Part 1 out of 4
Our version cptcr10.txt was prepared by Bill Stoddard
A STORY OF THE GRAND BANKS
by Rudyard Kipling
JAMES CONLAND, M.D.,
I ploughed the land with horses,
But my heart was ill at ease,
For the old sea-faring men
Came to me now and then,
With their sagas of the seas.
The weather door of the smoking-room had been left open to the
North Atlantic fog, as the big liner rolled and lifted, whistling
to warn the fishing-fleet.
"That Cheyne boy's the biggest nuisance aboard," said a man in a
frieze overcoat, shutting the door with a bang. "He isn't wanted
here. He's too fresh."
A white-haired German reached for a sandwich, and grunted between
bites: "I know der breed. Ameriga is full of dot kind. I dell you
you should imbort ropes' ends free under your dariff."
"Pshaw! There isn't any real harm to him. He's more to be pitied
than anything," a man from New York drawled, as he lay at full
length along the cushions under the wet skylight. "They've dragged
him around from hotel to hotel ever since he was a kid. I was
talking to his mother this morning. She's a lovely lady, but she
don't pretend to manage him. He's going to Europe to finish his
"Education isn't begun yet." This was a Philadelphian, curled up
in a corner. "That boy gets two hundred a month pocket-money, he
told me. He isn't sixteen either."
"Railroads, his father, aind't it?" said the German.
"Yep. That and mines and lumber and shipping. Built one place at
San Diego, the old man has; another at Los Angeles; owns half a
dozen railroads, half the lumber on the Pacific slope, and lets
his wife spend the money," the Philadelphian went on lazily. "The
West don't suit her, she says. She just tracks around with the boy
and her nerves, trying to find out what'll amuse him, I guess.
Florida, Adirondacks, Lakewood, Hot Springs, New York, and round
again. He isn't much more than a second-hand hotel clerk now. When
he's finished in Europe he'll be a holy terror."
"What's the matter with the old man attending to him personally?"
said a voice from the frieze ulster.
"Old man's piling up the rocks. 'Don't want to be disturbed, I
guess. He'll find out his error a few years from now. 'Pity,
because there's a heap of good in the boy if you could get at it."
"Mit a rope's end; mit a rope's end!" growled the German.
Once more the door banged, and a slight, slim-built boy perhaps
fifteen years old, a half-smoked cigarette hanging from one corner
of his mouth, leaned in over the high footway. His pasty yellow
complexion did not show well on a person of his years, and his
look was a mixture of irresolution, bravado, and very cheap
smartness. He was dressed in a cherry-coloured blazer,
knickerbockers, red stockings, and bicycle shoes, with a red
flannel cap at the back of the head. After whistling between his
teeth, as he eyed the company, he said in a loud, high voice:
"Say, it's thick outside. You can hear the fish-boats squawking
all around us. Say, wouldn't it be great if we ran down one?"
"Shut the door, Harvey," said the New Yorker. "Shut the door and
stay outside. You're not wanted here."
"Who'll stop me?" he answered, deliberately. "Did you pay for my
passage, Mister Martin? 'Guess I've as good right here as the next
He picked up some dice from a checkerboard and began throwing,
right hand against left.
"Say, gen'elmen, this is deader'n mud. Can't we make a game of
poker between us?"
There was no answer, and he puffed his cigarette, swung his legs,
and drummed on the table with rather dirty fingers. Then he pulled
out a roll of bills as if to count them.
"How's your mamma this afternoon?" a man said. "I didn't see her
"In her state-room, I guess. She's 'most always sick on the ocean.
I'm going to give the stewardess fifteen dollars for looking after
her. I don't go down more 'n I can avoid. It makes me feel
mysterious to pass that butler's-pantry place. Say, this is the
first time I've been on the ocean."
"Oh, don't apologize, Harvey."
"Who's apologizing? This is the first time I've crossed the ocean,
gen'elmen, and, except the first day, I haven't been sick one
little bit. No, sir!" He brought down his fist with a triumphant
bang, wetted his finger, and went on counting the bills.
"Oh, you're a high-grade machine, with the writing in plain
sight," the Philadelphian yawned. "You'll blossom into a credit to
your country if you don't take care."
"I know it. I'm an American - first, last, and all the time. I'll
show 'em that when I strike Europe. Piff! My cig's out. I can't
smoke the truck the steward sells. Any gen'elman got a real
Turkish cig on him?"
The chief engineer entered for a moment, red, smiling, and wet.
"Say, Mac," cried Harvey cheerfully, "how are we hitting it?"
"Vara much in the ordinary way," was the grave reply. "The young
are as polite as ever to their elders, an' their elders are e'en
tryin' to appreciate it."
A low chuckle came from a corner. The German opened his
cigar-case and handed a skinny black cigar to Harvey.
"Dot is der broper apparatus to smoke, my young friendt," he said.
"You vill dry it? Yes? Den you vill be efer so happy."
Harvey lit the unlovely thing with a flourish: he felt that he was
getting on in grownup society.
"It would take more 'n this to keel me over," he said, ignorant that
he was lighting that terrible article, a Wheeling 'stogie'.
"Dot we shall bresently see," said the German. "Where are we
now, Mr. Mactonal'?"
"Just there or thereabouts, Mr. Schaefer," said the engineer.
"We'll be on the Grand Bank to-night; but in a general way o'
speakin', we're all among the fishing-fleet now. We've shaved
three dories an' near scalped the boom off a Frenchman since
noon, an' that's close sailing', ye may say."
"You like my cigar, eh?" the German asked, for Harvey's eyes were
full of tears.
"Fine, full flavor," he answered through shut teeth. "Guess we've
slowed down a little, haven't we? I'll skip out and see what the
"I might if I vhas you," said the German.
Harvey staggered over the wet decks to the nearest rail. He was
very unhappy; but he saw the deck-steward lashing chairs together,
and, since he had boasted before the man that he was never
seasick, his pride made him go aft to the second-saloon deck at
the stern, which was finished in a turtle-back. The deck was
deserted, and he crawled to the extreme end of it, near the
flag-pole. There he doubled up in limp agony, for the Wheeling
"stogie" joined with the surge and jar of the screw to sieve out
his soul. His head swelled; sparks of fire danced before his eyes;
his body seemed to lose weight, while his heels wavered in the
breeze. He was fainting from seasickness, and a roll of the ship
tilted him over the rail on to the smooth lip of the turtle-back.
Then a low, gray mother-wave swung out of the fog, tucked Harvey
under one arm, so to speak, and pulled him off and away to
leeward; the great green closed over him, and he went quietly to
He was roused by the sound of a dinner-horn such as they used to
blow at a summer-school he had once attended in the Adirondacks.
Slowly he remembered that he was Harvey Cheyne, drowned and dead
in mid-ocean, but was too weak to fit things together. A new smell
filled his nostrils; wet and clammy chills ran down his back, and
he was helplessly full of salt water. When he opened his eyes, he
perceived that he was still on the top of the sea, for it was
running round him in silver-coloured hills, and he was lying on a
pile of half-dead fish, looking at a broad human back clothed in a
"It's no good," thought the boy. "I'm dead, sure enough, and this
thing is in charge."
He groaned, and the figure turned its head, showing a pair of little
gold rings half hidden in curly black hair.
"Aha! You feel some pretty well now?" it said. "Lie still so: we
With a swift jerk he sculled the flickering boat-head on to a
foamless sea that lifted her twenty full feet, only to slide her
into a glassy pit beyond. But this mountain-climbing did not interrupt
blue-jersey's talk. "Fine good job, I say, that I catch you. Eh,
wha-at? Better good job, I say, your boat not catch me. How you
come to fall out?"
"I was sick," said Harvey; "sick, and couldn't help it."
"Just in time I blow my horn, and your boat she yaw a little. Then
I see you come all down. Eh, wha-at? I think you are cut into
baits by the screw, but you dreeft - dreeft to me, and I make a
big fish of you. So you shall not die this time."
"Where am I?" said Harvey, who could not see that life was
particularly safe where he lay.
"You are with me in the dory - Manuel my name, and I come from
schooner 'We're Here' of Gloucester. I live to Gloucester. By-and-by
we get supper. Eh, wha-at?"
He seemed to have two pairs of hands and a head of cast-iron, for,
not content with blowing through a big conch-shell, he must needs
stand up to it, swaying with the sway of the flat-bottomed dory,
and send a grinding, thuttering shriek through the fog. How long
this entertainment lasted, Harvey could not remember, for he lay
back terrified at the sight of the smoking swells. He fancied he
heard a gun and a horn and shouting. Something bigger than the
dory, but quite as lively, loomed alongside. Several voices talked
at once; he was dropped into a dark, heaving hole, where men in
oilskins gave him a hot drink and took off his clothes, and he
When he waked he listened for the first breakfast-bell on the
steamer, wondering why his state-room had grown so small. Turning,
he looked into a narrow, triangular cave, lit by a lamp hung
against a huge square beam. A three-cornered table within arm's
reach ran from the angle of the bows to the foremast. At the after end,
behind a well-used Plymouth stove, sat a boy about his own age,
with a flat red face and a pair of twinkling gray eyes. He was
dressed in a blue jersey and high rubber boots. Several pairs of
the same sort of foot-wear, an old cap, and some worn-out woollen
socks lay on the floor, and black and yellow oilskins swayed to
and fro beside the bunks. The place was packed as full of smells
as a bale is of cotton. The oilskins had a peculiarly thick
flavor of their own which made a sort of background to the smells
of fried fish, burnt grease, paint, pepper, and stale tobacco; but
these, again, were all hooped together by one encircling smell of
ship and salt water. Harvey saw with disgust that there were no
sheets on his bed-place. He was lying on a piece of dingy ticking
full of lumps and nubbles. Then, too, the boat's motion was not
that of a steamer. She was neither sliding nor rolling, but rather
wriggling herself about in a silly, aimless way, like a colt at
the end of a halter. Water-noises ran by close to his ear, and
beams creaked and whined about him. All these things made him
grunt despairingly and think of his mother.
"Feelin' better?" said the boy, with a grin. "Hev some coffee?" He
brought a tin cup full and sweetened it with molasses.
"Isn't there milk?" said Harvey, looking round the dark double
tier of bunks as if he expected to find a cow there.
"Well, no," said the boy. "Ner there ain't likely to be till
'baout mid-September. 'Tain't bad coffee. I made it."
Harvey drank in silence, and the boy handed him a plate full of
pieces of crisp fried pork, which he ate ravenously.
"I've dried your clothes. Guess they've shrunk some," said the
boy. "They ain't our style much - none of 'em. Twist round an' see
if you're hurt any."
Harvey stretched himself in every direction, but could not report
"That's good," the boy said heartily. "Fix yerself an' go on deck.
Dad wants to see you. I'm his son,--Dan, they call me,--an' I'm
cook's helper an' everything else aboard that's too dirty for the
men. There ain't no boy here 'cep' me sence Otto went overboard -
an' he was only a Dutchy, an' twenty year old at that. How'd you
come to fall off in a dead flat ca'am?"
"'Twasn't a calm," said Harvey, sulkily. "It was a gale, and I was
seasick. Guess I must have rolled over the rail."
"There was a little common swell yes'day an' last night," said the
boy. "But ef thet's your notion of a gale----" He whistled. "You'll
know more 'fore you're through. Hurry! Dad's waitin'."
Like many other unfortunate young people, Harvey had never in all
his life received a direct order--never, at least, without long,
and sometimes tearful, explanations of the advantages of obedience
and the reasons for the request. Mrs. Cheyne lived in fear of
breaking his spirit, which, perhaps, was the reason that she
herself walked on the edge of nervous prostration. He could not
see why he should be expected to hurry for any man's pleasure, and
said so. "Your dad can come down here if he's so anxious to talk
to me. I want him to take me to New York right away. It'll pay
Dan opened his eyes as the size and beauty of this joke dawned on
him. "Say, Dad!" he shouted up the foc'sle hatch, "he says you
kin slip down an' see him ef you're anxious that way. 'Hear, Dad?"
The answer came back in the deepest voice Harvey had ever heard
from a human chest: "Quit foolin', Dan, and send him to me."
Dan sniggered, and threw Harvey his warped bicycle shoes. There
was something in the tones on the deck that made the boy dissemble
his extreme rage and console himself with the thought of gradually
unfolding the tale of his own and his father's wealth on the
voyage home. This rescue would certainly make him a hero among his
friends for life. He hoisted himself on deck up a perpendicular
ladder, and stumbled aft, over a score of obstructions, to where a
small, thick-set, clean-shaven man with gray eyebrows sat on a
step that led up to the quarter-deck. The swell had passed in the
night, leaving a long, oily sea, dotted round the horizon with the
sails of a dozen fishing-boats. Between them lay little black
specks, showing where the dories were out fishing. The schooner,
with a triangular riding-sail on the mainmast, played easily at
anchor, and except for the man by the cabin-roof -"house" they
call it--she was deserted.
"Mornin'--Good afternoon, I should say. You've nigh slep' the
clock round, young feller," was the greeting.
"Mornin'," said Harvey. He did not like being called "young feller";
and, as one rescued from drowning, expected sympathy. His
mother suffered agonies whenever he got his feet wet; but this
mariner did not seem excited.
"Naow let's hear all abaout it. It's quite providential, first an' last,
fer all concerned. What might be your name? Where from (we
mistrust it's Noo York), an' where baound (we mistrust it's
Harvey gave his name, the name of the steamer, and a short history
of the accident, winding up with a demand to be taken back
immediately to New York, where his father would pay anything
any one chose to name.
"H'm," said the shaven man, quite unmoved by the end of Harvey's
speech. "I can't say we think special of any man, or boy even,
that falls overboard from that kind o' packet in a flat ca'am.
Least of all when his excuse is that he's seasick."
"Excuse!" cried Harvey. "D'you suppose I'd fall overboard into
your dirty little boat for fun?"
"Not knowin' what your notions o' fun may be, I can't rightly say,
young feller. But if I was you, I wouldn't call the boat which,
under Providence, was the means o' savin' ye, names. In the first
place, it's blame irreligious. In the second, it's annoyin' to my
feelin's--an' I'm Disko Troop o' the 'We're Here' o' Gloucester,
which you don't seem rightly to know."
"I don't know and I don't care," said Harvey. "I'm grateful enough
for being saved and all that, of course! but I want you to
understand that the sooner you take me back to New York the
better it'll pay you."
"Meanin'-haow?" Troop raised one shaggy eyebrow over a
suspiciously mild blue eye.
"Dollars and cents," said Harvey, delighted to think that he was
making an impression. "Cold dollars and cents." He thrust a hand
into a pocket, and threw out his stomach a little, which was his
way of being grand. "You've done the best day's work you ever did
in your life when you pulled me in. I'm all the son Harvey Cheyne
"He's bin favoured," said Disko, dryly.
"And if you don't know who Harvey Cheyne is, you don't know
much--that's all. Now turn her around and let's hurry."
Harvey had a notion that the greater part of America was filled
with people discussing and envying his father's dollars.
"Mebbe I do, an' mebbe I don't. Take a reef in your stummick,
young feller. It's full o' my vittles."
Harvey heard a chuckle from Dan, who was pretending to be busy
by the stump-foremast, and blood rushed to his face. "We'll pay for
that too," he said. "When do you suppose we shall get to New
"I don't use Noo York any. Ner Boston. We may see Eastern Point
about September; an' your pa--I'm real sorry I hain't heerd tell
of him--may give me ten dollars efter all your talk. Then o'
course he mayn't."
"Ten dollars! Why, see here, I--" Harvey dived into his pocket for
the wad of bills. All he brought up was a soggy packet of
"Not lawful currency; an' bad for the lungs. Heave 'em overboard,
young feller, and try agin."
"It's been stolen!" cried Harvey, hotly.
"You'll hev to wait till you see your pa to reward me, then?"
"A hundred and thirty-four dollars--all stolen," said Harvey, hunting
wildly through his pockets. "Give them back."
A curious change flitted across old Troop's hard face. "What
might you have been doin' at your time o' life with one hundred
an' thirty-four dollars, young feller?"
"It was part of my pocket-money--for a month." This Harvey
thought would be a knock-down blow, and it was--indirectly.
"Oh! One hundred and thirty-four dollars is only part of his
pocket-money--for one month only! You don't remember hittin'
anything when you fell over, do you? Crack agin a stanchion,
le's say. Old man Hasken o' the East Wind"--Troop seemed to be
talking to himself--"he tripped on a hatch an' butted the
mainmast with his head--hardish. 'Baout three weeks afterwards,
old man Hasken he would hev it that the "East Wind" was a
commerce-destroyin' man-o'-war, an' so he declared war on Sable Island
because it was Bridish, an' the shoals run aout too far. They
sewed him up in a bed-bag, his head an' feet appearin', fer the
rest o' the trip, an' now he's to home in Essex playin' with
little rag dolls."
Harvey choked with rage, but Troop went on consolingly: "We're
sorry fer you. We're very sorry fer you--an' so young. We won't say
no more abaout the money, I guess."
"'Course you won't. You stole it."
"Suit yourself. We stole it ef it's any comfort to you. Naow,
abaout goin' back. Allowin' we could do it, which we can't, you
ain't in no fit state to go back to your home, an' we've jest come
on to the Banks, workin' fer our bread. We don't see the ha'af of
a hundred dollars a month, let alone pocket-money; an' with good
luck we'll be ashore again somewheres abaout the first weeks o'
"But--but it's May now, and I can't stay here doin' nothing just
because you want to fish. I can't, I tell you!"
"Right an' jest; jest an' right. No one asks you to do nothin'.
There's a heap as you can do, for Otto he went overboard on Le
Have. I mistrust he lost his grip in a gale we f'und there.
Anyways, he never come back to deny it. You've turned up, plain,
plumb providential for all concerned. I mistrust, though, there's
ruther few things you kin do. Ain't thet so?"
"I can make it lively for you and your crowd when we get ashore,"
said Harvey, with a vicious nod, murmuring vague threats about
"piracy," at which Troop almost--not quit--smiled.
"Excep' talk. I'd forgot that. You ain't asked to talk more'n
you've a mind to aboard the 'We're Here'. Keep your eyes open, an'
help Dan to do ez he's bid, an' sechlike, an' I'll give you-you
ain't wuth it, but I'll give--ten an' a ha'af a month; say
thirty-five at the end o' the trip. A little work will ease up
your head, and you kin tell us all abaout your dad an' your ma
an' your money afterwards."
"She's on the steamer," said Harvey, his eyes flling with tears.
"Take me to New York at once."
"Poor woman--poor woman! When she has you back she'll forgit it
all, though. There's eight of us on the 'We're Here', an' ef we went
back naow-it's more'n a thousand mile-we'd lose the season. The
men they wouldn't hev it, allowin' I was agreeable."
"But my father would make it all right."
"He'd try. I don't doubt he'd try," said Troop; "but a whole
season's catch is eight men's bread; an' you'll be better in your
health when you see him in the fall. Go forward an' help Dan. It's
ten an' a ha'af a month, e I said, an' o' course, all f'und,
same e the rest o' us."
"Do you mean I'm to clean pots and pans and things?" said Harvey.
"An' other things. You've no call to shout, young feller."
"I won't! My father will give you enough to buy this dirty little
fish-kettle"-Harvey stamped on the deck-"ten times over, if
you take me to New York safe; and-and-you're in a hundred and
thirty by me, anyhow."
"Ha<,w?" said Troop, the iron face darkening.
"How? You know how, well enough. On top of all that, you want
me to do menial work"--Harvey was very proud of that
adjective--"till the Fall. I tell you I will not. You hear?"
Troop regarded the top of the mainmast with deep interest for a
while, as Harvey harangued fiercely all around him.
"Hsh!" he said at last. "I'm figurin' out my responsibilities in my
own mind. It's a matter o' jedgment."
Dan stole up and plucked Harvey by the elbow. "Don't go to
tamperin' with Dad any more," he pleaded. "You've called him a
thief two or three times over, an' he don't take that from any livin'
"I won't!" Harvey almost shrieked, disregarding the advice, and
still Troop meditated.
"Seems kinder unneighbourly," he said at last, his eye travelling
down to Harvey. "I - don't blame you, not a mite, young feeler, nor
you won't blame me when the bile's out o' your systim. Be sure you
sense what I say? Ten an' a ha'af fer second boy on the
schooner--an' all found--fer to teach you an' fer the sake o' your
health. Yes or no?"
"No!" said Harvey. "Take me back to New York or I'll see you "
He did not exactly remember what followed. He was lying in the
scuppers, holding on to a nose that bled while Troop looked down
on him serenely.
"Dan," he said to his son, "I was sot agin this young feeler
when I first saw him on account o' hasty jedgments. Never you be
led astray by hasty jedgments, Dan. Naow I'm sorry for him,
because he's clear distracted in his upper works. He ain't
responsible fer the names he's give me, nor fer his other
statements--nor fer jumpin' overboard, which I'm abaout ha'af
convinced he did. You he gentle with him, Dan, 'r I'll give you
twice what I've give him. Them hemmeridges clears the head. Let
him sluice it off!"
Troop went down solemnly into the cabin, where he and the older
men bunked, leaving Dan to comfort the luckless heir to thirty
"I warned ye," said Dan, as the drops fell thick and fast on the
dark, oiled planking. "Dad ain't noways hasty, but you fair earned
it. Pshaw! there's no sense takin' on so." Harvey's shoulders were
rising and falling in spasms of dry sobbing. "I know the feelin'.
First time Dad laid me out was the last--and that was my first trip.
Makes ye feel sickish an' lonesome. I know."
"It does," moaned Harvey. "That man's either crazy or drunk,
and--and I can't do anything."
"Don't say that to Dad," whispered Dan. "He's set agin all liquor,
an'--well, he told me you was the madman. What in creation made
you call him a thief? He's my dad."
Harvey sat up, mopped his nose, and told the story of the missing
wad of bills. "I'm not crazy," he wound up. "Only-your father has
never seen more than a five-dollar bill at a time, and my father
could buy up this boat once a week and never miss it."
"You don't know what the 'We're Here's' worth. Your dad must hev
a pile o' money. How did he git it? Dad sez loonies can't shake out
a straight yarn. Go ahead"
"In gold mines and things, West."
"I've read o' that kind o' business. Out West, too? Does he go
around with a pistol on a trick-pony, same ez the circus? They call
that the Wild West, and I've heard that their spurs an' bridles was
"You are a chump!" said Harvey, amused in spite of himself. "My
father hasn't any use for ponies. When he wants to ride he takes his
"No. His own private car, of course. You've seen a private car
some time in your life?"
"Slatin Beeman he hez one," said Dan, cautiously. "I saw her at
the Union Depot in Boston, with three niggers hoggin' her run.',
(Dan meant cleaning the windows.) "But Slatin Beeman he owns
'baout every railroad on Long Island, they say, an' they say he's
bought 'baout ha'af Noo Hampshire an' run a line fence around her,
an' filled her up with lions an' tigers an' bears an' buffalo an'
crocodiles an' such all. Slatin Beeman he's a millionaire. I've
seen his car. Yes?"
"Well, my father's what they call a multi-millionaire, and he has
two private cars. One's named for me, the 'Harvey', and one for my
mother, the 'Constance'."
"Hold on," said Dan. "Dad don't ever let me swear, but I guess you
can. 'Fore we go ahead, I want you to say hope you may die if
"Of course," said Harvey.
"The ain't 'niff. Say, 'Hope I may die if I ain't speaking' truth."'
"Hope I may die right here," said Harvey, "if every word I've
spoken isn't the cold truth."
"Hundred an' thirty-four dollars an' all?" said Dan. "I heard ye
talkin' to Dad, an' I ha'af looked you'd be swallered up, same's
Harvey protested himself red in the face. Dan was a shrewd young
person along his own lines, and ten minutes' questioning convinced
him that Harvey was not lying--much. Besides, he had bound
himself by the most terrible oath known to boyhood, and yet he
sat, alive, with a red-ended nose, in the scuppers, recounting
marvels upon marvels.
"Gosh!" said Dan at last from the very bottom of his soul when
Harvey had completed an inventory of the car named in his honour.
Then a grin of mischievous delight overspread his broad face. "I
believe you, Harvey. Dad's made a mistake fer once in his life."
"He has, sure," said Harvey, who was meditating an early revenge.
"He'll be mad clear through. Dad jest hates to be mistook in his
jedgments." Dan lay back and slapped his thigh. "Oh, Harvey, don't
you spile the catch by lettin' on."
"I don't want to be knocked down again. I'll get even with him,
"Never heard any man ever got even with dad. But he'd knock ye
down again sure. The more he was mistook the more he'd do it. But
gold-mines and pistols -"
"I never said a word about pistols," Harvey cut in, for he was on
"Thet's so; no more you did. Two private cars, then, one named fer
you an' one fer her; an' two hundred dollars a month pocket-money,
all knocked into the scuppers fer not workin' fer ten an' a ha'af
a month! It's the top haul o' the season." He exploded with
"Then I was right? "said Harvey, who thought he had found a
"You was wrong; the wrongest kind o' wrong! You take right hold
an' pitch in 'longside o' me, or you'll catch it, an' I'll catch
it fer backin' you up. Dad always gives me double helps 'cause I'm
his son, an' he hates favourin' folk. 'Guess you're kinder mad at
dad. I've been that way time an' again. But dad's a mighty jest
man; all the fleet says so."
"Looks like justice, this, don't it?" Harvey pointed to his
"Thet's nothin'. Lets the shore blood outer you. Dad did it for
yer health. Say, though, I can't have dealin's with a man that
thinks me or dad or any one on the 'We're Here's' a thief. We
ain't any common wharf-end crowd by any manner o' means. We're
fishermen, an' we've shipped together for six years an' more.
Don't you make any mistake on that! I told ye dad don't let me
swear. He calls 'em vain oaths, and pounds me; but ef I could say
what you said 'baout your pap an' his fixin's, I'd say that 'baout
your dollars. I dunno what was in your pockets when I dried your
kit, fer I didn't look to see; but I'd say, using the very same
words ez you used jest now, neither me nor dad - an' we was the
only two that teched you after you was brought aboard - knows
anythin' 'baout the money. Thet's my say. Naow?"
The bloodletting had certainly cleared Harvey's brain, and maybe
the loneliness of the sea had something to do with it. "That's all
right," he said. Then he looked down confusedly. "'Seems to me
that for a fellow just saved from drowning I haven't been over and
above grateful, Dan."
"Well, you was shook up and silly," said Dan. "Anyway, there was
only dad an' me aboard to see it. The cook he don't count."
"I might have thought about losing the bills that way," Harvey said,
half to himself, "instead of calling everybody in sight a thief.
Where's your father?"
"In the cabin. What d' you want o' him again?"
"You'll see," said Harvey, and he stepped, rather groggily, for
his head was still singing, to the cabin steps where the little
ship's clock hung in plain sight of the wheel. Troop, in the
chocolate-and-yellow painted cabin, was busy with a note-book and
an enormous black pencil which he sucked hard from time
"I haven't acted quite right," said Harvey, surprised at his own
"What's wrong naow?" said the skipper. "Walked into Dan, hev ye?"
"No; it's about you."
"I'm here to listen."
"Well, I--I'm here to take things back," said Harvey very quickly.
"When a man's saved from drowning---" he gulped.
"Ey? You'll make a man yet ef you go on this way."
"He oughtn't begin by calling people names."
"Jest an' right--right an' jest," said Troop, with the ghost of a dry
"So I'm here to say I'm sorry." Another big gulp.
Troop heaved himself slowly off the locker he was sitting on and
held out an eleven-inch hand. "I mistrusted 'twould do you sights o'
good; an' this shows I weren't mistook in my jedgments." A
smothered chuckle on deck caught his ear. "I am very seldom
mistook in my jedgments." The eleven-inch hand closed on
Harvey's, numbing it to the elbow. "We'll put a little more gristle to
that 'fore we've done with you, young feller; an' I don't think any
worse of ye fer anythin' the's gone by. You wasn't fairly
responsible. Go right abaout your business an' you won't take no
"You're white," said Dan, as Harvey regained the deck, flushed to
the tips of his ears.
"I don't feel it," said he.
"I didn't mean that way. I heard what Dad said. When Dad allows
he don't think the worse of any man, Dad's give himself away. He
hates to be mistook in his jedgments too. Ho! ho! Onct Dad has a
jedgment, he'd sooner dip his colours to the British than change it.
I'm glad it's settled right eend up. Dad's right when he says
he can't take you back. It's all the livin' we make here--fishin'.
The men'll be back like sharks after a dead whale in
ha'af an hour."
"What for?" said Harvey.
"Supper, o' course. Don't your stummick tell you? You've a heap to
"Guess I have," said Harvey, dolefully, looking at the tangle of
ropes and blocks overhead.
"She's a daisy," said Dan, enthusiastically, misunderstanding the
look. "Wait till our mainsail's bent, an' she walks home with all her
salt wet. There's some work first, though." He pointed down into
the darkness of the open main-hatch between the two masts.
"What's that for? It's all empty," said Harvey.
"You an' me an' a few more hev got to fill it," said Dan. "That's
where the fish goes."
"Alive?" said Harvey.
"Well, no. They're so's to be ruther dead-an' flat-an' salt. There's a
hundred hogshead o' salt in the bins, an' we hain't more'n covered
our dunnage to now."
"Where are the fish, though?"
"'In the sea they say, in the boats we pray,'" said Dan, quoting a
fisherman's proverb. "You come in last night with 'baout forty of
He pointed to a sort of wooden pen just in front of the
"You an' me we'll sluice that out when they're through. 'Send
we'll hev full pens to-night! I've seen her down ha'af a foot with
fish waitin' to clean, an' we stood to the tables till we was
splittin' ourselves instid o' them, we was so sleepy. Yes, they're
comm' in naow." Dan looked over the low bulwarks at half a dozen
dories rowing towards them over the shining, silky sea.
"I've never seen the sea from so low down," said Harvey. "It's fine."
The low sun made the water all purple and pinkish, with golden
lights on the barrels of the long swells, and blue and green
mackerel shades in the hollows. Each schooner in sight seemed to
be pulling her dories towards her by invisible strings, and the little
black figures in the tiny boats pulled like clockwork toys.
"They've struck on good," said Dan, between his half-shut eyes.
"Manuel hain't room fer another fish. Low ez a lily-pad in still
water, Aeneid he?"
"Which is Manuel? I don't see how you can tell 'em 'way off, as
"Last boat to the south'ard. He fund you last night," said Dan,
pointing. "Manuel rows Portugoosey; ye can't mistake him. East o'
him--he's a heap better'n he rows-is Pennsylvania. Loaded with
saleratus, by the looks of him. East o' him--see how pretty they
string out all along-with the humpy shoulders, is Long Jack. He's a
Galway man inhabitin' South Boston, where they all live mostly,
an' mostly them Galway men are good in a boat. North, away
yonder-you'll hear him tune up in a minute is Tom Platt. Man-o'-war's
man he was on the old Ohio first of our navy, he says, to
go araound the Horn. He never talks of much else, 'cept when he
sings, but he has fair fishin' luck. There! What did I tell you?"
A melodious bellow stole across the water from the northern dory.
Harvey heard something about somebody's hands and feet being
cold, and then:
"Bring forth the chart, the doleful chart,
See where them mountings meet!
The clouds are thick around their heads,
The mists around their feet."
"Full boat," said Dan, with a chuckle. "II he give us '0 Captain' it's
The bellow continued:
"And naow to thee, 0 Capting,
Most earnestly I pray,
That they shall never bury me
In church or cloister gray."
"Double game for Tom Platt. He'll tell you all about the old Ohio
tomorrow. 'See that blue dory behind him? He's my uncle,--Dad's
own brother,-an' ef there's any bad luck loose on the Banks
she'll fetch up agin Uncle Salters, sure. Look how tender he's
rowin'. I'll lay my wage and share he's the only man stung up to-day
--an' he's stung up good."
"What'll sting him?" said Harvey, getting interested.
"Strawberries, mostly. Pumpkins, sometimes, an' sometimes lemons
an' cucumbers. Yes, he's stung up from his elbows down. That man's
luck's perfectly paralyzin'. Naow we'll take a-bolt o' the tackles
an' hist 'em in. Is it true what you told me jest now, that you
never done a hand's turn o' work in all your born life? Must feel
kinder awful, don't it?"
"I'm going to try to work, anyway," Harvey replied stoutly. "Only
it's all dead new."
"Lay a-holt o' that tackle, then. Behind ye!"
Harvey grabbed at a rope and long iron hook dangling from one of
the stays of the mainmast, while Dan pulled down another that ran
from something he called a 'topping-lift," as Manuel drew
alongside in his loaded dory. The Portuguese smiled a brilliant
smile that Harvey learned to know well later, and with a
short-handled fork began to throw fish into the pen on deck. "Two
hundred and thirty-one," he shouted.
"Give him the hook," said Dan, and Harvey ran it into Manuel's
hands. He slipped it through a loop of rope at the dory's bow,
caught Dan's tackle, hooked it to the stern-becket, and clambered
into the schooner.
"Pull!" shouted Dan, and Harvey pulled, astonished to find how
easily the dory rose.
"Hold on, she don't nest in the crosstrees!" Dan laughed; and
Harvey held on, for the boat lay in the air above his head.
"Lower away," Dan shouted, and as Harvey lowered, Dan swayed
the light boat with one hand till it landed softly just behind the
mainmast. "They don't weigh nothin' empty. The was right smart
fer a passenger.
There's more trick to it in a sea-way."
"Ah ha!" said Manuel, holding out a brown hand. "You are some
pretty well now? This time last night the fish they fish for you.
Now you fish for fish.
"I'm--I'm ever so grateful," Harvey stammered, and his
unfortunate hand stole to his pocket once more, but he remembered
that he had no money to offer. When he knew Manuel better the mere
thought of the mistake he might have made would cover him with
hot, uneasy blushes in his bunk.
"There is no to be thankful for to me!" said Manuel. "How shall I
leave you dreeft, dreeft all around the Banks? Now you are a
fisherman eh, wha-at? Ouh! Auh!" He bent backward and forward
stiffly from the hips to get the kinks out of himself.
"I have not cleaned boat to-day. Too busy. They struck on queek.
Danny, my son, clean for me."
Harvey moved forward at once. Here was something he could do
for the man who had saved his life.
Dan threw him a swab, and he leaned over the dory, mopping up the
slime clumsily, but with great good-will. "Hike out the foot-boards;
they slide in them grooves," said Dan. "Swab 'em an' lay
'em down. Never let a foot-board jam. Ye may want her bad some
day. Here's Long Jack."
A stream of glittering fish flew into the pen from a dory alongside.
"Manuel, you take the tackle. I'll fix the tables. Harvey, clear
Manuel's boat. Long Jack's nestin' on the top of her."
Harvey looked up from his swabbing at the bottom of another dory
just above his head.
"Jest like the Injian puzzle-boxes, ain't they?" said Dan, as the one
boat dropped into the other.
"Takes to ut like a duck to water," said Long Jack, a
grizzly-chinned, long-lipped Galway man, bending to and fro
exactly as Manuel had done. Disko in the cabin growled up the
hatchway, and they could hear him suck his pencil.
"Wan hunder an' forty-nine an' a half-bad luck to ye, Discobolus!"
said Long Jack. "I'm murderin' meself to fill your pockuts. Slate ut
for a bad catch. The Portugee has bate me."
Whack came another dory alongside, and more fish shot into the
"Two hundred and three. let's look at the passenger!" The speaker
was even larger than the Galway man, and his face was made
curious by a purple Cut running slant-ways from his left eye to the
right corner of his mouth.
Not knowing what else to do, Harvey swabbed each dory as it
came down, pulled out the foot-boards, and laid them in the
bottom of the boat.
"He's caught on good," said the scarred man, who was Toni Platt,
watching him critically. "There are two ways o' doin' everything.
One's fisher-fashion-any end first an, a slippery hitch over all-an'
"What we did on the old Ohio!" Dan interrupted, brushing into the
knot of men with a long board on legs. "Get out o' here, Tom Platt,
an' leave me fix the tables."
He jammed one end of the board into two nicks in the bulwarks,
kicked out the leg, and ducked just in time to avoid a swinging
blow from the man-o'-war's man.
"An' they did that on the Ohio, too, Danny. See?" said Tom Platt,
"Guess they was swivel-eyed, then, fer it didn't git home, and I
know who'll find his boots on the main-truck ef he don't leave us
alone. Haul ahead! I'm busy, can't ye see?"
"Danny, ye lie on the cable an' sleep all day," said Long Jack.
"You're the hoight av impidence, an' I'm persuaded ye'll corrupt
our supercargo in a week."
"His name's Harvey," said Dan, waving two strangely shaped
knives, "an' he'll be worth five of any Sou' Boston clam-digger 'fore
long." He laid the knives tastefully on the table, cocked his head
on one side, and admired the effect
"I think it's forty-two," said a small voice overside, and there was a
roar of laughter as another voice answered, "Then my luck's turned
fer onct, 'caze I'm forty-five, though I be stung outer all shape."
"Forty-two or forty-five. I've lost count," the small voice said.
"It's Penn an' Uncle Salters caountin' catch. This beats the circus
any day," said Dan. "Jest look at 'em!"
"Come in--come in!" roared Long Jack. "It's. wet out yondher,
"Forty-two, ye said." This was Uncle Salters.
"I'll count again, then," the voice replied meekly. The two dories
swung together and bunted into the schooner's side.
"Patience o' Jerusalem!" snapped Uncle Salters, backing water
with a splash. "What possest a farmer like you to set foot in a boat
beats me. You've nigh stove me all up."
"I am sorry, Mr. Salters. I came to sea on account of nervous
dyspepsia. You advised me, I think."
"You an' your nervis dyspepsy be drowned in the Whale-hole,"
roared Uncle Salters, a fat and tubby little man. "You're comin'
down on me agin. Did ye say forty-two or forty-five?"
"I've forgotten, Mr. Salters. let's count."
"Don't see as it could be forty-five. I'm forty-five," said Uncle
Salters. "You count keerful, Penn."
Disko Troop came out of the cabin. "Salters, you pitch your fish in
naow at once," he said in the tone of authority.
"Don't spile the catch, Dad," Dan murmured. "Them two are on'y
"Mother av delight! He's forkin' them wan by wan," howled Long
Jack, as Uncle Salters got to work laboriously; the little man in the
other dory counting a line of notches on the gunwale.
"That was last week's catch," he said, looking up plaintively, his
forefinger where he had left off.
Manuel nudged Dan, who darted to the after-tackle, and, leaning
far overside, slipped the hook into the stern-rope as Manuel made
her fast forward. The others pulled gallantly and swung the boat
in-man, fish, and all.
"One, two, four-nine," said Tom Platt, counting with a practised
eye. "Forty-seven. Penn, you're it!" Dan let the after-tackle run, and
slid him out of the stern on to the deck amid a torrent of his own
"Hold on!" roared Uncle Salters, bobbing by the waist. "Hold on,
I'm a bit mixed in my caount."
He had no time to protest, but was hove inboard and treated like
"Forty-one," said Tom Platt. "Beat by a farmer, Salters. An' you
sech a sailor, too!"
"'Tweren't fair caount," said he, stumbling out of the pen; "an' I'm
stung up all to pieces."
His thick hands were puffy and mottled purply white.
"Some folks will find strawberry-bottom," said Dan, addressing the
newly risen moon, "ef they hev to dive fer it, seems to me."
"An' others," said Uncle Salters, "eats the fat o' the land in sloth,
an' mocks their own blood-kin."
"Seat ye! Seat ye!" a voice Harvey had not heard called from the
foc'sle. Disko Troop, Tom Platt, Long Jack, and Salters went
forward on the word. Little Penn bent above his square deep-sea
reel and the tangled cod-lines; Manuel lay down full length on the
deck, and Dan dropped into the hold, where Harvey heard him
banging casks with a hammer.
"Salt," he said, returning. "Soon as we're through supper we git to
dressing-down. You'll pitch to Dad. Tom Platt an' Dad they stow
together, an' you'll hear 'em arguin'. We're second ha'af, you an' me
an' Manuel an' Penn-the youth an' beauty o' the boat."
"What's the good of that?" said Harvey. "I'm hungry."
"They'll be through in a minute. Suff! She smells good to-night.
Dad ships a good cook ef he do suffer with his brother. It's a full
catch today, Aeneid it?" He pointed at the pens piled high with
cod. "What water did ye hev, Manuel?"
"Twenty-fife father," said the Portuguese, sleepily. "They strike on
good an' queek. Some day I show you, Harvey."
The moon was beginning to walk on the still sea before the elder
men came aft. The cook had no need to cry "second half." Dan and
Manuel were down the hatch and at table ere Tom Platt, last and
most deliberate of the elders, had finished wiping his mouth with
the back of his hand. Harvey followed Penn, and sat down before a
tin pan of cod's tongues and sounds, mixed with scraps of pork and
fried potato, a loaf of hot bread, and some black and powerful
coffee. Hungry as they were, they waited while "Pennsylvania"
solemnly asked a blessing. Then they stoked in silence till Dan
drew a breath over his tin cup and demanded of Harvey how he
"'Most full, but there's just room for another piece."
The cook was a huge, jet-black negro, and, unlike all the negroes
Harvey had met, did not talk, contenting himself with smiles and
dumb-show invitations to eat more.
"See, Harvey," said Dan, rapping with his fork on the table, "it's
jest as I said. The young an' handsome men-like me an' Pennsy an'
you an' Manuel-we're second ha'af, an' we eats when the first ha'af
are through. They're the old fish; an' they're mean an' humpy, an'
their stummicks has to be humoured; so they come first, which
they don't deserve. Aeneid that so, doctor?"
The cook nodded.
"Can't he talk?" said Harvey in a whisper.
"'Nough to get along. Not much o' anything we know. His natural
tongue's kinder curious. Comes from the innards of Cape Breton,
he does, where the farmers speak homemade Scotch. Cape
Breton's full o' niggers whose folk run in there durin' aour war, an'
they talk like farmers-all huffy-chuffy."
"That is not Scotch," said "Pennsylvania." "That is Gaelic. So I
read in a book."
"Penn reads a heap. Most of what he says is so-'cep' when it comes
to a caount o' fish-eh?"
"Does your father just let them say how many they've caught
without checking them?" said Harvey.
"Why, yes. Where's the sense of a man lyin' fer a few old cod?"
"Was a man once lied for his catch," Manuel put in. "Lied every
day. Fife, ten, twenty-fife more fish than come he say there was."
"Where was that?" said Dan. "None o' aour folk."
"Frenchman of Anguille."
"Ah! Them West Shore Frenchmen don't caount anyway. Stands to
reason they can't caount Ef you run acrost any of their soft hooks,
Harvey, you'll know why," said Dan, with an awful contempt.
"Always more and never less,
Every time we come to dress,"
Long Jack roared down the hatch, and the "second ha'af"
scrambled up at once.
The shadow of the masts and rigging, with the never-furled
riding-sail, rolled to and fro on the heaving deck in the moonlight;
and the pile of fish by the stern shone like a dump of fluid silver.
In the hold there were tramplings and rumblings where Disko
Troop and Tom Platt moved among the salt-bins. Dan passed
Harvey a pitchfork, and led him to the inboard end of the rough
table, where Uncle Salters was drumming impatiently with a
knife-haft. A tub of salt water lay at his feet.
"You pitch to Dan an' Tom Platt down the hatch, an' take keer
Uncle Salters don't cut yer eye out," said Dan, swinging himself
into the hold. "I'll pass salt below."
Penn and Manuel stood knee deep among cod in the pen,
flourishing drawn knives. Long Jack, a basket at his feet and
mittens on his hands, faced Uncle Salters at the table, and Harvey
stared at the pitchfork and the tub.
"Hi!" shouted Manuel, stooping to the fish, and bringing one up
with a finger under- its gill and a finger in its eyes. He laid it on
the edge of the pen; the knife-blade glimmered with a sound of
tearing, and the fish, slit from throat to vent, with a nick on either
side of the neck, dropped at Long Jack's feet.
"Hi!" said Long Jack, with a scoop of his mittened hand. The cod's
liver dropped in the basket. Another wrench and scoop sent the
head and offal flying, and the empty fish slid across to Uncle
Salters, who snorted fiercely. There was another sound of tearing,
the backbone flew over the bulwarks, and the fish, headless,
gutted, and open, splashed in the tub, sending the salt water into
Harvey's astonished mouth. After the first yell, the men were
silent. The cod moved along as though they were alive, and long
ere Harvey had ceased wondering at the miraculous dexterity of it
all, his tub was full.
"Pitch!" grunted Uncle Salters, without turning his head, and
Harvey pitched the fish by twos and threes down the hatch.
"Hi! Pitch 'em bunchy," shouted Dan. "Don't scatter! Uncle Salters is
the best splitter in the fleet. Watch him mind his book!"
Indeed, it looked a little as though the round uncle were cutting
magazine pages against time. Manuel's body, cramped over from
the hips, stayed like a statue; but his long arms grabbed the fish
without ceasing. Little Penn toiled valiantly, but it was easy to see
he was weak. Once or twice Manuel found time to help him
without breaking the chain of supplies, and once Manuel howled
because he had caught his finger in a Frenchman's hook. These
hooks are made of soft metal, to be rebent after use; but the cod
very often get away with them and are hooked again elsewhere;
and that is one of the many reasons why the Gloucester boats
despise the Frenchmen.
Down below, the rasping sound of rough salt rubbed on rough
flesh sounded like the whirring of a grindstone--steady undertune
to the "click-nick" of knives in the pen; the wrench and shloop of
torn heads, dropped liver, and flying offal; the "caraaah" of Uncle
Salters's knife scooping away backbones; and the flap of wet, open
bodies falling into the tub.
At the end of an hour Harvey would have given the world to rest;
for fresh, wet cod weigh more than you would think, and his back
ached with the steady pitching. But he felt for the first time in his
life that he was one of the working gang of men, took pride in the
thought, and held on sullenly.
"Knife oh!" shouted Uncle Salters at last. Penn doubled up,
gasping among the fish, Manuel bowed back and forth to supple
himself, and Long Jack leaned over the bulwarks. The cook
appeared, noiseless as a black shadow, collected a mass of
backbones and heads, and retreated.
"Blood-ends for breakfast an' head-chowder," said Long Jack,
smacking his lips.
"Knife oh!" repeated Uncle Salters, waving the flat, curved
"Look by your foot, Harve," cried Dan below.
Harvey saw half a dozen knives stuck in a cleat in the hatch
combing. He dealt these around, taking over the dulled ones.
"Water!" said Disko Troop.
"Scuffle-butt's for'ard an' the dipper's alongside. Hurry, Harve,"
He was back in a minute with a big dipperful of stale brown water
which tasted like nectar, and loosed the jaws of Disko and Tom
"These are cod," said Disko. "They ain't Damarskus figs, Tom
Platt, nor yet silver bars. I've told you that ever single time since
we've sailed together."
"A matter o' seven seasons," returned Tom Platt coolly. "Good
stowin's good stowin' all the same, an' there's a right an' a wrong
way o' stowin' ballast even. If you'd ever seen four hundred ton o'
iron set into the~"
"Hi!" With a yell from Manuel the work began again, and never
stopped till the pen was empty. The instant the last fish was down,
Disko Troop rolled alt to the cabin with his brother; Manuel and
Long Jack went forward; Tom Platt only waited long enough to
slide home the hatch ere he too disappeared. In half a minute
Harvey heard deep snores in the cabin, and he was staring blankly
at Dan and Penn.
"I did a little better that time, Danny," said Penn, whose eyelids
were heavy with sleep. "But I think it is my duty to help clean."
"'Wouldn't hev your conscience fer a thousand quintal," said Dan.
"Turn in, Penn. You've no call to do boy's work. Draw a bucket,
Harvey. Oh, Penn, dump these in the gurry-butt 'fore you sleep.
Kin you keep awake that long?"
Penn took up the heavy basket of fish-livers, emptied them into a
cask with a hinged top lashed by the foc'sle; then he too dropped
out of sight in the cabin.
"Boys clean up after dressin' down an' first watch in ca'am weather
is boy's watch on the 'We're Here'." Dan sluiced the pen
energetically, unshipped the table, set it up to dry in the moonlight,
ran the red knife-blades through a wad of oakum, and began to
sharpen them on a tiny grindstone, as Harvey threw offal and
backbones overboard under his direction.
At the first splash a silvery-white ghost rose bolt upright from the
oily water and sighed a weird whistling sigh. Harvey started back
with a shout, but Dan only laughed.
"Grampus," said he. "Beggin' fer fish-heads. They up-eend the way
when they're hungry. Breath on him like the doleful tombs, hain't
he?" A horrible stench of decayed fish filled the air as the pillar of
white sank, and the water bubbled oilily. "Hain't ye never seen a
grampus up-eend before? You'll see 'em by hundreds 'fore ye're
through. Say, it's good to hev a boy aboard again. Otto was too old,
an' a Dutchy at that. Him an' me we fought consid'ble. 'Wouldn't
ha' keered fer that ef he'd hed a Christian tongue in his head.
"Dead sleepy," said Harvey, nodding forward.
"Mustn't sleep on watch. Rouse up an' see ef our anchor-light's
bright an' shinin'. You're on watch now, Harve."
"Pshaw! What's to hurt us? 'Bright's day. Sn-orrr!"
"Jest when things happen, Dad says. Fine weather's good sleepin',
an' 'fore you know, mebbe, you're cut in two by a liner, an'
seventeen brass-bound officers, all gen'elmen, lift their hand to it
that your lights was aout an' there was a thick fog. Harve, I've
kinder took to you, but ef you nod onet more I'll lay into you with a
The moon, who sees many strange things on the Banks, looked
down on a slim youth in knickerbockers and a red jersey,
staggering around the cluttered decks of a seventy-ton schooner,
while behind him, waving a knotted rope, walked, after the manner
of an executioner, a boy who yawned and nodded between the
blows he dealt.
The lashed wheel groaned and kicked softly, the riding-sail slatted
a little in the shifts of the light wind, the windlass creaked, and the
miserable procession continued. Harvey expostulated, threatened,
whimpered, and at last wept outright, while Dan, the words
clotting on his tongue, spoke of the beauty of watchfulness and
slashed away with the rope's end, punishing the dories as often as
he hit Harvey. At last the clock in the cabin struck ten, and upon
the tenth stroke little Penn crept on deck. He found two boys in
two tumbled heaps side by side on the main hatch, so deeply
asleep that he actually rolled them to their berths.
It was the forty-fathom slumber that clears the soul and eye and
heart, and sends you to breakfast ravening. They emptied a big tin
dish of juicy fragments of fish-the blood-ends the cook had
collected overnight. They cleaned up the plates and pans of the
elder mess, who were out fishing, sliced pork for the midday meal,
swabbed down the foc'sle, filled the lamps, drew coal and water
for the cook, and investigated the fore-hold, where the boat's stores
were stacked. It was another perfect day-soft, mild, and clear; and
Harvey breathed to the very bottom of his lungs.
More schooners had crept up in the night, and the long blue seas
were full of sails and dories. Far away on the horizon, the smoke of
some liner, her hull invisible, smudged the blue, and to eastward a
big ship's top-gallant sails, just lifting, made a square nick in it.
Disko Troop was smoking by the roof of the cabin--one eye on the
craft around, and the other on the little fly at the main-mast-head.
"When Dad kerfiummoxes that way," said Dan in a whisper, "he's
doin' some high-line thinkin' fer all hands. I'll lay my wage an'
share we'll make berth soon. Dad he knows the cod, an' the Fleet
they know Dad knows. 'See 'em comm' up one by one, lookin' fer
nothin' in particular, o' course, but scrowgin' on us all the time?
There's the Prince Leboo; she's a Chat-ham boat. She's crep' up
sence last night. An' see that big one with a patch in her foresail an'
a new jib? She's the Carrie Pitman from West Chat-ham. She won't
keep her canvas long onless her luck's changed since last season.
She don't do much 'cep' drift. There ain't an anchor made 'II hold
her. . . . When the smoke puffs up in little rings like that, Dad's
studyin' the fish. Ef we speak to him now, he'll git mad. Las' time I
did, he jest took an' hove a boot at me."
Disko Troop stared forward, the pipe between his teeth, with eyes
that saw nothing. As his son said, he was studying the fish-pitting
his knowledge and experience on the Banks against the roving cod
in his own sea. He accepted the presence of the inquisitive
schooners on the horizon as a compliment to his powers. But now
that it was paid, he wished to draw away and make his berth alone,
till it was time to go up to the Virgin and fish in the streets of that
roaring town upon the waters. So Disko Troop thought of recent
weather, and gales, currents, food-supplies, and other domestic
arrangements, from the point of view of a twenty-pound cod; was,
in fact, for an hour a cod himself, and looked remarkably like one.
Then he removed the pipe from his teeth.
"Dad," said Dan, "we've done our chores. Can't we go overside a
piece? It's good catchin' weather."
"Not in that cherry-coloured rig ner them ha'af baked brown shoes.
Give him suthin' fit to wear."
"Dad's pleased-that settles it," said Dan, delightedly, dragging
Harvey into the cabin, while Troop pitched a key down the steps.
"Dad keeps my spare rig where he kin overhaul it, 'cause Ma sez
I'm keerless." He rummaged through a locker, and in less than
three minutes Harvey was adorned with fisherman's rubber boots
that came half up his thigh, a heavy blue jersey well darned at the
elbows, a pair of nippers, and a sou'wester.
"Naow ye look somethin' like," said Dan. "Hurry!"
"Keep nigh an' handy," said Troop "an' don't go visitin' racund the
Fleet. If any one asks you what I'm cal'latin' to do, speak the
truth-fer ye don't know."
A little red dory, labelled Hattie S., lay astern of the schooner. Dan
hauled in the painter, and dropped lightly on to the bottom boards,
while Harvey tumbled clumsily after.
"That's no way o' gettin' into a boat," said Dan. "Ef there was any
sea you'd go to the bottom, sure. You got to learn to meet her."
Dan fitted the thole-pins, took the forward thwart and watched
Harvey's work. The boy had rowed, in a lady-like fashion, on the
Adirondack ponds; but there is a difference between squeaking
pins and well-balanced ruflocks-light sculls and stubby, eight-foot
sea-oars. They stuck in the gentle swell, and Harvey grunted.
"Short! Row short!" said Dan. "Ef you cramp your oar in any kind
o' sea you're liable to turn her over. Ain't she a daisy? Mine, too."
The little dory was specklessly clean. In her bows lay a tiny
anchor, two jugs of water, and some seventy fathoms of thin,
brown dory-roding. A tin dinner-horn rested in cleats just under
Harvey's right hand, beside an ugly-looking maul, a short gaff, and
a shorter wooden stick. A couple of lines, with very heavy leads
and double cod-hooks, all neatly coiled on square reels, were stuck
in their place by the gunwale.
"Where's the sail and mast?" said Harvey, for his hands were
beginning to blister.
Dan chuckled. "Ye don't sail fishin'-dories much. Ye pull; but ye
needn't pull so hard. Don't you wish you owned her?"
"Well, I gtiess my father might give me one or two if I asked 'em,"
Harvey replied. He had been too busy to think much of his family
"That's so. I forgot your dad's a millionaire. You don't act
rnillionary any, naow. But a dory an' craft an' gear"-Dan spoke as
though she were a whaleboat -"costs a heap. Think your dad 'u'd
give you one fer-fer a pet like?"
"Shouldn't wonder. It would be 'most the ouly thing I haven't stuck
him for yet."
'Must be an expensive kinder kid to home. Don't slitheroo thet
way, Harve. Short's the trick, because no sea's ever dead still, an'
the swells 'll--"
Crack! The loom of the oar kicked Harvey under the chin and
knocked him backwards.
"That was what I was goin' to say. I hed to learn too, but I wasn't
more than eight years old when I got my schoolin'."
Harvey regained his seat with aching jaws and a frown.
"No good gettin' mad at things, Dad says. It's our own fault ef we
can't handle 'em, he says. Le's try here. Manuel 'll give us the
The "Portugee" was rocking fully a mile away, but when Dan
up-ended an oar he waved his left arm three times.
"Thirty fathom," said Dan, stringing a salt clam on to the hook.
"Over with the doughboys. Bait same's I do, Harvey, an' don't snarl
Dan's line was out long before Harvey had mastered the mystery of
baiting and heaving out the leads. The dory drifted along easily. It
was not worth while to anchor till they were sure of good ground.
"Here we come!" Dan shouted, and a shower of spray rattled on
Harvey's shoulders as a big cod flapped and kicked alongside.
"Muckie, Harvey, muckle! Under your hand! Onick!"
Evidently "muckle" could not be the dinner-horn, so Harvey passed
over the maul, and Dan scientifically stunned the fish before he
pulled it inboard, and wrenched out the hook with the short
wooden stick he called a "gob-stick." Then Harvey felt a tug, and
pulled up zealously.
"Why, these are strawberries!" he shouted. "Look!"
The hook had fouled among a bunch of strawberries, red on one
side and white on the other-perfect reproductions of the land fruit,
except that there were no leaves, and the stem was all pipy and
"Don't tech 'em. Slat 'em off. Don't
The warning came too late. Harvey had picked them from the
hook, and was admiring them.
"Ouch!" he cried, for his fingers throbbed as though he had
grasped many nettles.
"Nnow ye know what strawberry-bottom means. Nothin' 'cep' fish
should be teched with the naked fingers, Dad says. Slat 'em off
agin the guunel, an' bait up, Harve. Lookin' won't help any. It's all
in the wages."
Harvey smiled at the thought of his ten and a half dollars a month,
and wondered what his mother would say if she could see him
hanging over the edge of a fishing-dory in mid-ocean. She suffered
agonies whenever he went out on Saranac Lake; and, by the way,
Harvey remembered distinctly that he used to laugh at her
annieties. Suddenly the line flashed through his hand, stinging
even through the "nippers," the woolen cirdets supposed to protect
"He's a logy. Give him room accordin' to his strength," cried Dan.
"I'll help ye."
"No, you won't," Harvey snapped, as he hung on to the line. "It's
my first fish. I--is it a whale?"
"Halibut, mebbe." Dan peered down into the water alongside, and
flourished the big "muckle," ready for all chances. Something
white and oval flickered and fluttered through the green. "I'll lay
my wage an' share he's over a hundred. Are you so everlastin'
anxious to land him alone?"
Harvey's knuckles were raw and bleeding where they had been
hanged against the gunwale; his face was purple-blue between
excitement and exertion; he dripped with sweat, and was
half-blinded from staring at the circling sunlit ripples about the
swiftly moving line. The boys were tired long ere the halibut, who
took charge of them and the dory for the next twenty minutes. But
the big flat fish was gaffed and hauled in at last.
"Beginner's luck," said Dan, wiping his forehead. "He's all of a
Harvey looked at the huge gray-and-mottled creature with
unspeakable pride. He had seen halibut many times on marble
slabs ashore, but it had never occurred to him to ask how they
came inland. Now he knew; and every inch of his body ached with
"Ef Dad was along," said Dan, hauling up, "he'd read the signs
plain's print. The fish are runnin' smaller an' smaller, an' you've
took 'baout as logy a halibut's we're apt to find this trip. Yesterday's
catch-did ye notice it?-was all big fish an' no halibut. Dad he'd read
them signs right off. Dad says everythin' on the Banks is signs, an'
can be read wrong er right. Dad's deeper'n the Whale-hole."
Even as he spoke some one fired a pistol on the 'We're Here', and a
potato-basket was run up in the fore-rigging.
"What did I say, naow? That's the call fer the whole crowd. Dad's
onter something, er he'd never break fishin' this time o' day. Reel
up, Harve, an' we'll pull back."
They were to windward of the schooner, just ready to flirt the dory
over the still sea, when sounds of woe half a mile off led them to
Penn, who was careering around a fixed point for all the world like
a gigantic water-bug. The little man backed away and came down
again with enormous energy, but at the end of each maneuver his
dory swung round and snubbed herself on her rope.
"We'll hev to help him, else he'll root an' seed here," said Dan.
"What's the matter?" said Harvey. This was a new world, where he
could not lay down the law to his elders, but had to ask questions
humbly. And the sea was horribly big and unexcited.
"Anchor's fouled. Penn's always losing 'em. Lost two this trip
a'ready-on sandy bottom too-an' Dad says next one he loses, sure's
fishin', he'll give him the kelleg. That 'u'd break Penn's heart."
"What's a 'kelleg'?" said Harvey, who had a vague idea it might be
some kind of marine torture, like keel-hauling in the storybooks.
"Big stone instid of an anchor. You kin see a kelleg ridin' in the
bows fur's you can see a dory, an' all the fleet knows what it
means. They'd guy him dreadful. Penn couldn't stand that no
more'n a dog with a dipper to his tail. He's so everlastin' sensitive.
Hello, Penn! Stuck again? Don't try any more o' your patents.
Come up on her, and keep your rodin' straight up an' down."
"It doesn't move," said the little man, panting. "It doesn't move at
all, and instead I tried everything."
"What's all this hurrah's-nest for'ard?" said Dan, pointing to a wild
tangle of spare oars and dory-roding, all matted together by the
hand of inexperience.
"Oh, that," said Penn proudly, "is a Spanish windlass. Mr. Salters
showed me how to make it; but even that doesn't move her."
Dan bent low over the gunwale to hide a smile, twitched once or
twice on the roding, and, behold, the anchor drew at once.
"Haul up, Penn," he said laughing, "er she'll git stuck again.
They left him regarding the weed-hung flukes of the little anchor
with big, pathetic blue eyes, and thanking them profusely.
"Oh, say, while I think of it, Harve," said Dan when they were out
of ear-shot, "Penn ain't quite all caulked.
He ain't nowise dangerous, but his mind's give out.
"Is that so, or is it one of your father's judgments?"
Harvey asked as he bent to his oars. He felt he was learning to
handle them more easily.
"Dad ain't mistook this time. Penn's a sure 'nuff loony.
No, he ain't thet exactly, so much ez a harmless ijut. It was this
way (you're rowin' quite so, Harve), an' I tell you 'cause it's right
you orter know. He was a Moravian preacher once. Jacob Boiler
wuz his name, Dad told me, an' he lived with his wife an' four
children somewheres out Pennsylvania way. Well, Penn he took
his folks along to a Moravian meetin'camp-meetin' most like-an'
they stayed over jest one night in Johns- town. You've heered talk
Harvey considered. "Yes, I have. But I don't know why. It sticks in
my head same as Ashtabula."
"Both was big accidents-thet's why, Harve. Well, that one single
night Penn and his folks was to the hotel Johnstown was wiped
out. 'Dam bust an' flooded her, an' the houses struck adrift an'
bumped into each other an' sunk. I've seen the pictures, an' they're
dretful.Penn he saw his folk drowned all'n a heap 'fore he rightly
knew what was comin'. His mind give out from that on. He
mistrusted somethin' hed happened up to Johnstown, but for the
poor life of him he couldn't remember what, an' he jest drifted araound
smilin' an' wonderin'. He didn't know what he was, nor yit what
he hed bin, an' thet way he run agin Uncle Salters, who was visitin'
'n Allegheny City. Ha'af my mother's folks they live scattered
inside o' Pennsylvania, an' Uncle Salters he visits araound winters.
Uncle Salters he kinder adopted Penn, well knowin' what his
trouble wuz; an' he brought him East, an' he give him work on his
farm.', "Why, I heard him calling Penn a farmer last night when
the boats bumped. Is your Uncle Salters a farmer?"
"Farmer!" shouted Dan. "There ain't water enough 'tween here an'
Hatt'rus to wash the furrer-mold off'n his boots. He's jest everlastin'
farmer. Why, Harve, I've seen thet man hitch up a bucket, long
towards sundown, an' set twiddlin' the spigot to the scuttle-butt
same's ef 'twas a cow's bag. He's thet much farmer. Well, Penn an'
he they ran the farm-up Exeter way 'twur. Uncle Salters he sold it
this spring to a jay from Boston as wanted to build a
summer-haouse, an' he got a heap for it. Well, them two loonies
scratched along till, one day, Penn's church he'd belonged to the
Moravians -found out where he wuz drifted an' layin', an' wrote to
Uncle Salters. 'Never heerd what they said exactly; but Uncle
Salters was mad. He's a 'piscopolian mostly-but he jest let 'em hev
it both sides o' the bow, 's if he was a Baptist; an' sez he warn't
goin' to give up Penn to any blame Moravian connection in
Pennsylvania or anywheres else. Then he come to Dad, towin'
Penn,-thet was two trips back,-an' sez he an' Penn must fish a trip
fer their health. 'Guess he thought the Moravians wouldn't hunt the
Banks fer Jacob Boiler. Dad was agreeable, fer Uncle Salters he'd
been fishin' off an' on fer thirty years, when he warn't inventin'
patent manures, an' he took quarter-share in the 'We're Here'; an' the
trip done Penn so much good, Dad made a habit o' takin' him.
Some day, Dad sez, he'll remember his wife an' kids an'
Johnstown, an' then, like as not, he'll die, Dad sez. Don't ye talk
abaout Johnstown ner such things to Penn, 'r Uncle Salters he'll
heave ye overboard."
"Poor Penn!" murmured Harvey. "I shouldn't ever have thought
Uncle Salters cared for him by the look of 'em together."
"I like Penn, though; we all do," said Dan. "We ought to ha' give
him a tow, but I wanted to tell ye first."
They were close to the schooner now, the other boats a little
"You needn't heave in the dories till after dinner," said Troop from
the deck. "We'll dress daown right off. Fix table, boys!"
"Deeper'n the Whale-deep," said Dan, with a wink, as he set the
gear for dressing down. "Look at them boats that hev edged up
sence mornin'. They're all waitin' on Dad. See 'em, Harve?"
"They are all alike to me." And indeed to a landsman, the nodding
schooners around seemed run from the same mold.
"They ain't, though. That yaller, dirty packet with her bowsprit
steeved that way, she's the Hope of Prague. Nick Brady's her
skipper, the meanest man on the Banks. We'll tell him so when we
strike the Main Ledge. 'Way off yonder's the Day's Eye. The two
Jeraulds own her. She's from Harwich; fastish, too, an' hez good
luck; but Dad he'd find fish in a graveyard. Them other three, side
along, they're the Margie Smith, Rose, and Edith S. Walen, all
from home. 'Guess we'll see the Abbie M. Deering to-morrer, Dad,
won't we? They're all slippin' over from the shaol o' 'Oueereau."
"You won't see many boats to-morrow, Danny." When Troop
called his son Danny, it was a sign that the old man was pleased.
"Boys, we're too crowded," he went on, addressing the crew as they
clambered inboard. "We'll leave 'em to bait big an' catch small."
He looked at the catch in the pen, and it was curious to see how
little and level the fish ran. Save for Harvey's halibut, there was
nothing over fifteen pounds on deck.
"I'm waitin' on the weather," he added.
"Ye'll have to make it yourself, Disko, for there's no sign I can
see," said Long Jack, sweeping the clear horizon.
And yet, half an hour later, as they were dressing down, the Bank
fog dropped on them, "between fish and fish," as they say. It drove
steadily and in wreaths, curling and smoking along the colourless
water. The men stopped dressing-down without a word. Long Jack
and Uncle Salters slipped the windlass brakes into their sockets,
and began to heave up the anchor; the windlass jarring as the wet
hempen cable strained on the barrel. Manuel and Tom Platt gave a
hand at the last. The anchor came up with a sob, and the riding-sail
bellied as Troop steadied her at the wheel. "Up jib and foresail,"
"Slip 'em in the smother," shouted Long Jack, making fast the
jib-sheet, while the others raised the clacking, rattling rings of the
foresail; and the foreboom creaked as the 'We're Here' looked up
into the wind and dived off into blank, whirling white.
"There's wind behind this fog," said Troop.
It was wonderful beyond words to Harvey; and the most wonderful
part was that he heard no orders except an occasional grunt from
Troop, ending with, "That's good, my son!"
'Never seen anchor weighed before?" said Tom Platt, to Harvey
gaping at the damp canvas of the foresail.
"No. Where are we going?"
"Fish and make berth, as you'll find out 'fore you've been a week
aboard. It's all new to you, but we never know what may come to
us. Now, take me--Tom Platt--I'd never ha' thought--"
"It's better than fourteen dollars a month an' a bullet in your belly,"
said Troop, from the wheel. "Ease your jumbo a grind."
"Dollars an' cents better," returned the man~ -war S man, doing
something to a big jib with a wooden spar tied to it. "But we didn't
think o' that when we manned the windlass-brakes on the Miss
Jim Buck, 1 outside Beau-fort Harbor, with Fort Macon heavin'
hot shot at our stern, an' a livin' gale atop of all. Where was you
"Jest here, or hereabouts," Disko replied, "earnin' my bread on the
deep waters, an' dodgin' Reb privateers. Sorry I can't accommodate
you with red-hot shot, Tom Platt; but I guess we'll come aout all
right on wind 'fore we see Eastern Point."
There was an incessant slapping and chatter at the bows now,
varied by a solid thud and a little spout of spray that clattered
down on the foc'sle. The rigging dripped clammy drops, and the
men lounged along the lee of the house-all save Uncle Salters, who
sat stiffly on the main-hatch nursing his stung hands.
'Guess she'd carry stays'l," said Disko, rolling one eye at his
'Guess she wouldn't to any sorter profit. What's the sense o' wastin'
canvas?" the farmer-sailor replied.
1 The Gemsbok, U.S.N.?
The wheel twitched almost imperceptibly in Disko's hands. A few
seconds later a hissing wave-top slashed diagonally across the
boat, smote Uncle Salters between the shoulders, and drenched
him from head to foot. He rose sputtering, and went forward only
to catch another.
"See Dad chase him all around the deck," said Dan. "Uncle Salters
he thinks his quarter share's our canvas. Dad's put this duckin' act
up on him two trips runnin'. Hi! That found him where he feeds."
Uncle Salters had taken refuge by the foremast, but a wave
slapped him over the knees. Disko's face was as blank as the circle
of the wheel.
"Guess she'd lie easier under stays'l, Salters," said Disko, as though
he had seen nothing.
"Set your old kite, then," roared the victim through a cloud of
spray; "only don't lay it to me lf anything happens. Penn, you go
below right off an' git your coffee. You ought to hev more sense
than to bum araound on deck this weather."
"Now they'll swill coffee an' play checkers till the cows come
home," said Dan, as Uncle Salters hustled Penn into the fore-cabin.
" 'Looks to me like's if we'd all be doin' so fer a spell. There's
nothin' in creation deader-limpsey-idler'n a Banker when she ain't
"I'm glad ye spoke, Danny," cried Long Jack, who had been casting
round in search of amusement. "I'd dean forgot we'd a passenger
under that T-wharf hat. There's no idleness for thim that don't
know their ropes. Pass him along, Tom Platt, an' we'll larn him."
"'Tain't my trick this time," grinned Dan. "You've got to go it alone.
Dad learned me with a rope's end."
For an hour Long Jack walked his prey up and down, teaching, as
he said, "things at the sea that ivry man must know, blind, dhrunk,
or asleep." There is not much gear to a seventy-ton schooner with a
stump-foremast, but Long Jack had a gift of expression. When he
wished to draw Harvey's attention to the peak-halyards, he dug his
knuckles into the back of the boy's neck and kept him at gaze for
half a minute. He emphasized the difference between fore and aft
generally by rubbing Harvey's nose along a few feet of the boom,
and the lead of each rope was fixed in Harvey's mind by the end of
the rope itself.
The lesson would have been easier had the deck been at all free;
but there appeared to be a place on it for everything and anything
except a man. Forward lay the windlass and its tackle, with the
chain and hemp cables, all very unpleasant to trip over; the foc'sle
stovepipe, and the gurry-butts by the foc'sle hatch to hold the
fish-livers. Aft of these the foreboom and booby of the main-hatch
took all the space that was not needed for the pumps and
dressing-pens. Then came the nests of dories lashed to ring-bolts
by the quarter-deck; the house, with tubs and oddments lashed all
around it; and, last, the sixty-foot main-boom in its crutch, splitting
things length-wise, to duck and dodge under every time.
Tom Platt, of course, could not keep his oar out of the business,
but ranged alongside with enormous and unnecessary descriptions
of sails and spars on the old Ohio.
"Niver mind fwhat he says; attind to me, Innocince. Tom Platt, this
bally-hoo's not the Ohio, an' you're mixing the bhoy bad."
"He'll be ruined for life, beginnin' on a fore-an'-after this way,"
Tom Platt pleaded. "Give him a chance to know a few leadin'
principles. Sailin's an art, Harvey, as I'd show you if I had ye in the
fore-top o' the-"
"I know ut. Ye'd talk him dead an' cowld. Silince, Tom Platt! Now,
after all I've said, how'd you reef the foresail, Harve? Take your
"Haul that in," said Harvey, pointing to leeward.
"Fwhat? The North Atlantuc?"
"No, the boom. Then run that rope you showed me back there-"
"That's no way," Tom Platt burst in.
"Quiet! He's larnin', an' has not the names good yet. Go on, Harve."
"Oh, it's the reef-pennant. I'd hook the tackle on to the
reef-pennant, and then let down-"
"Lower the sail, child! Lower!" said Tom Platt, in a professional
"Lower the throat and peak halyards," Harvey went on. Those
names stuck in his head.
"Lay your hand on thim," said Long Jack.
Harvey obeyed. "Lower till that rope-loop-on the after-leach-kris-no,
it's cringle-till the cringle was down on the boom. Then I'd tie her
up the way you said, and then I'd hoist up the peak and throat
"You've forgot to pass the tack-earing, but wid time and help ye'll
larn. There's good and just reason for ivry rope aboard, or else
'twould be overboard. D'ye follow me? 'Tis dollars an' cents rm
puttin' into your pocket, ye skinny little supercargo, so that fwhin
ye've filled out ye can ship from Boston to Cuba an' tell thim Long
Jack larned you. Now I'll chase ye around a piece, callin' the ropes,
an' you'll lay your hand on thim as I call."
He began, and Harvey, who was feeling rather tired, walked slowly
to the rope named. A rope's end licked round his ribs, and nearly
knocked the breath out of him.
"When you own a boat," said Tom Platt, with severe. eyes, "you
can walk. Till then, take all orders at the run. Once more-to make
Harvey was in a glow with the exercise, and this last cut warmed
him thoroughly. Now he was a singularly smart boy, the son of a
very clever man and a very sensitive woman, with a fine resolute
temper that systematic spoiling had nearly turned to mulish
obstinacy. He looked at the other men, and saw that even Dan did
not smile. It was evidently all in the day's work, though it hurt
abominably; so he swallowed the hint with a gulp and a gasp and a
grin. The same smartness that led him to take such advantage of
his mother made him very sure that no one on the boat, except,
maybe, Penn, would stand the least nonsense. One learns a great
deal from a mere tone. Long Jack called over half a dozen ropes,
and Harvey danced over the deck like an eel at ebb-tide, one eye on
"Ver' good. Ver' good don," said Manuel. "After supper I show you
a little schooner I make, with all her ropes. So we shall learn."
"Fust-class fer-a passenger," said Dan. "Dad he's jest allowed you'll
be wuth your salt maybe 'fore you're draownded. Thet's a heap fer
Dad. I'll learn you more our next watch together."
"Taller!" grunted Disko, peering through the fog as it smoked over
the bows. There was nothing to be seen ten feet beyond the surging
jib-boom, while alongside rolled the endless procession of solemn,
pale waves whispering and lipping one to the other.
"Now I'll learn you something Long Jack can't," shouted Tom
Platt, as from a locker by the stern he produced a battered deep-sea
lead hollowed at one end, smeared the hollow from a saucer full of
mutton tallow, and went forward. "I'll learn you how to fly the
Blue Pigeon. Shooo!"
Disko did something to the wheel that checked the schooner's way,
while Manuel, with Harvey to help (and a proud boy was Harvey),
let down the jib in a lump on the boom. The lead sung a deep
droning song as Tom Platt whirled it round and round.
"Go ahead, man," said Long Jack, impatiently. "We're not drawin'
twenty-five fut off Fire Island in a fog. There's no trick to ut."
"Don't be jealous, Galway." The released lead plopped into the sea
far ahead as the schooner surged slowly forward.
"Soundin' is a trick, though," said Dan, "when your dipsey lead's all
the eye you're like to hev for a week. What d'you make it, Dad?"
Disko's face relaxed. His skill and honour were involved in the
march he had stolen on the rest of the Fleet, and he had his
reputation as a master artist who knew the Banks blindfold. "Sixty,
mebbe-ef I'm any judge," he replied, with a glance at the tiny
compass in the window of the house.
"Sixty," sung out Tom Platt, hauling in great wet coils.
The schooner gathered way once more. "Heave!" said Disko, after
a quarter of an hour.
"What d'you make it?" Dan whispered, and he looked at Harvey
proudly. But Harvey was too proud of his own performances to be
impressed just then.
"Fifty," said the father. "I mistrust we're right over the nick o'
Green Bank on old Sixty-Fifty."
"Fifty!" roared Tom Platt. They could scarcely see him through the
fog. "She's bust within a yard-like the shells at Fort Macon."
"Bait up, Harve," said Dan, diving for a line on the reel.
The schooner seemed to be straying promiscuously through the
smother, her headsail banging wildly. The men waited and looked
at the boys who began fishing.
"Heugh!" Dan's lines twitched on the scored and scarred rail. "Now
haow in thunder did Dad know? Help us here, Harve. It's a big un.
Poke-hooked, too." They hauled together, and landed a
goggle-eyed twenty-pound cod. He had taken the bait right into his
"Why, he's all covered with little crabs," cried Harvey, turning him
"By the great hook-block, they're lousy already," said Long Jack.
"Disko, ye kape your spare eyes under the keel."
Splash went the anchor, and they all heaved over the lines, each
man taking his own place at the bulwarks.
"Are they good to eat?" Harvey panted, as he lugged in another
"Sure. When they're lousy it's a sign they've all been herdin'
together by the thousand, and when they take the bait that way
they're hungry. Never mind how the bait sets. They'll bite on the
"Say, this is great!" Harvey cried, as the fish came in gasping and
splashing-nearly all poke-hooked, as Dan had said. "Why can't we
always fish from the boat instead of from the dories?"
"Allus can, till we begin to dress daown. Efter thet, the heads and
offals 'u'd scare the fish to Fundy. Boatfishin' ain't reckoned
progressive, though, unless ye know as much as dad knows. Guess
we'll run aout aour trawl to-night. Harder on the back, this, than
frum the dory, ain't it?"
It was rather back-breaking work, for in a dory the weight of a cod
is water-borne till the last minute, and you are, so to speak, abreast
of him; but the few feet of a schooner's freeboard make so much
extra dead-hauling, and stooping over the bulwarks cramps the
stomach. But it was wild and furious sport so long as it lasted; and
a big pile lay aboard when the fish ceased biting.
"Where's Penn and Uncle Salters?" Harvey asked, slapping the
slime off his oilskins, and reeling up the line in careful imitation
of the others.
"Git 's coffee and see."
Under the yellow glare of the lamp on the pawl-post, the foc'sle
table down and opened, utterly unconscious of fish or weather, sat
the two men, a checker-board between them, Uncle Salters
snarling at Penn's every move.
"What's the matter naow?" said the former, as Harvey, one hand in
the leather loop at the head of the ladder, hung shouting to the
"Big fish and lousy-heaps and heaps," Harvey replied, quoting
Long Jack. "How's the game?"
Little Penn's jaw dropped. " 'Tweren't none o' his fault," snapped
Uncle Salters. "Penn's deef."
"Checkers, weren't it?" said Dan, as Harvey staggered aft with the
steaming coffee in a tin pail. "That lets us out o' cleanin' up
to-night. Dad's a jest man. They'll have to do it."
"An' two young fellers I know'll bait up a tub or so o' trawl, while
they're cleanin'," said Disko, lashing the wheel to his taste.
"Um! Guess I'd ruther clean up, Dad."
"Don't doubt it. Ye wun't, though. Dress daown! Dress daown!
Penn'll pitch while you two bait up."
"Why in thunder didn't them blame boys tell us you'd struck on?"
said Uncle Salters, shuffling to his place at the table. "This knife '5
"Ef stickin' out cable don't wake ye, guess you'd better hire a boy
o' your own," said Dan, muddling about in the dusk over the tubs
full of trawl-line lashed to windward of the house. "Oh, Harve,
don't ye want to slip down an' git 's bait?"
"Bait ez we are," said Disko. "I mistrust shag-fishin' will pay
Back to Full Books