELTED.  I give the liabilities--
  it's supposed they're all in--for the cowards were
  waiting, and the claims were filed like taking
  tickets to hear Patti.  I don't quite have the hang
  of the assets yet, our interests were so extended;
  but I am at it day and night, and I guess will make a
  creditable dividend.  If the wreck pans out only half
  the way it ought we'll turn the laugh still.  I am as
  full of grit and work as ever, and just tower above
  our troubles.  Mamie is a host in herself.  Somehow I
  feel like it was only me that had gone bust, and you
  and she soared clear of it.  Hurry up.  That's all
  you have to do.
  
  "Yours ever,
  
  "J. PINKERTON.

The third was yet more altered:--

  "MY POOR LOUDON," it began, "I labour far into the
  night getting our affairs in order; you could not
  believe their vastness and complexity.  Douglas B.
  Longhurst said humorously that the receiver's work
  would be cut out for him.  I cannot deny that some of
  them have a speculative look.  God forbid a
  sensitive, refined spirit like yours should ever come
  face to face with a Commissioner in Bankruptcy; these
  men get all the sweetness knocked right out of them.
  But I could bear up better if it weren't for press
  comments.  Often and often, Loudon, I recall to mind
  your most legitimate critiques of the press system.
  They published an interview with me, not the least
  like what I said, and with JEERING comments; it
  would make your blood boil, it was literally
  INHUMANE; I wouldn't have written it about a yellow
  dog that was in trouble like what I am.  Mamie just
  winced, the first time she has turned a hair right
  through the whole catastrophe.  How wonderfully true
  was what you said long ago in Paris about touching on
  people's personal appearance! The fellow said--" [And
  then these words had been scored through, and my
  distressed friend turned to another subject.] "I
  cannot bear to dwell upon our assets.  They simply
  don't show up.  Even THIRTEEN STAR, as sound a
  line as can be produced upon this coast, goes
  begging.  The wreck has thrown a blight on all we
  ever touched.  And where's the use? God never made a
  wreck big enough to fill our deficit.  I am haunted
  by the thought that you may blame me; I know how I
  despised your remonstrances.  O, Loudon, don't be
  hard on your miserable partner.  The funny-dog
  business is what kills.  I fear your stern rectitude
  of mind like the eye of God.  I cannot think but what
  some of my books seem mixed up; otherwise, I don't
  seem to see my way as plain as I could wish to.  Or
  else my brain is gone soft.  Loudon, if there should
  be any unpleasantness you can trust me to do the
  right thing and keep you clear.  I've been telling
  them already how you had no business grip and never
  saw the books.  O, I trust I have done right in this!
  I knew it was a liberty; I know you may justly
  complain, but it was some things that were said.  And
  mind you, all legitimate business! Not even your
  shrinking sensitiveness could find fault with the
  first look of one of them if they had panned out
  right.  And you know the FLYING SCUD was the
  biggest gamble of the crowd, and that was your own
  idea.  Mamie says she never could bear to look you in
  the face if that idea had been mine, she is SO
  conscientious!
  
  "Your broken-hearted
  
  "JIM."

The last began without formality:--

  "This is the end of me commercially.  I give up; my
  nerve has gone.  I suppose I ought to be glad, for
  we're through the court.  I don't know as ever I knew
  how, and I'm sure I don't remember.  If it pans out--
  the wreck I mean--we'll go to Europe and live on the
  interest of our money.  No more work for me.  I shake
  when people speak to me.  I have gone on, hoping and
  hoping, and working and working, and the lead has
  pinched right out.  I want to lie on my back in a
  garden and read Shakespeare and E. P. Roe.  Don't
  suppose it's cowardice, Loudon.  I'm a sick man.
  Rest is what I must have.  I've worked hard all my
  life; I never spared myself, every dollar I ever made
  I've coined my brains for it.  I've never done a mean
  thing; I've lived respectable, and given to the poor.
  Who has a better right to a holiday than I have?  And
  I mean to have a year of it straight out, and if I
  don't I shall lie right down here in my tracks, and
  die of worry and brain trouble.  Don't mistake,
  that's so.  If there are any pickings at all,
  TRUST SPEEDY; don't let the creditors get wind of
  what there is.  I helped you when you were down, help
  me now.  Don't deceive yourself; you've got to help
  me right now or never.  I am clerking, and NOT FIT
  TO CIPHER.  Mamie's typewriting at the Phoenix Guano
  Exchange, down town.  The light is right out of my
  life.  I know you'll not like to do what I propose.
  Think only of this, that it's life or death for
  
  "JIM PINKERTON.
  
  
  "P.S.--Our figure was seven per cent.  O what a fall
  was there! Well, well, it's past mending; I don't
  want to whine.  But, Loudon, I do want to live.  No
  more ambition; all I ask is life.  I have so much to
  make it sweet to me.  I am clerking, and USELESS
  AT THAT.  I know I would have fired such a clerk
  inside of forty minutes in MY time.  But my
  time's over.  I can only cling on to you.  Don't fail
  
  JIM PINKERTON."

There was yet one more postscript, yet one more
outburst of self-pity and pathetic adjuration; and a
doctor's opinion, unpromising enough, was besides
enclosed.  I pass them both in silence.  I think shame
to have shown at so great length the half-baked virtues
of my friend dissolving in the crucible of sickness and
distress; and the effect upon my spirits can be judged
already.  I got to my feet when I had done, drew a deep
breath, and stared hard at Honolulu.  One moment the
world seemed at an end, the next I was conscious of a
rush of independent energy.  On Jim I could rely no
longer; I must now take hold myself I must decide and
act on my own better thoughts.

The word was easy to say; the thing, at the first
blush, was undiscoverable.  I was overwhelmed with
miserable, womanish pity for my broken friend; his
outcries grieved my spirit; I saw him then and now--
then, so invincible; now, brought so low--and knew
neither how to refuse nor how to consent to his
proposal.  The remembrance of my father, who had fallen
in the same field unstained, the image of his monument
incongruously rising a fear of the law, a chill air
that seemed to blow upon my fancy from the doors of
prisons, and the imaginary clank of fetters, recalled
me to a different resolve.  And then, again, the wails
of my sick partner intervened.  So I stood hesitating,
and yet with a strong sense of capacity behind, sure,
if I could but choose my path, that I should walk in it
with resolution.

Then I remembered that I had a friend on board, and
stepped to the companion.

"Gentlemen," said I, "only a few moments more: but
these, I regret to say, I must make more tedious still
by removing your companion.  It is indispensable that I
should have a word or two with Captain Nares."

Both the smugglers were afoot at once, protesting.  The
business, they declared, must be despatched at once;
they had run risk enough, with a conscience, and they
must either finish now, or go."

"The choice is yours, gentlemen," said I, "and, I
believe, the eagerness.  I am not yet sure that I have
anything in your way; even if I have, there are a
hundred things to be considered; and I assure you it is
not at all my habit to do business with a pistol to my
head."

"That is all very proper, Mr. Dodd; there is no wish to
coerce you, believe me," said Fowler; "only, please
consider our position.  It is really dangerous; we were
not the only people to see your schooner off
Waimanolo."

"Mr. Fowler," I replied, "I was not born yesterday.
Will you allow me to express an opinion, in which I may
be quite wrong, but to which I am entirely wedded? If
the Custom-House officers had been coming, they would
have been here now.  In other words, somebody is
working the oracle, and (for a good guess) his name is
Fowler."

Both men laughed loud and long; and being supplied with
another bottle of Longhurst's champagne, suffered the
captain and myself to leave them without further word.

I gave Nares the correspondence, and he skimmed it
through.

"Now, captain," said I, "I want a fresh mind on this.
What does it mean?"

"It's large enough text," replied the captain.  "It
means you're to stake your pile on Speedy, hand him
over all you can, and hold your tongue.  I almost wish
you hadn't shown it me," he added wearily.  "What with
the specie from the wreck and the opium-money, it comes
to a biggish deal."

"That's supposing that I do it?" said I.

"Exactly," said he, "supposing you do it."

"And there are pros and cons to that," I observed.

"There's San Quentin, to start in with," said the
captain; "and suppose you clear the penitentiary,
there's the nasty taste in the mouth.  The figure's big
enough to make bad trouble, but it's not big enough to
be picturesque; and I should guess a man always feels
kind of small who has sold himself under six ciphers.
That would be my way, at least; there's an excitement
about a million that might carry me on; but the other
way, I should feel kind of lonely when I woke in bed.
Then there's Speedy.  Do you know him well?"

"No, I do not," said I.

"Well, of course he can vamoose with the entire
speculation, if he chooses," pursued the captain, "and
if he don't I can't see but what you've got to support
and bed and board with him to the end of time.  I guess
it would weary me.  Then there's Mr. Pinkerton, of
course.  He's been a good friend to you, hasn't he?
Stood by you, and all that? and pulled you through for
all he was worth?"

"That he has," I cried; "I could never begin telling
you my debt to him!"

"Well, and that's a consideration," said the captain.
"As a matter of principle, I wouldn't look at this
business at the money.  "Not good enough," would be my
word.  But even principle goes under when it comes to
friends--the right sort, I mean. This Pinkerton is
frightened, and he seems sick; the medico don't seem to
care a cent about his state of health; and you've got
to figure how you would like it if he came to die.
Remember, the risk of this little swindle is all yours;
it's no sort of risk to Mr. Pinkerton.  Well, you've
got to put it that way plainly, and see how you like
the sound of it: my friend Pinkerton is in danger of
the New Jerusalem, I am in danger of San Quentin; which
risk do I propose to run?"

"That's an ugly way to put it," I objected, "and
perhaps hardly fair.  There's right and wrong to be
considered."

"Don't know the parties," replied Nares; "and I'm
coming to them, anyway.  For it strikes me, when it
came to smuggling opium, you walked right up?"

"So I did," I said.  "Sick I am to have to say it."

"All the same," continued Nares, "you went into the
opium-smuggling with your head down; and a good deal of
fussing I've listened to, that you hadn't more of it to
smuggle.  Now, maybe your partner's not quite fixed the
same as you are; maybe he sees precious little
difference between the one thing and the other."

"You could not say truer: he sees none, I do believe,"
cried I; "and though I see one, I could never tell you
how."

"We never can," said the oracular Nares; "taste is all
a matter of opinion.  But the point is, how will your
friend take it? You refuse a favour, and you take the
high horse at the same time; you disappoint him, and
you rap him over the knuckles.  It won't do, Mr. Dodd;
no friendship can stand that.  You must be as good as
your friend, or as bad as your friend, or start on a
fresh deal without him."

"I don't see it," said I.  "You don't know Jim."

"Well, you WILL see," said Nares.  "And now, here's
another point.  This bit of money looks mighty big to
Mr. Pinkerton; it may spell life or health to him; but
among all your creditors, I don't see that it amounts
to a hill of beans--I don't believe it'll pay their
car-fares all round.  And don't you think you'll ever
get thanked.  You were known to pay a long price for
the chance of rummaging that wreck; you do the
rummaging, you come home, and you hand over ten
thousand--or twenty, if you like,--a part of which
you'll have to own up you made by smuggling; and, mind!
you'll never get Billy Fowler to stick his name to a
receipt.  Now just glance at the transaction from the
outside, and see what a clear case it makes.  Your ten
thousand is a sop; and people will only wonder you were
so damned impudent as to offer such a small one!
Whichever way you take it, Mr. Dodd, the bottom's out
of your character; so there's one thing less to be
considered."

"I daresay you'll scarce believe me," said I, "but I
feel that a positive relief."

"You must be made some way different from me, then,"
returned Nares.  "And, talking about me, I might just
mention how I stand.  You'll have no trouble from me--
you've trouble enough of your own; and I'm friend
enough, when a friend's in need, to shut my eyes and go
right where he tells me.  All the same, I'm rather
queerly fixed.  My owners'll have to rank with the rest
on their charter-party.  Here am I, their
representative! and I have to look over the ship's side
while the bankrupt walks his assets ashore in Mr.
Speedy's hat-box.  It's a thing I wouldn't do for James
G. Blaine; but I'll do it for you, Mr. Dodd, and only
sorry I can't do more.

"Thank you, captain; my mind is made up," said I.
"I'll go straight, RUAT COELUM! I never understood
that old tag before to-night."

"I hope it isn't my business that decides you?" asked
the captain.

"I'll never deny it was an element," said I.  "I hope,
I hope I'm not cowardly; I hope I could steal for Jim
myself; but when it comes to dragging in you and
Speedy, and this one and the other, why, Jim has got to
die, and there's an end.  I'll try and work for him
when I get to 'Frisco, I suppose; and I suppose I'll
fail, and look on at his death, and kick myself: it
can't be helped--I'll fight it on this line."

"I don't say as you're wrong," replied Nares, "and I'll
be hanged if I know if you're right.  It suits me
anyway.  And look here--hadn't you better just show our
friends over the side?" he added; "no good of being at
the risk and worry of smuggling for the benefit of
creditors."

"I don't think of the creditors," said I.  "But I've
kept this pair so long I haven't got the brass to fire
them now."

Indeed, I believe that was my only reason for entering
upon a transaction which was now outside my interest,
but which (as it chanced) repaid me fifty-fold in
entertainment.  Fowler and Sharpe were both
preternaturally sharp; they did me the honour in the
beginning to attribute to myself their proper vices,
and before we were done had grown to regard me with an
esteem akin to worship.  This proud position I attained
by no more recondite arts than telling the mere truth
and unaffectedly displaying my indifference to the
result.  I have doubtless stated the essentials of all
good diplomacy, which may be rather regarded,
therefore, as a grace of state than the effect of
management.  For to tell the truth is not in itself
diplomatic, and to have no care for the result a thing
involuntary.  When I mentioned, for instance, that I
had but two hundred and forty pounds of drug, my
smugglers exchanged meaning glances, as who should say,
"Here is a foeman worthy of our steel!" But when I
carelessly proposed thirty-five dollars a pound, as an
amendment to their offered twenty, and wound up with
the remark: "The whole thing is a matter of moonshine
to me, gentlemen.  Take it or want it, and fill your
glasses"--I had the indescribable gratification to see
Sharpe nudge Fowler warningly, and Fowler choke down
the jovial acceptance that stood ready on his lips, and
lamely substitute a "No--no more wine, please, Mr.
Dodd!" Nor was this all: for when the affair was
settled at thirty dollars a pound--a shrewd stroke of
business for my creditors--and our friends had got on
board their whaleboat and shoved off, it appeared they
were imperfectly acquainted with the conveyance of
sound upon still water, and I had the joy to overhear
the following testimonial.

"Deep man that Dodd," said Sharpe.

And the bass-toned Fowler echoed, "Damned if I
understand his game."

Thus we were left once more alone upon the NORAH
CREINA; and the news of the night, and the
lamentations of Pinkerton, and the thought of my own
harsh decision, returned and besieged me in the dark.
According to all the rubbish I had read, I should have
been sustained by the warm consciousness of virtue.
Alas, I had but the one feeling: that I had sacrificed
my sick friend to the fear of prison-cells and stupid
starers.  And no moralist has yet advanced so far as to
number cowardice amongst the things that are their own
reward.

                     CHAPTER XVII
                           
                           
               LIGHT FROM THE MAN OF WAR

IN the early sunlight of the next day we tossed close
off the buoy, and saw the city sparkle in its groves
about the foot of the Punch Bowl, and the masts
clustering thick in the small harbour.  A good breeze,
which had risen with the sea, carried us triumphantly
through the intricacies of the passage; and we had soon
brought up not far from the landing-stairs.  I remember
to have remarked an ugly-horned reptile of a modern
warship in the usual moorings across the port, but my
mind was so profoundly plunged in melancholy that I
paid no heed.

Indeed, I had little time at my disposal.  Messieurs
Sharpe and Fowler had left the night before in the
persuasion that I was a liar of the first magnitude;
the genial belief brought them aboard again with the
earliest opportunity, proffering help to one who had
proved how little he required it, and hospitality to so
respectable a character.  I had business to mind, I had
some need both of assistance and diversion; I liked
Fowler--I don't know why; and in short, I let them do
with me as they desired.  No creditor intervening, I
spent the first half of the day inquiring into the
conditions of the tea and silk market under the
auspices of Sharpe; lunched with him in a private
apartment at the Hawaiian Hotel--for Sharpe was a
teetotaler in public; and about four in the afternoon
was delivered into the hands of Fowler.  This gentleman
owned a bungalow on the Waikiki beach; and there, in
company with certain young bloods of Honolulu, I was
entertained to a sea-bathe, indiscriminate cocktails, a
dinner, a HULA-HULA, and (to round off the night)
poker and assorted liquors.  To lose money in the small
hours to pale intoxicated youth has always appeared to
me a pleasure overrated.  In my then frame of mind, I
confess I found it even delightful; put up my money (or
rather my creditors') and put down Fowler's champagne
with equal avidity and success; and awoke the next
morning to a mild headache and the rather agreeable
lees of the last night's excitement.  The young bloods,
many of whom were still far from sober, had taken the
kitchen into their own hands, VICE the Chinaman
deposed; and since each was engaged upon a dish of his
own, and none had the least scruple in demolishing his
neighbour's handiwork, I became early convinced that
many eggs would be broken and few omelets made.  The
discovery of a jug of milk and a crust of bread enabled
me to stay my appetite; and since it was Sunday, when
no business could be done, and the festivities were to
be renewed that night in the abode of Fowler, it
occurred to me to slip silently away and enjoy some air
and solitude.

I turned seaward under the dead crater known as Diamond
Head.  My way was for some time under the shade of
certain thickets of green thorny trees, dotted with
houses.  Here I enjoyed some pictures' of the native
life: wide-eyed, naked children, mingled with pigs; a
youth asleep under a tree; an old gentleman spelling
through glasses his Hawaiian Bible; the somewhat
embarrassing spectacle of a lady at her bath in a
spring; and the glimpse of gaudy-coloured gowns in the
deep shade of the houses.  Thence I found a road along
the beach itself, wading in sand, opposed and buffeted
by the whole weight of the Trade: on one hand, the
glittering and sounding surf, and the bay lively with
many sails; on the other, precipitous, arid gullies and
sheer cliffs, mounting towards the crater and the blue
sky.  For all the companionship of skimming vessels,
the place struck me with a sense of solitude.  There
came in my head what I had been told the day before at
dinner, of a cavern above in the bowels off the
volcano, a place only to be visited with the light of
torches, a treasure-house of the bones of priests and
warriors, and clamorous with the voice of an unseen
river pouring seaward through the crannies of the
mountain.  At the thought, it was revealed to me
suddenly how the bungalows, and the Fowlers, and the
bright busy town and crowding ships, were all children
of yesterday; and for centuries before, the obscure
life of the natives, with its glories and ambitions,
its joys and crimes and agonies, had rolled unseen,
like the mountain river, in that sea-girt place.  Not
Chaldea appeared more ancient, nor the Pyramids of
Egypt more abstruse; and I heard time measured by "the
drums and tramplings" of immemorial conquests, and saw
myself the creature of an hour.  Over the bankruptcy of
Pinkerton and Dodd, of Montana Block, S. F., and the
conscientious troubles of the junior partner, the
spirit of eternity was seen to smile.

To this mood of philosophic sadness my excesses of the
night before no doubt contributed, for more things than
virtue are at times their own reward, but I was greatly
healed at least of my distresses.  And while I was yet
enjoying my abstracted humour, a turn of the beach
brought me in view of the signal-station, with its
watch-house and flag-staff, perched on the immediate
margin of a cliff.  The house was new and clean and
bald, and stood naked to the Trades.  The wind beat
about it in loud squalls; the seaward windows rattled
without mercy; the breach of the surf below contributed
its increment of noise; and the fall of my foot in the
narrow verandah passed unheard by those within.

There were two on whom I thus entered unexpectedly: the
look-out man, with grizzled beard, keen seaman's eyes,
and that brand on his countenance that comes of
solitary living; and a visitor, an oldish, oratorical
fellow, in the smart tropical array of the British man-
o'-war's man, perched on a table, and smoking a cigar.
I was made pleasantly welcome, and was soon listening
with amusement to the sea-lawyer.

"No, if I hadn't have been born an Englishman," was one
of his sentiments, "damn me! I'd rather 'a' been born a
Frenchy! I'd like to see another nation fit to black
their boots." Presently after, he developed his views
on home politics with similar trenchancy.  "I'd rather
be a brute beast than what I'd be a Liberal," he said;
"carrying banners and that! a pig's got more sense.
Why, look at our chief engineer--they do say he carried
a banner with his own 'ands: "Hooroar for Gladstone!" I
suppose, or "Down with the Aristocracy!" What 'arm does
the aristocracy do? Show me a country any good without
one! Not the States; why, it's the 'ome of corruption!
I knew a man--he was a good man, 'ome-born--who was
signal-quartermaster in the WYANDOTTE.  He told me
he could never have got there if he hadn't have 'run
with the boys'--told it me as I'm telling you.  Now,
we're all British subjects here----" he was going on.

"I am afraid I am an American," I said apologetically.

He seemed the least bit taken aback, but recovered
himself; and, with the ready tact of his betters, paid
me the usual British compliment on the riposte.  "You
don't say so!" he exclaimed; "well, I give you my word
of honour I'd never have guessed it.  Nobody could tell
it on you," said he, as though it were some form of
liquor.

I thanked him, as I always do, at this particular
stage, with his compatriots; not so much, perhaps, for
the compliment to myself and my poor country, as for
the revelation (which is ever fresh to me) of Britannic
self-sufficiency and taste.  And he was so far softened
by my gratitude as to add a word of praise on the
American method of lacing sails.  "You're ahead of us
in lacing sails," he said; "you can say that with a
clear conscience."

"Thank you," I replied, "I shall certainly do so."

At this rate we got along swimmingly; and when I rose
to retrace my steps to the Fowlery, he at once started
to his feet and offered me the welcome solace of his
company for the return.  I believe I discovered much
alacrity at the idea, for the creature (who seemed to
be unique, or to represent a type like that of the
dodo) entertained me hugely.  But when he had produced
his hat, I found I was in the way of more than
entertainment, for on the ribbon I could read the
legend, "H.M.S. Tempest."

"I say," I began, when our adieus were paid, and we
were scrambling down the path from the look-out, "it
was your ship that picked up the men on board the
FLYING SCUD, wasn't it?"

"You may say so," said he.  "And a blessed good job for
the Flying-Scuds.  It's a God-forsaken spot that Midway
Island."

"I've just come from there," said I; "it was I who
bought the wreck."

"Beg your pardon, sir," cried the sailor: "gen'lem'n in
the white schooner?"

"The same," said I.

My friend saluted, as though we were now for the first
time formally introduced.

"Of course," I continued, "I am rather taken up with
the whole story; and I wish you would tell me what you
can of how the men were saved."

"It was like this," said he.  "We had orders to call at
Midway after castaways, and had our distance pretty
nigh run down the day before.  We steamed half-speed
all night, looking to make it about noon, for old
Tootles--beg your pardon, sir, the captain--was
precious scared of the place at night.  Well, there's
nasty filthy currents round that Midway; YOU know,
as has been there; and one on 'em must have set us
down.  Leastways, about six bells, when we had ought to
been miles away, some one sees a sail, and lo and
be'old, there was the spars of a full-rigged brig! We
raised her pretty fast, and the island after her; and
made out she was hard aground, canted on her bilge, and
had her ens'n flying, union down.  It was breaking 'igh
on the reef, and we laid well out and sent a couple of
boats.  I didn't go in neither; only stood and looked
on: but it seems they was all badly scared and muddled,
and didn't know which end was uppermost.  One on 'em
kep' snivelling and wringing of his 'ands; he come on
board, all of a sop like a monthly nurse.  That Trent,
he come first, with his 'and in a bloody rag.  I was
near 'em as I am to you; and I could make out he was
all to bits--'eard his breath rattle in his blooming
lungs as he come down the ladder.  Yes, they was a
scared lot, small blame to 'em, I say! The next
after Trent come him as was mate."

"Goddedaal!" I exclaimed.

"And a good name for him too," chuckled the man-o'-
war's man, who probably confounded the word with a
familiar oath.  "A good name too; only it weren't his.
He was a gen'lem'n born, sir, as had gone
maskewerading.  One of our officers knowed him at 'ome,
reckonises him, steps up, 'olds out his 'and right off,
and says he, ''Ullo, Norrie, old chappie!' he says.
The other was coming up, as bold as look at it; didn't
seem put out--that's where blood tells, sir! Well, no
sooner does he 'ear his born name given him than he
turns as white as the Day of Judgment, stares at Mr.
Sebright like he was looking at a ghost, and then (I
give you my word of honour) turned to, and doubled up
in a dead faint.  'Take him down to my berth,' says Mr.
Sebright.  ''Tis poor old Norrie Carthew,' he says."

"And what--what sort of a gentleman was this Mr.
Carthew?" I gasped.

"The ward-room steward told me he was come of the best
blood in England," was my friend's reply: "Eton and
'Arrow bred; and might have been a bar'net!"

"No, but to look at?" I corrected him.

"The same as you or me," was the uncompromising answer:
"not much to look at.  I didn't know he was a
gen'lem'n; but then, I never see him cleaned up."

"How was that?" I cried.  "O yes, I remember: he was
sick all the way to 'Frisco, was he not?"

"Sick, or sorry, or something," returned my informant.
"My belief, he didn't hanker after showing up.  He kep'
close; the ward-room steward, what took his meals in,
told me he ate nex' to nothing; and he was fetched
ashore at 'Frisco on the quiet.  Here was how it was.
It seems his brother had took and died, him as had the
estate.  This one had gone in for his beer, by what I
could make out; the old folks at 'ome had turned rusty;
no one knew where he had gone to.  Here he was, slaving
in a merchant brig, shipwrecked on Midway, and packing
up his duds for a long voyage in a open boat.  He comes
on board our ship, and by God, here he is a landed
proprietor, and may be in Parliament to-morrow! It's no
less than natural he should keep dark: so would you and
me in the same box."

"I daresay," said I.  "But you saw more of the others?"

"To be sure," says he: "no 'arm in them from what I
see.  There was one 'Ardy there: colonial born he was,
and had been through a power of money.  There was no
nonsense about 'Ardy; he had been up, and he had come
down, and took it so.  His 'eart was in the right
place; and he was well-informed, and knew French; and
Latin, I believe, like a native! I liked that 'Ardy: he
was a good-looking boy too."

"Did they say much about the wreck?" I asked.

"There wasn't much to say, I reckon," replied the man-
o'-war's man.  "It was all in the papers.  'Ardy used
to yarn most about the coins he had gone through; he
had lived with bookmakers, and jockeys, and pugs, and
actors, and all that--a precious low lot," added this
judicious person.  "But it's about here my 'orse is
moored, and by your leave I'll be getting ahead."

"One moment," said I.  "Is Mr. Sebright on board?"

"No, sir, he's ashore to-day," said the sailor.  "I
took up a bag for him to the 'otel."

With that we parted.  Presently after my friend
overtook and passed me on a hired steed which seemed to
scorn its cavalier; and I was left in the dust of his
passage, a prey to whirling thoughts.  For I now stood,
or seemed to stand, on the immediate threshold of these
mysteries.  I knew the name of the man Dickson--his
name was Carthew; I knew where the money came from that
opposed us at the sale--it was part of Carthew's
inheritance; and in my gallery of illustrations to the
history of the wreck, one more picture hung, perhaps
the most dramatic of the series.  It showed me the deck
of a warship in that distant part of the great ocean,
the officers and seamen looking curiously on: and a man
of birth and education, who had been sailing under an
alias on a trading brig, and was now rescued from
desperate peril, felled like an ox by the bare sound of
his own name.  I could not fail to be reminded of my
own experience at the Occidental telephone.  The hero
of three styles, Dickson, Goddedaal, or Carthew, must
be the owner of a lively--or a loaded--conscience, and
the reflection recalled to me the photograph found on
board the FLYING SCUD; just such a man, I reasoned,
would be capable of just such starts and crises, and I
inclined to think that Goddedaal (or Carthew) was the
mainspring of the mystery.

One thing was plain: as long as the TEMPEST was in
reach, I must make the acquaintance of both Sebright
and the doctor.  To this end, I excused myself with Mr.
Fowler, returned to Honolulu, and passed the remainder
of the day hanging vainly round the cool verandahs of
the hotel.  It was near nine o'clock at night before I
was rewarded.

"That is the gentleman you were asking for," said the
clerk.

I beheld a man in tweeds, of an incomparable languor of
demeanour, and carrying a cane with genteel effort.
From the name, I had looked to find a sort of Viking
and young ruler of the battle and the tempest; and I
was the more disappointed, and not a little alarmed, to
come face to face with this impracticable type.

"I believe I have the pleasure of addressing Lieutenant
Sebright," said I, stepping forward.

"Aw, yes," replied the hero; "but, aw! I dawn't knaw
you, do I?" (He spoke for all the world like Lord
Foppington in the old play--a proof of the perennial
nature of man's affectations.  But his limping dialect
I scorn to continue to reproduce.)

"It was with the intention of making myself known that
I have taken this step," said I, entirely unabashed
(for impudence begets in me its like--perhaps my only
martial attribute).  "We have a common subject of
interest, to me very lively; and I believe I may be in
a position to be of some service to a friend of yours--
to give him, at least, some very welcome information."

The last clause was a sop to my conscience; I could not
pretend, even to myself, either the power or the will
to serve Mr. Carthew; but I felt sure he would like to
hear the FLYING SCUD was burned.

"I don't know--I--I don't understand you," stammered my
victim.  "I don't have any friends in Honolulu, don't
you know?"

The friend to whom I refer is English," I replied.  "It
is Mr. Carthew, whom you picked up at Midway.  My firm
has bought the wreck; I am just returned from breaking
her up; and--to make my business quite clear to you--I
have a communication it is necessary I should make; and
have to trouble you for Mr. Carthew's address."

It will be seen how rapidly I had dropped all hope of
interesting the frigid British bear.  He, on his side,
was plainly on thorns at my insistence; I judged he was
suffering torments of alarm lest I should prove an
undesirable acquaintance; diagnosed him for a shy,
dull, vain, unamiable animal, without adequate defence-
-a sort of dishoused snail; and concluded, rightly
enough, that he would consent to anything to bring our
interview to a conclusion.  A moment later he had fled,
leaving me with a sheet of paper thus inscribed:--

  Norris Carthew,
    Stallbridge-le-Carthew,
      Dorset.

I might have cried victory, the field of battle and
some of the enemy's baggage remaining in my occupation.
As a matter of fact, my moral sufferings during the
engagement had rivalled those of Mr. Sebright.  I was
left incapable of fresh hostilities; I owned that the
navy of old England was (for me) invincible as of yore;
and giving up all thought of the doctor, inclined to
salute her veteran flag, in the future, from a prudent
distance.  Such was my inclination when I retired to
rest; and my first experience the next morning
strengthened it to certainty.  For I had the pleasure
of encountering my fair antagonist on his way on board;
and he honoured me with a recognition so disgustingly
dry, that my impatience overflowed, and (recalling the
tactics of Nelson) I neglected to perceive or to return
it.

Judge of my astonishment, some half-hour later, to
receive a note of invitation from the TEMPEST.

"Dear Sir," it began, "we are all naturally very much
interested in the wreck of the FLYING SCUD, and as
soon as I mentioned that I had the pleasure of making
your acquaintance, a very general wish was expressed
that you would come and dine on board.  It will give us
all the greatest pleasure to see you to-night, or in
case you should be otherwise engaged, to luncheon
either to-morrow or to-day." A note of the hours
followed, and the document wound up with the name of
"J. Lascelles Sebright," under an undeniable statement
that he was sincerely mine.

"No, Mr. Lascelles Sebright," I reflected, "you are
not, but I begin to suspect that (like the lady in the
song) you are another's.  You have mentioned your
adventure, my friend; you have been blown up; you have
got your orders; this note has been dictated; and I am
asked on board (in spite of your melancholy protests)
not to meet the men, and not to talk about the
FLYING SCUD, but to undergo the scrutiny of some one
interested in Carthew--the doctor, for a wager.  And
for a second wager, all this springs from your facility
in giving the address." I lost no time in answering the
billet, electing for the earliest occasion; and at the
appointed hour a somewhat blackguard-looking boat's
crew from the NORAH CREINA conveyed me under the
guns of the TEMPEST.

The ward-room appeared pleased to see me; Sebright's
brother officers, in contrast to himself, took a boyish
interest in my cruise; and much was talked of the
FLYING SCUD; of how she had been lost, of how I had
found her, and of the weather, the anchorage, and the
currents about Midway Island.  Carthew was referred to
more than once without embarrassment; the parallel case
of a late Earl of Aberdeen, who died mate on board a
Yankee schooner, was adduced.  If they told me little
of the man, it was because they had not much to tell,
and only felt an interest in his recognition and pity
for his prolonged ill-health.  I could never think the
subject was avoided; and it was clear that the
officers, far from practising concealment, had nothing
to conceal.

So far, then, all seemed natural, and yet the doctor
troubled me.  This was a tall, rugged, plain man, on
the wrong side of fifty, already grey, and with a
restless mouth and bushy eyebrows: he spoke seldom, but
then with gaiety; and his great, quaking, silent
laughter was infectious.  I could make out that he was
at once the quiz of the ward-room and perfectly
respected; and I made sure that he observed me
covertly.  It is certain I returned the compliment.  If
Carthew had feigned sickness--and all seemed to point
in that direction--here was the man who knew all--or
certainly knew much.  His strong, sterling face
progressively and silently persuaded of his full
knowledge.  That was not the mouth, these were not the
eyes, of one who would act in ignorance, or could be
led at random.  Nor again was it the face of a man
squeamish in the case of malefactors; there was even a
touch of Brutus there, and something of the hanging
judge.  In short, he seemed the last character for the
part assigned him in my theories; and wonder and
curiosity contended in my mind.

Luncheon was over, and an adjournment to the smoking-
room proposed, when (upon a sudden impulse) I burned my
ships, and, pleading indisposition, requested to
consult the doctor.

"There is nothing the matter with my body, Dr.
Urquart," said I, as soon as we were alone.

He hummed, his mouth worked, he regarded me steadily
with his grey eyes, but resolutely held his peace.

"I want to talk to you about the FLYING SCUD and
Mr. Carthew," I resumed.  "Come, you must have expected
this.  I am sure you know all; you are shrewd, and must
have a guess that I know much.  How are we to stand to
one another? and how am I to stand to Mr. Carthew?"

"I do not fully understand you," he replied, after a
pause; and then, after another: "it is the spirit I
refer to, Mr. Dodd."

"The spirit of my inquiries?" I asked.

He nodded.

"I think we are at cross-purposes," said I.  "The
spirit is precisely what I came in quest of.  I bought
the FLYING SCUD at a ruinous figure, run up by Mr.
Carthew through an agent; and I am, in consequence, a
bankrupt.  But if I have found no fortune in the wreck,
I have found unmistakable evidences of foul play.
Conceive my position: I am ruined through this man,
whom I never saw; I might very well desire revenge or
compensation; and I think you will admit I have the
means to extort either."

He made no sign in answer to this challenge.

"Can you not understand, then," I resumed, "the spirit
in which I come to one who is surely in the secret, and
ask him, honestly and plainly, How do I stand to Mr.
Carthew?"

"I must ask you to be more explicit," said he.

"You do not help me much," I retorted.  "But see if you
can understand: my conscience is not very fine-spun;
still, I have one.  Now, there are degrees of foul
play, to some of which I have no particular objection.
I am sure with Mr. Carthew, I am not at all the person
to forgo an advantage, and I have much curiosity.  But,
on the other hand, I have no taste for persecution; and
I ask you to believe that I am not the man to make bad
worse, or heap trouble on the unfortunate."

"Yes; I think I understand," said he.  "Suppose I pass
you my word that, whatever may have occurred, there
were excuses--great excuses--I may say, very great?"

"It would have weight with me, doctor," I replied.

"I may go further," he pursued.  "Suppose I had been
there, or you had been there.  After a certain event
had taken place, it's a grave question what we might
have done--it's even a question what we could have
done--ourselves.  Or take me.  I will be plain with
you, and own that I am in possession of the facts.  You
have a shrewd guess how I have acted in that knowledge.
May I ask you to judge from the character of my action
something of the nature of that knowledge, which I have
no call, nor yet no title, to share with you?"

I cannot convey a sense of the rugged conviction and
judicial emphasis of Dr. Urquart's speech.  To those
who did not hear him, it may appear as if he fed me on
enigmas; to myself, who heard, I seemed to have
received a lesson and a compliment.

"I thank you," I said; "I feel you have said as much as
possible, and more than I had any right to ask.  I take
that as a mark of confidence, which I will try to
deserve.  I hope, sir, you will let me regard you as a
friend."

He evaded my proffered friendship with a blunt proposal
to rejoin the mess; and yet a moment later contrived to
alleviate the snub.  For, as we entered the smoking-
room, he laid his hand on my shoulder with a kind
familiarity--

"I have just prescribed for Mr. Dodd," says he, "a
glass of our Madeira."

I have never again met Dr. Urquart; but he wrote
himself so clear upon my memory that I think I see him
still.  And indeed I had cause to remember the man for
the sake of his communication.  It was hard enough to
make a theory fit the circumstances of the FLYING
SCUD; but one in which the chief actor should stand
the least excused, and might retain the esteem or at
least the pity of a man like Dr. Urquart, failed me
utterly.  Here at least was the end of my discoveries.
I learned no more, till I learned all; and my reader
has the evidence complete.  Is he more astute than I
was? or, like me, does he give it up?

                     CHAPTER XVIII
                           
                           
          CROSS-QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS

I HAVE said hard words of San Francisco; they must
scarce be literally understood (one cannot suppose the
Israelites did justice to the land of Pharaoh); and the
city took a fine revenge of me on my return.  She had
never worn a more becoming guise; the sun shone, the
air was lively, the people had flowers in their button-
holes and smiles upon their faces; and as I made my way
towards Jim's place of employment, with some very black
anxieties at heart, I seemed to myself a blot on the
surrounding gaiety.

My destination was in a by-street in a mean, rickety
building.  "The Franklin H. Dodge Steam Printing
Company" appeared upon its front, and, in characters of
greater freshness, so as to suggest recent conversion,
the watch-cry, "White Labour Only." In the office in a
dusty pen Jim sat alone before a table.  A wretched
change had overtaken him in clothes, body, and bearing;
he looked sick and shabby.  He who had once rejoiced in
his day's employment, like a horse among pastures, now
sat staring on a column of accounts, idly chewing a
pen, at times heavily sighing, the picture of
inefficiency and inattention.  He was sunk deep in a
painful reverie; he neither saw nor heard me, and I
stood and watched him unobserved.  I had a sudden vain
relenting.  Repentance bludgeoned me.  As I had
predicted to Nares, I stood and kicked myself.  Here
was I come home again, my honour saved; there was my
friend in want of rest, nursing, and a generous diet;
and I asked myself, with Falstaff, "What is in that
word honour? what is that honour?" and, like Falstaff,
I told myself that it was air.

"Jim!" said I.

"Loudon!" he gasped, and jumped from his chair and
stood shaking.

The next moment I was over the barrier, and we were
hand in hand.

"My poor old man!" I cried.

"Thank God, you're home at last!" he gulped, and kept
patting my shoulder with his hand.

"I've no good news for you, Jim," said I.

"You've come--that's the good news that I want," he
replied.  "O how I have longed for you, Loudon!"

"I couldn't do what you wrote me," I said, lowering my
voice.  "The creditors have it all.  I couldn't do it."

"S-s-h!" returned Jim.  "I was crazy when wrote.  I
could never have looked Mamie in the face if we had
done it.  O, Loudon, what a gift that woman is! You
think you know something of life; you just don't know
anything.  It's the GOODNESS of the woman, it's a
revelation!"

"That's all right," said I.  "That's how I hoped to
hear you, Jim."

"And so the FLYING SCUD was a fraud," he resumed.
"I didn't quite understand your letter, but I made out
that."

"Fraud is a mild term for it," said I.  "The creditors
will never believe what fools we were.--And that
reminds me," I continued, rejoicing in the transition,
"how about the bankruptcy?"

"You were lucky to be out of that," answered Jim,
shaking his head; "you were lucky not to see the
papers.  The OCCIDENTAL called me a fifth-rate
kerb-stone broker with water on the brain; another said
I was a tree-frog that had got into the same meadow
with Longhurst, and had blown myself out till I went
pop.  It was rough on a man in his honeymoon; so was
what they said about my looks, and what I had on, and
the way I perspired.  But I braced myself up with the
FLYING SCUD.--How did it exactly figure out anyway?
I don't seem to catch on to that story, Loudon."

"The devil you don't!" thinks I to myself; and then
aloud, "You see we had neither one of us good luck.  I
didn't do much more than cover current expenses, and
you got floored immediately.  How did we come to go so
soon?"

"Well, we'll have to have a talk over all this," said
Jim, with a sudden start.  "I should be getting to my
books, and I guess you had better go up right away to
Mamie.  She's at Speedy's.  She expects you with
impatience.  She regards you in the light of a
favourite brother, Loudon."

Any scheme was welcome which allowed me to postpone the
hour of explanation, and avoid (were it only for a
breathing space) the topic of the FLYING SCUD.  I
hastened accordingly to Bush Street.  Mrs. Speedy,
already rejoicing in the return of a spouse, hailed me
with acclamation.  "And it's beautiful you're looking,
Mr. Dodd, my dear," she was kind enough to say.  "And a
muracle they naygur waheenies let ye lave the oilands.
I have my suspicions of Shpeedy," she added roguishly.
"Did ye see him after the naygresses now?"

I gave Speedy an unblemished character.

"The one of ye will never bethray the other," said the
playful dame, and ushered me into a bare room, where
Mamie sat working a type-writer.

I was touched by the cordiality of her greeting.  With
the prettiest gesture in the world she gave me both her
hands, wheeled forth a chair, and produced from a
cupboard a tin of my favourite tobacco, and a book of
my exclusive cigarette-papers.

"There!" she cried; "you see, Mr. Loudon, we were all
prepared for you: the things were bought the very day
you sailed."

I imagined she had always intended me a pleasant
welcome; but the certain fervour of sincerity, which I
could not help remarking, flowed from an unexpected
source.  Captain Nares, with a kindness for which I can
never be sufficiently grateful, had stolen a moment
from his occupations, driven to call on Mamie, and
drawn her a generous picture of my prowess at the
wreck.  She was careful not to breathe a word of this
interview, till she had led me on to tell my adventures
for myself.

"Ah! Captain Nares was better," she cried, when I had
done.  "From your account, I have only learned one new
thing, that you are modest as well as brave."

I cannot tell with what sort of disclamation I sought
to reply.

"It is of no use," said Mamie.  "I know a hero.  And
when I heard of you working all day like a common
labourer, with your hands bleeding and your nails
broken--and how you told the captain to "crack on" (I
think he said) in the storm, when he was terrified
himself--and the danger of that horrid mutiny"--(Nares
had been obligingly dipping his brush in earthquake and
eclipse)--"and how it was all done, in part at least,
for Jim and me--I felt we could never say how we
admired and thanked you."

"Mamie," I cried, "don't talk of thanks; it is not a
word to be used between friends.  Jim and I have been
prosperous together; now we shall be poor together.
We've done our best, and that's all that need be said.
The next thing is for me to find a situation, and send
you and Jim up country for a long holiday in the
redwoods--for a holiday Jim has got to have."

"Jim can't take your money, Mr. Loudon," said Mamie.

"Jim?" cried I.  "He's got to.  Didn't I take his?"

Presently after, Jim himself arrived, and before he had
yet done mopping his brow, he was at me with the
accursed subject.  "Now, Loudon," said he, "here we
are, all together, the day's work done and the evening
before us; just start in with the whole story."

"One word on business first," said I, speaking from the
lips outward, and meanwhile (in the private apartments
of my brain) trying for the thousandth time to find
some plausible arrangement of my story.  "I want to
have a notion how we stand about the bankruptcy."

"O, that's ancient history," cried Jim.  "We paid seven
cents, and a wonder we did as well.  The receiver----"
(methought a spasm seized him at the name of this
official, and he broke off).  "But it's all past and
done with, anyway; and what I want to get at is the
facts about the wreck.  I don't seem to understand it;
appears to me like as there was something underneath."

"There was nothing IN it, anyway," I said, with a
forced laugh.

"That's what I want to judge of," returned Jim.

"How the mischief is it I can never keep you to that
bankruptcy? It looks as if you avoided it," said I--for
a man in my situation, with unpardonable folly.

"Don't it look a little as if you were trying to avoid
the wreck?" asked Jim.

It was my own doing; there was no retreat.  "My dear
fellow, if you make a point of it, here goes!" said I,
and launched with spurious gaiety into the current of
my tale.  I told it with point and spirit; described
the island and the wreck, mimicked Anderson and the
Chinese, maintained the suspense....  My pen has
stumbled on the fatal word.  I maintained the suspense
so well that it was never relieved; and when I stopped-
-I dare not say concluded, where there was no
conclusion--I found Jim and Mamie regarding me with
surprise.

"Well?" said Jim.

"Well, that's all," said I.

"But how do you explain it?" he asked.

"I can't explain it," said I.

Mamie wagged her head ominously.

"But, great Caesar's ghost, the money was offered!"
cried Jim.  "It won't do, Loudon; it's nonsense on the
face of it! I don't say but what you and Nares did your
best; I'm sure, of course, you did; but I do say you
got fooled.  I say the stuff is in that ship to-day,
and I say I mean to get it."

"There is nothing in the ship, I tell you, but old wood
and iron!" said I.

"You'll see," said Jim.  "Next time I go myself I'll
take Mamie for the trip: Longhurst won't refuse me the
expense of a schooner.  You wait till I get the
searching of her."

"But you can't search her!" cried I.  "She's burned."

"Burned!" cried Mamie, starting a little from the
attitude of quiescent capacity in which she had
hitherto sat to hear me, her hands folded in her lap.

There was an appreciable pause.

"I beg your pardon, Loudon," began Jim at last, "but
why in snakes did you burn her?"

"It was an idea of Nares's," said I.

"This is certainly the strangest circumstance of all,"
observed Mamie.

"I must say, Loudon, it does seem kind of unexpected,"
added Jim.  "It seems kind of crazy even.  What did
you--what did Nares expect to gain by burning her?"

"I don't know; it didn't seem to matter; we had got all
there was to get," said I.

"That's the very point," cried Jim.  "It was quite
plain you hadn't"

"What made you so sure?" asked Mamie.

"How can I tell you?" I cried.  "We had been all
through her.  We WERE sure; that's all that I can
say."

"I begin to think you were," she returned, with a
significant emphasis.

Jim hurriedly intervened.  "What I don't quite make
out, Loudon, is, that you don't seem to appreciate the
peculiarities of the thing," said he.  "It doesn't seem
to have struck you same as it does me."

"Pshaw! why go on with this?" cried Mamie, suddenly
rising.  "Mr. Dodd is not telling us either what he
thinks or what he knows."

"Mamie!" cried Jim.

"You need not be concerned for his feelings, James; he
is not concerned for yours," returned the lady.  "He
dare not deny it, besides.  And this is not the first
time he has practised reticence.  Have you forgotten
that he knew the address, and did not tell it you until
that man had escaped?"

Jim turned to me pleadingly--we were all on our feet.
"Loudon," he said, "you see Mamie has some fancy, and I
must say there's just a sort of a shadow of an excuse;
for it IS bewildering--even to me, Loudon, with my
trained business intelligence.  For God's sake clear it
up."

"This serves me right," said I.  "I should not have
tried to keep you in the dark; I should have told you
at first that I was pledged to secrecy; I should have
asked you to trust me in the beginning.  It is all I
can do now.  There is more of the story, but it
concerns none of us, and my tongue is tied.  I have
given my word of honour.  You must trust me, and try to
forgive me."

"I daresay I am very stupid, Mr. Dodd," began Mamie,
with an alarming sweetness, "but I thought you went
upon this trip as my husband's representative and with
my husband's money? You tell us now that you are
pledged, but I should have thought you were pledged
first of all to James.  You say it does not concern us;
we are poor people, and my husband is sick, and it
concerns us a great deal to understand how we come to
have lost our money, and why our representative comes
back to us with nothing.  You ask that we should trust
you; you do not seem to understand--the question we are
asking ourselves is whether we have not trusted you too
much."

"I do not ask you to trust me," I replied.  "I ask Jim.
He knows me."

"You think you can do what you please with James; you
trust to his affection, do you not? And me, I suppose,
you do not consider," said Mamie.  "But it was perhaps
an unfortunate day for you when we were married, for I
at least am not blind.  The crew run away, the ship is
sold for a great deal of money, you know that man's
address and you conceal it; you do not find what you
were sent to look for, and yet you burn the ship; and
now, when we ask explanations, you are pledged to
secrecy! But I am pledged to no such thing; I will not
stand by in silence and see my sick and ruined husband
betrayed by his condescending friend.  I will give you
the truth for once.  Mr. Dodd, you have been bought and
sold."

"Mamie," cried Jim, "no more of this! It's me you're
striking; it's only me you hurt.  You don't know, you
cannot understand these things.  Why, to-day, if it
hadn't been for Loudon, I couldn't have looked you in
the face.  He saved my honesty."

"I have heard plenty of this talk before," she replied.
"You are a sweet-hearted fool, and I love you for it.
But I am a clear-headed woman; my eyes are open, and I
understand this man's hypocrisy.  Did he not come here
to-day and pretend he would take a situation--pretend
he would share his hard-earned wages with us until you
were well? Pretend!

It makes me furious! His wages! a share of his wages!
That would have been your pittance, that would have
been your share of the FLYING SCUD--you who worked
and toiled for him when he was a beggar in the streets
of Paris.  But we do not want your charity; thank God,
I can work for my own husband! See what it is to have
obliged a gentleman! He would let you pick him up when
he was begging; he would stand and look on, and let you
black his shoes, and sneer at you.  For you were always
sneering at my James; you always looked down upon him
in your heart, you know it!" She turned back to Jim.
"And now when he is rich," she began, and then swooped
again on me.  "For you are rich, I dare you to deny it;
I defy you to look me in the face and try to deny that
you are rich--rich with our money--my husband's money--
--

Heaven knows to what a height she might have risen,
being, by this time, bodily whirled away in her own
hurricane of words.  Heart-sickness, a black
depression, a treacherous sympathy with my assailant,
pity unutterable for poor Jim, already filled, divided,
and abashed my spirit.  Flight seemed the only remedy,
and making a private sign to Jim, as if to ask
permission, I slunk from the unequal field.

I was but a little way down the street, when I was
arrested by the sound of some one running, and Jim's
voice calling me by name.  He had followed me with a
letter which had been long awaiting my return.

I took it in a dream.  "This has been a devil of a
business," said I.

"Don't think hard of Mamie," he pleaded.  "It's the way
she's made; it's her high-toned loyalty.  And of course
I know it's all right.  I know your sterling character;
but you didn't, somehow, make out to give us the thing
straight, Loudon.  Anybody might have--I mean it--I
mean----"

"Never mind what you mean, my poor Jim," said I.
"She's a gallant little woman and a loyal wife: and I
thought her splendid.  My story was as fishy as the
devil.  I'll never think the less of either her or
you."

"It'll blow over; it must blow over," said he.

"It never can," I returned, sighing: "and don't you try
to make it! Don't name me, unless it's with an oath.
And get home to her right away.  Good-bye, my best of
friends.  Good-bye, and God bless you.  We shall never
meet again."

"O Loudon, that we should live to say such words!" he
cried.

I had no views on life, beyond an occasional impulse to
commit suicide, or to get drunk, and drifted down the
street, semi-conscious, walking apparently on air in
the light-headedness of grief.  I had money in my
pocket, whether mine or my creditors' I had no means of
guessing; and, the Poodle Dog lying in my path, I went
mechanically in and took a table.  A waiter attended
me, and I suppose I gave my orders; for presently I
found myself, with a sudden return of consciousness,
beginning dinner.  On the white cloth at my elbow lay
the letter, addressed in a clerk's hand, and bearing an
English stamp and the Edinburgh postmark.  A bowl of
bouillon and a glass of wine awakened in one corner of
my brain (where all the rest was in mourning, the
blinds down as for a funeral) a faint stir of
curiosity; and while I waited the next course,
wondering the while what I had ordered, I opened and
began to read the epoch-making document:

  "DEAR SIR,--I am charged with the melancholy duty of
  announcing to you the death of your excellent
  grandfather, Mr. Alexander Loudon, on the 17th ult.
  On Sunday the 13th he went to church as usual in the
  forenoon, and stopped on his way home, at the corner
  of Princes Street, in one of our seasonable east
  winds, to talk with an old friend.  The same evening
  acute bronchitis declared itself; from the first, Dr.
  M'Combie anticipated a fatal result, and the old
  gentleman appeared to have no illusion as to his own
  state.  He repeatedly assured me it was 'by' with him
  now; 'and high time too,' he once added with
  characteristic asperity.  He was not in the least
  changed on the approach of death: only (what I am
  sure must be very grateful to your feelings) he
  seemed to think and speak even more kindly than usual
  of yourself, referring to you as 'Jeannie's yin,'
  with strong expressions of regard.  'He was the only
  one I ever liket of the hale jing-bang' was one of
  his expressions; and you will be glad to know that he
  dwelt particularly on the dutiful respect you had
  always displayed in your relations.  The small
  codicil, by which he bequeaths you his Molesworth,
  and other professional works, was added (you will
  observe) on the day before his death; so that you
  were in his thoughts until the end.  I should say
  that, though rather a trying patient, he was most
  tenderly nursed by your uncle, and your cousin, Miss
  Euphemia.  I enclose a copy of the testament, by
  which you will see that you share equally with Mr.
  Adam, and that I hold at your disposal a sum nearly
  approaching seventeen thousand pounds.  I beg to
  congratulate you on this considerable acquisition,
  and expect your orders, to which I shall hasten to
  give my best attention.  Thinking that you might
  desire to return at once to this country, and not
  knowing how you may be placed, I enclose a credit for
  six hundred pounds.  Please sign the accompanying
  slip, and let me have it at your earliest
  convenience.
  
  "I am, dear sir, yours truly,
  
  "W. RUTHERFORD GREGG.

"God bless the old gentleman!" I thought; "and for that
matter God bless Uncle Adam! and my cousin Euphemia!
and Mr. Gregg!" I had a vision of that grey old life
now brought to an end--"and high time too"--a vision of
those Sabbath streets alternately vacant and filled
with silent people; of the babel of the bells, the
long-drawn psalmody, the shrewd sting of the east wind,
the hollow, echoing, dreary house to which "Ecky" had
returned with the hand of death already on his
shoulder; a vision, too, of the long, rough country
lad, perhaps a serious courtier of the lasses in the
hawthorn den, perhaps a rustic dancer on the green, who
had first earned and answered to that harsh diminutive.
And I asked myself if, on the whole, poor Ecky had
succeeded in life; if the last state of that man were
not on the whole worse than the first; and the house in
Randolph Crescent a less admirable dwelling than the
hamlet where he saw the day and grew to manhood.  Here
was a consolatory thought for one who was himself a
failure.

Yes, I declare the word came in my mind; and all the
while, in another partition of the brain, I was glowing
and singing for my new-found opulence.  The pile of
gold--four thousand two hundred and fifty double
eagles, seventeen thousand ugly sovereigns, twenty-one
thousand two hundred and fifty Napoleons--danced, and
rang and ran molten, and lit up life with their
effulgence, in the eye of fancy.  Here were all things
made plain to me: Paradise--Paris, I mean--regained,
Carthew protected, Jim restored, the creditors...

"The creditors!" I repeated, and sank back benumbed.
It was all theirs to the last farthing: my grandfather
had died too soon to save me.

I must have somewhere a rare vein of decision.  In that
revolutionary moment I found myself prepared for all
extremes except the one: ready to do anything, or to go
anywhere, so long as I might save my money.  At the
worst, there was flight, flight to some of those blest
countries where the serpent extradition has not yet
entered in.

          On no condition is extradition
               Allowed in Callao!

--the old lawless words haunted me; and I saw myself
hugging my gold in the company of such men as had once
made and sung them, in the rude and bloody wharfside
drinking-shops of Chili and Peru.  The run of my ill-
luck, the breach of my old friendship, this bubble
fortune flaunted for a moment in my eyes and snatched
again, had made me desperate and (in the expressive
vulgarism) ugly.  To drink vile spirits among vile
companions by the flare of a pine-torch; to go
burthened with my furtive treasure in a belt; to fight
for it knife in hand, rolling on a clay floor; to flee
perpetually in fresh ships and to be chased through the
sea from isle to isle, seemed, in my then frame of
mind, a welcome series of events.

That was for the worst; but it began to dawn slowly on
my mind that there was yet a possible better.  Once
escaped, once safe in Callao, I might approach my
creditors with a good grace; and, properly handled by a
cunning agent, it was just possible they might accept
some easy composition.  The hope recalled me to the
bankruptcy.  It was strange, I reflected: often as I
had questioned Jim, he had never obliged me with an
answer.  In his haste for news about the wreck, my own
no less legitimate curiosity had gone disappointed.
Hateful as the thought was to me, I must return at once
and find out where I stood.

I left my dinner still unfinished, paying for the
whole, of course, and tossing the waiter a gold piece.
I was reckless; I knew not what was mine, and cared
not: I must take what I could get and give as I was
able; to rob and to squander seemed the complementary
parts of my new destiny.  I walked up Bush Street,
whistling, brazening myself to confront Mamie in the
first place, and the world at large and a certain
visionary judge upon a bench in the second.  Just
outside, I stopped and lighted a cigar to give me
greater countenance; and puffing this and wearing what
(I am sure) was a wretched assumption of braggadocio, I
reappeared on the scene of my disgrace.

My friend and his wife were finishing a poor meal--rags
of old mutton, the remainder cakes from breakfast eaten
cold, and a starveling pot of coffee.

"I beg your pardon, Mrs. Pinkerton," said I.  "Sorry to
inflict my presence where it cannot be desired; but
there is a piece of business necessary to be
discussed."

"Pray do not consider me," said Mamie, rising, and she
sailed into the adjoining bedroom.

Jim watched her go and shook his head; he looked
miserably old and ill.

"What is it now?" he asked.

"Perhaps you remember you answered none of my
questions," said I.

"Your questions?" faltered Jim.

"Even so, Jim; my questions," I repeated.  "I put
questions as well as yourself; and however little I may
have satisfied Mamie with my answers, I beg to remind
you that you gave me none at all."

"You mean about the bankruptcy?" asked Jim.

I nodded.

He writhed in his chair.  "The straight truth is, I was
ashamed," he said.  "I was trying to dodge you.  I've
been playing fast and loose with you, Loudon; I've
deceived you from the first, I blush to own it.  And
here you came home and put the very question I was
fearing.  Why did we bust so soon? Your keen business
eye had not deceived you.  That's the point, that's my
shame; that's what killed me this afternoon when Mamie
was treating you so, and my conscience was telling me
all the time, "Thou art the man.""

"What was it, Jim?" I asked.

"What I had been at all the time, Loudon," he wailed;
"and I don't know how I'm to look you in the face and
say it, after my duplicity.  It was stocks," he added
in a whisper.

"And you were afraid to tell me that!" I cried.  "You
poor, old, cheerless dreamer! what would it matter what
you did or didn't? Can't you see we're doomed? And
anyway, that's not my point.  It's how I stand that I
want to know.  There is a particular reason.  Am I
clear? Have I a certificate, or what have I to do to
get one? And when will it be dated? You can't think
what hangs by it!"

"That's the worst of all," said Jim, like a man in a
dream; "I can't see how to tell him!"

"What do you mean?" I cried, a small pang of terror at
my heart.

"I'm afraid I sacrificed you, Loudon," he said, looking
at me pitifully.

"Sacrificed me?" I repeated.  "How? What do you mean by
sacrifice?"

"I know it'll shock your delicate self-respect," he
said; "but what was I to do? Things looked so bad.  The
receiver----" (as usual, the name stuck in his throat,
and he began afresh).  "There was a lot of talk, the
reporters were after me already; there was the trouble,
and all about the Mexican business; and I got scared
right out, and I guess I lost my head.  You weren't
there, you see, and that was my temptation."

I did not know how long he might thus beat about the
bush with dreadful hintings, and I was already beside
myself with terror.  What had he done? I saw he had
been tempted; I knew from his letters that he was in no
condition to resist.  How had he sacrificed the absent?

"Jim," I said, "you must speak right out.  I've got all
that I can carry."

"Well," he said--"I know it was a liberty--I made it
out you were no business man, only a stonebroke
painter; that half the time you didn't know anything
anyway, particularly money and accounts.  I said you
never could be got to understand whose was whose.  I
had to say that because of some entries in the books---
-"

"For God's sake," I cried, "put me out of this agony!
What did you accuse me of?"

"Accuse you of?" repeated Jim.  "Of what I'm telling
you.  And there being no deed of partnership, I made
out you were only a kind of clerk that I called a
partner just to give you taffy; and so I got you ranked
a creditor on the estate for your wages and the money
you had lent.  And----"

I believe I reeled.  "A creditor!" I roared; "a
creditor! I'm not in the bankruptcy at all?"

"No," said Jim.  "I know it was a liberty----"

"O, damn your liberty! read that," I cried, dashing the
letter before him on the table, "and call in your wife,
and be done with eating this truck "--as I spoke I
slung the cold mutton in the empty grate--"and let's
all go and have a champagne supper.  I've dined--I'm
sure I don't remember what I had; I'd dine again ten
scores of times upon a night like this.  Read it, you
blazing ass! I'm not insane.--Here, Mamie," I
continued, opening the bedroom door, "come out and make
it up with me, and go and kiss your husband; and I'll
tell you what, after the supper, let's go to some place
where there's a band, and I'll waltz with you till
sunrise."

"What does it all mean?" cried Jim.

"It means we have a champagne supper to-night, and all
go to Vapor Valley or to Monterey to-morrow," said I.--
"Mamie, go and get your things on; and you, Jim, sit
down right where you are, take a sheet of paper, and
tell Franklin Dodge to go to Texas.--Mamie, you were
right, my dear; I was rich all the time, and didn't
know it."

                      CHAPTER XIX

                TRAVELS WITH A SHYSTER

THE absorbing and disastrous adventure of the
FLYING SCUD was now quite ended; we had dashed into
these deep waters and we had escaped again to starve;
we had been ruined and were saved, had quarrelled and
made up; there remained nothing but to sing TE
DEUM, draw a line, and begin on a fresh page of my
unwritten diary.  I do not pretend that I recovered all
I had lost with Mamie, it would have been more than I
had merited; and I had certainly been more
uncommunicative than became either the partner or the
friend.  But she accepted the position handsomely; and
during the week that I now passed with them, both she
and Jim had the grace to spare me questions.  It was to
Calistoga that we went; there was some rumour of a Napa
land-boom at the moment, the possibility of stir
attracted Jim, and he informed me he would find a
certain joy in looking on, much as Napoleon on St.
Helena took a pleasure to read military works.  The
field of his ambition was quite closed; he was done
with action, and looked forward to a ranch in a
mountain dingle, a patch of corn, a pair of kine, a
leisurely and contemplative age in the green shade of
forests.  "Just let me get down on my back in a
hayfield," said he, "and you'll find there's no more
snap to me than that much putty."

And for two days the perfervid being actually rested.
The third, he was observed in consultation with the
local editor, and owned he was in two minds about
purchasing the press and paper.  "It's a kind of a hold
for an idle man," he said pleadingly; "and if the
section was to open up the way it ought to, there might
be dollars in the thing." On the fourth day he was gone
till dinner-time alone; on the fifth we made a long
picnic drive to the fresh field of enterprise; and the
sixth was passed entirely in the preparation of
prospectuses.  The pioneer of M'Bride City was already
upright and self-reliant as of yore; the fire rekindled
in his eye, the ring restored to his voice; a charger
sniffing battle and saying "ha-ha" among the spears.
On the seventh morning we signed a deed of partnership,
for Jim would not accept a dollar of my money
otherwise; and having once more engaged myself--or that
mortal part of me, my purse--among the wheels of his
machinery, I returned alone to San Francisco and took
quarters in the Palace Hotel.

The same night I had Nares to dinner.  His sun-burnt
face, his queer and personal strain of talk, recalled
days that were scarce over and that seemed already
distant.  Through the music of the band outside, and
the chink and clatter of the dining-room, it seemed to
me as if I heard the foaming of the surf and the voices
of the sea-birds about Midway Island.  The bruises on
our hands were not yet healed; and there we sat, waited
on by elaborate darkies, eating pompino and drinking
iced champagne.

"Think of our dinners on the NORAH, captain, and
then oblige me by looking round the room for contrast."

He took the scene in slowly.  "Yes, it is like a
dream," he said: "like as if the darkies were really
about as big as dimes; and a great big scuttle might
open up there, and Johnson stick in a great big head
and shoulders, and cry, "Eight bells!"--and the whole
thing vanish."

"Well, it's the other thing that has done that," I
replied.  "It's all bygone now, all dead and buried.
Amen! say I."

"I don't know that, Mr. Dodd; and to tell you the fact,
I don't believe it," said Nares.  "There's more
FLYING SCUD in the oven; and the baker's name, I take
it, is Bellairs.  He tackled me the day we came in:
sort of a razee of poor old humanity--jury clothes--
full new suit of pimples: knew him at once from your
description.  I let him pump me till I saw his game.
He knows a good deal that we don't know, a good deal
that we do, and suspects the balance.  There's trouble
brewing for somebody."

I was surprised I had not thought of this before.
Bellairs had been behind the scenes; he had known
Dickson; he knew the flight of the crew; it was hardly
possible but what he should suspect; it was certain if
he suspected that he would seek to trade on the
suspicion.  And sure enough, I was not yet dressed the
next morning ere the lawyer was knocking at my door.  I
let him in, for I was curious; and he, after some
ambiguous prolegomena, roundly proposed I should go
shares with him.

"Shares in what?" I inquired.

"If you will allow me to clothe my idea in a somewhat
vulgar form," said he, "I might ask you, did you go to
Midway for your health?"

"I don't know that I did," I replied.

"Similarly, Mr. Dodd, you may be sure I would never
have taken the present step without influential
grounds," pursued the lawyer.  "Intrusion is foreign to
my character.  But you and I, sir, are engaged on the
same ends.  If we can continue to work the thing in
company, I place at your disposal my knowledge of the
law and a considerable practice in delicate
negotiations similar to this.  Should you refuse to
consent, you might find in me a formidable and"--he
hesitated--"and to my own regret, perhaps a dangerous
competitor."

"Did you get this by heart?" I asked genially.

"I advise YOU to!" he said, with a sudden sparkle
of temper and menace, instantly gone, instantly
succeeded by fresh cringing.  "I assure you, sir, I
arrive in the character of a friend, and I believe you
underestimate my information.  If I may instance an
example, I am acquainted to the last dime with what you
made (or rather lost), and I know you have since cashed
a considerable draft on London."

"What do you infer?" I asked.

"I know where that draft came from," he cried, wincing
back like one who has greatly dared, and instantly
regrets the venture.

"So?" said I.

"You forget I was Mr. Dickson's confidential agent," he
explained.  "You had his address, Mr. Dodd.  We were
the only two that he communicated with in San
Francisco.  You see my deductions are quite obvious;
you see how open and frank I deal with you, as I should
wish to do with any gentleman with whom I was conjoined
in business.  You see how much I know; and it can
scarcely escape your strong common-sense how much
better it would be if I knew all.  You cannot hope to
get rid of me at this time of day; I have my place in
the affair, I cannot be shaken off; I am, if you will
excuse a rather technical pleasantry, an encumbrance on
the estate.  The actual harm I can do I leave you to
valuate for yourself.  But without going so far, Mr.
Dodd, and without in any way inconveniencing myself, I
could make things very uncomfortable.  For instance,
Mr. Pinkerton's liquidation.  You and I know, sir--and
you better than I--on what a large fund you draw.  Is
Mr. Pinkerton in the thing at all? It was you only who
knew the address, and you were concealing it.  Suppose
I should communicate with Mr. Pinkerton----"

"Look here!" I interrupted, "communicate with him (if
you will permit me to clothe my idea in a vulgar shape)
till you are blue in the face.  There is only one
person with whom I refuse to allow you to communicate
further, and that is myself Good-morning."

He could not conceal his rage, disappointment, and
surprise; and in the passage (I have no doubt) was
shaken by St. Vitus.

I was disgusted by this interview; it struck me hard to
be suspected on all hands, and to hear again from this
trafficker what I had heard already from Jim's wife;
and yet my strongest impression was different, and
might rather be described as an impersonal fear.  There
was something against nature in the man's craven
impudence; it was as though a lamb had butted me; such
daring at the hands of such a dastard implied
unchangeable resolve, a great pressure of necessity,
and powerful means.  I thought of the unknown Carthew,
and it sickened me to see this ferret on his trail.

Upon inquiry I found the lawyer was but just disbarred
for some malpractice, and the discovery added
excessively to my disquiet.  Here was a rascal without
money or the means of making it, thrust out of the
doors of his own trade, publicly shamed, and doubtless
in a deuce of a bad temper with the universe.  Here, on
the other hand, was a man with a secret--rich,
terrified, practically in hiding--who had been willing
to pay ten thousand pounds for the bones of the
FLYING SCUD.  I slipped insensibly into a mental
alliance with the victim.  The business weighed on me
all day long; I was wondering how much the lawyer knew,
how much he guessed, and when he would open his attack.

Some of these problems are unsolved to this day; others
were soon made clear.  Where he got Carthew's name is
still a mystery; perhaps some sailor on the
TEMPEST, perhaps my own sea-lawyer served him for a
tool; but I was actually at his elbow when he learned
the address.  It fell so.  One evening when I had an
engagement, and was killing time until the hour, I
chanced to walk in the court of the hotel while the
band played.  The place was bright as day with the
electric light, and I recognised, at some distance
among the loiterers, the person of Bellairs in talk
with a gentleman whose face appeared familiar.  It was
certainly some one I had seen, and seen recently; but
who or where I knew not.  A porter standing hard by
gave me the necessary hint.  The stranger was an
English navy man invalided home from Honolulu, where he
had left his ship; indeed, it was only from the change
of clothes and the effects of sickness that I had not
immediately recognised my friend and correspondent,
Lieutenant Sebright.

The conjunction of these planets seeming ominous, I
drew near; but it seemed Bellairs had done his
business; he vanished in the crowd, and I found my
officer alone.

"Do you know whom you have been talking to, Mr.
Sebright?" I began.

"No," said he; "I don't know him from Adam.  Anything
wrong?"

"He is a disreputable lawyer, recently disbarred," said
I.  "I wish I had seen you in time.  I trust you told
him nothing about Carthew?"

He flushed to his ears.  "I'm awfully sorry," he said.
"He seemed civil, and I wanted to get rid of him.  It
was only the address he asked."

"And you gave it?" I cried.

"I'm really awfully sorry," said Sebright.  "I'm afraid
I did."

"God forgive you!" was my only comment, and I turned my
back upon the blunderer.

The fat was in the fire now: Bellairs had the address,
and I was the more deceived or Carthew would have news
of him.  So strong was this impression, and so painful,
that the next morning I had the curiosity to pay the
lawyer's den a visit.  An old woman was scrubbing the
stair, and the board was down.

"Lawyer Bellairs?" said the old woman; "gone East this
morning.  There's Lawyer Dean next block up."

I did not trouble Lawyer Dean, but walked slowly back
to my hotel, ruminating as I went.  The image of the
old woman washing that desecrated stair had struck my
fancy; it seemed that all the water-supply of the city
and all the soap in the State would scarce suffice to
cleanse it, it had been so long a clearing-house of
dingy secrets and a factory of sordid fraud.  And now
the corner was untenanted; some judge, like a careful
housewife, had knocked down the web; and the bloated
spider was scuttling elsewhere after new victims.  I
had of late (as I have said) insensibly taken sides
with Carthew; now, when his enemy was at his heels, my
interest grew more warm; and I began to wonder if I
could not help.  The drama of the FLYING SCUD was
entering on a new phase.  It had been singular from the
first: it promised an extraordinary conclusion; and I,
who had paid so much to learn the beginning, might pay
a little more and see the end.  I lingered in San
Francisco, indemnifying myself after the hardships of
the cruise, spending money, regretting it, continually
promising departure for the morrow.  Why not go indeed,
and keep a watch upon Bellairs? If I missed him, there
was no harm done, I was the nearer Paris.  If I found
and kept his trail, it was hard if I could not put some
stick in his machinery, and at the worst I could
promise myself interesting scenes and revelations.

In such a mixed humour, I made up what it pleases me to
call my mind, and once more involved myself in the
story of Carthew and the FLYING SCUD.  The same
night I wrote a letter of farewell to Jim, and one of
anxious warning to Dr. Urquart, begging him to set
Carthew on his guard; the morrow saw me in the ferry-
boat; and ten days later, I was walking the hurricane-
deck on the CITY OF DENVER.  By that time my mind
was pretty much made down again, its natural condition:
I told myself that I was bound for Paris or
Fontainebleau to resume the study of the arts; and I
thought no more of Carthew or Bellairs, or only to
smile at my own fondness.  The one I could not serve,
even if I wanted; the other I had no means of finding,
even if I could have at all influenced him after he was
found.

And for all that, I was close on the heels of an absurd
adventure.  My neighbour at table that evening was a
'Frisco man whom I knew slightly.  I found he had
crossed the plains two days in front of me, and this
was the first steamer that had left New York for Europe
since his arrival.  Two days before me meant a day
before Bellairs; and dinner was scarce done before I
was closeted with the purser.

"Bellairs?" he repeated.  "Not in the saloon, I am
sure.  He may be in the second class.  The lists are
not made out, but--Hullo!  "Harry D. Bellairs"? That
the name?  He's there right enough."

And the next morning I saw him on the forward deck,
sitting in a chair, a book in his hand, a shabby puma
skin rug about his knees: the picture of respectable
decay.  Off and on, I kept him in my eye.  He read a
good deal, he stood and looked upon the sea, he talked
occasionally with his neighbours, and once when a child
fell he picked it up and soothed it.  I damned him in
my heart; the book, which I was sure he did not read--
the sea, to which I was ready to take oath he was
indifferent--the child, whom I was certain he would as
lieve have tossed overboard--all seemed to me elements
in a theatrical performance; and I made no doubt he was
already nosing after the secrets of his fellow-
passengers.  I took no pains to conceal myself, my
scorn for the creature being as strong as my disgust.
But he never looked my way, and it was night before I
learned he had observed me.

I was smoking by the engine-room door, for the air was
a little sharp, when a voice rose close beside me in
the darkness.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Dodd," it said.

"That you, Bellairs?" I replied.

"A single word, sir.  Your presence on this ship has no
connection with our interview?" he asked.  "You have no
idea, Mr. Dodd, of returning upon your determination?"

"None," said I; and then, seeing he still lingered, I
was polite enough to add "Good-evening"; at which he
sighed and went away.

The next day he was there again with the chair and the
puma skin; read his book and looked at the sea with the
same constancy; and though there was no child to be
picked up, I observed him to attend repeatedly on a
sick woman.  Nothing fosters suspicion like the act of
watching; a man spied upon can hardly blow his nose but
we accuse him of designs; and I took an early
opportunity to go forward and see the woman for myself.
She was poor, elderly, and painfully plain; I stood
abashed at the sight, felt I owed Bellairs amends for
the injustice of my thoughts, and, seeing him standing
by the rail in his usual attitude of contemplation,
walked up and addressed him by name.

"You seem very fond of the sea," said I.

"I may really call it a passion, Mr. Dodd," he replied.
"'AND THE TALL CATARACT HAUNTED ME LIKE A
PASSION,'" he quoted.  "I never weary of the sea, sir.
This is my first ocean voyage.  I find it a glorious
experience." And once more my disbarred lawyer dropped
into poetry:  "'ROLL ON, THOU DEEP AND DARK BLUE
OCEAN, ROLL!'"

Though I had learned the piece in my reading-book at
school, I came into the world a little too late on the
one hand--and I daresay a little too early on the
other--to think much of Byron; and the sonorous verse,
prodigiously well delivered, struck me with surprise.

"You are fond of poetry too?" I asked.

"I am a great reader," he replied.  "At one time I had
begun to amass quite a small but well selected library;
and when that was scattered, I still managed to
preserve a few volumes--chiefly of pieces designed for
recitation--which have been my travelling companions.

"Is that one of them?" I asked, pointing to the volume
in his hand.

"No, sir," he replied, showing me a translation of the
SORROWS OF WERTHER; "that is a novel I picked up
some time ago.  It has afforded me great pleasure,
though immoral."

"O, immoral!" cried I, indignant as usual at any
complication of art and ethics.

"Surely you cannot deny that, sir--if you know the
book," he said.  "The passion is illicit, although
certainly drawn with a good deal of pathos.  It is not
a work one could possibly put into the hands of a lady;
which is to be regretted on all accounts, for I do not
know how it may strike you; but it seems to me--as a
depiction, if I make myself clear--to rise high above
its compeers--even famous compeers.  Even in Scott,
Dickens, Thackeray, or Hawthorne, the sentiment of love
appears to me to be frequently done less justice to."

"You are expressing a very general opinion," said I.

"Is that so, indeed, sir?" he exclaimed, with
unmistakable excitement.  "Is the book well known? and
who was GO-EATH? I am interested in that, because
upon the title-page the usual initials are omitted, and
it runs simply "by GO-EATH." Was he an author of
distinction? Has he written other works?"

Such was our first interview, the first of many; and in
all he showed the same attractive qualities and
defects.  His taste for literature was native and
unaffected; his sentimentality, although extreme and a
thought ridiculous, was plainly genuine.  I wondered at
my own innocent wonder.  I knew that Homer nodded, that
Caesar had compiled a jest-book, that Turner lived by
preference the life of Puggy Booth, that Shelley made
paper boats, and Wordsworth wore green spectacles! and
with all this mass of evidence before me, I had
expected Bellairs to be entirely of one piece, subdued
to what he worked in, a spy all through.  As I
abominated the man's trade, so I had expected to detest
the man himself; and behold, I liked him.  Poor devil!
he was essentially a man on wires, all sensibility and
tremor, brimful of a cheap poetry, not without parts,
quite without courage.  His boldness was despair; the
gulf behind him thrust him on; he was one of those who
might commit a murder rather than confess the theft of
a postage-stamp.  I was sure that his coming interview
with Carthew rode his imagination like a nightmare;
when the thought crossed his mind, I used to think I
knew of it, and that the qualm appeared in his face
visibly.  Yet he would never flinch--necessity stalking
at his back, famine (his old pursuer) talking in his
ear; and I used to wonder whether I more admired or
more despised this quivering heroism for evil.  The
image that occurred to me after his visit was just; I
had been butted by a lamb, and the phase of life that I
was now studying might be called the Revolt of a Sheep.

It could be said of him that he had learned in sorrow
what he taught in song--or wrong; and his life was that
of one of his victims.  He was born in the back parts
of the State of New York; his father a farmer, who
became subsequently bankrupt and went West.  The lawyer
and money-lender who had ruined this poor family seems
to have conceived in the end a feeling of remorse; he
turned the father out indeed, but he offered, in
compensation, to charge himself with one of the sons:
and Harry, the fifth child, and already sickly, was
chosen to be left behind.  He made himself useful in
the office: picked up the scattered rudiments of an
education; read right and left; attended and debated at
the Young Men's Christian Association; and in all his
early years was the model for a good story-book.  His
landlady's daughter was his bane.  He showed me her
photograph; she was a big, handsome, dashing, dressy,
vulgar hussy, without character, without tenderness,
without mind, and (as the result proved) without
virtue.  The sickly and timid boy was in the house; he
was handy; when she was otherwise unoccupied, she used
and played with him--Romeo and Cressida; till in that
dreary life of a poor boy in a country town, she grew
to be the light of his days and the subject of his
dreams.  He worked hard, like Jacob, for a wife; he
surpassed his patron in sharp practice; he was made
head clerk; and the same night, encouraged by a hundred
freedoms, depressed by the sense of his youth and his
infirmities, he offered marriage and was received with
laughter.  Not a year had passed, before his master,
conscious of growing infirmities, took him for a
partner.  He proposed again; he was accepted; led two
years of troubled married life; and awoke one morning
to find his wife had run away with a dashing drummer,
and had left him heavily in debt.  The debt, and not
the drummer, was supposed to be the cause of the
hegira; she had concealed her liabilities, they were on
the point of bursting forth, she was weary of Bellairs;
and she took the drummer as she might have taken a cab.
The blow disabled her husband, his partner was dead; he
was now alone in the business, for which he was no
longer fit; the debts hampered him; bankruptcy
followed; and he fled from city to city, falling daily
into lower practice.  It is to be considered that he
had been taught, and had learned as a delightful duty,
a kind of business whose highest merit is to escape the
commentaries of the bench: that of the usurious lawyer
in a county town.  With this training, he was now shot,
a penniless stranger, into the deeper gulfs of cities;
and the result is scarce a thing to be surprised at.

"Have you heard of your wife again?" I asked.

He displayed a pitiful agitation.  "I am afraid you
will think ill of me," he said.

"Have you taken her back?" I asked.

"No, sir.  I trust I have too much self-respect," he
answered, "and, at least, I was never tempted.  She
won't come, she dislikes, she seems to have conceived a
positive distaste for me, and yet I was considered an
indulgent husband."

"You are still in relations, then?" I asked.

"I place myself in your hands, Mr. Dodd," he replied.
"The world is very hard; I have found it bitter hard
myself--bitter hard to live.  How much worse for a
woman, and one who has placed herself (by her own
misconduct, I am far from denying that) in so
unfortunate a position!"

"In short, you support her?" I suggested.

"I cannot deny it.  I practically do," he admitted.
"It has been a millstone round my neck.  But I think
she is grateful.  You can see for yourself."

He handed me a letter in a sprawling, ignorant hand,
but written with violet ink on fine, pink paper, with a
monogram.  It was very foolishly expressed, I and I
thought (except for a few obvious cajoleries) very
heartless and greedy in meaning.  The writer said she
had been sick, which I disbelieved; declared the last
remittance was all gone in doctor's bills, for which I
took the liberty of substituting dress, drink, and
monograms; and prayed for an increase, which I could
only hope had been denied her.

"I think she is really grateful?" he asked, with some
eagerness, as I returned it.

"I daresay," said I.  "Has she any claim on you?"

"O no, sir.  I divorced her," he replied.  "I have a
very strong sense of self-respect in such matters, and
I divorced her immediately."

"What sort of life is she leading now?" I asked.

"I will not deceive you, Mr. Dodd.  I do not know, I
make a point of not knowing; it appears more dignified.
I have been very harshly criticised," he added,
sighing.

It will be seen that I had fallen into an ignominious
intimacy with the man I had gone out to thwart.  My
pity for the creature, his admiration for myself, his
pleasure in my society, which was clearly unassumed,
were the bonds with which I was fettered; perhaps I
should add, in honesty, my own ill-regulated interest
in the phases of life and human character.  The fact is
(at least) that we spent hours together daily, and that
I was nearly as much on the forward deck as in the
saloon.  Yet all the while I could never forget he was
a shabby trickster, embarked that very moment in a
dirty enterprise.  I used to tell myself at first that
our acquaintance was a stroke of art, and that I was
somehow fortifying Carthew.  I told myself, I say; but
I was no such fool as to believe it, even then.  In
these circumstances I displayed the two chief qualities
of my character on the largest scale--my helplessness
and my instinctive love of procrastination--and fell
upon a course of action so ridiculous that I blush when
I recall it.

We reached Liverpool one forenoon, the rain falling
thickly and insidiously on the filthy town.  I had no
plans, beyond a sensible unwillingness to let my rascal
escape; and I ended by going to the same inn with him,
dining with him, walking with him in the wet streets,
and hearing with him in a penny gaff that venerable
piece, THE TICKET-OF-LEAVE MAN.  It was one of his
first visits to a theatre, against which places of
entertainment he had a strong prejudice; and his
innocent, pompous talk, innocent old quotations, and
innocent reverence for the character of Hawkshaw
delighted me beyond relief.  In charity to myself, I
dwell upon and perhaps exaggerate my pleasures.  I have
need of all conceivable excuses, when I confess that I
went to bed without one word upon the matter of
Carthew, but not without having covenanted with my
rascal for a visit to Chester the next day.  At Chester
we did the Cathedral, walked on the walls, discussed
Shakespeare and the musical glasses--and made a fresh
engagement for the morrow.  I do not know, and I am
glad to have forgotten, how long these travels were
continued.  We visited at least, by singular zigzags,
Stratford, Warwick, Coventry, Gloucester, Bristol,
Bath, and Wells.  At each stage we spoke dutifully of
the scene and its associations; I sketched, the Shyster
spouted poetry and copied epitaphs.  Who could doubt we
were the usual Americans, travelling with a design of
self-improvement?  Who was to guess that one was a
blackmailer, trembling to approach the scene of action-
-the other a helpless, amateur detective, waiting on
events?

It is unnecessary to remark that none occurred, or none
the least suitable with my design of protecting
Carthew.  Two trifles, indeed, completed though they
scarcely changed my conception of the Shyster.  The
first was observed in Gloucester, where we spent
Sunday, and I proposed we should hear service in the
cathedral.  To my surprise, the creature had an ISM
of his own, to which he was loyal; and he left me to go
alone to the cathedral--or perhaps not to go at all--
and stole off down a deserted alley to some Bethel or
Ebenezer of the proper shade.  When we met again at
lunch, I rallied him, and he grew restive.

"You need employ no circumlocutions with me, Mr. Dodd,"
he said suddenly.  "You regard my behaviour from an
unfavourable point of view: you regard me, I much fear,
as hypocritical."

I was somewhat confused by the attack.  "You know what
I think of your trade," I replied lamely and coarsely.

"Excuse me, if I seem to press the subject," he
continued; "but if you think my life erroneous, would
you have me neglect the means of grace? Because you
consider me in the wrong on one point, would you have
me place myself on the wrong in all? Surely, sir, the
church is for the sinner."

"Did you ask a blessing on your present enterprise?" I
sneered.

He had a bad attack of St. Vitus, his face was changed,
and his eyes flashed.  "I will tell you what I did," he
cried.  "I prayed for an unfortunate man and a wretched
woman whom he tries to support."

I cannot pretend that I found any repartee.

The second incident was at Bristol, where I lost sight
of my gentleman some hours.  From this eclipse he
returned to me with thick speech, wandering footsteps,
and a back all whitened with plaster.  I had half
expected, yet I could have wept to see it.  All
disabilities were piled on that weak back--domestic
misfortune, nervous disease, a displeasing exterior,
empty pockets, and the slavery of vice.

I will never deny that our prolonged conjunction was
the result of double cowardice.  Each was afraid to
leave the other, each was afraid to speak, or knew not
what to say.  Save for my ill-judged allusion at
Gloucester, the subject uppermost in both our minds was
buried.  Carthew, Stallbridge-le-Carthew, Stallbridge-
Minster--which we had long since (and severally)
identified to be the nearest station--even the name of
Dorsetshire was studiously avoided.  And yet we were
making progress all the time, tacking across broad
England like an unweatherly vessel on a wind;
approaching our destination, not openly, but by a sort
of flying sap.  And at length, I can scarce tell how,
we were set down by a dilatory butt-end of local train
on the untenanted platform of Stallbridge-Minster.

The town was ancient and compact--a domino of tiled
houses and walled gardens, dwarfed by the
disproportionate bigness of the church.  From the midst
of the thoroughfare which divided it in half, fields
and trees were visible at either end; and through the
sally-port of every street there flowed in from the
country a silent invasion of green grass.  Bees and
birds appeared to make the majority of the inhabitants;
every garden had its row of hives, the eaves of every
house were plastered with the nests of swallows, and
the pinnacles of the church were flickered about all
day long by a multitude of wings.  The town was of
Roman foundation; and as I looked out that afternoon
from the low windows of the inn, I should scarce have
been surprised to see a centurion coming up the street
with a fatigue-draft of legionaries.  In short,
Stallbridge-Minster was one of those towns which appear
to be maintained by England for the instruction and
delight of the American rambler; to which he seems
guided by an instinct not less surprising than the
setter's; and which he visits and quits with equal
enthusiasm.

I was not at all in the humour of the tourist.  I had
wasted weeks of time and accomplished nothing; we were
on the eve of the engagement, and I had neither plans
nor allies.  I had thrust myself into the trade of
private providence, and amateur detective; I was
spending money and I was reaping disgrace.  All the
time I kept telling myself that I must at least speak;
that this ignominious silence should have been broken
long ago, and must be broken now.  I should have broken
it when he first proposed to come to Stallbridge-
Minster; I should have broken it in the train; I should
break it there and then, on the inn doorstep, as the
omnibus rolled off.  I turned toward him at the
thought; he seemed to wince, the words died on my lips,
and I proposed instead that we should visit the
Minster.

While we were engaged upon this duty, it came on to
rain in a manner worthy of the tropics.  The vault
reverberated; every gargoyle instantly poured its full
discharge; we waded back to the inn, ankle-deep in
IMPROMPTU brooks; and the rest of the afternoon sat
weatherbound, hearkening to the sonorous deluge.  For
two hours I talked of indifferent matters, laboriously
feeding the conversation; for two hours my mind was
quite made up to do my duty instantly--and at each
particular instant I postponed it till the next.  To
screw up my faltering courage, I called at dinner for
some sparkling wine.  It proved, when it came, to be
detestable; I could not put it to my lips; and
Bellairs, who had as much palate as a weevil, was left
to finish it himself.  Doubtless the wine flushed him;
doubtless he may have observed my embarrassment of the
afternoon; doubtless he was conscious that we were
approaching a crisis, and that that evening, if I did
not join with him, I must declare myself an open enemy.
At least he fled.  Dinner was done; this was the time
when I had bound myself to break my silence; no more
delays were to be allowed, no more excuses received.  I
went up-stairs after some tobacco, which I felt to be a
mere necessity in the circumstances; and when I
returned, the man was gone.  The waiter told me he had
left the house.

The rain still plumped, like a vast shower-bath, over
the deserted town.  The night was dark and windless:
the street lit glimmeringly from end to end, lamps,
house-windows, and the reflections in the rain-pools
all contributing.  From a public-house on the other
side of the way, I heard a harp twang and a doleful
voice upraised in the "Larboard Watch," "The Anchor's
Weighed," and other naval ditties.  Where had my
shyster wandered? In all likelihood to that lyrical
tavern; there was no choice of diversion; in comparison
with Stallbridge-Minster on a rainy night a sheepfold
would seem gay.

Again I passed in review the points of my interview, on
which I was always constantly resolved so long as my
adversary was absent from the scene, and again they
struck me as inadequate.  From this dispiriting
exercise I turned to the native amusements of the inn
coffee-room, and studied for some time the mezzotints
that frowned upon the wall.  The railway guide, after
showing me how soon I could leave Stallbridge and how
quickly I could reach Paris, failed to hold my
attention.  An illustrated advertisement-book of hotels
brought me very low indeed; and when it came to the
local paper, I could have wept.  At this point I found
a passing solace in a copy of Whitaker's Almanack, and
obtained in fifty minutes more information than I have
yet been able to use.

Then a fresh apprehension assailed me.  Suppose
Bellairs had given me the slip? Suppose he was now
rolling on the road to Stallbridge-le-Carthew? or
perhaps there already and laying before a very white-
faced auditor his threats and propositions? A hasty
person might have instantly pursued.  Whatever I am, I
am not hasty, and I was aware of three grave
objections.  In the first place, I could not be certain
that Bellairs was gone.  In the second, I had no taste
whatever for a long drive at that hour of the night and
in so merciless a rain.  In the third, I had no idea
how I was to get admitted if I went, and no idea what I
should say if I got admitted.  "In short," I concluded,
"the whole situation is the merest farce.  You have
thrust yourself in where you had no business and have
no power.  You would be quite as useful in San
Francisco; far happier in Paris; and being (by the
wrath of God) at Stallbridge-Minster, the wisest thing
is to go quietly to bed." On the way to my room I saw
(in a flash) that which I ought to have done long ago,
and which it was now too late to think of--written to
Carthew, I mean, detailing the facts and describing
Bellairs, letting him defend himself if he were able,
and giving him time to flee if he were not.  It was the
last blow to my self-respect; and I flung myself into
my bed with contumely.

I have no guess what hour it was when I was wakened by
the entrance of Bellairs carrying a candle.  He had
been drunk, for he was bedaubed with mire from head to
foot; but he was now sober, and under the empire of
some violent emotion which he controlled with
difficulty.  He trembled visibly; and more than once,
during the interview which followed, tears suddenly and
silently overflowed his cheeks.

"I have to ask your pardon, sir, for this untimely
visit," he said.  "I make no defence, I have no excuse,
I have disgraced myself, I am properly punished; I
appear before you to appeal to you in mercy for the
most trifling aid, or, God help me! I fear I may go
mad."

"What on earth is wrong?" I asked.

"I have been robbed," he said.  "I have no defence to
offer; it was of my own fault, I am properly punished."

"But, gracious goodness me!" I cried, "who is there to
rob you in a place like this?"

"I can form no opinion," he replied.  "I have no idea.
I was lying in a ditch inanimate.  This is a degrading
confession, sir; I can only say in self-defence that
perhaps (in your good-nature) you have made yourself
partly responsible for my shame.  I am not used to
these rich wines."

"In what form was your money? Perhaps it may be
traced," I suggested.

"It was in English sovereigns.  I changed it in New
York; I got very good exchange," he said, and then,
with a momentary outbreak, "God in heaven, how I toiled
for it!" he cried.

"That doesn't sound encouraging," said I.  "It may be
worth while to apply to the police, but it doesn't
sound a hopeful case."

"And I have no hope in that direction," said Bellairs.
"My hopes, Mr. Dodd, are all fixed upon yourself I
could easily convince you that a small, a very small
advance, would be in the nature of an excellent
investment; but I prefer to rely on your humanity.  Our
acquaintance began on an unusual footing; but you have
now known me for some time, we have been some time--I
was going to say we had been almost intimate.  Under
the impulse of instinctive sympathy, I have bared my
heart to you, Mr. Dodd, as I have done to few; and I
believe--I trust--I may say that I feel sure--you heard
me with a kindly sentiment.  This is what brings me to
your side at this most inexcusable hour.  But put
yourself in my place--how could I sleep--how could I
dream of sleeping, in this blackness of remorse and
despair? There was a friend at hand--so I ventured to
think of you; it was instinctive: I fled to your side,
as the drowning man clutches at a straw.  These
expressions are not exaggerated, they scarcely serve to
express the agitation of my mind.  And think, sir, how
easily you can restore me to hope and, I may say, to
reason.  A small loan, which shall be faithfully
repaid.  Five hundred dollars would be ample." He
watched me with burning eyes.  "Four hundred would do.
I believe, Mr. Dodd, that I could manage with economy
on two."

"And then you will repay me out of Carthew's pocket?" I
said.  "I am much obliged.  But I will tell you what I
will do: I will see you on board a steamer, pay your
fare through to San Francisco, and place fifty dollars
in the purser's hands, to be given you in New York."

He drank in my words; his face represented an ecstasy
of cunning thought.  I could read there, plain as
print, that he but thought to overreach me.

"And what am I to do in 'Frisco?" he asked.  "I am
disbarred, I have no trade, I cannot dig, to beg----"
he paused in the citation.  "And you know that I am not
alone," he added, "others depend upon me."

"I will write to Pinkerton," I returned.  "I feel sure
he can help you to some employment, and in the
meantime, and for three months after your arrival, he
shall pay to yourself personally, on the first and the
fifteenth, twenty-five dollars."

"Mr. Dodd, I scarce believe you can be serious in this
offer," he replied.  "Have you forgotten the
circumstances of the case? Do you know these people are
the magnates of the section? They were spoken of to-
night in the saloon; their wealth must amount to many
millions of dollars in real estate alone; their house
is one of the sights of the locality, and you offer me
a bribe of a few hundred!"

"I offer you no bribe, Mr. Bellairs; I give you alms,"
I returned.  "I will do nothing to forward you in your
hateful business; yet I would not willingly have you
starve."

"Give me a hundred dollars then, and be done with it,"
he cried.

"I will do what I have said, and neither more nor
less," said I.

"Take care," he cried.  "You are playing a fool's game;
you are making an enemy for nothing; you will gain
nothing by this, I warn you of it!" And then with one
of his changes, "Seventy dollars--only seventy--in
mercy, Mr. Dodd, in common charity.  Don't dash the
bowl from my lips! You have a kindly heart.  Think of
my position, remember my unhappy wife."

"You should have thought of her before," said I.  "I
have made my offer, and I wish to sleep."

"Is that your last word, sir? Pray consider; pray weigh
both sides: my misery, your own danger.  I warn you--I
beseech you; measure it well before you answer," so he
half pleaded, half threatened me, with clasped hands.

"My first word, and my last," said I.

The change upon the man was shocking.  In the storm of
anger that now shook him, the lees of his intoxication
rose again to the surface; his face was deformed, his
words insane with fury; his pantomime, excessive in
itself, was distorted by an access of St. Vitus.

"You will perhaps allow me to inform you of my cold
opinion," he began, apparently self-possessed, truly
bursting with rage: "when I am a glorified saint, I
shall see you howling for a drop of water, and exult to
see you.  That your last word! Take it in your face,
you spy, you false friend, you fat hypocrite! I defy, I
defy and despise and spit upon you! I'm on the trail,
his trail or yours; I smell blood, I'll follow it on my
hands and knees, I'll starve to follow it! I'll hunt
you down, hunt you, hunt you down! If I were strong,
I'd tear your vitals out, here in this room--tear them
out--I'd tear them out! Damn, damn, damn! You think me
weak! I can bite, bite to the blood, bite you, hurt
you, disgrace you ..."

He was thus incoherently raging when the scene was
interrupted by the arrival of the landlord and inn
servants in various degrees of deshabille, and to them
I gave my temporary lunatic in charge.

"Take him to his room," I said, "he's only drunk."

These were my words; but I knew better.  After all my
study of Mr. Bellairs, one discovery had been reserved
for the last moment--that of his latent and essential
madness.

                      CHAPTER XX
                           
                           
                STALLBRIDGE-LE-CARTHEW

LONG before I was awake the shyster had disappeared,
leaving his bill unpaid.  I did not need to inquire
where he was gone, I knew too well, I knew there was
nothing left me but to follow; and about ten in the
morning, set forth in a gig for Stallbridge-le-Carthew.

The road, for the first quarter of the way, deserts the
valley of the river, and crosses the summit of a chalk-
down, grazed over by flocks of sheep and haunted by
innumerable larks.  It was a pleasant but a vacant
scene, arousing but not holding the attention; and my
mind returned to the violent passage of the night
before.  My thought of the man I was pursuing had been
greatly changed.  I conceived of him, somewhere in
front of me, upon his dangerous errand, not to be
turned aside, not to be stopped, by either fear or
reason.  I had called him a ferret; I conceived him now
as a mad dog.  Methought he would run, not walk;
methought, as he ran, that he would bark and froth at
the lips; methought, if the great wall of China were to
rise across his path, he would attack it with his
nails.

Presently the road left the down, returned by a
precipitous descent into the valley of the Stall, and
ran thenceforward among enclosed fields and under the
continuous shade of trees.  I was told we had now
entered on the Carthew property.  By and by, a
battlemented wall appeared on the left hand, and a
little after I had my first glimpse of the mansion.  It
stood in a hollow of a bosky park, crowded, to a degree
that surprised and even displeased me, with huge timber
and dense shrubberies of laurel and rhododendron.  Even
from this low station and the thronging neighbourhood
of the trees, the pile rose conspicuous like a
cathedral.  Behind, as we continued to skirt the park
wall, I began to make out a straggling town of offices
which became conjoined to the rear with those of the
home farm.  On the left was an ornamental water sailed
in by many swans.  On the right extended a flower
garden, laid in the old manner, and at this season of
the year as brilliant as stained glass.  The front of
the house presented a facade of more than sixty
windows, surmounted by a formal pediment and raised
upon a terrace.  A wide avenue, part in gravel, part in
turf, and bordered by triple alleys, ran to the great
double gateways.  It was impossible to look without
surprise on a place that had been prepared through so
many generations, had cost so many tons of minted gold,
and was maintained in order by so great a company of
emulous servants.  And yet of these there was no sign
but the perfection of their work.  The whole domain was
drawn to the line and weeded like the front plot of
some suburban amateur; and I looked in vain for any
belated gardener, and listened in vain for any sounds
of labour.  Some lowing of cattle and much calling of
birds alone disturbed the stillness, and even the
little hamlet, which clustered at the gates, appeared
to hold its breath in awe of its great neighbour, like
a troop of children who should have strayed into a
king's anteroom.

The Carthew Arms, the small, but very comfortable inn,
was a mere appendage and outpost of the family whose
name it bore.  Engraved portraits of bygone Carthews
adorned the walls; Fielding Carthew, Recorder of the
City of London; Major-General John Carthew in uniform,
commanding some military operations; the Right
Honourable Bailley Carthew, Member of Parliament for
Stallbridge, standing by a table and brandishing a
document; Singleton Carthew, Esquire, represented in
the foreground of a herd of cattle--doubtless at the
desire of his tenantry, who had made him a compliment
of this work of art; and the Venerable Archdeacon
Carthew, D.D., LL.D., A.M., laying his hand on the head
of a little child in a manner highly frigid and
ridiculous.  So far as my memory serves me, there were
no other pictures in this exclusive hostelry; and I was
not surprised to learn that the landlord was an ex-
butler, the landlady an ex-lady's-maid, from the great
house; and that the bar-parlour was a sort of
perquisite of former servants.

To an American, the sense of the domination of this
family over so considerable a tract of earth was even
oppressive; and as I considered their simple annals,
gathered from the legends of the engravings, surprise
began to mingle with my disgust.  "Mr. Recorder"
doubtless occupies an honourable post; but I thought
that, in the course of so many generations, one Carthew
might have clambered higher.  The soldier had stuck at
Major-General; the church-man bloomed unremarked in an
archdeaconry; and though the Right Honourable Bailley
seemed to have sneaked into the Privy Council, I have
still to learn what he did when he had got there.  Such
vast means, so long a start, and such a modest standard
of achievement, struck in me a strong sense of the
dulness of that race.

I found that to come to the hamlet and not visit the
Hall would be regarded as a slight.  To feed the swans,
to see the peacocks and the Raphaels--for these
commonplace people actually possessed two Raphaels,--to
risk life and limb among a famous breed of cattle
called the Carthew Chillinghams, and to do homage to
the sire (still living) of Donibristle, a renowned
winner of the Oaks: these, it seemed, were the
inevitable stations of the pilgrimage.  I was not so
foolish as to resist, for I might have need, before I
was done, of general goodwill; and two pieces of news
fell in which changed my resignation to alacrity.  It
appeared, in the first place, that Mr. Norris was from
home "travelling "; in the second, that a visitor had
been before me, and already made the tour of the
Carthew curiosities.  I thought I knew who this must
be; I was anxious to learn what he had done and seen,
and fortune so far favoured me that the under-gardener
singled out to be my guide had already performed the
same function for my predecessor.

"Yes, sir," he said, "an American gentleman right
enough.  At least, I don't think he was quite a
gentleman, but a very civil person."

The person, it seems, had been civil enough to be
delighted with the Carthew Chillinghams, to perform the
whole pilgrimage with rising admiration, and to have
almost prostrated himself before the shrine of
Donibristle's sire.

"He told me, sir," continued the gratified under-
gardener, "that he had often read of the 'stately 'omes
of England,' but ours was the first he had the chance
to see.  When he came to the 'ead of the long alley, he
fetched his breath.  'This is indeed a lordly domain!'
he cries.  And it was natural he should be interested
in the place, for it seems Mr. Carthew had been kind to
him in the States.  In fact, he seemed a grateful kind
of person, and wonderful taken up with flowers."

I heard this story with amazement.  The phrases quoted
told their own tale; they were plainly from the
shyster's mint.  A few hours back I had seen him a mere
bedlamite and fit for a strait-waistcoat; he was
penniless in a strange country; it was highly probable
he had gone without breakfast; the absence of Norris
must have been a crushing blow; the man (by all reason)
should have been despairing.  And now I heard of him,
clothed and in his right mind, deliberate, insinuating,
admiring vistas, smelling flowers, and talking like a
book.  The strength of character implied amazed and
daunted me.

"This is curious," I said to the under-gardener; "I
have had the pleasure of some acquaintance with Mr.
Carthew myself; and I believe none of our western
friends ever were in England.  Who can this person be?
He couldn't--no, that's impossible, he could never have
had the impudence.  His name was not Bellairs?"

"I didn't 'ear the name, sir.  Do you know anything
against him?" cried my guide.

"Well," said I, "he is certainly not the person Carthew
would like to have here in his absence."

"Good gracious me!" exclaimed the gardener.  "He was so
pleasant-spoken too; I thought he was some form of a
schoolmaster.  Perhaps, sir, you wouldn't mind going
right up to Mr. Denman?  I recommended him to Mr.
Denman, when he had done the grounds.  Mr. Denman is
our butler, sir," he added.

The proposal was welcome, particularly as affording me
a graceful retreat from the neighbourhood of the
Carthew Chillinghams; and, giving up our projected
circuit, we took a short cut through the shrubbery and
across the bowling-green to the back quarters of the
Hall.

The bowling-green was surrounded by a great hedge of
yew, and entered by an archway in the quick.  As we
were issuing from this passage my conductor arrested
me.

"The Honourable Lady Ann Carthew," he said, in an
august whisper.  And looking over his shoulder I was
aware of an old lady with a stick, hobbling somewhat
briskly along the garden path.  She must have been
extremely handsome in her youth; and even the limp with
which she walked could not deprive her of an unusual
and almost menacing dignity of bearing.  Melancholy was
impressed besides on every feature, and her eyes, as
she looked straight before her, seemed to contemplate
misfortune.

"She seems sad," said I, when she had hobbled past and
we had resumed our walk.

"She enjoy rather poor spirits, sir," responded the
under-gardener.  "Mr. Carthew--the old gentleman, I
mean--died less than a year ago; Lord Tillibody, her
ladyship's brother, two months after; and then there
was the sad business about the young gentleman.  Killed
in the 'unting-field, sir; and her ladyship's
favourite.  The present Mr. Norris has never been so
equally."

"So I have understood," said I persistently, and (I
think) gracefully pursuing my inquiries and fortifying
my position as a family friend.  "Dear, dear, how sad!
And has this change--poor Carthew's return, and all--
has this not mended matters?"

"Well, no, sir, not a sign of it," was the reply.
"Worse, we think, than ever."

"Dear, dear!" said I again.

"When Mr. Norris arrived she DID seem glad to see
him," he pursued, "and we were all pleased, I'm sure;
for no one knows the young gentleman but what likes
him.  Ah, sir, it didn't last long! That very night
they had a talk, and fell out or something; her
ladyship took on most painful; it was like old days,
but worse.  And the next morning Mr. Norris was off
again upon his travels.  "Denman," he said to Mr.
Denman, "Denman, I'll never come back," he said, and
shook him by the 'and.  I wouldn't be saying all this
to a stranger, sir," added my informant, overcome with
a sudden fear lest he had gone too far.

He had indeed told me much, and much that was
unsuspected by himself.  On that stormy night of his
return, Carthew had told his story; the old lady had
more upon her mind than mere bereavements; and among
the mental pictures on which she looked, as she walked
staring down the path, was one of Midway Island and the
FLYING SCUD.

Mr. Denman heard my inquiries with discomposure, but
informed me the shyster was already gone.

"Gone?" cried I.  "Then what can he have come for? One
thing I can tell you, it was not to see the house."

"I don't see it could have been anything else," replied
the butler.

"You may depend upon it, it was," said I.  "And
whatever it was, he has got it.--By the way, where is
Mr. Carthew at present? I was sorry to find he was from
home."

"He is engaged in travelling, sir," replied the butler
dryly.

"Ah, bravo!" cried I.  "I laid a trap for you there,
Mr. Denman.  Now I need not ask you; I am sure you did
not tell this prying stranger."

"To be sure not, sir," said the butler.

I went through the form of "shaking him by the 'and"--
like Mr. Norris--not, however, with genuine enthusiasm.
For I had failed ingloriously to get the address for
myself; and I felt a sure conviction that Bellairs had
done better, or he had still been here and still
cultivating Mr. Denman.

I had escaped the grounds and the cattle; I could not
escape the house.  A lady with silver hair, a slender
silver voice, and a stream of insignificant information
not to be diverted, led me through the picture-gallery,
the music-room, the great dining-room, the long
drawing-room, the Indian room, the theatre, and every
corner (as I thought) of that interminable mansion.
There was but one place reserved, the garden-room,
whither Lady Ann had now retired.  I paused a moment on
the outside of the door, and smiled to myself.  The
situation was indeed strange, and these thin boards
divided the secret of the FLYING SCUD.

All the while, as I went to and fro, I was considering
the visit and departure of Bellairs.  That he had got
the address, I was quite certain; that he had not got
it by direct questioning, I was convinced; some
ingenuity, some lucky accident, had served him.  A
similar chance, an equal ingenuity, was required, or I
was left helpless; the ferret must run down his prey,
the great oaks fall, the Raphaels be scattered, the
house let to some stockbroker suddenly made rich, and
the name which now filled the mouths of five or six
parishes dwindle to a memory.  Strange that such great
matters, so old a mansion, a family so ancient and so
dull, should come to depend for perpetuity upon the
intelligence, the discretion, and the cunning of a
Latin-Quarter student!  What Bellairs had done, I must
do likewise.  Chance or ingenuity, ingenuity or chance-
-so I continued to ring the changes as I walked down
the avenue, casting back occasional glances at the red
brick facade and the twinkling windows of the house.
How was I to command chance? where was I to find the
ingenuity?

These reflections brought me to the door of the inn.
And here, pursuant to my policy of keeping well with
all men, I immediately smoothed my brow, and accepted
(being the only guest in the house) an invitation to
dine with the family in the bar parlour.  I sat down
accordingly with Mr. Higgs the ex-butler, Mrs. Higgs
the ex-lady's-maid, and Miss Agnes Higgs their frowsy-
headed little girl, the least promising and (as the
event showed) the most useful of the lot.  The talk ran
endlessly on the great house and the great family; the
roast beef, the Yorkshire pudding, the jam-roll, and
the cheddar cheese came and went, and still the stream
flowed on; near four generations of Carthews were
touched upon without eliciting one point of interest;
and we had killed Mr. Henry in "the 'unting-field,"
with a vast elaboration of painful circumstance, and
buried him in the midst of a whole sorrowing county,
before I could so much as manage to bring upon the
stage my intimate friend, Mr. Norris.  At the name the
ex-butler grew diplomatic and the ex-lady's-maid
tender.  He was the only person of the whole
featureless series who seemed to have accomplished
anything worth mention; and his achievements, poor dog,
seemed to have been confined to going to the devil and
leaving some regrets.  He had been the image of the
Right Honourable Bailley, one of the lights of that dim
house, and a career of distinction had been predicted
of him in consequence, almost from the cradle.  But
before he was out of long clothes the cloven foot began
to show; he proved to be no Carthew, developed a taste
for low pleasures and bad company, went birdnesting
with a stable-boy before he was eleven, and when he was
near twenty, and might have been expected to display at
least some rudiments of the family gravity, rambled the
country over with a knapsack, making sketches and
keeping company in wayside inns.  He had no pride about
him, I was told; he would sit down with any man; and it
was somewhat woundingly implied that I was indebted to
this peculiarity for my own acquaintance with the hero.
Unhappily, Mr. Norris was not only eccentric, he was
fast.  His debts were still remembered at the
University; still more, it appeared, the highly
humorous circumstances attending his expulsion.  "He
was always fond of his jest," commented Mrs. Higgs.

"That he were!" observed her lord.

But it was after he went into the diplomatic service
that the real trouble began.

"It seems, sir, that he went the pace extraordinary,"
said the ex-butler, with a solemn gusto.

"His debts were somethink awful," said the lady's-maid.
"And as nice a young gentleman all the time as you
would wish to see!"

"When word came to Mr. Carthew's ears the turn-up was
'orrible," continued Mr. Higgs.  "I remember it as if
it was yesterday.  The bell was rung after her la'ship
was gone, which I answered it myself, supposing it were
the coffee.  There was Mr. Carthew on his feet.
''Iggs,' he says, pointing with his stick, for he had a
turn of the gout, 'order the dog-cart instantly for
this son of mine which has disgraced hisself.'  Mr.
Norris say nothink: he sit there with his 'ead down,
making belief to be looking at a walnut.  You might
have bowled me over with a straw," said Mr. Higgs.

"Had he done anything very bad?" I asked.

"Not he, Mr. Dodsley!" cried the lady--it was so she
had conceived my name.  "He never did anythink to call
really wrong in his poor life.  The 'ole affair was a
disgrace.  It was all rank favouritising."

"Mrs. 'Iggs!  Mrs. 'Iggs!" cried the butler warningly.

"Well, what do I care?" retorted the lady, shaking her
ringlets.  "You know it was, yourself, Mr. 'Iggs, and
so did every member of the staff."

While I was getting these facts and opinions, I by no
means neglected the child.  She was not attractive; but
fortunately she had reached the corrupt age of seven,
when half-a-crown appears about as large as a saucer,
and is fully as rare as the dodo.  For a shilling down,
sixpence in her money-box, and an American gold dollar
which I happened to find in my pocket, I bought the
creature soul and body.  She declared her intention to
accompany me to the ends of the earth; and had to be
chidden by her sire for drawing comparisons between
myself and her uncle William, highly damaging to the
latter.

Dinner was scarce done, the cloth was not yet removed,
when Miss Agnes must needs climb into my lap with her
stamp album, a relic of the generosity of Uncle
William.  There are few things I despise more than old
stamps, unless perhaps it be crests; for cattle (from
the Carthew Chillinghams down to the old gate-keeper's
milk-cow in the lane) contempt is far from being my
first sentiment.  But it seemed I was doomed to pass
that day in viewing curiosities, and, smothering a
yawn, I devoted myself once more to tread the well-
known round.  I fancy Uncle William must have begun the
collection himself and tired of it, for the book (to my
surprise) was quite respectably filled.  There were the
varying shades of the English penny, Russians with the
coloured heart, old undecipherable Thurn-und-Taxis,
obsolete triangular Cape of Good Hopes, Swan Rivers
with the Swan, and Guianas with the sailing ship.  Upon
all these I looked with the eyes of a fish and the
spirit of a sheep; I think, indeed, I was at times
asleep; and it was probably in one of these moments
that I capsized the album, and there fell from the end
of it, upon the floor, a considerable number of what I
believe to be called "exchanges."

Here, against all probability, my chance had come to
me; for as I gallantly picked them up, I was struck
with the disproportionate amount of five-sous French
stamps.  Some one, I reasoned, must write very
regularly from France to the neighbourhood of
Stallbridge-le-Carthew.  Could it be Norris? On one
stamp I made out an initial C; upon a second I got as
far as CH; beyond which point, the post-mark used was
in every instance undecipherable.  CH, when you
consider that about a quarter of the towns in France
begin with "chateau," was an insufficient clue; and I
promptly annexed the plainest of the collection in
order to consult the post-office.

The wretched infant took me in the fact.

"Naughty man, to 'teal my 'tamp!" she cried; and when I
would have brazened it off with a denial, recovered and
displayed the stolen article.

My position was now highly false; and I believe it was
in mere pity that Mrs. Higgs came to my rescue with a
welcome proposition.  If the gentleman was really
interested in stamps, she said, probably supposing me a
monomaniac on the point, he should see Mr. Denman's
album.  Mr. Denman had been collecting forty years, and
his collection was said to be worth a mint of money.
"Agnes," she went on, "if you were a kind little girl,
you would run over to the 'All, tell Mr. Denman there's
a connaisseer in the 'ouse, and ask him if one of the
young gentlemen might bring the album down."

"I should like to see his exchanges too," I cried,
rising to the occasion.  "I may have some of mine in my
pocket-book, and we might trade."

Half an hour later Mr. Denman arrived himself with a
most unconscionable volume under his arm.

"Ah, sir," he cried, "when I 'eard you was a collector
I dropped all.  It's a saying of mine, Mr. Dodsley,
that collecting stamps makes all collectors kin.  It's
a bond, sir; it creates a bond."

Upon the truth of this I cannot say; but there is no
doubt that the attempt to pass yourself off for a
collector falsely creates a precarious situation.

"Ah, here's the second issue!" I would say, after
consulting the legend at the side.  "The pink--no, I
mean the mauve--yes, that's the beauty of this lot.
Though of course, as you say," I would hasten to add,
"this yellow on the thin paper is more rare."

Indeed I must certainly have been detected, had I not
plied Mr. Denman in self-defence with his favourite
liquor--a port so excellent that it could never have
ripened in the cellar of the Carthew Arms, but must
have been transported, under cloud of night, from the
neighbouring vaults of the great house.  At each threat
of exposure, and in particular whenever I was directly
challenged for an opinion, I made haste to fill the
butler's glass, and by the time we had got to the
exchanges, he was in a condition in which no stamp-
collector need be seriously feared.  God forbid I
should hint that he was drunk; he seemed incapable of
the necessary liveliness; but the man's eyes were set,
and so long as he was suffered to talk without
interruption, he seemed careless of my heeding him.

In Mr. Denman's exchanges, as in those of little Agnes,
the same peculiarity was to be remarked,--an undue
preponderance of that despicably common stamp, the
French twenty-five centimes.  And here joining them in
stealthy review, I found the C and the CH; then
something of an A just following; and then a terminal
Y.  Here was also the whole name spelt out to me; it
seemed familiar too; and yet for some time I could not
bridge the imperfection.  Then I came upon another
stamp, in which an L was legible before the Y, and in a
moment the word leaped up complete.  Chailly, that was
the name: Chailly-en-Biere, the post-town of Barbizon--
ah, there was the very place for any man to hide
himself--there was the very place for Mr. Norris, who
had rambled over England making sketches--the very
place for Goddedaal, who had left a palette-knife on
board the FLYING SCUD.  Singular, indeed, that
while I was drifting over England with the shyster, the
man we were in quest of awaited me at my own ultimate
destination.

Whether Mr. Denman had shown his album to Bellairs,
whether, indeed, Bellairs could have caught (as I did)
this hint from an obliterated postmark, I shall never
know, and it mattered not.  We were equal now; my task
at Stallbridge-le-Carthew was accomplished; my interest
in postage-stamps died shamelessly away; the astonished
Denman was bowed out; and, ordering the horse to be put
in, I plunged into the study of the time-table.

                      CHAPTER XXI
                           
                           
                     FACE TO FACE

I FELL from the skies on Barbizon about two o'clock of
a September afternoon.  It is the dead hour of the day;
all the workers have gone painting, all the idlers
strolling, in the forest or the plain; the winding
causewayed street is solitary, and the inn deserted.  I
was the more pleased to find one of my old companions
in the dining-room; his town clothes marked him for a
man in the act of departure; and indeed his portmanteau
lay beside him on the floor.

"Why, Stennis," I cried, "you're the last man I
expected to find here."

"You won't find me here long," he replied.  "'KING
PANDION HE IS DEAD; ALL HIS FRIENDS ARE LAPPED IN
LEAD.' For men of our antiquity, the poor old shop is
played out."

"'I HAVE HAD PLAYMATES, I HAVE HAD COMPANIONS,'" I
quoted in return.  We were both moved, I think, to meet
again in this scene of our old pleasure parties so
unexpectedly, after so long an interval, and both
already so much altered.

"That is the sentiment," he replied.  "'ALL, ALL ARE
GONE, THE OLD FAMILIAR FACES.' I have been here a
week, and the only living creature who seemed to
recollect me was the Pharaon.  Bar the Sirons, of
course, and the perennial Bodmer."

"Is there no survivor?" I inquired.

"Of our geological epoch? not one," he replied.  "This
is the city of Petra in Edom."

"And what sort of Bedouins encamp among the ruins?" I
asked.

"Youth, Dodd, youth; blooming, conscious youth," he
returned.  "Such a gang, such reptiles! to think we
were like that! I wonder Siron didn't sweep us from his
premises."

"Perhaps we weren't so bad," I suggested.

"Don't let me depress you," said he.  "We were both
Anglo-Saxons, anyway, and the only redeeming feature
to-day is another."

The thought of my quest, a moment driven out by this
rencounter, revived in my mind.  "Who is he?" I cried.
"Tell me about him."

"What, the Redeeming Feature?" said he.  "Well, he's a
very pleasing creature, rather dim, and dull, and
genteel, but really pleasing.  He is very British,
though, the artless Briton!  Perhaps you'll find him
too much so for the transatlantic nerves.  Come to
think of it, on the other hand, you ought to get on
famously, he is an admirer of your great republic in
one of its (excuse me) shoddiest features; he takes in
and sedulously reads a lot of American papers.  I
warned you he was artless."

"What papers are they?" cried I.

"San Francisco papers," said he.  "He gets a bale of
them about twice a week, and studies them like the
Bible.  That's one of his weaknesses; another is to be
incalculably rich.  He has taken Masson's old studio--
you remember?--at the corner of the road; he has
furnished it regardless of expense, and lives there
surrounded with VINS FINS and works of art.  When
the youth of to-day goes up to the Caverne des Brigands
to make punch--they do all that we did, like some
nauseous form of ape (I never appreciated before what a
creature of tradition mankind is)--this Madden follows
with a basket of champagne.  I told him he was wrong,
and the punch tasted better; but he thought the boys
liked the style of the thing, and I suppose they do.
He is a very good-natured soul, and a very melancholy,
and rather a helpless.  O, and he has a third weakness
which I came near forgetting.  He paints.  He has never
been taught, and he's well on for thirty, and he
paints."

"How?" I asked.

"Rather well, I think," was the reply.  "That's the
annoying part of it.  See for yourself.  That panel is
his."

I stepped toward the window.  It was the old familiar
room, with the tables set like a Greek II, and the
sideboard, and the aphasic piano, and the panels on the
wall.  There were Romeo and Juliet, Antwerp from the
river, Enfield's ships among the ice, and the huge
huntsman winding a huge horn; mingled with them a few
new ones, the thin crop of a succeeding generation, not
better and not worse.  It was to one of these I was
directed: a thing coarsely and wittily handled, mostly
with the palette-knife; the colour in some parts
excellent, the canvas in others loaded with mere clay.
But it was the scene and not the art or want of it that
riveted my notice.  The foreground was of sand and
scrub and wreckwood; in the middle distance the many-
hued and smooth expanse of a lagoon, enclosed by a wall
of breakers; beyond, a blue strip of ocean.  The sky
was cloudless, and I could hear the surf break.  For
the place was Midway Island; the point of view the very
spot at which I had landed with the captain for the
first time, and from which I had re-embarked the day
before we sailed.  I had already been gazing for some
seconds before my attention was arrested by a blur on
the sea-line, and, stooping to look, I recognised the
smoke of a steamer.

"Yes," said I, turning toward Stennis, "it has merit.
What is it?"

"A fancy piece," he returned.  "That's what pleased me.
So few of the fellows in our time had the imagination
of a garden-snail."

"Madden, you say his name is?" I pursued.

"Madden," he repeated.

Has he travelled much?" I inquired.

"I haven't an idea.  He is one of the least
autobiographical of men.  He sits, and smokes, and
giggles, and sometimes he makes small jests; but his
contributions to the art of pleasing are generally
confined to looking like a gentleman and being one.
No," added Stennis, "he'll never suit you, Dodd; you
like more head on your liquor.  You'll find him as dull
as ditch-water."

"Has he big blonde side-whiskers like tusks?" I asked,
mindful of the photograph of Goddedaal.

"Certainly not; why should he?" was the reply.

"Does he write many letters?" I continued.

"God knows," said Stennis.--" What is wrong with you? I
never saw you taken this way before."

"The fact is, I think I know the man," said I.  "I
think I'm looking for him.  I rather think he is my
long-lost brother."

"Not twins, anyway," returned Stennis.

And about the same time, a carriage driving up to the
inn, he took his departure.

I walked till dinner-time in the plain, keeping to the
fields; for I instinctively shunned observation, and
was racked by many incongruous and impatient feelings.
Here was a man whose voice I had once heard, whose
doings had filled so many days of my life with interest
and distress, whom I had lain awake to dream of like a
lover, and now his hand was on the door; now we were to
meet; now I was to learn at last the mystery of the
substituted crew.  The sun went down over the plain of
the Angelus, and as the hour approached my courage
lessened.  I let the laggard peasants pass me on the
homeward way.  The lamps were lit, the soup was served,
the company were all at table, and the room sounded
already with multitudinous talk before I entered.  I
took my place and found I was opposite to Madden.  Over
six feet high and well set up, the hair dark and
streaked with silver, the eyes dark and kindly, the
mouth very good-natured, the teeth admirable; linen and
hands exquisite; English clothes, an English voice, an
English bearing--the man stood out conspicuous from the
company.  Yet he had made himself at home, and seemed
to enjoy a certain quiet popularity among the noisy
boys of the table-d'hote.  He had an odd silver giggle
of a laugh that sounded nervous even when he was really
amused, and accorded ill with his big stature and
manly, melancholy face.  This laugh fell in continually
all through dinner like the note of the triangle in a
piece of modern French music; and he had at times a
kind of pleasantry, rather of manner than of words,
with which he started or maintained the merriment.  He
took his share in these diversions, not so much like a
man in high spirits, but like one of an approved good-
nature, habitually self-forgetful, accustomed to please
and to follow others.  I have remarked in old soldiers
much the same smiling sadness and sociable self-
effacement.

I feared to look at him, lest my glances should betray
my deep excitement, and chance served me so well that
the soup was scarce removed before we were naturally
introduced.  My first sip of Chateau Siron, a vintage
from which I had been long estranged, startled me into
speech.

"O, this'll never do!" I cried, in English.

"Dreadful stuff, isn't it?" said Madden, in the same
language.  "Do let me ask you to share my bottle.  They
call it Chambertin, which it isn't; but it's fairly
palatable, and there's nothing in this house that a man
can drink at all."

I accepted; anything would do that paved the way to
better knowledge.

"Your name is Madden, I think," said I.  "My old friend
Stennis told me about you when I came."

"Yes, I am sorry he went; I feel such a Grandfather
William alone among all these lads," he replied.

"My name is Dodd," I resumed.

"Yes," said he, "so Madame Siron told me."

"Dodd, of San Francisco," I continued.  "Late of
Pinkerton and Dodd."

"Montana Block, I think?" said he.

"The same," said I.

Neither of us looked at each other; but I could see his
hand deliberately making bread pills.

"That's a nice thing of yours," I pursued, "that panel.
The foreground is a little clayey, perhaps, but the
lagoon is excellent."

"You ought to know," said he.

"Yes," returned I, "I'm rather a good judge of--that
panel."

There was a considerable pause.

"You know a man by the name of Bellairs, don't you?" he
resumed.

"Ah!" cried I, "you have heard from Doctor Urquart?"

"This very morning," he replied.

"Well, there is no hurry about Bellairs," said I.
"It's rather a long story, and rather a silly one.  But
I think we have a good deal to tell each other, and
perhaps we had better wait till we are more alone."

"I think so," said he.  "Not that any of these fellows
know English, but we'll be more comfortable over at my
place.--Your health, Dodd."

And we took wine together across the table.

Thus had this singular introduction passed unperceived
in the midst of more than thirty persons, art-students,
ladies in dressing-gowns and covered with rice powder,
six foot of Siron whisking dishes over our head, and
his noisy sons clattering in and out with fresh relays.

"One question more," said I: "Did you recognise my
voice?"

"Your voice?" he repeated.  "How should I? had never
heard it--we have never met."

"And yet we have been in conversation before now," said
I, "and I asked you a question which you never
answered, and which I have since had many thousand
better reasons for putting to myself."

He turned suddenly white.  "Good God!" he cried, "are
you the man in the telephone?"

I nodded.

"Well, well!" said he.  "It would take a good deal of
magnanimity to forgive you that.  What nights I have
passed! That little whisper has whistled in my ear ever
since, like the wind in a keyhole.  Who could it be?
What could it mean?  I suppose I have had more real,
solid misery out of that ..." He paused, and looked
troubled.  "Though I had more to bother me, or ought to
have," he added, and slowly emptied his glass.

"It seems we were born to drive each other crazy with
conundrums," said I.  "I have often thought my head
would split."

Carthew burst into his foolish laugh.  "And yet neither
you nor I had the worst of the puzzle," he cried.
"There were others deeper in."

"And who were they?" I asked.

"The underwriters," said he.

"Why, to be sure!" cried I, "I never thought of that.
What could they make of it?"

"Nothing," replied Carthew.  "It couldn't be explained.
They were a crowd of small dealers at Lloyd's who took
it up in syndicate; one of them has a carriage now; and
people say he is a deuce of a deep fellow, and has the
makings of a great financier.  Another furnished a
small villa on the profits.  But they're all hopelessly
muddled; and when they meet each other they don't know
where to look, like the Augurs."

Dinner was no sooner at an end than he carried me
across the road to Masson's old studio.  It was
strangely changed.  On the walls were tapestry, a few
good etchings, and some amazing pictures--a Rousseau, a
Corot, a really superb old Crome, a Whistler, and a
piece which my host claimed (and I believe) to be a
Titian.  The room was furnished with comfortable
English smoking-room chairs, some American rockers, and
an elaborate business table; spirits and soda-water
(with the mark of Schweppe, no less) stood ready on a
butler's tray, and in one corner, behind a half-drawn
curtain, I spied a camp-bed and a capacious tub.  Such
a room in Barbizon astonished the beholder, like the
glories of the cave of Monte Cristo.

"Now," said he, "we are quiet.  Sit down, if you don't
mind, and tell me your story all through."

I did as he asked, beginning with the day when Jim
showed me the passage in the DAILY OCCIDENTAL, and
winding up with the stamp album and the Chailly
postmark.  It was a long business; and Carthew made it
longer, for he was insatiable of details; and it had
struck midnight on the old eight-day clock in the
corner before I had made an end.

"And now," said he, "turn about: I must tell you my
side, much as I hate it.  Mine is a beastly story.
You'll wonder how I can sleep.  I've told it once
before, Mr. Dodd."

"To Lady Ann?" I asked.

"As you suppose," he answered; "and, to say the truth,
I had sworn never to tell it again.  Only, you seem
somehow entitled to the thing; you have paid dear
enough, God knows: and God knows I hope you may like
it, now you've got it!"

With that he began his yarn.  A new day had dawned, the
cocks crew in the village and the early woodmen were
afoot, when he concluded.

                     CHAPTER XXII
                           
                           
                  THE REMITTANCE MAN

SINGLETON CARTHEW, the father of Norris, was heavily
built and feebly vitalised, sensitive as a musician,
dull as a sheep, and conscientious as a dog.  He took
his position with seriousness, even with pomp; the long
rooms, the silent servants, seemed in his eyes like the
observances of some religion of which he was the mortal
god.  He had the stupid man's intolerance of stupidity
in others; the vain man's exquisite alarm lest it
should be detected in himself.  And on both sides
Norris irritated and offended him.  He thought his son
a fool, and he suspected that his son returned the
compliment with interest.  The history of their
relation was simple; they met seldom, they quarrelled
often.  To his mother, a fiery, pungent, practical
woman, already disappointed in her husband and her
elder son, Norris was only a fresh disappointment.

Yet the lad's faults were no great matter; he was
diffident, placable, passive, unambitious,
unenterprising; life did not much attract him; he
watched it like a curious and dull exhibition, not much
amused, and not tempted in the least to take a part.
He beheld his father ponderously grinding sand, his
mother fierily breaking butterflies, his brother
labouring at the pleasures of the Hawbuck with the
ardour of a soldier in a doubtful battle; and the vital
sceptic looked on wondering.  They were careful and
troubled about many things; for him there seemed not
even one thing needful.  He was born disenchanted, the
world's promises awoke no echo in his bosom, the
world's activities and the world's distinctions seemed
to him equally without a base in fact.  He liked the
open air; he liked comradeship, it mattered not with
whom, his comrades were only a remedy for solitude.
And he had a taste for painted art.  An array of fine
pictures looked upon his childhood, and from these
roods of jewelled canvas he received an indelible
impression.  The gallery at Stallbridge betokened
generations of picture-lovers; Norris was perhaps the
first of his race to hold the pencil.  The taste was
genuine, it grew and strengthened with his growth; and
yet he suffered it to be suppressed with scarce a
struggle.  Time came for him to go to Oxford, and he
resisted faintly.  He was stupid, he said; it was no
good to put him through the mill; he wished to be a
painter.  The words fell on his father like a
thunderbolt, and Norris made haste to give way.  "It
didn't really matter, don't you know?" said he.  "And
it seemed an awful shame to vex the old boy."

To Oxford he went obediently, hopelessly; and at Oxford
became the hero of a certain circle.  He was active and
adroit; when he was in the humour, he excelled in many
sports; and his singular melancholy detachment gave him
a place apart.  He set a fashion in his clique.
Envious undergraduates sought to parody his unaffected
lack of zeal and fear; it was a kind of new Byronism
more composed and dignified.  "Nothing really
mattered"; among other things, this formula embraced
the dons; and though he always meant to be civil, the
effect on the college authorities was one of startling
rudeness.  His indifference cut like insolence; and in
some outbreak of his constitutional levity (the
complement of his melancholy) he was "sent down" in the
middle of the second year.

The event was new in the annals of the Carthews, and
Singleton was prepared to make the most of it.  It had
been long his practice to prophesy for his second son a
career of ruin and disgrace.  There is an advantage in
this artless parental habit.  Doubtless the father is
interested in his son; but doubtless also the prophet
grows to be interested in his prophecies.  If the one
goes wrong, the others come true.  Old Carthew drew
from this source esoteric consolations; he dwelt at
length on his own foresight; he produced variations
hitherto unheard from the old theme "I told you so,"
coupled his son's name with the gallows and the hulks,
and spoke of his small handful of college debts as
though he must raise money on a mortgage to discharge
them.

"I don't think that is fair, sir," said Norris; "I
lived at college exactly as you told me.  I am sorry I
was sent down, and you have a perfect right to blame me
for that; but you have no right to pitch into me about
these debts."

The effect upon a stupid man not unjustly incensed need
scarcely be described.  For a while Singleton raved.

"I'll tell you what, father," said Norris at last, "I
don't think this is going to do.  I think you had
better let me take to painting.  It's the only thing I
take a spark of interest in.  I shall never be steady
as long as I'm at anything else."

"When you stand here, sir, to the neck in disgrace,"
said the father, "I should have hoped you would have
had more good taste than to repeat this levity."

The hint was taken; the levity was never more obtruded
on the father's notice, and Norris was inexorably
launched upon a backward voyage.  He went abroad to
study foreign languages, which he learned, at a very
expensive rate; and a fresh crop of debts fell soon to
be paid, with similar lamentations, which were in this
case perfectly justified, and to which Norris paid no
regard.  He had been unfairly treated over the Oxford
affair; and with a spice of malice very surprising in
one so placable, and an obstinacy remarkable in one so
weak, refused from that day forward to exercise the
least captaincy on his expenses.  He wasted what he
would; he allowed his servants to despoil him at their
pleasure; he sowed insolvency; and, when the crop was
ripe, notified his father with exasperating calm.  His
own capital was put in his hands, he was planted in the
diplomatic service, and told he must depend upon
himself.

He did so till he was twenty-five, by which time he had
spent his money, laid in a handsome choice of debts,
and acquired (like so many other melancholic and
uninterested persons) a habit of gambling.  An Austrian
colonel--the same who afterwards hanged himself at
Monte Carlo--gave him a lesson which lasted two-and-
twenty hours, and left him wrecked and helpless.  Old
Singleton once more repurchased the honour of his name,
this time at a fancy figure; and Norris was set afloat
again on stern conditions.  An allowance of three
hundred pounds in the year was to be paid to him
quarterly by a lawyer in Sydney, New South Wales.  He
was not to write.  Should he fail on any quarter-day to
be in Sydney, he was to be held for dead, and the
allowance tacitly withdrawn.  Should he return to
Europe, an advertisement publicly disowning him was to
appear in every paper of repute.

It was one of his most annoying features as a son that
he was always polite, always just, and in whatever
whirlwind of domestic anger always calm.  He expected
trouble; when trouble came he was unmoved; he might
have said with Singleton, "I TOLD YOU SO": he was
content with thinking, "JUST AS I EXPECTED." On the
fall of these last thunderbolts he bore himself like a
person only distantly interested in the event, pocketed
the money and the reproaches, obeyed orders punctually;
took ship and came to Sydney.  Some men are still lads
at twenty-five; and so it was with Norris.  Eighteen
days after he landed his quarter's allowance was all
gone, and with the light-hearted hopefulness of
strangers in what is called a new country he began to
besiege offices and apply for all manner of incongruous
situations.  Everywhere, and last of all from his
lodgings, he was bowed out; and found himself reduced,
in a very elegant suit of summer tweeds, to herd and
camp with the degraded outcasts of the city.

In this strait he had recourse to the lawyer who paid
him his allowance.

"Try to remember that my time is valuable, Mr.
Carthew," said the lawyer.  "It is quite unnecessary
you should enlarge on the peculiar position in which
you stand.  REMITTANCE MEN, as we call them here,
are not so rare in my experience; and in such cases I
act upon a system.  I make you a present of a
sovereign--here it is.  Every day you choose to call my
clerk will advance you a shilling; on Saturday, since
my office is closed on Sunday, he will advance you
half-a-crown.  My conditions are these.  That you do
not come to me, but to my clerk; that you do not come
here the worse of liquor; and you go away the moment
you are paid and have signed a receipt.--I wish you a
good-morning."

"I have to thank you, I suppose," said Carthew.  "My
position is so wretched that I cannot even refuse this
starvation allowance."

"Starvation!" said the lawyer, smiling.  "No man will
starve here on a shilling a day.  I had on my hands
another young gentleman who remained continuously
intoxicated for six years on the same allowance." And
he once more busied himself with his papers.

In the time that followed, the image of the smiling
lawyer haunted Carthew's memory.  "That three minutes'
talk was all the education I ever had worth talking
of," says he.  "It was all life in a nutshell.
Confound it," I thought, "have I got to the point of
envying that ancient fossil?"

Every morning for the next two or three weeks the
stroke of ten found Norris, unkempt and haggard, at the
lawyer's door.  The long day and longer night he spent
in the Domain, now on a bench, now on the grass under a
Norfolk Island pine, the companion of perhaps the
lowest class on earth, the Larrikins of Sydney.
Morning after morning, the dawn behind the lighthouse
recalled him from slumber; and he would stand and gaze
upon the changing east, the fading lenses, the
smokeless city, and the many-armed and many-masted
harbour growing slowly clear under his eyes.  His bed-
fellows (so to call them) were less active; they lay
sprawled upon the grass and benches, the dingy men, the
frowsy women, prolonging their late repose; and Carthew
wandered among the sleeping bodies alone, and cursed
the incurable stupidity of his behaviour.  Day brought
a new society of nursery-maids and children, and fresh-
dressed and (I am sorry to say) tight-laced maidens,
and gay people in rich traps; upon the skirts of which
Carthew and "the other blackguards"--his own bitter
phrase--skulked, and chewed grass, and looked on.  Day
passed, the light died, the green and leafy precinct
sparkled with lamps or lay in shadow, and the round of
the night began again--the loitering women, the lurking
men, the sudden outburst of screams, the sound of
flying feet "You mayn't believe it," says Carthew, "but
I got to that pitch that I didn't care a hang.  I have
been wakened out of my sleep to hear a woman screaming,
and I have only turned upon my other side.  Yes, it's a
queer place, where the dowagers and the kids walk all
day, and at night you can hear people bawling for help
as if it was the Forest of Bondy, with the lights of a
great town all round, and parties spinning through in
cabs from Government House and dinner with my lord!"

It was Norris's diversion, having none other, to scrape
acquaintance, where, how, and with whom he could.  Many
a long dull talk he held upon the benches or the grass;
many a strange waif he came to know; many strange
things he heard, and saw some that were abominable.  It
was to one of these last that he owed his deliverance
from the Domain.  For some time the rain had been
merciless; one night after another he had been obliged
to squander fourpence on a bed and reduce his board to
the remaining eightpence: and he sat one morning near
the Macquarrie Street entrance, hungry, for he had gone
without breakfast, and wet, as he had already been for
several days, when the cries of an animal in distress
attracted his attention.  Some fifty yards away, in the
extreme angle of the grass, a party of the chronically
unemployed had got hold of a dog, whom they were
torturing in a manner not to be described.  The heart
of Norris, which had grown indifferent to the cries of
human anger or distress, woke at the appeal of the dumb
creature.  He ran amongst the Larrikins, scattered
them, rescued the dog, and stood at bay.  They were six
in number, shambling gallows-birds; but for once the
proverb was right, cruelty was coupled with cowardice,
and the wretches cursed him and made off.  It chanced
that this act of prowess had not passed unwitnessed.
On a bench near by there was seated a shopkeeper's
assistant out of employ, a diminutive, cheerful, red-
headed creature by the name of Hemstead.  He was the
last man to have interfered himself, for his discretion
more than equalled his valour: but he made haste to
congratulate Carthew, and to warn him he might not
always be so fortunate.

"They're a dyngerous lot of people about this park.  My
word! it doesn't do to ply with them!" he observed, in
that RYCY AUSTRYLIAN English, which (as it has
received the imprimatur of Mr. Froude) we should all
make haste to imitate.

"Why, I'm one of that lot myself," returned Carthew.

Hemstead laughed, and remarked that he knew a gentleman
when he saw one.

"For all that, I am simply one of the unemployed," said
Carthew, seating himself beside his new acquaintance,
as he had sat (since this experience began) beside so
many dozen others.

"I'm out of a plyce myself," said Hemstead.

"You beat me all the way and back," says Carthew.  "My
trouble is that I have never been in one.

"I suppose you've no tryde?" asked Hemstead.

"I know how to spend money," replied Carthew, "and I
really do know something of horses and something of the
sea.  But the unions head me off; if it weren't for
them, I might have had a dozen berths."

"My word!" cried the sympathetic listener.  "Ever try
the mounted police?" he inquired.

I did, and was bowled out," was the reply; "couldn't
pass the doctors."

"Well, what do you think of the ryleways, then?" asked
Hemstead.

"What do YOU think of them, if you come to that?"
asked Carthew.

"O, I don't think of them; I don't go in for manual
labour," said the little man proudly.  "But if a man
don't mind that, he's pretty sure of a job there."

"By George, you tell me where to go!" cried Carthew,
rising.

The heavy rains continued, the country was already
overrun with floods; the railway system daily required
more hands, daily the superintendent advertised; but
"the unemployed " preferred the resources of charity
and rapine, and a navvy, even an amateur navvy,
commanded money in the market.  The same night, after a
tedious journey, and a change of trains to pass a
landslip, Norris found himself in a muddy cutting
behind South Clifton, attacking his first shift of
manual labour.

For weeks the rain scarce relented.  The whole front of
the mountain slipped seaward from above, avalanches of
clay, rock, and uprooted forest spewed over the cliff's
and fell upon the beach or in the breakers.  Houses
were carried bodily away and smashed like nuts; others
were menaced and deserted, the door locked, the chimney
cold, the dwellers fled elsewhere for safety.  Night
and the fire blazed in the encampment: night and day
hot coffee was served to the overdriven toilers in the
shift; night and day the engineer of the section made
his rounds with words of encouragement, hearty and
rough and well suited to his men.  Night and day, too,
the telegraph clicked with disastrous news and anxious
inquiry.  Along the terraced line of rail, rare trains
came creeping and signalling; paused at the threatened
corner, like living things conscious of peril; the
commandant of the post would hastily review his
labours, make (with a dry throat) the signal to
advance; and the whole squad line the way and look on
in a choking silence, or burst into a brief cheer as
the train cleared the point of danger and shot on,
perhaps through the thin sunshine between squalls,
perhaps with blinking lamps into the gathering, rainy
twilight.

One such scene Carthew will remember till he dies.  It
blew great guns from the seaward; a huge surf
bombarded, five hundred feet below him, the steep
mountain's foot; close in was a vessel in distress,
firing shots from a fowling-piece, if any help might
come.  So he saw and heard her the moment before the
train appeared and paused, throwing up a Babylonian
tower of smoke into the rain, and oppressing men's
hearts with the scream of her whistle.  The engineer
was there himself; he paled as he made the signal: the
engine came at a foot's pace; but the whole bulk of
mountain shook and seemed to nod seaward, and the
watching navvies instinctively clutched at shrubs and
trees; vain precautions, vain as the shots from the
poor sailors.  Once again fear was disappointed; the
train passed unscathed; and Norris, drawing a long
breath, remembered the labouring ship, and glanced
below.  She was gone.

So the days and the nights passed: Homeric labour in
Homeric circumstance.  Carthew was sick with
sleeplessness and coffee; his hands, softened by the
wet, were cut to ribbons; yet he enjoyed a peace of
mind and health of body hitherto unknown.  Plenty of
open air, plenty of physical exertion, a continual
instancy of toil--here was what had been hitherto
lacking in that misdirected life, and the true cure of
vital scepticism.  To get the train through, there was
the recurrent problem: no time remained to ask if it
were necessary.  Carthew, the idler, the spendthrift,
the drifting dilettante, was soon remarked, praised,
and advanced.  The engineer swore by him and pointed
him out for an example.  "I've a new chum, up here,"
Norris over-heard him saying, "a young swell.  He's
worth any two in the squad." The words fell on the ears
of the discarded son like music; and from that moment
he not only found an interest, he took a pride, in his
plebeian tasks.

The press of work was still at its highest when
quarter-day approached.  Norris was now raised to a
position of some trust; at his discretion, trains were
stopped or forwarded at the dangerous cornice near
North Clifton; and he found in this responsibility both
terror and delight.  The thought of the seventy-five
pounds that would soon await him at the lawyer's, and
of his own obligation to be present every quarter-day
in Sydney, filled him for a little with divided
counsels.  Then he made up his mind, walked in a slack
moment to the inn at Clifton, ordered a sheet of paper
and a bottle of beer, and wrote, explaining that he
held a good appointment which he would lose if he came
to Sydney, and asking the lawyer to accept this letter
as an evidence of his presence in the colony, and
retain the money till next quarter-day.  The answer
came in course of post, and was not merely favourable
but cordial.  "Although what you propose is contrary to
the terms of my instructions," it ran, "I willingly
accept the responsibility of granting your request.  I
should say I am agreeably disappointed in your
behaviour.  My experience has not led me to found much
expectations on gentlemen in your position."

The rains abated, and the temporary labour was
discharged; not Norris, to whom the engineer clung as
to found money; not Norris, who found himself a ganger
on the line in the regular staff of navvies.  His camp
was pitched in a grey wilderness of rock and forest,
far from any house; as he sat with his mates about the
evening fire, the trains passing on the track were
their next, and indeed their only, neighbours, except
the wild things of the wood.  Lovely weather, light and
monotonous employment, long hours of somnolent camp-
fire talk, long sleepless nights, when he reviewed his
foolish and fruitless career as he rose and walked in
the moonlit forest, an occasional paper of which he
would read all, the advertisements with as much relish
as the text; such was the tenor of an existence which
soon began to weary and harass him.  He lacked and
regretted the fatigue, the furious hurry, the suspense,
the fires, the midnight coffee, the rude and mud-
bespattered poetry of the first toilful weeks.  In the
quietness of his new surroundings a voice summoned him
from this exorbital part of life, and about the middle
of October he threw up his situation and bade farewell
to the camp of tents and the shoulder of Bald Mountain.

Clad in his rough clothes, with a bundle on his
shoulder and his accumulated wages in his pocket, he
entered Sydney for the second time, and walked with
pleasure and some bewilderment in the cheerful streets,
like a man landed from a voyage.  The sight of the
people led him on.  He forgot his necessary errands, he
forgot to eat.  He wandered in moving multitudes like a
stick upon a river.  Last he came to the Domain and
strolled there, and remembered his shame and
sufferings, and looked with poignant curiosity at his
successors.  Hemstead, not much shabbier and no less
cheerful than before, he recognised and addressed like
an old family friend.

"That was a good turn you did me," said he.  "That
railway was the making of me.  I hope you've had luck
yourself."

"My word, no!" replied the little man.  "I just sit
here and read the DEAD BIRD.  It's the depression
in tryde, you see.  There's no positions goin' that a
man like me would care to look at." And he showed
Norris his certificates and written characters, one
from a grocer in Wooloomooloo, one from an ironmonger,
and a third from a billiard saloon.  "Yes," he said, "I
tried bein' a billiard-marker.  It's no account; these
lyte hours are no use for a man's health.  I won't be
no man's slyve," he added firmly.

On the principle that he who is too proud to be a slave
is usually not too modest to become a pensioner,
Carthew gave him half a sovereign and departed, being
suddenly struck with hunger, in the direction of the
Paris House.  When he came to that quarter of the city,
the barristers were trotting in the streets in wig and
gown, and he stood to observe them with his bundle on
his shoulder, and his mind full of curious
recollections of the past.

"By George!" cried a voice, "it's Mr. Carthew!"

And turning about he found himself face to face with a
handsome sunburnt youth, somewhat fatted, arrayed in
the finest of fine raiment, and sporting about a
sovereign's worth of flowers in his button-hole.
Norris had met him during his first days in Sydney at a
farewell supper; had even escorted him on board a
schooner full of cockroaches and black-boy sailors, in
which he was bound for six months among the islands;
and had kept him ever since in entertained remembrance.
Tom Hadden (known to the bulk of Sydney folk as
TOMMY) was heir to a considerable property, which a
prophetic father had placed in the hands of rigorous
trustees.  The income supported Mr. Hadden in splendour
for about three months out of twelve; the rest of the
year he passed in retreat among the islands.  He was
now about a week returned from his eclipse, pervading
Sydney in hansom cabs and airing the first bloom of six
new suits of clothes; and yet the unaffected creature
hailed Carthew in his working jeans and with the
damning bundle on his shoulder, as he might have
claimed acquaintance with a duke.

"Come and have a drink?" was his cheerful cry.

"I'm just going to have lunch at the Paris House,"
returned Carthew.  "It's a long time since I have had a
decent meal."

"Splendid scheme!" said Hadden.  "I've only had
breakfast half an hour ago; but we'll have a private
room, and I'll manage to pick something.  It'll brace
me up.  I was on an awful tear last night, and I've met
no end of fellows this morning." To meet a fellow, and
to stand and share a drink, were with Tom synonymous
terms.

They were soon at table in the corner room up-stairs,
and paying due attention to the best fare in Sydney.
The odd similarity of their positions drew them
together, and they began soon to exchange confidences.
Carthew related his privations in the Domain, and his
toils as a navvy; Hadden gave his experience as an
amateur copra merchant in the South Seas, and drew a
humorous picture of life in a coral island.  Of the two
plans of retirement, Carthew gathered that his own had
been vastly the more lucrative; but Hadden's trading
outfit had consisted largely of bottled stout and brown
sherry for his own consumption.

"I had champagne too," said Hadden, "but I kept that in
case of sickness, until I didn't seem to be going to be
sick, and then I opened a pint every Sunday.  Used to
sleep all morning, then breakfast with my pint of fizz,
and lie in a hammock and read Hallam's MIDDLE AGES.
Have you read that? I always take something solid to
the islands.  There's no doubt I did the thing in
rather a fine style; but if it was gone about a little
cheaper, or there were two of us to bear the expense,
it ought to pay hand over fist.  I've got the
influence, you see.  I'm a chief now, and sit in the
speak-house under my own strip of roof I'd like to see
them taboo ME! They daren't try it; I've a strong
party, I can tell you.  Why, I've had upwards of thirty
cowtops sitting in my front verandah eating tins of
salmon."

"Cowtops?" asked Carthew, "what are they?"

"That's what Hallam would call feudal retainers,"
explained Hadden, not without vainglory.  "They're My
Followers.  They belong to My Family.  I tell you, they
come expensive, though; you can't fill up all these
retainers on tinned salmon for nothing; but whenever I
could get it, I would give 'em squid.  Squid's good for
natives, but I don't care for it, do you?--or shark
either.  It's like the working classes at home.  With
copra at the price it is, they ought to be willing to
bear their share of the loss; and so I've told them
again and again.  I think it's a man's duty to open
their minds, and I try to, but you can't get political
economy into them; it doesn't seem to reach their
intelligence."

There was an expression still sticking in Carthew's
memory, and he returned upon it with a smile.  "Talking
of political economy," said he, "you said if there were
two of us to bear the expense, the profits would
increase.  How do you make out that?"

"I'll show you! I'll figure it out for you!" cried
Hadden, and with a pencil on the back of the bill of
fare proceeded to perform miracles.  He was a man, or
let us rather say a lad, of unusual projective power.
Give him the faintest hint of any speculation, and the
figures flowed from him by the page.  A lively
imagination, and a ready, though inaccurate memory,
supplied his data; he delivered himself with an
inimitable heat that made him seem the picture of
pugnacity; lavished contradiction; had a form of words,
with or without significance, for every form of
criticism; and the looker-on alternately smiled at his
simplicity and fervour, or was amazed by his unexpected
shrewdness.  He was a kind of Pinkerton in play.  I
have called Jim's the romance of business; this was its
Arabian tale.

"Have you any idea what this would cost?" he asked,
pausing at an item.

"Not I," said Carthew.

"Ten pounds ought to be ample," concluded the
projector.

"O, nonsense!" cried Carthew.  "Fifty at the very
least."

"You told me yourself this moment you knew nothing
about it!" cried Tommy.  "How can I make a calculation
if you blow hot and cold? You don't seem able to be
serious!"

But he consented to raise his estimate to twenty; and a
little after, the calculation coming out with a
deficit, cut it down again to five pounds ten, with the
remark, "I told you it was nonsense.  This sort of
thing has to be done strictly, or where's the use?"

Some of these processes struck Carthew as unsound; and
he was at times altogether thrown out by the capricious
startings of the prophet's mind.  These plunges seemed
to be gone into for exercise and by the way, like the
curvets of a willing horse.  Gradually the thing took
shape; the glittering if baseless edifice arose; and
the hare still ran on the mountains, but the soup was
already served in silver plate.  Carthew in a few days
could command a hundred and fifty pounds; Hadden was
ready with five hundred; why should they not recruit a
fellow or two more, charter an old ship, and go
cruising on their own account? Carthew was an
experienced yachtsman; Hadden professed himself able to
"work an approximate sight." Money was undoubtedly to
be made, or why should so many vessels cruise about the
islands? they, who worked their own ship, were sure of
a still higher profit.

"And whatever else comes of it, you see," cried Hadden,
"we get our keep for nothing.--Come, buy some togs,
that's the first thing you have to do of course; and
then we'll take a hansom and go to the Currency Lass."

"I'm going to stick to the togs I have," said Norris.

"Are you?" cried Hadden.  "Well, I must say I admire
you.  You're a regular sage.  It's what you call
Pythagoreanism, isn't it? if I haven't forgotten my
philosophy."

"Well, I call it economy," returned Carthew.  "If we
are going to try this thing on, I shall want every
sixpence.

"You'll see if we're going to try it!" cried Tommy,
rising radiant from table.  "Only, mark you, Carthew,
it must be all in your name.  I have capital, you see;
but you're all right.  You can play VACUUS VIATOR
if the thing goes wrong."

"I thought we had just proved it was quite safe," said
Carthew.

"There's nothing safe in business, my boy," replied the
sage; "not even bookmaking."

The public-house and tea-garden called the Currency
Lass represented a moderate fortune gained by its
proprietor, Captain Bostock, during a long, active, and
occasionally historic career, among the islands.
Anywhere from Tonga to the Admiralty Isles, he knew the
ropes and could lie in the native dialect.  He had seen
the end of sandalwood, the end of oil, and the
beginning of copra; and he was himself a commercial
pioneer, the first that ever carried human teeth into
the Gilberts.  He was tried for his life in Fiji in Sir
Arthur Gordon's time; and if ever he prayed at all, the
name of Sir Arthur was certainly not forgotten.  He was
speared in seven places in New Ireland--the same time
his mate was killed--the famous "outrage on the brig
JOLLY ROGER"; but the treacherous savages made little
by their wickedness, and Bostock, in spite of their
teeth, got seventy-five head of volunteer labour on
board, of whom not more than a dozen died of injuries.
He had a hand, besides, in the amiable pleasantry which
cost the life of Patteson; and when the sham bishop
landed, prayed, and gave his benediction to the
natives, Bostock, arrayed in a female chemise out of
the traderoom, had stood at his right hand and boomed
amens.  This, when he was sure he was among good
fellows, was his favourite yarn.  "Two hundred head of
labour for a hatful of amens," he used to name the
tale; and its sequel, the death of the real bishop,
struck him as a circumstance of extraordinary humour.

Many of these details were communicated in the hansom,
to the surprise of Carthew.

"Why do we want to visit this old ruffian?" he asked.

"You wait till you hear him," replied Tommy.  "That man
knows everything."

On descending from the hansom at the Currency Lass,
Hadden was struck with the appearance of the cabman, a
gross, salt-looking man, red-faced, blue-eyed, short-
handed and short-winded, perhaps nearing forty.

"Surely I know you?" said he.  "Have you driven me
before?"

"Many's the time, Mr. Hadden," returned the driver.
"The last time you was back from the islands it was me
that drove you to the races, sir."

"All right: jump down and have a drink then," said Tom,
and he turned and led the way into the garden.

Captain Bostock met the party: he was a slow, sour old
man, with fishy eyes; greeted Tommy off-hand, and (as
was afterwards remembered) exchanged winks with the
driver.

"A bottle of beer for the cabman there at that table,"
said Tom.  "Whatever you please from shandygaff to
champagne at this one here; and you sit down with us.
Let me make you acquainted with my friend Mr. Carthew.
I've come on business, Billy; I want to consult you as
a friend; I'm going into the island trade upon my own
account."

Doubtless the captain was a mine of counsel, but
opportunity was denied him.  He could not venture on a
statement, he was scarce allowed to finish a phrase,
before Hadden swept him from the field with a volley of
protest and correction.  That projector, his face
blazing with inspiration, first laid before him at
inordinate length a question, and as soon as he
attempted to reply, leaped at his throat, called his
facts into question, derided his policy, and at times
thundered on him from the heights of moral indignation.

"I beg your pardon," he said once.  "I am a gentleman,
Mr. Carthew here is a gentleman, and we don't mean to
do that class of business.  Can't you see who you are
talking to?  Can't you talk sense?  Can't you give us
"a dead bird" for a good traderoom?"

"No, I don't suppose I can," returned old Bostock; "not
when I can't hear my own voice for two seconds
together.  It was gin and guns I did it with."

"Take your gin and guns to Putney," cried Hadden.  "It
was the thing in your times, that's right enough; but
you're old now, and the game's up.  I'll tell you
what's wanted nowadays, Bill Bostock," said he; and
did, and took ten minutes to it.

Carthew could not refrain from smiling.  He began to
think less seriously of the scheme, Hadden appearing
too irresponsible a guide; but on the other hand, he
enjoyed himself amazingly.  It was far from being the
same with Captain Bostock.

"You know a sight, don't you?" remarked that gentleman
bitterly, when Tommy paused.

"I know a sight more than you, if that's what you
mean," retorted Tom.  "It stands to reason I do.
You're not a man of any education; you've been all your
life at sea, or in the islands; you don't suppose you
can give points to a man like me?"

"Here's your health, Tommy," returned Bostock.  "You'll
make an A1 bake in the New Hebrides."

"That's what I call talking," cried Tom, not perhaps
grasping the spirit of this doubtful compliment.  "Now
you give me your attention.  We have the money and the
enterprise, and I have the experience; what we want is
a cheap, smart boat, a good captain, and an
introduction to some house that will give us credit for
the trade."

"Well, I'll tell you," said Captain Bostock.  "I have
seen men like you baked and eaten, and complained of
afterwards.  Some was tough, and some hadn't no
flaviour," he added grimly.

"What do you mean by that?" cried Tom.

"I mean I don't care," cried Bostock.  "It ain't any of
my interests.  I haven't underwrote your life.  Only
I'm blest if I'm not sorry for the cannibal as tries to
eat your head.  And what I recommend is a cheap, smart
coffin and a good undertaker.  See if you can find a
house to give you credit for a coffin!  Look at your
friend there: HE'S got some sense; he's laughing at
you so as he can't stand."

The exact degree of ill-feeling in Mr. Bostock's mind
was difficult to gauge; perhaps there was not much,
perhaps he regarded his remarks as a form of courtly
badinage.  But there is little doubt that Hadden
resented them.  He had even risen from his place, and
the conference was on the point of breaking up when a
new voice joined suddenly in the conversation.

The cabman sat with his back turned upon the party,
smoking a meerschaum pipe.  Not a word of Tommy's
eloquence had missed him, and he now faced suddenly
about with these amazing words--

"Excuse me, gentlemen; if you'll buy me the ship I
want, I'll get you the trade on credit."

There was a pause.

"Well, what do YOU, mean?" gasped Tommy.

"Better tell 'em who I am, Billy," said the cabman.

"Think it safe, Joe?" inquired Mr. Bostock.

"I'll take my risk of it," returned the cabman.

"Gentlemen," said Bostock, rising suddenly, "let me
make you acquainted with Captain Wicks of the GRACE
DARLING."

"Yes, gentlemen, that is what I am," said the cab-man.
"You know I've been in trouble, and I don't deny but
what I struck the blow, and where was I to get evidence
of my provocation? So I turned to and took a cab, and
I've driven one for three year now, and nobody the
wiser."

"I beg your pardon," said Carthew, joining almost for
the first time, "I'm a new chum.  What was the charge?"

"Murder," said Captain Wicks, "and I don't deny but
what I struck the blow.  And there's no sense in my
trying to deny I was afraid to go to trial, or why
would I be here? But it's a fact it was flat mutiny.
Ask Billy here.  He knows how it was."

Carthew breathed long; he had a strange, half-
pleasurable sense of wading deeper in the tide of life.
"Well," said he, "you were going on to say?"

"I was going on to say this," said the captain
sturdily.  "I've overheard what Mr. Hadden has been
saying, and I think he talks good sense.  I like some
of his ideas first chop.  He's sound on traderooms;
he's all there on the traderoom, and I see that he and
I would pull together.  Then you're both gentlemen, and
I like that," observed Captain Wicks.  "And then I'll
tell you I'm tired of this cabbing cruise, and I want
to get to work again.  Now, here's my offer.  I've a
little money I can stakeup--all of a hundred anyway.
Then my old firm will give me trade, and jump at the
chance; they never lost by me; they know what I'm worth
as supercargo.  And, last of all, you want a good
captain to sail your ship for you.  Well, here I am.
I've sailed schooners for ten years.  Ask Billy if I
can handle a schooner."

"No man better," said Billy.

"And as for my character as a shipmate," concluded
Wicks, "go and ask my old firm."

"But, look here!" cried Hadden, "how do you mean to
manage? You can whisk round in a hansom and no
questions asked; but if you try to come on a quarter-
deck, my boy, you'll get nabbed."

"I'll have to keep back till the last," replied Wicks,
"and take another name."

"But how about clearing? What other name?" asked Tommy,
a little bewildered.

"I don't know yet," returned the captain, with a grin.
"I'll see what the name is on my new certificate, and
that'll be good enough for me.  If I can't get one to
buy, though I never heard of such a thing, there's old
Kirkup, he's turned some sort of farmer down Bondi way;
he'll hire me his."

"You seemed to speak as if you had a ship in view,"
said Carthew.

"So I have too," said Captain Wicks, "and a beauty.
Schooner yacht DREAM--got lines you never saw the
beat of, and a witch to go.  She passed me once off
Thursday Island, doing two knots to my one and lying a
point and a half better, and the GRACE DARLING was
a ship that I was proud of I took and tore my hair.
The DREAM'S been my dream ever since.  That was in
her old days, when she carried a blue ens'n.  Grant
Sanderson was the party as owned her; he was rich and
mad, and got a fever at last somewhere about the Fly
River and took and died.  The captain brought the body
back to Sydney and paid off.  Well, it turned out Grant
Sanderson had left any quantity of wills and any
quantity of widows, and no fellow could make out which
was the genuine article.  All the widows brought
lawsuits against all the rest, and every will had a
firm of lawyers on the quarter-deck as long as your
arm.  They tell me it was one of the biggest turns-to
that ever was seen, bar Tichborne; the Lord Chamberlain
himself was floored, and so was the Lord Chancellor,
and all that time the DREAM lay rotting up by Glebe
Point.  Well, it's done now; they've picked out a widow
and a will--tossed up for it, as like as not--and the
DREAM'S for sale.  She'll go cheap; she's had a
long turn-to at rotting."

"What size is she?"

"Well, big enough.  We don't want her bigger.  A
hundred and ninety, going two hundred," replied the
captain.  "She's fully big for us three; it would be
all the better if we had another hand, though it's a
pity too, when you can pick up natives for half
nothing.  Then we must have a cook.  I can fix raw
sailor-men, but there's no going to sea with a new-chum
cook.  I can lay hands on the man we want for that: a
Highway boy, an old shipmate of mine, of the name of
Amalu.  Cooks first-rate, and it's always better to
have a native; he ain't fly, you can turn him to as you
please, and he don't know enough to stand out for his
rights."

From the moment that Captain Wicks joined in the
conversation Carthew recovered interest and confidence;
the man (whatever he might have done) was plainly good-
natured, and plainly capable; if he thought well of the
enterprise, offered to contribute money, brought
experience, and could thus solve at a word the problem
of the trade, Carthew was content to go ahead.  As for
Hadden, his cup was full; he and Bostock forgave each
other in champagne; toast followed toast; it was
proposed and carried amid acclamation to change the
name of the schooner (when she should be bought) to the
CURRENCY LASS; and the "Currency Lass Island
Trading Company " was practically founded before dusk.

Three days later, Carthew stood before the lawyer,
still in his jean suit, received his hundred and fifty
pounds, and proceeded rather timidly to ask for more
indulgence.

"I have a chance to get on in the world," he said.  "By
to-morrow evening I expect to be part owner of a ship."

"Dangerous property, Mr. Carthew," said the lawyer.

"Not if the partners work her themselves, and stand to
go down along with her," was the reply.

"I conceive it possible you might make something of it
in that way," returned the other.  "But are you a
seaman? I thought you had been in the diplomatic
service."

"I am an old yachtsman," said Norris; "and I must do
the best I can.  A fellow can't live in New South Wales
upon diplomacy.  But the point I wish to prepare you
for is this.  It will be impossible I should present
myself here next quarter-day; we expect to make a six
months' cruise of it among the islands."

"Sorry, Mr. Carthew: I can't hear of that," replied the
lawyer.

"I mean upon the same conditions as the last," said
Carthew.

"The conditions are exactly opposite," said the lawyer.
"Last time I had reason to know you were in the colony,
and even then I stretched a point.  This time, by your
own confession, you are contemplating a breach of the
agreement; and I give you warning if you carry it out,
and I receive proof of it (for I will agree to regard
this conversation as confidential), I shall have no
choice but to do my duty.  Be here on quarter-day, or
your allowance ceases."

"This is very hard, and, I think, rather silly,"
returned Carthew.

"It is not of my doing.  I have my instructions," said
the lawyer.

"And you so read these instructions that I am to be
prohibited from making an honest livelihood?" asked
Carthew.

"Let us be frank," said the lawyer; "I find nothing in
these instructions about an honest livelihood.  I have
no reason to suppose my clients care anything about
that.  I have reason to suppose only one thing--that
they mean you shall stay in this colony, and to guess
another, Mr. Carthew.  And to guess another."

"What do you mean by that?" asked Norris.

"I mean that I imagine, on very strong grounds, that
your family desire to see no more of you," said the
lawyer.  "O, they may be very wrong; but that is the
impression conveyed, that is what I suppose I am paid
to bring about, and I have no choice but to try and
earn my hire."

"I would scorn to deceive you," said Norris, with a
strong flush; "you have guessed rightly.  My family
refuse to see me; but I am not going to England, I am
going to the islands.  How does that affect the
islands?"

"Ah, but I don't know that you are going to the
islands, said the lawyer, looking down, and spearing
the blotting-paper with a pencil.

"I beg your pardon.  I have the pleasure of informing
you," said Norris.

"I am afraid, Mr. Carthew, that I cannot regard that
communication as official," was the slow reply.

"I am not accustomed to have my word doubted!" cried
Norris.

"Hush! I allow no one to raise his voice in my office,"
said the lawyer.  "And for that matter--you seem to be
a young gentleman of sense--consider what I know of
you.  You are a discarded son; your family pays money
to be shut of you.  What have you done? I don't know.
But do you not see how foolish I should be, if I
exposed my business reputation on the safeguard of the
honour of a gentleman of whom I know just so much and
no more? This interview is very disagreeable.  Why
prolong it?  Write home, get my instructions changed,
and I will change my behaviour.  Not otherwise."

"I am very fond of three hundred a year," said Norris,
"but I cannot pay the price required.  I shall not have
the pleasure of seeing you again."

"You must please yourself," said the lawyer.  "Fail to
be here next quarter-day, and the thing stops.  But I
warn you, and I mean the warning in a friendly spirit.
Three months later you will be here begging, and I
shall have no choice but to show you in the street."

"I wish you a good-evening," said Norris.

"The same to you, Mr. Carthew," retorted the lawyer,
and rang for his clerk.

So it befell that Norris, during what remained to him
of arduous days in Sydney, saw not again the face of
his legal adviser; and he was already at sea, and land
was out of sight, when Hadden brought him a Sydney
paper, over which he had been dozing in the shadow of
the galley, and showed him an advertisement:

"Mr. Norris Carthew is earnestly entreated to call
without delay at the office of Mr. ----, where
important intelligence awaits him."

"It must manage to wait for me six months," said Norris
lightly enough, but yet conscious of a pang of
curiosity.

                     CHAPTER XXIII
                           
                           
           THE BUDGET OF THE "CURRENCY LASS"

BEFORE noon, on the 26th November, there cleared from
the port of Sydney the schooner CURRENCY LASS.  The
owner, Norris Carthew, was on board in the somewhat
unusual position of mate; the master's name purported
to be William Kirkup; the cook was a Hawaiian boy,
Joseph Amalu; and there were two hands before the mast,
Thomas Hadden and Richard Hemstead, the latter chosen
partly because of his humble character, partly because
he had an odd-jobman's handiness with tools.  The
CURRENCY LASS was bound for the South Sea Islands, and
first of all for Butaritari in the Gilberts, on a
register; but it was understood about the harbour that
her cruise was more than half a pleasure trip.  A
friend of the late Grant Sanderson (of Auchentroon and
Kilclarty) might have recognised in that tall-masted
ship the transformed and rechristened DREAM; and
the Lloyd's surveyor, had the services of such a one
been called in requisition, must have found abundant
subject of remark.

For time, during her three years' inaction, had eaten
deep into the DREAM and her fittings; she had sold
in consequence a shade above her value as old junk; and
the three adventurers had scarce been able to afford
even the most vital repairs.  The rigging, indeed, had
been partly renewed, and the rest set up; all Grant
Sanderson's old canvas had been patched together into
one decently serviceable suit of sails; Grant
Sanderson's masts still stood, and might have wondered
at themselves.  "I haven't the heart to tap them,"
Captain Wicks used to observe, as he squinted up their
height or patted their rotundity; and "as rotten as our
foremast" was an accepted metaphor in the ship's
company.  The sequel rather suggests it may have been
sounder than was thought; but no one knew for certain,
just as no one except the captain appreciated the
dangers of the cruise.  The captain, indeed, saw with
clear eyes and spoke his mind aloud; and though a man
of an astonishing hot-blooded courage, following life
and taking its dangers in the spirit of a hound upon
the slot, he had made a point of a big whaleboat.
"Take your choice," he had said; "either new masts and
rigging or that boat.  I simply ain't going to sea
without the one or the other.  Chicken-coops are good
enough, no doubt, and so is a dinghy; but they ain't
for Joe." And his partners had been forced to consent,
and saw six-and-thirty pounds of their small capital
vanish in the turn of a hand.

All four had toiled the best part of six weeks getting
ready; and though Captain Wicks was of course not seen
or heard of, a fifth was there to help them, a fellow
in a bushy red beard, which he would sometimes lay
aside when he was below, and who strikingly resembled
Captain Wicks in voice and character.  As for Captain
Kirkup, he did not appear till the last moment, when he
proved to be a burly mariner, bearded like Abou Ben
Adhem.  All the way down the harbour and through the
Heads, his milk-white whiskers blew in the wind and
were conspicuous from shore; but the CURRENCY LASS
had no sooner turned her back upon the lighthouse than
he went below for the inside of five seconds and
reappeared clean shaven.  So many doublings and devices
were required to get to sea with an unseaworthy ship
and a captain that was "wanted." Nor might even these
have sufficed, but for the fact that Hadden was a
public character, and the whole cruise regarded with an
eye of indulgence as one of Tom's engaging
eccentricities.  The ship, besides, had been a yacht
before: and it came the more natural to allow her still
some of the dangerous liberties of her old employment.

A strange ship they had made of it, her lofty spars
disfigured with patched canvas, her panelled cabin
fitted for a traderoom with rude shelves.  And the life
they led in that anomalous schooner was no less curious
than herself Amalu alone berthed forward; the rest
occupied staterooms, camped upon the satin divans, and
sat down in Grant Sanderson's parquetry smoking-room to
meals of junk and potatoes, bad of their kind, and
often scant in quantity.  Hemstead grumbled; Tommy had
occasional moments of revolt, and increased the
ordinary by a few haphazard tins or a bottle of his own
brown sherry.  But Hemstead grumbled from habit, Tommy
revolted only for the moment, and there was underneath
a real and general acquiescence in these hardships.
For besides onions and potatoes, the CURRENCY LASS
may be said to have gone to sea without stores.  She
carried two thousand pounds' worth of assorted trade,
advanced on credit, their whole hope and fortune.  It
was upon this that they subsisted--mice in their own
granary.  They dined upon their future profits; and
every scanty meal was so much in the savings bank.

Republican as were their manners, there was no
practical, at least no dangerous, lack of discipline.
Wicks was the only sailor on board, there was none to
criticise; and besides, he was so easy-going, and so
merry-minded, that none could bear to disappoint him.
Carthew did his best, partly for the love of doing it,
partly for love of the captain; Amalu was a willing
drudge, and even Hemstead and Hadden turned to upon
occasion with a will.  Tommy's department was the trade
and traderoom; he would work down in the hold or over
the shelves of the cabin, till the Sydney dandy was
unrecognisable; come up at last, draw a bucket of sea-
water, bathe, change, and lie down on deck over a big
sheaf of Sydney HERALDS and DEAD BIRDS, or
perhaps with a volume of Buckle's HISTORY OF
CIVILISATION, the standard work selected for that
cruise.  In the latter case a smile went round the
ship, for Buckle almost invariably laid his student
out, and when Tom awoke again he was almost always in
the humour for brown sherry.  The connection was so
well established that "a glass of Buckle" or "a bottle
of civilisation" became current pleasantries on board
the CURRENCY LASS.

Hemstead's province was that of the repairs, and he had
his hands full.  Nothing on board but was decayed in a
proportion: the lamps leaked, so did the decks; door-
knobs came off in the hand, mouldings parted company
with the panels, the pump declined to suck, and the
defective bathroom came near to swamp the ship.  Wicks
insisted that all the nails were long ago consumed, and
that she was only glued together by the rust.  "You
shouldn't make me laugh so much, Tommy," he would say.
"I'm afraid I'll shake the sternpost out of her." And,
as Hemstead went to and fro with his tool-basket on an
endless round of tinkering, Wicks lost no opportunity
of chaffing him upon his duties.  "If you'd turn to at
sailoring or washing paint or something useful, now,"
he would say, "I could see the fun of it.  But to be
mending things that haven't no insides to them appears
to me the height of foolishness." And doubtless these
continual pleasantries helped to reassure the landsmen,
who went to and fro unmoved, under circumstances that
might have daunted Nelson.

The weather was from the outset splendid, and the wind
fair and steady.  The ship sailed like a witch.  "This
CURRENCY LASS is a powerful old girl, and has more
complaints than I would care to put a name on," the
captain would say, as he pricked the chart; "but she
could show her blooming heels to anything of her size
in the Western Pacific." To wash decks, relieve the
wheel, do the day's work after dinner on the smoking-
room table, and take in kites at night--such was the
easy routine of their life.  In the evening--above all,
if Tommy had produced some of his civilisation--yarns
and music were the rule.  Amalu had a sweet Hawaiian
voice; and Hemstead, a great hand upon the banjo,
accompanied his own quavering tenor with effect.  There
was a sense in which the little man could sing.  It was
great to hear him deliver "My Boy Tammie" in
Austrylian; and the words (some of the worst of the
ruffian Macneill's) were hailed in his version with
inextinguishable mirth.

     "Where hye ye been a' dye?"

he would ask, and answer himself:--

     "I've been by burn and flowery brye,
      Meadow green and mountain grye,
      Courtin' o' this young thing,
          Just come frye her mammie."

It was the accepted jest for all hands to greet the
conclusion of this song with the simultaneous cry, "My
word!" thus winging the arrow of ridicule with a
feather from the singer's wing.  But he had his revenge
with "Home, Sweet Home," and "Where is my Wandering Boy
To-night?"--ditties into which he threw the most
intolerable pathos.  It appeared he had no home, nor
had ever had one, nor yet any vestige of a family,
except a truculent uncle, a baker in Newcastle, N.S.W.
His domestic sentiment was therefore wholly in the air,
and expressed an unrealised ideal.  Or perhaps, of all
his experiences, this of the CURRENCY LASS, with
its kindly, playful, and tolerant society, approached
it the most nearly.

It is perhaps because I know the sequel, but I can
never think upon this voyage without a profound sense
of pity and mystery; of the ship (once the whim of a
rich blackguard) faring with her battered fineries and
upon her homely errand, across the plains of ocean, and
past the gorgeous scenery of dawn and sunset; and the
ship's company, so strangely assembled, so Britishly
chuckle-headed, filling their days with chaff in place
of conversation; no human book on board with them
except Hadden's Buckle, and not a creature fit either
to read or to understand it; and the one mark of any
civilised interest being when Carthew filled in his
spare hours with the pencil and the brush: the whole
unconscious crew of them posting in the meanwhile
towards so tragic a disaster.

Twenty-eight days out of Sydney, on Christmas Eve, they
fetched up to the entrance of the lagoon, and plied all
that night outside, keeping their position by the
lights of fishers on the reef, and the outlines of the
palms against the cloudy sky.  With the break of day
the schooner was hove-to, and the signal for a pilot
shown.  But it was plain her lights must have been
observed in the darkness by the native fishermen, and
word carried to the settlement, for a boat was already
under weigh.  She came towards them across the lagoon
under a great press of sail, lying dangerously down, so
that at times, in the heavier puffs, they thought she
would turn turtle; covered the distance in fine style,
luffed up smartly alongside, and emitted a haggard-
looking white man in pyjamas.

"Good-mornin', cap'n," said he, when he had made good
his entrance.  "I was taking you for a Fiji man-of-war,
what with your flush decks and them spars.  Well,
gen'lemen all, here's wishing you a merry Christmas and
a happy New Year," he added, and lurched against a
stay.

"Why, you're never the pilot?" exclaimed Wicks,
studying him with a profound disfavour.  "You've never
taken a ship in--don't tell me!"

"Well, I should guess I have," returned the pilot.
"I'm Captain Dobbs, I am; and when I take charge, the
captain of that ship can go below and shave."

"But, man alive! you're drunk, man!" cried the captain.

"Drunk!" repeated Dobbs.  "You can't have seen much
life if you call me drunk.  I'm only just beginning.
Come night, I won't say; I guess I'll be properly full
by then.  But now I'm the soberest man in all Big
Muggin."

"It won't do," retorted Wicks.  "Not for Joseph, sir.
I can't have you piling up my schooner."

"All right," said Dobbs, "lay and rot where you are, or
take and go in and pile her up for yourself like the
captain of the LESLIE.  That's business, I guess;
grudged me twenty dollars' pilotage, and lost twenty
thousand in trade and a brand-new schooner; ripped the
keel right off of her, and she went down in the inside
of four minutes, and lies in twenty fathom, trade and
all."

"What's all this?" cried Wicks.  "Trade? What vessel
was this LESLIE, anyhow?"

"Consigned to Cohen and Co., from 'Frisco," returned
the pilot, "and badly wanted.  There's a barque inside
filling up for Hamburg--you see her spars over there;
and there's two more ships due, all the way from
Germany, one in two months, they say, and one in three;
Cohen and Co.'s agent (that's Mr. Topelius) has taken
and lain down with the jaundice on the strength of it.
I guess most people would, in his shoes; no trade, no
copra, and twenty hundred ton of shipping due.  If
you've any copra on board, cap'n, here's your chance.
Topelius will buy, gold down, and give three cents.
It's all found money to him, the way it is, whatever he
pays for it.  And that's what come of going back on the
pilot."

"Excuse me one moment, Captain Dobbs.  I wish to speak
with my mate," said the captain, whose face had begun
to shine and his eyes to sparkle.

"Please yourself," replied the pilot.--"You couldn't
think of offering a man a nip, could you? just to brace
him up.  This kind of thing looks damned inhospitable,
and gives a schooner a bad name."

"I'll talk about that after the anchor's down,"
returned Wicks, and he drew Carthew forward.--"I say,"
he whispered, "here's a fortune."

"How much do you call that?" asked Carthew.

"I can't put a figure on it yet--I daren't!" said the
captain.  "We might cruise twenty years and not find
the match of it.  And suppose another ship came in to-
night? Everything's possible! And the difficulty is
this Dobbs.  He's as drunk as a marine.  How can we
trust him? We ain't insured--worse luck!"

"Suppose you took him aloft and got him to point out
the channel?" suggested Carthew.  "If he tallied at all
with the chart, and didn't fall out of the rigging,
perhaps we might risk it."

"Well, all's risk here," returned the captain.  "Take
the wheel yourself, and stand by.  Mind, if there's two
orders, follow mine, not his.  Set the cook for'ard
with the heads'ls, and the two others at the main
sheet, and see they don't sit on it." With that he
called the pilot; they swarmed aloft in the fore
rigging, and presently after there was bawled down the
welcome order to ease sheets and fill away.

At a quarter before nine o'clock on Christmas morning
the anchor was let go.

The first cruise of the CURRENCY LASS had thus
ended in a stroke of fortune almost beyond hope.  She
had brought two thousand pounds' worth of trade,
straight as a homing pigeon, to the place where it was
most required.  And Captain Wicks (or, rather, Captain
Kirkup) showed himself the man to make the best of his
advantage.  For hard upon two days he walked a verandah
with Topelius, for hard upon two days his partners
watched from the neighbouring public-house the field of
battle; and the lamps were not yet lighted on the
evening of the second before the enemy surrendered.
Wicks came across to the Sans Souci, as the saloon was
called, his face nigh black, his eyes almost closed and
all bloodshot, and yet bright as lighted matches.

"Come out here, boys," he said; and when they were some
way off among the palms, "I hold twenty-four," he added
in a voice scarcely recognisable, and doubtless
referring to the venerable game of cribbage.

"What do you mean?" asked Tommy.

"I've sold the trade," answered Wicks; "or, rather,
I've sold only some of it, for I've kept back all the
mess beef, and half the flour and biscuit, and, by God,
we're still provisioned for four months! By God, it's
as good as stolen!"

"My word!" cried Hemstead.

"But what have you sold it for?" gasped Carthew, the
captain's almost insane excitement shaking his nerve.

"Let me tell it my own way," cried Wicks, loosening his
neck.  "Let me get at it gradual or I'll explode.  I've
not only sold it, boys, I've wrung out a charter on my
own terms to 'Frisco and back,--on my own terms.  I
made a point of it.  I fooled him first by making
believe I wanted copra, which, of course, I knew he
wouldn't hear of--couldn't, in fact; and whenever he
showed fight I trotted out the copra, and that man
dived! I would take nothing but copra, you see; and so
I've got the blooming lot in specie--all but two short
bills on 'Frisco.  And the sum? Well, this whole
adventure, including two thousand pounds of credit,
cost us two thousand seven hundred and some odd.
That's all paid back; in thirty days' cruise we've paid
for the schooner and the trade.  Heard ever any man the
match of that? And it's not all! For besides that,"
said the captain, hammering his words, "we've got
thirteen blooming hundred pounds of profit to divide.
I bled him in four thou.!" he cried, in a voice that
broke like a schoolboy's.

For a moment the partners looked upon their chief with
stupefaction, incredulous surprise their only feeling.
Tommy was the first to grasp the consequences.

"Here," he said in a hard business tone, "come back to
that saloon: I've got to get drunk."

"You must please excuse me, boys," said the captain
earnestly.  "I daren't taste nothing.  If I was to
drink one glass of beer it's my belief I'd have the
apoplexy.  The last scrimmage and the blooming triumph
pretty nigh-hand done me."

"Well, then, three cheers for the captain," proposed
Tommy.

But Wicks held up a shaking hand.  "Not that either,
boys," he pleaded.  "Think of the other buffer, and let
him down easy.  If I'm like this, just fancy what
Topelius is.  If he heard us singing out, he'd have the
staggers."

As a matter of fact, Topelius accepted his defeat with
a good grace; but the crew of the wrecked LESLIE,
who were in the same employment, and loyal to their
firm, took the thing more bitterly.  Rough words and
ugly looks were common.  Once even they hooted Captain
Wicks from the saloon verandah; the Currency Lasses
drew out on the other side; for some minutes there had
like to have been a battle in Butaritari; and though
the occasion passed off without blows, it left on
either side an increase of ill-feeling.

No such small matter could affect the happiness of the
successful traders.  Five days more the ship lay in the
lagoon, with little employment for any one but Tommy
and the captain, for Topelius's natives discharged
cargo and brought ballast.  The time passed like a
pleasant dream; the adventurers sat up half the night
debating and praising their good fortune, or strayed by
day in the narrow isle gaping like Cockney tourists,
and on the first of the new year the CURRENCY LASS
weighed anchor for the second time and set sail for
'Frisco, attended by the same fine weather and good
luck.  She crossed the doldrums with but small delay;
on a wind and in ballast of broken coral she outdid
expectations; and, what added to the happiness of the
ship's company, the small amount of work that fell on
them to do was now lessened by the presence of another
hand.  This was the boatswain of the LESLIE.  He
had been on bad terms with his own captain, had already
spent his wages in the saloons of Butaritari, had
wearied of the place, and while all his shipmates
coldly refused to set foot on board the CURRENCY
LASS, he had offered to work his passage to the coast.
He was a north of Ireland man, between Scotch and
Irish, rough, loud, humorous, and emotional, not
without sterling qualities, and an expert and careful
sailor.  His frame of mind was different indeed from
that of his new shipmates.  Instead of making an
unexpected fortune he had lost a berth, and he was
besides disgusted with the rations, and really appalled
at the condition of the schooner.  A stateroom door had
stuck the first day at sea, and Mac (as they called
him) laid his strength to it and plucked it from the
hinges.

"Glory!" said he, "this ship's rotten!"

"I believe you, my boy," said Captain Wicks.

The next day the sailor was observed with his nose
aloft.

"Don't you get looking at these sticks," the captain
said, "or you'll have a fit and fall overboard."

Mac turned towards the speaker with rather a wild eye.
"Why, I see what looks like a patch of dry rot up
yonder, that I bet I could stick my fist into," said
he.

"Looks as if a fellow could stick his head into it,
don't it?" returned Wicks.  "But there's no good prying
into things that can't be mended."

"I think I was a Currency Ass to come on board of her!"
reflected Mac.

"Well, I never said she was seaworthy," replied the
captain; "I only said she could show her blooming heels
to anything afloat.  And besides, I don't know that
it's dry rot; I kind of sometimes hope it isn't.--Here;
turn to and heave the log; that'll cheer you up."

"Well, there's no denying it, you're a holy captain,"
said Mac.

And from that day on he made but the one reference to
the ship's condition; and that was whenever Tommy drew
upon his cellar.  "Here's to the junk trade!" he would
say, as he held out his can of sherry.

"Why do you always say that?" asked Tommy.

"I had an uncle in the business," replied Mac, and
launched at once into a yarn, in which an incredible
number of the characters were "laid out as nice as you
would want to see," and the oaths made up about two-
fifths of every conversation.

Only once he gave them a taste of his violence; he
talked of it, indeed, often; "I'm rather a voilent
man," he would say, not without pride; but this was the
only specimen.  Of a sudden he turned on Hemstead in
the ship's waist, knocked him against the foresail
boom, then knocked him under it, and had set him up and
knocked him down once more, before any one had drawn a
breath.

"Here! Belay that!" roared Wicks, leaping to his feet.
"I won't have none of this."

Mac turned to the captain with ready civility.  "I only
want to learn him manners," said he.  "He took and
called me Irishman."

"Did he?" said Wicks.  "O, that's a different story!--
"That made you do it, you tomfool? You ain't big enough
to call any man that."

"I didn't call him it," spluttered Hemstead, through
his blood and tears.  "I only mentioned-like he was."

"Well, let's have no more of it," said Wicks.

"But you ARE Irish, ain't you?" Carthew asked of
his new shipmate shortly after.

"I may be," replied Mac, "but I'll allow no Sydney duck
to call me so.  No," he added, with a sudden heated
countenance, "nor any Britisher that walks! Why, look
here," he went on, "you're a young swell, aren't you?
Suppose I called you that!" I'll show you," you would
say, and turn to and take it out of me straight."

On the 28th of January, when in lat. 27 degrees 20" N.,
long. 177 degrees W., the wind chopped suddenly into
the west, not very strong, but puffy and with flaws of
rain.  The captain, eager for easting, made a fair wind
of it and guyed the booms out wing and wing.  It was
Tommy's trick at the wheel, and as it was within half
an hour of the relief (7.30 in the morning), the
captain judged it not worth while to change him.

The puffs were heavy, but short; there was nothing to
be called a squall, no danger to the ship, and scarce
more than usual to the doubtful spars.  All hands were
on deck in their oilskins, expecting breakfast; the
galley smoked, the ship smelt of coffee, all were in
good humour to be speeding east-ward a full nine; when
the rotten foresail tore suddenly between two cloths,
and then split to either hand.  It was for all the
world as though some archangel with a huge sword had
slashed it with the figure of a cross; all hands ran to
secure the slatting canvas; and in the sudden uproar
and alert, Tommy Hadden lost his head.  Many of his
days have been passed since then in explaining how the
thing happened; of these explanations it will be
sufficient to say that they were all different, and
none satisfactory: and the gross fact remains that the
main boom gybed, carried away the tackle, broke the
mainmast some three feet above the deck and whipped it
over-board.  For near a minute the suspected foremast
gallantly resisted; then followed its companion; and by
the time the wreck was cleared, of the whole beautiful
fabric that enabled them to skim the seas, two ragged
stumps remained.

In these vast and solitary waters, to be dismasted is
perhaps the worst calamity.  Let the ship turn turtle
and go down, and at least the pang is over.  But men
chained on a hulk may pass months scanning the empty
sea-line and counting the steps of death's invisible
approach.  There is no help but in the boats, and what
a help is that! There heaved the CURRENCY LASS, for
instance, a wingless lump, and the nearest human coast
(that of Kauai in the Sandwiches) lay about a thousand
miles to south and east of her.  Over the way there, to
men contemplating that passage in an open boat, all
kinds of misery, and the fear of death and of madness,
brooded.

A serious company sat down to breakfast; but the
captain helped his neighbours with a smile.

"Now, boys," he said, after a pull at the hot coffee,
"we're done with this CURRENCY LASS and no mistake.
One good job: we made her pay while she lasted, and she
paid first-rate; and if we were to try our hand again,
we can try in style.  Another good job: we have a fine,
stiff, roomy boat, and you know who you have to thank
for that.  We've got six lives to save, and a pot of
money; and the point is, where are we to take 'em?"

"It's all two thousand miles to the nearest of the
Sandwiches, I fancy," observed Mac.

"No, not so bad as that," returned the captain.  "But
it's bad enough; rather better'n a thousand."

"I know a man who once did twelve hundred in a boat,"
said Mac, "and he had all he wanted.  He fetched ashore
in the Marquesas, and never set a foot on anything
floating from that day to this.  He said he would
rather put a pistol to his head and knock his brains
out."

"Ay, ay!" said Wicks.  "Well I remember a boat's crew
that made this very island of Kauai, and from just
about where we lie, or a bit further.  When they got up
with the land they were clean crazy.  There was an
iron-bound coast and an Old Bob Ridley of a surf on.
The natives hailed 'em from fishing-boats, and sung out
it couldn't be done at the money.  Much they cared!
there was the land, that was all they knew; and they
turned to and drove the boat slap ashore in the thick
of it, and was all drowned but one.  No; boat trips are
my eye," concluded the captain gloomily.

The tone was surprising in a man of his indomitable
temper.  "Come, captain," said Carthew, "you have
something else up your sleeve; out with it!"

"It's a fact," admitted Wicks.  "You see there's a raft
of little bally reefs about here, kind of chicken-pox
on the chart.  Well, I looked 'em all up, and there's
one--Midway or Brooks they call it, not forty mile from
our assigned position--that I got news of.  It turns
out it's a coaling station of the Pacific Mail," he
said simply.

"Well, and I know it ain't no such a thing," said Mac.
"I been quartermaster in that line myself."

"All right," returned Wicks.  "There's the book.  Read
what Hoyt says--read it aloud and let the others hear."

Hoyt's falsehood (as readers know) was explicit;
incredulity was impossible, and the news itself
delightful beyond hope.  Each saw in his mind's eye the
boat draw in to a trim island with a wharf, coal-sheds,
gardens, the Stars and Stripes, and the white cottage
of the keeper; saw themselves idle a few weeks in
tolerable quarters, and then step on board the China
mail, romantic waifs, and yet with pocketsful of money,
calling for champagne, and waited on by troops of
stewards.  Breakfast, that had begun so dully, ended
amid sober jubilation, and all hands turned immediately
to prepare the boat.

Now that all spars were gone, it was no easy job to get
her launched.  Some of the necessary cargo was first
stowed on board: the specie, in particular, being
packed in a strong chest and secured with lashings to
the afterthwart in case of a capsize.  Then a piece of
the bulwark was razed to the level of the deck, and the
boat swung thwart-ship, made fast with a slack line to
either stump, and successfully run out.  For a voyage
of forty miles to hospitable quarters, not much food or
water was required; but they took both in superfluity.
Amalu and Mac, both ingrained sailor-men, had chests
which were the headquarters of their lives; two more
chests with handbags, oilskins, and blankets supplied
the others; Hadden, amid general applause, added the
last case of the brown sherry; the captain brought the
log, instruments, and chronometer; nor did Hemstead
forget the banjo or a pinned handkerchief of Butaritari
shells.

It was about three P.M. when they pushed off, and (the
wind being still westerly) fell to the oars.  "Well,
we've got the guts out of YOU!" was the captain's
nodded farewell to the hulk of the CURRENCY LASS,
which presently shrank and faded in the sea.  A little
after a calm succeeded, with much rain; and the first
meal was eaten, and the watch below lay down to their
uneasy slumber on the bilge under a roaring shower-
bath.  The 29th dawned overhead from out of ragged
clouds; there is no moment when a boat at sea appears
so trenchantly black and so conspicuously little; and
the crew looked about them at the sky and water with a
thrill of loneliness and fear.  With sunrise the trade
set in, lusty and true to the point; sail was made; the
boat flew; and by about four in the afternoon they were
well up with the closed part of the reef, and the
captain standing on the thwart, and holding by the
mast, was studying the island through the binoculars.

"Well, and where's your station?" cried Mac.

"I don't someway pick it up," replied the captain.

"No, nor never will!" retorted Mac, with a clang of
despair and triumph in his tones.

The truth was soon plain to all.  No buoys, no beacons,
no lights, no coal, no station; the castaways pulled
through a lagoon and landed on an isle, where was no
mark of man but wreckwood, and no sound but of the sea.
For the sea-fowl that harboured and lived there at the
epoch of my visit were then scattered into the
uttermost parts of the ocean, and had left no traces of
their sojourn besides dropped feathers and addled eggs.
It was to this they had been sent, for this they had
stooped all night over the dripping oars, hourly moving
further from relief.  The boat, for as small as it was,
was yet eloquent of the hands of men, a thing alone
indeed upon the sea, but yet in itself all human; and
the isle, for which they had exchanged it, was
ingloriously savage, a place of distress, solitude, and
hunger unrelieved.  There was a strong glare and shadow
of the evening over all; in which they sat or lay, not
speaking, careless even to eat, men swindled out of
life and riches by a lying book.  In the great good-
nature of the whole party, no word of reproach had been
addressed to Hadden, the author of these disasters.
But the new blow was less magnanimously borne, and many
angry glances rested on the captain.

Yet it was himself who roused them from their lethargy.
Grudgingly they obeyed, drew the boat beyond tidemark,
and followed him to the top of the miserable islet,
whence a view was commanded of the whole wheel of the
horizon, then part darkened under the coming night,
part dyed with the hues of the sunset, and populous
with the sunset clouds.  Here the camp was pitched, and
a tent run up with the oars, sails, and mast.  And here
Amalu, at no man's bidding, from the mere instinct of
habitual service, built a fire and cooked a meal.
Night was come, and the stars and the silver sickle of
new moon beamed overhead, before the meal was ready.
The cold sea shone about them, and the fire glowed in
their faces as they ate.  Tommy had opened his case,
and the brown sherry went the round; but it was long
before they came to conversation.

"Well, is it to be Kauai, after all?" asked Mac
suddenly.

"This is bad enough for me," said Tommy.  "Let's stick
it out where we are."

"Well, I can tell ye one thing," said Mac, "if ye care
to hear it: when I was in the China mail we once made
this island.  It's in the course from Honolulu."

"Deuce it is!" cried Carthew.  "That settles it, then.
Let's stay.  We must keep good fires going; and there's
plenty wreck."

"Lashings of wreck!" said the Irishman.  "There's
nothing here but wreck and coffin-boards."

"But we'll have to make a proper blyze," objected
Hemstead.  "You can't see a fire like this--not any wye
awye, I mean."

"Can't you?" said Carthew.  "Look round."

They did, and saw the hollow of the night, the bare,
bright face of the sea, and the stars regarding them;
and the voices died in their bosoms at the spectacle.
In that huge isolation, it seemed they must be visible
from China on the one hand and California on the other.

"My God, it's dreary!" whispered Hemstead.

"Dreary?" cried Mac, and fell suddenly silent.

"It's better than a boat, anyway," said Hadden.  "I've
had my bellyful of boat."

"What kills me is that specie!" the captain broke out.
"Think of all that riches--four thousand in gold, bad
silver, and short bills--all found money too!--and no
more use than that much dung!"

"I'll tell you one thing," said Tommy.  "I don't like
it being in the boat--I don't care to have it so far
away."

"Why, who's to take it?" cried Mac, with a guffaw of
evil laughter.

But this was not at all the feeling of the partners,
who rose, clambered down the isle, brought back the
inestimable treasure-chest slung upon two oars, and set
it conspicuous in the shining of the fire.

"There's my beauty!" cried Wicks, viewing it with a
cocked head; "that's better than a bonfire.  What! we
have a chest here, and bills for close upon two
thousand pounds; there's no show to that--it would go
in your vest-pocket--but the rest! upwards of forty
pounds avoirdupois of coined gold, and close on two
hundredweight of Chile silver! What! ain't that good
enough to fetch a fleet? Do you mean to say that won't
affect a ship's compass? Do you mean to tell me that
the look-out won't turn to and SMELL it?" he cried.

Mac, who had no part nor lot in the bills, the forty
pounds of gold, or the two hundredweight of silver,
heard this with impatience, and fell into a bitter,
choking laughter.  "You'll see!" he said harshly.
"You'll be glad to feed them bills into the fire before
you're through with ut!" And he turned, passed by
himself out of the ring of the fire-light, and stood
gazing seaward.

His speech and his departure extinguished instantly
those sparks of better humour kindled by the dinner and
the chest.  The group fell again to an ill-favoured
silence, and Hemstead began to touch the banjo, as was
his habit of an evening.  His repertory was small: the
chords of "Home, Sweet Home" fell under his fingers;
and when he had played the symphony, he instinctively
raised up his voice.  "Be it never so 'umble, there's
no plyce like 'ome," he sang.  The last word was still
upon his lips, when the instrument was snatched from
him and dashed into the fire; and he turned with a cry
to look into the furious countenance of Mac.

"I'll be damned if I stand this!" cried the captain,
leaping up belligerent.

"I told ye I was a voilent man," said Mac, with a
movement of deprecation very surprising in one of his
character.  "Why don't he give me a chance then?
Haven't we enough to bear the way we are?" And to the
wonder and dismay of all, the man choked upon a sob.
"It's ashamed of meself I am," he said presently, his
Irish accent twenty-fold increased.  "I ask all your
pardons for me voilence; and especially the little
man's, who is a harmless craytur, and here's me hand
to'm, if he'll condescind to take me by 't."

So this scene of barbarity and sentimentalism passed
off, leaving behind strange and incongruous
impressions.  True, every one was perhaps glad when
silence succeeded that all too appropriate music; true,
Mac's apology and subsequent behaviour rather raised
him in the opinion of his fellow-castaways.  But the
discordant note had been struck, and its harmonics
tingled in the brain.  In that savage, houseless isle,
the passions of man had sounded, if only for the
moment, and all men trembled at the possibilities of
horror.

It was determined to stand watch and watch in case of
passing vessels; and Tommy, on fire with an idea,
volunteered to stand the first.  The rest crawled under
the tent, and were soon enjoying that comfortable gift
of sleep, which comes everywhere and to all men,
quenching anxieties and speeding time.  And no sooner
were all settled, no sooner had the drone of many
snorers begun to mingle with and overcome the surf,
than Tommy stole from his post with the case of sherry,
and dropped it in a quiet cove in a fathom of water.
But the stormy inconstancy of Mac's behaviour had no
connection with a gill or two of wine; his passions,
angry and otherwise, were on a different sail-plan from
his neighbours'; and there were possibilities of good
and evil in that hybrid Celt beyond their prophecy.

About two in the morning, the starry sky--or so it
seemed, for the drowsy watchman had not observed the
approach of any cloud--brimmed over in a deluge; and
for three days it rained without remission.  The islet
was a sponge, the castaways sops; the view all gone,
even the reef concealed behind the curtain of the
falling water.  The fire was soon drowned out; after a
couple of boxes of matches had been scratched in vain,
it was decided to wait for better weather; and the
party lived in wretchedness on raw tins and a ration of
hard bread.

By the 2nd February, in the dark hours of the morning
watch, the clouds were all blown by; the sun rose
glorious; and once more the castaways sat by a quick
fire, and drank hot coffee with the greed of brutes and
sufferers.  Thenceforward their affairs moved in a
routine.  A fire was constantly maintained; and this
occupied one hand continuously, and the others for an
hour or so in the day.  Twice a day all hands bathed in
the lagoon, their chief, almost their only, pleasure.
Often they fished in the lagoon with good success.  And
the rest was passed in lolling, strolling, yarns, and
disputation.  The time of the China steamers was
calculated to a nicety; which done, the thought was
rejected and ignored.  It was one that would not bear
consideration.  The boat voyage having been tacitly set
aside, the desperate part chosen to wait there for the
coming of help or of starvation, no man had courage
left to look his bargain in the face, far less to
discuss it with his neighbours.  But the unuttered
terror haunted them; in every hour of idleness, at
every moment of silence, it returned, and breathed a
chill about the circle, and carried men's eyes to the
horizon.  Then, in a panic of self-defence, they would
rally to some other subject.  And, in that lone spot,
what else was to be found to speak of but the treasure?

That was indeed the chief singularity, the one thing
conspicuous in their island life; the presence of that
chest of bills and specie dominated the mind like a
cathedral; and there were besides connected with it
certain irking problems well fitted to occupy the idle.
Two thousand pounds were due to the Sydney firm; two
thousand pounds were clear profit, and fell to be
divided in varying proportions among six.  It had been
agreed how the partners were to range; every pound of
capital subscribed, every pound that fell due in wages,
was to count for one "lay." Of these Tommy could claim
five hundred and ten, Carthew one hundred and seventy,
Wicks one hundred and forty, and Hemstead and Amalu ten
apiece: eight hundred and forty "lays" in all.  What
was the value of a lay? This was at first debated in
the air, and chiefly by the strength of Tommy's lungs.
Then followed a series of incorrect calculations; from
which they issued, arithmetically foiled, but agreed
from weariness upon an approximate value of 2 pounds, 7
shillings  7 1/4 pence.  The figures were admittedly
incorrect; the sum of the shares came not to 2000
pounds, but to 1996 pounds, 6 shillings--3 pounds, 14
shillings being thus left unclaimed.  But it was the
nearest they had yet found, and the highest as well, so
that the partners were made the less critical by the
contemplation of their splendid dividends.  Wicks put
in 100 pounds, and stood to draw captain's wages for
two months; his taking was 333 pounds, 3 shillings 6
1/2 pence.  Carthew had put in 150 pounds: he was to
take out 401 pounds, 18 shillings 62 pence.  Tommy's
500 pounds had grown to be 1213 pounds, 12 shillings 9
3/4 pence; and Amalu and Hemstead, ranking for wages
only, had 22 pounds, 16 shillings 1/2 pence each.

From talking and brooding on these figures it was but a
step to opening the chest, and once the chest open the
glamour of the cash was irresistible.  Each felt that
he must see his treasure separate with the eye of
flesh, handle it in the hard coin, mark it for his own,
and stand forth to himself the approved owner.  And
here an insurmountable difficulty barred the way.
There were some seventeen shillings in English silver,
the rest was Chile; and the Chile dollar, which had
been taken at the rate of six to the pound sterling,
was practically their smallest coin.  It was decided,
therefore, to divide the pounds only, and to throw the
shillings, pence, and fractions in a common fund.
This, with the three pound fourteen already in the
heel, made a total of seven pounds one shilling.

"I'll tell you," said Wicks.  "Let Carthew and Tommy
and me take one pound apiece, and Hemstead and Amalu
split the other four, and toss up for the odd bob."

"O, rot!" said Carthew.  "Tommy and I are bursting
already.  We can take half a sov. each, and let the
other three have forty shillings."

"I'll tell you now, it's not worth splitting," broke in
Mac.  "I've cards in my chest.  Why don't you play for
the slump sum?"

In that idle place the proposal was accepted with
delight.  Mac, as the owner of the cards, was given a
stake; the sum was played for in five games of
cribbage; and when Amalu, the last survivor in the
tournament, was beaten by Mac it was found the dinner-
hour was past.  After a hasty meal they fell again
immediately to cards, this time (on Carthew's proposal)
to Van John.  It was then probably two P.M. on the 9th
of February, and they played with varying chances for
twelve hours, slept heavily, and rose late on the
morrow to resume the game.  All day of the 10th, with
grudging intervals for food, and with one long absence
on the part of Tommy, from which he returned dripping
with the case of sherry, they continued to deal and
stake.  Night fell; they drew the closer to the fire.
It was maybe two in the morning, and Tommy was selling
his deal by auction, as usual with that timid player,
when Carthew, who didn't intend to bid, had a moment of
leisure and looked round him.  He beheld the moonlight
on the sea, the money piled and scattered in that
incongruous place, the perturbed faces of the players.
He felt in his own breast the familiar tumult; and it
seemed as if there rose in his ears a sound of music,
and the moon seemed still to shine upon a sea, but the
sea was changed, and the Casino towered from among
lamp-lit gardens, and the money clinked on the green
board.  "Good God!" he thought, "am I gambling again?"
He looked the more curiously about the sandy table.  He
and Mac had played and won like gamblers; the mingled
gold and silver lay by their places in the heap.  Amalu
and Hemstead had each more than held their own, but
Tommy was cruel far to leeward, and the captain was
reduced to perhaps fifty pounds.

"I say, let's knock off," said Carthew.

"Give that man a glass of Buckle," said some one, and a
fresh bottle was opened, and the game went inexorably
on.

Carthew was himself too heavy a winner to withdraw or
to say more, and all the rest of the night he must look
on at the progress of this folly, and make gallant
attempts to lose, with the not uncommon consequence of
winning more.  The first dawn of the 11th February
found him well nigh desperate.  It chanced he was then
dealer, and still winning.  He had just dealt a round
of many tens; every one had staked heavily.  The
captain had put up all that remained to him--twelve
pounds in gold and a few dollars,--and Carthew, looking
privately at his cards before he showed them, found he
held a natural.

"See here, you fellows," he broke out, "this is a
sickening business, and I'm done with it for one." So
saying, he showed his cards, tore them across, and rose
from the ground.

The company stared and murmured in mere amazement; but
Mac stepped gallantly to his support.

"We've had enough of it, I do believe," said he.  "But
of course it was all fun, and here's my counters back.
All counters in, boys!" and he began to pour his
winnings into the chest, which stood fortunately near
him.

Carthew stepped across and wrung him by the hand.
"I'll never forget this," he said.

"And what are ye going to do with the Highway boy and
the plumber?" inquired Mac, in a low tone of voice.
"They've both wan, ye see."

"That's true!" said Carthew aloud.--"Amalu and
Hemstead, count your winnings; Tommy and I pay that."

It was carried without speech; the pair glad enough to
receive their winnings, it mattered not from whence;
and Tommy, who had lost about five hundred pounds,
delighted with the compromise.

"And how about Mac?" asked Hemstead.  "Is he to lose
all?"

"I beg your pardon, plumber.  I'm sure ye mean well,"
returned the Irishman, "but you'd better shut your
face, for I'm not that kind of a man.  If I t'ought I
had wan that money fair, there's never a soul here
could get it from me.  But I t'ought it was in fun;
that was my mistake, ye see; and there's no man big
enough upon this island to give a present to my
mother's son.  So there's my opinion to ye, plumber,
and you can put it in your pockut till required."

"Well, I will say, Mac, you're a gentleman," said
Carthew, as he helped him to shovel back his winnings
into the treasure-chest.

"Divil a fear of it, sir! a drunken sailor-man," said
Mac.

The captain had sat somewhile with his face in his
hands; now he rose mechanically, shaking and stumbling
like a drunkard after a debauch.  But as he rose, his
face was altered, and his voice rang out over the isle,
"Sail ho!"

All turned at the cry, and there, in the wild light of
the morning, heading straight for Midway Reef, was the
brig FLYING SCUD of Hull.

                     CHAPTER XXIV
                           
                           
                    A HARD BARGAIN

THE ship which thus appeared before the castaways had
long "tramped" the ocean, wandering from one port to
another as freights offered.  She was two years out
from London, by the Cape of Good Hope, India, and the
Archipelago; and was now bound for San Francisco in the
hope of working homeward round the Horn.  Her captain
was one Jacob Trent. He had retired some five years
before to a suburban cottage, a patch of cabbages, a
gig, and the conduct of what he called a Bank.  The
name appears to have been misleading.  Borrowers were
accustomed to choose works of art and utility in the
front shop; loaves of sugar and bolts of broadcloth
were deposited in pledge; and it was a part of the
manager's duty to dash in his gig on Saturday evenings
from one small retailer's to another, and to annex in
each the bulk of the week's takings.  His was thus an
active life, and, to a man of the type of a rat, filled
with recondite joys.  An unexpected loss, a lawsuit,
and the unintelligent commentary of the judge upon the
bench, combined to disgust him of the business.  I was
so extraordinarily fortunate as to find, in an old
newspaper, a report of the proceedings in Lyall v. The
Cardiff Mutual Accommodation Banking Co.  "I confess I
fail entirely to understand the nature of the
business," the judge had remarked, while Trent was
being examined in chief; a little after, on fuller
information--"They call it a bank," he had opined, "but
it seems to me to be an unlicensed pawnshop"; and he
wound up with this appalling allocution: "Mr. Trent, I
must put you on your guard; you must be very careful,
or we shall see you here again." In the inside of a
week the captain disposed of the bank, the cottage, and
the gig and horse; and to sea again in the FLYING
SCUD, where he did well, and gave high satisfaction to
his owners.  But the glory clung to him; he was a plain
sailor-man, he said, but he could never long allow you
to forget that he had been a banker.

His mate, Elias Goddedaal, was a huge Viking of a man,
six feet three, and of proportionate mass, strong,
sober, industrious, musical, and sentimental.  He ran
continually over into Swedish melodies, chiefly in the
minor.  He had paid nine dollars to hear Patti; to hear
Nilsson, he had deserted a ship and two months' wages;
and he was ready at any time to walk ten miles for a
good concert, or seven to a reasonable play.  On board
he had three treasures: a canary bird, a concertina,
and a blinding copy of the works of Shakespeare.  He
had a gift, peculiarly Scandinavian, of making friends
at sight: an elemental innocence commended him; he was
without fear, without reproach, and without money or
the hope of making it.

Holdorsen was second mate, and berthed aft, but messed
usually with the hands.

Of one more of the crew some image lives.  This was a
foremast hand out of the Clyde, of the name of Brown.
A small, dark, thickset creature, with dog's eyes, of a
disposition incomparably mild and harmless, he knocked
about seas and cities, the uncomplaining whiptop of one
vice.  "The drink is my trouble, ye see," he said to
Carthew shyly; "and it's the more shame to me because
I'm come of very good people at Bowling, down the
wa'er." The letter that so much affected Nares, in case
the reader should remember it, was addressed to this
man Brown.

Such was the ship that now carried joy into the bosoms
of the castaways.  After the fatigue and the bestial
emotions of their night of play, the approach of
salvation shook them from all self-control.  Their
hands trembled, their eyes shone, they laughed and
shouted like children as they cleared their camp: and
some one beginning to whistle "Marching through
Georgia," the remainder of the packing was conducted,
amidst a thousand interruptions, to these martial
strains.  But the strong head of Wicks was only partly
turned.

"Boys," he said, "easy all!  We're going aboard of a
ship of which we don't know nothing; we've got a chest
of specie, and seeing the weight, we can't turn to and
deny it.  Now, suppose she was fishy; suppose it was
some kind of a Bully Hayes business! It's my opinion
we'd better be on hand with the pistols."

Every man of the party but Hemstead had some kind of a
revolver; these were accordingly loaded and disposed
about the persons of the castaways, and the packing was
resumed and finished in the same rapturous spirit as it
was begun.  The sun was not yet ten degrees above the
eastern sea, but the brig was already close in and hove
to, before they had launched the boat and sped,
shouting at the oars, towards the passage.

It was blowing fresh outside, with a strong send of
sea.  The spray flew in the oarsmen's faces.  They saw
the Union Jack blow abroad from the FLYING SCUD,
the men clustered at the rail, the cook in the galley-
door, the captain on the quarter-deck with a pith
helmet and binoculars.  And the whole familiar
business, the comfort, company, and safety of a ship,
heaving nearer at each stroke, maddened them with joy.

Wicks was the first to catch the line, and swarm on
board, helping hands grabbing him as he came and
hauling him across the rail.

"Captain, sir, I suppose?" he said, turning to the hard
old man in the pith helmet.

"Captain Trent, sir," returned the old gentleman.

"Well, I'm Captain Kirkup, and this is the crew of the
Sydney schooner CURRENCY LASS, dismasted at sea
January 28th."

"Ay, ay," said Trent.  "Well, you're all right now.
Lucky for you I saw your signal.  I didn't know I was
so near this beastly island, there must be a drift to
the south'ard here; and when I came on deck this
morning at eight bells, I thought it was a ship afire."

It had been agreed that, while Wicks was to board the
ship and do the civil, the rest were to remain in the
whaleboat and see the treasure safe.  A tackle was
passed down to them; to this they made fast the
invaluable chest, and gave the word to heave.  But the
unexpected weight brought the hand at the tackle to a
stand; two others ran to tail on and help him, and the
thing caught the eye of Trent.

"Vast heaving!" he cried sharply; and then to Wicks:
"What's that? I don't ever remember to have seen a
chest weigh like that."

"It's money," said Wicks.

"It's what?" cried Trent.

"Specie," said Wicks; "saved from the wreck."

Trent looked at him sharply.  "Here, let go that chest
again, Mr. Goddedaal," he commanded, "shove the boat
off, and stream her with a line astern."

"Ay, ay, sir!" from Goddedaal.

"What the devil's wrong?" asked Wicks.

"Nothing, I daresay," returned Trent.  "But you'll
allow it's a queer thing when a boat turns up in mid-
ocean with half a ton of specie and everybody armed,"
he added, pointing to Wicks's pocket.  "Your boat will
lay comfortably astern, while you come below and make
yourself satisfactory."

"O, if that's all!" said Wicks.  "My log and papers are
as right as the mail; nothing fishy about us." And he
hailed his friends in the boat, bidding them have
patience, and turned to follow Captain Trent.

"This way, Captain Kirkup," said the latter.  "And
don't blame a man for too much caution; no offence
intended; and these China rivers shake a fellow's
nerve.  All I want is just to see you're what you say
you are; it's only my duty, sir, and what you would do
yourself in the circumstances.  I've not always been a
ship-captain: I was a banker once, and I tell you
that's the trade to learn caution in.  You have to keep
your weather eye lifting Saturday nights." And with a
dry, business-like cordiality, he produced a bottle of
gin.

The captains pledged each other; the papers were
overhauled; the tale of Topelius and the trade was told
in appreciative ears and cemented their acquaintance.
Trent's suspicions, thus finally disposed of, were
succeeded by a fit of profound thought, during which he
sat lethargic and stern, looking at and drumming on the
table.

"Anything more?" asked Wicks.

"What sort of a place is it inside?" inquired Trent,
sudden as though Wicks had touched a spring.

"It's a good enough lagoon--a few horses" heads, but
nothing to mention," answered Wicks.

"I've a good mind to go in," said Trent.  "I was new
rigged in China; it's given very bad, and I'm getting
frightened for my sticks.  We could set it up as good
as new in a day.  For I daresay your lot would turn to
and give us a hand?"

"You see if we don't," said Wicks.

"So be it, then," concluded Trent.  "A stitch in time
saves nine."

They returned on deck; Wicks cried the news to the
Currency Lasses; the foretopsail was filled again, and
the brig ran into the lagoon lively, the whale-boat
dancing in her wake, and came to single anchor off
Middle Brooks Island before eight.  She was boarded by
the castaways, breakfast was served, the baggage slung
on board and piled in the waist, and all hands turned
to upon the rigging.  All day the work continued, the
two crews rivalling each other in expense of strength.
Dinner was served on deck, the officers messing aft
under the slack of the spanker, the men fraternising
forward.  Trent appeared in excellent spirits, served
out grog to all hands, opened a bottle of Cape wine for
the after-table, and obliged his guests with many
details of the life of a financier in Cardiff.  He had
been forty years at sea, had five times suffered
shipwreck, was once nine months the prisoner of a
pepper rajah, and had seen service under fire in
Chinese rivers; but the only thing he cared to talk of,
the only thing of which he was vain, or with which he
thought it possible to interest a stranger, was his
career as a money-lender in the slums of a seaport
town.

The afternoon spell told cruelly on the Currency
Lasses.  Already exhausted as they were with
sleeplessness and excitement, they did the last hours
of this violent employment on bare nerves; and, when
Trent was at last satisfied with the condition of his
rigging, expected eagerly the word to put to sea.  But
the captain seemed in no hurry.  He went and walked by
himself softly, like a man in thought.  Presently he
hailed Wicks.

"You're a kind of company, ain't you, Captain Kirkup?"
he inquired.

"Yes, we're all on board on lays," was the reply.

"Well, then, you won't mind if I ask the lot of you
down to tea in the cabin?" asked Trent.

Wicks was amazed, but he naturally ventured no remark;
and a little after, the six Currency Lasses sat down
with Trent and Goddedaal to a spread of marmalade,
butter, toast, sardines, tinned tongue, and steaming
tea.  The food was not very good, and I have no doubt
Nares would have reviled it, but it was manna to the
castaways.  Goddedaal waited on them with a kindness
far before courtesy, a kindness like that of some old,
honest country-woman in her farm.  It was remembered
afterwards that Trent took little share in these
attentions, but sat much absorbed in thought, and
seemed to remember and forget the presence of his
guests alternately.

Presently he addressed the Chinaman.

"Clear out," said he, and watched him till he had
disappeared in the stair.--"Now, gentlemen," he went
on, "I understand you're a joint-stock sort of crew,
and that's why I've had you all down; for there's a
point I want made clear.  You see what sort of a ship
this is--a good ship, though I say it, and you see what
the rations are--good enough for sailor-men."

There was a hurried murmur of approval, but curiosity
for what was coming next prevented an articulate reply.

"Well," continued Trent, making bread pills and looking
hard at the middle of the table, "I'm glad of course to
be able to give you a passage to 'Frisco; one sailor-
man should help another, that's my motto.  But when you
want a thing in this world, you generally always have
to pay for it." He laughed a brief, joyless laugh.  "I
have no idea of losing by my kindness."

"We have no idea you should, captain," said Wicks.

"We are ready to pay anything in reason," added
Carthew.

At the words, Goddedaal, who sat next to him, touched
him with his elbow, and the two mates exchanged a
significant look.  The character of Captain Trent was
given and taken in that silent second.

"In reason?" repeated the captain of the brig.  "I was
waiting for that.  Reason's between two people, and
there's only one here.  I'm the judge; I'm reason.  If
you want an advance you have to pay for it"--he hastily
corrected himself--"If you want a passage in my ship,
you have to pay my price," he substituted.  "That's
business, I believe.  I don't want you; you want me."

"Well, sir," said Carthew, "and what IS your
price?"

The captain made bread pills.  "If I were like you," he
said, "when you got hold of that merchant in the
Gilberts, I might surprise you.  You had your chance
then; seems to me it's mine now.  Turn about's fair
play.  What kind of mercy did you have on that Gilbert
merchant?" he cried with a sudden stridency.  "Not that
I blame you.  All's fair in love and business," and he
laughed again, a little frosty giggle.

"Well, sir?" said Carthew gravely.

"Well, this ship's mine, I think?" he asked sharply.

"Well, I'm of that way of thinking meself," observed
Mac.

"I say it's mine, sir!" reiterated Trent, like a man
trying to be angry.  "And I tell you all if I was a
driver like what you are, I would take the lot.  But
there's two thousand pounds there that don't belong to
you, and I'm an honest man.  Give me the two thousand
that's yours, and I'll give you a passage to the coast,
and land every manjack of you in 'Frisco with fifteen
pounds in his pocket, and the captain here with twenty-
five."

Goddedaal laid down his head on the table like a man
ashamed.

"You're joking," said Wicks, purple in the face.

"Am I?" said Trent.  "Please yourselves.  You're under
no compulsion.  This ship's mine, but there's that
Brooks Island don't belong to me, and you can lay there
till you die for what I care."

"It's more than your blooming brig's worth!" cried
Wicks.

"It's my price anyway," returned Trent.

"And do you mean to say you would land us there to
starve?" cried Tommy.

Captain Trent laughed the third time.  "Starve? I defy
you to," said he.  "I'll sell you all the provisions
you want at a fair profit."

"I beg your pardon, sir," said Mac, "but my case is by
itself I'm working me passage; I got no share in that
two thousand pounds, nor nothing in my pockut; and I'll
be glad to know what you have to say to me?"

"I ain't a hard man," said Trent; "that shall make no
difference.  I'll take you with the rest, only of
course you get no fifteen pound."

The impudence was so extreme and startling that all
breathed deep, and Goddedaal raised up his face and
looked his superior sternly in the eye.

But Mac was more articulate.  "And you're what ye call
a British sayman, I suppose? the sorrow in your guts!"
he cried.

"One more such word, and I clap you in irons!" said
Trent, rising gleefully at the face of opposition.

"And where would I be the while you were doin' ut?"
asked Mac.  "After you and your rigging, too! Ye ould
puggy, ye haven't the civility of a bug, and I'll learn
ye some."

His voice did not even rise as he uttered the threat;
no man present, Trent least of all, expected that which
followed.  The Irishman's hand rose suddenly from below
the table, an open clasp-knife balanced on the palm;
there was a movement swift as conjuring; Trent started
half to his feet, turning a little as he rose so as to
escape the table, and the movement was his bane.  The
missile struck him in the jugular; he fell forward, and
his blood flowed among the dishes on the cloth.

The suddenness of the attack and the catastrophe, the
instant change from peace to war, and from life to
death, held all men spellbound.  Yet a moment they sat
about the table staring open-mouthed upon the prostrate
captain and the flowing blood.  The next, Goddedaal had
leaped to his feet, caught up the stool on which he had
been sitting, and swung it high in air, a man
transfigured, roaring (as he stood) so that men's ears
were stunned with it.  There was no thought of battle
in the Currency Lasses; none drew his weapon; all
huddled helplessly from before the face of the baresark
Scandinavian.  His first blow sent Mac to ground with a
broken arm.  His second dashed out the brains of
Hemstead.  He turned from one to another, menacing and
trumpeting like a wounded elephant, exulting in his
rage.  But there was no counsel, no light of reason, in
that ecstasy of battle; and he shied from the pursuit
of victory to hail fresh blows upon the supine
Hemstead, so that the stool was shattered and the cabin
rang with their violence.  The sight of that post-
mortem cruelty recalled Carthew to the life of
instinct, and his revolver was in hand and he had aimed
and fired before he knew.  The ear-bursting sound of
the report was accompanied by a yell of pain; the
colossus paused, swayed, tottered, and fell headlong on
the body of his victim.

In the instant silence that succeeded, the sound of
feet pounding on the deck and in the companion leaped
into hearing; and a face, that of the sailor Holdorsen,
appeared below the bulkheads in the cabin doorway.
Carthew shattered it with a second shot, for he was a
marksman.

"Pistols!" he cried, and charged at the companion,
Wicks at his heels, Tommy and Amalu following.  They
trod the body of Holdorsen underfoot, and flew up-
stairs and forth into the dusky blaze of a sunset red
as blood.  The numbers were still equal, but the Flying
Scuds dreamed not of defence, and fled with one accord
for the forecastle scuttle.  Brown was first in flight;
he disappeared below unscathed; the Chinaman followed
head-foremost with a ball in his side; and the others
shinned into the rigging.

A fierce composure settled upon Wicks and Carthew,
their fighting second wind.  They posted Tommy at the
fore and Amalu at the main to guard the masts and
shrouds, and going themselves into the waist, poured
out a box of cartridges on deck and filled the
chambers.  The poor devils aloft bleated aloud for
mercy.  But the hour of any mercy was gone by; the cup
was brewed and must be drunken to the dregs; since so
many had fallen all must fall.  The light was bad, the
cheap revolvers fouled and carried wild, the screaming
wretches were swift to flatten themselves against the
masts and yards, or find a momentary refuge in the
hanging sails.  The fell business took long, but it was
done at last.  Hardy the Londoner was shot on the fore-
royal yard, and hung horribly suspended in the brails.
Wallen, the other, had his jaw broken on the main-top-
gallant crosstrees, and exposed himself, shrieking,
till a second shot dropped him on the deck.

This had been bad enough, but worse remained behind.
There was still Brown in the forepeak.  Tommy, with a
sudden clamour of weeping, begged for his life.  "One
man can't hurt us," he sobbed.  "We can't go on with
this.  I spoke to him at dinner.  He's an awful decent
little cad.  It can't be done.  Nobody can go into that
place and murder him.  It's too damned wicked."

The sound of his supplications was perhaps audible to
the unfortunate below.

"One left and we all hang," said Wicks.  "Brown must go
the same road." The big man was deadly white and
trembled like an aspen; and he had no sooner finished
speaking than he went to the ship's side and vomited.

"We can never do it if we wait," said Carthew.  "Now or
never," and he marched towards the scuttle.

"No, no, no!" wailed Tommy, clutching at his Jacket.

But Carthew flung him off, and stepped down the ladder,
his heart rising with disgust and shame.  The Chinaman
lay on the floor, still groaning; the place was pitch
dark.

"Brown!" cried Carthew; "Brown, where are you?"

His heart smote him for the treacherous apostrophe, but
no answer came.

He groped in the bunks: they were all empty.  Then he
moved towards the forepeak, which was hampered with
coils of rope and spare chandlery in general.

"Brown!" he said again.

"Here, sir," answered a shaking voice; and the poor
invisible caitiff called on him by name, and poured
forth out of the darkness an endless, garrulous appeal
for mercy.  A sense of danger, of daring, had alone
nerved Carthew to enter the forecastle; and here was
the enemy crying and pleading like a frightened child.
His obsequious "Here, sir," his horrid fluency of
obtestation, made the murder tenfold more revolting.
Twice Carthew raised the pistol, once he pressed the
trigger (or thought he did) with all his might, but no
explosion followed; and with that the lees of his
courage ran quite out, and he turned and fled from
before his victim.

Wicks sat on the fore hatch, raised the face of a man
of seventy, and looked a wordless question.  Carthew
shook his head.  With such composure as a man displays
marching towards the gallows, Wicks arose, walked to
the scuttle, and went down.  Brown thought it was
Carthew returning, and discovered himself, half-
crawling from his shelter, with another incoherent
burst of pleading.  Wicks emptied his revolver at the
voice, which broke into mouse-like whimperings and
groans.  Silence succeeded, and the murderer ran on
deck like one possessed.

The other three were now all gathered on the fore
hatch, and Wicks took his place beside them without
question asked or answered.  They sat close like
children in the dark, and shook each other with their
shaking.  The dusk continued to fall; and there was no
sound but the beating of the surf and the occasional
hiccup of a sob from Tommy Hadden.

"God, if there was another ship!" cried Carthew of a
sudden.

Wicks started and looked aloft with the trick of all
seamen, and shuddered as he saw the hanging figure on
the royal-yard.

"If I went aloft, I'd fall," he said simply.  "I'm done
up."

It was Amalu who volunteered, climbed to the very
truck, swept the fading horizon, and announced nothing
within sight.

"No odds," said Wicks.  "We can't sleep ..."

"Sleep!" echoed Carthew; and it seemed as if the whole
of Shakespeare's MACBETH thundered at the gallop
through his mind.

"Well, then, we can't sit and chitter here," said
Wicks, "till we've cleaned ship; and I can't turn to
till I've had gin, and the gin's in the cabin, and
who's to fetch it?"

"I will," said Carthew, "if any one has matches."

Amalu passed him a box, and he went aft and down the
companion and into the cabin, stumbling upon bodies.
Then he struck a match, and his looks fell upon two
living eyes.

"Well?" asked Mac, for it was he who still survived in
that shambles of a cabin.

"It's done; they're all dead," answered Carthew.

"Christ!" said the Irishman, and fainted.

The gin was found in the dead captain's cabin; it was
brought on deck, and all hands had a dram, and attacked
their further task.  The night was come, the moon would
not be up for hours; a lamp was set on the main hatch
to light Amalu as he washed down decks; and the galley
lantern was taken to guide the others in their
graveyard business.  Holdorsen, Hemstead, Trent, and
Goddedaal were first disposed of, the last still
breathing as he went over the side; Wallen followed;
and then Wicks, steadied by the gin, went aloft with a
boathook and succeeded in dislodging Hardy.  The
Chinaman was their last task; he seemed to be light-
headed, talked aloud in his unknown language as they
brought him up, and it was only with the splash of his
sinking body that the gibberish ceased.  Brown, by
common consent, was left alone.  Flesh and blood could
go no further.

All this time they had been drinking undiluted gin like
water; three bottles stood broached in different
quarters; and none passed without a gulp.  Tommy
collapsed against the mainmast; Wicks fell on his face
on the poop ladder and moved no more; Amalu had
vanished unobserved.  Carthew was the last afoot: he
stood swaying at the break of the poop, and the
lantern, which he still carried, swung with his
movement.  His head hummed; it swarmed with broken
thoughts; memory of that day's abominations flared up
and died down within him like the light of a lamp in a
strong draught.  And then he had a drunkard's
inspiration.

"There must be no more of this," he thought, and
stumbled once more below.

The absence of Holdorsen's body brought him to a stand.
He stood and stared at the empty floor and then
remembered and smiled.  From the captain's room he took
the open case with one dozen and three bottles of gin,
put the lantern inside, and walked precariously forth.
Mac was once more conscious, his eyes haggard, his face
drawn with pain and flushed with fever; and Carthew
remembered he had never been seen to, had lain there
helpless, and was so to lie all night, injured, perhaps
dying.  But it was now too late; reason had now fled
from that silent ship.  If Carthew could get on deck
again, it was as much as he could hope; and casting on
the unfortunate a glance of pity, the tragic drunkard
shouldered his way up the companion, dropped the case
overboard, and fell in the scuppers helpless.

                      CHAPTER XXV
                           
                           
                     A BAD BARGAIN

WITH the first colour in the east, Carthew awoke and
sat up.  A while he gazed at the scroll of the morning
bank and the spars and hanging canvas of the brig, like
a man who wakes in a strange bed, with a child's
simplicity of wonder.  He wondered above all what ailed
him, what he had lost, what disfavour had been done
him, which he knew he should resent, yet had forgotten.
And then, like a river bursting through a dam, the
truth rolled on him its instantaneous volume: his
memory teemed with speech and pictures that he should
never again forget; and he sprang to his feet, stood a
moment hand to brow, and began to walk violently to and
fro by the companion.  As he walked he wrung his hands.
"God--God--God," he kept saying, with no thought of
prayer, uttering a mere voice of agony.

The time may have been long or short, it was perhaps
minutes, perhaps only seconds, ere he awoke to find
himself observed, and saw the captain sitting up and
watching him over the break of the poop, a strange
blindness as of fever in his eyes, a haggard knot of
corrugations on his brow.  Cain saw himself in a
mirror.  For a flash they looked upon each other, and
then glanced guiltily aside; and Carthew fled from the
eye of his accomplice, and stood leaning on the
taffrail.

An hour went by, while the day came brighter, and the
sun rose and drank up the clouds: an hour of silence in
the ship, an hour of agony beyond narration for the
sufferers.  Brown's gabbling prayers, the cries of the
sailors in the rigging, strains of the dead Hemstead's
minstrelsy, ran together in Carthew's mind with
sickening iteration.  He neither acquitted nor
condemned himself: he did not think he suffered.  In
the bright water into which he stared, the pictures
changed and were repeated: the baresark rage of
Goddedaal; the blood-red light of the sunset into which
they had run forth; the face of the babbling Chinaman
as they cast him over; the face of the captain, seen a
moment since, as he awoke from drunkenness into
remorse.  And time passed, and the sun swam higher, and
his torment was not abated.

Then were fulfilled many sayings, and the weakest of
these condemned brought relief and healing to the
others.  Amalu the drudge awoke (like the rest) to
sickness of body and distress of mind; but the habit of
obedience ruled in that simple spirit, and, appalled to
be so late, he went direct into the galley, kindled the
fire, and began to get breakfast.  At the rattle of
dishes, the snapping of the fire, and the thin smoke
that went up straight into the air, the spell was
lifted.  The condemned felt once more the good dry land
of habit under foot; they touched again the familiar
guide-ropes of sanity; they were restored to a sense of
the blessed revolution and return of all things
earthly.  The captain drew a bucket of water and began
to bathe.  Tommy sat up, watched him a while, and
slowly followed his example; and Carthew, remembering
his last thoughts of the night before, hastened to the
cabin.

Mac was awake; perhaps had not slept.  Over his head
Goddedaal's canary twittered shrilly from its cage.

"How are you?" asked Carthew.

"Me arrum's broke," returned Mac; "but I can stand
that.  It's this place I can't aboide.  I was coming on
deck anyway."

"Stay where you are, though," said Carthew.  "It's
deadly hot above, and there's no wind.  I'll wash out
this----" and he paused, seeking a word and not finding
one for the grisly foulness of the cabin.

"Faith, I'll be obloiged to ye, then," replied the
Irishman.  He spoke mild and meek, like a sick child
with its mother.  There was now no violence in the
violent man; and as Carthew fetched a bucket and swab
and the steward's sponge, and began to cleanse the
field of battle, he alternately watched him or shut his
eyes and sighed like a man near fainting.  "I have to
ask all your pardons," he began again presently, "and
the more shame to me as I got ye into trouble and
couldn't do nothing when it came.  Ye saved me life,
sir; ye're a clane shot."

"For God's sake, don't talk of it!" cried Carthew.  "It
can't be talked of; you don't know what it was.  It was
nothing down here; they fought.  On deck--O my God!"
And Carthew, with the bloody sponge pressed to his
face, struggled a moment with hysteria.

"Kape cool, Mr. Cart'ew.  It's done now," said Mac;
"and ye may bless God ye're not in pain, and helpless
in the bargain."

There was no more said by one or other, and the cabin
was pretty well cleansed when a stroke on the ship's
bell summoned Carthew to breakfast.  Tommy had been
busy in the meanwhile; he had hauled the whaleboat
close aboard, and already lowered into it a small keg
of beef that he found ready broached beside the galley
door; it was plain he had but the one idea--to escape.

"We have a shipful of stores to draw upon," he said.
"Well, what are we staying for? Let's get off at once
for Hawaii.  I've begun preparing already."

"Mac has his arm broken," observed Carthew; "how would
he stand the voyage?"

"A broken arm?" repeated the captain.  "That all?  I'll
set it after breakfast.  I thought he was dead like the
rest.  That madman hit out like----" and there, at the
evocation of the battle, his voice ceased and the talk
died with it.

After breakfast the three white men went down into the
cabin.

"I've come to set your arm," said the captain.

"I beg your pardon, captain," replied Mac; "but the
firrst thing ye got to do is to get this ship to sea.
We'll talk of me arrum after that."

"O, there's no such blooming hurry," returned Wicks.

"When the next ship sails in ye'll tell me stories!"
retorted Mac.

"But there's nothing so unlikely in the world,"
objected Carthew.

"Don't be deceivin' yourself," said Mac.  "If ye want a
ship, divil a one'll look near ye in six year; but if
ye don't, ye may take my word for ut, we'll have a
squadron layin' here."

"That's what I say," cried Tommy; "that's what I call
sense! Let's stock that whaleboat and be off."

"And what will Captain Wicks be thinking of the
whaleboat?" asked the Irishman.

"I don't think of it at all," said Wicks.  "We've a
smart-looking brig under foot; that's all the whaleboat
I want."

"Excuse me!" cried Tommy.  "That's childish talk.
You've got a brig, to be sure, and what use is she?
You daren't go anywhere in her.  What port are you to
sail for?"

"For the port of Davy Jones's Locker, my son," replied
the captain.  "This brig's going to be lost at sea.
I'll tell you where, too, and that's about forty miles
to windward of Kauai.  We're going to stay by her till
she's down; and once the masts are under, she's the
FLYING SCUD no more, and we never heard of such a
brig; and it's the crew of the schooner CURRENCY
LASS that comes ashore in the boat, and takes the
first chance to Sydney."

"Captain, dear, that's the first Christian word I've
heard of ut!" cried Mac.  "And now, just let me arrum
be, jewel, and get the brig outside."

"I'm as anxious as yourself, Mac," returned Wicks; "but
there's not wind enough to swear by.  So let's see your
arm, and no more talk."

The arm was set and splinted; the body of Brown fetched
from the forepeak, where it lay still and cold, and
committed to the waters of the lagoon; and the washing
of the cabin rudely finished.  All these were done ere
mid-day; and it was past three when the first cat's-paw
ruffled the lagoon, and the wind came in a dry squall,
which presently sobered to a steady breeze.

The interval was passed by all in feverish impatience,
and by one of the party in secret and extreme concern
of mind.  Captain Wicks was a fore-and-aft sailor; he
could take a schooner through a Scotch reel, felt her
mouth and divined her temper like a rider with a horse;
she, on her side, recognising her master and following
his wishes like a dog.  But by a not very unusual train
of circumstance, the man's dexterity was partial and
circumscribed.  On a schooner's deck he was Rembrandt,
or (at the least) Mr. Whistler; on board a brig he was
Pierre Grassou.  Again and again in the course of the
morning he had reasoned out his policy and rehearsed
his orders; and ever with the same depression and
weariness.  It was guess-work; it was chance; the ship
might behave as he expected, and might not; suppose she
failed him, he stood there helpless, beggared of all
the proved resources of experience.  Had not all hands
been so weary, had he not feared to communicate his own
misgivings, he could have towed her out.  But these
reasons sufficed, and the most he could do was to take
all possible precautions.  Accordingly he had Carthew
aft, explained what was to be done with anxious
patience, and visited along with him the various sheets
and braces.

"I hope I'll remember," said Carthew.  "It seems
awfully muddled."

"It's the rottenest kind of rig," the captain admitted:
"all blooming pocket-handkerchiefs! And not one sailor-
man on deck!  Ah, if she'd only been a brigantine now!
But it's lucky the passage is so plain; there's no
manoeuvring to mention.  We get under weigh before the
wind, and run right so till we begin to get foul of the
island; then we haul our wind and lie as near south-
east as may be till we're on that line; 'bout ship
there and stand straight out on the port tack.  Catch
the idea?"

"Yes, I see the idea," replied Carthew, rather
dismally, and the two incompetents studied for a long
time in silence the complicated gear above their heads.

But the time came when these rehearsals must be put in
practice.  The sails were lowered, and all hands heaved
the anchor short.  The whaleboat was then cut adrift,
the upper topsails and the spanker set, the yards
braced up, and the spanker sheet hauled out to
starboard.

"Heave away on your anchor, Mr. Carthew."

"Anchor's gone, sir."

"Set jibs."

It was done, and the brig still hung enchanted.  Wicks,
his head full of a schooner's mainsail, turned his mind
to the spanker.  First he hauled in the sheet, and then
he hauled it out, with no result.

"Brail the damned thing up!" he bawled at last, with a
red face.  "There ain't no sense in it."

It was the last stroke of bewilderment for the poor
captain, that he had no sooner brailed up the spanker
than the vessel came before the wind.  The laws of
nature seemed to him to be suspended; he was like a man
in a world of pantomime tricks; the cause of any
result, and the probable result of any action, equally
concealed from him.  He was the more careful not to
shake the nerve of his amateur assistants.  He stood
there with a face like a torch; but he gave his orders
with APLOMB, and indeed, now the ship was under
weigh, supposed his difficulties over.

The lower topsails and courses were then set, and the
brig began to walk the water like a thing of life, her
fore-foot discoursing music, the birds flying and
crying over her spars.  Bit by bit the passage began to
open and the blue sea to show between the flanking
breakers on the reef; bit by bit, on the starboard bow,
the low land of the islet began to heave closer aboard.
The yards were braced up, the spanker sheet hauled aft
again; the brig was close hauled, lay down to her work
like a thing in earnest, and had soon drawn near to the
point of advantage, where she might stay and lie out of
the lagoon in a single tack.

Wicks took the wheel himself, swelling with success.
He kept the brig full to give her heels, and began to
bark his orders: "Ready about.  Helm's a-lee.  Tacks
and sheets.  Mainsail haul." And then the fatal words:
"That'll do your mainsail; jump for'ard and haul round
your foreyards."

To stay a square-rigged ship is an affair of knowledge
and swift sight: and a man used to the succinct
evolutions of a schooner will always tend to be too
hasty with a brig.  It was so now.  The order came too
soon; the topsails set flat aback; the ship was in
irons.  Even yet, had the helm been reversed, they
might have saved her.  But to think of a sternboard at
all, far more to think of profiting by one, were
foreign to the schooner-sailor's mind.  Wicks made
haste instead to wear ship, a manoeuvre for which room
was wanting, and the FLYING SCUD took ground on a
bank of sand and coral about twenty minutes before
five.

Wicks was no hand with a square-rigger, and he had
shown it.  But he was a sailor and a born captain of
men for all homely purposes, where intellect is not
required and an eye in a man's head and a heart under
his jacket will suffice.  Before the others had time to
understand the misfortune, he was bawling fresh orders,
and had the sails clewed up, and took soundings round
the ship.

"She lies lovely," he remarked, and ordered out a boat
with the starboard anchor.

"Here! steady!" cried Tommy.  "You ain't going to turn
us to, to warp her off?"

"I am though," replied Wicks.

"I won't set a hand to such tomfoolery for one,"
replied Tommy.  "I'm dead beat." He went and sat down
doggedly on the main hatch.  "You got us on; get us off
again," he added.

Carthew and Wicks turned to each other.

"Perhaps you don't know how tired we are," said
Carthew.

"The tide's flowing!" cried the captain.  "You wouldn't
have me miss a rising tide?"

"O, gammon! there's tides to-morrow!" retorted Tommy.

"And I'll tell you what," added Carthew, "the breeze is
failing fast, and the sun will soon be down.  We may
get into all kinds of fresh mess in the dark and with
nothing but light airs."

"I don't deny it," answered Wicks, and stood a while as
if in thought.  "But what I can't make out," he began
again, with agitation,--"what I can't make out is what
you're made of! To stay in this place is beyond me.
There's the bloody sun going down--and to stay here is
beyond me!"

The others looked upon him with horrified surprise.
This fall of their chief pillar--this irrational
passion in the practical man, suddenly barred out of
his true sphere--the sphere of action--shocked and
daunted them.  But it gave to another and unseen hearer
the chance for which he had been waiting.  Mac, on the
striking of the brig, had crawled up the companion, and
he now showed himself and spoke up.

"Captain Wicks," said he, "it's me that brought this
trouble on the lot of ye.  I'm sorry for ut, I ask all
your pardons, and if there's any one can say 'I forgive
ye,' it'll make my soul the lighter."

Wicks stared upon the man in amaze; then his self-
control returned to him.  "We're all in glass houses
here," he said; "we ain't going to turn to and throw
stones.  I forgive you, sure enough; and much good may
it do you!"

The others spoke to the same purpose.

"I thank ye for ut, and 'tis done like gentlemen," said
Mac.  "But there's another thing I have upon my mind.
I hope we're all Prodestans here?"

It appeared they were; it seemed a small thing for the
Protestant religion to rejoice in!

"Well, that's as it should be," continued Mac.  "And
why shouldn't we say the Lord's Prayer? There can't be
no hurt in ut."

He had the same quiet, pleading, childlike way with him
as in the morning; and the others accepted his
proposal, and knelt down without a word.

"Knale if ye like!" said he.  "I'll stand." And he
covered his eyes.

So the prayer was said to the accompaniment of the surf
and sea-birds, and all rose refreshed and felt
lightened of a load.  Up to then, they had cherished
their guilty memories in private, or only referred to
them in the heat of a moment, and fallen immediately
silent.  Now they had faced their remorse in company,
and the worst seemed over.  Nor was it only that.  But
the petition "Forgive us our trespasses," falling in so
apposite after they had themselves forgiven the
immediate author of their miseries, sounded like an
absolution.

Tea was taken on deck in the time of the sunset, and
not long after the five castaways--castaways once more-
-lay down to sleep.

Day dawned windless and hot.  Their slumbers had been
too profound to be refreshing, and they woke listless,
and sat up, and stared about them with dull eyes.  Only
Wicks, smelling a hard day's work ahead, was more
alert.  He went first to the well, sounded it once, and
then a second time, and stood a while with a grim look,
so that all could see he was dissatisfied.  Then he
shook himself, stripped to the buff, clambered on the
rail, drew himself up and raised his arms to plunge.
The dive was never taken.  He stood, instead,
transfixed, his eyes on the horizon.

"Hand up that glass," he said.

In a trice they were all swarming aloft, the nude
captain leading with the glass.

On the northern horizon was a finger of grey smoke,
straight in the windless air like a point of
admiration.

"What do you make it?" they asked of Wicks.

"She's truck down," he replied; "no telling yet.  By
the way the smoke builds, she must be heading right
here."

"What can she be?"

"She might be a China mail," returned Wicks, "and she
might be a blooming man-of-war, come to look for
castaways.  Here!  This ain't the time to stand
staring.  On deck, boys!"

He was the first on deck, as he had been the first
aloft, handed down the ensign, bent it again to the
signal halliards, and ran it up union down.

"Now hear me," he said, jumping into his trousers, "and
everything I say you grip on to.  If that's a man-of-
war, she'll be in a tearing hurry, all these ships are
what don't do nothing and have their expenses paid.
That's our chance; for we'll go with them, and they
won't take the time to look twice or to ask a question.
I'm Captain Trent; Carthew, you're Goddedaal; Tommy,
you're Hardy; Mac's Brown; Amalu--hold hard; we can't
make a Chinaman of him! Ah Wing must have deserted;
Amalu stowed away; and I turned him to as cook, and was
never at the bother to sign him.  Catch the idea? Say
your names."

And that pale company recited their lesson earnestly.

"What were the names of the other two?" he asked,--"him
Carthew shot in the companion, and the one I caught in
the jaw on the main top-gallant?"

"Holdorsen and Wallen," said some one.

"Well, they're drowned," continued Wicks; "drowned
alongside trying to lower a boat.  We had a bit of a
squall last night; that's how we got ashore." He ran
and squinted at the compass.  "Squall out of nor'-nor'-
west-half-west; blew hard; every one in a mess, falls
jammed, and Holdorsen and Wallen spilt overboard.  See?
Clear your blooming heads!" He was in his jacket now,
and spoke with a feverish impatience and contention
that rang like anger.

"But is it safe?" asked Tommy.

"Safe?" bellowed the captain.  "We're standing on the
drop, you moon-calf! If that ship's bound for China
(which she don't look to be), we're lost as soon as we
arrive; if she's bound the other way, she comes from
China, don't she? Well, if there's a man on board of
her that ever clapped eyes on Trent, or any blooming
hand out of this brig, we'll all be in irons in two
hours.  Safe! no, it ain't safe; it's a beggarly last
chance to shave the gallows, and that's what it is."

At this convincing picture fear took hold on all.

"Hadn't we a hundred times better stay by the brig?"
cried Carthew.  "They would give us a hand to float her
off."

"You'll make me waste this holy day in chattering!"
cried Wicks.  "Look here, when I sounded the well this
morning there was two foot of water there against eight
inches last night.  What's wrong? I don't know; might
be nothing; might be the worst kind of smash.  And
then, there we are in for a thousand miles in an open
boat, if that's your taste!"

"But it may be nothing, and anyway their carpenters are
bound to help us repair her," argued Carthew.

"Moses Murphy!" cried the captain.  "How did she
strike?  Bows on, I believe.  And she's down by the
head now.  If any carpenter comes tinkering here,
where'll he go first? Down in the forepeak, I suppose!
And then, how about all that blood among the chandlery.
You would think you were a lot of members of Parliament
discussing Plimsoll; and you're just a pack of
murderers with the halter round your neck.  Any other
ass got any time to waste? No? Thank God for that! Now,
all hands! I'm going below, and I leave you here on
deck.  You get the boat-cover off that boat; then you
turn to and open the specie chest.  There are five of
us; get five chests, and divide the specie equal among
the five--put it at the bottom--and go at it like
tigers.  Get blankets, or canvas, or clothes, so it
won't rattle.  It'll make five pretty heavy chests, but
we can't help that.  You, Carthew--dash me!--You, Mr.
Goddedaal, come below.  We've our share before us."

And he cast another glance at the smoke, and hurried
below with Carthew at his heels.

The logs were found in the main cabin behind the canary
cage; two of them, one kept by Trent, one by Goddedaal.
Wicks looked first at one, then at the other, and his
lip stuck out.

"Can you forge hand of write?" he asked.

"No," said Carthew.

"There's luck for you--no more can I!" cried the
captain.  "Hullo! here's worse yet--here's this
Goddedaal up to date; he must have filled it in before
supper.  See for yourself: "Smoke observed.--Captain
Kirkup and five hands of the schooner CURRENCY
LASS." Ah! this is better," he added, turning to the
other log.  "The old man ain't written anything for a
clear fortnight.  We'll dispose of your log altogether,
Mr. Goddedaal, and stick to the old man's--to mine, I
mean; only I ain't going to write it up, for reasons of
my own.  You are.  You're going to sit down right here
and fill it in the way I tell you."

"How to explain the loss of mine?" asked Carthew.

"You never kept one," replied the captain.  "Gross
neglect of duty.  You'll catch it."

"And the change of writing?" resumed Carthew.  "You
began; why do you stop and why do I come in? And you'll
have to sign anyway."

"O! I've met with an accident and can't write," replied
Wicks.

"An accident?" repeated Carthew.  "It don't sound
natural.  What kind of an accident?"

Wicks spread his hand face-up on the table, and drove a
knife through his palm.

"That kind of an accident," said he.  "There's a way to
draw to windward of most difficulties, if you've a head
on your shoulders." He began to bind up his hand with a
handkerchief, glancing the while over Goddedaal's log.
"Hullo!" he said; "this'll never do for us--this is an
impossible kind of a yarn.  Here, to begin with, is
this Captain Trent trying some fancy course, leastways
he's a thousand miles to south'ard of the great circle.
And here, it seems, he was close up with this island on
the 6th, sails all these days and is close up with it
again by daylight on the 11th."

"Goddedaal said they had the deuce's luck," said
Carthew.

"Well, it don't look like real life--that's all I can
say," returned Wicks.

"It's the way it was, though," argued Carthew.

"So it is; and what the better are we for that, if it
don't look so?" cried the captain, sounding unwonted
depths of art criticism.  "Here! try and see if you can
tie this bandage; I'm bleeding like a pig."

As Carthew sought to adjust the handkerchief, his
patient seemed sunk in a deep muse, his eye veiled, his
mouth partly open.  The job was yet scarce done when he
sprang to his feet.

"I have it," he broke out, and ran on deck.  "Here,
boys!" he cried, "we didn't come here on the 11th; we
came in here on the evening of the 6th, and lay here
ever since becalmed.  As soon as you've done with these
chests," he added, "you can turn to and roll out beef
and water-breakers; it'll look more shipshape--like as
if we were getting ready for the boat voyage."

And he was back again in a moment, cooking the new log.
Goddedaal's was then carefully destroyed, and a hunt
began for the ship's papers.  Of all the agonies of
that breathless morning this was perhaps the most
poignant.  Here and there the two men searched,
cursing, cannoning together, streaming with heat,
freezing with terror.  News was bawled down to them
that the ship was indeed a man-of-war, that she was
close up, that she was lowering a boat; and still they
sought in vain.  By what accident they missed the iron
box with the money and accounts is hard to fancy, but
they did.  And the vital documents were found at last
in the pocket of Trent's shore-going coat, where he had
left them when last he came on board.

Wicks smiled for the first time that morning.  "None
too soon," said he.  "And now for it! Take these others
for me; I'm afraid I'll get them mixed if I keep both."

"What are they?" Carthew asked.

"They're the Kirkup and CURRENCY LASS papers," he
replied.  "Pray God we need 'em again!"

"Boat's inside the lagoon, sir," hailed down Mac, who
sat by the skylight doing sentry while the others
worked.

"Time we were on deck, then, Mr. Goddedaal," said
Wicks.

As they turned to leave the cabin, the canary burst
into piercing song.

"My God!" cried Carthew, with a gulp, "we can't leave
that wretched bird to starve.  It was poor
Goddedaal's."

"Bring the bally thing along!" cried the captain.

And they went on deck.

An ugly brute of a modern man-of-war lay just without
the reef, now quite inert, now giving a flap or two
with her propeller.  Nearer hand, and just within, a
big white boat came skimming to the stroke of many
oars, her ensign blowing at the stern.

"One word more," said Wicks, after he had taken in the
scene.  "Mac, you've been in China ports? All right;
then you can speak for yourself The rest of you I kept
on board all the time we were in Hong Kong, hoping you
would desert; but you fooled me and stuck to the brig.
That'll make your lying come easier."

The boat was now close at hand; a boy in the stern
sheets was the only officer, and a poor one plainly,
for the men were talking as they pulled.

"Thank God, they've only sent a kind of a middy!"
ejaculated Wicks.--"Here you, Hardy, stand for'ard!
I'll have no deck hands on my quarter-deck," he cried,
and the reproof braced the whole crew like a cold
douche.

The boat came alongside with perfect neatness, and the
boy officer stepped on board, where he was respectfully
greeted by Wicks.

"You the master of this ship?" he asked.

"Yes, sir," said Wicks.  "Trent is my name, and this is
the FLYING SCUD of Hull."

"You seem to have got into a mess," said the officer.

"If you'll step aft with me here, I'll tell you all
there is of it," said Wicks.

"Why, man, you're shaking!" cried the officer.

"So would you, perhaps, if you had been in the same
berth," returned Wicks; and he told the whole story of
the rotten water, the long calm, the squall, the seamen
drowned, glibly and hotly, talking, with his head in
the lion's mouth, like one pleading in the dock.  I
heard the same tale from the same narrator in the
saloon in San Francisco; and even then his bearing
filled me with suspicion.  But the officer was no
observer.

"Well, the captain is in no end of a hurry," said he;
"but I was instructed to give you all the assistance in
my power, and signal back for another boat if more
hands were necessary.  What can I do for you?"

"O, we won't keep you no time," replied Wicks cheerily.
"We're all ready, bless you--men's chests, chronometer,
papers, and all."

"Do you mean to leave her?" cried the officer.  "She
seems to me to lie nicely; can't we get your ship off?"

"So we could, and no mistake; but how we're to keep her
afloat's another question.  Her bows is stove in,"
replied Wicks.

The officer coloured to the eyes.  He was incompetent,
and knew he was; thought he was already detected, and
feared to expose himself again.  There was nothing
further from his mind than that the captain should
deceive him; if the captain was pleased, why, so was
he.  "All right," he said.  "Tell your men to get their
chests aboard."

"Mr. Goddedaal, turn the hands to to get the chests
aboard," said Wicks.

The four Currency Lasses had waited the while on
tenter-hooks.  This welcome news broke upon them like
the sun at midnight; and Hadden burst into a storm of
tears, sobbing aloud as he heaved upon the tackle.  But
the work went none the less briskly forward; chests,
men, and bundles were got over the side with alacrity;
the boat was shoved off; it moved out of the long
shadow of the FLYING SCUD, and its bows were
pointed at the passage.

So much, then, was accomplished.  The sham wreck had
passed muster; they were clear of her, they were safe
away; and the water widened between them and her
damning evidences.  On the other hand, they were
drawing nearer to the ship of war, which might very
well prove to be their prison and a hangman's cart to
bear them to the gallows of which they had not yet
learned either whence she came or whither she was
bound; and the doubt weighed upon their heart like
mountains.

It was Wicks who did the talking.  The sound was small
in Carthew's ears, like the voices of men miles away,
but the meaning of each word struck home to him like a
bullet.  "What did you say your ship was?" inquired
Wicks.

"TEMPEST, don't you know?" returned the officer.

"'Don't you know?' What could that mean? Perhaps
nothing: perhaps that the ships had met already.  Wicks
took his courage in both hands.  "Where is she bound?"
he asked.

"O, we're just looking in at all these miserable
islands here," said the officer.  "Then we bear up for
San Francisco."

"O yes, you're from China ways, like us?" pursued
Wicks.

"Hong Kong," said the officer, and spat over the side.

Hong Kong.  Then the game was up; as soon as they set
foot on board they would be seized: the wreck would be
examined, the blood found, the lagoon perhaps dredged,
and the bodies of the dead would reappear to testify.
An impulse almost incontrollable bade Carthew rise from
the thwart, shriek out aloud, and leap overboard; it
seemed so vain a thing to dissemble longer, to dally
with the inevitable, to spin out some hundred seconds
more of agonised suspense, with shame and death thus
visibly approaching.  But the indomitable Wicks
persevered.  His face was like a skull, his voice
scarce recognisable; the dullest (it seemed) must have
remarked that tell-tale countenance and broken
utterance.  And still he persevered, bent upon
certitude.

"Nice place Hong Kong?" he said.

"I'm sure I don't know," said the officer.  "Only a day
and a half there; called for orders and came straight
on here.  Never heard of such a beastly cruise."  And
he went on describing and lamenting the untoward
fortunes of the TEMPEST.

But Wicks and Carthew heeded him no longer.  They lay
back on the gunwale, breathing deep, sunk in a stupor
of the body; the mind within still nimbly and agreeably
at work, measuring the past danger, exulting in the
present relief, numbering with ecstasy their ultimate
chances of escape.  For the voyage in the man-of-war
they were now safe, yet a few more days of peril,
activity and presence of mind in San Francisco, and the
whole horrid tale was blotted out; and Wicks again
became Kirkup, and Goddedaal became Carthew--men beyond
all shot of possible suspicion, men who had never heard
of the FLYING SCUD, who had never been in sight of
Midway Reef.

So they came alongside, under many craning heads of
seamen and projecting mouths of guns; so they climbed
on board somnambulous, and looked blindly about them at
the tall spars, the white decks, and the crowding
ship's company, and heard men as from far away, and
answered them at random.

And then a hand fell softly on Carthew's shoulder.

"Why, Norrie, old chappie, where have you dropped from?
All the world's been looking for you.  Don't you know
you've come into your kingdom?"

He turned, beheld the face of his old schoolmate
Sebright, and fell unconscious at his feet.

The doctor was attending him, a while later, in
Lieutenant Sebright's cabin, when he came to himself.
He opened his eyes, looked hard in the strange face,
and spoke with a kind of solemn vigour.

"Brown must go the same road," he said, "now or never."
And then paused, and his reason coming to him with more
clearness, spoke again: "What was I saying? Where am I?
Who are you?"

"I am the doctor of the TEMPEST," was the reply.
"You are in Lieutenant Sebright's berth, and you may
dismiss all concern from your mind.  Your troubles are
over, Mr. Carthew."

"Why do you call me that?" he asked.  "Ah, I remember--
Sebright knew me!  O!" and he groaned and shook.  "Send
down Wicks to me; I must see Wicks at once!" he cried,
and seized the doctor's wrist with unconscious
violence.

"All right," said the doctor.  "Let's make a bargain.
You swallow down this draught, and I'll go and fetch
Wicks."

And he gave the wretched man an opiate that laid him
out within ten minutes, and in all likelihood preserved
his reason.

It was the doctor's next business to attend to Mac; and
he found occasion, while engaged upon his arm, to make
the man repeat the names of the rescued crew.  It was
now the turn of the captain, and there is no doubt he
was no longer the man that we have seen; sudden relief,
the sense of perfect safety, a square meal, and a good
glass of grog, had all combined to relax his vigilance
and depress his energy.

"When was this done?" asked the doctor, looking at the
wound.

"More than a week ago," replied Wicks, thinking singly
of his log.

"Hey?" cried the doctor, and he raised his hand and
looked the captain in the eyes.

"I don't remember exactly," faltered Wicks.

And at this remarkable falsehood the suspicions of the
doctor were at once quadrupled.

"By the way, which of you is called Wicks?" he asked
easily.

"What's that?" snapped the captain, falling white as
paper.

"Wicks," repeated the doctor; "which of you is he?
That's surely a plain question."

Wicks stared upon his questioner in silence.

"Which is Brown, then?" pursued the doctor.

"What are you talking of? what do you mean by this?"
cried Wicks, snatching his half-bandaged hand away, so
that the blood sprinkled in the surgeon's face.

He did not trouble to remove it; looking straight at
his victim, he pursued his questions.  "Why must Brown
go the same way?" he asked.

Wicks fell trembling on a locker.  "Carthew told you,"
he cried.

"No," replied the doctor, "he has not.  But he and you
between you have set me thinking, and I think there's
something wrong."

"Give me some grog," said Wicks.  "I'd rather tell than
have you find out.  I'm damned if it's half as bad as
what any one would think."

And with the help of a couple of strong grogs, the
tragedy of the FLYING SCUD was told for the first
time.

It was a fortunate series of accidents that brought the
story to the doctor.  He understood and pitied the
position of these wretched men, and came wholeheartedly
to their assistance.  He and Wicks and Carthew (so soon
as he was recovered) held a hundred councils and
prepared a policy for San Francisco.  It was he who
certified "Goddedaal" unfit to be moved, and smuggled
Carthew ashore under cloud of night; it was he who kept
Wicks's wound open that he might sign with his left
hand; he who took all their Chile silver and (in the
course of the first day) got it converted for them into
portable gold.  He used his influence in the wardroom
to keep the tongues of the young officers in order, so
that Carthew's identification was kept out of the
papers.  And he rendered another service yet more
important.  He had a friend in San Francisco, a
millionaire; to this man he privately presented Carthew
as a young gentleman come newly into a huge estate, but
troubled with Jew debts which he was trying to settle
on the quiet.  The millionaire came readily to help;
and it was with his money that the wrecker gang was to
be fought.  What was his name, out of a thousand
guesses? It was Douglas Longhurst.

As long as the Currency Lasses could all disappear
under fresh names, it did not greatly matter if the
brig were bought, or any small discrepancies should be
discovered in the wrecking.  The identification of one
of their number had changed all that.  The smallest
scandal must now direct attention to the movements of
Norris.  It would be asked how he who had sailed in a
schooner from Sydney had turned up so shortly after in
a brig out of Hong Kong; and from one question to
another all his original shipmates were pretty sure to
be involved.  Hence arose naturally the idea of
preventing danger, profiting by Carthew's new-found
wealth, and buying the brig under an ALIAS; and it
was put in hand with equal energy and caution.  Carthew
took lodgings alone under a false name, picked up
Bellairs at random, and commissioned him to buy the
wreck.

"What figure, if you please?" the lawyer asked.

"I want it bought," replied Carthew.  "I don't mind
about the price."

"Any price is no price," said Bellairs.  "Put a name
upon it."

"Call it ten thousand pounds then, if you like!" said
Carthew.

In the meanwhile the captain had to walk the streets,
appear in the consulate, be cross-examined by Lloyd's
agent, be badgered about his lost accounts, sign papers
with his left hand, and repeat his lies to every
skipper in San Francisco, not knowing at what moment he
might run into the arms of some old friend who should
hail him by the name of Wicks, or some new enemy who
should be in a position to deny him that of Trent.  And
the latter incident did actually befall him, but was
transformed by his stout countenance into an element of
strength.  It was in the consulate (of all untoward
places) that he suddenly heard a big voice inquiring
for Captain Trent.  He turned with the customary
sinking at his heart.

"YOU ain't Captain Trent!" said the stranger,
falling back.  "Why, what's all this? They tell me
you're passing off as Captain Trent--Captain Jacob
Trent--a man I knew since I was that high."

"O, you're thinking of my uncle as had the bank in
Cardiff," replied Wicks, with desperate APLOMB.

"I declare I never knew he had a nevvy!" said the
stranger.

"Well, you see he has!" says Wicks.

"And how is the old man?" asked the other.

"Fit as a fiddle," answered Wicks, and was opportunely
summoned by the clerk.

This alert was the only one until the morning of the
sale, when he was once more alarmed by his interview
with Jim; and it was with some anxiety that he attended
the sale, knowing only that Carthew was to be
represented, but neither who was to represent him nor
what were the instructions given.  I suppose Captain
Wicks is a good life.  In spite of his personal
appearance and his own known uneasiness, I suppose he
is secure from apoplexy, or it must have struck him
there and then, as he looked on at the stages of that
insane sale and saw the old brig and her not very
valuable cargo knocked down at last to a total stranger
for ten thousand pounds.

It had been agreed that he was to avoid Carthew, and
above all Carthew's lodging, so that no connection
might be traced between the crew and the pseudonymous
purchaser.  But the hour for caution was gone by, and
he caught a tram and made all speed to Mission Street.

Carthew met him in the door.

"Come away, come away from here," said Carthew; and
when they were clear of the house, "All's up!" he
added.

"O, you've heard of the sale, then?" said Wicks.

"The sale!" cried Carthew.  "I declare I had forgotten
it." And he told of the voice in the telephone, and the
maddening question: "Why did you want to buy the
FLYING SCUD?"

This circumstance, coming on the back of the monstrous
improbabilities of the sale, was enough to have shaken
the reason of Immanuel Kant.  The earth seemed banded
together to defeat them; the stones and the boys on the
street appeared to be in possession of their guilty
secret.  Flight was their one thought.  The treasure of
the CURRENCY LASS they packed in waist-belts,
expressed their chests to an imaginary address in
British Columbia, and left San Francisco the same
afternoon, booked for Los Angeles.

The next day they pursued their retreat by the Southern
Pacific route, which Carthew followed on his way to
England; but the other three branched off for Mexico.

                       EPILOGUE
                           
                           
                    TO WILL H. LOW

DEAR Low,--The other day (at Manihiki of all places) I
had the pleasure to meet Dodd.  We sat some two hours
in the neat little toy-like church, set with pews after
the manner of Europe, and inlaid with mother-of-pearl
in the style (I suppose) of the New Jerusalem.  The
natives, who are decidedly the most attractive
inhabitants of this planet, crowded round us in the
pew, and fawned upon and patted us; and here it was I
put my questions, and Dodd answered me.

I first carried him back to the night in Barbizon when
Carthew told his story, and asked him what was done
about Bellairs.  It seemed he had put the matter to his
friend at once, and that Carthew had taken to it with
an inimitable lightness.  "He's poor and I'm rich," he
had said.  "I can afford to smile at him.  I go
somewhere else, that's all--somewhere that's far away
and dear to get to.  Persia would be found to answer, I
fancy.  No end of a place, Persia.  Why not come with
me?" And they had left the next afternoon for
Constantinople, on their way to Teheran.  Of the
shyster, it is only known (by a newspaper paragraph)
that he returned somehow to San Francisco and died in
the hospital.

"Now there's another point," said I.  "There you are
off to Persia with a millionaire, and rich yourself.
How come you here in the South Seas, running a trader?"

He said, with a smile, that I had not yet heard of
Jim's last bankruptcy.  "I was about cleaned out once
more," he said; "and then it was that Carthew had this
schooner built and put me in as supercargo.  It's his
yacht and it's my trader; and as nearly all the
expenses go to the yacht, I do pretty well.  As for
Jim, he's right again; one of the best businesses, they
say, in the West--fruit, cereals, and real estate; and
he has a Tartar of a partner now--Nares, no less.
Nares will keep him straight, Nares has a big head.
They have their country places next door at Saucelito,
and I stayed with them time about, the last time I was
on the coast.  Jim had a paper of his own--I think he
has a notion of being senator one of these days--and he
wanted me to throw up the schooner and come and write
his editorials.  He holds strong views on the State
Constitution, and so does Mamie."

"And what became of the other three Currency Lasses
after they left Carthew?" I inquired.

"Well, it seems they had a huge spree in the city of
Mexico," said Dodd; "and then Hadden and the Irishman
took a turn at the gold-fields in Venezuela, and Wicks
went on alone to Valparaiso.  There's a Kirkup in the
Chilean navy to this day; I saw the name in the papers
about the Balmaceda war.  Hadden soon wearied of the
mines, and I met him the other day in Sydney.  The last
news he had from Venezuela, Mac had been knocked over
in an attack on the gold train.  So there's only the
three of them left, for Amalu scarcely counts.  He
lives on his own land in Maui, at the side of Hale-a-
ka-la, where he keeps Goddedaal's canary; and they say
he sticks to his dollars, which is a wonder in a
Kanaka.  He had a considerable pile to start with, for
not only Hemstead's share but Carthew's was divided
equally among the other four--Mac being counted."

"What did that make for him altogether?" I could not
help asking, for I had been diverted by the number of
calculations in his narrative.

"One hundred and twenty-eight pounds nineteen shillings
and elevenpence-halfpenny," he replied with composure;
"that's leaving out what little he won at Van John.
It's something for a Kanaka, you know."

And about that time we were at last obliged to yield to
the solicitations of our native admirers, and go to the
pastor's house to drink green cocoa-nuts.  The ship I
was in was sailing the same night, for Dodd had been
beforehand and got all the shell in the island; and
though he pressed me to desert and return with him to
Auckland (whither he was now bound to pick up Carthew)
I was firm in my refusal.

The truth is, since I have been mixed up with Havens
and Dodd in the design to publish the latter's
narrative, I seem to feel no want for Carthew's
society.  Of course, I am wholly modern in sentiment,
and think nothing more noble than to publish people's
private affairs at so much a line.  They like it, and
if they don't they ought to.  But a still small voice
keeps telling me they will not like it always, and
perhaps not always stand it.  Memory besides supplies
me with the face of a pressman (in the sacred phrase)
who proved altogether too modern for one of his
neighbours, and

     Qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum
     --nos proecedens--

as it were, marshalling us our way.  I am in no haste
to be that man's successor.  Carthew has a record as "a
clane shot," and for some years Samoa will be good
enough for me.

We agreed to separate, accordingly; but he took me on
board in his own boat with the hardwood fittings, and
entertained me on the way with an account of his late
visit to Butaritari, whither he had gone on an errand
for Carthew, to see how Topelius was getting along,
and, if necessary, to give him a helping hand.  But
Topelius was in great force, and had patronised and--
well--out-manoeuvred him.

"Carthew will be pleased," said Dodd; "for there's no
doubt they oppressed the man abominably when they were
in the CURRENCY LASS.  It's diamond cut diamond
now."

This, I think, was the most of the news I got from my
friend Loudon; and I hope I was well inspired, and have
put all the questions to which you would be curious to
hear an answer.

But there is one more that I daresay you are burning to
put to myself; and that is, what your own name is doing
in this place, cropping up (as it were uncalled for) on
the stern of our poor ship? If you were not born in
Arcadia, you linger in fancy on its margin; your
thoughts are busied with the flutes of antiquity, with
daffodils, and the classic poplar, and the footsteps of
the nymphs, and the elegant and moving aridity of
ancient art.  Why dedicate to you a tale of a cast so
modern:--full of details of our barbaric manners and
unstable morals; full of the need and the lust of
money, so that there is scarce a page in which the
dollars do not jingle; full of the unrest and movement
of our century, so that the reader is hurried from
place to place and sea to sea, and the book is less a
romance than a panorama--in the end, as blood-
bespattered as an epic?

Well, you are a man interested in all problems of art,
even the most vulgar; and it may amuse you to hear the
genesis and growth of THE WRECKER.  On board the
schooner EQUATOR, almost within sight of the
Johnstone Islands (if anybody knows where these are),
and on a moonlit night when it was a joy to be alive,
the authors were amused with several stories of the
sales of wrecks.  The subject tempted them; and they
sat apart in the alleyway to discuss its possibilities.
"What a tangle it would make," suggested one, "if the
wrong crew were aboard.  But how to get the wrong crew
there?"--"I have it!" cried the other; "the so-and-so
affair!" For not so many months before, and not so many
hundred miles from where we were then sailing, a
proposition almost tantamount to that of Captain Trent
had been made by a British skipper to some British
castaways.

Before we turned in, the scaffolding of the tale had
been put together.  But the question of treatment was
as usual more obscure.  We had long been at once
attracted and repelled by that very modern form of the
police novel or mystery story, which consists in
beginning your yarn anywhere but at the beginning, and
finishing it anywhere but at the end; attracted by its
peculiar interest when done, and the peculiar
difficulties that attend its execution; repelled by
that appearance of insincerity and shallowness of tone,
which seems its inevitable drawback.  For the mind of
the reader, always bent to pick up clues, receives no
impression of reality or life, rather of an airless,
elaborate mechanism; and the book remains enthralling,
but insignificant, like a game of chess, not a work of
human art.  It seemed the cause might lie partly in the
abrupt attack; and that if the tale were gradually
approached, some of the characters introduced (as it
were) beforehand, and the book started in the tone of a
novel of manners and experience briefly treated, this
defect might be lessened and our mystery seem to inhere
in life.  The tone of the age, its movement, the
mingling of races and classes in the dollar hunt, the
fiery and not quite unromantic struggle for existence,
with its changing trades and scenery, and two types in
particular, that of the American handy-man of business
and that of the Yankee merchant sailor--we agreed to
dwell upon at some length, and make the woof to our not
very precious warp.  Hence Dodd's father, and
Pinkerton, and Nares, and the Dromedary picnics, and
the railway work in New South Wales--the last an
unsolicited testimonial from the powers that be, for
the tale was half written before I saw Carthew's squad
toil in the rainy cutting at South Clifton, or heard
from the engineer of his "young swell."  After we had
invented at some expense of time this method of
approaching and fortifying our police novel, it
occurred to us it had been invented previously by some
one else, and was in fact--however painfully different
the results may seem--the method of Charles Dickens in
his later work.

I see you staring.  Here, you will say, is a prodigious
quantity of theory to our halfpenny-worth of police
novel; and withal not a shadow of an answer to your
question.

Well, some of us like theory.  After so long a piece of
practice, these may be indulged for a few pages.  And
the answer is at hand.  It was plainly desirable, from
every point of view of convenience and contrast, that
our hero and narrator should partly stand aside from
those with whom he mingles, and be but a pressed-man in
the dollar hunt.  Thus it was that Loudon Dodd became a
student of the plastic arts, and that our globe-
trotting story came to visit Paris and look in at
Barbizon.  And thus it is, dear Low, that your name
appears in the address of this epilogue.

For sure, if any person can here appreciate and read
between the lines, it must be you--and one other, our
friend.  All the dominos will be transparent to your
better knowledge; the statuary contract will be to you
a piece of ancient history; and you will not have now
heard for the first time of the dangers of Roussillon.
Dead leaves from the Bas Breau, echoes from Lavenue's
and the Rue Racine, memories of a common past, let
these be your bookmarkers as you read.  And if you care
for naught else in the story, be a little pleased to
breathe once more for a moment the airs of our youth.

The End.

.

Colophon

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