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´╗┐Title: A Collection of Stories
Author: London, Jack, 1876-1916
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Collection of Stories" ***

Transcribed from the 1919 Mills and Boon edition by David Price, email

by Jack London


The Human Drift
Small-Boat Sailing
Four Horses and a Sailor
Nothing that Ever Came to Anything
That Dead Men Rise up Never
A Classic of the Sea
    A Wicked Woman (Curtain Raiser)
    The Birth Mark (Sketch)


   "The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd
   Who rose before us, and as Prophets Burn'd,
      Are all but stories, which, awoke from Sleep,
   They told their comrades, and to Sleep return'd."

The history of civilisation is a history of wandering, sword in hand, in
search of food.  In the misty younger world we catch glimpses of phantom
races, rising, slaying, finding food, building rude civilisations,
decaying, falling under the swords of stronger hands, and passing utterly
away.  Man, like any other animal, has roved over the earth seeking what
he might devour; and not romance and adventure, but the hunger-need, has
urged him on his vast adventures.  Whether a bankrupt gentleman sailing
to colonise Virginia or a lean Cantonese contracting to labour on the
sugar plantations of Hawaii, in each case, gentleman and coolie, it is a
desperate attempt to get something to eat, to get more to eat than he can
get at home.

It has always been so, from the time of the first pre-human anthropoid
crossing a mountain-divide in quest of better berry-bushes beyond, down
to the latest Slovak, arriving on our shores to-day, to go to work in the
coal-mines of Pennsylvania.  These migratory movements of peoples have
been called drifts, and the word is apposite.  Unplanned, blind,
automatic, spurred on by the pain of hunger, man has literally drifted
his way around the planet.  There have been drifts in the past,
innumerable and forgotten, and so remote that no records have been left,
or composed of such low-typed humans or pre-humans that they made no
scratchings on stone or bone and left no monuments to show that they had

These early drifts we conjecture and know must have occurred, just as we
know that the first upright-walking brutes were descended from some kin
of the quadrumana through having developed "a pair of great toes out of
two opposable thumbs."  Dominated by fear, and by their very fear
accelerating their development, these early ancestors of ours, suffering
hunger-pangs very like the ones we experience to-day, drifted on, hunting
and being hunted, eating and being eaten, wandering through thousand-year-
long odysseys of screaming primordial savagery, until they left their
skeletons in glacial gravels, some of them, and their bone-scratchings in
cave-men's lairs.

There have been drifts from east to west and west to east, from north to
south and back again, drifts that have criss-crossed one another, and
drifts colliding and recoiling and caroming off in new directions.  From
Central Europe the Aryans have drifted into Asia, and from Central Asia
the Turanians have drifted across Europe.  Asia has thrown forth great
waves of hungry humans from the prehistoric "round-barrow" "broad-heads"
who overran Europe and penetrated to Scandinavia and England, down
through the hordes of Attila and Tamerlane, to the present immigration of
Chinese and Japanese that threatens America.  The Phoenicians and the
Greeks, with unremembered drifts behind them, colonised the
Mediterranean.  Rome was engulfed in the torrent of Germanic tribes
drifting down from the north before a flood of drifting Asiatics.  The
Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, after having drifted whence no man knows,
poured into Britain, and the English have carried this drift on around
the world.  Retreating before stronger breeds, hungry and voracious, the
Eskimo has drifted to the inhospitable polar regions, the Pigmy to the
fever-rotten jungles of Africa.  And in this day the drift of the races
continues, whether it be of Chinese into the Philippines and the Malay
Peninsula, of Europeans to the United States or of Americans to the wheat-
lands of Manitoba and the Northwest.

Perhaps most amazing has been the South Sea Drift.  Blind, fortuitous,
precarious as no other drift has been, nevertheless the islands in that
waste of ocean have received drift after drift of the races.  Down from
the mainland of Asia poured an Aryan drift that built civilisations in
Ceylon, Java, and Sumatra.  Only the monuments of these Aryans remain.
They themselves have perished utterly, though not until after leaving
evidences of their drift clear across the great South Pacific to far
Easter Island.  And on that drift they encountered races who had
accomplished the drift before them, and they, the Aryans, passed, in
turn, before the drift of other and subsequent races whom we to-day call
the Polynesian and the Melanesian.

Man early discovered death.  As soon as his evolution permitted, he made
himself better devices for killing than the old natural ones of fang and
claw.  He devoted himself to the invention of killing devices before he
discovered fire or manufactured for himself religion.  And to this day,
his finest creative energy and technical skill are devoted to the same
old task of making better and ever better killing weapons.  All his days,
down all the past, have been spent in killing.  And from the
fear-stricken, jungle-lurking, cave-haunting creature of long ago, he won
to empery over the whole animal world because he developed into the most
terrible and awful killer of all the animals.  He found himself crowded.
He killed to make room, and as he made room ever he increased and found
himself crowded, and ever he went on killing to make more room.  Like a
settler clearing land of its weeds and forest bushes in order to plant
corn, so man was compelled to clear all manner of life away in order to
plant himself.  And, sword in hand, he has literally hewn his way through
the vast masses of life that occupied the earth space he coveted for
himself.  And ever he has carried the battle wider and wider, until to-
day not only is he a far more capable killer of men and animals than ever
before, but he has pressed the battle home to the infinite and invisible
hosts of menacing lives in the world of micro-organisms.

It is true, that they that rose by the sword perished by the sword.  And
yet, not only did they not all perish, but more rose by the sword than
perished by it, else man would not to-day be over-running the world in
such huge swarms.  Also, it must not be forgotten that they who did not
rise by the sword did not rise at all.  They were not.  In view of this,
there is something wrong with Doctor Jordan's war-theory, which is to the
effect that the best being sent out to war, only the second best, the men
who are left, remain to breed a second-best race, and that, therefore,
the human race deteriorates under war.  If this be so, if we have sent
forth the best we bred and gone on breeding from the men who were left,
and since we have done this for ten thousand millenniums and are what we
splendidly are to-day, then what unthinkably splendid and god-like beings
must have been our forebears those ten thousand millenniums ago!
Unfortunately for Doctor Jordan's theory, those ancient forebears cannot
live up to this fine reputation.  We know them for what they were, and
before the monkey cage of any menagerie we catch truer glimpses and hints
and resemblances of what our ancestors really were long and long ago.  And
by killing, incessant killing, by making a shambles of the planet, those
ape-like creatures have developed even into you and me.  As Henley has
said in "The Song of the Sword":

   "_The Sword Singing_--

   Driving the darkness,
   Even as the banners
   And spear of the Morning;
   Sifting the nations,
   The Slag from the metal,
   The waste and the weak
   From the fit and the strong;
   Fighting the brute,
   The abysmal Fecundity;
   Checking the gross
   Multitudinous blunders,
   The groping, the purblind
   Excesses in service
   Of the Womb universal,
   The absolute drudge."

As time passed and man increased, he drifted ever farther afield in
search of room.  He encountered other drifts of men, and the killing of
men became prodigious.  The weak and the decadent fell under the sword.
Nations that faltered, that waxed prosperous in fat valleys and rich
river deltas, were swept away by the drifts of stronger men who were
nourished on the hardships of deserts and mountains and who were more
capable with the sword.  Unknown and unnumbered billions of men have been
so destroyed in prehistoric times.  Draper says that in the twenty years
of the Gothic war, Italy lost 15,000,000 of her population; "and that the
wars, famines, and pestilences of the reign of Justinian diminished the
human species by the almost incredible number of 100,000,000."  Germany,
in the Thirty Years' War, lost 6,000,000 inhabitants.  The record of our
own American Civil War need scarcely be recalled.

And man has been destroyed in other ways than by the sword.  Flood,
famine, pestilence and murder are potent factors in reducing
population--in making room.  As Mr. Charles Woodruff, in his "Expansion
of Races," has instanced: In 1886, when the dikes of the Yellow River
burst, 7,000,000 people were drowned.  The failure of crops in Ireland,
in 1848, caused 1,000,000 deaths.  The famines in India of 1896-7 and
1899-1900 lessened the population by 21,000,000.  The T'ai'ping rebellion
and the Mohammedan rebellion, combined with the famine of 1877-78,
destroyed scores of millions of Chinese.  Europe has been swept
repeatedly by great plagues.  In India, for the period of 1903 to 1907,
the plague deaths averaged between one and two millions a year.  Mr.
Woodruff is responsible for the assertion that 10,000,000 persons now
living in the United States are doomed to die of tuberculosis.  And in
this same country ten thousand persons a year are directly murdered.  In
China, between three and six millions of infants are annually destroyed,
while the total infanticide record of the whole world is appalling.  In
Africa, now, human beings are dying by millions of the sleeping sickness.

More destructive of life than war, is industry.  In all civilised
countries great masses of people are crowded into slums and
labour-ghettos, where disease festers, vice corrodes, and famine is
chronic, and where they die more swiftly and in greater numbers than do
the soldiers in our modern wars.  The very infant mortality of a slum
parish in the East End of London is three times that of a middle-class
parish in the West End.  In the United States, in the last fourteen
years, a total of coal-miners, greater than our entire standing army, has
been killed and injured.  The United States Bureau of Labour states that
during the year 1908, there were between 30,000 and 35,000 deaths of
workers by accidents, while 200,000 more were injured.  In fact, the
safest place for a working-man is in the army.  And even if that army be
at the front, fighting in Cuba or South Africa, the soldier in the ranks
has a better chance for life than the working-man at home.

And yet, despite this terrible roll of death, despite the enormous
killing of the past and the enormous killing of the present, there are to-
day alive on the planet a billion and three quarters of human beings.  Our
immediate conclusion is that man is exceedingly fecund and very tough.
Never before have there been so many people in the world.  In the past
centuries the world's population has been smaller; in the future
centuries it is destined to be larger.  And this brings us to that old
bugbear that has been so frequently laughed away and that still persists
in raising its grisly head--namely, the doctrine of Malthus.  While man's
increasing efficiency of food-production, combined with colonisation of
whole virgin continents, has for generations given the apparent lie to
Malthus' mathematical statement of the Law of Population, nevertheless
the essential significance of his doctrine remains and cannot be
challenged.  Population _does_ press against subsistence.  And no matter
how rapidly subsistence increases, population is certain to catch up with

When man was in the hunting stage of development, wide areas were
necessary for the maintenance of scant populations.  With the shepherd
stages, the means of subsistence being increased, a larger population was
supported on the same territory.  The agricultural stage gave support to
a still larger population; and, to-day, with the increased food-getting
efficiency of a machine civilisation, an even larger population is made
possible.  Nor is this theoretical.  The population is here, a billion
and three quarters of men, women, and children, and this vast population
is increasing on itself by leaps and bounds.

A heavy European drift to the New World has gone on and is going on; yet
Europe, whose population a century ago was 170,000,000, has to-day
500,000,000.  At this rate of increase, provided that subsistence is not
overtaken, a century from now the population of Europe will be
1,500,000,000.  And be it noted of the present rate of increase in the
United States that only one-third is due to immigration, while two-thirds
is due to excess of births over deaths.  And at this present rate of
increase, the population of the United States will be 500,000,000 in less
than a century from now.

Man, the hungry one, the killer, has always suffered for lack of room.
The world has been chronically overcrowded.  Belgium with her 572 persons
to the square mile is no more crowded than was Denmark when it supported
only 500 palaeolithic people.  According to Mr. Woodruff, cultivated land
will produce 1600 times as much food as hunting land.  From the time of
the Norman Conquest, for centuries Europe could support no more than 25
to the square mile.  To-day Europe supports 81 to the square mile.  The
explanation of this is that for the several centuries after the Norman
Conquest her population was saturated.  Then, with the development of
trading and capitalism, of exploration and exploitation of new lands, and
with the invention of labour-saving machinery and the discovery and
application of scientific principles, was brought about a tremendous
increase in Europe's food-getting efficiency.  And immediately her
population sprang up.

According to the census of Ireland, of 1659, that country had a
population of 500,000.  One hundred and fifty years later, her population
was 8,000,000.  For many centuries the population of Japan was
stationary.  There seemed no way of increasing her food-getting
efficiency.  Then, sixty years ago, came Commodore Perry, knocking down
her doors and letting in the knowledge and machinery of the superior food-
getting efficiency of the Western world.  Immediately upon this rise in
subsistence began the rise of population; and it is only the other day
that Japan, finding her population once again pressing against
subsistence, embarked, sword in hand, on a westward drift in search of
more room.  And, sword in hand, killing and being killed, she has carved
out for herself Formosa and Korea, and driven the vanguard of her drift
far into the rich interior of Manchuria.

For an immense period of time China's population has remained at
400,000,000--the saturation point.  The only reason that the Yellow River
periodically drowns millions of Chinese is that there is no other land
for those millions to farm.  And after every such catastrophe the wave of
human life rolls up and now millions flood out upon that precarious
territory.  They are driven to it, because they are pressed remorselessly
against subsistence.  It is inevitable that China, sooner or later, like
Japan, will learn and put into application our own superior food-getting
efficiency.  And when that time comes, it is likewise inevitable that her
population will increase by unguessed millions until it again reaches the
saturation point.  And then, inoculated with Western ideas, may she not,
like Japan, take sword in hand and start forth colossally on a drift of
her own for more room?  This is another reputed bogie--the Yellow Peril;
yet the men of China are only men, like any other race of men, and all
men, down all history, have drifted hungrily, here, there and everywhere
over the planet, seeking for something to eat.  What other men do, may
not the Chinese do?

But a change has long been coming in the affairs of man.  The more recent
drifts of the stronger races, carving their way through the lesser breeds
to more earth-space, has led to peace, ever to wider and more lasting
peace.  The lesser breeds, under penalty of being killed, have been
compelled to lay down their weapons and cease killing among themselves.
The scalp-talking Indian and the head-hunting Melanesian have been either
destroyed or converted to a belief in the superior efficacy of civil
suits and criminal prosecutions.  The planet is being subdued.  The wild
and the hurtful are either tamed or eliminated.  From the beasts of prey
and the cannibal humans down to the death-dealing microbes, no quarter is
given; and daily, wider and wider areas of hostile territory, whether of
a warring desert-tribe in Africa or a pestilential fever-hole like
Panama, are made peaceable and habitable for mankind.  As for the great
mass of stay-at-home folk, what percentage of the present generation in
the United States, England, or Germany, has seen war or knows anything of
war at first hand?  There was never so much peace in the world as there
is to-day.

War itself, the old red anarch, is passing.  It is safer to be a soldier
than a working-man.  The chance for life is greater in an active campaign
than in a factory or a coal-mine.  In the matter of killing, war is
growing impotent, and this in face of the fact that the machinery of war
was never so expensive in the past nor so dreadful.  War-equipment to-
day, in time of peace, is more expensive than of old in time of war.  A
standing army costs more to maintain than it used to cost to conquer an
empire.  It is more expensive to be ready to kill, than it used to be to
do the killing.  The price of a Dreadnought would furnish the whole army
of Xerxes with killing weapons.  And, in spite of its magnificent
equipment, war no longer kills as it used to when its methods were
simpler.  A bombardment by a modern fleet has been known to result in the
killing of one mule.  The casualties of a twentieth century war between
two world-powers are such as to make a worker in an iron-foundry turn
green with envy.  War has become a joke.  Men have made for themselves
monsters of battle which they cannot face in battle.  Subsistence is
generous these days, life is not cheap, and it is not in the nature of
flesh and blood to indulge in the carnage made possible by present-day
machinery.  This is not theoretical, as will be shown by a comparison of
deaths in battle and men involved, in the South African War and the
Spanish-American War on the one hand, and the Civil War or the Napoleonic
Wars on the other.

Not only has war, by its own evolution, rendered itself futile, but man
himself, with greater wisdom and higher ethics, is opposed to war.  He
has learned too much.  War is repugnant to his common sense.  He
conceives it to be wrong, to be absurd, and to be very expensive.  For
the damage wrought and the results accomplished, it is not worth the
price.  Just as in the disputes of individuals the arbitration of a civil
court instead of a blood feud is more practical, so, man decides, is
arbitration more practical in the disputes of nations.

War is passing, disease is being conquered, and man's food-getting
efficiency is increasing.  It is because of these factors that there are
a billion and three quarters of people alive to-day instead of a billion,
or three-quarters of a billion.  And it is because of these factors that
the world's population will very soon be two billions and climbing
rapidly toward three billions.  The lifetime of the generation is
increasing steadily.  Men live longer these days.  Life is not so
precarious.  The newborn infant has a greater chance for survival than at
any time in the past.  Surgery and sanitation reduce the fatalities that
accompany the mischances of life and the ravages of disease.  Men and
women, with deficiencies and weaknesses that in the past would have
effected their rapid extinction, live to-day and father and mother a
numerous progeny.  And high as the food-getting efficiency may soar,
population is bound to soar after it.  "The abysmal fecundity" of life
has not altered.  Given the food, and life will increase.  A small
percentage of the billion and three-quarters that live to-day may hush
the clamour of life to be born, but it is only a small percentage.  In
this particular, the life in the man-animal is very like the life in the
other animals.

And still another change is coming in human affairs.  Though politicians
gnash their teeth and cry anathema, and man, whose superficial
book-learning is vitiated by crystallised prejudice, assures us that
civilisation will go to smash, the trend of society, to-day, the world
over, is toward socialism.  The old individualism is passing.  The state
interferes more and more in affairs that hitherto have been considered
sacredly private.  And socialism, when the last word is said, is merely a
new economic and political system whereby more men can get food to eat.
In short, socialism is an improved food-getting efficiency.

Furthermore, not only will socialism get food more easily and in greater
quantity, but it will achieve a more equitable distribution of that food.
Socialism promises, for a time, to give all men, women, and children all
they want to eat, and to enable them to eat all they want as often as
they want.  Subsistence will be pushed back, temporarily, an exceedingly
long way.  In consequence, the flood of life will rise like a tidal wave.
There will be more marriages and more children born.  The enforced
sterility that obtains to-day for many millions, will no longer obtain.
Nor will the fecund millions in the slums and labour-ghettos, who to-day
die of all the ills due to chronic underfeeding and overcrowding, and who
die with their fecundity largely unrealised, die in that future day when
the increased food-getting efficiency of socialism will give them all
they want to eat.

It is undeniable that population will increase prodigiously-just as it
has increased prodigiously during the last few centuries, following upon
the increase in food-getting efficiency.  The magnitude of population in
that future day is well nigh unthinkable.  But there is only so much land
and water on the surface of the earth.  Man, despite his marvellous
accomplishments, will never be able to increase the diameter of the
planet.  The old days of virgin continents will be gone.  The habitable
planet, from ice-cap to ice-cap, will be inhabited.  And in the matter of
food-getting, as in everything else, man is only finite.  Undreamed-of
efficiencies in food-getting may be achieved, but, soon or late, man will
find himself face to face with Malthus' grim law.  Not only will
population catch up with subsistence, but it will press against
subsistence, and the pressure will be pitiless and savage.  Somewhere in
the future is a date when man will face, consciously, the bitter fact
that there is not food enough for all of him to eat.

When this day comes, what then?  Will there be a recrudescence of old
obsolete war?  In a saturated population life is always cheap, as it is
cheap in China, in India, to-day.  Will new human drifts take place,
questing for room, carving earth-space out of crowded life.  Will the
Sword again sing:

   "Follow, O follow, then,
   Heroes, my harvesters!
   Where the tall grain is ripe
   Thrust in your sickles!
   Stripped and adust
   In a stubble of empire
   Scything and binding
   The full sheaves of sovereignty."

Even if, as of old, man should wander hungrily, sword in hand, slaying
and being slain, the relief would be only temporary.  Even if one race
alone should hew down the last survivor of all the other races, that one
race, drifting the world around, would saturate the planet with its own
life and again press against subsistence.  And in that day, the death
rate and the birth rate will have to balance.  Men will have to die, or
be prevented from being born.  Undoubtedly a higher quality of life will
obtain, and also a slowly decreasing fecundity.  But this decrease will
be so slow that the pressure against subsistence will remain.  The
control of progeny will be one of the most important problems of man and
one of the most important functions of the state.  Men will simply be not
permitted to be born.

Disease, from time to time, will ease the pressure.  Diseases are
parasites, and it must not be forgotten that just as there are drifts in
the world of man, so are there drifts in the world of micro-organisms--
hunger-quests for food.  Little is known of the micro-organic world,
but that little is appalling; and no census of it will ever be taken,
for there is the true, literal "abysmal fecundity."  Multitudinous as
man is, all his totality of individuals is as nothing in comparison
with the inconceivable vastness of numbers of the micro-organisms.  In
your body, or in mine, right now, are swarming more individual entities
than there are human beings in the world to-day.  It is to us an
invisible world.  We only guess its nearest confines.  With our powerful
microscopes and ultramicroscopes, enlarging diameters twenty
thousand times, we catch but the slightest glimpses of that profundity of
infinitesimal life.

Little is known of that world, save in a general way.  We know that out
of it arise diseases, new to us, that afflict and destroy man.  We do not
know whether these diseases are merely the drifts, in a fresh direction,
of already-existing breeds of micro-organisms, or whether they are new,
absolutely new, breeds themselves just spontaneously generated.  The
latter hypothesis is tenable, for we theorise that if spontaneous
generation still occurs on the earth, it is far more likely to occur in
the form of simple organisms than of complicated organisms.

Another thing we know, and that is that it is in crowded populations that
new diseases arise.  They have done so in the past.  They do so to-day.
And no matter how wise are our physicians and bacteriologists, no matter
how successfully they cope with these invaders, new invaders continue to
arise--new drifts of hungry life seeking to devour us.  And so we are
justified in believing that in the saturated populations of the future,
when life is suffocating in the pressure against subsistence, that new,
and ever new, hosts of destroying micro-organisms will continue to arise
and fling themselves upon earth-crowded man to give him room.  There may
even be plagues of unprecedented ferocity that will depopulate great
areas before the wit of man can overcome them.  And this we know: that no
matter how often these invisible hosts may be overcome by man's becoming
immune to them through a cruel and terrible selection, new hosts will
ever arise of these micro-organisms that were in the world before he came
and that will be here after he is gone.

After he is gone?  Will he then some day be gone, and this planet know
him no more?  Is it thither that the human drift in all its totality is
trending?  God Himself is silent on this point, though some of His
prophets have given us vivid representations of that last day when the
earth shall pass into nothingness.  Nor does science, despite its radium
speculations and its attempted analyses of the ultimate nature of matter,
give us any other word than that man will pass.  So far as man's
knowledge goes, law is universal.  Elements react under certain
unchangeable conditions.  One of these conditions is temperature.  Whether
it be in the test tube of the laboratory or the workshop of nature, all
organic chemical reactions take place only within a restricted range of
heat.  Man, the latest of the ephemera, is pitifully a creature of
temperature, strutting his brief day on the thermometer.  Behind him is a
past wherein it was too warm for him to exist.  Ahead of him is a future
wherein it will be too cold for him to exist.  He cannot adjust himself
to that future, because he cannot alter universal law, because he cannot
alter his own construction nor the molecules that compose him.

It would be well to ponder these lines of Herbert Spencer's which follow,
and which embody, possibly, the wildest vision the scientific mind has
ever achieved:

   "Motion as well as Matter being fixed in quantity, it would seem that
   the change in the distribution of Matter which Motion effects, coming
   to a limit in whichever direction it is carried, the indestructible
   Motion thereupon necessitates a reverse distribution.  Apparently, the
   universally-co-existent forces of attraction and repulsion, which, as
   we have seen, necessitate rhythm in all minor changes throughout the
   Universe, also necessitate rhythm in the totality of its
   changes--produce now an immeasurable period during which the
   attractive forces predominating, cause universal concentration, and
   then an immeasurable period during which the repulsive forces
   predominating, cause universal diffusion--alternate eras of Evolution
   and Dissolution.  _And thus there is suggested the conception of a
   past during which there have been successive Evolutions analogous to
   that which is now going on; a future during which successive other
   Evolutions may go on--ever the same in principle but never the same in
   concrete result_."

That is it--the most we know--alternate eras of evolution and
dissolution.  In the past there have been other evolutions similar to
that one in which we live, and in the future there may be other similar
evolutions--that is all.  The principle of all these evolutions remains,
but the concrete results are never twice alike.  Man was not; he was; and
again he will not be.  In eternity which is beyond our comprehension, the
particular evolution of that solar satellite we call the "Earth" occupied
but a slight fraction of time.  And of that fraction of time man occupies
but a small portion.  All the whole human drift, from the first ape-man
to the last savant, is but a phantom, a flash of light and a flutter of
movement across the infinite face of the starry night.

When the thermometer drops, man ceases--with all his lusts and wrestlings
and achievements; with all his race-adventures and race-tragedies; and
with all his red killings, billions upon billions of human lives
multiplied by as many billions more.  This is the last word of Science,
unless there be some further, unguessed word which Science will some day
find and utter.  In the meantime it sees no farther than the starry void,
where the "fleeting systems lapse like foam."  Of what ledger-account is
the tiny life of man in a vastness where stars snuff out like candles and
great suns blaze for a time-tick of eternity and are gone?

And for us who live, no worse can happen than has happened to the
earliest drifts of man, marked to-day by ruined cities of forgotten
civilisation--ruined cities, which, on excavation, are found to rest on
ruins of earlier cities, city upon city, and fourteen cities, down to a
stratum where, still earlier, wandering herdsmen drove their flocks, and
where, even preceding them, wild hunters chased their prey long after the
cave-man and the man of the squatting-place cracked the knuckle-bones of
wild animals and vanished from the earth.  There is nothing terrible
about it.  With Richard Hovey, when he faced his death, we can say:
"Behold!  I have lived!"  And with another and greater one, we can lay
ourselves down with a will.  The one drop of living, the one taste of
being, has been good; and perhaps our greatest achievement will be that
we dreamed immortality, even though we failed to realise it.


A sailor is born, not made.  And by "sailor" is meant, not the average
efficient and hopeless creature who is found to-day in the forecastle of
deepwater ships, but the man who will take a fabric compounded of wood
and iron and rope and canvas and compel it to obey his will on the
surface of the sea.  Barring captains and mates of big ships, the small-
boat sailor is the real sailor.  He knows--he must know--how to make the
wind carry his craft from one given point to another given point.  He
must know about tides and rips and eddies, bar and channel markings, and
day and night signals; he must be wise in weather-lore; and he must be
sympathetically familiar with the peculiar qualities of his boat which
differentiate it from every other boat that was ever built and rigged.  He
must know how to gentle her about, as one instance of a myriad, and to
fill her on the other tack without deadening her way or allowing her to
fall off too far.

The deepwater sailor of to-day needs know none of these things.  And he
doesn't.  He pulls and hauls as he is ordered, swabs decks, washes paint,
and chips iron-rust.  He knows nothing, and cares less.  Put him in a
small boat and he is helpless.  He will cut an even better figure on the
hurricane deck of a horse.

I shall never forget my child-astonishment when I first encountered one
of these strange beings.  He was a runaway English sailor.  I was a lad
of twelve, with a decked-over, fourteen-foot, centre-board skiff which I
had taught myself to sail.  I sat at his feet as at the feet of a god,
while he discoursed of strange lands and peoples, deeds of violence, and
hair-raising gales at sea.  Then, one day, I took him for a sail.  With
all the trepidation of the veriest little amateur, I hoisted sail and got
under way.  Here was a man, looking on critically, I was sure, who knew
more in one second about boats and the water than I could ever know.
After an interval, in which I exceeded myself, he took the tiller and the
sheet.  I sat on the little thwart amidships, open-mouthed, prepared to
learn what real sailing was.  My mouth remained open, for I learned what
a real sailor was in a small boat.  He couldn't trim the sheet to save
himself, he nearly capsized several times in squalls, and, once again, by
blunderingly jibing over; he didn't know what a centre-board was for, nor
did he know that in running a boat before the wind one must sit in the
middle instead of on the side; and finally, when we came back to the
wharf, he ran the skiff in full tilt, shattering her nose and carrying
away the mast-step.  And yet he was a really truly sailor fresh from the
vasty deep.

Which points my moral.  A man can sail in the forecastles of big ships
all his life and never know what real sailing is.  From the time I was
twelve, I listened to the lure of the sea.  When I was fifteen I was
captain and owner of an oyster-pirate sloop.  By the time I was sixteen I
was sailing in scow-schooners, fishing salmon with the Greeks up the
Sacramento River, and serving as sailor on the Fish Patrol.  And I was a
good sailor, too, though all my cruising had been on San Francisco Bay
and the rivers tributary to it.  I had never been on the ocean in my

Then, the month I was seventeen, I signed before the mast as an able
seaman on a three-top-mast schooner bound on a seven-months' cruise
across the Pacific and back again.  As my shipmates promptly informed me,
I had had my nerve with me to sign on as able seaman.  Yet behold, I
_was_ an able seaman.  I had graduated from the right school.  It took no
more than minutes to learn the names and uses of the few new ropes.  It
was simple.  I did not do things blindly.  As a small-boat sailor I had
learned to reason out and know the _why_ of everything.  It is true, I
had to learn how to steer by compass, which took maybe half a minute; but
when it came to steering "full-and-by" and "close-and-by," I could beat
the average of my shipmates, because that was the very way I had always
sailed.  Inside fifteen minutes I could box the compass around and back
again.  And there was little else to learn during that seven-months'
cruise, except fancy rope-sailorising, such as the more complicated
lanyard knots and the making of various kinds of sennit and rope-mats.
The point of all of which is that it is by means of small-boat sailing
that the real sailor is best schooled.

And if a man is a born sailor, and has gone to the school of the sea,
never in all his life can he get away from the sea again.  The salt of it
is in his bones as well as his nostrils, and the sea will call to him
until he dies.  Of late years, I have found easier ways of earning a
living.  I have quit the forecastle for keeps, but always I come back to
the sea.  In my case it is usually San Francisco Bay, than which no
lustier, tougher, sheet of water can be found for small-boat sailing.

It really blows on San Francisco Bay.  During the winter, which is the
best cruising season, we have southeasters, southwesters, and occasional
howling northers.  Throughout the summer we have what we call the "sea-
breeze," an unfailing wind off the Pacific that on most afternoons in the
week blows what the Atlantic Coast yachtsmen would name a gale.  They are
always surprised by the small spread of canvas our yachts carry.  Some of
them, with schooners they have sailed around the Horn, have looked
proudly at their own lofty sticks and huge spreads, then patronisingly
and even pityingly at ours.  Then, perchance, they have joined in a club
cruise from San Francisco to Mare Island.  They found the morning run up
the Bay delightful.  In the afternoon, when the brave west wind ramped
across San Pablo Bay and they faced it on the long beat home, things were
somewhat different.  One by one, like a flight of swallows, our more
meagrely sparred and canvassed yachts went by, leaving them wallowing and
dead and shortening down in what they called a gale but which we called a
dandy sailing breeze.  The next time they came out, we would notice their
sticks cut down, their booms shortened, and their after-leeches nearer
the luffs by whole cloths.

As for excitement, there is all the difference in the world between a
ship in trouble at sea, and a small boat in trouble on land-locked water.
Yet for genuine excitement and thrill, give me the small boat.  Things
happen so quickly, and there are always so few to do the work--and hard
work, too, as the small-boat sailor knows.  I have toiled all night, both
watches on deck, in a typhoon off the coast of Japan, and been less
exhausted than by two hours' work at reefing down a thirty-foot sloop and
heaving up two anchors on a lee shore in a screaming southeaster.

Hard work and excitement?  Let the wind baffle and drop in a heavy tide-
way just as you are sailing your little sloop through a narrow
draw-bridge.  Behold your sails, upon which you are depending, flap with
sudden emptiness, and then see the impish wind, with a haul of eight
points, fill your jib aback with a gusty puff.  Around she goes, and
sweeps, not through the open draw, but broadside on against the solid
piles.  Hear the roar of the tide, sucking through the trestle.  And hear
and see your pretty, fresh-painted boat crash against the piles.  Feel
her stout little hull give to the impact.  See the rail actually pinch
in.  Hear your canvas tearing, and see the black, square-ended timbers
thrusting holes through it.  Smash!  There goes your topmast stay, and
the topmast reels over drunkenly above you.  There is a ripping and
crunching.  If it continues, your starboard shrouds will be torn out.
Grab a rope--any rope--and take a turn around a pile.  But the free end
of the rope is too short.  You can't make it fast, and you hold on and
wildly yell for your one companion to get a turn with another and longer
rope.  Hold on!  You hold on till you are purple in the face, till it
seems your arms are dragging out of their sockets, till the blood bursts
from the ends of your fingers.  But you hold, and your partner gets the
longer rope and makes it fast.  You straighten up and look at your hands.
They are ruined.  You can scarcely relax the crooks of the fingers.  The
pain is sickening.  But there is no time.  The skiff, which is always
perverse, is pounding against the barnacles on the piles which threaten
to scrape its gunwale off.  It's drop the peak!  Down jib!  Then you run
lines, and pull and haul and heave, and exchange unpleasant remarks with
the bridge-tender who is always willing to meet you more than half way in
such repartee.  And finally, at the end of an hour, with aching back,
sweat-soaked shirt, and slaughtered hands, you are through and swinging
along on the placid, beneficent tide between narrow banks where the
cattle stand knee-deep and gaze wonderingly at you.  Excitement!  Work!
Can you beat it in a calm day on the deep sea?

I've tried it both ways.  I remember labouring in a fourteen days' gale
off the coast of New Zealand.  We were a tramp collier, rusty and
battered, with six thousand tons of coal in our hold.  Life lines were
stretched fore and aft; and on our weather side, attached to smokestack
guys and rigging, were huge rope-nettings, hung there for the purpose of
breaking the force of the seas and so saving our mess-room doors.  But
the doors were smashed and the mess-rooms washed out just the same.  And
yet, out of it all, arose but the one feeling, namely, of monotony.

In contrast with the foregoing, about the liveliest eight days of my life
were spent in a small boat on the west coast of Korea.  Never mind why I
was thus voyaging up the Yellow Sea during the month of February in below-
zero weather.  The point is that I was in an open boat, a _sampan_, on a
rocky coast where there were no light-houses and where the tides ran from
thirty to sixty feet.  My crew were Japanese fishermen.  We did not speak
each other's language.  Yet there was nothing monotonous about that trip.
Never shall I forget one particular cold bitter dawn, when, in the thick
of driving snow, we took in sail and dropped our small anchor.  The wind
was howling out of the northwest, and we were on a lee shore.  Ahead and
astern, all escape was cut off by rocky headlands, against whose bases
burst the unbroken seas.  To windward a short distance, seen only between
the snow-squalls, was a low rocky reef.  It was this that inadequately
protected us from the whole Yellow Sea that thundered in upon us.

The Japanese crawled under a communal rice mat and went to sleep.  I
joined them, and for several hours we dozed fitfully.  Then a sea deluged
us out with icy water, and we found several inches of snow on top the
mat.  The reef to windward was disappearing under the rising tide, and
moment by moment the seas broke more strongly over the rocks.  The
fishermen studied the shore anxiously.  So did I, and with a sailor's
eye, though I could see little chance for a swimmer to gain that surf-
hammered line of rocks.  I made signs toward the headlands on either
flank.  The Japanese shook their heads.  I indicated that dreadful lee
shore.  Still they shook their heads and did nothing.  My conclusion was
that they were paralysed by the hopelessness of the situation.  Yet our
extremity increased with every minute, for the rising tide was robbing us
of the reef that served as buffer.  It soon became a case of swamping at
our anchor.  Seas were splashing on board in growing volume, and we baled
constantly.  And still my fishermen crew eyed the surf-battered shore and
did nothing.

At last, after many narrow escapes from complete swamping, the fishermen
got into action.  All hands tailed on to the anchor and hove it up.
For'ard, as the boat's head paid off, we set a patch of sail about the
size of a flour-sack.  And we headed straight for shore.  I unlaced my
shoes, unbottoned my great-coat and coat, and was ready to make a quick
partial strip a minute or so before we struck.  But we didn't strike,
and, as we rushed in, I saw the beauty of the situation.  Before us
opened a narrow channel, frilled at its mouth with breaking seas.  Yet,
long before, when I had scanned the shore closely, there had been no such
channel.  _I had forgotten the thirty-foot tide_.  And it was for this
tide that the Japanese had so precariously waited.  We ran the frill of
breakers, curved into a tiny sheltered bay where the water was scarcely
flawed by the gale, and landed on a beach where the salt sea of the last
tide lay frozen in long curving lines.  And this was one gale of three in
the course of those eight days in the _sampan_.  Would it have been
beaten on a ship?  I fear me the ship would have gone aground on the
outlying reef and that its people would have been incontinently and
monotonously drowned.

There are enough surprises and mishaps in a three-days' cruise in a small
boat to supply a great ship on the ocean for a full year.  I remember,
once, taking out on her trial trip a little thirty-footer I had just
bought.  In six days we had two stiff blows, and, in addition, one proper
southwester and one rip-snorting southeaster.  The slight intervals
between these blows were dead calms.  Also, in the six days, we were
aground three times.  Then, too, we tied up to the bank in the Sacramento
River, and, grounding by an accident on the steep slope on a falling
tide, nearly turned a side somersault down the bank.  In a stark calm and
heavy tide in the Carquinez Straits, where anchors skate on the channel-
scoured bottom, we were sucked against a big dock and smashed and bumped
down a quarter of a mile of its length before we could get clear.  Two
hours afterward, on San Pablo Bay, the wind was piping up and we were
reefing down.  It is no fun to pick up a skiff adrift in a heavy sea and
gale.  That was our next task, for our skiff, swamping, parted both
towing painters we had bent on.  Before we recovered it we had nearly
killed ourselves with exhaustion, and we certainly had strained the sloop
in every part from keelson to truck.  And to cap it all, coming into our
home port, beating up the narrowest part of the San Antonio Estuary, we
had a shave of inches from collision with a big ship in tow of a tug.  I
have sailed the ocean in far larger craft a year at a time, in which
period occurred no such chapter of moving incident.

After all, the mishaps are almost the best part of small-boat sailing.
Looking back, they prove to be punctuations of joy.  At the time they try
your mettle and your vocabulary, and may make you so pessimistic as to
believe that God has a grudge against you--but afterward, ah, afterward,
with what pleasure you remember them and with what gusto do you relate
them to your brother skippers in the fellowhood of small-boat sailing!

A narrow, winding slough; a half tide, exposing mud surfaced with
gangrenous slime; the water itself filthy and discoloured by the waste
from the vats of a near-by tannery; the marsh grass on either side
mottled with all the shades of a decaying orchid; a crazy, ramshackled,
ancient wharf; and at the end of the wharf a small, white-painted sloop.
Nothing romantic about it.  No hint of adventure.  A splendid pictorial
argument against the alleged joys of small-boat sailing.  Possibly that
is what Cloudesley and I thought, that sombre, leaden morning as we
turned out to cook breakfast and wash decks.  The latter was my stunt,
but one look at the dirty water overside and another at my fresh-painted
deck, deterred me.  After breakfast, we started a game of chess.  The
tide continued to fall, and we felt the sloop begin to list.  We played
on until the chess men began to fall over.  The list increased, and we
went on deck.  Bow-line and stern-line were drawn taut.  As we looked the
boat listed still farther with an abrupt jerk.  The lines were now very

"As soon as her belly touches the bottom she will stop," I said.

Cloudesley sounded with a boat-hook along the outside.

"Seven feet of water," he announced.  "The bank is almost up and down.
The first thing that touches will be her mast when she turns bottom up."

An ominous, minute snapping noise came from the stern-line.  Even as we
looked, we saw a strand fray and part.  Then we jumped.  Scarcely had we
bent another line between the stern and the wharf, when the original line
parted.  As we bent another line for'ard, the original one there crackled
and parted.  After that, it was an inferno of work and excitement.

We ran more and more lines, and more and more lines continued to part,
and more and more the pretty boat went over on her side.  We bent all our
spare lines; we unrove sheets and halyards; we used our two-inch hawser;
we fastened lines part way up the mast, half way up, and everywhere else.
We toiled and sweated and enounced our mutual and sincere conviction that
God's grudge still held against us.  Country yokels came down on the
wharf and sniggered at us.  When Cloudesley let a coil of rope slip down
the inclined deck into the vile slime and fished it out with seasick
countenance, the yokels sniggered louder and it was all I could do to
prevent him from climbing up on the wharf and committing murder.

By the time the sloop's deck was perpendicular, we had unbent the boom-
lift from below, made it fast to the wharf, and, with the other end fast
nearly to the mast-head, heaved it taut with block and tackle.  The lift
was of steel wire.  We were confident that it could stand the strain, but
we doubted the holding-power of the stays that held the mast.

The tide had two more hours to ebb (and it was the big run-out), which
meant that five hours must elapse ere the returning tide would give us a
chance to learn whether or not the sloop would rise to it and right

The bank was almost up and down, and at the bottom, directly beneath us,
the fast-ebbing tide left a pit of the vilest, illest-smelling, illest-
appearing muck to be seen in many a day's ride.  Said Cloudesley to me
gazing down into it:

"I love you as a brother.  I'd fight for you.  I'd face roaring lions,
and sudden death by field and flood.  But just the same, don't you fall
into that."  He shuddered nauseously.  "For if you do, I haven't the grit
to pull you out.  I simply couldn't.  You'd be awful.  The best I could
do would be to take a boat-hook and shove you down out of sight."

We sat on the upper side-wall of the cabin, dangled our legs down the top
of the cabin, leaned our backs against the deck, and played chess until
the rising tide and the block and tackle on the boom-lift enabled us to
get her on a respectable keel again.  Years afterward, down in the South
Seas, on the island of Ysabel, I was caught in a similar predicament.  In
order to clean her copper, I had careened the _Snark_ broadside on to the
beach and outward.  When the tide rose, she refused to rise.  The water
crept in through the scuppers, mounted over the rail, and the level of
the ocean slowly crawled up the slant of the deck.  We battened down the
engine-room hatch, and the sea rose to it and over it and climbed
perilously near to the cabin companion-way and skylight.  We were all
sick with fever, but we turned out in the blazing tropic sun and toiled
madly for several hours.  We carried our heaviest lines ashore from our
mast-heads and heaved with our heaviest purchase until everything
crackled including ourselves.  We would spell off and lie down like dead
men, then get up and heave and crackle again.  And in the end, our lower
rail five feet under water and the wavelets lapping the companion-way
combing, the sturdy little craft shivered and shook herself and pointed
her masts once more to the zenith.

There is never lack of exercise in small-boat sailing, and the hard work
is not only part of the fun of it, but it beats the doctors.  San
Francisco Bay is no mill pond.  It is a large and draughty and variegated
piece of water.  I remember, one winter evening, trying to enter the
mouth of the Sacramento.  There was a freshet on the river, the flood
tide from the bay had been beaten back into a strong ebb, and the lusty
west wind died down with the sun.  It was just sunset, and with a fair to
middling breeze, dead aft, we stood still in the rapid current.  We were
squarely in the mouth of the river; but there was no anchorage and we
drifted backward, faster and faster, and dropped anchor outside as the
last breath of wind left us.  The night came on, beautiful and warm and
starry.  My one companion cooked supper, while on deck I put everything
in shape Bristol fashion.  When we turned in at nine o'clock the weather-
promise was excellent.  (If I had carried a barometer I'd have known
better.)  By two in the morning our shrouds were thrumming in a piping
breeze, and I got up and gave her more scope on her hawser.  Inside
another hour there was no doubt that we were in for a southeaster.

It is not nice to leave a warm bed and get out of a bad anchorage in a
black blowy night, but we arose to the occasion, put in two reefs, and
started to heave up.  The winch was old, and the strain of the jumping
head sea was too much for it.  With the winch out of commission, it was
impossible to heave up by hand.  We knew, because we tried it and
slaughtered our hands.  Now a sailor hates to lose an anchor.  It is a
matter of pride.  Of course, we could have buoyed ours and slipped it.
Instead, however, I gave her still more hawser, veered her, and dropped
the second anchor.

There was little sleep after that, for first one and then the other of us
would be rolled out of our bunks.  The increasing size of the seas told
us we were dragging, and when we struck the scoured channel we could tell
by the feel of it that our two anchors were fairly skating across.  It
was a deep channel, the farther edge of it rising steeply like the wall
of a canyon, and when our anchors started up that wall they hit in and

Yet, when we fetched up, through the darkness we could hear the seas
breaking on the solid shore astern, and so near was it that we shortened
the skiff's painter.

Daylight showed us that between the stern of the skiff and destruction
was no more than a score of feet.  And how it did blow!  There were
times, in the gusts, when the wind must have approached a velocity of
seventy or eighty miles an hour.  But the anchors held, and so nobly that
our final anxiety was that the for'ard bitts would be jerked clean out of
the boat.  All day the sloop alternately ducked her nose under and sat
down on her stern; and it was not till late afternoon that the storm
broke in one last and worst mad gust.  For a full five minutes an
absolute dead calm prevailed, and then, with the suddenness of a
thunderclap, the wind snorted out of the southwest--a shift of eight
points and a boisterous gale.  Another night of it was too much for us,
and we hove up by hand in a cross head-sea.  It was not stiff work.  It
was heart-breaking.  And I know we were both near to crying from the hurt
and the exhaustion.  And when we did get the first anchor up-and-down we
couldn't break it out.  Between seas we snubbed her nose down to it, took
plenty of turns, and stood clear as she jumped.  Almost everything
smashed and parted except the anchor-hold.  The chocks were jerked out,
the rail torn off, and the very covering-board splintered, and still the
anchor held.  At last, hoisting the reefed mainsail and slacking off a
few of the hard-won feet of the chain, we sailed the anchor out.  It was
nip and tuck, though, and there were times when the boat was knocked down
flat.  We repeated the manoeuvre with the remaining anchor, and in the
gathering darkness fled into the shelter of the river's mouth.

I was born so long ago that I grew up before the era of gasolene.  As a
result, I am old-fashioned.  I prefer a sail-boat to a motor-boat, and it
is my belief that boat-sailing is a finer, more difficult, and sturdier
art than running a motor.  Gasolene engines are becoming fool-proof, and
while it is unfair to say that any fool can run an engine, it is fair to
say that almost any one can.  Not so, when it comes to sailing a boat.
More skill, more intelligence, and a vast deal more training are
necessary.  It is the finest training in the world for boy and youth and
man.  If the boy is very small, equip him with a small, comfortable
skiff.  He will do the rest.  He won't need to be taught.  Shortly he
will be setting a tiny leg-of-mutton and steering with an oar.  Then he
will begin to talk keels and centreboards and want to take his blankets
out and stop aboard all night.

But don't be afraid for him.  He is bound to run risks and encounter
accidents.  Remember, there are accidents in the nursery as well as out
on the water.  More boys have died from hot-house culture than have died
on boats large and small; and more boys have been made into strong and
reliant men by boat-sailing than by lawn-croquet and dancing-school.

And once a sailor, always a sailor.  The savour of the salt never stales.
The sailor never grows so old that he does not care to go back for one
more wrestling bout with wind and wave.  I know it of myself.  I have
turned rancher, and live beyond sight of the sea.  Yet I can stay away
from it only so long.  After several months have passed, I begin to grow
restless.  I find myself day-dreaming over incidents of the last cruise,
or wondering if the striped bass are running on Wingo Slough, or eagerly
reading the newspapers for reports of the first northern flights of
ducks.  And then, suddenly, there is a hurried pack of suit-cases and
overhauling of gear, and we are off for Vallejo where the little _Roamer_
lies, waiting, always waiting, for the skiff to come alongside, for the
lighting of the fire in the galley-stove, for the pulling off of gaskets,
the swinging up of the mainsail, and the rat-tat-tat of the reef-points,
for the heaving short and the breaking out, and for the twirling of the
wheel as she fills away and heads up Bay or down.

On Board _Roamer_,
Sonoma Creek,
April 15, 1911


"Huh!  Drive four horses!  I wouldn't sit behind you--not for a thousand
dollars--over them mountain roads."

So said Henry, and he ought to have known, for he drives four horses

Said another Glen Ellen friend: "What?  London?  He drive four horses?
Can't drive one!"

And the best of it is that he was right.  Even after managing to get a
few hundred miles with my four horses, I don't know how to drive one.
Just the other day, swinging down a steep mountain road and rounding an
abrupt turn, I came full tilt on a horse and buggy being driven by a
woman up the hill.  We could not pass on the narrow road, where was only
a foot to spare, and my horses did not know how to back, especially up-
hill.  About two hundred yards down the hill was a spot where we could
pass.  The driver of the buggy said she didn't dare back down because she
was not sure of the brake.  And as I didn't know how to tackle one horse,
I didn't try it.  So we unhitched her horse and backed down by hand.
Which was very well, till it came to hitching the horse to the buggy
again.  She didn't know how.  I didn't either, and I had depended on her
knowledge.  It took us about half an hour, with frequent debates and
consultations, though it is an absolute certainty that never in its life
was that horse hitched in that particular way.

No; I can't harness up one horse.  But I can four, which compels me to
back up again to get to my beginning.  Having selected Sonoma Valley for
our abiding place, Charmian and I decided it was about time we knew what
we had in our own county and the neighbouring ones.  How to do it, was
the first question.  Among our many weaknesses is the one of being old-
fashioned.  We don't mix with gasolene very well.  And, as true sailors
should, we naturally gravitate toward horses.  Being one of those lucky
individuals who carries his office under his hat, I should have to take a
typewriter and a load of books along.  This put saddle-horses out of the
running.  Charmian suggested driving a span.  She had faith in me;
besides, she could drive a span herself.  But when I thought of the many
mountains to cross, and of crossing them for three months with a poor
tired span, I vetoed the proposition and said we'd have to come back to
gasolene after all.  This she vetoed just as emphatically, and a deadlock
obtained until I received inspiration.

"Why not drive four horses?" I said.

"But you don't know how to drive four horses," was her objection.

I threw my chest out and my shoulders back.  "What man has done, I can
do," I proclaimed grandly.  "And please don't forget that when we sailed
on the _Snark_ I knew nothing of navigation, and that I taught myself as
I sailed."

"Very well," she said.  (And there's faith for you! )  "They shall be
four saddle horses, and we'll strap our saddles on behind the rig."

It was my turn to object.  "Our saddle horses are not broken to harness."

"Then break them."

And what I knew about horses, much less about breaking them, was just
about as much as any sailor knows.  Having been kicked, bucked off,
fallen over backward upon, and thrown out and run over, on very numerous
occasions, I had a mighty vigorous respect for horses; but a wife's faith
must be lived up to, and I went at it.

King was a polo pony from St. Louis, and Prince a many-gaited love-horse
from Pasadena.  The hardest thing was to get them to dig in and pull.
They rollicked along on the levels and galloped down the hills, but when
they struck an up-grade and felt the weight of the breaking-cart, they
stopped and turned around and looked at me.  But I passed them, and my
troubles began.  Milda was fourteen years old, an unadulterated broncho,
and in temperament was a combination of mule and jack-rabbit blended
equally.  If you pressed your hand on her flank and told her to get over,
she lay down on you.  If you got her by the head and told her to back,
she walked forward over you.  And if you got behind her and shoved and
told her to "Giddap!" she sat down on you.  Also, she wouldn't walk.  For
endless weary miles I strove with her, but never could I get her to walk
a step.  Finally, she was a manger-glutton.  No matter how near or far
from the stable, when six o'clock came around she bolted for home and
never missed the directest cross-road.  Many times I rejected her.

The fourth and most rejected horse of all was the Outlaw.  From the age
of three to seven she had defied all horse-breakers and broken a number
of them.  Then a long, lanky cowboy, with a fifty-pound saddle and a
Mexican bit had got her proud goat.  I was the next owner.  She was my
favourite riding horse.  Charmian said I'd have to put her in as a
wheeler where I would have more control over her.  Now Charmian had a
favourite riding mare called Maid.  I suggested Maid as a substitute.
Charmian pointed out that my mare was a branded range horse, while hers
was a near-thoroughbred, and that the legs of her mare would be ruined
forever if she were driven for three months.  I acknowledged her mare's
thoroughbredness, and at the same time defied her to find any
thoroughbred with as small and delicately-viciously pointed ears as my
Outlaw.  She indicated Maid's exquisitely thin shinbone.  I measured the
Outlaw's.  It was equally thin, although, I insinuated, possibly more
durable.  This stabbed Charmian's pride.  Of course her near-thoroughbred
Maid, carrying the blood of "old" Lexington, Morella, and a streak of the
super-enduring Morgan, could run, walk, and work my unregistered Outlaw
into the ground; and that was the very precise reason why such a paragon
of a saddle animal should not be degraded by harness.

So it was that Charmian remained obdurate, until, one day, I got her
behind the Outlaw for a forty-mile drive.  For every inch of those forty
miles the Outlaw kicked and jumped, in between the kicks and jumps
finding time and space in which to seize its team-mate by the back of the
neck and attempt to drag it to the ground.  Another trick the Outlaw
developed during that drive was suddenly to turn at right angles in the
traces and endeavour to butt its team-mate over the grade.  Reluctantly
and nobly did Charmian give in and consent to the use of Maid.  The
Outlaw's shoes were pulled off, and she was turned out on range.

Finally, the four horses were hooked to the rig--a light Studebaker trap.
With two hours and a half of practice, in which the excitement was not
abated by several jack-poles and numerous kicking matches, I announced
myself as ready for the start.  Came the morning, and Prince, who was to
have been a wheeler with Maid, showed up with a badly kicked shoulder.  He
did not exactly show up; we had to find him, for he was unable to walk.
His leg swelled and continually swelled during the several days we waited
for him.  Remained only the Outlaw.  In from pasture she came, shoes were
nailed on, and she was harnessed into the wheel.  Friends and relatives
strove to press accident policies on me, but Charmian climbed up
alongside, and Nakata got into the rear seat with the typewriter--Nakata,
who sailed cabin-boy on the Snark for two years and who had shown himself
afraid of nothing, not even of me and my amateur jamborees in
experimenting with new modes of locomotion.  And we did very nicely,
thank you, especially after the first hour or so, during which time the
Outlaw had kicked about fifty various times, chiefly to the damage of her
own legs and the paintwork, and after she had bitten a couple of hundred
times, to the damage of Maid's neck and Charmian's temper.  It was hard
enough to have her favourite mare in the harness without also enduring
the spectacle of its being eaten alive.

Our leaders were joys.  King being a polo pony and Milda a rabbit, they
rounded curves beautifully and darted ahead like coyotes out of the way
of the wheelers.  Milda's besetting weakness was a frantic desire not to
have the lead-bar strike her hocks.  When this happened, one of three
things occurred: either she sat down on the lead-bar, kicked it up in the
air until she got her back under it, or exploded in a straight-ahead,
harness-disrupting jump.  Not until she carried the lead-bar clean away
and danced a break-down on it and the traces, did she behave decently.
Nakata and I made the repairs with good old-fashioned bale-rope, which is
stronger than wrought-iron any time, and we went on our way.

In the meantime I was learning--I shall not say to tool a
four-in-hand--but just simply to drive four horses.  Now it is all right
enough to begin with four work-horses pulling a load of several tons.  But
to begin with four light horses, all running, and a light rig that seems
to outrun them--well, when things happen they happen quickly.  My
weakness was total ignorance.  In particular, my fingers lacked training,
and I made the mistake of depending on my eyes to handle the reins.  This
brought me up against a disastrous optical illusion.  The bight of the
off head-line, being longer and heavier than that of the off wheel-line,
hung lower.  In a moment requiring quick action, I invariably mistook the
two lines.  Pulling on what I thought was the wheel-line, in order to
straighten the team, I would see the leaders swing abruptly around into a
jack-pole.  Now for sensations of sheer impotence, nothing can compare
with a jack-pole, when the horrified driver beholds his leaders prancing
gaily up the road and his wheelers jogging steadily down the road, all at
the same time and all harnessed together and to the same rig.

I no longer jack-pole, and I don't mind admitting how I got out of the
habit.  It was my eyes that enslaved my fingers into ill practices.  So I
shut my eyes and let the fingers go it alone.  To-day my fingers are
independent of my eyes and work automatically.  I do not see what my
fingers do.  They just do it.  All I see is the satisfactory result.

Still we managed to get over the ground that first day--down sunny Sonoma
Valley to the old town of Sonoma, founded by General Vallejo as the
remotest outpost on the northern frontier for the purpose of holding back
the Gentiles, as the wild Indians of those days were called.  Here
history was made.  Here the last Spanish mission was reared; here the
Bear flag was raised; and here Kit Carson, and Fremont, and all our early
adventurers came and rested in the days before the days of gold.

We swung on over the low, rolling hills, through miles of dairy farms and
chicken ranches where every blessed hen is white, and down the slopes to
Petaluma Valley.  Here, in 1776, Captain Quiros came up Petaluma Creek
from San Pablo Bay in quest of an outlet to Bodega Bay on the coast.  And
here, later, the Russians, with Alaskan hunters, carried skin boats
across from Fort Ross to poach for sea-otters on the Spanish preserve of
San Francisco Bay.  Here, too, still later, General Vallejo built a fort,
which still stands--one of the finest examples of Spanish adobe that
remain to us.  And here, at the old fort, to bring the chronicle up to
date, our horses proceeded to make peculiarly personal history with
astonishing success and dispatch.  King, our peerless, polo-pony leader,
went lame.  So hopelessly lame did he go that no expert, then and
afterward, could determine whether the lameness was in his frogs, hoofs,
legs, shoulders, or head.  Maid picked up a nail and began to limp.
Milda, figuring the day already sufficiently spent and maniacal with
manger-gluttony, began to rabbit-jump.  All that held her was the bale-
rope.  And the Outlaw, game to the last, exceeded all previous
exhibitions of skin-removing, paint-marring, and horse-eating.

At Petaluma we rested over while King was returned to the ranch and
Prince sent to us.  Now Prince had proved himself an excellent wheeler,
yet he had to go into the lead and let the Outlaw retain his old place.
There is an axiom that a good wheeler is a poor leader.  I object to the
last adjective.  A good wheeler makes an infinitely worse kind of a
leader than that.  I know . . . now.  I ought to know.  Since that day I
have driven Prince a few hundred miles in the lead.  He is neither any
better nor any worse than the first mile he ran in the lead; and his
worst is even extremely worse than what you are thinking.  Not that he is
vicious.  He is merely a good-natured rogue who shakes hands for sugar,
steps on your toes out of sheer excessive friendliness, and just goes on
loving you in your harshest moments.

But he won't get out of the way.  Also, whenever he is reproved for being
in the wrong, he accuses Milda of it and bites the back of her neck.  So
bad has this become that whenever I yell "Prince!" in a loud voice, Milda
immediately rabbit-jumps to the side, straight ahead, or sits down on the
lead-bar.  All of which is quite disconcerting.  Picture it yourself.  You
are swinging round a sharp, down-grade, mountain curve, at a fast trot.
The rock wall is the outside of the curve.  The inside of the curve is a
precipice.  The continuance of the curve is a narrow, unrailed bridge.
You hit the curve, throwing the leaders in against the wall and making
the polo-horse do the work.  All is lovely.  The leaders are hugging the
wall like nestling doves.  But the moment comes in the evolution when the
leaders must shoot out ahead.  They really must shoot, or else they'll
hit the wall and miss the bridge.  Also, behind them are the wheelers,
and the rig, and you have just eased the brake in order to put sufficient
snap into the manoeuvre.  If ever team-work is required, now is the time.
Milda tries to shoot.  She does her best, but Prince, bubbling over with
roguishness, lags behind.  He knows the trick.  Milda is half a length
ahead of him.  He times it to the fraction of a second.  Maid, in the
wheel, over-running him, naturally bites him.  This disturbs the Outlaw,
who has been behaving beautifully, and she immediately reaches across for
Maid.  Simultaneously, with a fine display of firm conviction that it's
all Milda's fault, Prince sinks his teeth into the back of Milda's
defenceless neck.  The whole thing has occurred in less than a second.
Under the surprise and pain of the bite, Milda either jumps ahead to the
imminent peril of harness and lead-bar, or smashes into the wall, stops
short with the lead-bar over her back, and emits a couple of hysterical
kicks.  The Outlaw invariably selects this moment to remove paint.  And
after things are untangled and you have had time to appreciate the close
shave, you go up to Prince and reprove him with your choicest vocabulary.
And Prince, gazelle-eyed and tender, offers to shake hands with you for
sugar.  I leave it to any one: a boat would never act that way.

We have some history north of the Bay.  Nearly three centuries and a half
ago, that doughty pirate and explorer, Sir Francis Drake, combing the
Pacific for Spanish galleons, anchored in the bight formed by Point
Reyes, on which to-day is one of the richest dairy regions in the world.
Here, less than two decades after Drake, Sebastien Carmenon piled up on
the rocks with a silk-laden galleon from the Philippines.  And in this
same bay of Drake, long afterward, the Russian fur-poachers rendezvous'd
their _bidarkas_ and stole in through the Golden Gate to the forbidden
waters of San Francisco Bay.

Farther up the coast, in Sonoma County, we pilgrimaged to the sites of
the Russian settlements.  At Bodega Bay, south of what to-day is called
Russian River, was their anchorage, while north of the river they built
their fort.  And much of Fort Ross still stands.  Log-bastions, church,
and stables hold their own, and so well, with rusty hinges creaking, that
we warmed ourselves at the hundred-years-old double fireplace and slept
under the hand-hewn roof beams still held together by spikes of
hand-wrought iron.

We went to see where history had been made, and we saw scenery as well.
One of our stretches in a day's drive was from beautiful Inverness on
Tomales Bay, down the Olema Valley to Bolinas Bay, along the eastern
shore of that body of water to Willow Camp, and up over the sea-bluffs,
around the bastions of Tamalpais, and down to Sausalito.  From the head
of Bolinas Bay to Willow Camp the drive on the edge of the beach, and
actually, for half-mile stretches, in the waters of the bay itself, was a
delightful experience.  The wonderful part was to come.  Very few San
Franciscans, much less Californians, know of that drive from Willow Camp,
to the south and east, along the poppy-blown cliffs, with the sea
thundering in the sheer depths hundreds of feet below and the Golden Gate
opening up ahead, disclosing smoky San Francisco on her many hills.  Far
off, blurred on the breast of the sea, can be seen the Farallones, which
Sir Francis Drake passed on a S. W. course in the thick of what he
describes as a "stynking fog."  Well might he call it that, and a few
other names, for it was the fog that robbed him of the glory of
discovering San Francisco Bay.

It was on this part of the drive that I decided at last I was learning
real mountain-driving.  To confess the truth, for delicious titillation
of one's nerve, I have since driven over no mountain road that was worse,
or better, rather, than that piece.

And then the contrast!  From Sausalito, over excellent, park-like
boulevards, through the splendid redwoods and homes of Mill Valley,
across the blossomed hills of Marin County, along the knoll-studded
picturesque marshes, past San Rafael resting warmly among her hills, over
the divide and up the Petaluma Valley, and on to the grassy feet of
Sonoma Mountain and home.  We covered fifty-five miles that day.  Not so
bad, eh, for Prince the Rogue, the paint-removing Outlaw, the
thin-shanked thoroughbred, and the rabbit-jumper?  And they came in cool
and dry, ready for their mangers and the straw.

Oh, we didn't stop.  We considered we were just starting, and that was
many weeks ago.  We have kept on going over six counties which are
comfortably large, even for California, and we are still going.  We have
twisted and tabled, criss-crossed our tracks, made fascinating and
lengthy dives into the interior valleys in the hearts of Napa and Lake
Counties, travelled the coast for hundreds of miles on end, and are now
in Eureka, on Humboldt Bay, which was discovered by accident by the gold-
seekers, who were trying to find their way to and from the Trinity
diggings.  Even here, the white man's history preceded them, for dim
tradition says that the Russians once anchored here and hunted sea-otter
before the first Yankee trader rounded the Horn, or the first Rocky
Mountain trapper thirsted across the "Great American Desert" and trickled
down the snowy Sierras to the sun-kissed land.  No; we are not resting
our horses here on Humboldt Bay.  We are writing this article, gorging on
abalones and mussels, digging clams, and catching record-breaking sea-
trout and rock-cod in the intervals in which we are not sailing, motor-
boating, and swimming in the most temperately equable climate we have
ever experienced.

These comfortably large counties!  They are veritable empires.  Take
Humboldt, for instance.  It is three times as large as Rhode Island, one
and a half times as large as Delaware, almost as large as Connecticut,
and half as large as Massachusetts.  The pioneer has done his work in
this north of the bay region, the foundations are laid, and all is ready
for the inevitable inrush of population and adequate development of
resources which so far have been no more than skimmed, and casually and
carelessly skimmed at that.  This region of the six counties alone will
some day support a population of millions.  In the meanwhile, O you home-
seekers, you wealth-seekers, and, above all, you climate-seekers, now is
the time to get in on the ground floor.

Robert Ingersoll once said that the genial climate of California would in
a fairly brief time evolve a race resembling the Mexicans, and that in
two or three generations the Californians would be seen of a Sunday
morning on their way to a cockfight with a rooster under each arm.  Never
was made a rasher generalisation, based on so absolute an ignorance of
facts.  It is to laugh.  Here is a climate that breeds vigour, with just
sufficient geniality to prevent the expenditure of most of that vigour in
fighting the elements.  Here is a climate where a man can work three
hundred and sixty-five days in the year without the slightest hint of
enervation, and where for three hundred and sixty-five nights he must
perforce sleep under blankets.  What more can one say?  I consider myself
somewhat of climate expert, having adventured among most of the climates
of five out of the six zones.  I have not yet been in the Antarctic, but
whatever climate obtains there will not deter me from drawing the
conclusion that nowhere is there a climate to compare with that of this
region.  Maybe I am as wrong as Ingersoll was.  Nevertheless I take my
medicine by continuing to live in this climate.  Also, it is the only
medicine I ever take.

But to return to the horses.  There is some improvement.  Milda has
actually learned to walk.  Maid has proved her thoroughbredness by never
tiring on the longest days, and, while being the strongest and highest
spirited of all, by never causing any trouble save for an occasional kick
at the Outlaw.  And the Outlaw rarely gallops, no longer butts, only
periodically kicks, comes in to the pole and does her work without
attempting to vivisect Maid's medulla oblongata, and--marvel of
marvels--is really and truly getting lazy.  But Prince remains the same
incorrigible, loving and lovable rogue he has always been.

And the country we've been over!  The drives through Napa and Lake
Counties!  One, from Sonoma Valley, via Santa Rosa, we could not refrain
from taking several ways, and on all the ways we found the roads
excellent for machines as well as horses.  One route, and a more
delightful one for an automobile cannot be found, is out from Santa Rosa,
past old Altruria and Mark West Springs, then to the right and across to
Calistoga in Napa Valley.  By keeping to the left, the drive holds on up
the Russian River Valley, through the miles of the noted Asti Vineyards
to Cloverdale, and then by way of Pieta, Witter, and Highland Springs to
Lakeport.  Still another way we took, was down Sonoma Valley, skirting
San Pablo Bay, and up the lovely Napa Valley.  From Napa were side
excursions through Pope and Berryessa Valleys, on to AEtna Springs, and
still on, into Lake County, crossing the famous Langtry Ranch.

Continuing up the Napa Valley, walled on either hand by great rock
palisades and redwood forests and carpeted with endless vineyards, and
crossing the many stone bridges for which the County is noted and which
are a joy to the beauty-loving eyes as well as to the four-horse tyro
driver, past Calistoga with its old mud-baths and chicken-soup springs,
with St. Helena and its giant saddle ever towering before us, we climbed
the mountains on a good grade and dropped down past the quicksilver mines
to the canyon of the Geysers.  After a stop over night and an exploration
of the miniature-grand volcanic scene, we pulled on across the canyon and
took the grade where the cicadas simmered audibly in the noon sunshine
among the hillside manzanitas.  Then, higher, came the big cattle-dotted
upland pastures, and the rocky summit.  And here on the summit, abruptly,
we caught a vision, or what seemed a mirage.  The ocean we had left long
days before, yet far down and away shimmered a blue sea, framed on the
farther shore by rugged mountains, on the near shore by fat and rolling
farm lands.  Clear Lake was before us, and like proper sailors we
returned to our sea, going for a sail, a fish, and a swim ere the day was
done and turning into tired Lakeport blankets in the early evening.  Well
has Lake County been called the Walled-in County.  But the railroad is
coming.  They say the approach we made to Clear Lake is similar to the
approach to Lake Lucerne.  Be that as it may, the scenery, with its
distant snow-capped peaks, can well be called Alpine.

And what can be more exquisite than the drive out from Clear Lake to
Ukiah by way of the Blue Lakes chain!--every turn bringing into view a
picture of breathless beauty; every glance backward revealing some
perfect composition in line and colour, the intense blue of the water
margined with splendid oaks, green fields, and swaths of orange poppies.
But those side glances and backward glances were provocative of trouble.
Charmian and I disagreed as to which way the connecting stream of water
ran.  We still disagree, for at the hotel, where we submitted the affair
to arbitration, the hotel manager and the clerk likewise disagreed.  I
assume, now, that we never will know which way that stream runs.  Charmian
suggests "both ways."  I refuse such a compromise.  No stream of water I
ever saw could accomplish that feat at one and the same time.  The
greatest concession I can make is that sometimes it may run one way and
sometimes the other, and that in the meantime we should both consult an

More valley from Ukiah to Willits, and then we turned westward through
the virgin Sherwood Forest of magnificent redwood, stopping at Alpine for
the night and continuing on through Mendocino County to Fort Bragg and
"salt water."  We also came to Fort Bragg up the coast from Fort Ross,
keeping our coast journey intact from the Golden Gate.  The coast weather
was cool and delightful, the coast driving superb.  Especially in the
Fort Ross section did we find the roads thrilling, while all the way
along we followed the sea.  At every stream, the road skirted dizzy cliff-
edges, dived down into lush growths of forest and ferns and climbed out
along the cliff-edges again.  The way was lined with flowers--wild lilac,
wild roses, poppies, and lupins.  Such lupins!--giant clumps of them, of
every lupin-shade and--colour.  And it was along the Mendocino roads that
Charmian caused many delays by insisting on getting out to pick the wild
blackberries, strawberries, and thimble-berries which grew so profusely.
And ever we caught peeps, far down, of steam schooners loading lumber in
the rocky coves; ever we skirted the cliffs, day after day, crossing
stretches of rolling farm lands and passing through thriving villages and
saw-mill towns.  Memorable was our launch-trip from Mendocino City up Big
River, where the steering gears of the launches work the reverse of
anywhere else in the world; where we saw a stream of logs, of six to
twelve and fifteen feet in diameter, which filled the river bed for miles
to the obliteration of any sign of water; and where we were told of a
white or albino redwood tree.  We did not see this last, so cannot vouch
for it.

All the streams were filled with trout, and more than once we saw the
side-hill salmon on the slopes.  No, side-hill salmon is not a
peripatetic fish; it is a deer out of season.  But the trout!  At Gualala
Charmian caught her first one.  Once before in my life I had caught two
. . . on angleworms.  On occasion I had tried fly and spinner and never got
a strike, and I had come to believe that all this talk of fly-fishing was
just so much nature-faking.  But on the Gualala River I caught trout--a
lot of them--on fly and spinners; and I was beginning to feel quite an
expert, until Nakata, fishing on bottom with a pellet of bread for bait,
caught the biggest trout of all.  I now affirm there is nothing in
science nor in art.  Nevertheless, since that day poles and baskets have
been added to our baggage, we tackle every stream we come to, and we no
longer are able to remember the grand total of our catch.

At Usal, many hilly and picturesque miles north of Fort Bragg, we turned
again into the interior of Mendocino, crossing the ranges and coming out
in Humboldt County on the south fork of Eel River at Garberville.
Throughout the trip, from Marin County north, we had been warned of "bad
roads ahead."  Yet we never found those bad roads.  We seemed always to
be just ahead of them or behind them.  The farther we came the better the
roads seemed, though this was probably due to the fact that we were
learning more and more what four horses and a light rig could do on a
road.  And thus do I save my face with all the counties.  I refuse to
make invidious road comparisons.  I can add that while, save in rare
instances on steep pitches, I have trotted my horses down all the grades,
I have never had one horse fall down nor have I had to send the rig to a
blacksmith shop for repairs.

Also, I am learning to throw leather.  If any tyro thinks it is easy to
take a short-handled, long-lashed whip, and throw the end of that lash
just where he wants it, let him put on automobile goggles and try it.  On
reconsideration, I would suggest the substitution of a wire fencing-mask
for the goggles.  For days I looked at that whip.  It fascinated me, and
the fascination was composed mostly of fear.  At my first attempt,
Charmian and Nakata became afflicted with the same sort of fascination,
and for a long time afterward, whenever they saw me reach for the whip,
they closed their eyes and shielded their heads with their arms.

Here's the problem.  Instead of pulling honestly, Prince is lagging back
and manoeuvring for a bite at Milda's neck.  I have four reins in my
hands.  I must put these four reins into my left hand, properly gather
the whip handle and the bight of the lash in my right hand, and throw
that lash past Maid without striking her and into Prince.  If the lash
strikes Maid, her thoroughbredness will go up in the air, and I'll have a
case of horse hysteria on my hands for the next half hour.  But follow.
The whole problem is not yet stated.  Suppose that I miss Maid and reach
the intended target.  The instant the lash cracks, the four horses jump,
Prince most of all, and his jump, with spread wicked teeth, is for the
back of Milda's neck.  She jumps to escape--which is her second jump, for
the first one came when the lash exploded.  The Outlaw reaches for Maid's
neck, and Maid, who has already jumped and tried to bolt, tries to bolt
harder.  And all this infinitesimal fraction of time I am trying to hold
the four animals with my left hand, while my whip-lash, writhing through
the air, is coming back to me.  Three simultaneous things I must do: keep
hold of the four reins with my left hand; slam on the brake with my foot;
and on the rebound catch that flying lash in the hollow of my right arm
and get the bight of it safely into my right hand.  Then I must get two
of the four lines back into my right hand and keep the horses from
running away or going over the grade.  Try it some time.  You will find
life anything but wearisome.  Why, the first time I hit the mark and made
the lash go off like a revolver shot, I was so astounded and delighted
that I was paralysed.  I forgot to do any of the multitudinous other
things, tangled the whip lash in Maid's harness, and was forced to call
upon Charmian for assistance.  And now, confession.  I carry a few
pebbles handy.  They're great for reaching Prince in a tight place.  But
just the same I'm learning that whip every day, and before I get home I
hope to discard the pebbles.  And as long as I rely on pebbles, I cannot
truthfully speak of myself as "tooling a four-in-hand."

From Garberville, where we ate eel to repletion and got acquainted with
the aborigines, we drove down the Eel River Valley for two days through
the most unthinkably glorious body of redwood timber to be seen anywhere
in California.  From Dyerville on to Eureka, we caught glimpses of
railroad construction and of great concrete bridges in the course of
building, which advertised that at least Humboldt County was going to be
linked to the rest of the world.

We still consider our trip is just begun.  As soon as this is mailed from
Eureka, it's heigh ho! for the horses and pull on.  We shall continue up
the coast, turn in for Hoopa Reservation and the gold mines, and shoot
down the Trinity and Klamath rivers in Indian canoes to Requa.  After
that, we shall go on through Del Norte County and into Oregon.  The trip
so far has justified us in taking the attitude that we won't go home
until the winter rains drive us in.  And, finally, I am going to try the
experiment of putting the Outlaw in the lead and relegating Prince to his
old position in the near wheel.  I won't need any pebbles then.


It was at Quito, the mountain capital of Ecuador, that the following
passage at correspondence took place.  Having occasion to buy a pair of
shoes in a shop six feet by eight in size and with walls three feet
thick, I noticed a mangy leopard skin on the floor.  I had no Spanish.
The shop-keeper had no English.  But I was an adept at sign language.  I
wanted to know where I should go to buy leopard skins.  On my scribble-
pad I drew the interesting streets of a city.  Then I drew a small shop,
which, after much effort, I persuaded the proprietor into recognising as
his shop.  Next, I indicated in my drawing that on the many streets there
were many shops.  And, finally, I made myself into a living interrogation
mark, pointing all the while from the mangy leopard skin to the many
shops I had sketched.

But the proprietor failed to follow me.  So did his assistant.  The
street came in to help--that is, as many as could crowd into the six-by-
eight shop; while those that could not force their way in held an
overflow meeting on the sidewalk.  The proprietor and the rest took turns
at talking to me in rapid-fire Spanish, and, from the expressions on
their faces, all concluded that I was remarkably stupid.  Again I went
through my programme, pointing on the sketch from the one shop to the
many shops, pointing out that in this particular shop was one leopard
skin, and then questing interrogatively with my pencil among all the
shops.  All regarded me in blank silence, until I saw comprehension
suddenly dawn on the face of a small boy.

"Tigres montanya!" he cried.

This appealed to me as mountain tigers, namely, leopards; and in token
that he understood, the boy made signs for me to follow him, which I
obeyed.  He led me for a quarter of a mile, and paused before the doorway
of a large building where soldiers slouched on sentry duty and in and out
of which went other soldiers.  Motioning for me to remain, he ran inside.

Fifteen minutes later he was out again, without leopard skins, but full
of information.  By means of my card, of my hotel card, of my watch, and
of the boy's fingers, I learned the following: that at six o'clock that
evening he would arrive at my hotel with ten leopard skins for my
inspection.  Further, I learned that the skins were the property of one
Captain Ernesto Becucci.  Also, I learned that the boy's name was Eliceo.

The boy was prompt.  At six o'clock he was at my room.  In his hand was a
small roll addressed to me.  On opening it I found it to be manuscript
piano music, the _Hora Tranquila Valse_, or "Tranquil Hour Waltz," by
Ernesto Becucci.  I came for leopard skins, thought I, and the owner
sends me sheet music instead.  But the boy assured me that he would have
the skins at the hotel at nine next morning, and I entrusted to him the
following letter of acknowledgment:


   "A thousand thanks for your kind presentation of _Hora Tranquila
   Valse_.  Mrs. London will play it for me this evening.

   "Sincerely yours,

   "Jack London."

Next morning Eliceo was back, but without the skins.  Instead, he gave me
a letter, written in Spanish, of which the following is a free

   "To my dearest and always appreciated friend, I submit myself--


   "I sent you last night an offering by the bearer of this note, and you
   returned me a letter which I translated.

   "Be it known to you, sir, that I am giving this waltz away in the best
   society, and therefore to your honoured self.  Therefore it is
   beholden to you to recognise the attention, I mean by a tangible
   return, as this composition was made by myself.  You will therefore
   send by your humble servant, the bearer, any offering, however minute,
   that you may be prompted to make.  Send it under cover of an envelope.
   The bearer may be trusted.

   "I did not indulge in the pleasure of visiting your honourable self
   this morning, as I find my body not to be enjoying the normal exercise
   of its functions.

   "As regards the skins from the mountain, you shall be waited on by a
   small boy at seven o'clock at night with ten skins from which you may
   select those which most satisfy your aspirations.

   "In the hope that you will look upon this in the same light as myself,
   I beg to be allowed to remain,

   "Your most faithful servant,


Well, thought I, this Captain Ernesto Becucci has shown himself to be
such an undependable person, that, while I don't mind rewarding him for
his composition, I fear me if I do I never shall lay eyes on those
leopard skins.  So to Eliceo I gave this letter for the Captain:


   "Have the boy bring the skins at seven o'clock this evening, when I
   shall be glad to look at them.  This evening when the boy brings the
   skins, I shall be pleased to give him, in an envelope, for you, a
   tangible return for your musical composition.

   "Please put the price on each skin, and also let me know for what sum
   all the skins will sell together.

   "Sincerely yours,


Now, thought I, I have him.  No skins, no tangible return; and evidently
he is set on receiving that tangible return.

At seven o'clock Eliceo was back, but without leopard skins.  He handed
me this letter:


   "I wish to instil in you the belief that I lost to-day, at half past
   three in the afternoon, the key to my cubicle.  While distributing
   rations to the soldiers I dropped it.  I see in this loss the act of

   "I received a letter from your honourable self, delivered by the one
   who bears you this poor response of mine.  To-morrow I will burst open
   the door to permit me to keep my word with you.  I feel myself
   eternally shamed not to be able to dominate the evils that afflict
   colonial mankind.  Please send me the trifle that you offered me.  Send
   me this proof of your appreciation by the bearer, who is to be
   trusted.  Also give to him a small sum of money for himself, and earn
   the undying gratitude of

   "Your most faithful servant,


Also, inclosed in the foregoing letter was the following original poem, a
propos neither of leopard skins nor tangible returns, so far as I can
make out:


   Thou canst not weep;
   Nor ask I for a year
   To rid me of my woes
   Or make my life more dear.

   The mystic chains that bound
   Thy all-fond heart to mine,
   Alas! asundered are
   For now and for all time.

   In vain you strove to hide,
   From vulgar gaze of man,
   The burning glance of love
   That none but Love can scan.

   Go on thy starlit way
   And leave me to my fate;
   Our souls must needs unite--
   But, God! 'twill be too late.

To all and sundry of which I replied:


   "I regret exceedingly to hear that by act of God, at half past three
   this afternoon, you lost the key to your cubicle.  Please have the boy
   bring the skins at seven o'clock to-morrow morning, at which time,
   when he brings the skins, I shall be glad to make you that tangible
   return for your 'Tranquil Hour Waltz.'

   "Sincerely yours,


At seven o'clock came no skins, but the following:


   "After offering you my most sincere respects, I beg to continue by
   telling you that no one, up to the time of writing, has treated me
   with such lack of attention.  It was a present to _gentlemen_ who were
   to retain the piece of music, and who have all, without exception,
   made me a present of five dollars.  It is beyond my humble capacity to
   believe that you, after having offered to send me money in an
   envelope, should fail to do so.

   "Send me, I pray of you, the money to remunerate the small boy for his
   repeated visits to you.  Please be discreet and send it in an envelope
   by the bearer.

   "Last night I came to the hotel with the boy.  You were dining.  I
   waited more than an hour for you and then went to the theatre.  Give
   the boy some small amount, and send me a like offering of larger

   "Awaiting incessantly a slight attention on your part,


And here, like one of George Moore's realistic studies, ends this
intercourse with Captain Ernesto Becucci.  Nothing happened.  Nothing
ever came to anything.  He got no tangible return, and I got no leopard
skins.  The tangible return he might have got, I presented to Eliceo, who
promptly invested it in a pair of trousers and a ticket to the

(NOTE TO EDITOR.--This is a faithful narration of what actually happened
in Quito, Ecuador.)


The month in which my seventeenth birthday arrived I signed on before the
mast on the _Sophie Sutherland_, a three-topmast schooner bound on a
seven-months' seal-hunting cruise to the coast of Japan.  We sailed from
San Francisco, and immediately I found confronting me a problem of no
inconsiderable proportions.  There were twelve men of us in the
forecastle, ten of whom were hardened, tarry-thumbed sailors.  Not alone
was I a youth and on my first voyage, but I had for shipmates men who had
come through the hard school of the merchant service of Europe.  As boys,
they had had to perform their ship's duty, and, in addition, by
immemorial sea custom, they had had to be the slaves of the ordinary and
able-bodied seamen.  When they became ordinary seamen they were still the
slaves of the able-bodied.  Thus, in the forecastle, with the watch
below, an able seaman, lying in his bunk, will order an ordinary seaman
to fetch him his shoes or bring him a drink of water.  Now the ordinary
seaman may be lying in _his_ bunk.  He is just as tired as the able
seaman.  Yet he must get out of his bunk and fetch and carry.  If he
refuses, he will be beaten.  If, perchance, he is so strong that he can
whip the able seaman, then all the able seamen, or as many as may be
necessary, pitch upon the luckless devil and administer the beating.

My problem now becomes apparent.  These hard-bit Scandinavian sailors had
come through a hard school.  As boys they had served their mates, and as
able seamen they looked to be served by other boys.  I was a boy--withal
with a man's body.  I had never been to sea before--withal I was a good
sailor and knew my business.  It was either a case of holding my own with
them or of going under.  I had signed on as an equal, and an equal I must
maintain myself, or else endure seven months of hell at their hands.  And
it was this very equality they resented.  By what right was I an equal?  I
had not earned that high privilege.  I had not endured the miseries they
had endured as maltreated boys or bullied ordinaries.  Worse than that, I
was a land-lubber making his first voyage.  And yet, by the injustice of
fate, on the ship's articles I was their equal.

My method was deliberate, and simple, and drastic.  In the first place, I
resolved to do my work, no matter how hard or dangerous it might be, so
well that no man would be called upon to do it for me.  Further, I put
ginger in my muscles.  I never malingered when pulling on a rope, for I
knew the eagle eyes of my forecastle mates were squinting for just such
evidences of my inferiority.  I made it a point to be among the first of
the watch going on deck, among the last going below, never leaving a
sheet or tackle for some one else to coil over a pin.  I was always eager
for the run aloft for the shifting of topsail sheets and tacks, or for
the setting or taking in of topsails; and in these matters I did more
than my share.

Furthermore, I was on a hair-trigger of resentment myself.  I knew better
than to accept any abuse or the slightest patronizing.  At the first hint
of such, I went off--I exploded.  I might be beaten in the subsequent
fight, but I left the impression that I was a wild-cat and that I would
just as willingly fight again.  My intention was to demonstrate that I
would tolerate no imposition.  I proved that the man who imposed on me
must have a fight on his hands.  And doing my work well, the innate
justice of the men, assisted by their wholesome dislike for a clawing and
rending wild-cat ruction, soon led them to give over their hectoring.
After a bit of strife, my attitude was accepted, and it was my pride that
I was taken in as an equal in spirit as well as in fact.  From then on,
everything was beautiful, and the voyage promised to be a happy one.

But there was one other man in the forecastle.  Counting the
Scandinavians as ten, and myself as the eleventh, this man was the
twelfth and last.  We never knew his name, contenting ourselves with
calling him the "Bricklayer."  He was from Missouri--at least he so
informed us in the one meagre confidence he was guilty of in the early
days of the voyage.  Also, at that time, we learned several other things.
He was a bricklayer by trade.  He had never even seen salt water until
the week before he joined us, at which time he had arrived in San
Francisco and looked upon San Francisco Bay.  Why he, of all men, at
forty years of age, should have felt the prod to go to sea, was beyond
all of us; for it was our unanimous conviction that no man less fitted
for the sea had ever embarked on it.  But to sea he had come.  After a
week's stay in a sailors' boarding-house, he had been shoved aboard of us
as an able seaman.

All hands had to do his work for him.  Not only did he know nothing, but
he proved himself unable to learn anything.  Try as they would, they
could never teach him to steer.  To him the compass must have been a
profound and awful whirligig.  He never mastered its cardinal points,
much less the checking and steadying of the ship on her course.  He never
did come to know whether ropes should be coiled from left to right or
from right to left.  It was mentally impossible for him to learn the easy
muscular trick of throwing his weight on a rope in pulling and hauling.
The simplest knots and turns were beyond his comprehension, while he was
mortally afraid of going aloft.  Bullied by captain and mate, he was one
day forced aloft.  He managed to get underneath the crosstrees, and there
he froze to the ratlines.  Two sailors had to go after him to help him

All of which was bad enough had there been no worse.  But he was vicious,
malignant, dirty, and without common decency.  He was a tall, powerful
man, and he fought with everybody.  And there was no fairness in his
fighting.  His first fight on board, the first day out, was with me, when
he, desiring to cut a plug of chewing tobacco, took my personal table-
knife for the purpose, and whereupon, I, on a hair-trigger, promptly
exploded.  After that he fought with nearly every member of the crew.
When his clothing became too filthy to be bearable by the rest of us, we
put it to soak and stood over him while he washed it.  In short, the
Bricklayer was one of those horrible and monstrous things that one must
see in order to be convinced that they exist.

I will only say that he was a beast, and that we treated him like a
beast.  It is only by looking back through the years that I realise how
heartless we were to him.  He was without sin.  He could not, by the very
nature of things, have been anything else than he was.  He had not made
himself, and for his making he was not responsible.  Yet we treated him
as a free agent and held him personally responsible for all that he was
and that he should not have been.  As a result, our treatment of him was
as terrible as he was himself terrible.  Finally we gave him the silent
treatment, and for weeks before he died we neither spoke to him nor did
he speak to us.  And for weeks he moved among us, or lay in his bunk in
our crowded house, grinning at us his hatred and malignancy.  He was a
dying man, and he knew it, and we knew it.  And furthermore, he knew that
we wanted him to die.  He cumbered our life with his presence, and ours
was a rough life that made rough men of us.  And so he died, in a small
space crowded by twelve men and as much alone as if he had died on some
desolate mountain peak.  No kindly word, no last word, was passed
between.  He died as he had lived, a beast, and he died hating us and
hated by us.

And now I come to the most startling moment of my life.  No sooner was he
dead than he was flung overboard.  He died in a night of wind, drawing
his last breath as the men tumbled into their oilskins to the cry of "All
hands!"  And he was flung overboard, several hours later, on a day of
wind.  Not even a canvas wrapping graced his mortal remains; nor was he
deemed worthy of bars of iron at his feet.  We sewed him up in the
blankets in which he died and laid him on a hatch-cover for'ard of the
main-hatch on the port side.  A gunnysack, half full of galley coal, was
fastened to his feet.

It was bitter cold.  The weather-side of every rope, spar, and stay was
coated with ice, while all the rigging was a harp, singing and shouting
under the fierce hand of the wind.  The schooner, hove to, lurched and
floundered through the sea, rolling her scuppers under and perpetually
flooding the deck with icy salt water.  We of the forecastle stood in sea-
boots and oilskins.  Our hands were mittened, but our heads were bared in
the presence of the death we did not respect.  Our ears stung and numbed
and whitened, and we yearned for the body to be gone.  But the
interminable reading of the burial service went on.  The captain had
mistaken his place, and while he read on without purpose we froze our
ears and resented this final hardship thrust upon us by the helpless
cadaver.  As from the beginning, so to the end, everything had gone wrong
with the Bricklayer.  Finally, the captain's son, irritated beyond
measure, jerked the book from the palsied fingers of the old man and
found the place.  Again the quavering voice of the captain arose.  Then
came the cue: "And the body shall be cast into the sea."  We elevated one
end of the hatch-cover, and the Bricklayer plunged outboard and was gone.

Back into the forecastle we cleaned house, washing out the dead man's
bunk and removing every vestige of him.  By sea law and sea custom, we
should have gathered his effects together and turned them over to the
captain, who, later, would have held an auction in which we should have
bid for the various articles.  But no man wanted them, so we tossed them
up on deck and overboard in the wake of the departed body--the last ill-
treatment we could devise to wreak upon the one we had hated so.  Oh, it
was raw, believe me; but the life we lived was raw, and we were as raw as
the life.

The Bricklayer's bunk was better than mine.  Less sea water leaked down
through the deck into it, and the light was better for lying in bed and
reading.  Partly for this reason I proceeded to move into his bunk.  My
other reason was pride.  I saw the sailors were superstitious, and by
this act I determined to show that I was braver than they.  I would cap
my proved equality by a deed that would compel their recognition of my
superiority.  Oh, the arrogance of youth!  But let that pass.  The
sailors were appalled by my intention.  One and all, they warned me that
in the history of the sea no man had taken a dead man's bunk and lived to
the end of the voyage.  They instanced case after case in their personal
experience.  I was obdurate.  Then they begged and pleaded with me, and
my pride was tickled in that they showed they really liked me and were
concerned about me.  This but served to confirm me in my madness.  I
moved in, and, lying in the dead man's bunk, all afternoon and evening
listened to dire prophecies of my future.  Also were told stories of
awful deaths and gruesome ghosts that secretly shivered the hearts of all
of us.  Saturated with this, yet scoffing at it, I rolled over at the end
of the second dog-watch and went to sleep.

At ten minutes to twelve I was called, and at twelve I was dressed and on
deck, relieving the man who had called me.  On the sealing grounds, when
hove to, a watch of only a single man is kept through the night, each man
holding the deck for an hour.  It was a dark night, though not a black
one.  The gale was breaking up, and the clouds were thinning.  There
should have been a moon, and, though invisible, in some way a dim,
suffused radiance came from it.  I paced back and forth across the deck
amidships.  My mind was filled with the event of the day and with the
horrible tales my shipmates had told, and yet I dare to say, here and
now, that I was not afraid.  I was a healthy animal, and furthermore,
intellectually, I agreed with Swinburne that dead men rise up never.  The
Bricklayer was dead, and that was the end of it.  He would rise up
never--at least, never on the deck of the _Sophie Sutherland_.  Even then
he was in the ocean depths miles to windward of our leeward drift, and
the likelihood was that he was already portioned out in the maws of many
sharks.  Still, my mind pondered on the tales of the ghosts of dead men I
had heard, and I speculated on the spirit world.  My conclusion was that
if the spirits of the dead still roamed the world they carried the
goodness or the malignancy of the earth-life with them.  Therefore,
granting the hypothesis (which I didn't grant at all), the ghost of the
Bricklayer was bound to be as hateful and malignant as he in life had
been.  But there wasn't any Bricklayer's ghost--that I insisted upon.

A few minutes, thinking thus, I paced up and down.  Then, glancing
casually for'ard, along the port side, I leaped like a startled deer and
in a blind madness of terror rushed aft along the poop, heading for the
cabin.  Gone was all my arrogance of youth and my intellectual calm.  I
had seen a ghost.  There, in the dim light, where we had flung the dead
man overboard, I had seen a faint and wavering form.  Six-feet in length
it was, slender, and of substance so attenuated that I had distinctly
seen through it the tracery of the fore-rigging.

As for me, I was as panic-stricken as a frightened horse.  I, as I, had
ceased to exist.  Through me were vibrating the fibre-instincts of ten
thousand generations of superstitious forebears who had been afraid of
the dark and the things of the dark.  I was not I.  I was, in truth,
those ten thousand forebears.  I was the race, the whole human race, in
its superstitious infancy.  Not until part way down the
cabin-companionway did my identity return to me.  I checked my flight and
clung to the steep ladder, suffocating, trembling, and dizzy.  Never,
before nor since, have I had such a shock.  I clung to the ladder and
considered.  I could not doubt my senses.  That I had seen something
there was no discussion.  But what was it?  Either a ghost or a joke.
There could be nothing else.  If a ghost, the question was: would it
appear again?  If it did not, and I aroused the ship's officers, I would
make myself the laughing stock of all on board.  And by the same token,
if it were a joke, my position would be still more ridiculous.  If I were
to retain my hard-won place of equality, it would never do to arouse any
one until I ascertained the nature of the thing.

I am a brave man.  I dare to say so; for in fear and trembling I crept up
the companion-way and went back to the spot from which I had first seen
the thing.  It had vanished.  My bravery was qualified, however.  Though
I could see nothing, I was afraid to go for'ard to the spot where I had
seen the thing.  I resumed my pacing up and down, and though I cast many
an anxious glance toward the dread spot, nothing manifested itself.  As
my equanimity returned to me, I concluded that the whole affair had been
a trick of the imagination and that I had got what I deserved for
allowing my mind to dwell on such matters.

Once more my glances for'ard were casual, and not anxious; and then,
suddenly, I was a madman, rushing wildly aft.  I had seen the thing
again, the long, wavering attenuated substance through which could be
seen the fore-rigging.  This time I had reached only the break of the
poop when I checked myself.  Again I reasoned over the situation, and it
was pride that counselled strongest.  I could not afford to make myself a
laughing-stock.  This thing, whatever it was, I must face alone.  I must
work it out myself.  I looked back to the spot where we had tilted the
Bricklayer.  It was vacant.  Nothing moved.  And for a third time I
resumed my amidships pacing.

In the absence of the thing my fear died away and my intellectual poise
returned.  Of course it was not a ghost.  Dead men did not rise up.  It
was a joke, a cruel joke.  My mates of the forecastle, by some unknown
means, were frightening me.  Twice already must they have seen me run
aft.  My cheeks burned with shame.  In fancy I could hear the smothered
chuckling and laughter even then going on in the forecastle.  I began to
grow angry.  Jokes were all very well, but this was carrying the thing
too far.  I was the youngest on board, only a youth, and they had no
right to play tricks on me of the order that I well knew in the past had
made raving maniacs of men and women.  I grew angrier and angrier, and
resolved to show them that I was made of sterner stuff and at the same
time to wreak my resentment upon them.  If the thing appeared again, I
made my mind up that I would go up to it--furthermore, that I would go up
to it knife in hand.  When within striking distance, I would strike.  If
a man, he would get the knife-thrust he deserved.  If a ghost, well, it
wouldn't hurt the ghost any, while I would have learned that dead men did
rise up.

Now I was very angry, and I was quite sure the thing was a trick; but
when the thing appeared a third time, in the same spot, long, attenuated,
and wavering, fear surged up in me and drove most of my anger away.  But
I did not run.  Nor did I take my eyes from the thing.  Both times
before, it had vanished while I was running away, so I had not seen the
manner of its going.  I drew my sheath-knife from my belt and began my
advance.  Step by step, nearer and nearer, the effort to control myself
grew more severe.  The struggle was between my will, my identity, my very
self, on the one hand, and on the other, the ten thousand ancestors who
were twisted into the fibres of me and whose ghostly voices were
whispering of the dark and the fear of the dark that had been theirs in
the time when the world was dark and full of terror.

I advanced more slowly, and still the thing wavered and flitted with
strange eerie lurches.  And then, right before my eyes, it vanished.  I
saw it vanish.  Neither to the right nor left did it go, nor backward.
Right there, while I gazed upon it, it faded away, ceased to be.  I
didn't die, but I swear, from what I experienced in those few succeeding
moments, that I know full well that men can die of fright.  I stood
there, knife in hand, swaying automatically to the roll of the ship,
paralysed with fear.  Had the Bricklayer suddenly seized my throat with
corporeal fingers and proceeded to throttle me, it would have been no
more than I expected.  Dead men did rise up, and that would be the most
likely thing the malignant Bricklayer would do.

But he didn't seize my throat.  Nothing happened.  And, since nature
abhors a status, I could not remain there in the one place forever
paralysed.  I turned and started aft.  I did not run.  What was the use?
What chance had I against the malevolent world of ghosts?  Flight, with
me, was the swiftness of my legs.  The pursuit, with a ghost, was the
swiftness of thought.  And there were ghosts.  I had seen one.

And so, stumbling slowly aft, I discovered the explanation of the
seeming.  I saw the mizzen topmast lurching across a faint radiance of
cloud behind which was the moon.  The idea leaped in my brain.  I
extended the line between the cloudy radiance and the mizzen-topmast and
found that it must strike somewhere near the fore-rigging on the port
side.  Even as I did this, the radiance vanished.  The driving clouds of
the breaking gale were alternately thickening and thinning before the
face of the moon, but never exposing the face of the moon.  And when the
clouds were at their thinnest, it was a very dim radiance that the moon
was able to make.  I watched and waited.  The next time the clouds
thinned I looked for'ard, and there was the shadow of the topmast, long
and attenuated, wavering and lurching on the deck and against the

This was my first ghost.  Once again have I seen a ghost.  It proved to
be a Newfoundland dog, and I don't know which of us was the more
frightened, for I hit that Newfoundland a full right-arm swing to the
jaw.  Regarding the Bricklayer's ghost, I will say that I never mentioned
it to a soul on board.  Also, I will say that in all my life I never went
through more torment and mental suffering than on that lonely night-watch
on the _Sophie Sutherland_.

(TO THE EDITOR.--This is not a fiction.  It is a true page out of my


   Introduction to "_Two Years before the Mast_."

Once in a hundred years is a book written that lives not alone for its
own century but which becomes a document for the future centuries.  Such
a book is Dana's.  When Marryat's and Cooper's sea novels are gone to
dust, stimulating and joyful as they have been to generations of men,
still will remain "Two Years Before the Mast."

Paradoxical as it may seem, Dana's book is the classic of the sea, not
because there was anything extraordinary about Dana, but for the precise
contrary reason that he was just an ordinary, normal man, clear-seeing,
hard-headed, controlled, fitted with adequate education to go about the
work.  He brought a trained mind to put down with untroubled vision what
he saw of a certain phase of work-a-day life.  There was nothing
brilliant nor fly-away about him.  He was not a genius.  His heart never
rode his head.  He was neither overlorded by sentiment nor hag-ridden by
imagination.  Otherwise he might have been guilty of the beautiful
exaggerations in Melville's "Typee" or the imaginative orgies in the
latter's "Moby Dick."  It was Dana's cool poise that saved him from being
spread-eagled and flogged when two of his mates were so treated; it was
his lack of abandon that prevented him from taking up permanently with
the sea, that prevented him from seeing more than one poetical spot, and
more than one romantic spot on all the coast of Old California.  Yet
these apparent defects were his strength.  They enabled him magnificently
to write, and for all time, the picture of the sea-life of his time.

Written close to the middle of the last century, such has been the
revolution worked in man's method of trafficking with the sea, that the
life and conditions described in Dana's book have passed utterly away.
Gone are the crack clippers, the driving captains, the hard-bitten but
efficient foremast hands.  Remain only crawling cargo tanks, dirty
tramps, greyhound liners, and a sombre, sordid type of sailing ship.  The
only records broken to-day by sailing vessels are those for slowness.
They are no longer built for speed, nor are they manned before the mast
by as sturdy a sailor stock, nor aft the mast are they officered by sail-
carrying captains and driving mates.

Speed is left to the liners, who run the silk, and tea, and spices.
Admiralty courts, boards of trade, and underwriters frown upon driving
and sail-carrying.  No more are the free-and-easy, dare-devil days, when
fortunes were made in fast runs and lucky ventures, not alone for owners,
but for captains as well.  Nothing is ventured now.  The risks of swift
passages cannot be abided.  Freights are calculated to the last least
fraction of per cent.  The captains do no speculating, no bargain-making
for the owners.  The latter attend to all this, and by wire and cable
rake the ports of the seven seas in quest of cargoes, and through their
agents make all business arrangements.

It has been learned that small crews only, and large carriers only, can
return a decent interest on the investment.  The inevitable corollary is
that speed and spirit are at a discount.  There is no discussion of the
fact that in the sailing merchant marine the seamen, as a class, have
sadly deteriorated.  Men no longer sell farms to go to sea.  But the time
of which Dana writes was the heyday of fortune-making and adventure on
the sea--with the full connotation of hardship and peril always

It was Dana's fortune, for the sake of the picture, that the _Pilgrim_
was an average ship, with an average crew and officers, and managed with
average discipline.  Even the _hazing_ that took place after the
California coast was reached, was of the average sort.  The _Pilgrim_
savoured not in any way of a hell-ship.  The captain, while not the
sweetest-natured man in the world, was only an average down-east driver,
neither brilliant nor slovenly in his seamanship, neither cruel nor
sentimental in the treatment of his men.  While, on the one hand, there
were no extra liberty days, no delicacies added to the meagre forecastle
fare, nor grog or hot coffee on double watches, on the other hand the
crew were not chronically crippled by the continual play of
knuckle-dusters and belaying pins.  Once, and once only, were men flogged
or ironed--a very fair average for the year 1834, for at that time
flogging on board merchant vessels was already well on the decline.

The difference between the sea-life then and now can be no better
epitomised than in Dana's description of the dress of the sailor of his

"The trousers tight around the hips, and thence hanging long and loose
around the feet, a superabundance of checked shirt, a low-crowned, well-
varnished black hat, worn on the back of the head, with half a fathom of
black ribbon hanging over the left eye, and a peculiar tie to the black
silk neckerchief."

Though Dana sailed from Boston only three-quarters of a century ago, much
that is at present obsolete was then in full sway.  For instance, the old
word _larboard_ was still in use.  He was a member of the _larboard_
watch.  The vessel was on the _larboard_ tack.  It was only the other
day, because of its similarity in sound to starboard, that _larboard_ was
changed to _port_.  Try to imagine "All larboard bowlines on deck!" being
shouted down into the forecastle of a present day ship.  Yet that was the
call used on the _Pilgrim_ to fetch Dana and the rest of his watch on

The chronometer, which is merely the least imperfect time-piece man has
devised, makes possible the surest and easiest method by far of
ascertaining longitude.  Yet the _Pilgrim_ sailed in a day when the
chronometer was just coming into general use.  So little was it depended
upon that the _Pilgrim_ carried only one, and that one, going wrong at
the outset, was never used again.  A navigator of the present would be
aghast if asked to voyage for two years, from Boston, around the Horn to
California, and back again, without a chronometer.  In those days such a
proceeding was a matter of course, for those were the days when dead
reckoning was indeed something to reckon on, when running down the
latitude was a common way of finding a place, and when lunar observations
were direly necessary.  It may be fairly asserted that very few merchant
officers of to-day ever make a lunar observation, and that a large
percentage are unable to do it.

"Sept. 22nd., upon coming on deck at seven bells in the morning we found
the other watch aloft throwing water upon the sails, and looking astern
we saw a small, clipper-built brig with a black hull heading directly
after us.  We went to work immediately, and put all the canvas upon the
brig which we could get upon her, rigging out oars for studding-sail
yards; and contined wetting down the sails by buckets of water whipped up
to the mast-head . . . She was armed, and full of men, and showed no

The foregoing sounds like a paragraph from "Midshipman Easy" or the
"Water Witch," rather than a paragraph from the soberest, faithfullest,
and most literal chronicle of the sea ever written.  And yet the chase by
a pirate occurred, on board the brig _Pilgrim_, on September 22nd,
1834--something like only two generations ago.

Dana was the thorough-going type of man, not overbalanced and erratic,
without quirk or quibble of temperament.  He was efficient, but not
brilliant.  His was a general all-round efficiency.  He was efficient at
the law; he was efficient at college; he was efficient as a sailor; he
was efficient in the matter of pride, when that pride was no more than
the pride of a forecastle hand, at twelve dollars a month, in his
seaman's task well done, in the smart sailing of his captain, in the
clearness and trimness of his ship.

There is no sailor whose cockles of the heart will not warm to Dana's
description of the first time he sent down a royal yard.  Once or twice
he had seen it done.  He got an old hand in the crew to coach him.  And
then, the first anchorage at Monterey, being pretty _thick_ with the
second mate, he got him to ask the mate to be sent up the first time the
royal yards were struck.  "Fortunately," as Dana describes it, "I got
through without any word from the officer; and heard the 'well done' of
the mate, when the yard reached the deck, with as much satisfaction as I
ever felt at Cambridge on seeing a 'bene' at the foot of a Latin

"This was the first time I had taken a weather ear-ring, and I felt not a
little proud to sit astride of the weather yard-arm, past the ear-ring,
and sing out 'Haul out to leeward!'"  He had been over a year at sea
before he essayed this able seaman's task, but he did it, and he did it
with pride.  And with pride, he went down a four-hundred foot cliff, on a
pair of top-gallant studding-sail halyards bent together, to dislodge
several dollars worth of stranded bullock hides, though all the acclaim
he got from his mates was: "What a d-d fool you were to risk your life
for half a dozen hides!"

In brief, it was just this efficiency in pride, as well as work, that
enabled Dana to set down, not merely the photograph detail of life before
the mast and hide-droghing on the coast of California, but of the
untarnished simple psychology and ethics of the forecastle hands who
droghed the hides, stood at the wheel, made and took in sail, tarred down
the rigging, holystoned the decks, turned in all-standing, grumbled as
they cut about the kid, criticised the seamanship of their officers, and
estimated the duration of their exile from the cubic space of the hide-

Glen Ellen, California,
August 13, 1911.

(Curtain Raiser)


Time--Afternoon of a summer day.


LORETTA, A sweet, young thing.  Frightfully innocent.  About nineteen
years old.  Slender, delicate, a fragile flower.  Ingenuous.

NED BASHFORD, A jaded young man of the world, who has philosophised his
experiences and who is without faith in the veracity or purity of women.

BILLY MARSH, A boy from a country town who is just about as innocent as
Loretta.  Awkward.  Positive.  Raw and callow youth.

ALICE HEMINGWAY, A society woman, good-hearted, and a match-maker.

JACK HEMINGWAY, Her husband.



[Curtain rises on a conventional living room of a country house in
California.  It is the Hemingway house at Santa Clara.  The room is
remarkable for magnificent stone fireplace at rear centre.  On either
side of fireplace are generous, diamond-paned windows.  Wide, curtained
doorways to right and left.  To left, front, table, with vase of flowers
and chairs.  To right, front, grand piano.]

[Curtain discovers LORETTA seated at piano, not playing, her back to it,
facing NED BASHFORD, who is standing.]

LORETTA.  [Petulantly, fanning herself with sheet of music.]  No, I won't
go fishing.  It's too warm.  Besides, the fish won't bite so early in the

NED.  Oh, come on.  It's not warm at all.  And anyway, we won't really
fish.  I want to tell you something.

LORETTA.  [Still petulantly.]  You are always wanting to tell me

NED.  Yes, but only in fun.  This is different.  This is serious.  Our
. . . my happiness depends upon it.

LORETTA.  [Speaking eagerly, no longer petulant, looking, serious and
delighted, divining a proposal.]  Then don't wait.  Tell me right here.

NED.  [Almost threateningly.]  Shall I?

LORETTA.  [Challenging.]  Yes.

[He looks around apprehensively as though fearing interruption, clears
his throat, takes resolution, also takes LORETTA's hand.]

[LORETTA is startled, timid, yet willing to hear, naively unable to
conceal her love for him.]

NED.  [Speaking softly.]  Loretta  . . . I, . . . ever since I met you I

[JACK HEMINGWAY appears in the doorway to the left, just entering.]

[NED suddenly drops LORETTA's hand.  He shows exasperation.]

[LORETTA shows disappointment at interruption.]

NED.  Confound it

LORETTA.  [Shocked.]  Ned!  Why will you swear so?

NED.  [Testily.]  That isn't swearing.

LORETTA.  What is it, pray?

NED.  Displeasuring.

JACK HEMINGWAY.  [Who is crossing over to right.]  Squabbling again?

LORETTA.  [Indignantly and with dignity.]  No, we're not.

NED.  [Gruffly.]  What do you want now?

JACK HEMINGWAY.  [Enthusiastically.]  Come on fishing.

NED.  [Snappily.]  No.  It's too warm.

JACK HEMINGWAY.  [Resignedly, going out right.]  You needn't take a
fellow's head off.

LORETTA.  I thought you wanted to go fishing.

NED.  Not with Jack.

LORETTA.  [Accusingly, fanning herself vigorously.]  And you told me it
wasn't warm at all.

NED.  [Speaking softly.]  That isn't what I wanted to tell you, Loretta.
[He takes her hand.]  Dear Loretta--

[Enter abruptly ALICE HEMINGWAY from right.]

[LORETTA sharply jerks her hand away, and looks put out.]

[NED tries not to look awkward.]

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  Goodness!  I thought you'd both gone fishing!

LORETTA.  [Sweetly.]  Is there anything you want, Alice?

NED.  [Trying to be courteous.]  Anything I can do?

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Speaking quickly, and trying to withdraw.]  No, no.  I
only came to see if the mail had arrived.


[Speaking together.]  No, it hasn't arrived.

LORETTA.  [Suddenly moving toward door to right.]  I am going to see.

[NED looks at her reproachfully.]

[LORETTA looks back tantalisingly from doorway and disappears.]

[NED flings himself disgustedly into Morris chair.]

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Moving over and standing in front of him.  Speaks
accusingly.]  What have you been saying to her?

NED.  [Disgruntled.]  Nothing.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Threateningly.]  Now listen to me, Ned.

NED.  [Earnestly.]  On my word, Alice, I've been saying nothing to her.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [With sudden change of front.]  Then you ought to have
been saying something to her.

NED.  [Irritably.  Getting chair for her, seating her, and seating
himself again.]  Look here, Alice, I know your game.  You invited me down
here to make a fool of me.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  Nothing of the sort, sir.  I asked you down to meet a
sweet and unsullied girl--the sweetest, most innocent and ingenuous girl
in the world.

NED.  [Dryly.]  That's what you said in your letter.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  And that's why you came.  Jack had been trying for a
year to get you to come.  He did not know what kind of a letter to write.

NED.  If you think I came because of a line in a letter about a girl I'd
never seen--

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Mockingly.]  The poor, jaded, world-worn man, who is
no longer interested in women . . . and girls!  The poor, tired pessimist
who has lost all faith in the goodness of women--

NED.  For which you are responsible.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Incredulously.]  I?

NED.  You are responsible.  Why did you throw me over and marry Jack?

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  Do you want to know?

NED.  Yes.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Judiciously.]  First, because I did not love you.
Second, because you did not love me.  [She smiles at his protesting hand
and at the protesting expression on his face.]  And third, because there
were just about twenty-seven other women at that time that you loved, or
thought you loved.  That is why I married Jack.  And that is why you lost
faith in the goodness of women.  You have only yourself to blame.

NED.  [Admiringly.]  You talk so convincingly.  I almost believe you as I
listen to you.  And yet I know all the time that you are like all the
rest of your sex--faithless, unveracious, and . . .

[He glares at her, but does not proceed.]

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  Go on.  I'm not afraid.

NED.  [With finality.]  And immoral.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  Oh!  You wretch!

NED.  [Gloatingly.]  That's right.  Get angry.  You may break the
furniture if you wish.  I don't mind.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [With sudden change of front, softly.]  And how about

[NED gasps and remains silent.]

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  The depths of duplicity that must lurk under that sweet
and innocent exterior . . . according to your philosophy!

NED.  [Earnestly.]  Loretta is an exception, I confess.  She is all that
you said in your letter.  She is a little fairy, an angel.  I never
dreamed of anything like her.  It is remarkable to find such a woman in
this age.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Encouragingly.]  She is so naive.

NED.  [Taking the bait.]  Yes, isn't she?  Her face and her tongue betray
all her secrets.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Nodding her head.]  Yes, I have noticed it.

NED.  [Delightedly.]  Have you?

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  She cannot conceal anything.  Do you know that she
loves you?

NED.  [Falling into the trap, eagerly.]  Do you think so?

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Laughing and rising.]  And to think I once permitted
you to make love to me for three weeks!

[NED rises.]

[MAID enters from left with letters, which she brings to ALICE

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Running over letters.]  None for you, Ned.  [Selecting
two letters for herself.]  Tradesmen.  [Handing remainder of letters to
MAID.]  And three for Loretta.  [Speaking to MAID.]  Put them on the
table, Josie.

[MAID puts letters on table to left front, and makes exit to left.]

NED.  [With shade of jealousy.]  Loretta seems to have quite a

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [With a sigh.]  Yes, as I used to when I was a girl.

NED.  But hers are family letters.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  Yes, I did not notice any from Billy.

NED.  [Faintly.]  Billy?

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Nodding.]  Of course she has told you about him?

NED.  [Gasping.]  She has had lovers . . . already?

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  And why not?  She is nineteen.

NED.  [Haltingly.]  This . . . er . . . this Billy . . . ?

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Laughing and putting her hand reassuringly on his
arm.]  Now don't be alarmed, poor, tired philosopher.  She doesn't love
Billy at all.

[LORETTA enters from right.]

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [To LORETTA, nodding toward table.]  Three letters for

LORETTA.  [Delightedly.]  Oh!  Thank you.

[LORETTA trips swiftly across to table, looks at letters, sits down,
opens letters, and begins to read.]

NED.  [Suspiciously.]  But Billy?

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  I am afraid he loves her very hard.  That is why she is
here.  They had to send her away.  Billy was making life miserable for
her.  They were little children together--playmates.  And Billy has been,
well, importunate.  And Loretta, poor child, does not know anything about
marriage.  That is all.

NED.  [Reassured.]  Oh, I see.

[ALICE HEMINGWAY starts slowly toward right exit, continuing conversation
and accompanied by NED.]

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [Calling to LORETTA.]  Are you going fishing, Loretta?

[LORETTA looks up from letter and shakes head.]

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  [To NED.]  Then you're not, I suppose?

NED.  No, it's too warm.

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  Then I know the place for you.

NED.  Where?

ALICE HEMINGWAY.  Right here.  [Looks significantly in direction of
LORETTA.]  Now is your opportunity to say what you ought to say.

[ALICE HEMINGWAY laughs teasingly and goes out to right.]

[NED hesitates, starts to follow her, looks at LORETTA, and stops.  He
twists his moustache and continues to look at her meditatively.]

[LORETTA is unaware of his presence and goes on reading.  Finishes
letter, folds it, replaces in envelope, looks up, and discovers NED.]

LORETTA.  [Startled.]  Oh!  I thought you were gone.

NED.  [Walking across to her.]  I thought I'd stay and finish our

LORETTA.  [Willingly, settling herself to listen.]  Yes, you were going
to . . . [Drops eyes and ceases talking.]

NED.  [Taking her hand, tenderly.]  I little dreamed when I came down
here visiting that I was to meet my destiny in--[Abruptly releases
LORETTA's hand.]

[MAID enters from left with tray.]

[LORETTA glances into tray and discovers that it is empty.  She looks
inquiringly at MAID.]

MAID.  A gentleman to see you.  He hasn't any card.  He said for me to
tell you that it was Billy.

LORETTA.  [Starting, looking with dismay and appeal to NED.]  Oh! . . .

NED  [Gracefully and courteously, rising to his feet and preparing to
go.]  If you'll excuse me now, I'll wait till afterward to tell you what
I wanted.

LORETTA.  [In dismay.]  What shall I do?

NED.  [Pausing.]  Don't you want to see him?  [LORETTA shakes her head.]
Then don't.

LORETTA.  [Slowly.]  I can't do that.  We are old friends.  We . . . were
children together.  [To the MAID.]  Send him in.  [To NED, who has
started to go out toward right.]  Don't go, Ned.

[MAID makes exit to left.]

NED.  [Hesitating a moment.]  I'll come back.

[NED makes exit to right.]

[LORETTA, left alone on stage, shows perturbation and dismay.]

[BILLY enters from left.  Stands in doorway a moment.  His shoes are
dusty.  He looks overheated.  His eyes and face brighten at sight of

BILLY.  [Stepping forward, ardently.]  Loretta!

LORETTA.  [Not exactly enthusiastic in her reception, going slowly to
meet him.]  You never said you were coming.

[BILLY shows that he expects to kiss her, but she merely shakes his

BILLY.  [Looking down at his very dusty shoes.]  I walked from the

LORETTA.  If you had let me know, the carriage would have been sent for

BILLY.  [With expression of shrewdness.]  If I had let you know, you
wouldn't have let me come.

[BILLY looks around stage cautiously, then tries to kiss her.]

LORETTA.  [Refusing to be kissed. ]  Won't you sit down?

BILLY.  [Coaxingly.]  Go on, just one.  [LORETTA shakes head and holds
him off.]  Why not?  We're engaged.

LORETTA.  [With decision. ]  We're not.  You know we're not.  You know I
broke it off the day before I came away.  And . . . and . . . you'd
better sit down.

[BILLY sits down on edge of chair.  LORETTA seats herself by table.
Billy, without rising, jerks his chair forward till they are facing each
other, his knees touching hers.  He yearns toward her.  She moves back
her chair slightly.]

BILLY.  [With supreme confidence.]  That's what I came to see you for--to
get engaged over again.

[BILLY hudges chair forward and tries to take her hand.]

[LORETTA hudges her chair back.]

BILLY.  [Drawing out large silver watch and looking at it.]  Now look
here, Loretta, I haven't any time to lose.  I've got to leave for that
train in ten minutes.  And I want you to set the day.

LORETTA.  But we're not engaged, Billy.  So there can't be any setting of
the day.

BILLY.  [With confidence.]  But we're going to be.  [Suddenly breaking
out.]  Oh, Loretta, if you only knew how I've suffered.  That first night
I didn't sleep a wink.  I haven't slept much ever since.  [Hudges chair
forward.]  I walk the floor all night.  [Solemnly.]  Loretta, I don't eat
enough to keep a canary bird alive.  Loretta . . . [Hudges chair

LORETTA.  [Hudging her chair back maternally.]  Billy, what you need is a
tonic.  Have you seen Doctor Haskins?

BILLY.  [Looking at watch and evincing signs of haste.]  Loretta, when a
girl kisses a man, it means she is going to marry him.

LORETTA.  I know it, Billy.  But . . . [She glances toward letters on
table.]  Captain Kitt doesn't want me to marry you.  He says . . . [She
takes letter and begins to open it.]

BILLY.  Never mind what Captain Kitt says.  He wants you to stay and be
company for your sister.  He doesn't want you to marry me because he
knows she wants to keep you.

LORETTA.  Daisy doesn't want to keep me.  She wants nothing but my own
happiness.  She says--[She takes second letter from table and begins to
open it.]

BILLY.  Never mind what Daisy says--

LORETTA.  [Taking third letter from table and beginning to open it.]  And
Martha says--

BILLY.  [Angrily.]  Darn Martha and the whole boiling of them!

LORETTA.  [Reprovingly.]  Oh, Billy!

BILLY.  [Defensively.]  Darn isn't swearing, and you know it isn't.

[There is an awkward pause.  Billy has lost the thread of the
conversation and has vacant expression.]

BILLY.  [Suddenly recollecting.]  Never mind Captain Kitt, and Daisy, and
Martha, and what they want.  The question is, what do you want?

LORETTA.  [Appealingly.]  Oh, Billy, I'm so unhappy.

BILLY.  [Ignoring the appeal and pressing home the point.]  The thing is,
do you want to marry me?  [He looks at his watch.]  Just answer that.

LORETTA.  Aren't you afraid you'll miss that train?

BILLY.  Darn the train!

LORETTA.  [Reprovingly.]  Oh, Billy!

BILLY.  [Most irascibly.]  Darn isn't swearing.  [Plaintively.]  That's
the way you always put me off.  I didn't come all the way here for a
train.  I came for you.  Now just answer me one thing.  Do you want to
marry me?

LORETTA.  [Firmly.]  No, I don't want to marry you.

BILLY.  [With assurance.]  But you've got to, just the same.

LORETTA.  [With defiance.]  Got to?

BILLY.  [With unshaken assurance.]  That's what I said--got to.  And I'll
see that you do.

LORETTA.  [Blazing with anger.]  I am no longer a child.  You can't bully
me, Billy Marsh!

BILLY.  [Coolly.]  I'm not trying to bully you.  I'm trying to save your

LORETTA.  [Faintly.]  Reputation?

BILLY.  [Nodding.]  Yes, reputation.  [He pauses for a moment, then
speaks very solemnly.]  Loretta, when a woman kisses a man, she's got to
marry him.

LORETTA.  [Appalled, faintly.]  Got to?

BILLY.  [Dogmatically.]  It is the custom.

LORETTA.  [Brokenly.]  And when . . . a . . . a woman kisses a man and
doesn't . . . marry him . . . ?

BILLY.  Then there is a scandal.  That's where all the scandals you see
in the papers come from.

[BILLY looks at watch.]

[LORETTA in silent despair.]

LORETTA.  [In abasement.]  You are a good man, Billy.  [Billy shows that
he believes it.]  And I am a very wicked woman.

BILLY.  No, you're not, Loretta.  You just didn't know.

LORETTA.  [With a gleam of hope.]  But you kissed me first.

BILLY.  It doesn't matter.  You let me kiss you.

LORETTA.  [Hope dying down.]  But not at first.

BILLY.  But you did afterward and that's what counts.  You let me you in
the grape-arbour.  You let me--

LORETTA.  [With anguish]  Don't!  Don't!

BILLY.  [Relentlessly.]--kiss you when you were playing the piano.  You
let me kiss you that day of the picnic.  And I can't remember all the
times you let me kiss you good night.

LORETTA.  [Beginning to weep.]  Not more than five.

BILLY.  [With conviction.]  Eight at least.

LORETTA.  [Reproachfully, still weeping.]  You told me it was all right.

BILLY.  [Emphatically.]  So it was all right--until you said you wouldn't
marry me after all.  Then it was a scandal--only no one knows it yet.  If
you marry me no one ever will know it.  [Looks at watch.]  I've got to
go.  [Stands up.]  Where's my hat?

LORETTA.  [Sobbing.]  This is awful.

BILLY.  [Approvingly.]  You bet it's awful.  And there's only one way
out.  [Looks anxiously about for hat.]  What do you say?

LORETTA.  [Brokenly.]  I must think.  I'll write to you.  [Faintly.]  The
train?  Your hat's in the hall.

BILLY.  [Looks at watch, hastily tries to kiss her, succeeds only in
shaking hand, starts across stage toward left.]  All right.  You write to
me.  Write to-morrow.  [Stops for a moment in doorway and speaks very
solemnly.]  Remember, Loretta, there must be no scandal.

[Billy goes out.]

[LORETTA sits in chair quietly weeping.  Slowly dries eyes, rises from
chair, and stands, undecided as to what she will do next.]

[NED enters from right, peeping.  Discovers that LORETTA is alone, and
comes quietly across stage to her.  When NED comes up to her she begins
weeping again and tries to turn her head away.  NED catches both her
hands in his and compels her to look at him.  She weeps harder.]

NED.  [Putting one arm protectingly around her shoulder and drawing her
toward him.]  There, there, little one, don't cry.

LORETTA.  [Turning her face to his shoulder like a tired child, sobbing.]
Oh, Ned, if you only knew how wicked I am.

NED.  [Smiling indulgently.]  What is the matter, little one?  Has your
dearly beloved sister failed to write to you?  [LORETTA shakes head.]  Has
Hemingway been bullying you?  [LORETTA shakes head.]  Then it must have
been that caller of yours?  [Long pause, during which LORETTA's weeping
grows more violent.]  Tell me what's the matter, and we'll see what I can
do.  [He lightly kisses her hair--so lightly that she does not know.]

LORETTA.  [Sobbing.]  I can't.  You will despise me.  Oh, Ned, I am so

NED.  [Laughing incredulously.]  Let us forget all about it.  I want to
tell you something that may make me very happy.  My fondest hope is that
it will make you happy, too.  Loretta, I love you--

LORETTA.  [Uttering a sharp cry of delight, then moaning.]  Too late!

NED.  [Surprised.]  Too late?

LORETTA.  [Still moaning.]  Oh, why did I?  [NED somewhat stiffens.]  I
was so young.  I did not know the world then.

NED.  What is it all about anyway?

LORETTA.  Oh, I . . . he . . . Billy . . . I am a wicked woman, Ned.  I
know you will never speak to me again.

NED.  This . . . er . . . this Billy--what has he been doing?

LORETTA.  I . . . he . . . I didn't know.  I was so young.  I could not
help it.  Oh, I shall go mad, I shall go mad!

[NED's encircling arm goes limp.  He gently disengages her and deposits
her in big chair.]

[LORETTA buries her face and sobs afresh.]

NED.  [Twisting moustache fiercely, regarding her dubiously, hesitating a
moment, then drawing up chair and sitting down.]  I . . . I do not

LORETTA.  [Wailing.]  I am so unhappy!

NED.  [Inquisitorially.]  Why unhappy?

LORETTA.  Because . . . he . . . he wants to marry me.

NED.  [His face brightening instantly, leaning forward and laying a hand
soothingly on hers.]  That should not make any girl unhappy.  Because you
don't love him is no reason--[Abruptly breaking off.]  Of course you
don't love him?  [LORETTA shakes her head and shoulders vigorously.]

LORETTA.  [Explosively.]  No, I don't love Billy!  I don't want to love

NED.  [With confidence.]  Because you don't love him is no reason that
you should be unhappy just because he has proposed to you.

LORETTA.  [Sobbing.]  That's the trouble.  I wish I did love him.  Oh, I
wish I were dead.

NED.  [Growing complacent.]  Now my dear child, you are worrying yourself
over trifles.  [His second hand joins the first in holding her hands.]
Women do it every day.  Because you have changed your mind, or did not
know you mind, because you have--to use an unnecessarily harsh
word--jilted a man--

LORETTA.  [Interrupting, raising her head and looking at him.]  Jilted?
Oh Ned, if that were a all!

NED.  [Hollow voice.]  All!

[NED's hands slowly retreat from hers.  He opens his mouth as though to
speak further, then changes his mind and remains silent.]

LORETTA.  [Protestingly.]  But I don't want to marry him!

NED.  Then I shouldn't.

LORETTA.  But I ought to marry him.

NED.  _Ought_ to marry him?  [LORETTA nods.]  That is a strong word.

LORETTA.  [Nodding.]  I know it is.  [Her lips are trembling, but she
strives for control and manages to speak more calmly.]  I am a wicked
woman.  A terrible wicked woman.  No one knows how wicked I am . . .
except Billy.

NED.  [Starting, looking at her queerly.]  He . . . Billy knows?  [LORETTA
nods.  He debates with himself a moment.]  Tell me about it.  You must
tell me all of it.

LORETTA.  [Faintly, as though about to weep again.]  All of it?

NED.  [Firmly.]  Yes, all of it.

LORETTA.  [Haltingly.]  And . . . will . . . you . . . ever . . . forgive
. . . me?

NED.  [Drawing a long, breath, desperately.]  Yes, I'll forgive you.  Go

LORETTA.  There was no one to tell me.  We were with each other so much.
I did not know anything of the world . . . then.  [Pauses.]

NED.  [Impatiently.]  Go on.

LORETTA.  If I had only known.  [Pauses.]

NED.  [Biting his lip and clenching his hands.]  Yes, yes.  Go on.

LORETTA.  We were together almost every evening.

NED.  [Savagely.]  Billy?

LORETTA.  Yes, of course, Billy.  We were with each other so much . . .
If I had only known . . . There was no one to tell me . . . I was so
young . . . [Breaks down crying.]

NED.  [Leaping to his feet, explosively.]  The scoundrel!

LORETTA.  [Lifting her head.]  Billy is not a scoundrel . . . He . . . he
. . . is a good man.

NED.  [Sarcastically.]  I suppose you'll be telling me next that it was
all your fault.  [LORETTA nods.]  What!

LORETTA.  [Steadily.]  It was all my fault.  I should never have let him.
I was to blame.

NED.  [Paces up and down for a minute, stops in front of her, and speaks
with resignation.]  All right.  I don't blame you in the least, Loretta.
And you have been very honest.  It is . . . er . . . commendable.  But
Billy is right, and you are wrong.  You must get married.

LORETTA.  [In dim, far-away voice.]  To Billy?

NED.  Yes, to Billy.  I'll see to it.  Where does he live?  I'll make
him.  If he won't I'll . . . I'll shoot him!

LORETTA.  [Crying out with alarm.]  Oh, Ned, you won't do that?

NED.  [Sternly.]  I shall.

LORETTA.  But I don't want to marry Billy.

NED.  [Sternly.]  You must.  And Billy must.  Do you understand?  It is
the only thing.

LORETTA.  That's what Billy said.

NED.  [Triumphantly.]  You see, I am right.

LORETTA.  And if . . . if I don't marry him . . . there will be . . .

NED.  [Calmly.]  Yes, there will be scandal.

LORETTA.  That's what Billy said.  Oh, I am so unhappy!

[LORETTA breaks down into violent weeping.]

[NED paces grimly up and down, now and again fiercely twisting his

LORETTA.  [Face buried, sobbing and crying all the time.]

I don't want to leave Daisy!  I don't want to leave Daisy!  What shall I
do?  What shall I do?  How was I to know?  He didn't tell me.  Nobody
else ever kissed me.  [NED stops curiously to listen.  As he listens his
face brightens.]  I never dreamed a kiss could be so terrible . . . until
. . . until he told me.  He only told me this morning.

NED.  [Abruptly.]  Is that what you are crying about?

LORETTA.  [Reluctantly.]  N-no.

NED.  [In hopeless voice, the brightness gone out of his face, about to
begin pacing again.]  Then what are you crying about?

LORETTA.  Because you said I had to marry Billy.  I don't want to marry
Billy.  I don't want to leave Daisy.  I don't know what I want.  I wish I
were dead.

NED.  [Nerving himself for another effort.]  Now look here, Loretta, be
sensible.  What is this about kisses?  You haven't told me everything
after all.

LORETTA.  I . . . I don't want to tell you everything.

NED.  [Imperatively.]  You must.

LORETTA.  [Surrendering.]  Well, then . . . must I?

NED.  You must.

LORETTA.  [Floundering.]  He . . . I . . . we . . . I let him, and he
kissed me.

NED.  [Desperately, controlling himself.]  Go on.

LORETTA.  He says eight, but I can't think of more than five times.

NED.  Yes, go on.

LORETTA.  That's all.

NED.  [With vast incredulity.]  All?

LORETTA.  [Puzzled.]  All?

NED.  [Awkwardly.]  I mean . . . er . . . nothing worse?

LORETTA.  [Puzzled.]  Worse?  As though there could be.  Billy said--

NED.  [Interrupting.]  When?

LORETTA.  This afternoon.  Just now.  Billy said that my . . . our . . .
our . . . our kisses were terrible if we didn't get married.

NED.  What else did he say?

LORETTA.  He said that when a woman permitted a man to kiss her she
always married him.  That it was awful if she didn't.  It was the custom,
he said; and I say it is a bad, wicked custom, and it has broken my
heart.  I shall never be happy again.  I know I am terrible, but I can't
help it.  I must have been born wicked.

NED.  [Absent-mindedly bringing out a cigarette and striking a match.]  Do
you mind if I smoke?  [Coming to himself again, and flinging away match
and cigarette.]  I beg your pardon.  I don't want to smoke.  I didn't
mean that at all.  What I mean is . . . [He bends over LORETTA, catches
her hands in his, then sits on arm of chair, softly puts one arm around
her, and is about to kiss her.]

LORETTA.  [With horror, repulsing him.]  No!  No!

NED.  [Surprised.]  What's the matter?

LORETTA.  [Agitatedly.]  Would you make me a wickeder woman than I am?

NED.  A kiss?

LORETTA.  There will be another scandal.  That would make two scandals.

NED.  To kiss the woman I love . . . a scandal?

LORETTA.  Billy loves me, and he said so.

NED.  Billy is a joker . . . or else he is as innocent as you.

LORETTA.  But you said so yourself.

NED.  [Taken aback.]  I?

LORETTA.  Yes, you said it yourself, with your own lips, not ten minutes
ago.  I shall never believe you again.

NED.  [Masterfully putting arm around her and drawing her toward him.]
And I am a joker, too, and a very wicked man.  Nevertheless, you must
trust me.  There will be nothing wrong.

LORETTA.  [Preparing to yield.]  And no . . . scandal?

NED.  Scandal fiddlesticks.  Loretta, I want you to be my wife.  [He
waits anxiously.]

[JACK HEMINGWAY, in fishing costume, appears in doorway to right and
looks on.]

NED.  You might say something.

LORETTA.  I will . . . if . . .

[ALICE HEMINGWAY appears in doorway to left and looks on.]

NED.  [In suspense.]  Yes, go on.

LORETTA.  If I don't have to marry Billy.

NED.  [Almost shouting.]  You can't marry both of us!

LORETTA.  [Sadly, repulsing him with her hands.]  Then, Ned, I cannot
marry you.

NED.  [Dumbfounded.]  W-what?

LORETTA.  [Sadly.]  Because I can't marry both of you.

NED.  Bosh and nonsense!

LORETTA.  I'd like to marry you, but . . .

NED.  There is nothing to prevent you.

LORETTA.  [With sad conviction.]  Oh, yes, there is.  You said yourself
that I had to marry Billy.  You said you would s-s-shoot him if he

NED.  [Drawing her toward him.]  Nevertheless . . .

LORETTA.  [Slightly holding him off.]  And it isn't the custom . . . what
. . . Billy said?

NED.  No, it isn't the custom.  Now, Loretta, will you marry me?

LORETTA.  [Pouting demurely.]  Don't be angry with me, Ned.  [He gathers
her into his arms and kisses her.  She partially frees herself, gasping.]
I wish it were the custom, because now I'd have to marry you, Ned,
wouldn't I?

[NED and LORETTA kiss a second time and profoundly.]

[JACK HEMINGWAY chuckles.]

[NED and LORETTA, startled, but still in each other's arms, look around.

LORETTA.  I don't care.


SKETCH BY JACK LONDON written for Robert and Julia Fitzsimmons

SCENE--One of the club rooms of the West Bay Athletic Club.  Near centre
front is a large table covered with newspapers and magazines.  At left a
punching-bag apparatus.  At right, against wall, a desk, on which rests a
desk-telephone.  Door at rear toward left.  On walls are framed pictures
of pugilists, conspicuous among which is one of Robert Fitzsimmons.
Appropriate furnishings, etc., such as foils, clubs, dumb-bells and


[She is dressed as a man, in evening clothes, preferably a Tuxedo.  In
her hand is a card, and under her arm a paper-wrapped parcel.  She peeps
about curiously and advances to table.  She is timorous and excited,
elated and at the same time frightened.  Her eyes are dancing with

MAUD.  [Pausing by table.]  Not a soul saw me.  I wonder where everybody
is.  And that big brother of mine said I could not get in.  [She reads
back of card.]  "Here is my card, Maudie.  If you can use it, go ahead.
But you will never get inside the door.  I consider my bet as good as
won."  [Looking up, triumphantly.]  You do, do you?  Oh, if you could see
your little sister now.  Here she is, inside.  [Pauses, and looks about.]
So this is the West Bay Athletic Club.  No women allowed.  Well, here I
am, if I don't look like one.  [Stretches out one leg and then the other,
and looks at them.  Leaving card and parcel on table, she struts around
like a man, looks at pictures of pugilists on walls, reading aloud their
names and making appropriate remarks.  But she stops before the portrait
of Fitzsimmons and reads aloud.]  "Robert Fitzsimmons, the greatest
warrior of them all."  [Clasps hands, and looking up at portrait
murmurs.]  Oh, you dear!

[Continues strutting around, imitating what she considers are a man's
stride and swagger, returns to table and proceeds to unwrap parcel.]
Well, I'll go out like a girl, if I did come in like a man.  [Drops
wrapping paper on table and holds up a woman's long automobile cloak and
a motor bonnet.  Is suddenly startled by sound of approaching footsteps
and glances in a frightened way toward door.]  Mercy!  Here comes
somebody now!  [Glances about her in alarm, drops cloak and bonnet on
floor close to table, seizes a handful of newspapers, and runs to large
leather chair to right of table, where she seats herself hurriedly.  One
paper she holds up before her, hiding her face as she pretends to read.
Unfortunately the paper is upside down.  The other papers lie on her


[He looks about, advances to table, takes out cigarette case and is about
to select one, when he notices motor cloak and bonnet on floor.  He lays
cigarette case on table and picks them up.  They strike him as profoundly
curious things to be in a club room.  He looks at MAUD, then sees card on
table.  He picks it up and reach it to himself, then looks at her with
comprehension.  Hidden by her newspaper, she sees nothing.  He looks at
card again and reads and speaks in an aside.]

FITZSIMMONS.  "Maudie.  John H. Sylvester."  That must be Jack
Sylvester's sister Maud.  [FITZSIMMONS shows by his expression that he is
going to play a joke.  Tossing cloak and bonnet under the table he places
card in his vest pocket, selects a chair, sits down, and looks at MAUD.
He notes paper is upside down, is hugely tickled, and laughs silently.]
Hello!  [Newspaper is agitated by slight tremor.  He speaks more loudly.]
Hello!  [Newspaper shakes badly.  He speaks very loudly.]  Hello!

MAUD.  [Peeping at him over top of paper and speaking hesitatingly.]  H-h-

FITZSIMMONS.  [Gruffly.]  You are a queer one, reading a paper upside

MAUD.  [Lowering newspaper and trying to appear at ease.]  It's quite a
trick, isn't it?  I often practise it.  I'm real clever at it, you know.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Grunts, then adds.]  Seems to me I have seen you before.

MAUD.  [Glancing quickly from his face to portrait and back again.]  Yes,
and I know you--You are Robert Fitzsimmons.

FITZSIMMONS.  I thought I knew you.

MAUD.  Yes, it was out in San Francisco.  My people still live there.  I'm
just--ahem--doing New York.

FITZSIMMONS.  But I don't quite remember the name.

MAUD.  Jones--Harry Jones.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Hugely delighted, leaping from chair and striding over to
her.]  Sure.  [Slaps her resoundingly on shoulder.]

[She is nearly crushed by the weight of the blow, and at the same time
shocked.  She scrambles to her feet.]

FITZSIMMONS.  Glad to see you, Harry.  [He wrings her hand, so that it
hurts.]  Glad to see you again, Harry.  [He continues wringing her hand
and pumping her arm.]

MAUD.  [Struggling to withdraw her hand and finally succeeding.  Her
voice is rather faint.]  Ye-es, er . . . Bob . . . er . . . glad to see
you again.  [She looks ruefully at her bruised fingers and sinks into
chair.  Then, recollecting her part, she crosses her legs in a mannish

FITZSIMMONS.  [Crossing to desk at right, against which he leans, facing
her.]  You were a wild young rascal in those San Francisco days.
[Chuckling.]  Lord, Lord, how it all comes back to me.

MAUD.  [Boastfully.]  I was wild--some.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Grinning.]  I should say!  Remember that night I put you
to bed?

MAUD.  [Forgetting herself, indignantly.]  Sir!

FITZSIMMONS.  You were . . . er . . . drunk.

MAUD.  I never was!

FITZSIMMONS.  Surely you haven't forgotten that night!  You began with
dropping champagne bottles out of the club windows on the heads of the
people on the sidewalk, and you wound up by assaulting a cabman.  And let
me tell you I saved you from a good licking right there, and squared it
with the police.  Don't you remember?

MAUD.  [Nodding hesitatingly.]  Yes, it is beginning to come back to me.
I was a bit tight that night.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Exultantly.]  A bit tight!  Why, before I could get you to
bed you insisted on telling me the story of your life.

MAUD.  Did I?  I don't remember that.

FITZSIMMONS.  I should say not.  You were past remembering anything by
that time.  You had your arms around my neck--

MAUD.  [Interrupting.]  Oh!

FITZSIMMONS.  And you kept repeating over and over, "Bob, dear Bob."

MAUD.  [Springing to her feet.]  Oh!  I never did!  [Recollecting
herself.]  Perhaps I must have.  I was a trifle wild in those days, I
admit.  But I'm wise now.  I've sowed my wild oats and steadied down.

FITZSIMMONS.  I'm glad to hear that, Harry.  You were tearing off a
pretty fast pace in those days.  [Pause, in which MAUD nods.]  Still
punch the bag?

MAUD.  [In quick alarm, glancing at punching bag.]  No, I've got out of
the hang of it.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Reproachfully.]  You haven't forgotten that
right-and-left, arm, elbow and shoulder movement I taught you?

MAUD.  [With hesitation.]  N-o-o.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Moving toward bag to left.]  Then, come on.

MAUD.  [Rising reluctantly and following.]  I'd rather see you punch the
bag.  I'd just love to.

FITZSIMMONS.  I will, afterward.  You go to it first.

MAUD.  [Eyeing the bag in alarm.]  No; you.  I'm out of practice.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Looking at her sharply.]  How many drinks have you had to-

MAUD.  Not a one.  I don't drink--that is--er--only occasionally.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Indicating bag.]  Then go to it.

MAUD.  No; I tell you I am out of practice.  I've forgotten it all.  You
see, I made a discovery.



MAUD.  I--I--you remember what a light voice I always had--almost


MAUD.  Well, I discovered it was a perfect falsetto.


MAUD.  I've been practising it ever since.  Experts, in another room,
would swear it was a woman's voice.  So would you, if you turned your
back and I sang.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Who has been laughing incredulously, now becomes
suspicious.]  Look here, kid, I think you are an impostor.  You are not
Harry Jones at all.

MAUD.  I am, too.

FITZSIMMONS.  I don't believe it.  He was heavier than you.

MAUD.  I had the fever last summer and lost a lot of weight.

FITZSIMMONS.  You are the Harry Jones that got sousesd and had to be put
to bed?

MAUD.  Y-e-s.

FITZSIMMONS.  There is one thing I remember very distinctly.  Harry Jones
had a birth mark on his knee.  [He looks at her legs searchingly.]

MAUD.  [Embarrassed, then resolving to carry it out.]  Yes, right here.
[She advances right leg and touches it.]

FITZSIMMONS.  [Triumphantly.]  Wrong.  It was the other knee.

MAUD.  I ought to know.

FITZSIMMONS.  You haven't any birth mark at all.

MAUD.  I have, too.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Suddenly springing to her and attempting to seize her
leg.]  Then we'll prove it.  Let me see.

MAUD.  [In a panic backs away from him and resists his attempts, until
grinning in an aside to the audience, he gives over.  She, in an aside to
audience.]  Fancy his wanting to see my birth mark.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Bullying.]  Then take a go at the bag.  [She shakes her
head.]  You're not Harry Jones.

MAUD.  [Approaching punching bag.]  I am, too.

FITZSIMMONS.  Then hit it.

MAUD.  [Resolving to attempt it, hits bag several nice blows, and then is
struck on the nose by it.]  Oh!

[Recovering herself and rubbing her nose.]  I told you I was out of
practice.  You punch the bag, Bob.

FITZSIMMONS.  I will, if you will show me what you can do with that
wonderful soprano voice of yours.

MAUD.  I don't dare.  Everybody would think there was a woman in the

FITZSIMMONS.  [Shaking his head.]  No, they won't.  They've all gone to
the fight.  There's not a soul in the building.

MAUD.  [Alarmed, in a weak voice.]  Not--a--soul--in--the building?

FITZSIMMONS.  Not a soul.  Only you and I.

MAUD.  [Starting hurriedly toward door.]  Then I must go.

FITZSIMMONS.  What's your hurry?  Sing.

MAUD.  [Turning back with new resolve.]  Let me see you punch the

FITZSIMMONS.  You sing first.

MAUD.  No; you punch first.

FITZSIMMONS.  I don't believe you are Harry--

MAUD.  [Hastily.]  All right, I'll sing.  You sit down over there and
turn your back.


[MAUD walks over to the table toward right.  She is about to sing, when
she notices FITZSIMMONS' cigarette case, picks it up, and in an aside
reads his name on it and speaks.]

MAUD.  "Robert Fitzsimmons."  That will prove to my brother that I have
been here.


[MAUD hastily puts cigarette case in her pocket and begins to sing.]


[During the song FITZSIMMONS turns his head slowly and looks at her with
growing admiration.]

MAUD.  How did you like it?

FITZSIMMONS.  [Gruffly.]  Rotten.  Anybody could tell it was a boy's

MAUD.  Oh!

FITZSIMMONS.  It is rough and coarse and it cracked on every high note.

MAUD.  Oh!  Oh!

[Recollecting herself and shrugging her shoulders.]  Oh, very well.  Now
let's see if you can do any better with the bag.

[FITZSIMMONS takes off coat and gives exhibition.]

[MAUD looks on in an ecstasy of admiration.]

MAUD.  [As he finishes.]  Beautiful!  Beautiful!

[FITZSIMMONS puts on coat and goes over and sits down near table.]
Nothing like the bag to limber one up.  I feel like a fighting cock.
Harry, let's go out on a toot, you and I.

MAUD.  Wh-a-a-t?

FITZSIMMONS.  A toot.  You know--one of those rip-snorting nights you
used to make.

MAUD.  [Emphatically, as she picks up newspapers from leather chair, sits
down, and places them on her lap.]  I'll do nothing of the sort.
I've--I've reformed.

FITZSIMMONS.  You used to joy-ride like the very devil.

MAUD.  I know it.

FITZSIMMONS.  And you always had a pretty girl or two along.

MAUD.  [Boastfully, in mannish, fashion.]  Oh, I still have my fling.  Do
you know any--well,--er,--nice girls?


MAUD.  Put me wise.

FITZSIMMONS.  Sure.  You know Jack Sylvester?

MAUD.  [Forgetting herself.]  He's my brother--

FITZSIMMONS.  [Exploding.]  What!

MAUD.--In-law's first cousin.


MAUD.  So you see I don't know him very well.  I only met him once--at
the club.  We had a drink together.

FITZSIMMONS.  Then you don't know his sister?

MAUD.  [Starting.]  His sister?  I--I didn't know he had a sister.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Enthusiastically.]  She's a peach.  A queen.  A little bit
of all right.  A--a loo-loo.

MAUD.  [Flattered.]  She is, is she?

FITZSIMMONS.  She's a scream.  You ought to get acquainted with her.

MAUD.  [Slyly.]  You know her, then?


MAUD.  [Aside.]  Oh, ho!  [To FITZSIMMONS.]  Know her very well?

FITZSIMMONS.  I've taken her out more times than I can remember.  You'll
like her, I'm sure.

MAUD.  Thanks.  Tell me some more about her.

FITZSIMMONS.  She dresses a bit loud.  But you won't mind that.  And
whatever you do, don't take her to eat.

MAUD.  [Hiding her chagrin.]  Why not?

FITZSIMMONS.  I never saw such an appetite--

MAUD.  Oh!

FITZSIMMONS.  It's fair sickening.  She must have a tapeworm.  And she
thinks she can sing.

MAUD.  Yes?

FITZSIMMONS.  Rotten.  You can do better yourself, and that's not saying
much.  She's a nice girl, really she is, but she is the black sheep of
the family.  Funny, isn't it?

MAUD.  [Weak voice.]  Yes, funny.

FITZSIMMONS.  Her brother Jack is all right.  But he can't do anything
with her.  She's a--a--

MAUD.  [Grimly.]  Yes.  Go on.

FITZSIMMONS.  A holy terror.  She ought to be in a reform school.

MAUD.  [Springing to her feet and slamming newspapers in his face.]  Oh!
Oh!  Oh!  You liar!  She isn't anything of the sort!

FITZSIMMONS.  [Recovering from the onslaught and making believe he is
angry, advancing threateningly on her.]  Now I'm going to put a head on
you.  You young hoodlum.

MAUD.  [All alarm and contrition, backing away from him.]  Don't!  Please
don't!  I'm sorry!  I apologise.  I--I beg your pardon, Bob.  Only I
don't like to hear girls talked about that way, even--even if it is true.
And you ought to know.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Subsiding and resuming seat.]  You've changed a lot, I
must say.

MAUD.  [Sitting down in leather chair.]  I told you I'd reformed.  Let us
talk about something else.  Why is it girls like prize-fighters?  I
should think--ahem--I mean it seems to me that girls would think prize-
fighters horrid.

FITZSIMMONS.  They are men.

MAUD.  But there is so much crookedness in the game.  One hears about it
all the time.

FITZSIMMONS.  There are crooked men in every business and profession.  The
best fighters are not crooked.

MAUD.  I--er--I thought they all faked fights when there was enough in

FITZSIMMONS.  Not the best ones.

MAUD.  Did you--er--ever fake a fight?

FITZSIMMONS.  [Looking at her sharply, then speaking solemnly.]  Yes.

MAUD.  [Shocked, speaking sadly.]  And I always heard of you and thought
of you as the one clean champion who never faked.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Gently and seriously.]  Let me tell you about it.  It was
down in Australia.  I had just begun to fight my way up.  It was with old
Bill Hobart out at Rushcutters Bay.  I threw the fight to him.

MAUD.  [Repelled, disgusted.]  Oh!  I could not have believed it of you.

FITZSIMMONS.  Let me tell you about it.  Bill was an old fighter.  Not an
old man, you know, but he'd been in the fighting game a long time.  He
was about thirty-eight and a gamer man never entered the ring.  But he
was in hard luck.  Younger fighters were coming up, and he was being
crowded out.  At that time it wasn't often he got a fight and the purses
were small.  Besides it was a drought year in Australia.  You don't know
what that means.  It means that the rangers are starved.  It means that
the sheep are starved and die by the millions.  It means that there is no
money and no work, and that the men and women and kiddies starve.

Bill Hobart had a missus and three kids and at the time of his fight with
me they were all starving.  They did not have enough to eat.  Do you
understand?  They did not have enough to eat.  And Bill did not have
enough to eat.  He trained on an empty stomach, which is no way to train
you'll admit.  During that drought year there was little enough money in
the ring, but he had failed to get any fights.  He had worked at long-
shoring, ditch-digging, coal-shovelling--anything, to keep the life in
the missus and the kiddies.  The trouble was the jobs didn't hold out.
And there he was, matched to fight with me, behind in his rent, a tough
old chopping-block, but weak from lack of food.  If he did not win the
fight, the landlord was going to put them into the street.

MAUD.  But why would you want to fight with him in such weak condition?

FITZSIMMONS.  I did not know.  I did not learn till at the ringside just
before the fight.  It was in the dressing rooms, waiting our turn to go
on.  Bill came out of his room, ready for the ring.  "Bill," I said--in
fun, you know.  "Bill, I've got to do you to-night."  He said nothing,
but he looked at me with the saddest and most pitiful face I have ever
seen.  He went back into his dressing room and sat down.

"Poor Bill!" one of my seconds said.  "He's been fair starving these last
weeks.  And I've got it straight, the landlord chucks him out if he loses

Then the call came and we went into the ring.  Bill was desperate.  He
fought like a tiger, a madman.  He was fair crazy.  He was fighting for
more than I was fighting for.  I was a rising fighter, and I was fighting
for the money and the recognition.  But Bill was fighting for life--for
the life of his loved ones.

Well, condition told.  The strength went out of him, and I was fresh as a
daisy.  "What's the matter, Bill?" I said to him in a clinch.   "You're
weak."  "I ain't had a bit to eat this day," he answered.  That was all.

By the seventh round he was about all in, hanging on and panting and
sobbing for breath in the clinches, and I knew I could put him out any
time.  I drew back my right for the short-arm jab that would do the
business.  He knew it was coming, and he was powerless to prevent it.

"For the love of God, Bob," he said; and--[Pause.]

MAUD.  Yes?  Yes?

FITZSIMMONS.  I held back the blow.  We were in a clinch.

"For the love of God, Bob," he said again, "the misses and the kiddies!"

And right there I saw and knew it all.  I saw the hungry children asleep,
and the missus sitting up and waiting for Bill to come home, waiting to
know whether they were to have food to eat or be thrown out in the

"Bill," I said, in the next clinch, so low only he could hear.  "Bill,
remember the La Blanche swing.  Give it to me, hard."

We broke away, and he was tottering and groggy.  He staggered away and
started to whirl the swing.  I saw it coming.  I made believe I didn't
and started after him in a rush.  Biff!  It caught me on the jaw, and I
went down.  I was young and strong.  I could eat punishment.  I could
have got up the first second.  But I lay there and let them count me out.
And making believe I was still dazed, I let them carry me to my corner
and work to bring me to.  [Pause.]

Well, I faked that fight.

MAUD.  [Springing to him and shaking his hand.]  Thank God!  Oh!  You are
a man!  A--a--a hero!

FITZSIMMONS.  [Dryly, feeling in his pocket.]  Let's have a smoke.  [He
fails to find cigarette case.]

MAUD.  I can't tell you how glad I am you told me that.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Gruffly.]  Forget it.  [He looks on table, and fails to
find cigarette case.  Looks at her suspiciously, then crosses to desk at
right and reaches for telephone.]

MAUD.  [Curiously.]  What are you going to do?

FITZSIMMONS.  Call the police.

MAUD.  What for?


MAUD.  For me?

FITZSIMMONS.  You are not Harry Jones.  And not only are you an impostor,
but you are a thief.

MAUD.  [Indignantly.]  How dare you?

FITZSIMMONS.  You have stolen my cigarette case.

MAUD.  [Remembering and taken aback, pulls out cigarette case.]  Here it

FITZSIMMONS.  Too late.  It won't save you.  This club must be kept
respectable.  Thieves cannot be tolerated.

MAUD.  [Growing alarm.]  But you won't have me arrested?

FITZSIMMONS.  I certainly will.

MAUD.  [Pleadingly.]  Please!  Please!

FITZSIMMONS.  [Obdurately.]  I see no reason why I should not.

MAUD.  [Hurriedly, in a panic.]  I'll give you a reason--a--a good one.
I--I--am not Harry Jones.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Grimly.]  A good reason in itself to call in the police.

MAUD.  That isn't the reason.  I'm--a--Oh!  I'm so ashamed.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Sternly.]  I should say you ought to be.  [Reaches for
telephone receiver.]

MAUD.  [In rush of desperation.]  Stop!  I'm a--I'm a--a girl.  There!
[Sinks down in chair, burying her face in her hands.]

[FITZSIMMONS, hanging up receiver, grunts.]

[MAUD removes hands and looks at him indignantly.  As she speaks her
indignation grows.]

MAUD.  I only wanted your cigarette case to prove to my brother that I
had been here.  I--I'm Maud Sylvester, and you never took me out once.
And I'm not a black sheep.  And I don't dress loudly, and I haven't a--a

FITZSIMMONS.  [Grinning and pulling out card from vest pocket.]  I knew
you were Miss Sylvester all the time.

MAUD.  Oh!  You brute!  I'll never speak to you again.

FITZSIMMONS.  [Gently.]  You'll let me see you safely out of here.

MAUD.  [Relenting.]  Ye-e-s.  [She rises, crosses to table, and is about
to stoop for motor cloak and bonnet, but he forestall her, holds cloak
and helps her into it.]  Thank you.  [She takes off wig, fluffs her own
hair becomingly, and puts on bonnet, looking every inch a pretty young
girl, ready for an automobile ride.]

FITZSIMMONS.  [Who, all the time, watching her transformation, has been
growing bashful, now handing her the cigarette case.]  Here's the
cigarette case.  You may k-k-keep it.

MAUD.  [Looking at him, hesitates, then takes it.]  I thank you--er--Bob.
I shall treasure it all my life.  [He is very embarrassed.]  Why, I do
believe you're bashful.  What is the matter?

FITZSIMMONS.  [Stammering.]  Why--I--you--You are a girl--and--a--a--deuced
pretty one.

MAUD.  [Taking his arm, ready to start for door.]  But you knew it all

FITZSIMMONS.  But it's somehow different now when you've got your girl's
clothes on.

MAUD.  But you weren't a bit bashful--or nice, when--you--you--[Blurting
it out.]  Were so anxious about birth marks.

[They start to make exit.]


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Collection of Stories" ***

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