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Those Who Smiled - And Eleven Other Stories
by Perceval Gibbon
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"I bin all acrost that way," said the boot-boy, pointing with his stumpy black forefinger, "and then acrost that way, an' Mister Jenks" Jenks was the gardener "'e've gone about in rings, 'e 'ave. And there ain't no sign nor token, mum, not a sign there ain't."

From behind him sounded the voice of the gardener, thrashing among the trees. "Miss Joan!" he roared. "Hi! Miss Jo-an! You're a-frightin' your Ma proper. Where are ye, then?"

"She must be hiding," said Mother. "You must go on looking, Walter. You must go on looking till you find her."

"Yes'm," said Walter. "If's she's in there us'll find her, soon or late."

He ran off, and presently his voice was joined to Jenks's, calling Joan calling, calling, and getting no answer.

Mother took Joyce's hand again.

"Come," she said. "We'll walk round by the path, and you must tell me again how it all happened. Did you really see something when Joan told you to look?"

"I expect I didn't," replied Joyce, dolefully. "But Joan's always saying there's a fairy or something in the shadows, and I always think I see them for a moment."

"It couldn't have been a live woman or a man that you saw?"

"Oh, no!" Joyce was positive of that. Mother's hand tightened on hers understandingly, and they went on in silence till they met Jenks.

Jenks was an oldish man with bushy grey whiskers, who never wore a coat, and now he was wet to the loins with mud and water.

"That there ol' pond," he explained. "I've been an' took a look at her. Tromped through her proper, I did, an' I'll go bail there ain't so much as a dead cat in all the mud of her. Thish yer's a mistry, mum, an' no mistake."

Mother stared at him. "I can't bear this," she said suddenly. "You must go on searching, Jenks, and Walter must go on his bicycle to the police station at once. Call him, please!"

"Walter!" roared Jenks obediently.

"Comin'!" answered the boot-boy, and burst forth from the bushes. In swift, clear words, which no stupidity could mistake or forget, Mother gave him his orders, spoken in a tone that meant urgency. Walter went flying to execute them.

"Oh, Mother, where do you think Joan can be?" begged Joyce when Jenks had gone off to resume his search:

"I don't know," said Mother. "It's all so absurd."

"If there was wood-ladies, they wouldn't hurt a baby like Joan," suggested Joyce.

"Oh, who could hurt her!" cried Mother, and fell to calling again. Her voice, of which each accent was music, alternated with the harsh roars of Jenks.

Walter on his bicycle must have hurried, in spite of his permanently punctured front tire, for it was a very short time before bells rang in the steep lane from the road and Superintendent Farrow himself wheeled his machine in at the gate, massive and self-possessed, a blue-clad minister of comfort. He heard Mother's tale, which embodied that of Joyce, with a half-smile lurking in his moustache and his big chin creased back against his collar. Then he nodded, exactly as if he saw through the whole business and could find Joan in a minute or two, and propped his bicycle against the fence.

"I understand, then," he said, "that the little girl's been missing for rather more than an hour. In that case, she can't have got far. I sent a couple o' constables round the roads be'ind the wood before I started, an' now I'll just 'ave a look through the wood myself."

"Thank you," said Mother. "I don't know why I'm so nervous, but—."

"Very natural, ma'am," said the big superintendent, comfortingly, and went with them to the wood.

It was rather thrilling to go with him and watch him. Joyce and Mother had to show him the place from which Joan had started and the spot at which she had disappeared. He looked at them hard, frowning a little and nodding to himself, and went stalking mightily among the ferns. "It was 'ere she went?" he inquired, as he reached the dark path, and being assured that it was, he thrust in and commenced his search. The pond seemed to give him ideas, which old Jenks disposed of, and he marched on till he came out to the edge of the fields, where the hay was yet uncut. Joan could not have crossed them without leaving a track in the tall grass as clear as a cart-rut.

"We 'ave to consider the possibilities of the matter," said the superintendent. "Assumin' that the wood 'as been thoroughly searched, where did she get out of it?"

"Searched!" growled old Jenks. "There ain't a inch as I 'aven't searched an' seen, not a inch."

"The kidnappin' the'ry," went on the superintendent, ignoring him and turning to Mother, "I don't incline to. 'Owever, we must go to work in order, an' I'll 'ave my men up 'ere and make sure of the wood. All gypsies an' tramps will be stopped and interrogated. I don't think there's no cause for you to feel anxious, ma'am. I 'ope to 'ave some news for you in the course of the afternoon."

They watched him free-wheel down the lane and shoot round the corner.

"Oh, dear," said Mother, then: "Why doesn't the baby come? I wish Daddy weren't away."

Now that the police had entered the affair Joyce felt that there remained nothing to be done. Uniformed authority was in charge of events; it could not fail to find Joan. She had a vision of the police at work, stopping straggling families of tramps on distant by-roads, looking into the contents of their dreadful bundles, flashing the official bull's eye lantern into the mysterious interior of gypsy caravans, and making ragged men and slatternly women give an account of their wanderings. No limits to which they would not go; how could they fail? She wished their success seemed as inevitable to her mother as it did to her.

"They're sure to bring her back, Mother," she repeated.

"Oh, chick," said Mother, "I keep telling myself so. But I wish I wish."

"What, Mother?"

"I wish," said Mother in a sudden burst of speech, as if she were confessing something that troubled her; "I wish you hadn't seen that wood-lady."

The tall young constables and the plump fatherly sergeant annoyed old Jenks by searching the wood as though he had done nothing. It was a real search this time. Each of them took a part of the ground and went over it as though he were looking for a needle which had been lost, and no fewer than three of them trod every inch of the bottom of the Secret Pond. They took shovels and opened up an old fox's earth; and a sad-looking man in shabby plain clothes arrived and walked about smoking a pipe a detective! Up from the village, too, came the big young curate and the squire's two sons, civil and sympathetic and eager to be helpful; they all thought it natural that Mother should be anxious, but refused to credit for an instant that anything could have happened to Joyce.

"That baby!" urged the curate. "Why, my dear lady, Joan is better known hereabouts than King George himself. No one could take her a mile without having to answer questions. I don't know what's keeping her, but you may be sure she's all right."

"Course she is," chorused the others, swinging their sticks lightheartedly. "'Course she's all right."

"Get her for me, then," said Mother. "I don't want to be silly, and you're awfully good. But I must have her; I must have her. I, I want her."

The squire's sons turned as if on an order and went towards the wood. The curate lingered a moment. He was a huge youth, an athlete and a gentleman, and his hard clean-shaven face could be kind and serious.

"We're sure to get her," he said in lower tones. "And you must help us with your faith and courage. Can you?"

Mother's hand tightened on that of Joyce.

"We are doing our best," she said, and smiled she smiled. The curate nodded and went his way to the wood.

A little later in the afternoon came Colonel Warden, the lord and master of all the police in the county, a gay trim soldier whom the children knew and liked. With him, in his big automobile, were more policemen and a pair of queer liver-colored dogs, all baggy skin and bleary eyes bloodhounds! Joyce felt that this really must settle it. Actual living bloodhounds would be more than a match for Joan. Colonel Warden was sure of it too.

"Saves time," he was telling Mother in his high snappy voice. "Shows us which way she's gone, you know. Best hounds in the country, these two; never known 'em fail yet."

The dogs were limp and quiet as he led them through the wood, strange ungainly mechanisms which a whiff of a scent could set in motion. A pinafore, which Joan had worn at breakfast, was served to them for an indication of the work they had to do; they snuffed at it languidly for some seconds. Then the colonel unleashed them.

They smelled round and about like any other dogs for a while, till one of them lifted his great head and uttered a long moaning cry. Then, noses down, the men running behind them, they set off across the ferns. Mother, still holding Joyce's hand, followed. The hounds made a straight line for the wood at the point at which Joan had entered it, slid in like frogs into water, while the men dodged and crashed after them. Joyce and Mother came up with them at a place where the bushes stood back, enclosing a little quiet space of turf that lay open to the sky. The hounds were here, one lying down and scratching himself, the other nosing casually and clearly without interest about him.

"Dash it all," the colonel was saying; "she can't she simply can't have been kidnapped in a balloon."

They tried the hounds again and again, always with the same result. They ran their line to the same spot unhesitatingly, and then gave up as though the scent went no farther. Nothing could induce them to hunt beyond it.

"I can't understand this," said Colonel Warden, dragging at his moustache. "This is queer." He stood glancing, around him as though the shrubs and trees had suddenly become enemies.

The search was still going on when the time came for Joyce to go to bed. It had spread from the wood across the fields, reinforced by scores of sturdy volunteers, and automobiles had puffed away to thread the mesh of little lanes that covered the countryside. Joyce found it all terribly exciting. Fear for Joan she felt not at all.

"I know inside myself," she told Mother, "right down deep in the middle of me, that Joan's all right."

"Bless you, my chick," said poor Mother. "I wish I could feel like that. Go to bed now, like a good girl."

There was discomfort in the sight of Joan's railed cot standing empty in the night nursery, but Joyce was tired and had scarcely begun to be touched by it before she was asleep. She had a notion that during the night Mother came in more than once, and she had a vague dream, too, all about Joan and wood-ladies, of which she could not remember much when she woke up. Joan was always dressed first in the morning, being the younger of the pair, but now there was no Joan, and Nurse was very gentle with Joyce and looked tired and as if she had been crying.

Mother was not to be seen that morning; she had been up all night, "till she broke down, poor thing," said Nurse, and Joyce was bidden to amuse herself quietly in the nursery. But Mother was about again at lunch time when Joyce went down to the dining room. She was very pale and her eyes looked black and deep, and somehow t she seemed suddenly smaller and younger, more nearly Joyce's age, than ever before. They kissed each other, and the child would have tried to comfort.

"No," said Mother, shaking her head. "No dear. Don't let's be sorry for each other yet. It would be like giving up hope. And we haven't done that, have we?"

"I haven't," said Joyce. "I know it's all right."

After lunch again Mother said she wouldn't be hungry till Joan came home they went out together. There were no searchers now in the wood and the garden was empty; the police had left no inch unscanned and they were away, combing the countryside and spreading terror among the tramps. The sun was strong upon the lawn, and the smell of the roses was heavy on the air; across the hedge, the land rolled away to clear perspectives of peace and beauty.

"Let's walk up and down," suggested Mother. "Anything's better than sitting still. And don't talk, chick not just now."

They paced the length of the lawn, from the cedar to the gate which led to the wood, perhaps a dozen times, hand in hand and in silence. It was while their backs were turned to the wood that they heard the gate click, and faced about to see who was coming. A blue-sleeved arm thrust the gate open, and there advanced into the sunlight, coming forth from the shadow as from a doorway Joan! Her round baby face, with the sleek brown hair over it, the massive infantile body, the sturdy bare legs, confronted them serenely. Mother uttered a deep sigh it sounded like that and in a moment she was kneeling on the ground with her arms round the baby.

"Joan, Joan," she said over and over again. "My little, little baby!"

Joan struggled in her embrace till she got an arm free, and then rubbed her eyes drowsily.

"Hallo!" she said.

"But where have you been?" cried Mother. "Baby-girl, where have you been all this time?"

Joan made a motion of her head and her free arm towards the wood, the wood which had been searched a dozen times over like a pocket. "In there," she answered carelessly. "Wiv the wood-ladies. I'm hungry!"

"My darling!" said Mother, and picked her up and carried her into the house.

In the dining-room, with Mother at her side and Joyce opposite to her, Joan fell to her food in her customary workmanlike fashion, and between helpings answered questions in a fashion which only served to darken the mystery of her absence.

"But there aren't any wood-ladies really, darling," remonstrated Mother.

"There is," said Joan. "There's lots. They wanted to keep me but I wouldn't stay. So I comed home, 'cause I was hungry."

"But," began Mother. "Where did they take you to?" she asked.

"I don't know," said Joan. "The one what I went to speak to gave me her hand and tooked me to where there was more of them. It was a place in the wood wiv grass to sit on and bushes all round, and they gave me dead flowers to play wiv. Howwid old dead flowers!"

"Yes," said Mother. "What else?"

"There was anuvver little girl there," went on Joan. "Not a wood-lady but a girl like me, what they'd tooked from somewhere. She was wearing a greeny sort of dress like they was, and they wanted me to put one on too. But I wouldn't."

"Why wouldn't you?" asked Joyce.

"'Cause I didn't want to be a wood-lady," replied Joan.

"Listen to me, darling," said Mother. "Didn't these people whom you call wood-ladies take you away out of the wood? We searched the whole wood, you know, and you weren't there at all."

"I was," said Joan. "I was there all the time, an' I heard Walter an' Jenks calling. I cocked a snook at them an' the wood-ladies laughed like leaves rustling."

"But where did you sleep last night?"

"I didn't sleep," said Joan, grasping her spoon anew. "I'se very sleepy now."

She was asleep as soon as they laid her in bed, and Mother and Joyce looked at each other across her cot, above her rosy and unconscious face.

"God help us," said Mother in a whisper. "What is the truth of this?"

There was never any answer, any hint of a solution, save Joan's. And she, as soon as she discovered that her experiences amounted to an adventure, began to embroider them, and now she does not even know herself. She has reached the age of seven, and it is long since she has believed in anything so childish as wood-ladies.



IV

A MAN BEFORE THE MAST

In Tom Mowbray's boarding-house, the sailors who sat upon the narrow benches round the big room ceased their talk as the door opened and Tom Mowbray himself entered from the street. The men in the room, for all the dreary stiffness of their shore-clothes, carried upon their faces, in their hands shaped to the rasp of ropes, in every attitude of their bodies, the ineradicable hall-mark of the sea which was the arena of their lives; they salted the barren place with its vigor and pungency. Pausing within the door, Tom Mowbray sent his pale inexpressive glance flickering along the faces they turned towards him.

"Well, boys," he said; "takin' it easy fer a spell?"

There was a murmur of reply from the men; they watched him warily, knowing that he was not genial for nothing. He was a man of fifty or more, bloated in body, with an immobile grey face and a gay white moustache that masked his gross and ruthless mouth. He was dressed like any other successful merchant, bulging waistcoat, showy linen and all; the commodity in which he dealt was the flesh and blood of seamen, and his house was eminent among those which helped the water-front of San Francisco "the Barbary Coast," as sailors call it to its unholy fame. He stood among the sunburnt, steady-eyed seamen like a fungus in fresh grass.

"An' now, who's for a good ship?" he inquired. There was a sort of mirth in his voice as he spoke. "Good wages, good grub, an' a soft job. Don't all of ye speak at once."

The sailors eyed him warily. From the end of the room a white-haired American looked up wryly.

"What's her name?" he asked.

"Name?" Tom Mowbray kept his countenance, though the name was the cream of the joke. He paused, watching the faces of those who had been ashore a week and were due to ship again when he should give the word. "Oh, you don't want to be scared of her name; her name's all right. She's the Etna."

Somebody laughed, and Tom Mowbray gave him an approving glance; the others interchanged looks. The Etna had a reputation familiar to seamen and a nickname too; they called her the "Hell-packet." Of all the tall and beautiful ships which maintained their smartness and their beauty upon the agony of wronged and driven seamen, the Etna was the most terrible, a blue-water penitentiary, a floating place of torment. To enhance the strange terror of her, the bitter devil who was her captain carried his wife on board; the daily brutalities that made her infamous went on under the eyes and within the hearing of a woman; it added a touch of the grotesque to what was otherwise fearful enough.

Tom Mowbray stood enjoying the dumb consternation of his victims.

"Well, who's for it?" he inquired. "Ain't there none of you that wants a good ship like that Noo York an' back here, an' eighteen dollars a month? Well, I s'pose I'll have to take my pick of yer."

They knew he had proposed the matter to them only in mockery of their helplessness; they were at his mercy, and those he selected would have to go. He would secure an advance of three months of their wages as payment for their week or so of board; and they would desert penniless in New York to escape the return voyage. There was no remedy; it was almost a commonplace risk of their weary lives so commonplace a risk that of all those men, accustomed to peril and violence, there was none to rise and drive a fist into his sleek face. But, from the back of the room, one, nursing a crossed knee, with his pipe in his mouth, spoke with assurance.

"I'm not goin' aboard of her," he said.

Tom Mowbray's heavy brows lowered a little; he surveyed the speaker. It was a young man, sitting remote from the windows, whose face, in the shadows of the big, bare room, showed yet a briskness of coloring. His name Tom remembered it with an effort was Goodwin, Daniel Goodwin; he had been paid off from a "limejuicer" little more than a week before.

"Oh, you're not goin' aboard of her?" he queried slowly.

"No," answered the young man calmly. "I'm not."

It was defiance, it was insult; but Tom Mowbray could stand that. He smoothed out his countenance, watching while the young man's neighbor on the bench nudged him warningly.

"Well, I gotta find a crowd for her," he said in tones of resignation. "I dunno how I'm goin' to do it, though."

He sighed, the burlesque sigh of a fat man pitying himself, and passed through the room to the door at the far end. Not till it had closed behind him did talk resume. A man who had been three weeks ashore leant back against the wall and let his breath escape in a sigh, which was not burlesque. For him there was no hope; he was as much doomed as if a judge had pronounced sentence on him.

"Oh, hell!" he said. "Wonder if he'll let me have a dollar to get a drink 'fore I go aboard of her?"

The others turned their eyes on him curiously; whatever happened to them, he was a man who would sail in the Etna; already he was isolated and tragic.

The neighbor who had nudged young Goodwin nudged him again.

"Come out," he breathed into the ear that the young man bent towards him. "Come out; I want to speak t' ye."

In the street, the mean cobbled street of the Barbary Coast, the man who nudged took Goodwin by the arm and spoke urgently.

"Say, ain't ye got no sense?" he demanded. "Talkin' like that to Tom Mowbray! Don't ye know that's the way to fix him to ship ye aboard the 'Hell-packet?'"

"He can't ship me aboard any 'Hell-packet,'" answered Goodwin serenely. "When I ship, I ship myself, an' I pay my board in cash. There ain't any advance note to be got out o' me."

The other halted and drew Goodwin to halt, facing him at the edge of the sidewalk, where a beetle-browed saloon projected its awning above them. Like Goodwin, he was young and brown; but unlike Goodwin there was a touch of sophistication, of daunting experience, in the seriousness of his face. The two had met and chummed after the fashion of sailors, who make and lose their friends as the hazard of the hour directs.

"You don't know Tom Mowbray," he said in a kind of affectionate contempt. "He's, he's a swine an' he's cute! Didn't you hear about him shippin' a corpse aboard o' the Susquehanna, an' drawin' three months' advance for it? Why, you ain't got a show with him if he's got a down on ye."

Goodwin smiled. "Maybe I don't know Tom Mowbray," he said; "but it's a sure thing Tom Mowbray don't know me. Come on an' have a drink, Jim. This thing of the Etna it's settled. Come on!"

He led the way into the saloon beside them; Jim, growling warningly, followed him.

At twenty-six, it was Goodwin's age, one should be very much a man. One's moustache is confirmed in its place; one has the stature and muscle of a man, a man's tenacity and resistance, while the heart of boyishness still pulses in one's body. It is the age at which capacity is the ally of impulse, when heart and hand go paired in a perfect fraternity. One is as sure of oneself as a woman of thirty, and with as much and as little reason. Goodwin, when he announced that he, at any rate, would not be one of the crew of the Etna, spoke out of a serene confidence in himself. He knew himself for a fine seaman and a reasonably fine human being; he had not squandered his wages, and he did not mean to be robbed of his earnings when he shipped himself again. It was his first visit to San Francisco; the ports he knew were not dangerous to a man who took care of himself, who was not a drunkard, and would fight at need. He showed as something under six feet tall, long in the limb and moving handily, with eyes of an angry blue in a face tanned russet by wind and sun.

In the saloon he laughed down Jim's instances of Tom Mowbray's treachery and cunning, lounging with an elbow on the bar, careless and confident under the skeptical eyes of the white-jacketed barman.

"I reckon Tom Mowbray knows when he's safe," he said. "Why, if he was to do any o' them things to me I'd get him if I had to dig for him. Yes, sir!"

From thence the course of events ran as anyone familiar with the Barbary Coast might have prophesied. They returned to the boarding-house for supper and joined their fellows at the long table in the back room, and were waited on by Tom Mowbray's "runners." Mowbray himself, with his scared, lean wife and his wife's crippled brother, had a table apart from the men; as he ate he entertained himself by baiting the unhappy cripple, till the broken man stammered tearfully across the table at him, shaking and grimacing in a nervous frenzy, which Tom Mowbray always found comical. The woman between them sat with her eyes downcast and her face bitter and still; they made a picture of domesticity at which the sailors stared in a fascination of perplexity, while the hard-faced "runners" in their shirt-sleeves carried the plates to and from the kitchen, and the ritual of the evening meal proceeded to its finish.

If there was in Goodwin a quality more salient than his youthful force and his trust in his own capacity, it was the manner he had of seeing absorbedly the men and things that presented themselves to his eyes, so that even in dull and trivial matters he gathered strong impressions and vivid memories. The three people at the little table made a group from which, while he ate, he could not withdraw his eyes. The suffering passivity of the woman, the sly, sinister humor in Tom Mowbray's heavy, grey face, the livid and impotent hate that frothed in the crippled man, and his strange jerky gestures, the atmosphere of nightmare cruelty and suffering that enveloped them like a miasma these bit themselves into his imagination and left it sore. He saw and tasted nothing of what he ate and drank; he was lost in watching the three at the other table; the man who refilled his cup with coffee winked across his head to one of the others as though in mirth at his abstraction.

In the ordinary way he would have gone for a walk up-town with his friend after supper; but he was not in a mood for company that evening and found himself sleepy besides. He went upstairs to the bedroom he shared with two other men to get some tobacco he had there, and discovered in himself so strong an inclination to slumber that he decided to go to bed forthwith. He lit his pipe and sat down on his bed to take his boots off. He had one boot unlaced but still on his foot when his pipe dropped from his lips. Across his drugged and failing brain there flickered for an instant the blurred shape of a suspicion.

"What's the matter with me?" he half cried; and tried to rise to his feet.

He knew he had failed to stand up and had fallen back on the bed. With his last faculties he resisted the tides of darkness that rushed in upon him; then his grasp upon consciousness loosened and his face, which had been knitted in effort, relaxed. When half an hour later Tom Mowbray and two of his "runners" came to find him, he lay, scarcely breathing, in the appearance of a profound and natural sleep.

It was thirty-six hours later when a vague consciousness of pain, growing upon his poisoned nerves, sharpened to a climax, and he opened his eyes, lying where he found himself without moving. It took him some minutes before he brought his mind into co-ordination with his senses to realize what he saw. Then it was plain to him that he was lying upon the bare slats of a bunk in the narrow forecastle of a ship. Its door, hooked open, made visible a slice of sunlit deck and a wooden rail beyond it, from which the gear of the foremast slanted up. Within the forecastle only three of the bunks contained mattresses and blankets, and there was no heave and sway under him to betoken a ship under sail in a seaway.

Slowly the sailor within him asserted itself. "This hooker's at anchor!"

By degrees he began to account for himself. Recollection returned: he had waked in a bare and bedless bunk, but it was at Tom Mowbray's he had fallen asleep. He remembered going up to his room and the sleepiness that had pressed itself upon him there. And there was a thought, a doubt, that had been with him at the last. It eluded him for a moment; then he remembered and sat up, in an access of vigor and anger as he recalled it.

"Knock-out drops," he said. "Yes, by God! Tom Mowbray's shanghaied me!"

His head ached, his skin and his mouth were parched as if by a fever. Stiffly he swung himself over the edge of his bunk and went on feet that were numb and uncertain through the door to the deck. He was sore all over from lying on the bare slats of the bunk, and the dregs of the drug still clogged his mind and muscles; but like the flame in a foul lantern there burned in him the fires of anger.

"Shanghaied!" he repeated as he reeled to the rail and caught at a backstay to steady himself. "Well, the man that did it wants to hide when I get ashore again."

He cast his eyes aft over the ship on which he found himself, summing her up with an automatic expertness. An American ship, it was plain, and a three-skysail-yarder at that, with a magnificent stature and spread of spars. Abeam of her San Francisco basked along its shore; she was at an anchor well out in the bay. What ship was it that he had viewed from a dock-head lying just there? The answer was on his lips even before his eyes discovered the boat she carried on top of the fo'c'sle, with her name lettered upon it. Tom Mowbray had proved his power by shanghaiing him aboard the Etna!

He said nothing: the situation was beyond mere oaths, but wrath surged in him like a flood.

Around the for'ard house, walking with measured steps, came Mr. Fant, the mate of the Etna, and accosted him.

"Sobered up, have ye?" said Mr. Fant.

"Yes, sir," said Goodwin.

"That's right," said Mr. Fant, smiling, surveying him with an appearance of gentle interest. "Knock-out drops?" he inquired.

"Yes, sir," answered Goodwin again, watching him.

"Ah!" Mr. Fant shook his head. "Well, you're all right now," he said. "Stick yer head in a bucket an' ye'll be ready to turn to."

Mr. Fant had his share in the fame of the Etna; he was a part of her character. Goodwin, though his mind still moved slowly, eyed him intently, gauging the man's strange and masked quality, probing the mildness of his address for the thing it veiled. He saw the mate of the Etna as a spare man of middle-age, who would have been tall but for the stoop of his shoulders. His shaven face was constricted primly; he had the mouth of an old maid, and stood slack-bodied with his hands sunk in the pockets of his jacket. Only the tightness of his clothes across his chest and something sure and restrained in his gait as he walked hinted of the iron thews that governed his lean body; and, while he spoke in the accents of an easy civility, his stony eyes looked on Goodwin with an unblinking and remorseless aloofness. It was not hard to imagine him, when the Etna, with her crew seduced or drugged to man her, should be clear of soundings and the business of the voyage put in shape, when every watch on deck would be a quaking ordeal of fear and pain, and every watch below an interval for mere despair.

The vision of it made Goodwin desperate.

"I haven't signed on, sir," he protested. "I've been shanghaied here. This ain't."

He paused under the daunting compulsion of Mr. Fant's eye.

"You've signed on all right," said Mr. Fant. "Your name's John Smith an' you signed on yesterday. You don't want to make any mistake about that, Smith."

He spoke as mildly as ever and yet was menacing and terrible. But Goodwin was insistent.

"My name's Goodwin," he persisted. "Tom Mowbray drugged me and shoved me on board. I want to go ashore."

Mr. Fant turned to go aft. "You get yer head into a bucket," he counselled. "Hurry up, now. There's work waitin' to be done."

"I won't!" shouted Goodwin.

"Eh!" Mr. Fant's voice was still mild as he uttered the exclamation, but before Goodwin could repeat himself he had moved. As if some spring in him had been released from tension, the mild and prim Mr. Fant whirled on his heel, and a fist took Goodwin on the edge of the jaw and sent him gasping and clucking on to his back; while, with the precision of a movement rehearsed and practiced, Mr. Fant's booted foot swung forward and kicked him into the scuppers. He lay there on his back, looking up in an extremity of terror and astonishment at the unmoved face of the mate.

"Get up, Smith," commanded Mr. Fant. Goodwin obeyed, scarcely conscious of the pain in his face and flank in the urgency of the moment. "Now you get the bucket, same as I told you, and when you've freshened yourself come aft an' I'll start you on a job. See?"

"Aye, aye, sir," responded Goodwin mechanically, and started for-ard. The Etna had absorbed him into her system; he was initiated already to his role of a driven beast; but tenacious as an altar fire there glowed yet within him the warmth of his anger against Tom Mowbray. It was secret, beyond the reach of Mr. Fant's fist; the fist was only another item in Tom Mowbray's debt.

From his place on the crossjack-yard, to which Mr. Fant sent him, Goodwin had presently a view of the captain's wife. She came to the poop from the cabin companion-way and leaned for a while on the taffrail, seeming to gaze at the town undulating over the hills, dwarfed by the distance. It was when she turned to go down again that Goodwin had a full view of her face, bleak and rigid, with greying hair drawn tightly back from the temples, as formal and blank as the face of a clock. It was told of her that she would sit knitting in her chair by the mizzen fife-rail while at the break of the poop a miserable man was being trodden and beaten out of the likeness of humanity and never lift her head nor shift her attitude for all his cries and struggles. It was her presence aboard that touched the man-slaughtering Etna with her quality of the macabre.

"But she won't see me broken up," swore Goodwin to himself as her head vanished in the hood of the companion. "No not if I've got to set the damn ship alight!"

He made the acquaintance, when work was over for the day, of his fellows in ill-fortune, the owners of the three occupied bunks in the forecastle. As if the Etna had laid herself out to starve him of every means of comfort, they proved to be "Dutchmen" that is to say, Teutons of one nationality or another and therefore, by sea-canons, his inferiors, incapable of sharing his feelings and not to be trusted with his purpose. One question, however, they were able to answer satisfactorily. It had occurred to him that since even Tom Mowbray could only get men for the Etna by drugging them, her officers would probably take special precautions to guard against desertion.

"Do they lock us in here at night?" he asked of the three of them when they sat at supper in the port fo'c'sle.

They stared at him uncomprehendingly. For them, helots of the sea, the Etna's terrors were nothing out of the way; all ships used them harshly; life itself was harsh enough. Their bland blond faces were stupid and amiable.

"Log us in!" answered one of them. "No! For what shall they log us in?"

"That's all right, then," said Goodwin and let them continue to stare at him, ruminating his reasons for the question.

There was a fourth "Dutchman" who slumbered through the day in the starboard fo'c'sle and sat all night in the galley, in the exercise of his functions as night-watchman. His lamp shed a path of light from the galley door to the rail when, his fellows in the fo'c'sle being, audibly asleep, Goodwin rose from his bunk and came forth to the deck. Far away, across the level waters of the great bay, the lights of the city made an illumination against the background of the night; overhead there was a sky bold with stars; the Etna floated mute in a rustle of moving waters. There were no ships near her; only now and again a towboat racing up from the Golden Gates went by with the noise of a breaking wave on a steep shore. In the break of the poop there showed the light of Mr. Fant's window, where he lay in his bunk, relaxing his grisly official personality with a book and a cigar.

In deft haste Goodwin stepped to the fore side of the fo'c'sle, where he would be hidden should the watchman take a fancy to look out of his galley. In him a single emotion was constant: he had a need to find Tom Mowbray. It was more than an idea or a passion: it was like the craving of a drug maniac for his poison. The shore that blinked at him across the black waters was not inaccessible under the impulse of that lust of anger; he was at all times a strong swimmer. Under shelter of the deckhouse he stripped his clothes and made of them it was only his shirt and trousers a bundle which the belt that carried his sheath-knife fastened upon his head, descending under his chin like a helmet-strap. With infinite precaution to be unheard he went in this trim across the deck to the rail.

The Etna's chain-plates were broad as a frigate's; he had but to let himself down carefully and he was in the water without a splash. A dozen strokes took him clear of her, and presently he paused, up-ending and treading water, to look back at her. She stood up over her anchors like a piece of architecture, poising like a tower; the sailor in him paid tribute to the builders who had conceived her beauty. They had devised a ship: it needed Mr. Fant and his colleagues to degrade her into a sea-going prophet and give aptness to her by-name of "Hell-packet." He was clear of her now; he might fail to reach the shore and drown, but at least the grey woman aft would never see his humiliation and defeat. He turned over, setting his face to the waterside lights of the city, and struck out.

It was a long swim, and it was fortunate for him that he took the water on the turn of the tide, so that where the tail of the ebb set him down the first of the flood bore him back. The stimulus of the chill and the labor of swimming cleared the poison from his body and brain; he swam steadily, with eyes fixed on the lights beading the waterside and mind clenched on the single purpose to find Tom Mowbray, to deal with him, to satisfy the anger which ached in him like a starved appetite. How he would handle him, what he would do with him, when he found him, did not occupy his thoughts; it was a purpose and not a plan which was taking him ashore. He had the man's pursy large face for ever in his consciousness; the vision of it was a spur, an exasperation; he found himself swimming furiously, wasting strength, in the thought of encountering it.

Good luck and not calculation brought him ashore on the broadside of the Barbary Coast, in a small dock where a Norwegian barque lay slumbering alongside the wharf. Her watchman, if she had one, was not in sight; it was upon her deck that he dressed himself, fumbling hurriedly into the shirt and trousers which he had failed, after all, to keep dry. He jerked his belt tight about him and felt the sheath-knife which it carried pressing against his back. He reached back and slid it round to his right side, where his hand would drop on it easily; it might chance that before the night was over he would need a weapon.

He had no notion of the hour nor of the length of time he had been in the water. As he passed bare-footed from the wharf he was surprised to find the shabby street empty under its sparse lamps. It lay between its mean houses vacant and unfamiliar in its quietude; it seemed to him as though the city waited in a conscious hush till he should have done what he had come to do. His bare feet on the sidewalk slapped and shuffled, and he hurried along close to the walls; the noise he made, for all his caution, appeared to him monstrous, enough to wake the sleepers in the houses and draw them to their windows to see the man who was going to find Tom Mowbray.

An alley between gapped and decrepit board fences brought him to the back of the house he sought; he swung himself into the unsavory back yard of it without delaying to seek for the gate. The house was over him, blank and lightless, its roof a black heap against the night sky. He paused to look up at it. He was still without any plan; not even now did he feel the need of one. To go in to break in, if that were the quickest way to stamp his stormy way up the room where Tom Mowbray was sleeping, to wrench him from his bed and then let loose the maniac fury that burned within him all that was plain to do. He cast a glance at the nearest window, and then it was that the door of the house opened.

He was standing to one side, a dozen paces from it; a single, noiseless step took him to the wall, against which he backed, screened by the darkness, and waited to see who would come forth. A figure appeared and lingered in the doorway, and he caught the sibilance of a whisper, and immediately upon it a dull noise of tapping, as though someone beat gently and slowly against the door with a clenched hand. It was a noise he had heard before; his faculties strained themselves to identify it. Then a second figure appeared, smaller than the first, moving with a strange gait, and he knew. It was the cripple, Mowbray's brother-in-law, and it was his leather-shod crutch which had tapped on the floor of the passage. The two figures moved down the yard together, and presently, as they passed from the shadow of the house and came within the feeble light of a lamp that burned at the mouth of the alley, he saw that the taller of the two was Tom Mowbray's wife. They found the gate in the fence and opened it, manifestly hesitating at the strident creaking it made, and passed through. At no moment were they clear to see, but to Goodwin's eyes their very gait was in some way expressive of a tragic solemnity that clad them.

He remained silent in his place as they went along the alley towards the street, passing him at arm's length on the other side of the fence. Their footsteps were muffled on the unpaved ground of the alley, but there was another noise which he heard the noise of the woman weeping weeping brokenly and openly. Then the cripple's harsh, hopeless voice spoke.

"Anyway, we're alone together again for a bit, Sally," he croaked.

The woman checked her sobs to answer. "Yes, honey," she replied.

Goodwin waited till the tapping of the crutch had receded. "So they've quit him at last," he reflected. "And" he stepped forth from his hiding place briskly "they've left the door open. Now for Tom Mowbray!"

Once within the door he was no longer careful to be silent. The house was dark, and he had to grope his way to the stairs, or he would have run at and up them at the top of his speed. The place seemed full of doors closed upon sleeping people; someone on an upper floor was. snoring with the noise of a man strangling. He moved among them awkwardly, but he knew which was the room that harbored his man. The door of it was before him at last. He fumbled and found the handle.

"Now!" he said aloud, and thrust it open.

His vision of vengeance had shown him the room that was to be its arena, but this room was dark and he could not see it. He had not allowed for that. He swore as the door swung to behind him.

"Mowbray!" he called. "Mowbray, you blasted robber! Wake up an' get what's comin' to you!"

There was no answering stir to tell him the direction in which to spring with hands splayed for the grapple. The room had a strange stillness; in spite of himself he held his breath to listen for Tom Mowbray's breathing. His right arm brushed the hilt of his sheath-knife as he stood, tense and listening. There was no sound of breathing, but there was something.

It was like the slow tick of a very quiet clock, measured and persistent. He could not make it out.

"Mowbray!" he called once more, and the only answer was that pat-a-pat that became audible again when he ceased to call.

"I bet I'll wake you," he said, and stepped forward feeling before him with his hands. They found the surface of a table, struck and knocked over a glass that stood upon it, and found a box of matches. "Ah!" grunted Goodwin triumphantly.

The match-flame languished ere it stood steady and let the room be seen. Goodwin had passed the bed and was standing with his back to it. With the match in his fingers and his eyes dazzled by its light, he turned and approached it. The face of Mowbray showed wide-open eyes at him from the pillow. The bedclothes lay across his chest; one arm hung over the edge of the bed with the hand loose and limp. And above his neck his night-clothes and the linen of the bed were sodden and dreadful with blood that had flowed from a frightful wound in the throat. What had sounded like the ticking of a clock was now the noise of its dripping. "Drip!" it went; "drip-drip!"

The match-flame stung his fingers and went out.

"Hell!" cried Goodwin, and out of the darkness panic swooped on him.

There was a moment when he tried to find the door and could not, alone in the blackness of the room with the murdered man. He caught at himself desperately to save himself from screaming, and found the matchbox was in his hand. He failed to light two matches, standing off the lunatic terror that threatened him.

Somewhere out of sight he knew that Tom Mowbray's eyes were open. The third match fired and he had the door by the handle. It restored him like a grip of a friendly hand.

He was able to pause in the door while the match burned and his mind raced. There leaped to the eye of his imagination the two stricken figures he had seen slinking from the house, the weeping of the woman, the muffled tap of the man's crutch. There followed, in an inevitable sequence, the memory of them in their torment as they sat at meat with Tom Mowbray.

"I wonder which o' them done it?" he thought, and shuddered. Where he stood he could see the still face of the dead man, with its shape of power and pride overcast now by the dreadful meekness of the dead. He could not pursue the thought, for another came up to drive it from his mind.

"Supposin' somebody woke and come out and saw me here!"

To think of it was enough. Drawing the door to behind him he went down the stairs. He had been careless of noise in ascending; now each creak of the warped boards was an agony. The snorer had turned over in bed; the awful house had a graveyard stillness. He held his breath till he was clear of it and again in the hushed and empty street.

"The Etna for mine, if I can make it," he breathed to himself as he went at a run in the shadow of the silent houses. "God! If anyone was to see me!"

And thus it was that the first pallor of dawn beheld the incredible and unprecedented sight of an able seaman, with his clothes strapped upon his head, swimming at peril of his life in San Francisco bay, to get aboard of the "Hell-packet."



V

THE GIRL

The little mission hall showed to the shabby waterside street of Jersey City its humble face of brick and the modest invitation of its open door, from which at intervals there overflowed the sudden music of a harmonium within. Goodwin, ashore for the evening, with the empty hours of his leisure weighing on him like a burden, heard that music rise about him, as he moved along the saloon-dotted sidewalk, with something of the mild surprise of a swimmer who passes out of a cold into a warm current. For lack of anything better to do, he had been upon the point of returning to his ship, where she lay in her dock. He had not spoken to a soul since he had come ashore at sundown, and the simple music was like a friendly prompting. He hesitated a moment for he was not a frequenter of missions then turned in at the entrance of the hall.

The music of the harmonium and of the voices that sang with it seemed to swell at him as he pushed open the swing door and tiptoed in toward a back seat, careful to be noiseless. But there were heads that turned, none the less heads of tame sailors from the ships, for whose service the mission struggled to exist, and a few sleek faces of shore folk; and, on the low platform at the upper end of the hall, the black-coated, whiskered missioner who presided over the gathering craned his neck to look at the new-comer, without ceasing to sing with vigor. It was, in short, such a meeting as an idle sailor might drop in upon in any one of a hundred ports. Goodwin recognized the very atmosphere of it its pervading spirit of a mild and very honest geniality, the peculiar nasal tone of its harmonium, and the timidity of the singing. Standing in his place in the back row of seats, he was going on to identify it at further points, when he felt a touch on his arm.

"Eh?" he demanded under his breath, turning.

A tall girl was offering him a little red, paper-covered hymn-book, open at the hymn that was then being sung, her ungloved finger pointing him the very verse and line. He did not at once take it. She had come upon him surprisingly, and now, while he stared at her, he was finding her surprising in herself. Under the brim of her hat her face showed gentle and soft, with something of a special kindliness; and, because others were watching her, she had a little involuntary smile of embarrassment.

She glanced up at him shyly, and let her eyes fall before his. The finger with which she pointed him the place on the page seemed to Goodwin, whose hands were like hoofs for callousness and size, exquisite and pathetic in its pink slenderness. It was not merely that she was beautiful and feminine in that moment Goodwin could not have been positive that she was beautiful but a dim allurement, a charm made up of the grace of her bowed head, her timid gesture of proffering him the book, her nearness, and her fragile delicacy of texture, enhanced and heightened the surprise of her.

"Gosh!" breathed Goodwin, unthinking; then, "Thank you, miss," as he took the hymn-book from her.

She smiled once more, and went back to her place at the farther end of the row of seats in front of Goodwin's, where he could still see her. He found himself staring at her in a sort of perplexity; she had revealed herself to him with a suddenness that gave her a little the quality of an apparition. The bend of her head above her book brought to view, between the collar of her coat and her soft brown hair, a gleam of white nape that fascinated him; she was remote, ethereal, wondrously delicate and mysterious. He sprawled in his place, when the hymn was over, with an arm over the back of his seat, intent merely to see her and slake the appetite of his eyes.

"She's she's a looker, all right!" He had a need to make some comment upon this uplifting experience of his, and this was the best he could do.

He had come in late sailors' missions are used to late-comers and early-goers and it was not long before the simple service came to a close and the meeting began to break up. Goodwin took his cap and rose, watching the tall girl as she went forward to join a couple of older women. The black-coated man came down from the platform and made his way toward Goodwin, amiable intentions visibly alight in his whiskered face.

"Haven't seen you here before," he said at Goodwin's elbow. "What ship d'you belong to?"

Goodwin, recalled to himself, looked down into the kindly, narrow face of the missioner. He himself was tall, a long-limbed young man, with a serious, darkly tanned face in which the blue of the eyes showed up strongly; and in his bearing and the fashion of his address there was a touch of that arrogance which men acquire who earn their bread at the hourly hazard of their lives.

"Oh, I just dropped in," he said awkwardly. "I belong to th' Etna, lyin' in the dock down yonder."

The missioner smiled and nodded.

"Etna, eh? Ah, yes. Somebody was tellin' me about the Etna. A hard ship that's what you call her, eh?"

Goodwin nodded, and considered the face upturned toward his own innocent, benevolent, middle-aged, worn, too, with hopes and disappointments, yet unscarred by such bitter knowledge as men gained early aboard the Etna.

"We call her the 'Hell-packet,'" he answered seriously.

The missioner nodded, and his smile, though it flickered, survived.

"It's an ugly name," he said; "but maybe she deserves it. An' so you saw our door open and just stepped in? It's always open in the evenin's and on Sundays, an' we'll always be glad to see you. Now, I'd like to make you acquainted with one of our young ladies, so's you won't feel you're a stranger, eh? An' then maybe you'll come again."

"Oh, I dunno" began Goodwin, fidgeting.

But the missioner was already beckoning with a black-sleeved arm. His pale elderly face seemed to shine.

Goodwin turned, looked to see whom he summoned, and forthwith dropped his cap, so that he was bent double to pick it up when the young lady, the tall girl who had offered him the hymn-book, arrived. He came upright again face to face with her, abandoned by his faculties, a mere sop of embarrassment before the softness of her eyes and the smile of her lips.

The missioner's official voice brayed between them benevolently. Goodwin had a momentary sense that there was a sort of indecency in thus trumpeting forth the introduction; it should have been done solemnly, gracefully, like a ceremony.

"Miss James," said the missioner noisily, "here's a friend that's visitin' us for the first time. Now, I want you to persuade him to come again, an' tell him he'll be welcome just as often as he likes to come an' see us. His name's, er."

"Goodwin," replied the sailor awkwardly.

The missioner shook his hand warmly, putting eloquence into the shake. He cut it short to intercept a brace of seamen who were making for the door. Goodwin saw him bustle up and detain them with his greeting: "Haven't seen you here before. What ship d'you belong to?" Then he turned back to the girl.

"Do you belong to a ship?" she asked.

"Yes," he answered. "The Etna."

He had been eager to hear her speak. She had a voice with shadows in it, a violin voice. Goodwin, relishing it like an apt gift, could only tell himself that it fitted and completed that strange effect she had of remoteness and unreality.

"What was your last port?" she asked.

He told her, and she went on with her conventional string of questions to make talk, to carry out the missioner's purpose in summoning her. The danger of seafaring, the strangeness of life in ships, the charm of travel she went through the whole list, getting answers as conventional as her queries. He was watching her, taking pleasure in her quality and aspect; and at last he saw, with a small thrill, that she was watching him likewise.

If he had been a vainer man, he might have been aware that he, in his way, was as well worth looking at as she in hers. He was big and limber, in the full ripeness of his youth, sunburned and level-eyed. His life in ships had marked him as plainly as a branding-iron. There was present in him that air which men have, secret yet visible, who know familiarly the unchanging horizons, the strange dawns, the tempest-pregnant skies of the sea. For the girl he was as unaccountable as she for him.

"Say, Miss James," he asked suddenly, breaking in on her twentieth polite question, "d'you come to this joint, I mean, to this meetin' house every night?"

Her face seemed to shape itself naturally to a smile; she smiled now.

"I can't come every night," she answered; "but I come pretty often. I, I hope you'll come sometimes, now."

Goodwin discounted that; it was no more than the missioner had bidden her to say.

"Are you goin' to be here tomorrow?" he demanded.

Her mild, pretty face flushed faintly; the meaning of his question was palpable.

"Ye-es," she hesitated; "I expect I'll be coming to-morrow."

"That's all right, then," said Goodwin cheerfully. "An' I'll be along, too."

The elderly woman whom she had left at the missioner's summons was hovering patiently. Goodwin held out his hand.

"Good night, Miss James," he said.

She gave him her hand, and he took it within his own, enveloping its pale slenderness in his rope-roughened palm. He held it just long enough to make her raise her eyes and meet his; then he released her, and, avoiding the anti-climax of a further talk with the missioner, passed out of the hall to the dark and sparsely peopled street.

At a small saloon whose lights spilled themselves across his path, he got himself a glass of beer; he was feeling just such a thirst as a man knows after nervous and exacting labor. The blond, white-jacketed barman glanced at him curiously, marking perhaps something distraught and rapt in his demeanor. Goodwin, ignoring him, took his beer and leaned an elbow on the bar, looking round the place.

A couple of Germans were playing a game at a table near the door. A man in the dumb-solemn stage of drunkenness stood regarding his empty glass with owlish fixity. It was all consistent with a certain manner and degree of life; it was commonplace, established in the order of things. In the same order were the dreary street without, and the Etna, loading at her wharf for the return voyage to San Francisco. Their boundaries were the limits of lives; one had but to cross them, to adventure beyond them, and all the world was different. A dozen steps had taken him from the sidewalk into the mission hall and the soft-glowing wonder of the girl; another dozen steps had replaced him on the sidewalk. It almost seemed as if a man might choose what world he would live in.

"Feelin' bad?" queried the barman softly; he could no longer contain his curiosity.

"Me!" exclaimed Goodwin. "No!"

"Well," said the barman apologetically Goodwin was a big and dangerous-looking young man "you're lookin' mighty queer, anyway." And he proceeded to wipe the bar industriously.

The Etna had left San Francisco with a crew of fourteen men before the mast, of whom twelve had been "Dutchmen." On her arrival in New York, these twelve had deserted forthwith, forfeiting the pay due to them rather than face the return voyage under the Etna's officers. There remained in her forecastle now only Goodwin and one other, an old seaman named Noble, a veteran who had followed the sea and shared the uncertain fate of ships since the days of single topsails.

Noble was seated on his battered chest when Goodwin unhooked the fo'c'sle door and entered. A globe-lamp that hung above him shed its light upon his silver head as he bent over his work of patching a pair of dungaree overalls, and he looked up in mild welcome of the other's return. His placidity, his venerable and friendly aspect, gave somehow to the bare forecastle, with its vacant bunks like empty coffin-shelves in a vault, an air of domesticity, the comfortable quality of a home. Save for brief intervals between voyages, in sailors' boarding-houses, such places had been "home" to Noble for fifty years.

Goodwin rehooked the door, and stood outside the globe-lamp's circle of dull light while he took off his coat. Old Noble, sail needle between his fingers, looked up from his work amiably.

"Well?" he queried. "Been havin' a hell of a good time uptown, eh?"

"That's so," retorted Goodwin shortly. "A hell of a time an' all."

The old man nodded and began to sew again, sailor fashion, thrusting the big needle with the leather "palm" which seamen use instead of a thimble. Goodwin, standing by his bunk, began to cut himself a fill for his pipe.

"Ain't been robbed, have ye?" inquired old Noble.

In his view, and according to his experience, a sailor with money on him ran peculiar risks when he went ashore. When Goodwin had been "shanghaied" in San Francisco drugged and carried on board unconscious while another man "signed on" for him and drew three months of his wages in advance those who shipped him had omitted to search him, and his money-belt was intact.

"Robbed? No!" answered Goodwin impatiently.

He lit his pipe, drawing strongly at the pungent ship's tobacco, and seated himself on the edge of the lower bunk, facing old Noble. The old man continued to sew, his hand moving rhythmically to and fro with the needle, his work spread conveniently in his lap. But for the rusty red of his tanned skin, he looked like a handsome and wise old woman.

"Jim," said Goodwin at last.

"Yes?" The old man did not look up.

"There wasn't nothin' doin' ashore there," said Goodwin. "I just went for a walk along the street, and then I well, there wasn't nothin' doin', ye see, so I went into a sort o' mission that there was."

"Eh?" Old Noble raised his head sharply and peered at him. "Ye ain't been an' got religion, Dan?"

"No, I haven't," answered Goodwin. "But say, Jim, I went into the place, and there was a girl there. She come over to loan me a hymn-book first of all, an' afterwards what ye laughin' at, blast ye?"

Old Noble had uttered no sound, but he had bent his head over his sewing and his broad shoulders were shaking. He lifted a face of elderly, cynical mirth.

"It ain't nothin', Dan," he protested. "It's just me thinkin' first ye'd bin robbed and then ye'd got religion; an' all the time it's just a girl ye've seen. Go on, Dan; how much did she get out of ye?"

"Stow that!" warned Goodwin. "She wasn't that kind. This one was say, Jim, if you was to see her just once, you'd know things ashore ain't all as bad as you fancy. Sort of soft, she was all tender and gentle and shining! Gosh, there ain't no words to put her in. I didn't know there was any girls like that."

"Nor me," put in old Noble dryly. He inspected Goodwin with a shrewd and suspicious eye. For him, a citizen of the womanless seas, beauty, grace, femininity were no more than a merchandise. "Then, to put it straight, she didn't get yer money from ye?" he demanded.

"No, she didn't," retorted Goodwin. "Not a cent, is that plain enough? Ain't you ever known no women but the rotten ones, man?"

Noble shook his head.

"Then you don't know what you're talkin' about," said Goodwin. "This one it ain't no use tellin' you, Jim. I seen her, that's all; an' I'm goin' to quit. This sailorizin' game ain't the only game there is, an' I'm done with it."

"Ah!" The old man sat with both gnarled and labor-stained hands lying upon the unfinished work in his lap. The cynical, half-humorous expression faded from his thin, strong face. He frowned at the younger man consideringly, seriously.

"Then she did get something out o' ye," he said harshly. "You're talkin' like a fool, Dan. This old ship ain't no soft berth, I know; but then, you ain't no quitter, either. This girl's got ye goin'; ye want to watch out."

"Quitter!" Goodwin took him up hotly. They faced each other across the narrow fo'c'sle vehemently; their shadows sprawled on deck and bulkhead as they bent forward and drew back in the stress of talk. "When a man's shanghaied aboard a blasted hooker like this, with three months of his wages stolen before he gets the knockout drops out o' his head, is he a quitter when he takes his chance to leave her an' look for a white man's job?"

"Yes, he is," answered Noble. "You're a sailor, ain't you? Then stick by your ship."

"Oh, it ain't no use talkin' to you!" Goodwin rose to his feet. "You'd make out that a man 'u'd go to heaven for stickin' to his ship, even if he done forty murders. I'm goin' to quit, an' that's all there is to it."

Old Noble looked up at him where he stood. The old face, that had been mild and indulgent, was hardened to an angry contempt. He was old and strong, dexterous in all seamanlike arts, a being shaped for good and evil both by half a century of seafaring, of wrong and hardship, or danger and toil, of scant food and poor pay. Never in his life had he held back from a task because it was dangerous or difficult, nor sided with an officer against a man before the mast, nor deserted a ship. His code was simple and brief, but it was of iron.

"Well, quit, then," he said. "Quit like the Dutchmen! There's no one will stop ye."

"They better not," menaced Goodwin angrily.

He had been shanghaied, of course, without chest or bag, without even bedding, so that he had worked his way around the Horn in shoddy clothes and flimsy oilskins obtained from the ship's slop-chest. There was little that he had a mind to take ashore with him; it went quickly into a small enough bundle. While he turned out his bunk, old Noble sat watching him without moving, with judgment in his face, and sorrow. He was looking on at the death of a good seaman.

"Say, Jim!" Goodwin was ready; he stood with his bundle in his hand, his cap on his head. "You don't want to be a fool, now. I reckon we can shake hands, anyhow."

He felt himself loath to leave the old man in anger; he had for him both liking and respect. But Noble did not answer only continued for some moments to look him in the face, unsoftened, stern and grieved, then bent again above his sewing.

Goodwin withdrew the hand he had held out.

"Have it your own way," he said, and went forth from the forecastle, leaving the old man, with the lamplight silvering his sparse hair, at work upon the patched overalls. And, in that moment, not even the vision of the girl and his hope of the future could save him from a pang of sadness. It was as if he had, by his going, darkened a home.

Outside upon the deck he stayed to cast a glance about him. The big ship, beautiful as a work of art in her lines and proportions, showed vacant of life. A light glimmered from the galley door, where the decrepit watchman slumbered at his ease. There was nothing to detain him. The great yards, upon which he had fought down the sodden and frozen canvas in gales off the Horn, spread over him. She was fine, she was potent, with a claim upon a man's heart; and she was notorious for a floating, hell upon the seas. It was her character; she was famous for brutality to seamen, so that they deserted at the first opportunity and forfeited their wages. And Noble would have him loyal to her!

He swore at her shortly, and forced himself to cross the deck and climb over the rail to the wharf. The conduct of Noble was sore in his mind. But, as the earth of the shore gritted under his boots, that trouble departed from him. The world, after all, was wider than the decks of the Etna; and in it, an item in its wonder and complexity, there lived and smiled the girl.

Miss James, who smiled so indescribably and asked so many questions about seafaring in the way of civil conversation, would probably have shown small interest in the adventures of a seaman in search of a lodging ashore. She would have smiled, of course, with her own little lift and fall of shy eyes, and been as intangible and desirable as ever; but one could never tell her of carrying a small bundle of underclothes from one obdurate door to another, unable to show money in any convincing amount because one's capital was in a belt under one's shirt. Othello told Desdemona of "antres vast and deserts idle," not of skeptical landladies. Goodwin felt all this intensely when, in the evening of the following day, having finally established himself in a room, he beheld her again in the mission. He beheld her first, indeed, as she entered the hall, he watching from the opposite side of the street. He had no intention of going in if she were not present. As it was, a swoop across the street and a little brisk maneuvering secured him a place next to her.

He had been a little at a loss all day; it was years since he had lived altogether apart from sailors and he had found himself lonely and depressed; but the sight of her sufficed to restore him. She gave him the welcome of a look, and a slow flush mounted on her face. The missioner was already preparing to open the service, and conversation was impossible. Nevertheless, as she turned over the pages of her hymn-book, Goodwin bent toward her.

"Didn't I say I'd be along?" he whispered, and saw her cheek move with her smile.

To be close to her, knowing her to be conscious of him, was in itself a gladness; but Goodwin was impatient for the end of the service. It was not his way to stand off and on before a thing he meant to do, and he wanted more talk with her, to get within her guard, to touch the girl who was screened behind the smile and dim sweetness and the polite questions of Miss James. He sat frowning through the latter part of the service, till the missioner, standing upright with tight-shut eyes, gave the closing benediction. Then, compellingly, he turned upon the girl.

"Say," he said, "let's get out o' this. I'd like to walk along with you and talk. Come on!"

Miss James looked at him with startled eyes. He was insistent.

"Aw, come on," he pressed. "That preacher'll be here in a minute if you don't, and we've had enough of him for one time. I tell you, I want to talk to you."

He rose, and by sheer force of urgency made her rise likewise. He got her as far as the door. "But" she began, hesitating there.

"Steady as ye go," bade Goodwin, and took her down the shallow steps to the sidewalk. "Now, which way is it to be?" he demanded suddenly.

She did not reply for a couple of moments. The light that issued from the hall showed her face as she stood and considered him doubtfully, a little uncertain of what was happening. Even in that half-obscurity of the long street, where she was seen as an attitude, a shape, she made her effect of a quiet, tender beauty. Then, at last, she smiled and turned and began to walk. Goodwin fell into step beside her, and the confusion of voices within the hall died down behind them.

"I had to make you come," said Goodwin presently. "I just had to. An' you don't want to be scared."

She glanced sideways at him, but said nothing.

"You ain't scared, are ye?" he asked.

"No," she replied.

The answer even the brevity of it fulfilled his understanding of her. He nodded to himself.

"I said I wanted to talk to ye," he went on; "an' I do. I want to talk to you a whole lot. But there ain't much I got to say. 'Ceptin', maybe, one thing. I'd like to know what your first name is. Oh, I ain't goin' to get fresh an' call you by it I reckon you know that. But thinkin' of you all day an' half the night, like I do, 'Miss James' don't come handy, ye see."

"Oh!" murmured the girl. It was plain that he had startled her a little.

"My first name is Mary," she answered.

"Ah!" said Goodwin, and repeated it again and again under his breath. "I might 'most ha' guessed it," he said. "It's well, it's a name that fits ye like a coat o' paint, Miss James, A clean, straight name, that is. Mary b'gosh, it was my mother's name."

"I'm glad you like it," said the girl, in her deep-toned, pleasant voice. "You know, Mr. Goodwin, it was a bit queer the way you made me come away from the hall."

"Ah, but that's not troublin' you," replied Goodwin quickly. "I reckon you know what's wrong wi' me, Miss James. I'm not askin' you for much yet; only to let me see you, when you go to that mission-joint, and talk to ye sometimes."

They were at an intersection of streets, where a few shops yet shone and surface-cars went by like blazing ships. There was a movement of folk about them; yet, by reason of what had passed between them, it seemed that they stood in a solitude of queer, strained feeling. The girl halted in the light of a shop-window.

"I get my car here," she said.

Goodwin stopped, facing her. She looked up at the tense seriousness of his young, set face, hard and strong, with the wind-tan coloring it. She was kindly, eager to handle him tactfully, and possibly a little warmed by his sincerity and admiration. To him she seemed the sum of all that was desirable, pathetic, and stirring in womanhood.

"No," she said; "that's not much to ask. I'll be glad to meet you at the mission, Mr. Goodwin, and maybe we can talk, too, sometimes. And when you go away again, when your ship sails."

"Eh?" Goodwin's exclamation interrupted her. "Goin' away? Why, Miss James, I ain't goin' away. That was all fixed up last night. I've quit goin' to sea."

She stared at him, with parted lips.

"You don't understand," said Goodwin gently. "I knew, just as soon as I seen you, that I wasn't going away no more. I went down an' fetched my dunnage ashore right off."

She continued to stare. "Not going away?" she repeated.

Goodwin shook his head, smiling. He did not in the least understand the embarrassment of a young woman who finds herself unexpectedly the object of a romantic and undesired sacrifice.

A street-car jarred to a halt beside them. The girl made a queer little gesture, as if in fear.

"My car!" she flustered indistinctly, and, turning suddenly, ran from him towards it, taking refuge in its ordinariness against Goodwin and all the strangeness with which he seemed to assail her.

He, smiling fatuously on the curb, saw it carry her off, swaying and grinding. "Mary," he repeated. "Mary!"

Following his purpose, within the next few days he found himself employment as one of a gang of riggers at work on a great German four-masted barque which had been dismasted in a squall off Fire Island. In the daytime he dealt with spars and gear, such stuff as he knew familiarly, in the company of men like himself. Each evening found him, washed and appareled, at the mission, furnishing a decorous bass undertone to the hymns, looked on with approval by the missioner and his helpers. Commonly he got himself a seat next to Miss James; but he could not again contrive a walk with her along the still street to the lighted corner where she ran to catch her car. There seemed always to be a pair of voluminous elderly matrons in attendance upon her, to daunt and chill him. She herself was unchanged; her soft, beneficent radiance, her elusive, coy charm, all her maddening quality of delicacy and shrinking beauty, uplifted him still.

"Say," he always whispered, as he let himself down beside her, "are we goin' to have a talk tonight?"

And she would shake her averted head hurriedly, and afterwards the iron-clad matrons would close in on her and make her inaccessible. And, in the end, he would go off to get a drink in a saloon before going back to his room, baffled and discontented.

There were three evenings running on which she did not come to the mission at all. On the fourth Goodwin was there before her. He looked at her steadily as she came to her place.

"I want to talk to you to-night," he said, varying his formula, as she sat down.

She gave him a swift, uncertain glance.

"Got to," he added gravely. "It's a case, an' I just got to."

"What about?" she asked, with a touch of resentment that was new in her.

"I guess you know," he answered quietly, and hitched nearer to her along the bench to make room for a new-comer who was thrusting in beside him. He turned perfunctorily to see who it might be. It was old Noble.

"Friends!" grated the voice of the missioner. "Let us begin by singing hymn number seventy-nine: 'Pull for the shore, sailor; pull for the shore!'"

The noise of the harmonium drowned the rustling of hymn-book pages. Noble's elbow drove against Goodwin's.

"Found ye!" rumbled the old man. "Say, come on out where I can talk to ye. We're sailin' in the mornin'."

"Hush!" whispered Goodwin. "I can't come out. What d'you want?"

The little congregation rose to its feet for the singing of the hymn. Old Noble, rising with them, leaned forward and peered past Goodwin at the girl. His keen old face inspected her inscrutably for a while.

"That's her, I reckon," he said to Goodwin in a windy whisper. "Well, I'm not sayin' nothin'. Come on out."

"I can't, I tell ye," breathed Goodwin. "Don't you go startin' anything here, now! Say what ye got to say, an' be done with it."

Old Noble scowled. About him the simple hymn rose and fell in its measured cadences. Among the honest folk who sang it there was none more venerable and seemly than he. His head was white with the sober snow of years; by contrast with his elderly gravity, the young vividness and force of Goodwin seemed violent and crude.

"I won't start nothin'," whispered Noble harshly. "Don't be afeared. I bin lookin' for ye, Dan; I want ye to have a chanst. We're sailin' in the mornin', an', Dan, we're short-handed three hands short, we are!"

His words came and went under cover of the hymn.

"Men won't ship aboard of her; she's got a bad name," the whisper continued. "She's full o' Dutchmen an' Dagoes again. It's goin' to be the hell of a passage an' the Horn in August, too. Come on an' stand yer share of it, Dan."

Goodwin glared down indignantly at the old rusty-red face beside him.

"You're crazy," he said shortly.

"Ye ain't comin'?"

For answer Goodwin only shrugged. It sufficed. With no further word Noble turned away and walked forth on heavy feet from the hall. There followed him to the street, as if in derision, the refrain of that landsman's hymn: "Leave the poor old stranded wreck, and pull for the shore!"

"Now!" said Goodwin, when at last the missioner had closed the service with his blessing.

The girl was nervous; plainly, she would have been glad to refuse. But Goodwin was in earnest, and, unwillingly enough, she surrendered to the compulsion of his will and went out with him. Outside upon the sidewalk she spoke angrily.

"I don't like the way you act," she said, and her voice had tears in it. "You think a person's got."

Goodwin interrupted. "I don't think nothin'," he said. "I got to find out. An' I can't find out while we're hustlin' to the corner. Come down towards the docks. You're all right with me; an' I got to find out."

He did not even touch her arm, but she went with him.

"Find out what?" she asked uncertainly, as they crossed the street.

"Come on," he answered. "We'll talk by an' by."

He took her down a dark side way which led them to the water-front. Wharves where work was going on roared and shone. The masts and spars of ships rose stark against the sky. Beyond, the river was dotted with lights against the luminous horizon of Manhattan. He slackened his pace. At his side the silent girl trembled and sulked.

"Kid," said Goodwin, "there's one of us two that hasn't made good. Which is it?"

A jib-boom slanted across a wall over their heads. They were alone among sleeping ships.

"I don't know what you mean," answered the girl. "You say you've got to talk to me, and you act—." She stopped.

"You don't know what I mean?" repeated Goodwin. "I'll have to tell you, then."

They had come to a pause under the jib-boom of the silent ship. She waited for him to go on, servile to the still mastery of his mien.

"That night the night I come to the mission for the first time," went on Goodwin, "when you loaned me the book, I quit my ship to keep close to you. That ain't nothin'; the ship was a terror, anyway. But I seen you, and, girl, I couldn't get you out o' my head. You was all right the next night, when I went along with you to your car; it wasn't just because the missionary feller set you at me, neither. What's gone wrong with me since?"

He asked the question mildly, with a tone of gentle and reasonable inquiry.

"I haven't said anything was wrong with you," Answered the girl sullenly. "I don't have to answer your questions, anyway."

"I reckon you do these questions," said Goodwin. "What is it, now? Am I different to what you reckoned I was, or what? I never set up to be anythin' but just plain man. Tell me what I'm shy of. Are you scared you'll have to to marry me?"

"Oh!" The girl shrank away from him.

"That's it, is it? Well, you don't need to be." His voice was bitter. "I'd never ha' dared to ask you before, an' now I wouldn't, anyway. See? But I know, all the same, if I wasn't just a blasted sailor if I was a storekeeper or a rich man I c'd have ye. Why, damme, I c'd have ye anyway!"

She had backed before him; and now she was against the wall, uttering a small moan of protest.

"I could," he repeated. "You know it. I'd only to go chasin' you, an' in the end you'd give in. You're pretty; you got a shine on you that fools a man. But you're a quitter a quitter! See? An' now you can come away from that wall an' I'll see you back on the street."

He was very lofty and erect in the meager light, rather a superb figure, if the girl had had eyes for it. But she, to all seeming, was dazed. He went in silence at her side till they reached the street and saw that the open door of the mission still showed lights.

"There ye are," said Goodwin, halting.

The girl hesitated, looking back and forth. It was wonderful how her suggestion of soft beauty persisted. She was abashed, stricken, humiliated upon the dark street; and still she was lovely. She moved away and paused.

"Good night!" said her faintly ringing voice, and she passed towards the mission.

"Yes, it's me!" said Goodwin, answering the dumb surprise of old Noble as he entered the fo'c'sle of the Etna. "An' you want to shut your head. See?"



VI

THE BREADWINNER

The noonday bivouac was in a shady place nigh-hand the road, where a group of solemn trees made a shadow on the dusty grass. It was a day of robust heat; the sky arched cloudless over Sussex, and the road was soft with white dust that rose like smoke under the feet. Trotter no sooner saw the place than he called a halt and dropped his bundle. The Signor smiled lividly and followed suit; Bill, the dog, lay down forthwith and panted.

"Look at 'im!" said Trotter. "Just look at 'im, will yer! 'E ain't carried no bundle; 'e ain't got to unpack no grub. And there 'e lies, for us to wait on 'im."

"Where ees da beer?" demanded the Signor, who had the immediate mind.

The word drew Trotter from his wrongs, and together the men untied the shabby bundles and set forth their food.

They made a queer picture in that quiet place of English green. Trotter still wore tights, with hobnailed boots to walk in and a rusty billycock hat for shelter to his head. He somewhat clung to this garb, though his tumbling days were over. One had only to look at his bloated, pouchy face to see how drink and sloth had fouled his joints and slacked his muscles. Never again could he spread the drugget in a rustic village street and strut about it on his hands for the edification of a rustic audience. But the uniform he still wore; he seemed to think it gave him some claim to indulgent notice. The Signor, in his own way, was not less in contrast with his background. His lean, predatory face and capacious smile went fitly with the shabby frock coat and slouched hat he affected. He carried a fiddle under his arm, but the most he could do was strum on it with his thumb. Together, they made a couple that anyone would look twice at, and no one care to meet in a lonely place.

Bill, the dog, shared none of their picturesque quality. An uglier dog never went footsore. A dozen breeds cropped out here and there on his hardy body; his coat was distantly suggestive of a collie; his tail of a terrier. But something of width between the patient eyes and bluntness in the scarred muzzle spoke to a tough and hardy ancestor in his discreditable pedigree, as though a lady of his house had once gone away with a bulldog. His part in the company was to do tricks outside beerhouses. When the Signor's strumming had gathered a little crowd, Trotter would introduce Bill.

"Lydies and gents all," he would say, "with yore kind permission, I will now introduce to yer the world-famous wolf 'ound Boris, late of the Barnum menagerie in New York. 'E will commence 'is exhibition of animal intelligence by waltzin' to the strines of Yankee Doodle on the vi'lin."

Then the Signor would strum on two strings of the fiddle, smiling the while a smile that no woman should see, and Bill would waltz laboriously on his hind legs. After that he would walk on his front legs, throw somersaults, find a hidden handkerchief, and so on. And between each piece of clowning, he would go round with Trotter's hat to collect coppers. Bill was an honest dog, and a fairly big one as well, and when a man tried to ignore the hat, he had a way of drawing back his lips from his splendid teeth which by itself was frequently worth as much to the treasury as all his other tricks put together. But the truth of it was, it was a feeble show, a scanty, pitiful show; and only the gross truculence of Trotter and the venomous litheness of the Signor withheld the average yokel from saying so flatly.

But it gave them enough to live on and drink on. At any rate, Trotter grew fat and the Signor grew thinner. Bill depended on what they had left when they were satisfied; it was little enough. He begged at cottages on his own account, sometimes; sitting up in the attitude of mendicancy till something was thrown to him. Occasionally, too, he stole fowls or raided a butcher's shop. Then Trotter and the Signor would disown him vociferously to the bereaved one, and hasten on to come up with him before he had eaten it all. He preferred being beaten to going hungry, so they never caught him till he had fed full. But what troubled him most was the tramping, the long dusty stages afoot in country where the unsociable villages lay remote from each other, and the roads were hot and long. A man can outwalk any other animal. After thirty miles, a horse is nowhere and the man is still going, but even fifteen miles leaves the ordinary dog limp and sorry. And then, when every bone in him was aching, a wretched village might poke up at an elbow of the way, and there would be dancing to do and his whole fatuous repertoire to accomplish, while his legs were soft under him with weariness.

Trotter took his heavy boots off; he threw one at Bill.

It was a pleasant spot. Where they sat, in a bay of shade, they could see a far reach of rich land, bright in the sunshine and dotted with wood, stretching back to where the high shoulder of the downs shut out the sea.

The two men ate in much contentment, passing the bottle to and fro.

Bill waited for them to have done and fling him his share. In common with all Bohemians, he liked regular meals.

"That dog's goin' silly," said Trotter, looking at him where he lay.

"Oh, him!" said the Signor.

"He's bin loafin' a furlong be'ind all the mornin'," said Trotter. "Yer know if he was to get lazy, it 'ud be a poor lookout for us. He's bin spoilt, that dog 'as spoilt with indulgence. Soon as we stop for a spell oh, he plops down on 'is belly and 'angs on for us to chuck 'im a bit of grub. Might be a man by the ways of 'im, 'stead of a dog. Now I don't 'old with spoilin' dogs."

"Pass da beer," requested the Signor.

Bill looked up with concern, for Trotter was filling his pipe; the meal was at an end.

"Yus, yer can look," snarled Trotter. "You'll wait, you will."

He began to pack up the bread and meat again in the towel where it belonged.

"Think you've got yer rights, don't yer?" he growled, as he swept the fragments together. "No dog comes them games on me. Hey, get out, ye brute!"

Bill had walked over and was now helping himself to the food that lay between Trotter's very hands.

Trotter clenched a bulging red fist and hauled off to knock him away. But Bill had some remainder of the skill, as well as the ferocity, of the fighting dog in him. He snapped sideways in a purposeful silence, met the swinging fist adroitly, and sank his fine teeth cruelly in the fat wrist.

"Hey! Signor, Signor!" howled Trotter. "Kick 'im orf, can't yer! Ow, o-o-ow!"

Bill let him go as the Signor approached, but the kick that was meant for him spent itself in the air. Again he snapped, with that sideways striking action of the big bony head, and the Signor shrieked like a woman and sprang away.

Bill watched the pair of them for half a minute, as they took refuge among the trees, and both saw the glint of his strong teeth as he stared after them. Then he finished the food at his ease, while they cursed and whimpered from a distance.

"'E's mad," moaned Trotter. "'Es 'ad a stroke. An' we'll get hydrophobia from 'im as like as not."

He nursed his bitten wrist tenderly.

"Look at my laig!" babbled the Signor. "It is a sacred bite, an' all-a da trouser tore. What da hell you fool wid da dog for, you big fool?"

"'E was pinchin' the grub," growled Trotter. "E's mad. Look at 'im, lyin' down on my coat. 'Ere, Bill! Goo' dog, then. Good ole feller!"

Bill took no notice of the blandishments of Trotter, but presently he rose and strolled off to where a little pond stood in the corner of a field.

"'E's drinkin'," reported Trotter, who had stolen from cover to make observations. "So 'e can't be mad. Mad dogs won't look at water. Go into fits if they sees it. 'Ere, Signor, let's make a grab for those bundles before 'e gets back."

Bill rejoined them while they were yet stuffing their shabby possessions together.

The Signor moved behind Trotter and Trotter picked up a boot. But Bill was calm and peaceful again. He lay down in the grass and wagged his tail cheerfully.

"Bill, ole feller," said Trotter, in tones of conciliation, and Bill wagged again.

"'Ell, I can't make nothing of it," confessed Trotter blankly. "Must have gone sort o' temp'ry insane, like the sooicides. But well, we'll be even with 'im before all's over."

And the lean Signor's sidelong look at the dog was full of menace.

They reached another village before dark, a village with a good prosperous alehouse, and here Bill showed quite his old form. He waltzed, he threw somersaults, he found handkerchiefs, he carried the hat; his docility was all that Trotter and the Signor could have asked. They cleared one and sevenpence out of his tricks, and would have stayed to drink it; but Bill walked calmly on up the road and barely gave them time enough to buy food.

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