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