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VERJTAS-PER-NA

TURAM-LIBROS-AT
QUE-RES-HOMINUM

NELLINCER-EDWARD'HENRY
FLORENCE- STOKES- HENRY

'

;O

THE CHINAGO

He
(Seepage

could understand

now why

dressing-room.

Bill

had cried

in the

THE CHINAGO
AND OTHER

STORIES

BY

JACK LONDON
AUTHO* OF "MARTIN EDEN," "CALL OF THE WILD/*
"WHITE FANG,"

ETC., ETC.

LESLIE-JUDGE COMPANY

NEW YORK

Copyright, 1906, by the Ess Ess Publishing Company, by the


Crowell Publishing Company, and by the Short Story Publishing

Company.
Copyright, ,1907, by the Ess Ess
International ^Magazine
lishing

Publishing

Company, and by

Company, by the
Pub

the Pacific Monthly

Company.

Town Topics Publishing Company.


Copyright, 1^09, by Jas. Horsburgh, Jr., by Harper and Brothers,
and by the Curtis Publishing Company.
Copyright, 1908, by the

COPYRIGHT,

BY

1911,

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

Set up and electrotyped.

Published January, 19x1.

CONTENTS
THE CHINAGO

MAKE WESTING
SEMPER IDEM

..
.

NOSE FOR THE KING

THE ^FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

CURIOUS FRAGMENT

PIECE OF STEAK

187
2

S3

.219

233
2 55

2? 7

THE CHINAGO
w

The

coral waxes, the

palm grows, but man departs."

Tahttian proverb.

CHO

AH

He

did

not

understand French.

crowded court room, very


weary and bored, listening to the un
ceasing, explosive French that now one official
and now another uttered. It was just so much
gabble to

sat in the

Ah

Cho, and he marvelled

stupidity of the
to find out the

did

not find

Frenchmen who took

at

the

so long

murderer of Chung Ga, and who


him at all. The five hundred

on the plantation knew that Ah San had


done the killing, and here was Ah San not even

coolies

arrested.

It

was true that

all

the coolies had

agreed secretly not to testify against one an


other; but then, it was so simple, the French

men

should have been able to discover that

San was the man.


Frenchmen.

They were very

Ah

stupid, these

THE CHINAGO

156

Ah Cho had done nothing of which to be


afraid.
He had had no hand in the killing.
was true he had been present at it, and
Schemmer, the overseer on the plantation, had
It

rushed into the barracks immediately afterward

and caught him there, along with four or five


others but what of that ? Chung Ga had been
;

stabbed only twice.


five

or six

men

At the most,

if

stood to reason that

It

could not

inflict

man had

struck but once, only

two men could have done

So

it

was

that

two stab wounds.

Ah Cho

it.

reasoned,

when

he,

lied

and

along with his four companions, had

blocked and obfuscated in their statements to


the court concerning

what had taken

place.

They had heard the sounds of the killing, and,


like Schemmer, they had run to the spot. They
that was all.
had got there before Schemmer
True, Schemmer had testified that, attracted by

the sound of quarrelling as he chanced to pass


by, he
side;

had stood

that then,

for at least five minutes out

when he

entered, he found the

prisoners already inside; and that they

had not

entered just before, because he had been stand-

THE CHINAGO

157

ing by the one door to the barracks.

of that

had

Ah Cho and

testified that

his four fellow-prisoners

Schemmer was mistaken.

the end they would be

men

no foreign

sides,

Frenchmen

these

China, as

Ah Cho

would order

all

could not have

under torture.
bigger

would never
But

English

so

Be

killing.

In

stupid.

well knew, the magistrate

was very easy to learn


But these Frenchmen did not
truth

fools

find out

Ah Cho

had seen the


were

all

of them to the torture and learn

The

the truth.

torture

devil

In

They were

go.

heads cut off for two stab wounds.

their

The

let

Five

confident of that.

But

But what

they

who

Therefore

killed

they

Chung Ga.

did not understand everything.

Company

that

owned

the planta

had imported into Tahiti, at great expense,


the five hundred coolies.
The stockholders were
tion

clamoring for dividends, and the


not yet paid any; wherefore
not want

its

Company had
the Company did

costly contract laborers to start the

practice of killing one another.

Also, there were

the French, eager and willing to impose upon


the

Chinagos the virtues and excellences of

THE CHINAGO

158

There was nothing

French law.

like setting

an

example once in a while; and, besides, of what


use was New Caledonia except to send men to
live out their days in misery and pain in pay

ment of the penalty

Ah Cho

did not understand

in the court

and human

for being frail

all this.

room and waited

He

sat

for the baffled

judgment that would set him and his comrades


free to go back to the plantation and work out
This judgment
Proceedings were

the terms of their contracts.

would soon be rendered.

drawing to a close. He could see that. There


was no more testifying, no more gabble of
tongues.

The French

devils

were

tired,

too,

and evidently waiting for the judgment. And


as he waited he remembered back in his life

when he had

to the time

and

signed the contract

Times had

set sail in the ship for Tahiti.

been hard in

his seacoast village,

indentured himself to labor for

and when he

five

years in the

Mexican a day, he had


thought himself fortunate. There were men in
his village who toiled a whole year for ten dol
South Seas

lars

at fifty cents

Mexican, and there were

women who made

THE CHINAGO

159

the year round for five dollars, while in

nets

all

the

houses of shopkeepers there were maid

service.

who received four


And here he was

a day;

for

servants

to receive fifty cents

one day, only one day, he was to

receive that princely

were hard

dollars for a year of

sum

What

At the end of the

would return home

that

was

and he would never have

He would

be a rich

man

for

life,

if

five

the

work

years he

in the contract

to

work

again.

with a house of

own, a wife, and children growing up to


venerate him. Yes, and back of the house he
his

would have a small garden, a place of medita


tion and repose, with goldfish in a tiny lakelet,
and wind

bells tinkling in the several trees,

and

would be a high wall all around so that


meditation and repose should be undis

there
his

turbed.

Well, he had worked out three of those five


years.

own

He was

already a wealthy

man

(in his

country), through his earnings, and only

two years more intervened between the cotton


plantation on Tahiti and the meditation and re
pose that awaited him.

But just now he was

THE CHINAGO

160

losing

money because

of the unfortunate acci

dent of being present at the killing of

He had

Ga.

lain three

weeks

Chung
and

in prison,

day of those three weeks he had lost


cents.
But now judgment would soon be

for each
fifty

given,

Ah

and he would go back to work.


Cho was twenty-two years old. He was

happy and good-natured, and it was easy for


him to smile. While his body was slim in the
Asiatic way, his face
like the

moon, and

was rotund.
it

It

was round,

irradiated a gentle

com

placence and a sweet kindliness of spirit that

was unusual among


his looks belie

never took

him.

part

countrymen. Nor did


He never caused trouble,

his

in

wrangling.

He

not

did

His soul was not harsh enough for

gamble.

He

the soul that must belong to a gambler.

was content with


ures.

day
to

little

The hush and

things and simple pleas


quiet in the cool of the

after the blazing toil in the cotton field

him an

infinite satisfaction.

He

could

was

sit

for

hours gazing at a solitary flower and philoso


phizing about the mysteries and riddles of
being.

blue heron on

tiny crescent

of

THE CHINAGO
sandy beach, a

161

silvery splatter of flying fish, or

a sunset of pearl and rose across the lagoon,

could entrance him to

all

forgetfulness of the

procession of wearisome days and of the heavy


lash of

Schemmer.

Schemmer, Karl Schemmer, was a brute, a


brutish brute.
But he earned his salary. He
got the last particle of strength out of the five

hundred slaves;

for slaves they

term of years was up.


to extract the strength

were

until their

Schemmer worked hard


from those

sweating bodies and to transmute

five
it

of fluffy cotton ready for export.


nant, iron-clad, primeval brutishness

hundred

into bales

His domi

was what

enabled him to effect the transmutation.

Also,

he was assisted by a thick leather belt, three


inches wide and a yard in length, with which he
always rode and which, on occasion, could come

down on

the naked back of a stooping coolie

with a report like a pistol-shot.

These reports

were frequent when Schemmer rode down the


furrowed field.
/

Once,

at the beginning of the first year of

contract labor, he had killed a coolie with a

THE CHINAGO

162

blow of

single

his

He had

fist.

not exactly

crushed the man's head like an egg-shell, but


the blow had been sufficient to addle what was
and, after being sick for a week, the

inside,

man had

But the Chinese had not com

died.

plained to the French devils that ruled over


Tahiti.

was

It

was

own

lookout.

Schemmer

They must avoid his


they avoided the venom of the centi

their

wrath as

their

problem.

pedes that lurked in the grass or crept into the

The China-

sleeping quarters on rainy nights.

such they were called by the indolent,

gos

saw

brown-skinned island folk


did not displease

Schemmer

to

it

that they

too greatly.

This

was equivalent to rendering up to him a full


measure of efficient toil. That blow of Schemmer's

fist

had been worth thousands of

Company, and no
Schemmer.

to the
it

to

The

trouble ever

dollars

came of

French, with no instinct for coloniza

playgame of develop
ing the resources of the island, were only too

tion, futile in their childish

glad

What

to

see

the

English

Company

succeed.

matter of Schemmer and his redoubtable

THE CHINAGO
The Chinago

fist ?

only a Chinago.

that died

163

Well, he was

Besides, he died of sunstroke,

as the doctor's certificate attested.

True, in

all

the history of Tahiti no one had ever died of


sunstroke.

But

was

it

that,

which made the death of

The

doctor said as

this

much

in

that,

precisely

Chinago unique.
his

He

report.

was very candid. Dividends must be paid, or


else one more failure would be added to the long
history of failure in Tahiti.

There was no
devils.

these

understanding

Ah Cho pondered

white

their inscrutableness

room waiting the judgment.


There was no telling what went on at the back
as he sat in the court

of their minds.

white devils.

and

sailors

He had

They were
on the

the several white

cluding Schemmer.

ship,

seen a few of the

all

the officers

alike

the French officials,

men on

the plantation, in

Their minds

all

mysterious ways there was no getting

moved
at.

in

They

grew angry without apparent cause, and their


anger was always dangerous. They were like
wild beasts at such times.
little

things,

They worried about

and on occasion could

out-toil

even

THE CHINAGO

164

They were

Chinago.

not

as

temperate

Chinagos were temperate; they were gluttons,


eating prodigiously and drinking more pro

Chinago never knew when an act


would please them or arouse a storm of wrath,
A Chinago could never tell. What pleased one
digiously.

time, the very next time might provoke an out

burst of anger.

There was a curtain behind

the eyes of the white devils that screened the

backs of their minds from the Chinago's gaze.


And then, on top of it all, was that terrible effi
ciency of the white devils, that ability to do
things, to

bend

make

things po, to

work

results, to

to their wills all creeping, crawling things,

and the powers of the very elements them


selves.
Yes, the white men were strange and
wonderful,

and they were

devils.

Look

at

Schemmer.

Ah Cho wondered why


long in forming.

Not

the judgment

man on

trial

was

had

so

laid

hand on Chung Ga. Ah


him. Ah San had done it, bending Chung Ga's
head back with one hand by a grip of his
San alone had killed

queue, and with the other hand, from behind,

THE CHINAGO

165

reaching over and driving the knife into his

Twice had he driven

body.

the court room, with closed eyes,

the killing acted over again

There

in.

it

in

Ah Cho saw

the squabble, the

vile

words bandied back and

and

insult flung

forth,

the

filth

upon venerable ancestors, the

curses laid

upon unbegotten generations, the


leap of Ah San, the grip on the queue of Chung
Ga, the knife that sank twice into
of the

bursting open

Schemmer, the dash

Ah

door, the

his flesh, the

irruption

of

for the door, the escape of

San, the flying belt of

Schemmer

that drove

the rest into the corner, and the firing of the


revolver as a signal that brought help to

Ah Cho

mer.

One blow

shivered

he lived

as

Schem
it

over.

of the belt had bruised his cheek,,

taking off some of the skin.

Schemmer had

pointed to the bruises when, on the witnessstand, he


just

now

visible.

had
that

Cho.

That had been a blow.

nearer the centre and


his eye.

Ah

was only
the marks had become no longer
identified

it

Then Ah Cho

It

Half an inch

would have taken out


forgot the whole

hap

pening in a vision he caught of the garden of

THE CHINAGO

166

meditation and repose that would be his

he returned to

He

his

own

when

land.

sat with impassive face, while the

magis
rendered the judgment. Likewise were
the faces of his four companions impassive.

trate

And

they remained impassive

when

the inter

them had been

preter explained that the five of

found guilty of the murder of Chung Ga, and


that Ah Chow should have his head cut off,

Ah Cho

serve twenty years in prison in

Caledonia,

Tong

Wong

ten years.

excited about

it.

pressionless as a

Li

twelve

and

years,

There was no use

New
Ah

in getting

Even Ah Chow remained ex

mummy,

head that was to be cut

though

off.

The

it

was

his

magistrate

added a few words, and the interpreter ex


plained that Ah Chow's face having been most

by Schemmer's strap had made


identification so positive that, since one man

severely bruised
his

must

die,

he might as well be that man. Also,


Ah Cho's face likewise had been

the fact that

severely bruised, conclusively proving his pres

ence at the murder and his undoubted partici


pation,

had merited him the twenty years of

THE CHINAGO
penal servitude.
of

Ah Tong,
was

sentence

And down

167

to the ten years

the proportioned reason for each

Let

explained.

the

Chinagos

take the lesson to heart, the Court said finally,


for they
filled in

The

must learn that the law would be


Tahiti though the heavens

ful

fell.

Chinagos were taken back to jail.


were
not shocked nor grieved. The sen
They
five

tences being unexpected was quite what they


were accustomed to in their dealings with the

From them a Chinago rarely ex


more
than the unexpected. The heavy
pected
for
a crime they had not com
punishment

white devils.

mitted

was no stranger than the countless

strange things that white devils did.

weeks

that followed,

plated

Ah Chow

head
that

was

was

to

be

being

Ah Cho

with
cut

mild
off

erected

often

In the

contem

curiosity.

His

by the guillotine
on the plantation.

For him there would be no declining years, no


gardens of tranquillity. Ah Cho philosophized
and speculated about life and death. As for
himself, he

was not perturbed.

were merely twenty years.

By

Twenty years
much was

that

THE CHINAGO

168
his

He

that was all.


garden removed from him
was young, and the patience of Asia was in

He

his bones.

could wait those twenty years,

and by that time the heats of his blood would


be assuaged and he would be better fitted for
that garden of calm delight.

name
the

for it;

he would

call

He thought of a
it The Garden of

He was made happy

Morning Calm.

all

day by the thought, and he was inspired to de


vise a moral maxim on the virtue of patience,
which maxim proved a great comfort, especially
Ah Chow, how
to Wong Li and Ah Tong.
ever, did not care for the
to be separated

from

His head was

maxim.

his

body

in

so short a

time that he had no need for patience to wait


for

that

event.

slept well,

He smoked

well,

ate

well,

and did not worry about the slow

passage of time.

Cruchot was

gendarme.

twenty years of service

in

He had

seen

the colonies, from

Nigeria and Senegal to the South Seas, and


those twenty years had not perceptibly bright

ened his dull mind.

He was

as slow-witted

and

stupid as in his peasant days in the south of

THE CHINAGO
France.
thority,

169

He knew discipline and


and from God down to the

fear of au

sergeant of

gendarmes the only difference to him was the


measure of slavish obedience which he rendered.
In point of

fact, the

sergeant bulked bigger in

mind than God, except on Sundays when


God's mouthpieces had their say. God was

his

usually very remote, while the sergeant

was

ordinarily very close at hand.

Cruchot

it

was who received the order from

the Chief Justice to the jailer

commanding

that

functionary to deliver over to Cruchot the per

son of

Ah Chow.

Now,

it

happened that the

Chief Justice had given a dinner the night


before to the captain and officers of the French
man-of-war.

His hand was shaking

when he

wrote out the order, and his eyes were aching


so dreadfully that he did not read over the
order.

It

was only

a Chinago's

signing away, anyway.


that

So he did not notice

he had omitted the

Chow's name.

The

he was

life

final

order read

letter

in

Ah

"Ah Cho,"

and,

when Cruchot

jailer

turned over to him the person of

presented the order, the

Ah Cho*

THE CHINAGO

170

Cruchot took that person beside him on the


seat of a wagon, behind two mules, and drove
away.

Ah Cho was glad to be out in the sunshine.


He sat beside the gendarme and beamed. He
beamed more ardently than ever when he
noted the mules headed south toward Atimaono.

Undoubtedly Schemmer had sent for him to be


brought back. Schemmer wanted him to work.

Very well, he would work well. Schemmer


would never have cause to complain. It was a

There had been a stoppage of the

hot day.

The mules sweated, Cruchot sweated,


and Ah Cho sweated. But it was Ah Cho that
bore the heat with the least concern. He had

trades.

under that sun on the plan


beamed and beamed with such

toiled three years


tation.

He

genial good nature that even Cruchot' s heavy

mind was

stirred to
,

wonderment.

"You are very funny/' he said at last.


Ah Cho nodded and beamed more ardently.
Unlike the magistrate, Cruchot spoke to him
in the Kanaka tongue, and this, like all Chinagos and

all

foreign devils,

Ah Cho

understood.

THE CHINAGO

171

"You

laugh too much/' Cruchot chided.


"One's heart should be full of tears on a day
like this."

am

"I

glad to get out of the jail."

The gendarme shrugged

"Is that all?"

his

shoulders.

"Is

not enough ?" was the retort.

it

"Then you

are not glad to have your head

cut off?"

Ah Cho
and

said

looked at him in abrupt perplexity

"Why, I am going back to Atimaono to work


onthe plantation for Schemmer. Are you not
taking

me

to

Atimaono?"

Cruchot stroked

long mustaches reflec

"Well, well," he said

tively.

flick

his

with a

finally,

of the whip at the off mule,

"

so

you don't

know?"

"Know what?" Ah Cho was


feel a

work

vague alarm.
for

"Not

beginning to

"Won't Schemmer

let

me

him any more ?"


after

to-day."

Cruchot

laughed

"You see, you


won't be able to work after to-day. A man with
heartily.

It

was

a good joke.

THE CHINAGO

i 72

head

his

off can't

Ah Cho
trotted

maintained silence while the mules


hot

the

and chuckled.

in the ribs,

Chinago

He poked

work, eh?"

Then he spoke:

mile.

Schemmer going

to cut off

my

"Is

head ?"

Cruchot grinned as he nodded.


"It

a mistake/' said

is

Ah Cho,

am

not the Chinago that

cut

off.

am Ah

Cho.

has determined that


in

New

is

to

gravely.

have

his

"I
head

The honorable judge

am

to stop twenty years

Caledonia."

The gendarme

It

laughed.

was

good joke,

trying to cheat the guillo

this

funny Chinago
The mules trotted through a cocoanut
grove and for half a mile beside the sparkling

tine.

Ah Cho
you I am

sea before

"I

tell

spoke again.
not Ah Chow.

able judge did not say that

my

The honor

head was to go

off."

"Don't be afraid," said Cruchot, with the


philanthropic intention of
his

prisoner.

way."

"It

is

He snapped

like tha,t.

It is

not

making
difficult

his fingers.

it

easier foi

to die that

"It

is

quick

not like hanging on the end

THE CHINAGO

173

of a rope and kicking and making faces for


five

minutes.

You

a hatchet.

And

cut

head

its

same with

You

hurts.

don't

off,

is

the

You

quick.

way

it is

also the toes.

by hot water.

fall

is

very good.
quick, ah,

are lucky to die that way.

a finger at a time,

You

It is

to die

might get the leprosy and

all.

Your head

think.

want

is

don't even think

gone, so you cannot think.

That

that

Pouf

man.

You

It doesn't hurt.

over.
it

the

it is

chicken with

It is like killing a

You

to pieces slowly,

and now and again a thumb,


knew a man who was burned

It

took him two days to

die.

could hear him yelling a kilometre away.

But you

Ah

so easy

cuts your neck like that.

knife

may
who
body

even
died

tickle.

that

Chck

the knife

It is finished.

Who
way

can say

ever

The

No

came back

to say."

He

considered this last an excruciating joke,

and permitted himself

to

laughter for half a minute.

be convulsed with
Part of his mirth

was assumed, but he considered


duty to cheer up the Chinago.

it

his
$

humane

THE CHINAGO

174

"

But

sisted.

I tell

you

am Ah

"I don't want

Cruchot scowled.

my

The Chinago was

ing the foolishness too

"I

am

"That

He

not

carry

far.

"

Ah Chow

will

Cho," the other per


head cut off/'

Ah Cho

began.

do," the gendarme interrupted.

puffed up his cheeks and strove to appear

fierce.

"I

tell

you

am

not

"

Ah Cho began

again.

"Shut up!" bawled Cruchot.


After that they rode along in

silence.

It

was twenty miles from Papeete to Atimaono,


and over half the distance was covered by the
time the Chinago again ventured into speech.

"I saw you

in

the court room,

when

the

honorable judge sought after our guilt," he

"Very good. And do you remember


that Ah Chow, whose head is to be cut off
Ah Chow
was
do you remember that he
Look at me."
a tall man ?
began.

He

stood up suddenly, and Cruchot saw that

he was a short man.

And

just as

suddenly
Cruchot caught a glimpse of a memory picture

THE CHINAGO

175

Ah Chow, and in that picture Ah Chow was


To the gendarme all Chinagos looked
tall.
One face was like another. But be
alike.
of

tween

tallness

and shortness he could

differen

and he knew that he had the wrong man


He pulled up the
beside him on the seat.

tiate,

mules abruptly, so that the pole shot ahead of


them, elevating their

"You

see,

it

collars.

was a mistake/'

said

Ah Cho,

smiling pleasantly.

But Cruchot was thinking. Already he re


He was
gretted that he had stopped the wagon.
unaware of the error of the Chief Justice, and
he had no

know

way of working

it

out;

but he did

that he -had been given this Chinago to

take to Atimaono and that

take him to Atimaono.

it

was

What

if

his duty to

he %as the

wrong man and they cut his head off ? It was


only a Chinago when all was said, and what
was a Chinago, anyway
be a mistake.

on

in the

He

minds of

their business best.

thinking for them

might not
did not know what went
?

Besides,

his superiors.

Who
Once,

was he

it

They knew
to do their

in the long ago,

he

THE CHINAGO

176

had attempted
geant had said
quicker you

You

to think for them,

"
:

Cruchot, you are a fool

krow that,

are not to think;

The

you are
"

to

He

obey and leave


smarted under

Also, if he turned back to

the recollection.

he

ser

the better you will get on.

thinking to your betters.

Papeete,

and the

would

Atimaono, and

delay

the

execution

at

he were wrong in turning


back, he would get a reprimand from the ser

geant

who was

furthermore,

if

waiting for the prisoner.

he would

get

And,

reprimand

at

Papeete as well.

He

touched the mules with the whip and


drove on. He looked at his watch. He would
be half an hour

was bound

it

was, and the sergeant

He put the mules into


The more Ah Cho persisted in

to be angry.

a faster trot.

explaining

late as

the

mistake,

the

more stubborn

The knowledge that he had


the wrong man did not make his temper better.
The knowledge that it was through no mistake
Cruchot became.

of his confirmed him in the belief that the wrong

he was doing was the

right.

And, rather than

incur the displeasure of the sergeant, he would

THE CHINAGO

177

have assisted a dozen wrong Chinagos


to their doom.
willingly

Ah Cho,

gendarme had struck


him over the head with the butt of the whip and
As

for

commanded him

after the

in a loud voice to shut up, there

remained nothing for him to do but to shut up.

The

long ride continued in silence.

Ah Cho

pondered the strange ways of the foreign devils.


There was no explaining them. What they

were doing with him was of a piece with every


thing they did. First they found guilty five
innocent men, and next they cut off the head of
the

man

that even they, in their benighted ig

norance, had deemed meritorious of no

more

than twenty years' imprisonment. And there


was nothing he could do. He could only sit idly
and take what these lords of life measured out
to him.

upon

way

his

Once, he got

in a panic,

and the sweat

body turned cold; but he fought

out of

it.

He endeavored

his

to resign himself

by remembering and repeating cer


tain passages from the "Yin Chih Wen"
("The
to his fate

Tract of the Quiet Way");

but, instead, he

kept seeing his dream-garden of meditation and

THE CHINAGO

78

This bothered him,

repose.

until

he abandoned

himself to the dream and sat in his garden listen


ing to the tinkling of the wind-bells in the sev
eral trees.

And

lo

sitting thus, in the

dream,

he was able to remember and repeat the passages


from "The Tract of the Quiet Way."

So the time passed nicely until Atimaono was


reached and the mules trotted up to the foot of
the scaffold, in the shade of which stood the im

Ah Cho was

patient sergeant.

ladder of the scaffold.


side he

saw assembled

all

hurried up the

Beneath him on one


the coolies of the plan

Schemmer had decided

tation.

that the event

would be a good object-lesson, and so had called


in the coolies from the fields and compelled

them

to be present.

Cho

they gabbled

As they caught

sight of

among themselves

in

Ah
low

They saw the mistake; but they kept


themselves. The inexplicable white devils

voices.
it

to

had doubtlessly changed


of taking the
taking the

Chow

or

life

life

their minds.

Instead

of one innocent man, they were

of another innocent man.

Ah Cho

what did

it

They could never understand

Ah

matter which

the white dogs

THE CHINAGO

179

any more than could the white dogs understand


them. Ah Cho was going to have his head

when

two remaining
years of servitude were up, were going back to
cut

but they,

off,

their

China.

Schemmer had made

He was
seen a

the guillotine himself.

handy man, and though he had never


guillotine, the French officials had ex
a

plained the principle to him.

was on

It

his

sug

had ordered the execution

gestion that they

Atimaono instead of at Papeete.


The scene of the crime, Schemmer had argued,
to take place at

was the

best possible place for the punishment,

and, in addition,

it

would have

a salutary in

upon the half-thousand Chinagos on the


Schemmer had also volunteered to
plantation.

fluence

act as executioner,

now on

and

in that capacity

he was

the scaffold, experimenting with the

instrument he had made.

banana

tree,

of

the size and consistency of a man's neck, lay

under the

guillotine.

fascinated eyes.

Ah Cho watched

The German,

turning a small

crank, hoisted the blade to the top of the


derrick he

had

rigged.

with

jerk

little

on a stout

THE CHINAGO

i8o

and

piece of cord loosed the blade

it

dropped

with a flash, neatly severing the banana trunk.

"How

does

it

The

work?"

com

sergeant,

ing out on top the scaffold, had asked the ques


tion.

"Beautifully,"

was

Schemmer's

exultant

"Let me show you."

answer.

Again he turned the crank that hoisted the


blade, jerked the cord, and sent the blade crash
ing

down on

But

the soft tree.

this

time

it

went

no more than two-thirds of the way through.

The

sergeant

he

serve,"

scowled.

"What

announced.
scaffold,

will

not

said.

Schemmer wiped
head.

"That

it

the sweat from his fore

needs

Walking up

is

more weight," he
to the edge of the

he called his orders to the blacksmith

As he

for a twenty-five-pound piece of iron.

stooped over to attach the iron to the broad top


of the blade,

saw

Ah Cho glanced at

the sergeant

and

his opportunity.

honorable judge said that Ah


was to have his head cut off," he began.

"The

The

sergeant nodded impatiently.

Chow

He was

THE CHINAGO

181

thinking of the fifteen-mile ride before him that


afternoon, to the windward side of the island,

and of Berthe, the pretty

half-caste daughter

of Lafiere, the pearl-trader,


for

him

end of

at the

"Well,

am

The honorable

not

who was

Ah Chow.

jailer

waiting

it.

has

am Ah

Cho.

a mistake.

Ah

made

man, and you see I am short."


The sergeant looked at him hastily and saw

Chow
the

is

tall

"Schemmer!" he

mistake.

called,

im

"

Come here."
The German grunted,

peratively.

over his task

till

to his satisfaction.

but remained bent

the chunk of iron

was lashed

"Is your Chinago ready?"

he demanded.

"Look

at

him," was the answer.

"Is he

the Chinago ?"

Schemmer was

surprised.

He

swore tersely

few seconds, and looked regretfully across


the thing he had made with his own hands

for a
at

"

and which he was eager to see work.


Look
here," he said finally, "we can't postpone this
affair.

of those

I've lost three hours'


five

work already out

hundred Chinagos.

can't af-

THE CHINAGO

i8z

ford to lose

over again for the right man.

it all

put the performance through just the

Let's

same.

It is

The

only a Chinago."

sergeant remembered the long ride be

fore him,

and the

pearl-trader's daughter,

and

debated with himself.

"They

blame

will

discovered/' the
little

chance of

won't give

it

on Cruchot

German

its

urged.

if it

"But

being discovered.

is

there's

Ah Chow

away, at any rate."


"The blame won't lie with Cruchot, anyway,"
the sergeant said. "It must have been the
it

mistake."

jailer's

"Then
blame

us.

go on with it. They can't


Who can tell one Chinago from

let's

We

can say that we merely carried


out instructions with the Chinago that was
turned over to us. Besides, I really can't take
another

all

those coolies a second time

away from

their

labor."

They spoke

in French,

not understand a

and Ah Cho, who did

word of

it,

nevertheless

that they were determining his destiny.

knew,

also, that the

knew

He

decision rested with the

THE CHIN AGO

183

and he hung upon that

sergeant,

official's

lips.

"All right/' announced the sergeant.

ahead with

it.

He

is

"Go

only a Chinago."

"I'm going to try it once more, just to make


Schemmer moved the banana trunk
sure."
forward under the knife, which he had hoisted
to the top of the derrick.

Ah Cho tried
"The Tract of

to

He was

about to

die.

give malice"
forgive.
this

Way." "Live in
him; but it was not appli

the Quiet

concord," came to
cable.

remember maxims from

not going to

He was

live.

No, that would not

"For

do.

-yes, but there was no malice to

Schemmer and

thing without

the rest were doing

malice.

It

was

to

them

merely a piece of work that had to be done,


just as clearing the jungle, ditching the water,

and planting cotton were pieces of work that


had to be done. Schemmer jerked the cord,
and Ah Cho forgot "The Tract of the Quiet

Way."
making

The

knife

shot

down with

thud,

a clean slice of the tree.

"Beautiful!" exclaimed the sergeant, paus-

THE CHINAGO

84

"

ing in the act of lighting a cigarette.

my

ful,

Beauti

friend/'

Schemmer was

"Come

on,

pleased at the praise.

Ah Chow," he

said, in the

Tani-

tian tongue.

"But

am

not

"

Ah Chow

Ah Cho

began.

"Shut up!" was the answer. "If you open


your mouth again, I'll break your head."

The

overseer threatened

and he remained

fist,

him with

silent.

good of protesting?

Those

ways had

He

their way.

a clenched

What was

the

foreign devils al

allowed himself to be

lashed to the vertical board that was the size

of

his

and

flesh

cut into his

But he did not complain.

hurt.

He

hurt would not last long.

board

tilting

zontal,

and closed

his eyes.

the

And

in that

mo

a last glimpse of his garden of


repose.

he sat in the garden.

softly.

felt

over in the air toward the hori

ment he caught
meditation and

and the

buckles

the

so tight that the straps

tight

The

Schemmer drew

body.

It

seemed to him that

A cool wind was

bells in the several trees

Also, birds were

blowing,

were tinkling

making sleepy

noises,

THE CHINAGO

185

and from beyond the high wall came the sub


dued sound of village life.

Then he was aware

that the board

had come

and from muscular pressures and ten


he knew that he was lying on his back.

to rest,
sions

He opened

Straight above

his eyes.

him he saw

the suspended knife blazing in the sunshine.

He saw

the weight which had been added, and

noted that one of Schemmer's knots had slipped.


Then he heard the sergeant's voice in sharp

command.

He

did not

But he

And

felt

Ah Cho
want
it

his

eyes

to see that knife

for

in that instant

closed

one great

hastily.

descend.

fleeting instant.

he remembered Cruchot and

what Cruchot' had

said.

But Cruchot was

wrong. The knife did not tickle. That


he knew before he ceased to know.

much

MAKE WESTING

MAKE WESTING
Whatever you do, make westing! make westing!
Sailing directions for Cafe Horn.

seven weeks the

FOR

been between 50

and 50

south

Mary

Rogers had

south in the Atlantic


in

the

Pacific,

which

weeks she had been strug


Horn. For seven weeks
gling to round Cape
she had been either in dirt, or close to dirt, save

meant that

for seven

upon six days of ex


which she had ridden out under

once, and then, following


cessive dirt,

the shelter of the redoubtable Terra Del


coast, she had

Fuego

almost gone ashore during a

heavy swell in the dead calm that had suddenly


For seven weeks she had wrestled with
fallen.
the

Cape Horn graybeards, and

buffeted and

wooden

ship,

in return

been

smashed by them. She was a


and her ceaseless straining had

opened her seams, so that twice a day the watch


took

its

turn at the pumps.

The Mary Rogers was


189

strained, the

crew was

MAKE WESTING

190

and big Dan Cullen, master, was like


wise strained.
Perhaps he was strained most
strained,

of

all,

for

upon him

that titanic

rested the responsibility of

He

struggle.

most of the

slept

time in his clothes, though he rarely slept. He


haunted the deck at night, a great, burly, ro
bust ghost, black with the sunburn of thirty
years of sea and hairy as an orang-utan.

He,

was haunted by one thought of action,


Whatever you
sailing direction for the Horn

in turn,

do,

make westing! make westing!

He

obsession.
at times, to

thought of nothing

blaspheme

God

It

was an

else, except,

for sending such

bitter weather.

Make

westing!

He hugged

the Horn, and

a dozen times lay hove to with the iron

bearing east-by-north,
score of miles away.

or

And

north-north-east,

each time the eternal

west wind smote him back and he

He

Cape

made

easting.

fought gale after gale, south to 64, inside

the antarctic drift-ice, and pledged his immortal


soul to the

Powers of Darkness

ing, for a slant to take

made

easting.

for a bit of west

him around.

In despair, he had tried

And he
to make

MAKE WESTING

191

the passage through the Straits of Le Maire.


Halfway through, the wind hauled to the

of northwest, the glass dropped to


28.88, and he turned and ran before a gale of
northward

cyclonic fury, missing, by a hair's-breadth, piling

up the Mary Rogers on the black-toothed


Twice he had made west to the Diego
rocks.
Ramirez Rocks, one of the times saved between
two snow-squalls by sighting the gravestones of
ships a quarter of a mile dead ahead.

Blow

Captain

Dan

Cullen instanced

thirty years at sea to prove that never

blown so

before.

all his

had

it

The Mary Rogers was hove

he gave the evidence, and, to clinch


inside half an hour the Mary Rogers was hove

to at the time
it,

down

to

the

hatches.

Her new maintopsail

and brand new spencer were blown away


tissue paper; and five sails, furled and

like
fast

under double gaskets, were blown loose and


And before morning
stripped from the yards.
Rogers was hove down twice again,
and holes were knocked in her bulwarks to

the

Mary

ease her decks from the weight of ocean that

pressed her down.

MAKE WESTING

92

On

an average of once a week Captain

Cullen

caught

glimpses

of the

for ten minutes, the sun shone at

new

sun.

Dan

Once,

midday, and

was piping
up, both watches were shortening sail, and all
was buried in the obscurity of a driving snowten minutes afterward a

gale

Captain Dan
Cullen was without a meridian or a chronometer

For a

squall.

sight.

fortnight, once,

Rarely did he

know

half of a degree, except


for

sun and

sky,

and

it

stars

was

so

his position within

when

in sight of land;

remained hidden behind the

gloomy that even

at the best

the horizons were poor for accurate observa


tions.

The

gray

gloom

clouds were gray;

were leaden gray;

shrouded

the

world.

the great driving seas

the smoking crests were a

gray churning; even the occasional albatrosses


were gray, while the snow-flurries were not
white, but gray, under the sombre pall of the

heavens.
Life on board the

gray and gloomy.

Mary Rogers was gray,


The faces of the sailors

were blue-gray; they were afflicted with seacuts and sea-boils, and suffered exquisitely.

MAKE WESTING
They were shadows

193

For seven weeks,

of men.

on deck, they had not known


be dry. They had forgotten

in the forecastle or

what
what
it

it

was

was

it

to

to sleep out a watch,

was, "All hands on deck!"

and

all

watches

They caught

snatches of agonized sleep, and they slept in


their oilskins ready for the everlasting call.

So

weak and worn were they that it took both


watches to do the work of one. That was why
both watches were on deck so

And no shadow
Nothing

less

of a

man

much

of the time.

could shirk duty.

than a broken leg could enable a

man

to

such,

who had been mauled and pulped by

knock

off

work;

and there were two


the

seas that broke aboard.

man who was the shadow of a man


was George Dorety. He was the only pas
One

other

senger on board, a friend of the firm, and he had


elected to

make

the voyage for his health.

seven weeks of Cape


his

health.

He

Horn had not

gasped

and

panted

But

bettered
in

his

bunk through the long, heaving nights; and


when on deck he was so bundled up for warmth
that he resembled a peripatetic old-clothes shop.

MAKE WESTING

i 94

At midday, eating

at the cabin table in a

gloom
so deep that the swinging sea-lamps burned
always, he looked as blue-gray as the sickest,

man

saddest

Nor

forward.

the table at Captain

Dan

did gazing across

Cullen have any cheer

Captain Cullen chewed


scowled
and
and kept silent. The scowls were
for God, and with every chew he reiterated the

ing effect upon him.

sole

thought of his existence, which was make

westing.
sight of
appetite.

He was

a big, hairy brute,

him was not stimulating

He

and the

to the other's

looked upon George Dorety as a

Jonah, and told him

so,

once each meal, sav

agely transferring the scowl from

God

to the

passenger and back again.

Nor

did the mate prove a

first

aid to a lan

Joshua Higgins by name, a sea


man by profession and pull, but a pot-wolloper
by capacity, he was a loose-jointed, sniffling

guid appetite.

creature,

heartless

and

and cowardly,

selfish

without a soul, in fear of his

Dan Cullen,
who knew that

life

of

and a bully over the sailors,


behind the mate was Captain

Cullen,

the

lawgiver and compeller, the driver and the de-

MAKE WESTING
stroyer, the incarnation of a

195

dozen bucko mates.

In that wild weather at the southern end of the

Higgins ceased washing. His


grimy face usually robbed George Dorety of what
little appetite he managed to accumulate.
Or
earth,

Joshua

dinarily this lavatarial dereliction

would have

caught Captain Cullen's eye and vocabulary,


but in the present his mind was filled with

making westing,

to the exclusion of all other

things not contributory thereto.

Whether the

mate's face was clean or dirty had no bear

Later on, when 50 south in


the Pacific had been reached, Joshua Higgins
would wash his face very abruptly. In the
ing upon westing.

at the cabin table,

meantime,

light alternated

where gray twi

with lamplight while the lamps

were being filled, George Dorety sat between


the two men, one a tiger and the other a
hyena,

and wondered why God had

them.

The

was a true
Dorety did
pany,

for

they had

second
sailor

mate,

Matthew Turner,

and a man, but George

not have the solace of his

he ate by himself,
finished.

made

solitary,

com

when

MAKE WESTING

196

On Saturday morning,
awoke

to a feeling of

On

ment.

Nothing was

before

Mary

Rogers

southeaster.

howling

but the lower topsails and the

set

was

It

foresail.

and headlong move

deck he found the

off

running

July 24, George Dorety

life

all

she could stand, yet she

was making fourteen

knots,

shouted in Dorety's ear

when he came on

And
the

it

was

Horn

all

at

as

Mr. Turner
deck.

She was going around


... if the wind held. Mr.

westing.

last

Turner looked happy. The end of the struggle


was in sight. But Captain Cullen did not look
happy.

He

scowled

at

in

Dorety

passing.

Captain Cullen did not want God to know that


he was pleased with that wind. He had a con
ception of a malicious God, and believed in his
secret soul that if

God would

God knew

it

was

a desirable

and send a
promptly efface
So he walked softly
snorter from the west.

wind,

it

smothering his joy down under


scowls and muttered curses, and, so, fooling
before God,

God, for God was the only thing in the universe


of which Dan Cullen was afraid.
All Saturday

and Saturday night the Mary

MAKE WESTING

197

Persistently she logged

Rogers raced her westing.

her fourteen knots, so that by Sunday morning


she had covered three hundred and
If the

wind

held, she

fifty miles.

would make around.

If

and the snorter came from anywhere


between southwest and north, back the Mary

it

failed,

Rogers would be hurled and be no better off

than she had been seven weeks before.

And
The

on Sunday morning the wind was failing.


big sea was going down and running smooth.
Botti watches were on deck setting sail after
sail as fast as

the ship could stand

it.

And now

Captain Cullen went around brazenly before

God, smoking

a big cigar, smiling jubilantly,

as if the failing' wind delighted him, while

underneath he was raging against


ing the

life

westing!

God

for tak

out of the blessed wind.

So he would,

if

down

Make

God would

only
he
himself
Secretly,
pledged
anew to the Powers of Darkness, if they would

leave

let

him

alone:

him make westing.

easily

He

pledged himself so

because he did not believe in the Powers

of Darkness,

He

really believed only in

though he did not know

it.

And

God,

in his inverted

MAKE WESTING

198

God was

theology

really the Prince of

Dark

Captain Cullen was a devil-worshipper,


but he called the devil by another name, that
ness.

was

all.

At midday,

after calling eight bells,

Captain

The men went

Cullen ordered the royals on.

than they had gone in weeks. Not


alone were they nimble because of the westing,
aloft faster

but a benignant sun was shining


limbering their
stood

aft,

stiff

bodies.

George Dorety
less bundled in

near Captain Cullen,

clothes

than

usual,

warmth

as he

watched the scene.

soaking

in

abruptly the incident occurred.


cry from

the foreroyal-yard of

Somebody threw a
and at the same instant

down and

the

grateful

Swiftly

and

There was

"Man

over

board !"

life

side,

the second mate's

voice

came

aft,

buoy over the

ringing and peremptory

"Hard down your helm!'*


The man at the wheel never moved a spoke.
He knew better, for Captain Dan Cullen was
standing alongside of him. He wanted to
move

a spoke, to

move

all

the spokes, to grind

the wheel down, hard down, for his comrade

MAKE WESTING
drowning

Dan

He

in the sea.

Cullen, and Captain

199

glanced at Captain

Dan

Cullen gave no

sign.

"Down!

down!"

Hard

roared, as he sprang

the

second

mate

aft.

But he ceased springing and commanding,


and stood still, when he saw Dan Cullen by

And

the wheel.
cigar

big

Cullen puffed at his

and going
could be seen the sailor.
He had

and said

astern fast,

caught the

Dan

life

body spoke.

Astern,

nothing.

buoy and was clinging to it.


Nobody moved. The men

No
aloft

clung to the royal yards and watched with ter

And

the

making her westing.

ror-stricken faces.
on,

Rogers raced
long, silent minute

Mary

passed.

"Who was
"Mops,

it?" Captain Cullen demanded.

sir/' eagerly

answered the

sailor at

the wheel.

Mops topped
temporarily

wave, but
could live
the

Mary

in

wave

the

astern

trough.

and disappeared
It was a large

was no graybeard. A small boat


easily in such a sea, and in such a sea
it

Rogers could easily come

to.

But

200

MAKE WESTING

she could not

come

same

to

and make westing

at the

time.

For the

time in

first

Dorety was seeing


'

a sordid

little

an

balanced

a real

all

in

which the

sailor

astern,

scales

named Mops

against a few miles of longitude.

had watched the man

George

drama of life and death

drama

unknown

his years,

At
but

first

he

now he

watched big Dan Cullen, hairy and black,


vested with power of life and death, smoking a
cigar.

Captain
silent

Dan

Cullen smoked another long,

Then he removed the cigar


mouth.
He glanced aloft at the

minute.

from

his

spars

of the

and overside

at

"Sheet home the royals!" he cried.


Fifteen minutes later they sat at table,

in

Mary

Rogers,

the sea.

the cabin, with food served before them.

On

one side of George Dorety sat Dan Cullen, the


the
tiger, on the other side, Joshua Higgins,
hyena.
sheeting

Nobody spoke. On deck the men were


home the skysails. George Dorety

could hear their

cries,

while a persistent vision

MAKE WESTING
haunted him of a

man

well, clinging to a life

lonely ocean.

He

bolting

Mops,

alive

buoy miles astern

and

in that

glanced at Captain Cullen,

and experienced a

man w*

called

201

feeling of nausea,

Bating his food with

for the

relish,

almost

it.

"Captain Cullen," Dorety said, "you are in


command of this ship, and it is not proper for

me

to

comment now upon what you

wish to say one thing. There


and yours will be a hot one."
I

is

do.

But

a hereafter,

Captain Cullen did not even scowl.


voice was regret as he said

In his

"It was blowing a living gale.


possible to save the

"He
hotly.

time.

It

was im

man."

from the royal-yard," Dorety cried


"You were setting the royals at the

fell

Fifteen

minutes afterward you were

setting the skysails."

"It was a living gale, wasn't it, Mr. Higgins?" Captain Cullen said, turning to the
mate.

"If you'd brought her


the sticks out of her,"

to, it'd

have taken

was the mate's answer.

MAKE WESTING

202

"You did the proper thing, Captain Cullen.


The man hadn't a ghost of a show/'
George Dorety made no answer, and to the
meal's end no one spoke.

had

After that, Dorety

his meals served in his stateroom.

him no

tain Cullen scowled at

Cap

longer, though

no speech was exchanged between them, while


the Mary Rogers sped north toward warmer lati
At the end of the week, Dan Cullen

tudes.

cornered Dorety on deck.

"What

are

you going to do when we get

to

'Frisco?" he demanded bluntly.


"
I am
going to swear out a warrant for your
arrest,"

Dorety answered

to charge
see

you with murder, and

you hanged

"I

quietly.
I

am

am

going

going to

for it."

"

You're almighty sure of yourself," Captain


Cullen sneered, turning on his heel.

A second week passed, and one morning found


George Dorety standing

panionway
taking his

Mary

in the coach-house

com-

end of the long poop,


gaze around the deck. The

at the for'ard
first

Rogers was reaching full-and-by, in a

breeze.

Every

sail

was

set

and drawing,

stiff
iri-

MAKE WESTING

Captain Cullen strolled

eluding the staysails.


for'ard
lessly,

the

along

203

He

poop.

strolled

care

glancing at the passenger out of the cor

Dorety was looking the other


way, standing with head and shoulders outside
the companionway, and only the back of his
ner of his eye.

head was to be seen.

Captain Cullen, with

embraced the mainstaysail-block and


the head and estimated the distance. He
swift eye,

about

glanced

him.

Nobody was

looking.

Joshua Higgins, pacing up and down, had


just turned his back and was going the other
way. Captain Cullen bent over suddenly and
Aft,

from

cast the staysail-sheet off

its

pin.

The

heavy block hurtled through the air, smashing


Dorety's head like an egg-shell and hurtling on

and back and


slatted

in

forth as the staysail

the wind.

whipped and

Joshua Higgins turned

around to see what had carried away, and met


the

full

blast of the vilest portion of

Captain

Cuilen's profanity.

"I made the sheet


the mate in the
to

make

sure.

fast myself,"

first lull,

whimpered

"with an extra turn

remember

it

distinctly."

MAKE WESTING

204

"Made

fast?" the

Captain

for the benefit of the

watch as

capture the flying

before

"You
you

sail

stay fast

That's what

in hell didn't

it

The mate whined

struggled to

tore to ribbons.

it

fast,

that

in hell didn't

why

want

to

know.

stay fast?"
inarticulately.

shut up!" was the final

"Oh,

back,

make your grandmother


If you made
hell's scullion.

useless

Why

it

couldn't

sheet fast with an extra turn,


it

snarled

word of Cap

tain Cullen.

he was as surprised as
any when the body of George Dorety was found
In
inside the companionway on the floor.

Half an hour

later

the afternoon, alone in his room, he doctored up


the log.

"Ordinary seaman, Karl Brun" he wrote,


"lost overboard

of wind.

from foreroyal-yard

Was running

at

the

the safety of the ship did not


the wind.

sea that

On

Nor

in

time,

a gale

and for

dare come up

to

could a boat have lived in the

was running"

another page, he wrote:

MAKE WESTING
"Had

often

205

warned Mr. Dorety about

the

danger he ran because of his carelessness on


I told him, once, that some day he would
deck.
get his head knocked off by a block.

fastened

lessly

mainstay sail

A
was

sheet

care
the

was deeply to be
because Mr. Dorety was a favorite

cause of the accident, which


regretted

with

all

of us."

Captain Dan Cullen read over his literary


effort with admiration, blotted the page, and
closed the log.

before him.
heel,

He

He
felt

lighted a cigar

the

Mary

and stared

Rogers

lift,

and

and surge along, and knew that she was

making nine knots. A smile of satisfaction


slowly dawned on his black and hairy face.
Well, anyway, he had made his westing and
fooled

God.

SEMPER IDEM

SEMPER IDEM
Bicknell

gracious mood.

DOCTOR

was

in a

remarkably
Through a minor ac

cident, a slight bit of carelessness, that

was

all,

had

died

man who might have


the

had been only

preceding

pulled through

night.

Though

a sailorman, one of the

it

innumer

able unwashed, the steward of the receiving

had been on the anxious

hospital

morning.
that gave

It

seat all the

was not that the man had died

him discomfort, he knew the Doctor

too well for that, but his distress lay in the


fact that the operation

One

had been done so

of the most delicate in surgery,

as successful as

it

was

clever

it

well.

had been

and audacious.

had then depended upon the treatment,


the nurses, the steward.
And the man had
All

died.

Nothing much, a

bit

of carelessness,

enough to bring the professional wrath of


Doctor Bicknell about his ears and to perturb

yet

209

SEMPER IDEM

2io

the working of the staff and nurses for twenty-

four hours to come.

But, as already stated, the Doctor was in a

remarkably gracious mood. When informed


by the steward, in fear and trembling, of the
man's unexpected take-off, his lips did not so

much

as

form one

syllable of censure;

nay,

they were so pursed that snatches of rag-time


floated softly from them, to be broken only by
a pleasant query after the health of the other's
eldest-born.
sible that

The

he could have caught the

case, repeated
"

it

impos

gist

of the

it.

Yes, yes/' Doctor Bicknell said impatiently ;

"I understand.
Is

steward, deeming

But how about Semper Idem

he ready to leave?"
"Yes. They're helping

him

dress

now,"

the steward answered, passing on to the round

of his duties, content that peace

still

reigned

within the iodine-saturated walls.


It

was Semper Idem's recovery which had

so fully compensated Doctor Bicknell for the


loss

of the

sailorman.

Lives

were to him

as nothing, the unpleasant but inevitable in-

SEMPER IDEM

*ii

cidents of the profession, but cases, ah, cases

were everything. People who knew him were


prone to brand him a butcher, but his colleagues
were

one

at

in the belief that a bolder

and yet

more capable man never stood over the table.


He was not an imaginative man. He did not
a

and hence had no tolerance

possess,

for,

His nature was accurate, precise, scien


Men were to him no more than pawns,

tion.
tific.

without individuality or personal value.


as cases

man

life,

emo

it

was

different.

But

The more broken

was, the more precarious his grip on

the greater his significance in the eyes of

Doctor Bicknell.

He would

as readily forsake a

common accident
mangled vagrant who defied

poet laureate suffering from a


for a

nameless,

by refusing to die, as would


a child forsake a Punch and Judy for a circus.
every law of

So

it

life

had been

The mystery

in the case of

of the

man had

Semper Idem.

not appealed to

him, nor had his silence and the veiled romance

which the yellow reporters had so sensationally


and so fruitlessly exploited in divers Sunday
editions.

But Semper Idem's throat had been

SEMPER IDEM

212

That was the

cut.

had

his interest

Cut

centred.

ear,

and not one surgeon

give

of

snap of the

recovery.

But,

from

ear to

a thousand

in

for

fingers

service

and

to

chance

his

mu

thanks to the swift

ambulance

nicipal

That was where

point.

Doctor

to

had been dragged back into the


world he had sought to leave. The Doctor's
Bicknell, he

when

co-workers had shaken their heads


case

was brought

Throat,

severed, and the


it

was such

Bicknell

had

things which
sional

jugular,

loss

all

employed

conclusion,

methods

made them, even


to

but

actually

of blood frightful.

foregone

capacities,

man had

shudder.

As

Doctor

and

done

in their profes

And

lo

the

recovered.

morning that Semper Idem was


leave the hospital, hale and hearty, Doctor

So,
to

Impossible, they said.

in.

windpipe,

the

on

Bicknell's

this

geniality

was

in

nowise disturbed

by the steward's report, and he proceeded cheer


fully to

bring order out of the chaos of a child's

body which had been ground and crunched


beneath the wheels of an electric car.

SEMPER IDEM

213

As many will remember, the case of Semper


Idem aroused a vast deal of unseemly yet

He had

highly natural curiosity.

been found

slum lodging, with throat cut as aforemen


tioned, and blood dripping down upon the in
in a

mates of the room below and disturbing their


He had evidently done the deed
festivities.
with head bowed forward that he

standing,

might gaze his last upon a photograph which


stood on the table propped against a candle
stick.
It was this attitude which had made it
possible for Doctor Bicknell to save him.

So

had been the sweep of the razor that


had he had his head thrown back, as he should

terrific

have done to have accomplished the act properly,


with his neck stretched and the elastic vascular
walls distended, he

would have of a certainty

well nigh decapitated himself.

At the

hospital, during all the time he trav

elled the

repugnant road

word had

left his lips.

back to

Nor

life,

not a

could anything be

learned of him by the sleuths detailed by the


chief of police.

ever

seen

or

Nobody knew him, nor had


heard of him before. He was

SEMPER IDEM

214

uniquely, of the present.

strictly,

His clothes

and surroundings were those of the lowest


laborer, his hands the hands of a gentleman.
But not a shred of writing was discovered,
nothing, save in one particular, which would
serve to indicate his past or his position in

And
If it

was the photograph.

that one particular

were

life.

woman who gazed

at all a likeness, the

frankly out upon the onlooker from the card-

mount must have been


deed.

a striking creature in

was an amateur production,

It

were baffled

detectives

photographer's

idem;

As

it.

recollect,

could never forget.


ably

like,

studio

was ap

mount,

in

was written: "Sem

And

semper fidelis"

many

no professional

corner of the

delicate feminine tracery,

per

or

signature

Across

pended.

in that

for the

it

was

she
a

looked

face

one

Clever half-tones, remark

were published

in

all

the leading

papers at the time; but such procedure gave


rise to nothing but the uncontrollable public
curiosity

and interminable copy

to the space-

writers.

For want of

a better

name, the rescued suicide

SEMPER IDEM
was known

to

the

Idem he remained.

him up

and

attendants,

hospital

And Semper

Semper Idem.

to the world, as

nurses gave

2i5

Reporters, detectives, and

Not one word

in despair.

could he be persuaded to utter; yet the

flitting

conscious light of his eyes showed that his ears

heard and his brain grasped every question


put to him.

But

mystery and romance played no


Doctor Bicknell's interest when he

this

in

part

in

paused

the office to have a parting

word

He, the Doctor, had per


prodigy in the matter of this

with his patient.

formed

man, done what was


in

who

or

highly

what

the

man

but, like the

a finished creation,
last

He

time

did

and

was,

improbable th^t he

him again;

unprecedented

virtually

the annals of surgery.

should

not

care

it

was

ever

see

artist

gazing upon
he wished to look for the

upon the work of

his

hand and

brain.

He
Semper Idem still remained mute.
seemed anxious to be gone. Not a word could
the Doctor extract from him, and little the

SEMPER IDEM
He examined

Doctor cared.

the throat of the

convalescent carefully, idling over the hideous


scar with the lingering, half-caressing fondness

of a parent.

was not

a particularly pleasing

An

angry line circled the throat, -for


the world as though the man had just es

sight.
all

It

caped the hangman's noose, and,


disappearing
below the ear on either side, had the appear
ance of completing the
nape of the neck.

periphery at the

fiery

Maintaining his dogged silence, yielding to


the other's examination in much the manner
of a leashed
his

lion,

drop from out

to

desire

Semper Idem betrayed only


of the

public

eye.

"Well,

I'll

not keep you," Doctor Bicknell

finally said, laying a

and

stealing a last glance at his

"But

me

let

time you try


snuggle

cow.

hand on the man's shoulder

it

it

give

bit

of advice.

on, hold your chin up, so.

down and butcher

Neatness

Neatness

you a

and

own handiwork.

and

Next
Don't

yourself like a

despatch,

you

know.

despatch."

Semper Idem's eyes flashed in token that he

SEMPER IDEM
moment

heard, and a

swung to on his heel.


It was a busy day

later the hospital

cigar preparatory to leaving the table

seemed the

sufferers almost

But the

door

Doctor Bicknell, and

for

was well along when he

the afternoon

it

217

lighted a

upon which

clamored to be

an old rag-picker with a


broken shoulder-blade, had been disposed of,

laid.

and the

first

last one,

fragrant

smoke wreaths had begun

to curl about his head,

when

the gong of a hurry

ing ambulance

came through the open window

from the

followed by the inevitable entry

street,

of the stretcher with

"Lay

it

moment

"What

is

to

place his cigar in

it?"

throat cut," responded one of the

"Suicide

stretcher bearers.
Little

ghastly freight.

on the table," the Doctor directed,

turning for a
safety.

its

hope,

"Down

think,

sir.

on Morgan Alley.
He's "most gone/'

"Eh? Well, Pll give him a look, anyway."


He leaned over the man at the moment when the
quick

made

"It's

its last

faint flutter

and succumbed.

Semper Idem come back again," the

steward said.

SEMPER IDEM

218

"Ay,"

No

again.

upon

replied

my

bungling this time.

life,

advice to the

Take

Doctor Bicknell, "and gone

sir,

Properly done,

properly done.

letter.

Took my

I'm not required here.

along to the morgue."


Doctor Bicknell secured his cigar and re
it

lighted

it.

"That," he said between the

looking at the steward,

one you

lost last night.

puffs,

"that evens up for the

We're quits now."

A NOSE FOR THE KING

A NOSE FOR THE KING


when

its

peace and tranquillity truly merited

its

the morning calm of Korea,

IN

ancient name, "Clio-sen," there lived a

by name Yi Chin Ho.


who shall say
man of parts, and

He was

politician

in

no wise worse than

over.

perhaps

politicians the world

But, unlike his brethren in other lands,

Ho was

Yi Chin

in jail.

Not

that he

had

in

advertently diverted to himself public moneys,

but

that

much.

he.

had inadvertently diverted too

Excess

is

to be deplored in all things,

even in grafting, and Yi Chin Ho's excess had

brought him to most deplorable straits.


Ten thousand strings of cash he owed the
government, and he lay in prison under sen
tence of death. There was one advantage to
the situation
he had plenty of time in which
to think.

And

he the jailer

he thought well.
to him.
221

Then

called

A NOSE FOR THE KING

222

"Most worthy man, you


most wretched," he began.

me

well with

if

one short hour

this

well with you, for

ment through the

"Yet
let

night.

I shall

years,

be

will

all

me go
And all

but

will

you

you one

see before

free for

be

will

see to your advance

and you

length to the directorship of

all

shall

come

at

the prisons of

Cho-sen."

"How, now

demanded

?"

One

"What

the jailer.

short hour, and

you

but waiting for your head to be chopped

off!

foolishness

And

I,

is

this

with an aged and much-to-be-respected

mother, not to say anything of a wife and


children of tender years

several

you

for the scoundrel that

"From

Out upon

you are

I"

the Sacred City to the ends of

all

the

no place for me to hide,"


Yi Chin Flo made reply. "I am a man of wis
Eight Coasts there

is

dom, but of what worth


prison

Were

I free,

out and obtain the


the government.

save

me from

"A

nose!"

all

well

my wisdom
I

know

could seek

money wherewith
know of a nose

my

difficulties."

cried the jailer.

here in

to repay

that will

A NOSE FOR THE KING

"A nose,"
nose, if I

The

said

may

"A

Yi Chin Ho.

223

remarkable

say so, a most remarkable nose."

hands despairingly.
"Ah, what a wag you are, what a wag," he
laughed. "To think that that very admirable
threw up

jailer

his

wit of yours must go the

way

of the

chopping-

block!"

And
But

so saying, he turned and

in the end, being a

heart,

when

the night

mitted Yi Chin
Straight he

Ho

went

man

soft

went away.
of head and

was well along he per

to go.
to the

Governor, catching

him alone and arousing him from his sleep.


"Yi Chin Ho, or I'm no Governor!" cried
the Governor.

"What do you

here

who

should

be in prison waiting on the chopping-block ?"

"I pray your excellency to listen to me,"


said Yi Chin Ho, squatting on his hams by the
bedside and lighting his pipe from the fire-box.

"A
am

dead

man

is

without value.

It is true,

dead man, without value to the govern


ment, to your excellency, or to myself. But if,
as a

so to say, your excellency were to give

freedom

"

me my

A NOSE FOR THE KING

224

sides,

the

cried

"Impossible!"

you are condemned

"Your

excellency well

Governor.

"Be

to death/'

knows

that if I can

repay the ten thousand strings of cash, the gov

ernment
"So, as

me my

will

pardon me/' Yi Chin

Ho went

on.

your excellency were to give


freedom for a few days, being a man
I

say, if

of understanding,

ernment and be
your excellency.

should then repay the gov

in position to
I

be of service to

should be in position to be

of very great service to your excellency."

"Have you a plan whereby you hope


obtain this money?" asked the Governor.
"I have," sid Yi Chin Ho.
I

"Then come with


would now sleep,"

up

his snore

On

where

it

to

me to-morrow

to

night;

said the Governor, taking

it

had been interrupted.

having again ob
tained leave of absence from the jailer, Yi Chin
the following night,

Ho

presented himself at the Governor's bedside.


"Is it you, Yi Chin Ho?" asked the Gov

ernor.

"It

"And have you


is

I,

your

the plan ?"

excellency,"

Chin Ho, "and the plan

is

here."

answered

Yi

A NOSE FOR THE KING

225

"Speak/' commanded the .Governor.


"The plan is here," repeated Yi Chin Ho,
-

"here in

hand."

my

The Governor

up and opened his eyes.


proffered in his hand a sheet of

Ho

Yi Chin

sat

The Governor

paper.

held

to the light.

it

"Nothing but a nose," said he.


"A bit pinched, so, and so, your excellency,"
said Yi Chin Ho.
"Yes, a

bit

pinched here and there, as you

say," said the Governor.

"Withal
thus,

and

is

it

so, all

an exceeding corpulent nose,


in one place, at the end," pro

ceeded Yi Chin Ho.

"Your

seek far and wide and

nose and find

"An

a day for that

many

not."

unusual nose," admitted the Governor.

"There

"A

it

excellency would

is

a wart

upon

it," said

Yi Chin Ho.

most unusual nose," said the Governor.

"Never have

seen the

with this nose, Yi Chin

"I seek

like.

But what do you

Ho?"

whereby to repay the money to the


government," said Yi Chin Ho. "I seek it to
it

be of service to your excellency, and


Q

seek

it

A NOSE FOR THE KING

226
to save

my own worthless

your excellency's

seal

head.

upon

Further,

seek

this picture of the

nose."

And

the Governor laughed and affixed the

seal of state,

month and

there,

Ho

departed.

a day he travelled the King's

which leads
and

and Yi Chin

For a

Road

to the shore of the Eastern Sea;

one night,

at the gate of the largest

mansion of a wealthy

city

he knocked loudly

for admittance.

"None

other than the master of the house


"

will I

see," said he fiercely to the frightened

"I travel upon the King's business."


Straightway was he led to an inner room,

servants.

where the master of the house was roused


from

his

sleep

and brought blinking before

him.

"You

are

Pak Chung Chang, head man of

this city," said

all-accusing.

Yi Chin

"I

Ho

in tones that

am upon the

King's business."

Pak Chung Chang trembled.


the King's business was ever
ness.
fell

were

Well he knew
a terrible busi

His knees smote together, and he near

to the floor.

A NOSE FOR THE KING


"The hour
not well to

"The

is

late,"

"Were

he quavered.

it

thundered Yi Chin Ho.


I

swiftly.

waits!"

never

business

King's

me, and

227

"Come

have an

apart with

of

affair

moment

to discuss with you.

"It

the

is

King's

he added with

affair,"

that

Pak Chung

Chang's silver pipe dropped from


fingers and clattered on the floor.

his nerveless

even greater fierceness;

"Know
had gone
with an

so

then," said Yi Chin Ho,


apart, "that the King

affliction, a

very terrible

when
is

they

troubled

affliction.

In

that he failed to cure, the Court physician has

had nothing

From

all

sicians

than his head chopped off.


the Eight Provinces have the phy

come

consultation

else

wait upon the King.

to

Wise

have they held, and they have

decided that for a remedy for the King's


tion nothing else

is

afflic

required than a nose, a cer

tain kind of nose, a very peculiar certain kind

of nose.

"Then by none
his excellency the

other was

summoned than

prime minister himself.

He

A NOSE FOR THE KING

228

put a paper into

hand.

my

this

Upon

paper

was the very peculiar kind of nose drawn by


the physicians of the Eight Provinces, with the
seal of state

"Go/
ter.

tion

upon

said his excellency the prime minis

'Seek out
sore.

is

it.

this nose, for the

King's

And wheresoever you

nose upon the face of a man, strike

it

afflic

find

this

off forth

and bring it in all haste to the Court, for


the King must be cured.
Go, and come not
right

back

until

"And

your search

is

rewarded/

so I departed

upon my quest," said


"I have sought out the remotest
corners of the kingdom; I have travelled the
Yi Chin Ho.

Eight Highways, searched the Eight Provinces,

and
here

sailed the seas of the Eight Coasts.


I

And

am."

With a great

his girdle, unrolled

cracklings,

drew a paper from


with many snappings and

flourish he
it

and thrust

Chung Chang.

it

Upon

before the face of

the paper

was the

Pak
pic

ture of the nose.

Pak Chung Chang


ing eyes.

stared

upon

it

with bulg

A NOSE FOR THE KING


"Never have

such a nose,"

beheld

229

he

began.

"There
"Never

is

a wart upon

have

Chang began

it," said

Yi Chin Ho.

beheld" Pak Chung

again.

"Bring your father before me," Yi Chin

Ho

interrupted sternly.

"My

ancient and very-much-to-be-respected

Pak Chung Chang.


dissemble?" demanded Yi Chin Ho.

ancestor sleeps," said

"Why

"You know it is your father's nose. Bring


him before me that I may strike it off and be
gone.
Hurry, lest I make bad report of you."
"Mercy!"
on

his

knees.

cried

Pak Chung Chang,

."It

is

impossible!

It

falling
is

im

You cannot strike off my father's


nose.
He cannot go down without his nose to
the grave.
He will become a laughter and a
possible

byword, and all


filled with woe.

my

days and nights will


reflect!

have seen no such nose


too,

in

be

Report that you

your

travels.

You,

have a father."

Pak Chung Chang clasped Yi Chin Ho's


knees and

fell

to

weeping on

his sandals.

A NOSE FOR THE KING

"My

heart softens strangely at your tears/*

Yi Chin Ho.

said

and

He

But-

regard.

know

"I, too,

filial

as

my

head

"How much

is

Pak Chung Chang

"A
"An

my

as

is

worth/'

your head worth?*'

is

then

hesitated,

added, as though thinking aloud, "It

much

piety

asked

in a thin, small voice.

not remarkable head," said Yi Chin Ho.

absurdly unremarkable head; but, such

great foolishness,

value

it

at

nothing

is

less

than one hundred thousand strings of cash."

"So be

Pak Chung Chang,

it," said

rising to

his feet.

"I

shall

need horses to carry the treasure,"

Yi Chin Ho,

"

and men

guard it well as
I
journey through the mountains. There are
robbers abroad in the land."
said

to

"There are robbers abroad


said

Pak Chung Chang,

in
v<

sadly.

be as you wish, so long as

my

the land,"

But

it

shall

ancient and

very-much-to-be-respected ancestor's nose abide


in its appointed place."

any man of this occurrence,"


said Yi Chin Ho, "else will other and more

"Say nothing

to

A NOSE FOR THE KING

231

loyal servants than I be sent to strike off

your

father's nose."

And

Ho

departed on his way


through the mountains, blithe of heart and gay
of song as he listened to the jingling bells of his
so

Yi Chin

treasure-laden ponies.

There

is

little

more

to

tell.

prospered through the years.

Yi Chin

By

his

Ho

efforts

the jailer attained at length to the directorship

of

all

the prisons of Cho-sen;

the Governor

ultimately betook himself to the Sacred City to

be prime minister to the King, while Yi Chin

Ho became

the King's boon

companion and

at table with him to the end of a round, fat

But Pak Chung Chang


and ever after he shook

fell

sat
life.

into a melancholy,

his

head sadly, with

tears in his eyes, whenever he regarded the


expensive nose of his ancient and very-much-

to-be-respected ancestor.

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT'

THE

FRANCIS SPAIGHT"
(A TRUE TALE RETOLD)
Francis Spaigbt was running before

THE

under a mizzentopsail, when


the thing happened. It was not due to
it

solely

carelessness so

much

as to the lack of discipline

of the crew and to the fact that they were


indifferent

wheel

seamen

at best.

The man

at the

Limerick man, had had

in particular, a

no experience with salt water beyond that of


rafting timber on the Shannon between the

He was

afraid

of the huge seas that rose out of the

murk

Quebec

and the shore.

vesselsi

astern and bore

more

given

threatened

down upon him, and he was

to

cowering away
impact than he was

their blows with the

ship's rush to
It

was

from
to

their

meeting

wheel and checking the

broach

three in the

to.

morning when

his un-

seamanlike conduct precipitated the catastro


phe. At sight of a sea far larger than its
as

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

236

he crouched down, releasing his hands


from the spokes. The Francis Spaigbt sheered
fellows,

as her stern lifted on the sea, receiving the full


fling

of the cap on her quarter.

was

instant she
till

the ocean

The

next

in the trough, her lee-rail buried

was

level

with her hatch-combings,

sea after sea breaking over her weather

rail

and sweeping what remained exposed of the


deck with icy deluges.

The men were


stupid

hopeless,
fear,

out of hand, helpless and


in

their

and resolute only

bewilderment

in that they

and

would not

obey orders. Some wailed, others clung silently


in the weather shrouds, and still others muttered
prayers

or

shrieked

vile

imprecations;

neither captain nor mate could get

bear a hand at the

of

pumps

and

them

to

or at setting patches

bring the vessel up to the wind and


Inside the hour the ship was over on her

sails to

sea.

beam

ends, the lubberly cowards climbing up

her side and hanging on in the rigging.

When

shd went over, the mate was caught and drowned


in the after-cabin, as

were two

sought refuge in the forecastle.

sailors

who had

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"


The mate had been

the ablest

237

man on

board,

and the captain was now scarcely less helpless


than his men. Beyond cursing them for their
and

worthlessness, he did nothing;


for a

man named Mahoney,

it

remained

a Belfast man,

and a boy, O'Brien, of Limerick, to cut away


the fore and main masts. This they did at
great risk on the perpendicular wall of the
the

wreck, sending
along

in

the

overside

The

Francis

crash.

general

Spalght righted, and

lumber laden,

mizzentopmast

else

it

was well that she was

she would have sunk, for

she was already water-logged.


still

fast

by the shrouds, beat

The mainmast,
like a

thunderous

sledge-hammer' against the ship's side, every


stroke bringing groans from the men.

Day dawned on

the savage ocean, and in

the cold gray light

all

that could be seen of

the Francis Spalght emerging from the sea were


the

poop,

the

shattered

ragged line of bulwarks.

and

was midwinter

in

mizzenmast,
It

the North Atlantic, and the wretched

half-dead from cold.

where they could

But there

find rest.

men

w^ere

was no place

Every sea breached

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

238

clean over the wreck, washing

away

the salt

incrustations from their bodies and depositing

The

fresh incrustations.

was awash
shelter

cabin under the poop

to the knees, but here at least

from the

wind, and here the sur

chill

vivors congregated,

was

standing upright, holding

on by the cabin furnishings, and leaning against


one another for support.
In vain

Mahoney

strove to get the

men

to

take turns in watching aloft from the mizzen-

mast for any chance


too

much

for

vessel.

icy gale

was

them, and they preferred the

shelter of the cabin.

was only

The

fifteen,

took turns with

the freezing perch.


in the afternoon,

who

O'Brien, the boy,

It

who

Mahoney on

was the boy,

called

down

at three

that he

had

This did bring them from


the cabin, and they crowded the poop rail
sighted

sail.

and weather mizzen shrouds as they watched


But its course did not lie
the strange ship.
near,
line,

and when

disappeared below the sky


they returned shivering to the cabin, not
it

one offering to relieve the watch


head.

at the

mast

THE
By

"

FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

the end of the second day,

239

Mahoney and

O'Brien gave up their attempt, and thereafter


the vessel drifted in the gale uncared for and

There were

without a lookout.

and

thirteen alive,

seventy-two hours they stood

for

knee-

deep in the sloshing water on the cabin floor,


half-frozen, without food, and with but three

wine shared among them. All food


and fresh water were below, and there was no

bottles of

getting

at

such supplies in the water-logged

condition of the wreck.

As

no food whatever passed


w^ater,

in

the days went by,


their

Fresh

lips.

small quantities, they were able to

obtain by holding a cover of a tureen under


the saddle of the mizzenmast.
fell

infrequently,

When

it

and

they

But the

were

hard

rained, they also soaked their

kerchiefs, squeezing

them out

or into their shoes.

into their

As the wind and

rain
put.

hand

mouths

sea

went

down, they were even able to mop the exposed


portions of the deck that were free from brine
and so add

water supply. But food


they had none, and no way of getting it, though
to their

sea-birds flew repeatedly overhead.

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

240

In the calm weather that followed the gale,

having remained on their feet for ninetyhours, they were able to find dry planks in

after
six

the cabin on which to

But the long hours


water had caused sores

lie.

of standing in the salt


to

form on

These

their legs.

tremely painful.

The

sores

were ex

slightest contact or scrape

caused severe anguish, and in their weak con

and crowded situation they were con


tinually hurting one another in this manner.
dition

Not

man

could

move about without being

followed by volleys of abuse, curses, and groans.

So great was

their misery that the strong

pressed the weak, shoving

dry planks to

The

and wet.
maltreated.
boys,

it

shift for

boy,

Though

op
them aside from the

themselves in the cold

O'Brien,
there

was

specially

were three other

was O'Brien who came

in for

most of

There was no explaining it, except


on the ground that his was a stronger and more

the abuse.

dominant

spirit

than those of the other boys,

and that he stood up more

for his rights, resent

ing the petty injustices that were meted out to


all

the boys by the men.

Whenever O'Brien

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"


came near

the

men

241

in search of a

dry place to
sleep, or merely moved about, he was kicked
and cuffed away. In return, he cursed them

for

their

selfish

brutishness,

and blows and

kicks and curses were rained

upon him. Miser


able as were all of them, he was thus made far
more miserable; and it was only the flame of
life,

unusually strong in him, that enabled him

to endure.

As the days went by and they grew weaker,


their

and

peevishness

ill-temper

increased,

which, in turn, increased the ill-treatment


of O'Brien.

sufferings

By

and

the sixteenth day

hands were far gone with hunger, and they


stood together in small groups, talking in under
all

tones and occasionally glancing at O'Brien.

It

was

to

at high

a head.

noon that the conference came

The

captain was the spokesman.

All

were collected on the poop.

"Men,"

the captain began,

a long time without food

days

it is,

though
and two months.

longer.

It is

it

"we have been

two weeks and two

seems more

We

can't

like

two years

hang out much

beyond human nature to go on

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

242

hanging out with nothing

There
it is

our stomachs.

in

a serious question to consider: whether

is

better for

to die, or for

all

one to

We

die.

are standing with our feet in our graves.

one of us

dies, the rest

sighted.

What

may

say you ?"

man who had

Michael Behane, the

when

the wheel
to,

been at

the Francis Spaigbt broached

out that

called

If

live until a ship is

was

it

The

well.

others

joined in the cry.

"Let

be one of the b'ys!"

it

a Tarbert

man, glancing

nificantly at

"It
"that

is
it

at the

same time

sig

O'Brien.
opinion," the captain went on,

my
will

cried Sullivan,

be a good deed for one of us to

die for the rest."

"A

good deed!

good deed!"

the

men

interjected.

"And

it

is

my

of the boys to

opinion that

die.

'tis

best for one

They have no

families to

support, nor would they be considered so great

a loss to their friends as those

who have

wives

and children."

"Tis

right."

"Very

right."

"Very

fit

it

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"


should be done/' the

243

men muttered one

to

another.

But the four boys cried out against the


justice of

"Our
iv yez,"

too.

it.

dear to us as the rest

lives is just as

for wives

an'

childer,

a widow, as you

comes

Let the

lots

know

from

who

famblies,

there

is

me

old mother that's

well,

Michael Behane,

savin* meself to care for

that

"An' our

O'Brien protested.

As

in

Limerick

not

fair.

of us,

men

'Tis

be drawn between

all

and b'ys."

Mahoney was

the only

man who

favor of the boys, declaring that


thing for

all to

"share alike.

it

spoke in

was the

fair

Sullivan and the

captain insisted on the drawing of lots being

There were high words,


the midst of which Sullivan turned upon

confined to the boys.


in

O'Brien, snarling:
"Twould be a good deed to put you out of
the way. You deserve it.
'Twould be the
right

He

way

to serve you, an' serve

you we

started toward O'Brien, with

lay hands

on him and proceed

at

will."

intent to

once with the

244

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

killing,

while several others likewise shuffled

toward him and reached for him.

backwards

He

at the

to escape them,

stumbled

same time

crying that he would submit to the drawing of


the lots

The

among

the boys.

captain prepared four sticks of different

lengths and

handed them

to Sullivan.

"You're thinkin' the drawin'll not be

"So

the latter sneered to O'Brien.


self'll

To
was

fair,"

it's

yer-

do the drawin'."
this

O'Brien

agreed.

handkerchief

tied over his eyes, blindfolding him,

he knelt

down on

and

the deck with his back to

Sullivan.

"Whoever you name

for the shortest stiek'll

die," the captain said.

Sullivan held up one of the sticks.

were concealed

in

could see whether

"An' whose

it

his

hand

was the

stick

will

so

that

The

rest

no one

short stick or not.


it

be?"

Sullivan

demanded.

"For

little

Johnny Sheehan," O'Brien an

swered.
Sullivan

laid

the

stick

aside.

Those who

THE -FRANCIS SPAIGHT'


looked could not

if it

tell

were the

245

fatal one.

Sullivan held up another stick.

"Whose

will

it

be?"

"For George Burns," was the reply.


The stick was laid with the first one, and a
third held up.

"An' whose

is

this

wan .?"

"For myself," said O'Brien.


With a quick movement, Sullivan threw the
four sticks together.

No

one had seen.

"'Tis for yourself ye've drawn

it,"

Sullivan

announced.

"A

good deed," several of the men muttered.


O'Brien was very quiet. He arose to his
feet,

took the bandage

"Where
stick

The

is

off,

and looked around.

ut?" he demanded.

The wan

for

me

"The

short

?"

captain pointed to the four sticks lying

on the deck.

"How

do you know the

O'Brien questioned.

stick

"Did you

was mine?"

see ut,

Johnny

Sheehan?"
Johnny Sheehan, who was the youngest of
the boys, did not answer.

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"


"Did you

see ut ?" O'Brien next asked

Ma*

honey.
I didn't see ut."

"No,

The men were muttering and growling.


"Twas a fair drawin'," Sullivan said. "Ye
kad yer chanct

"A

fair

"Didn't

an' ye lost, that's all iv ut."

drawin',"

behold

it

the

captain

myself?

y@urs, O'Brien, an' ye

may

The

added.

stick

was

as well get ready.

Gorman, come here. Fetch


the tureen cover, some of ye.
Gorman, do your
duty like a man."

Where's the cook

"But

He was

how'll

do it?" the cook demanded.

a weak-eyed, weak-chinned, indecisive

man.
"'Tis a

damned murder!"

O'Brien cried

out.
"I'll

hare none of ut," Mahoney announced.

"Not a bite shall pass rne lips."


"Then 'tis yer share for better men than
sneered.
yerself," Sullivan

"Go

on with yer

duty, cook."

"'Tis not

me

duty, the killin' of b'ys," Gor-

raan protested irresolutely.

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

247

"If yez don't make mate for us, we'll be


makin* mate of yerself," Behane threatened.

"Somebody must

die,

an' as well

you as an

other."

Sheehan

Johnny
listened
lips

began to cry.
His face was

anxiously.

O'Briea
pale.

Hi*

trembled, and at times his whole body

shook.

"I signed on as cook," Gorman enounced.


"An' cook I wud if galley there was. But I'll

me hand

not lay

to murder.

I'm the cook

articles.

"An' cook

ye'll

'Tis not in the

"

be for

wan minute more

only," Sullivan said grimly, at the

same mo

ment gripping the cook's head from behind


and bending it back till the windpipe and
"Where's yer
jugular were stretched taut.
knife,

Mike

Pass

it

At the touch of the

in

along."

steel,

Gorman whimpered.

"I'll

do

The

pitiable condition of the

ut, if yez'll

some fashion
"It's

with

ut.

all

to nerve

cook seemed

up O'Brien.

Gorman," he said. "Go OB


meself knows yer not wantin' to

right,

'Tis

hold the b'y."

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

24

do

It's all right, sir"

ut.

who had

laid a

this to the captain,

hand heavily on

won't have to hold me,

sir.

I'll

his

"Ye

arm.

stand

still."

"Stopyer blitherin', an' go an' get the tureen


cover," Behane commanded Johnny Sheehan,
at the same time dealing him a heavy cuff
alongside the head.

The

who was

boy,

fetched

child,

the

scarcely

The

hunger.

He

cover.

tottered along the deck, so


tears

still

more than

down

Behane took the cover from him,


O'Brien took off
His

arm.

under

his
lip

his cheeks.

at the

same

cuff.

coat and bared


still

and

crawled

weak was he from

ran

time administering another

trembled,

held a tight grip on himself.

The

his right

but

he

captain's

penknife was opened and passed to Gorman.


"Mahoney, tell me mother what happened
to

me,

if

ever ye get back," O'Brien requested.

Mahoney nodded.
"Tis black murder, black an' damned," he
"The b'y's flesh'll do none iv yez anny
said.

Mark me

good.

none

iv

yez."

words.

Ye'll not profit

by

it,

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"


"Get ready/'

the captain ordered.

Sullivan, hold the cover


Spill nothing.

249

It's

that's

"You,
close up.

it

precious stuff/'

Gorman made an
dull.
He was weak.

effort.

The

Besides, his

knife

was

hand was

shaking so violently that he nearly dropped the


The three boys were crouched apart,
knife.
in a huddle, crying

ception of

With the ex

and sobbing.

Mahoney, the men were gathered

about the victim, craning their necks to

see.

"

Be a man, Gorman," the captain cautioned.


The wretched cook was seized with a spasm
of resolution, sawing back and forth with the

blade

on O'Brien's

wrist.

The

veins

were

Sullivan held the tureen cover close

severed.

underneath.

The

cut veins gaped wide, but

no ruddy flood gushed forth. There was no


blood at all. The veins were dry and empty.
No one spoke. The grim and silent figures
unison with each heave of the ship.
Every eye was turned fixedly upon that incon

swayed

in

ceivable and monstrous thing, the dry veins of a

creature that

was

alive.

"'Tis a warninY'

Mahoney

cried.

"Lave

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

253

Mark me

the b'y alone.

do none

iv

yez anny good/'

elbow

the

at

"Try

His death'll

words.

the

left

elbow,

nearer the heart/' the captain said


a

dim and husky


"Give me the

in

own.

his

knife," O'Brien said roughly,

"I can't be

out of the cook's hand.

it

taking

finally,

was unlike

voice that

'tis

lookin' at ye puttin'

me

to hurt."

Quite coolly he cut the vein at the left elbow,


but, like the cook, he failed to bring blood.

"This

is all iv

better to put

him

him out

"Tis

said.

misery by bleedin'

iv his

at the throat."

The

strain

had been too much

"Don't be
be no blood

doin'
in

me

'Tis cold an'

time.

lay

no use," Sullivan

down

ut,"

an' slape a bit.

"There'll

he cried.

Give

throat.

weak

for the lad.

am.

Then

me

Be

little

me
warm

lettin'

I'll

be

an' the blood'll flow."

"Tis no
cud be
slape,

use," Sullivan objected.

slapin'

and

ye'll

at a

not

time

warm

like this.

up.

Look

"As

if

ye

Ye'll not
at ye

now.

You've an ague."
"I was sick at Limerick wan night," O'Brien

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"


hurried

But

me.

warm

"an'

on,

the

dochtor

after slapin' a

bed

in

the

God's truth I'm

cudn't

bleed

few hours an*

gettin'

came

blood

tellin'

251

yez.

freely.

It's

Don't be mur-

derm" me!"
"His veins are open now/' the captain said,
"Tis no use leavin' him in his pain. Do it

now

an' be

They

done with

it."

started to reach for O'Brien, but

backed away.
"I'll be the death

iv

yez!"

he

he

screamed.

"Take yer hands off iv me, Sullivan! I'll


come back
I'll haunt
Wakin' or slapin',
yez
!

I'll

haunt yez

till

you

die !"

"'Tis disgraceful!" yelled Behane.


short stick'd ben mine, I'd a-let
the head off iv

me

me

"If the

mates cut

an' died happy."

Sullivan leaped in and caught the

unhappy

by the hair. The rest of the men followed.


O'Brien kicked and struggled, snarling and
snapping at the hands that clutched him from
lad

Johnny Sheehan broke' out


wild screaming, but the men took no notice

every side.
into

of him.

Little

O'Brien was bent backward to the

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

252

Gorman

deck, the tureen cover under his neck.

Some one had

was shoved forward.

thrust a

large sheath-knife into his hand.

"Do

Do

yer duty!

yer duty!"

the

men

cried.

The cook

bent over, but he caught the boy's

eye and faltered.

"If ye don't,

I'll kill

ye with

me own

hands,"

Behane shouted.

From

side

every

threats poured in

of abuse

torrent

upon the cook.

Still

and

he hung

back.

"Maybe

be more blood in his veins

there'll

than O'Brien's," Sullivan suggested significantly.

Behane caught Gorman by the hair and


twisted his head back, while Sullivan attempted
to take

possession of the

Gorman

clung to

"Lave

go,

it

an'

do the deed!

I'll

But

desperately.

I'll

"Don't be

frantically.

sheath-knife.

do ut!"
cuttin'

do the deed

"See that you do

it,

me

he screamed
throat!

I'll

!"

then,"

the

captain

threatened him.

Gorman

allowed himself to be shoved for-

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"


ward.

He

253

looked at the boy, closed his eyes,

and muttered a prayer. Then, without open


ing his eyes, he did the deed that had been
O'Brien emitted a shriek that

appointed him.

The men held


when he was laid

sank swiftly to a gurgling sob.

him

till

his struggles ceased,

upon the deck. They were eager and im


patient, and with oaths and threats they urged

Gorman

to hurry with the preparation of the

meal.

"Lave

ut,

you bloody butchers/' Mahoney

said quietly.

"Lave

ut, I

tell

be needin' anny iv ut now.


ye'll

'Tis as I said:

not be profitin' by the lad's blood.

ut overside, Behane.

Behane,
his

Ye'll not

yez.

still

Empty

holJing the tureen cover in both

hands, glanced to windward.

to the rail

Empty

ut overside."

He walked

and threw the cover and contents

into the sea.

down upon them

full-rigged ship

was bearing
So occu

a short mile away.

pied had they been with the deed just

com

had had eyes for a lookout.


All hands watched her coming on
the brightly
mitted, that none

coppered forefoot parting the water like a gold n

THE "FRANCIS SPAIGHT"

254

knife, the headsails flapping lazily

each

at

canvas

downward

tiers

surge,

and emptily

and the towering

dipping and courtesying with each

swing of the sea. No man spoke.


As she hove to, a cable length away, the

stately

captain of the Francis Spaight bestirred him


self

and ordered a tarpaulin

O'Brien's corpse.

to be

thrown over

boat was lowered from

the stranger's side and began to pull toward

them.

John Gorman laughed.

softly at first, but

He

laughed
he accompanied each stroke

of the oars with spasmodically increasing

was

glee.

maniacal laughter that greeted the


rescue boat as it hauled alongside and the first
It

officer

this

clambered on board.

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT
[The

capitalist, or industrial oligarch,

Vanderwater, mentioned

in

Roger
the narrative, has

been identified as the ninth in the line of the

Fanderwaters that controlled for hundreds of

This

years the cotton factories of the South.

Roger Vanderwater flourished

in the last decades

of the twenty-sixth century after Christ, which

was

the fifth

oligarchy that

century of the terrible industrial

was

reared upon the ruins of the

'

early Republic.

From

that the narrative


to

writing

only

evidences

internal

was

it

till

we

are

convinced

which follows was not reduced

the

unlawful

twenty-ninth century.
to

during that period, but the working-class


only in

illiterate

that

members

able to read

Not

write or print such matter

rare

and

was

instances were

write.

so
its

This wa: the

dark reign of the overman, in whose speech the


great mass of the people were characterized as
*

257

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

258
the

All literacy was frowned

"herd animals."

upon and stamped


of the times

made

may

out.

From

the statute-books

be instanced that black

law that

a capital offence for any man, no matter


of what class, to teach even the alphabet to a
it

member of

the working-class.

limitation of education to the

necessary if that class

One
ment

was

to

continue

result of the foregoing

of the

professional

Such stringent
ruling class was

was

to rule.

the develop

story-tellers.

These

were paid by the oligarchy, and the


they told were legendary, mythical, romantic,

story-tellers
tales

But

and harmless.
quite died out,

freedom never
and agitators, under the guise
the spirit of

of story-tellers, preached revolt

That

the

oligarchs

following

to the slave class.

was banned by

tale

we have proof from

the

the records of the

criminal police court of Ashbury, wherein, on

January

2J,

2734, one

John Tourney, found

a boozing-ken of labor
guilty of telling the tale in
ers,

was

sentenced

to five

in th: borax mines of the

TOR'S NOTE.]

years penal servitude

Arizona Desert.

EDI

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT
my

and

brothers,

weaver of the

Dixon, and

first

tell

It

was the arm

Tom

Dixon was a

a tale of an arm.

you
LISTEN,
of Tom

will

class in a factory of that

and master, Roger Vanderwater.


This factory was called "Hell's Bottom"
hell-hound

by the
ought

slaves
to

who

toiled in

know; and

it

it,

was

and

guess they

situated in Kings-

bury, at the other end of the town from Vanderwater's

summer,

palace.

You do

not

know

There are many things,


my brothers, that you do not know, and it is
sad.
It is because you do not know that
you are

where Kingsbury

slaves.

When

like to

form a

is ?

have told you

class

this tale, I

among you

should

for the learning

of written and printed speech. Our masters


read and write and possess many books, and
it is

because of that that they are our masters,

and

live in palaces,

and do not
259

trork.
/

When

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

260

the toilers learn to read and write,


will

-they

of them>

then they will use

grow strong;

break their bonds, and there

their strength to
will

all

be no more masters and no more slaves.

Kingsbury,

my

of Alabama.

brothers,

is

in the old State

For three

hundred years the


Vanderwaters have owned Kingsbury and its

slave pens
factories

and slave pens and


many other places and States.

and

in

You have heard


but

has not?
not

slave,

let

me

you things you do


The first Vanderwater

tell

even as you and

He was

who

of the Vanderwaters,

know about them.

was a
that

factories,

slave,

three hundred years

ago.

I.

Have you

got

and that was over


His father was a

machinist in the slave pen of Alexander Burrell,

and

his

same

am

mother was a washerwoman

slave pen.

There

is

in

no doubt about

the
this.

you truth. It is history. It is


printed, every word of it, in the history books of
our masters, which you cannot read because
I

telling

your masters will not permit you to learn to


read.
You can understand why they will not
permit you to learn to read,

when

there are such

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT
They know, and

things in the books.

very

If

jvise.

261

you did read such

they are

things,

you

might be wanting in respect to your masters,


which would be a dangerous thing ... to

But

your masters.
I

am

know, for

you what

telling

can read, and

have read with

my own

eyes in the history books of our masters.

The

Vanderwater's name was not Van-

first

was Vange

Vange, the son


of Yergis Vange, the machinist, and Laura
derwater;

Carnly,

it

washerwoman.

the

Vange was

Bill

strong.

Bill

Young

He might have remained

with the slaves and led them to freedom;


stead, however,

well

rewarded.-

he served the masters and was

He began

his

yet a small child, as a spy in his

He

is

known

to

it

with

my own

was too good a

This

when

service,

home

have informed on

for seditious utterance.

read

in

his

is

slave pen.

own

fact.

father

have

eyes in the records.

He
Alex

slave for the slave pen.

ander Burrell took him out, while yet a child,


to read and write.
He was

and he was taught


taught

many

things,

and he was entered

secret service of the government.

Of

in the

course,

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

262

he no longer wore the slave dress, except for


disguise at such times when he sought to pene
trate the secrets

he,

when but

and

plots of the slaves.

eighteen years of age,

that great hero and comrade,


to trial

and execution

course,

you have

It

was

who brought

Ralph Jacobus,

in the electric chair.

Of

heard the sacred name of

all

Ralph Jacobus, but it is news to 'you that he


was brought to his death by the first VanderI
I know.
water, whose name was Vange.
have read

in the books.

it

There are many

interesting things like that in the books.

And

after

Ralph Jacobus died

Bill

Vange's

death,

changes

it

was

his

name began

to undergo.

the

many
He was known as
He rose high in

"Sly Vange" far and wide.


the secret service, and he was rewarded
ways, but

class

Sly

so;

who

in

grand
he was not a member of the mas

The men were

ter class.

become

still

shameful

it

willing that he should

was the women of the master

refused to have Sly

Vange gave good

Vange one of them.

service to the masters.

He

had been a slave himself, and he knew the ways


of the slaves. There was no fooling him. In

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

263

those days the slaves were braver than now,

and they were always trying

And

for their freedom.

Vange was everywhere,

Sly

in

their

all

schemes and plans, bringing their schemes and


plans to naught and their leaders to the electric
chair.

It

was

in

2255 that his name was next

changed for him. It was in that year that


In that region
the Great Mutiny took place.
west of the Rocky Mountains, seventeen mill
ions of slaves strove bravely to overthrow their
masters.
lived,

Who

knows,

if

Vange had not

Sly

but that they would have succeeded

But

Vange was very much alive. The masters


gave him supreme command of the situation. In
Sly

eight

months of

hundred and

fighting,

fifty

one million and three

thousand slaves were


killed

Vange, Bill Vange, Sly Vange,


and he broke the Great Mutiny.
greatly rewarded,

and so red were

And
his

killed.

them,
he was

hands with

the blood of the slaves that thereafter he


called

what

"

Bloody Vange."

You

see,

brothers,

interesting things are to be found in the

books when one can read them.

word

my

was

for

it,

there are

many

And, take

my

other things, even

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

264

more

interesting, in the books.

And

if

you

will

but study with me, in a year's time you can


read those books for yourselves

months some of you

will

in

ay,

six

be able to read those

books for yourselves.

Bloody Vange

lived to a ripe old age,

and

al

ways, to the last, was he received in the councils


of the masters; but never was he made a master

He had

himself.

in a slave pen.

He had

opened his eyes, you see,


But oh, he was well rewarded
first

a dozen palaces in

which

to live.

He,

who was no master, owned thousands of slaves.


He had a great pleasure yacht upon the sea that
was

a floating palace, and he

island

in

slaves

on

owned a whole

the sea where toiled ten thousand


his coffee plantations.

But

in his old

age he was lonely, for he lived apart, hated by


his brothers, the slaves, and looked down upon

by those he had served and who refused


his brothers.

The

masters looked

him because he had been born

to

be

down upon

a slave.

mously wealthy he died; but he died

Enor

horribly,

tormented by his conscience, regretting


had done and the red stain on his name.

all

he

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT
But with

his children

had not been born

it

was

265

different.

in the slave pen,

They

and by the

special ruling of the Chief Oligarch of that time,

Morrison,

John
master

class.

they

And

it

were

elevated

to

the

was then that the name of

Vange disappears from the page of history. It


becomes Vanderwater, and Jason Vange, the
son of Bloody Vange, becomes Jason Vander
water, the founder of

But

was

that

the

Vanderwater

hundred

three

years

line.

ago,

and the Vanderwaters of to-day forget


beginnings and imagine that somehow

their

clay of

from

their

bodies

different

is

the clay in your

body and mine and

of

And

all

slave

slaves.

ask you,

stuff

the

in the bodies

Why

should a

become the master of another

slave

And why

should the son of a slave become the

master of

many

slaves

leave these questions

answer for yourselves, but do not


forget that in the beginning the Vanderwaters
were slaves.
for

you

to

And now, my

brothers, I

come back

to the

beginning of my tale to tell you of Tom Dixon's


arm. Roger Vanderwater' s factory in Kings-

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

266

bury

was

but the

men who

toiled in

Women

shall see.

dren,

named

rightly

little

toiled

children.

"Hell's

Bottom/'

were men, as you


there, too, and chilit

All that toiled there

had

the regular slave rights under the law, but


only
under the law, for they were deprived of many

of their rights by the two overseers of Hell's

Bottom, Joseph Clancy and Adolph Munster.


It is a long story, but I shall not tell all of it
to you.

happened

shall tell only

about the arm.

It

that, according to the law, a portion

of the starvation

wage of the

slaves

was held

back each month and put into a fund. This


fund was for the purpose of helping such un
fortunate fellow-workmen as happened to be
injured by accidents or to be overtaken by sick
ness.

As you know with

yourselves,

funds are controlled by the overseers.


the law, and so

it

was

these
It

is

that the fund at Hell's

Bottom was controlled by the two overseers of


accursed memory.

Now, Clancy and Munster took this fund for


their own use.
When accidents happened to
the

workmen,

their fellows, as

was the custom,

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT
made

grants from the fund;

but the overseers

What

could

their rights

under

refused to pay over the grants.


the slaves do

They had

267

the law, but they had no access to the law.

Those

that complained to the overseers

You know

punished.

yourselves

were

what form

the fines for faulty


such punishment takes
work that is not faulty; the overcharging of

accounts

Company's store; the vile


treatment of one's women and children; and
in

the

the allotment to bad machines whereon,


as

one

will,

work

he starves.

Once, the slaves of Hell's Bottom protested


to Vanderwater.
It was the time of the year

when he

One

spent several months in Kingsbury.

of the slaves could write;

it

chanced that

mother could write, and she had secretly


taught him as her mother had secretly taught her.
his

So

this slave

wrote a round robin, wherein was

contained their grievances,


signed by mark.

and

all

the slaves

And, with proper stamps upon


was mailed to

the envelope, the round robin

Roger

Vanderwater.

And

water did nothing, save to

Roger Vander
turn the round robin

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

268

over to the two overseers.

Clancy and Mun-

were angered. They turned the guards


loose at night on the slave
The guards
pen.
were armed with pick handles. It is said that
ster

next day only half of the slaves were able to

work

The

in Hell's

Bottom.

who

slave

They were

well beaten.

could write was so badly beaten

that he lived only three months.


died, he wrote once more, to

But before he

what purpose you

shall hear.

Four or

five

a slave, had his

Tom

weeks afterward,

arm

Dixon,

torn off by a belt in Hell's

His fellow-workmen, as usual, made

Bottom.

a grant to him from the fund, and Clancy and

Munster, as usual, refused to pay


the fund.

The

slave

who

it

could write, and

even then was dying, wrote anew a


their grievances.

into the

And

hand of the arm

Tom Dixon's body.


Now it chanced that
lying

ill

this

over from

who

recital

of

document was thrust

that

had been torn from

Roger Vanderwater was

in his palace at the other

end of Kings-

not the dire illness that strikes down


bury
you and me, brothers; just a bit of biliousness,

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

269

mayhap, or no more than a bad headache be


cause he had eaten too heartily or drunk too
deeply.

But

tender and

was enough

it

soft

men, packed

in

for

him,

being

from careful rearing. Such


cotton wool all their lives, are

exceeding tender and

Believe me, brothers,

soft.

Roger Vanderwater

felt

head, or thought he

felt as

really felt with his

arm

as badly with his aching

badly, as

Tom

Dixon

torn out by the roots.

happened that Roger Vanderwater was


fond of scientific farming, and that on his farm,
It

three miles outside of Kingsbury, he

had man

aged to grow a new kind of strawberry.


was very proud of that new strawberry of

and he would have been out


first

ripe ones,

Because of his

farm slave

had

it

illness

to see

not been for his

illness.

he had ordered the old

All this

The

box

was learned from the

gossip of a palace scullion,


in the slave pen.

his,

and pick the

to bring in personally the first

of the berries.

He

who

slept each night

overseer of the plantation

should have brought in the berries, but he was


on his back with a broken leg from trying to

break a

colt.

The

scullion brought the

word

in

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

270
the night,
berries

and

it

was known

would come

that next day the

And

in.

men in
men and

not

who was

sick

the

slave pen of HelPs Bottom, being

the

cowards, held a council.

The

slave

who

could write, and

and dying from the pick-handle beating, said


he would carry Tom Dixon's arm; also, he said
he must die anyway, and that
if

he died a

little

sooner.

it

mattered nothing

So

five slaves stole

from the slave pen that night after the guards


had made their last rounds. One of the slaves

was the man who could

write.

They

lay in the

brush by the roadside until late in the morning,

when

the old farm slave

came

driving to town

with the precious fruit for the master.

What

of the farm slave being old and rheumatic, and


of the slave

who

could write being

jured from his beating, they

moved

stiff

and

in

their bodies

about when they walked, very much in the same


fashion.
The slave who could write put on
the other's clothes, pulled the broad-brimmed

hat over his eyes, climbed upon the seat of the

wagon, and drove on


slave

was kept

tied all

to town.

day

The

in the

old farm

bushes until

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT
evening,

back

when

the others loosed

to the slave

for having

271

him and went

pen to take their punishment

broken bounds.

meantime, Roger Vanderwater lay


waiting for the berries in his wonderful bed
such wonders and such comforts were
room
In

the

there that they

would have blinded the eyes of

you and me who have never seen such

The
it

slave

things.

could write said afterward that

glimpse of Paradise. And why not ?


labor and the lives of ten thousand slaves

was

The

who

like a

had gone

to the

making of that bedchamber,

while they themselves slept in vile

The

beasts.

slave

who

lairs like

could write brought in

the berries on a silver tray or platter

Roger Vanderwater wanted


in person

The

wild

to

you

see,

speak with him

about the berries.

slave

who

could write tottered his dying

body across the wonderful room and knelt by


the couch of Vanderwater, holding out before

him the

tray.

Large, green leaves covered the

top of the tray, and these the body-servant along


side

whisked away so that Vanderwater could

see.

And Roger Vanderwater, propped upon

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

72
nis

elbow, saw.

He saw

the fresh, wonderful

and

ruit lying there like precious


jewels,

midst of

it

from

torn

also

it

had been

he saw, clutched in the

fingers, the petition

in Hell's

as

his body, well-washed, of course,

And

fruit.

arm of Tom Dixon

my

and very white against the blood-red

brothers,

dead

the

in the

of his slaves

stiff,

who

toiled

who

could

Bottom.

"Take and

read/' said the slave

%.

And

even as the master took the petition,


the body-servant, who till then had been motion
write.

less

with surprise, struck with his

fist

the kneel

upon the mouth. The slave was dy


ing anyway, and was veuy weak, and did not
mind. He made no sound, and, having fallen
ing slave

over on his side, he lay there quietly, bleeding

from the blow on the mouth.

who had run

The

for the palace guards,

physician,

came back

with them, and the slave was dragged upright


upon his feet. But as they dragged him up, his

hand clutched
had

fallen

"He

Tom

on the

shall

shall

it

floor.

be flung alive to the hounds!"

the body-servant

"He

Dixon's arm from where

was crying

in

great

wrath.

be flung alive to the hounds I"

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

273

But Roger Vanderwater, forgetting his head


ache, still leaning on his elbow, commanded
silence,

and went on reading the

while he read, there was silence,

And

petition.
all

standing up

right, the wrathful body-servant, the physician,

the palace guards, and in their midst the slave,

mouth and

bleeding at the

still

Tom

holding

And when Roger Vanderwater

Dixon's arm.

had done, he turned upon the slave, saying


"If in this paper there be one lie, you shall be
:

you were ever born."


And the slave said, "I have been sorry

sorry that

life

that I

the slave said

at

him

closely,

and

"You have done your


dying now. In a week
does not matter if you kill

"What do you with

worst to me.
shall

am

be dead, so

it

me now/'

that ?" the master asked,

pointing to the arm; and the slave

made an

"I take

Tom

my

was born/'

Roger Vanderwater looked

swer

all

it

back

Dixon was

to the

my

pen

friend.

side each other at our looms."

to give

We

it

burial.

worked be

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT

274

There

The

slave

is

more

little

to

my

brothers.

tale,

and the arm were sent back

Nor were any

to the pen.

in a cart

of the slaves pun

what they had done. Instead, Roger


Vanderwater made investigation and punished
ished for

the two overseers, Joseph Clancy and

Munster.
them.

freeholds were

Their

Adolph
from

taken

They were branded, each upon

the fore

and they
were turned loose upon the highway to wander
and beg until they died. And the fund was
head, their right hands were cut

managed

thereafter

rightfully

for a time, only,

my

Vanderwater came
cruel master

brothers;

time -

for after

Roger

who was

and half mad.

who

the presence of the master


a brave

for

his son, Albert,

Brothers, that slave

was

off,

him

was

my

And even

man.

secretly taught

carried the

as

arm

father.
his

into

He

mother

to read, so did he teach me.

Because he died shortly after from the pickhandle beating, Roger Vanderwater took me
out of the slave pen and tried to
better things out of me.

an overseer

in Hell's

make

various

might have become

Bottom, but

chose to be-

A CURIOUS FRAGMENT
come

And

where.

will

I tell

you

stories like this, secretly,

will not betray

me;

for if

you know as well as I that my tongue


be torn out and that I shall tell stories no

did,

more.
is

brothers, the slaves, every

my

knowing that you


you

wandering over the land and

a story-teller,

getting close to

275

And my message

a good time coming,

is,

brothers, that there

when

all will

be well in

the world and there will be neither masters nor

But

you must prepare


good time by learning to read. There
slaves.

first

in the printed

you

word.

And

here

am

for that
is

I to

power
teach

to readi, 2tnd as well there are others to see

you get the books when I am gone along


upon my way 7 the history books wherein you

that

about your masters, and learn to be


come strong even as they.

will learn

From "Historical Frag


[EDITOR'S NOTE.
ments and Sketches" first published in fifty
volumes in 4427, and now, after two hundred
years, because of

its

and republished by

accuracy and value, edited


the

on Historical Research.]

National

Committee

A PIECE OF STEAK

A PIECE OF STEAK
the last morsel of bread

WITH

his plate clean of the last

wiped
ticle

Tom King
par

of flour gravy and chewed the

and meditative way.


he arose from the table, he was oppressed

resulting mouthful in a slow

When

by the feeling that he was distinctly hungry.


Yet he alone had eaten. The two children in
the other

room had been

sent early to bed in

order that in sleep they might forget they had


gone supperless. His wife had touched noth

and had

ing,

with

sat

solicitous

woman

silently

eyes.

and watched him

She was a

thin,

worn

of the working-class, though signs of an


were not wanting in her face.

earlier prettiness

The

flour for the

gravy she had borrowed from

the neighbor across the

hall.

The

last

two

ha'pennies had gone to buy the bread.

He

sat

down by

the

window on

a rickety

chair that protested under his weight, and quite


279

A PIECE OF STEAK

280

mechanically he put

Us

pipe in his

mouth and

dipped into the sid* pocket of his coat. The


absence of any tooacco made him aware of his
action, and, with a scowl for his forgetfulness,

His movements were

he put the pipe away.

slow, almost hulking, as though he were bur

dened by the heavy weight of

was

He

his muscles.

a solid-bodied, stolid-looking

man, and

his

appearance did not suffer from being overpreHis rough clothes were old and
possessing.

The

slouchy.

weak

uppers of his shoes were too

to carry the

heavy resoling that was

of no recent date.
cheap, two-shilling

And
affair,

his

cotton

itself

shirt,

showed a frayed

collar

and ineradicable paint stains.


But it was Tom King's face that advertised

him unmistakably

for

the face of a typical prize-fighter;

had put

It

was

of one

who

what he was.

in long years of service in the

squared

by that means, developed and em


It
phasized all the marks of the fighting beast.
was distinctly a lowering countenance, and, that
ring and,

no feature of it might escape notice, it was clean


shaven. The lips were shapeless, and con-

A PIECE OF STEAK
stituted a

mouth harsh

The

brutal, heavy.

to excess, that

The jaw was

a gash in his face.

281

was

like

aggressive,

eyes, slow of movement and

heavy-lidded, were almost expressionless under


the

shaggy,

indrawn

that he was, the eyes were the

feature
like

Sheer animal

brows.

most animal-like

They were

about him.

sleepy, lion-

the eyes of a fighting animal.

The

fore

head slanted quickly back to the hair, which,


clipped close, showed every bump of a villain
ous-looking head.

and

nose, twice broken

moulded variously by countless blows, and a


cauliflower ear, permanently swollen and dis
torted to twice

its size,

completed his adornment,

while the beard, fresh-shaven as

it

was, sprouted

in the skin and gave the face a blue-black stain.

All together,

it

was the face of a man

to

yet

Tom

King was not a criminal, nor had

he ever done anything criminal.


brawls, common to his walk in

harmed no

one.

to pick a quarrel.
all

be

And

afraid of in a dark alley or lonely place.

Nor had he

He was a

the fighting brutishness of

Outside of
life,

ever been

he had

known

professional,

and

him was reserved

A PIECE OF STEAK

282

for his professional appearances.

Outside the

ring he was slow-going, easy-natured, and, in


his

younger days, when money was

flush, too

He

own

boie no
open-handed
good.
and
had
few
enemies.
grudges
Fighting was a
for his

business with him.

In the ring he struck to

maim, struck to destroy; but


there was no animus in it.
It was a plain busi
hurt, struck to

ness

Audiences

proposition.

paid for the spectacle of


other out.

The winner

the purse.

When Tom

assembled

and

men knocking each

took the big end of


King faced the Wool-

loomoolloo Gouger, twenty years before, he

knew

Gouger's jaw was only four


months healed after having been broken in a
that the

Newcastle bout.

jaw and broken

And he had
it

played for that

again in the ninth round,

not because he bore the Gouger

but because that was the surest

any

way

ill-will,

to put the

Gouger out and win the big end of the purse.


Nor had the Gouger borne him any ill-will for
it.

It

was the game, and both knew the game

and played

Tom

it.

King had never been a

talker,

and he

A PIECE OF STEAK
"at

by the window, morosely

his

hands.

-f

the

The

hands,

283

silent, staring at

veins stood out on the backs


large

and the

and swollen;

knuckles, smashed and battered and malformed,


testified to

He had
life

the use to which they had been put.

never heard that a man's

of his arteries, but well he

life

knew

ing of those big, upstanding veins.

was the

mean

the

His heart

had pumped too much blood through them at


top pressure. They no longer did the work.

He had

stretched the elasticity out of them, and

with their distention had passed his endurance.

He

tired easily

now.

No

longer could he do a

twenty rounds, hammer and tongs,


fight, fight, from gong to gong, with

fast

rally

and

on top of

fierce rally,

fight,

fierce

beaten to the ropes

in turn beating his

and rallying

fiercest

opponent to the ropes,


and fastest of all in that

last,

twentieth round, with the house on

and

yelling, himself rushing, striking, ducking,

raining showers of blows

in return,

the time the heart faithfully

surging

blood

through

feet

upon showers of blows

and receiving showers of blows


all

its

the

pumping

and
the

adequate veins.

A PIECE OF STEAK

284

The

veins,

swollen

at

the time,

had always

shrunk down again, though not quite


time, imperceptibly at
trifle

and

first,

larger than before.

each

remaining just a

He

stared at

them

at his battered knuckles, and, for the

mo

ment, caught a vision of the youthful excellence


of those hands before the first knuckle had

been smashed on the head of Benny Jones,


otherwise

The

known

as the

Welsh Terror.

impression of his hunger

came back on

him.

"Blimey, but couldn't I go a piece of steak !"


he muttered aloud, clenching his huge fists and
spitting out a smothered oath.

"I

tried

both

Burke's

an'

Sawley's,"

his

wife said half apologetically.

"An' they wouldn't ?" he demanded.


"
"Not a ha'penny. Burke said

She

faltered.

"G'wan!

Wot'd he say ?"


"As how 'e was thinkin' Sandel ud do ye
to-night, an' as how yer score was comfortable
big as

Tom

it

was."

King grunted, but did not

reply.

He

A PIECE OF STEAK
was busy thinking of the

285

bull terrier he

had

kept in his younger days to which he had fed

Burke would have given


a thousand steaks
then.
But

steaks without end.

him

credit for

Tom

times had changed.


old;

King was getting

and old men, fighting before second-rate

clubs, couldn't expect to run bills of

any

size

with the tradesmen.

He had

got up in the morning with a longing

and the longing had not


had not had a fair training for

for a piece of steak,

abated.

He

this fight.

It

was

a drought year in Australia,

times were hard, and even the most irregular

work was

difficult

to

find.

He had had no

sparring partner, and his food had not been of


the best nor always sufficient.

He had done

few days' navvy work when he could get it,


and he h^d run around the Domain in the early

mornings to get his legs in shape. But it was


hard, training without a partner and with a
wife and two kiddies that must be fed.

Credit

with the tradesmen had undergone very slight

expansion

The

when he was matched with

secretary

of the

Sandel.

Gayety Club had ad-

A PIECE OF STEAK

t86

vanced him three pounds


the loser's end of
the purse
and beyond that had refused to go.

Now

and again he had managed to borrow a


few shillings from old pals, who would have

more only that

was a drought year and


and
they were hard put themselves. No
there was no uie in disguising the fact
his
lent

training

it

had not been

satisfactory.

He

have had better food and no worries.

when

man

is

"What

forty,

when he

condition than

time

is it,

is

Besides,

harder to get into

is

it

should

twenty.

he asked.

Lizzie?"

His wife went across the hall to inquire, and

came back.
"Quarter before eight."
"They'll be startin' the
minutes,"

he

said.

first

"Only

bout in a few
try-out.

Then

there's a four-round spar 'tween Dealer Wells

an' Gridley, an'


light an'

some

a ten-round go 'tween Star

sailor bloke.

don't

come on

for over an hour."

At the end of another

silent ten minutes,

he

rose to his feet.

"Truth

is,

Lizzie, I ain't

had proper

trainin'."

A PIECE OF STEAK
He

287

reached for his hat and started /or the

He

door.

did not offer to kiss her

he never

but on this night she dared

did on going out

throwing her arms around him and


compelling him to bend down to her face.
She looked quite small against the massive
to kiss him,

bulk of the man.

"Good

luck,

Tom/'

"You

she said.

gotter

do 'im."

"Ay,
all

do 'im/' he repeated. "That's


it.
I
jus' gotter do 'im."

I gotter

there

is

to

He

laughed with an attempt at heartiness,


while she pressed more closely against him.
Across her shoulders he looked
bare room.

It

was

all

around the

he had in the world,

with the rent overdue, and her and the kiddies.

And he was
to get

meat

go out into the night


not like a
mate and cubs

leaving
for his

it

to

modern working-man going to

his

machine grind,

but in the old, primitive, royal, animal way, by


fighting for

it.

"I gotter do 'im," he repeated, this time a


hint of desperation in his voice.
"If it's a win,
it's

thirty quid

an' I can

pay

all that's

owin',

A PIECE OF STEAK

288

with a lump
I

o'

money

home on

all that's

old

over.

If

The

the tram.

I'll

come

a lose,

me

to

secretary's give

comin' from a loser's end.

woman.

it's

not even a penny for

get naught

ride

left

straight

Good-by,

home

if it's

win."

"An'

I'll

be waitin' up," she called to him

along the hall.

was

two miles to the Gayety, and as


he walked along he remembered how in his
It

full

he had once been the heavy


he
weight champion, of New South Wales

palmy days

would have ridden


how, most

in a

cab to the

fight,

and

some heavy backer would


the cab and ridden with him.

likely,

have paid for


There were Tommy Burns and that Yankee
nigger,

Jack Johnson

motor-cars.

man

And

he walked

knew, a hard two miles

preliminary to a

fight.

the world did not

wag

rode

they

about in
as

any

was not the

best

He was

And,

an old un, and

well with old uns.

He

was good for nothing now except navvy work,


and his broken nose and swollen ear were
against

him even

in that.

He found

himself

A PIECE OF STEAK

289

wishing that he had learned a trade. It would


have been better in the long run. But no one

and he knew, deep down in his


heart, that he would not have listened if they
It had been so easy.
had.
Big money

had

told him,

sharp,

glorious

between

in

loafing

periods

fights

and

of rest

following

of

eager

flatterers, the slaps on the back, the shakes of

buy him a drink for


and the
minutes' talk

the hand, the toffs glad to


the privilege of five

glory of

the

finish,

name

it,

the yelling houses, the whirlwind


referee's

"King wins!"

and

his

columns next day.


But he realized
Those had been times
in the sporting

ruminating way, that it was


He
the old uns he had been putting away.
was Youth, rising; and they were Age, sink

now, in

ing.

their

his slow*

No wonder

had been easy


they with
swollen veins and battered knuckles and

weary

in

the

battles they

it

bones of them from the long

had already fought.

He remem

bered the time he put out old Stowsher

Rush-Cutters

Bay,

and how old

Bill

in

the

eighteenth

had cried afterward

Bill, at

round,
in the

A PIECE OF STEAK

2QO

dressing-room like a baby.

had been overdue.

rent

home

Perhaps old

Perhaps he'd had

that very day of the fight,

Bill,

at

And

a missus an* a couple of kiddies.

perhaps

Bill's

had

had a hungering for a piece of steak. Bill had


fought game and taken incredible punishment.

He

could see now, after he had gone through

the mill himself, that Stowsher Bill had fought


for a bigger stake, that night twenty years ago,

Tom

than had young

King,

who had

fought

and easy money. No wonder Stow


had cried afterward in the dressing-

for glory

sher Bill

room.

man had

Well, a

to begin with.

It

only so

was the

many

fights in

him,

iron law of the game.

One man might have a hundred hard fights in


him, another man only twenty; each, accord
ing to the
fibre,

make

had a

of him and the quality of his

definite

number, and, when he had

fought them, he was done.

more

him than most of them, and he


more than his share of the hard,

fights in

had had

far

gruelling fights

heart

Yes, he had had

and lungs

the
to

kind

that

bursting,

worked the

that

took the

A PIECE OF STEAK
made hard

out of the arteries and

clastic

291

knots

of muscle out of Youth's sleek suppleness, that

wore out nerve and stamina and made brain


and bones weary from excess of effort and en
durance overwrought. Yes, he had done better
than

all

There was none of

of them.

fighting partners

old guard.

left.

He had

was the

Fie

seen them

all

his old

of the

last

finished,

and

he had had a hand in finishing some of them.

They had

against the old uns,

he had put them away


laughing when, like old Stowsher Bill, they

and one
-

him out

tried

cried

after another

in the dressing-room.

And now

he was

an old un, and they tried out the youngsters on


him. There v/as that bloke, Sandel. He had

come over from


behind him.

New

Zealand with a record

But nobody

in

Australia

knew

anything about him, so they put him up against


old Tom King.
If Sandel made a showing, he

would be given better men to fight, with bigger


purses to win; so it was to be depended upon

would put up a
everything to win by it
that he

career;

and

Tom

fierce battle.

He had

money and

glory and

King was the

grizzled old

A PIECE OF STEAK

292

guarded the highway to


And he had nothing to win

chopping-block that

fame and

fortune.

except thirty quid, to pay to the landlord and


the tradesmen.
nated, there

And,

came

as

Tom

to his

King thus rumi


stolid vision the form

of Youth, glorious Youth, rising exultant and


invincible, supple of

muscle and silken of skin,

with heart and lungs that had never been tired

and torn and that laughed at limitation of effort.


Yes, Youth was the Nemesis. It destroyed the
old uns and recked not that, in so doing,

destroyed

smashed

itself.

its

It

enlarged

knuckles, and

was

its

arteries

it

and

in turn destroyed

by Youth. For Youth was ever youthful.


was only Age that grew old.

It

At Castlereagh Street he turned to the left,


and three blocks along came to the Gayety.

crowd of young

hanging outside the


door made respectful way for him, and he
That's
heard one say to another "That's 'im
larrikins

Tom

King !"
Inside, on the way

to

his dressing-room,

he

encountered the secretary, a keen-eyed, shrewdfaced young man, who shook his hand.

A PIECE OF STEAK

"How

are

you

feelin',

Tom?"

293

he asked.

"Fit as a fiddle," King answered, though he


knew that he lied, and that if he had a quid,
he would give

it

right there for a

good piece of

steak.

When
his

he emerged from the dressing-room,


seconds behind him, and came down the

aisle to

hall,

the squared ring in the centre of the

a burst of greeting and applause went up

from

the

waiting

salutations right
faces did he

crowd.

though few of the


Most of them were the

and

left,

know.

faces of kiddies

unborn when he was winning

his first laurels in the

lightly

to

the

He acknowledged

squared

raised

He

ring.

platform

and

leaped

ducked

through the ropes to his corner, where he sat

down on
referee,

folding

stool.

Jack

came over and shook

was a broken-down

pugilist

his

who

Ball,

hand.

the
Ball

for over ten

years had not entered the ring as a principal.

King was glad that he had him for referee.


They were both old uns. If he should rough
it

with Sandel a bit beyond the rules, he knew

Ball could be

depended upon

to pass

it

by.

A PIECE OF STEAK

294

Aspiring young heavyweights, one after an*


other,

were climbing into the ring and being

presented to the audience by the referee.

Also,

he issued their challenges for them.


"

Bill

Pronto,"

Young

"from

announced,

North Sydney, challenges the winner

for fifty

pounds side bet."

The

applauded, and applauded


again as Sandel himself sprang through the
audience

ropes and sat

down

in his corner.

Tom

King

looked across the ring at him curiously, for in


a few minutes they

combat, each trying with

in merciless

force of

would be locked together

him

to

knock the other

into

all

the

uncon

sciousness.

But

like himself,

had trousers and sweater on over

little

could he see, for Sandel,

His face was strongly hand


some, crowned with a curly mop of yellow hair,
his ring costume.

while his thick, muscular neck hinted at bodily


magnificence.

Young Pronto went

to

one corner and then

the other, shaking hands with the principals

and

dropping

challenges

down

went

on.

out

of the

Ever

ring.

The

Youth climbed

A PIECE OF STEAK

295

- - Youth unknown, but in


through the ropes
satiable
crying out to mankind that with
-

strength and skill

the winner.

it

would match

few years before,

issues with
in

his

own

heyday of invincibleness, Tom King would


have been amused and bored by these pre

But now he

liminaries.

sat fascinated, unable

Youth from

to shake the vision of

Always were these youngsters

rising

his

up

eyes.

in the

boxing game, springing through the ropes and

and always were the

shouting their defiance;


old uns going

down

before them.

to success over the bodies of the

ever they came,

Youth

They climbed
old uns.
And

more and more youngsters -

unquenchable

and

irresistible

and

ever they put the old uns away, themselves be

coming old uns and travelling the same down


ward path, while behind them, ever pressing
on them, was Youth eternal

the

new

babies,

and dragging their elders down,


with behind them more babies to the end of

grown

lusty

time

--Youth

will

never

that

must have

its

will

and that

die.

King glanced over

to

the

press

box and

A PIECE OF STEAK

296

nodded

to

Morgan, of

the

Sportsman,

Then he

Corbett, of the Referee.

ana

held out his

hands, while Sid Sullivan and Charley Bates,


his

seconds, slipped o^ his gloves and laced

them

watched by one of SandeFs


examined critically the tapes

tight, closely

who

seconds,

first

on King's knuckles. A second of his own was


in SandePs corner, performing a like office.
SandePs trousers were pulled off, and, as he
stood up, his sweater was skinned off over his

And Tom

head.

saw Youth

King, looking,

deep-chested, heavy-thewed, with


muscles that slipped and slid like live things
under the white satin skin. The whole body

incarnate,

was acrawl with


that

was a

it

life

Tom King knew


had never oozed its

and

life,

that

freshness out through the aching pores during

the long

fights

wherein Youth

paid

and departed not quite so young

as

its

toll

when

it

entered.

The two men advanced


and,

as

clattered
stools,

the

out

to

meet each other,

gong sounded and the seconds


of

the

ring

with

the

folding

they shook hands and instantly took

A PIECE OF STEAK
their

fighting

mechanism of

on a hair

and

in

Ani

attitudes.

297
like

instantly,

and springs balanced


Sandel was in and out

steel

trigger,

again, landing

left

the

to

eyes,

ducking a counter, dancing


and dancing menacingly back

right to the ribs,

away
He was

lightly

again.

swift

and

clever.

The house

dazzling exhibition.

It

yelled

was a
its

ap

But King was not dazzled. He


had fought too many fights and too many
He knew the blows for what they
youngsters.
probation.

too quick and too deft to be dangerous.

were

Evidently Sandel was going to rush things from


the start.

It

was

to be expected.

way of Youth, expending


.

its

It

was the

splendor

and

excellence in wild insurgence and furious on

overwhelming opposition with


unlimited glory of strength and desire.

slaught,

its

own

Sandel was in and out, here, there, and every


where, light-footed and eager-hearted, a living
wonder of white flesh and stinging muscle that

wove

itself

slipping

into

dazzling fabric of attack,

and leaping

like a flying shuttle

from

action to action through a thousand actions,

all

A PIECE OF STEAK

298

of them centred upon the destruction of

who

King,

And Tom King


his

business,

do

till

He knew

patiently endured.

and he knew Youth now that

Youth was no longer


to

Tom

between him and fortune.

stood

There was nothing


some of his steam, was

his.

the other lost

and he grinned to himself as he


deliberately ducked so as to receive a heavy
blow on the top of his head. It was a wicked
his thought,

thing to do, yet eminently fair according to the


rules of the

A man

boxing game.

was sup

posed to take care of his own knuckles, and, if


he insisted on hitting an opponent on the top
of the head, he did so at his own peril.
King
could have ducked lower and

let

the blow whiz

harmlessly past, but he remembered his


early fights

and how he smashed

his first

one of Sandel's knuckles.

would mind

it

He would

now.

regardless, hitting

But

out the

fight.

battles

had begun

but

That duck had accounted

playing the game.


for

knuckle

He was

on the head of the Welsh Terror.

own

as

that Sandel

go on, superbly

hard as ever through

later on>

to

Not

tell,

when

the long ring

he would regret that

A PIECE OF STEAK

299

knuckle and look back and remember

smashed

The

on

it

first

Tom

how he

King's head.

round was

all

Sandel's,

and he had

the house yelling with the rapidity of his whirl

wind

He overwhelmed

rushes.

King

with

avalanches of punches, and King did nothing.

He

never struck once, contenting himself with

covering up, blocking and ducking and clinch


ing

to

avoid

feinted, shook

punishment.
his

He

occasionally

head when the weight of a

punch landed, and moved

stolidly about,

never

leaping or springing or wasting an ounce of

Sandel must foam the froth of Youth

strength.

away before discreet Age could dare to retaliate.


All King's movements were slow and methodi
cal,

and

his

heavy-lidded,

slow-moving eyes

gave him the appearance of being half asleep or


dazed. Yet they were eyes that saw every
thing, that

had been trained

to see everything

twenty years and odd in the


ring.
They were eyes that did not blink or
waver before an impending blow, but that
through

coolly

all

his

saw and measured

distance.

Seated in his corner for the

minute's

rest

A PIECE OF STEAK

300

end of the round, he lay back with out


stretched legs, his arms resting on the right
angle of the ropes, his chest and abdomen heav
at the

ing frankly and deeply as he gulped down the


air driven by the towels of his seconds.
He
listened with closed eyes to the voices of the

house,

"Why

don't yeh fight,

"Yeh

were crying.

Tom?" many

afraid

ain't

of 'im,

are

yeh?"
"Muscle-bound," he heard
seat

"

comment.

to one

on Sandel,

The gong

He

can't

move

man on

a front

quicker.

Two

in quids."

struck and the two

from their corners.

men advanced

Sandel came forward

fully

three-quarters -of the distance, eager to begin

again;

but King was content to advance the

shorter distance.

of economy.

It

was

He had

in line with his policy

not been well trained,

and he had not had enough to eat, and every


Besides, he had already walked
step counted.
two miles to the ringside. It was a repetition
of the

first

round, with Sandel attacking like a

whirlwind and with the audience indignantly

demanding why King did not

fight.

Beyond

A PIECE OF STEAK

301

and several slowly delivered and

feinting

in

stall

blows he did nothing save block and


and clinch. Sandel wanted to make the

pace

fast,

effectual

to

while King, out of his wisdom, refused

accommodate him.

He

grinned with a cer

tain wistful pathos in his ring-battered

coun

tenance, and went on cherishing his strength

with the jealousy of which only Age is capable.


Sandel was Youth, and he threw his strength

away with

To King
wisdom
watched

the munificent

abandon of Youth,

belonged the ring generalship, the


bred of long, aching fights. He
with cool eyes and head, moving

slowly and waiting for Sandel's froth to foam

away.

To

the -majority

of the onlookers

it

seemed as though King was hopelessly out


classed, and they voiced their opinion in offers
of three to one on
wise ones, a few,

Sandel.

But there were

who knew King

of old time,

and who covered what they considered easy


money.

The

third round began as usual,

with Sandel doing


ing

all

the

all

one-sided,

the leading and deliver

punishment.

half-minute had

A PIECE OF STEAK

302

when

passed
opening.

Sandel,

King's eyes and right

was

arm

an

left

overconfident,

flashed in

his first real

blow

a hook, with the twisted arch of the

arm

the

same

make

it

instant.

It

and with

rigid,

all

body behind

half-pivoted

to

the weight of the


It

it.

was

like

sleepy-seeming lion suddenly thrusting out a


Sandel, caught on the side of

lightning paw.

the jaw,

was

felled like a bullock.

The

audience

gasped and murmured awe-stricken applause.

The man was

not muscle-bound, after

he could drive a blow


Sandel was

like a

and

trip-hammer.

He

shaken.

all,

rolled

over

and

attempted to rise, but the sharp yells from his


seconds to take the count restrained him. He
knelt on one knee, ready to

rise,

and waited,

while the referee stood over him, counting the

seconds loudly in his ear.

and

At the ninth he rose

Tom

King, facing him,


knew regret that the blow had not been an inch
nearer the point of the jaw. That would have

in fighting attitude,

been a knockout, and he could have carried the


thirty quid

home

The round

to the missus

and the

continued to the end of

kiddies.
its

three

A PIECE OF STEAK

303

time respectful of
his opponent and King slow of movement and
minutes, Sandel for the

sleepy-eyed as ever.
close,

first

As the round neared

its

King, warned of the fact by sight of the

seconds crouching outside ready for the spring


in

through the ropes, worked the fight around

own corner. And when the gong struck,


he sat down immediately on the waiting stool,

to his

while Sandel had to walk

all

the

diagonal of the square to his

was

little

thing, but

things that counted.

it

way across
own corner.

was the sum of

the
It

little

Sandel was compelled to

walk that many more steps, to give up that


much energy, and to lose a part of the precious

At the beginning of every


round King loafed slowly out from his corner,
forcing his opponent to advance the greater
minute of

distance.

rest/

The end

of every round found the

manoeuvred by King into his own corner


so that he could immediately sit down.
fight

Two

more rounds went

was parsimonious of

The

latter's

effort

by, in

which

King
and Sandel prodigal.

attempt to force a fast pace

King uncomfortable,

made

for a fair percentage of

A PIEC2 OF STEAK

304

the multitudinous blows showered

Yet King persisted

went home.

in his

slowness, despite the crying of the

heads for him to go

in

and

fight.

upon him
dogged

young hot

Again, in the

round, Sandel was careless, again

sixth

Tom

King's fearful right flashed out to the jaw, and


again Sandel took the nine seconds count.
the seventh round Sandel's pink of con

By

was gone, and he settled down


knew was to be the hardest fight in

dition

what he

his experi

Tom

King was an old un, but a better


un than he had ever encountered
an old

ence.

old

to

un who never

lost his

head,

who was remark

ably able at defence, whose blows had the im


pact of a knotted club, and

who had

out in either hand.

Nevertheless,

dared not

He

hit often.

a knock

Tom

King

never forgot his bat

and knew that every hit must


the knuckles were to last out the fight.

tered knuckles,

count

As he

if

sat in his corner, glancing across at his

opponent, the thought came to him that the

sum

of- his

constitute

wisdom and Sandel's youth would


a

world's

champion heavyweight.
But that was the trouble. Sandel would never

A PIECE OF STEAK

305

become a world champion. He lacked the wis


dom, and the only way for him to get it was to
buy it with Youth; and when wisdom was his,
Youth would have been spent in buying it.
King took every advantage he knew. He
never missed an opportunity to clinch, and in
effecting
stiffly

most of the clinches

into the other's ribs.

his shoulder drove

In the philosophy

of the ring a shoulder was as good as a punch


so far as

damage was concerned, and

a great

deal better so far as concerned expenditure of


effort.

Also, in the clinches

weight on his

King rested
opponent, and was loath to let

This compelled the interference of the

his
go.

referee,

who tore them apart, always assisted by Sandel,


who h^d not yet learned to rest. He could not
from using those glorious flying arms
and writhing muscles of his, and when the other
refrain

rushed into a clinch, striking shoulder against


ribs, and with head resting under SandeFs left

arm, Sandel almost invariably swung his right


behind his own back and into the projecting
face.

the

It

was

a clever stroke,

audience, but

it

much admired by

was not dangerous, and

A PIECE OF STEAK

306

much wasted

was, therefore, just that

But Sandel was


tions,

tireless

strength.

and unaware of

limita

and King grinned and doggedly endured.

Sandel developed a

which made

fierce right to the

body,

King was taking an


enormous amount of punishment, and it was
it

appear that

only the old ringsters

touch of King's

who

appreciated the deft

glove to the other's biceps

left

impact of the blow. It was


the blow landed each time; but each time

just before the


true,
it

was robbed of

its

power by that touch on the

In the ninth round, three times inside

biceps.

a minute, King's right

hooked

its

twisted arch

and three times Sandel's body,


was, was levelled to the mat. Each

to the jaw;

heavy as it
time he took the nine seconds allowed him and
rose to his feet, shaken

He had

strong.

wasted

less

lost

effort.

and

much

jarred, but

still

of his speed, and he

He was

fighting

grimly;

but he continued to draw upon his chief asset,


which was Youth. King's chief asset was ex
perience.

As

his vitality

had dimmed and

his

had replaced them with cun


and
ning, with wisdom born of the long fights

vigor abated, he

A PIECE OF STEAK

307

Not

with a careful shepherding of strength.


alone had he learned never to
fluous

make

a super

movement, but he had learned how to

seduce an opponent into throwing his strength


away. Again and again, by feint of foot and

hand and body he continued

to inveigle Sandel

into leaping back, ducking, or countering.


rested, but he never permitted Sandel to
It

was the

King
rest.

strategy of Age.

Early in the tenth round King began stop


ping the other's rushes with straight lefts to the

and Sandel, grown wary, responded by


drawing the left, then by ducking it and de

face,

livering his right in a swinging

of the head.
effective;

but

It-

hook

was too high up

when

first it

to the side

to be vitally

King knew

landed,

the .old, familiar descent of the black veil of

For the

unconsciousness across his mind.


stant, or for the slightest fraction of

rather,
his

he ceased.

In the one

opponent ducking out of

an

in

instant,

moment he saw

his field of vision

and the background of white, watching faces ;


in the next moment he ag^in saw his opponent
and the background of

faces.

It

was

as if he

A PIECE OF STEAK

308

had

and

slept for a time

just opened his eyes


and
the
interval
of unconsciousness
again,
yet
was so microscopically short that there had

been no time for him to

saw him

and

totter

left

audience

and then

his knees give,

saw him recover and tuck


the shelter of his

The

fall.

his chin deeper into

shoulder.

Several times Sandel repeated the blow, keep

ing King partially dazed, and then the latter

worked out

his

defence,

Feinting with his

counter.

whole

the

accurately

was

it

on Sande!' s face
the

duck,

left

of

strength

timed that

in the full,

and Sandel

shoulders.

Twice

then turned loose and


to the ropes.

his

cutting

So

right.

landed squarely

it

downward sweep of
the

air

and

mat on

his

head

in

lifted

curled backward, striking the

and

he took a half-

same time upper

step backward, at the

with

which was also

King

achieved

hammered

his

this,

opponent

He gave Sandel no chance

to rest

or to set himself, but smashed blow in upon

blow

was
But

till

the house rose to

filled

its

feet

and the

air

with an unbroken roar of applause.

Sandal's

strength

and

endurance

were

A PIECE OF STEAK

309

superb, and he continued to stay on his

feet.

knockout seemed Certain, and a captain of

police,

appalled at the dreadful punishment,

The

arose by the ringside to stop the fight.

gong struck

end of the round and Sandel

for the

staggered to his corner, protesting to the cap


tain that he

was sound and

To

strong.

prove

it,

he threw two back air-springs, and the police


in.

captain gave

Tom

King, leaning back in his corner and

breathing hard, was disappointed.

If the fight

had been stopped, the referee, perforce, would


have rendered him the decision and the purse
would have been

Unlike Sandel, he was

his.

not fighting for -glory or career, but for thirty


quid.

And now

the minute of

Youth

will

Sandel would recuperate in

rest.

be served

into King's mind,

saying flashed

this

and he remembered the

time he had heard

put away Stowsher

it,

the night

Bill.

The

first

when he had
toff

who had

bought him a drink after the fight and patted


him on the shoulder had used those words.

Youth

will

be served

The

toff

was

right.

A PIECE OF STEAK

310

And on

that night in the long ago he had been

Youth.

To-night Youth sat in the opposite


As for himself, he had been fighting for

corner.

half an hour now, and he

Had he

was an

old

man.

fought like Sandel, he would not have

But the point was that


Those upstanding
recuperate.

lasted fifteen minutes.

he

did

arteries

not

and that

sorely tried heart

would not

enable him to gather strength in the intervals

between the rounds.

And he had
him

sufficient strength in

not

had

to begin with.

His

were heavy under him and beginning to


cramp. He should not have walked those two

legs

miles to the fight.

And

there

was the steak

which he had got up longing for that morning.


A great and terrible hatred rose up in him for
It
the butchers who had refused him credit.

was hard

for

without enough to
was, such a
yet

it

meant

man to go into a
And a piece of
eat.

an old

little

thing, a

few pennies

fight

steak

at best;

thirty quid to him.

With the gong

that

opened the eleventh

round, Sandel rushed, making a show of fresh


ness which

he did not

really

possess.

King

A PIECE OF STEAK
knew

it

game

itself.

going

free,

for

what

He

it

was

311

a bluff as old as

t}ie

clinched to save himself, then,

allowed Sandel to get

This

set.

was what King desired. He feinted with his


left, drew the answering duck and swinging up
ward hook, then made the half-step backward,
delivered

the upper cut

full

to the

crumpled Sandel over to the mat.


he never

let

him

rest,

receiving

and

face

After that

punishment
San

himself, but inflicting far more, smashing


del to the ropes,

hooking and driving

ner of blows into him, tearing

all

man

away from

his

punching him out of attempted


clinches, and ever when Sandel would have
or

clinches

fallen,

catching .him with one uplifting hand

and with the other immediately smashing him


into the ropes where he could not fall.

The house by
it

was

"Go

his house,
it,

Torn!"

"You've got
It was to be

what

this

time had gone mad, and

nearly every voice yelling:

"Get

'im

Get

'im!"

Tom!

You've got 'im!"


a whirlwind finish, and that was
'im,

a ringside audience paid to see.

And Tom

King,

who

for half

an hour had

A PIECE OF STEAK

312

now expended it prodi


in the one great effort he knew he had in
It was his one chance
now or not at

conserved his strength,


gally

him.

His strength was waning fast, and his


hope was that before the last of it ebbed out of
him he would have beaten his opponent down
all.

for the count.

and

And

as he continued to strike

force, coolly estimating the

weight of his

blows and the quality of the damage wrought,


he realized how hard a man Sandel was to

knock

out.

Stamina and endurance were

his

an extreme degree, and they were the virgin


stamina and endurance of Youth. Sandel was

to

certainly a

coming man.

Only out of such rugged

He had
fibre

it

in

him.

were successful

fighters fashioned.

Sandel was reeling and staggering, but Tom


King's legs were cramping and his knuckles
going back on him.
strike

the

fierce

Yet he

blows,

steeled himself to

every one of which

brought anguish to his tortured hands. Though


now he was receiving practically no punish
ment, he was weakening as rapidly as the other.
His blows went home, but there was no longer

A PIECE OF STEAK

313

the weight behind them, and each blow

was

the result of a severe effort of will.

His legs
were like lead, and they dragged visibly under
him; while SandePs backers, cheered by this

symptom, began
man.

calling

King was spurred


delivered two blows
trifle

encouragement to their

He

to a burst of effort.
in succession

left,

too high, to the solar plexus, and a right

They were

cross to the jaw.

yet so

not heavy blows,

weak and dazed was Sandel

down and

lay

quivering.

The

went

that he

stood

referee

over him, shouting the count of the fatal seconds


in

his

called,

ear.

If before

he did not

rise,

house stood in hushed


trembling

legs.

the tenth

second was

the fight

was

silence.

King

The

lost.

rested on

mortal dizziness was upon

him, and before his eyes the sea of faces sagged


and swayed, while to his ears, as from a re

mote distance, came the count of the


Yet he looked upon the
impossible that a

man

Only Youth could

fight as his.

referee.
It

so punished could

rise,

and Sandel

was

rise.

rose.

At

the fourth second he rolled over on his face

A PIECE OF STEAK

3H
and groped

blindly

the

for

the

By

ropes.

seventh second he had dragged himself to his


knee, where he rested, his head rolling groggily

on

his shoulders.

As the

referee cried

"Nine

!"

Sandel stood upright, in proper stalling posi


tion, his left arm wrapped about his face, his
right

wrapped about

his vital points

Thus were

his stomach.

guarded, while he lurched for

ward toward King in the hope of


clinch and gaining more time.
At the instant Sandel
him,

but the two

arose,

he

blows

muffled on the stalled arms.

effecting a

King was

delivered

The

next

at

were

moment

Sandel was in the clinch and holding on desper


ately while the referee strove to drag the

two

men apart. King helped to force himself free.


He knew the rapidity with which Youth re
covered, and he knew that Sandel was his if he
could prevent that recovery. One stiff punch
would do

He had

it.

Sandel was

indubitably

his.

outgeneralled him, outfought him, out

pointed him.

Sandel reeled out of the clinch,

balanced on the hair


vival.

his,

line

between defeat or sur

One good blow would

topple

him over

A PIECE OF STEAK
and down and

out.

And Tom

315

King, in a flash

of bitterness, remembered the piece of steak

and wished that he had

it

then behind that

necessary punch he must deliver.

himself for the blow, but

enough nor
did not

holding on.

nerved

was not heavy

it

Sandel swayed, but

swift enough.

fall,

He

staggering back to the ropes and

King staggered

after him,

and,

with a pang like that of dissolution, delivered


another blow. But his body had deserted him.
All that

was

left

gence that was


haustion.

of him was a fighting

intelli

dimmed and clouded from

The blow

that

was aimed

ex

for the

jaw struck no higher than the shoulder. He


had willed the blow higher, but the tired mus
cles

had not been able

to obey.

And, from the

impact of the blow, Tom King himself reeled


back and nearly fell. Once again he strove.

This time his punch missed altogether, and,


from absolute weakness, he fell against Sandel

and clinched, holding on


from sinking to the

to

him

to save himself

floor.

He
King did not attempt to free himself.
had shot his bolt, He was gone. And Youth

A PIECE OF STEAK

316

had been

Sandel

feel

When
before

From

Even

served.

the
his

growing
he

eyes,
to.

stronger

stiff

apart,

saw Youth

instant Sandel

His punches, weak and

saw the gloved

fist

willed to guard

it

him.
there,

recuperate.

grew stronger.
first, became

at

futile

Tom

and accurate.

he could

against

them

thrust

referee

instant

in the clinch

King's bleared eyes

driving at his jaw, and he

by interposing

his arm,

He

saw the danger, willed the act; but the arm


was too heavy. It seemed burdened with a
hundredweight of lead. It would not lift itself,
and he strove to lift it with his soul. Then the
gloved

fist

He

landed home.

experienced

sharp snap that was like an electric spark, and,


simultaneously, the veil of blackness enveloped
him.

When

he opened his eyes again he was in


his corner, and he heard the yelling of the
audience like the roar of the surf at Bondi

Beach.

wet

sponge

was

being

pressed

against the base of his brain, and Sid Sullivan

was blowing

cold water in

over his face and chest.

-a

refreshing spray

His gloves had

al-

A PIECE OF STEAK

317

ready been removed, and Sandel, bending over


him, was shaking his hand. He bore no illwill

toward the

man who had

and he returned the grip with


4

made

his

battered

knuckles

put him out,

a heartiness that
protest.

Then

Sandel stepped to the centre of the ring and the


audience hushed its pandemonium to hear him
accept young Pronto's challenge and offer to
increase the side bet to one hundred pounds.

King looked on apathetically while

his seconds

mopped

the streaming water from him, dried

his face,

and prepared him to leave the ring.


hungry. It was not the ordinary,

He

felt

gnawing kind, but a great faintness, a palpita


tion at the pit of the stomach that communi
cated itself to

back into the

He remembered
moment when he had

his body.

all

fight to the

Sandel swaying and tottering on the hair-line


balance of defeat. Ah, that piece of steak

would have done

it

for the decisive blow,


all

He had

lacked just that

and he had

lost.

because of the piece of steak.


His seconds were half-supporting

they helped him through the ropes.

It

him

He

was

as

tore

A PIECE OF STEAK

3 i8
free

from

them, ducked

and

unaided,

following on

leaped

through

the

ropes

to

the

floor,

heavily

their heels as they forced a pas

him down the crowded

sage for

centre aisle.

Leaving the dressing-room for the


the entrance to the hall,

spoke to him.
"

W'y

didn't

*ad 'im ?"

yuh go

the

some young

in an' get

in

fellow

im when yuh

young fellow asked.

"Aw, go to hell!"
passed down the steps

The

street,

Tom

said

King, and

to the sidewalk.

doors of the public house at the corner

were swinging wide, and he saw the lights and


the smiling barmaids, heard the many voices

and the prosperous chink


of money on the bar.
Somebody called to him
discussing the fight

to have a drink.

He

hesitated perceptibly, then

refused and went on his way.

He had

not a copper in his pocket, and the

two-mile walk

was

certainly

main, he sat

home seemed
getting old.

very long.

Crossing the

down suddenly on

He
Do

a bench, un

nerved by the thought of the missus sitting up


for him, waiting to learn the

outcome of the

A PIECE OF STEAK
fight.

and

319

That was harder than any knockout,

seemed almost impossible to face.


He felt weak and sore, and the pain of his
smashed knuckles warned him that, even if he
it

could find a job at navvy work,

week before he could


shovel.

The hunger

palpitation at the pit of

overwhelmed him, and into

his

hands,

Stowsher

He

His wretchedness
his eyes

came an

covered his face with

and, as he cried, he remembered

Bill

and how he had served him that

night in the long ago.

He

would be a

grip a pick handle or a

'the stomach was sickening.

unwonted moisture.

it

could understand

in the dressing-room.

Poor old Stowsher

now why

Bill

had

Bill

cried

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