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Universi ty Li b rary

Unive rsi ty ofCal ifo rnia B erkel ey


Fr o n t zspi e ce .

T H E H UT S WA L LS W IT H O UT DI FFIC U L T Y
'
R O SE .
T HE SEA -
WO L F

J A C K L O N D O N
AUTHOR o r “ THE CALL O F TH E W IL D ” “ PE O P LE
m ”
, o r THE ss,
CHIL DREN OE T HE FROST
“ ”
, ETC .

WI TH B Y W J. . A YL WA R D

N EW YO R K
G ROSSET DU N L A P
P U B LI S HE R S
COPYRIGHT , 1 904,

YRIGHT 1 903 1 904


COP , , ,

B Y T HE C ENTUR Y C O MPAN Y .

C OP YR I GH T , 1 904,

B Y T HE MA C MIL L A N COMPA NY .

Se t l
u p a n d e e ct ro ty pe d. P ub l is he d Octo b e r, 1 904. Re p rin te d
Octob e r N o ve mb e r, De ce m b e r,
, 1 904 ; J un e , 1 906.

an 9 m :
Ne w m
Ca sh i n g dz C o .
— B er w i ck dz Smi th 00.
N o rw oo d , Ma m , U S A
. . .
Lfb i l s e
‘ r
.

We
L IS T O F I L L U S T R A T IO N S


T he hut s ’
o
w al l s r s e w i thou t di ffi culty

A hoy ! T a ke me as ho re ! A tho us a n d d ol la rs if y o u ta k e me
a ho
s re !


His fa c e w as c onv ul sed and w h it e, h is e ye s w e re fla s ih ng ,
h is
cl e n ch e d fis t ai
s r sed o v er he ad


At an y mom nt th e y w e e l i b l e to b e o
e r a v e rw h lm e d
e b y th e h is s
in g com b e rs

T h e Ka n
h a ng ing on With o
a ka , ne ha n d ,
z
s ei ed t h e C ck o
n e y foot w i th th e oth e r

s

He sa w W ol f L a rse n s ’
ri fle b e a ri ng up on h im ”

T H E S EA W O L F

C H APT ER I

I AR CE L Y know whe r e to begin though I som e ti mes


SC ,

facetiously place the cause of it all to Cha r ley Fu ru s e t h s ’

credit H e kept a summe r cottage in Mill Valley u nde r


.
,

the shadow of M ount Tamalpais and neve r occupied it


,

except when he loafed through the winte r months and read


Nietzsche and Schopenhaue r to rest his brain When .

summe r came on h e elected to sweat out a hot and dusty


,

existence in the city and to toil incessantly H ad it not .

been my custom to r un up to see him eve ry Saturday afte r


noon and to stop ove r till Monday morning this parti cular ,

January Monday morning would not have found me afloat


on San Fr ancisco Bay .

Not but that I was a float in a safe craft fo r the Ma rt in ez


,

was a new fer ry steame r making he r fourth o r fifth t rip on


-
,

the run bet w een Sausalito and San Francisco The dange r .

lay in the heavy fog which blanketed the bay and of which , ,

as a landsman I had little apprehension In fact I t e


, .
,

membe r the placid exaltation with which I took up my


position on the fo rward uppe r deck directly beneath the
,

pilot house and allowed the myste ry of the fog to lay hold
-
,

of my im a gination A fresh breeze was blowing and fo r


.
,

a time I was alone in the moist obscurity — yet not alone ,

for I was di mly conscious of the presence of the pilot and ,

B K
2 T HE S EA —
WOLF

of what I took to be the capta in in the glass house above ,

my h e ad .

I remembe r thinking how comfortable it was this divi ,

s ion of labor w hich made it unnecessary fo r me to study

fogs winds tides and navigation in orde r to visit my


, , , ,

friend who liv ed across an arm of the sea It w as good .

th a t men should be specialists I mused The peculiar , .

kn ow ledge of the pilot and captain su ffi ced for many


thousands of people who knew no more of the sea and
navigation t han I knew On the other hand instead of .
,

having to devote my energy to the learning of a multitude


of things I concentrated it upon a few particular things
, ,

such as for instance the analysis of P oe s place in Ameri


, ,

c a n literature — a n essay of mine by the way in the cur , ,

r ent A tl a n ti c Coming aboard as I passed through the


.
,

cabin I had noticed with greedy eyes a stout gentleman


,

r eading the A t l a n t ic w hich was open at my ve ry essay


, .

And there it was again the division of labo r the special, ,

kn owledge of the pilot and captain which pe r mitted the


stout gentleman to r ead my special knowledge on P oe
while they ca rried him safely fr om Sausalito to S a n
Francisco .

A r ed faced man slamming the cabin doo r behind him


-
,

a n d stumping out on the deck interrupted my r eflections , ,

though I made a mental n ote of the topic fo r use in a pro


j e c t e d essay which I had thought of cal l ing “
The N e ce s

s i t y for Freedom : A P lea fo r the A rtist The red faced .


-

man shot a glance up at the pilot house gazed around at -


,

the fog stumped ac r oss the deck and b a c k ( he e v idently


,

had artificial legs ) and stood still by my side legs wide


, ,

apa rt and with an exp ression of keen enj oym ent on his
,

face I was not wrong when I decided that his days h a d


.

been spent on the s e a .


T HE S EA-WOLF 3

I t s nasty weathe r like this here that turns heads gray


before their time he said with a nod to w ard the pilot


, ,

house .


I had not thought there was any pa rticular st rain I ,

ans w ered It seems as simple as A B C They know


.
, , .

the dir ection by compass the distance and the speed I , , .

should not call it anything more than mathematic a l ce r



tainty .



Strain ! h e sno rted “
Simple as A B C ! Mathe .
, ,

ma t i ca l ce rtainty !
H e seemed to brace himself up and lean backward
agai nst the air as he stared at me Ho w about this here .


tide that s rushin out through the G olden G a te ? he de
’ ’

m a n d e d or be l low e d rather H ow fast is she ebbin ? “ ’


.
, ,

What s the drift eh ? Listen to that w ill you ? A bell


, ,

buoy and we re a top of it ! See em a l t e ri n the course !


,

-
’ ’

Fr om out of the fog came the mournful tolling of a bell ,

a n d I could see the pilot turning the wheel w ith gr eat

r apidity The bell which had seemed str aight ahead was
.
, ,

now sounding fr om the side Ou r own whistle w as blow .

ing hoarsely and from time to time the sound of othe r


,

whistles came to us from out of the fog .



That s a fe rry boat of some sort the newcome r said

-
, ,

indicati ng a whistle o ff to the right And there ! D ye .


hear that ? Blown by mouth Some scow schooner most .


,

likely Bette r watch out M r Schoone r man Ah I


.
, .
- .
,

thought so N OW hell s a poppin for somebody !
.

-

The unseen ferry boat was blo w ing blast after blast-
,

a n d the mouth-blown ho r n was tooting in te rr or st ricken -

fashion .


And now they re payin thei r r espects to each othe r
’ ’


and t ryi n to get clear the r ed faced m an went on as

,
-
,

the hurr ied whistling ceased .


4 THE S EA-WOLF

His face w a s shining his eyes flashing w ith excitement


, ,

as he translated into articulate language the speech of the


ho r ns and sirens “
That s a steam siren a goin it ove r
.

-

there to the left And you hear that fellow with a frog in
.

his throat a steam schoone r as near as I ca n j udge ,



cr a w l i n in from the H eads against the tide

.

A sh rill little whistle piping as if gone mad came from


, ,

directly ahead and fr om ve ry nea r at hand G ongs sounded .

on the Ma rt i n e z Ou r paddle w heels stopped their puls


.
-
,

ing beat died away and then they started again The , .

shrill little whistle like the chirping of a cricket a mid the


,

cries of gr eat beasts shot th r ough the fog from m ore to


,

the side and swiftly g r ew faint and fainte r I looked to .

my compani on for enlightenment .

One Of them dar e d evil launches he said I almost ,


.

wish we d sunk him the l ittle rip ! They r e the cause of


,

more t r ouble And wh a t good a r e they ? Any j a ckass


gets aboard one and runs it from hell to breakfast b l o w i n ,


his whistle to beat the band and tellin the rest of the ’

world to look out fo r him because he s comin and can t ,


’ ’ ’

look out for himself ! Because he s comin ! And you ve ’ ’ ’

got to look out too ! R ight of way ! Common decency !


,

They don t know the meanin of it !
’ ’

I felt quite amused at his unwa rranted chole r and while ,

he stu mped indignantly up and dow n I fell to d w elling upon


the romance of the fog And romantic it certainly was .

the fog like the gray shado w of infinite mystery brooding


, ,

ov er the whirling speck of ea rth ; and men mere motes of ,

light and sparkle cursed with an ins a ne relish fo r work


, ,

r iding thei r steeds of w ood and steel through the heart of


the myste ry groping their w ay blindly through the Unseen
, ,

and cl a mo ring and clanging i n confident s p eech th e while


thei r hear t s are heavy with ince rtitude and fea r .
6 T HE SEA -WOL F

and took no notice whatever when ou r pilot white with ,



rage shouted Now you ve done it !
, ,

On looking back I re a lize t hat the remark was too


,

obvious to m a ke rej oinder necessa ry .


G rab hold of something and hang on the red faced ,
-

man s a id to me All his bluster had gone a n d he seemed


.
,

to hav e c a ught the cont a gion of preternatur a l calm And .

listen to the w omen scream he s ai d gr imly — almost bit



,

t e rl y,
I thought as though he had been through the
,

experience before .

The v essels came togethe r before I could follow his


advice We must have been struck squarely amidships
.
,

fo r I saw nothing the strange steamboat having passed


,

beyond my line of vision The Ma r t i n e z heeled ov e r .


,

sharply and the r e was a crashing and rending of timber


, .

I was thrown flat on the wet deck and before I could ,

scramble to my feet I heard the scream of the women .

This it was I am ce rtain —the most indescribable of


, ,

blood curdling sounds


- — that threw me into a panic I , .

remembered the life prese rvers stored in the cabin but -


,

w a s met at the door and swept back w ard by a w ild rush of

men and women Wh a t happened in the next few minutes


.

I do not recollect though I hav e a cle a r remembrance of


,

pulling do w n life preservers from the overhe a d ra cks w h ile


-
,

the red faced man fastened them about the bodies of an


-

hyste rical group of women This memo ry is as distinct .

and sharp as that of any pictu r e I hav e seen It is a Z l C .


ture and I can see it now — t h e j agged edges of the m l e


, ,
i

in the side O f the cabin through w hich the gr a y fog s w irl d


,
e

a n d eddied ; t h e empty upholstered seats littered w ith a l l ,

the e v idences of sudden flight such as pack a ges hand , ,

satchel s umbre l l a s and wra ps ; the stout gentlem a n who


, ,

had been reading my essay encased in cork and canvas , ,


T HE SEA —
WOL F

the magazine still in his hand and asking me w ith monoto ,

nous insistence if I thought there was any danger ; the


r ed-faced man stumping gallantly around on his a rtificial
,

legs and b uckli ng life prese rvers on a l l comers ; and finally


-
,

the screaming bedlam of women .

This it w a s the sc r eaming of the women that most


, ,

t ried my ne rves It must have tried too the ne rves of


.
, ,

the r ed faced man fo r I have anothe r picture which wi l l


-
,

neve r fade from my mind The stout gentleman is stu ff .

ing the magazine into his overcoat pocket and looking on


cu riously A tangled m a ss of women with draw n white
.
, ,

faces and open mouths is shrieking like a chorus of lost ,

souls ; and the red faced man his face now purplish
-
,

with wra th and with arms extended overhead as in the


,


act of hurli ng thunderbolts is shouting Shut up ! Oh , , ,

shut up !
I remembe r the scene impelled me to sudden laughte r .

and in th e next instant I realized I w as becoming hyste rical


myself ; fo r these were w omen of my o w n kind like my ,

mothe r and sisters w ith the fea r of death upon them and
,

unwilling to die And I r emember that the sounds they


.

made r eminded me of the squealing of pigs unde r the


knife of the butcher and I was struck with horror at ,

the vividness of the analogy These women capable .


,

of the most sublime emotions of the tenderest sympa ,

thies we r e Open mouthed and sc r eaming They wanted


,
- .

to li ve they we r e helpless like r ats in a tr ap and they


, , ,

s creamed .

The ho rr o r of it dr ove me out on d eck I was feeling .

sick and squeamish and sat do w n on a bench In a hazy


, .

way I s a w and hear d men r ushing and shouting as they


str ove to lowe r the boats It was j ust as I had r ead d e s cri p
.

tions of such scenes in books The tackles j ammed . .


8 T HE S EA- WOLF

N othing wo rked One boat lowered away with the plugs


.

out filled with women a n d children and then w ith water


, ,

and capsize d Another boat had been lowered by one end


.
,

and still hung in the tackl e by the othe r end where it had ,

been abandoned N othing was to be seen of the strange


.

steamboat which had caused the dis a ster though I heard ,

men saying that she would undoubtedly send boats to ou r


assistance .

I descended to the lowe r deck The Ma r t i n ez was .

sinking fast fo r the wate r was ve ry nea r Numbers of


, .

the passengers were leapin g ove rboard Others in the .


,

wate r were cl a moring to be taken aboard again No one


, .

heeded them A cry arose that we were sinking I was


. .

seized by the consequent panic and went o v e r the side ,

in a surge of bodies H o w I went ove r I do not know


.
,

though I did know and instantly why those in the wate r


, ,

w ere so desi r ous of getting b a ck on the steamer The .


water was cold s o cold that it was painful The pang .
,

as I plunged into it was as quick and sharp as that Of


,

fire It hit to the ma rr ow It w a s like the g rip of


. . .

death I gasped with the anguish and shock of it filling


.
,

my lungs before the life preserver popped me to the su r -

face The taste o i the salt w as strong in my mouth and


.
,

I was strangling with the ac rid stu ff in my th r oat and


lungs .

But it was the cold that was most distr essing I felt .

that I could s u rvive but a few minutes P eople were .

strugg l ing and floundering in the water about me I .

could hear them c rying out to one another And I heard .


,

also the sound Of oars E v idently the str ange steamboat


, .

had lowe r ed its boats As the time went by I ma rvelled


.

that I was still a l ive I had no sensation whateve r in


.

my lowe r li mbs while a chilling numbness was w r appin g


,
T HE S EA-WO LF 9

about my hea rt and c r eeping into it Small waves with .


,

spiteful foaming crests continually b r oke ove r me and


,

into my mouth sending me o ff into mo r e str angling


,

paroxysms .

The noises grew indistinct though I heard a final and ,

despairing chorus Of screams in the distance and knew th a t


the Ma rt i n e z had gone down Late r how much later I
.
,

have no kno w ledge I came to myself with a sta rt of fear


, .

I was alone I could hea r no calls o r c ries only the


.

sound Of the waves made weir dly hollow and r everberant
,

by the fog A panic in a crowd which partakes of a


.
,

so rt of community of interest is not so terrible as a panic ,

when one is by oneself and such a panic I now su ffered .

Whither was I drifting ? T h e red fa ced man had said that -

the tide was ebbing through the G olden G ate Was I then .
, ,

being carried out to sea And the life prese rve r in w hich I -

floated ? Was it not liable to go to pieces at any moment ?


I had hear d of such things being made Of paper and hollow
ru shes which quickly became satu r ated and lost all buoy
ancy And I could not s w im a stroke And I was alone
. .
,

floating apparently in the midst of a gray primo r dial


, ,

vastness I confess that a madness seized me that I


.
,

sh r ieked aloud as the women h a d sh rieked and beat the ,

water w ith my numb hands .

H ow long this lasted I have no conception fo r a blank ,

ness inte rvened of which I r emembe r no mo r e than one


,

r emembers of troubled and painful sleep When I a r oused .


,

it was a s afte r centu ries of time ; and I saw almost above ,

me and emerging from the fog the b o w of a vessel and , ,

th r ee t riangular sails each shrewdly lapping the othe r and


,

filled with wind Where the bow cu t the water there was
.

a g r eat foaming and gurgling and I seemed directly in its ,

path I t ried to cry out but was too exhaust e d The bow
.
, .
IO T H E S EA - WO LF

plunged down j ust missing me and sending a swash of


,

water clear over my head Then the long black side of .


,

the vessel began s l ipping past so near that I could ha v e ,

touched it w ith my hands I tried to reach it in a mad .


,

resolve to claw into the wood with my nail s but my arms ,

w ere heav y a n d lifeless Again I st r ove to call out but


.
,

made no sound .

The stern of the vessel shot by dropping as it did so , , ,

into a hollo w between the wav es ; and I caught a glimpse


of a man standing at the wheel and of anothe r man who ,

seemed to be doing little else than smoke a cigar I saw .

the smoke issuing from his lips as he slowly turned his


head and glanced out o v er the water in my direction It .

w as a c a reless unpremeditated glance one of those hap


, ,

h a z a rd things men do w hen they have no immedia te call


to do anything in pa rticular but act because they are alive ,

a n d must do somethin g .

B u t life a n d de a th were in that glance I could see the .

vessel being s w allowed up in the fog ; I saw the back of


the man at the wheel and the head of the other m a n turn
,

ing slow ly turning as his gaze struck the w ate r and casu
, ,

ally lifted along i t tow a rd me His fa ce w ore a n absent .

expression as of deep thought and I became afraid that


, ,

if his eyes did light upon me he would nevertheless not


see me But his eyes did light upon me and looked
.
,

squarely into mine ; and he did see me for h e sprang to ,

the wheel thrusting the othe r man aside and w hirled it


, ,

round a n d round hand ove r hand at the s a me tim e shout


, ,

ing orders of some so rt The vessel seemed to go o ff at


.

a tangent to its former cou r se and leapt almost instantly


from vie w into the fog .

I felt myself sli pping into unconsciousness and t ried ,

with all the power of my will to fight above the suffocatin g


T HE SEA-WOL F 1I

blankness and darkness that was rising a r ound me A .

little l ate r I heard the stroke of oars growing nea r e r and


,

nearer and the calls of a man When he was very nea r I


,
.

heard him c rying in vexed fashion Why in hell don t


, ,
“ ’


you sing out ? This meant me I thought and then
, ,

the blankness and da r kness rose ove r me .


C H A PT E R I I

I S E E ME D swinging in a mighty rhythm th rough orbit


vastness Sparkling points of light spluttered and shot
.

past me They were stars I knew and fl a ring comets


.
, , ,

that peopled my flight among the suns As I reached the .

limit of my swi n g and prepared to rush back on the counter


s wing a great gong struck and thunde r ed
, .
Fo r an i m .

measurable pe riod lapped i n the rippling of placid cen


,

t u ri e s I enj oyed and pondered my tremendous flight


, .

But a ch a nge came ove r the face of the d ream for a ,

dream I told myself it must be My rhythm grew s horte r .

and sho rter I w a s j erked from swing to counte r s w ing


.

w ith irritating haste I could scarcely catch my breath


.
,

so fiercely was I impelled through the heavens The gong .

thundered more frequently and more furiously I grew to .

await it with a n a meless dread Then it seemed as though.

I were being dragged ove r r asping s a nds w hite and hot in ,

the sun This gave place to a sense of intolerable angui s h


. .

My skin was scorching in the torment of fire The gong .

clan ged and knelled The sparkling points O f light flashed


.

p a st me in an interminable str eam as though the whole ,

sidereal system were d r o p pmg I nto the void I gasped .


,

caught my breath painfully and opened my eyes Tw o


,
.

men were kneeling beside me working over me My ,


.

mighty rhythm was the lift and for w ard plunge of a ship
on the sea The terrific gong was a frying pan h a nging
.
-
,

on the wall that r attled and clattered w ith each leap of


,

12
I4 T HE S EA WOLF
-

Thank you M r Yonson I said ; but don t you think


, .
,
“ ’

your measu r es were rather heroic ?


It was because he unde r stood t h e reproof of my action ,

rathe r than of my words that he held up his palm for ,

inspection I t was r emarkably calloused I passed my


. .

h and ove r the horny proj ections and my teeth w ent on ,

edge once more from the ho rrible r asping sensation pro


d u ce d .

My name is J ohnson not Yonson he said in very



, , ,

good though slow E nglish with no more than a shade


, , ,

of a ccent to it .

There was mild protest in his pale blue eyes and ,

withal a timid frankness a n d manliness that quite won


me to him .


Thank you M r J ohnson I corrected and r eached
, .
, ,

out my hand fo r his .

H e hesit a ted awkward and bashful shifted his weight


, ,

from one leg to the other then blunderingly gripped my ,

hand in a hearty shake .



H ave you any dry clothes I may put on ? I asked
the cook .



Yes sir he answered with cheerful a lacrit y
, ,

I ll , .

r un do w n a n tyke a look o v er my kit if you ve no o b j e c



,


tions sir to w e a rin my things
, ,

.

H e dived out of the galley door o r glided r ather with , ,

a s w iftness and smoothness of gait that struck me as being


not so much ca t like as oily I n fact this oiliness or
- .
, ,

greasiness as I was late r to lea rn was probably the most


, ,

salient expression of his personality .



And where am I ? I a sked Johnson whom I took , ,

and rightly to be one of the sailors ,



What vessel is
this and where is she bound
,

O ff the Farallones h e ading about sou west he an ’


, ,
THE S EA-WO LF 15

slowly and methodically as though gr oping fo r


s w e re d , ,

his best E ng lish and rigidly obse rving the order of my


,

que ries “
The schoone r Ghos t bound seal hunting to
.
,
-

a pa n f

J
And who is the captai n ? I must see him as so on as

I am dressed .

Johnson looked puzzled and embarr assed H e hesitated .

w hile he groped in his vocabulary and framed a comp l ete


answer The cap n is Wolf Larsen or so men call him
.

, .

I neve r heard his other name But you bette r speak soft .

with him H e is mad this morning The mate


.
'

But he did not finish The cook had glided in . .


Bette r sling yer ook out of ere Yonson he said ’ ’
, , .

The old ma n l l be w a n t in ye r on deck an this a y n t



,

,
’ ’


no d y to fall foul of i m
’ ’
.

Johnson turned obediently to the door at the same ,

time ov e r the cook s shoulde r favo ring me with an am a z


, ,

,

in g l y solemn and portentous wink as though to emphasize ,

his interrupted r emark and the need fo r me to be soft


spoken w ith the captain .

H a nging over the cook s arm was a loose and crumpled ’

array of evil looking and sour smelling g a rments


- - .



They was put a w y w et sir he vouchsafed explana ’

, ,

tion . But you ll ave to make them do till I d ry yours


’ ’


out by the fire .

C l inging to the woodwo r k staggering w ith the r oll of ,

the ship and aided by the cook I managed to slip into a


, ,

rough woollen undershirt On the in s tant my flesh was .

creeping and craw ling from the harsh contact He .

noticed my involuntary twitching and gr imacing and ,

smirked
I only ope ye r don t eve r ave to get used to such as
’ ’ ’

that in this life cos you ve got a b l o o mi n soft skin that


,
’ ’ ’

,
6 T H E SEA —
WOLF

you ave more like a l y dy s than any I know of I w a s


,

.

b l o o m in w e l l sure you was a gentleman as soon as I set


eyes on yer .

I had t a ken a dislike to him at first and as he helped to ,

dress me this dislike increased There was something .

repul s iv e about his touch I shrank from his hand ; my


.

flesh revolted And betw een this and the smells arising
.

from v a rious pots boiling a n d bubbling on the gal l ey fire ,

I was in h a ste to get out into the fresh air Fu rther there .
,

w a s the need of seeing the c a pt a in about wh a t arrange

ments could be made for getting me ashore .

A ch e ap cotton shi rt w ith fra yed coll a r a n d a bosom


,

discolored with what I took to be ancient blood stains w a s -


,

put on me amid a running and a pologeti c fire of comment .

A p a ir Of w orkman s brogans enc a sed my feet and for


trousers I was furn ished with a p a ir of p a le blue wash ed ,

out over a lls one leg of w hich was fu l ly ten inches sho rt e r
,

th a n the other The abbre v iated leg looked as though the


.

dev il had there clutched for the Cockney s soul and missed ’

the sh a dow for the substance .


And whom have I to thank fo r this kindness ? I
asked when I stood completely arrayed a tiny boy s cap
, ,

on my head and fo r coat a di rty striped cotton j acket


, ,

w hich ended at the sm a ll of my b a ck a n d the sleeves of


which re a ched j ust belo w my elbo w s .

The cook drew himself up in a smugly humble fashion ,

a deprecating smirk on his face Out of my experience .

w ith stew a rds o n the Atlantic liners at the end of the


voyage I could have s w orn he w a s w aiting for his tip
,
.

From my fuller knowledge of the creature I now kno w


th a t the posture was unconscious An hereditary se rvility .
,

n o doubt was responsible


, .


Mugridge sir he faw ned his e ffeminate features run
, , ,
T HE SEA-WOLF I7

ning into a greasy smile Thomas Mug ridge sir an at


.

, ,

yer service .

All right Thomas I said


,
I shall not forget you
, .


when my C lothes a r e dry .

A soft light suffused his face and his eyes glistened as ,

though some w here in the deeps of his being his ancestors


had quickened and stirred with dim memories of tips
received in forme r lives .



Th a nk you sir he said very gratefully and very
, , ,

humbly indeed .

P recisely in the way that the doo r slid back he slid ,

aside a n d I stepped out on deck I was sti l l w eak from


, .

my prolonged immersion A puff of wind c a ught me and .


,

I staggered across t he moving deck to a corne r of the


cabin to which I c l ung for support The schooner heeled
, .
,

over fa r out from the perpendicular was bo w ing and plung ,

ing into the long P a cific r oll I f she were heading south .

w est as Johnson had said the wind then I calculated was , , , ,

blo w ing nearly from the south The fog was gone and in .
,

its place the sun sparkled crisply on the surface of the


wate r I turned to the e a st where I knew California
.
,

must lie but could see nothing save lo w lying fog banks
,
- -

— the same fog doubtless that had brought about the


, ,

dis a ster to the Ma r t i n e z and placed me in my present situa


tion To the north and not fa r away a group of naked
.
, ,

rocks thrust a bo v e the sea on one of which I could dis ,

t i n g ui s h a lighthouse In the south w est and almost in


.
,

our course I saw the pyramidal loom of some vessel s


,

sails .

H aving completed my survey of the horizon I turned to ,

my more immediate surroundin gs My first thought was .

that a man who h a d come through a collision and rubbed


shoulders with death merited more attention than I
18 T HE S EA WOLF
-

r eceived Beyond a sailor at the wheel w ho stared cu ri


.
'

o us l
y across the top of the cabin I attracted no notice ,

wh a tever .

E verybody seemed interested in what was going on


amidships There on a hatch a large man w as lying on
.
, ,

his back H e was fully clothed though his shirt w a s


.
,

ripped open in front Nothing was to be seen of his .

chest however fo r it was covered with a mass of blac k


, ,

hair in appearance l ike the furry coat of a dog His face


, .

and neck were hidden be n eath a black beard inte rshot ,

with gray which would have been sti ff and bushy had it
,

not been limp and draggled and dripp ing with wate r His .

eyes were closed and he was app a rently unconscious ; but


,

his mouth was wide open his breast heaving as though ,

from su ffocation as he labored noisily for breath A .

sailo r from time to time a n d quite methodically as a


, ,

matter of routine dropped a canvas buc k et into the ocean


,

at the end of a r ope hauled it in hand under hand a n d


, ,

sluiced its contents over the prostrate man .

P acing back and fo rth the length of the hatchway and ,

sav a gely chew ing the end of a cigar was the man whose ,

casual glance had rescued me from the sea His height .

was probably five feet ten inches or ten and a half ; but ,

my first impression or feel of the man was not of this but


, , ,

of his strength And yet w hile he w as of massive build


.
, ,

with broad shoulders and deep chest I could not charac ,

t e riz e his strength as massive It was what might be .

termed a sinewy knotty stren gt h of the kind we asc ribe


, ,

to lean and wiry men but w hich in him because of his , , ,

heavy build p a rtook more of the enla rged gorilla order


,
.

N o t that in appearance he seemed in the least gorilla like - .

What I a m striv ing to express is this strength itself more ,

as a thing a part from his physical semblance It w as a .


T HE S EA—WOLF 9

strength we a r e wont to associate with things p rimitive ,

with w ild animals and the creatures we imagine ou r tree


,
!

d w elling prototypes to have been a strength savage -


,

ferocious alive in itself the essence of life in that it is the


, ,

potency of motion the elemental stu ff itself out of which


,

the many forms of life have been molded ; in sho rt that ,

which writhes in the body of a sn a ke when the head is c u t


o ff a n d the snake as a snake is dead o r which lingers in
, , , ,

a shapeless lump of tu r tle meat and r ecoils and quivers


-

from the pro d of a finger .

Such was the impression of str ength I gathered from


this man who paced up and down H e was firmly planted .

on his legs ; his feet st ruck the deck squarely and with
surety ; every movement of a muscle from the heave of ,

the shoulders to the tightening of th e lips about the cigar ,

w a s decisive and seemed to come out of a strength that


,

was excessiv e and overwhelming I n fact though this .


,

strength pervaded every action of his it seemed but the ,

advertisement of a greate r strength that lurked within that ,

lay dormant and no more than stirred from time to time ,

but which might arouse at any moment te rrible and co m


, ,

pelling like the rage of a lion or the wrath of a storm


, .

The cook stuck his head out of the galley d oo r and


grinned encouragingly at me at the same time j erking his
,

thumb in the direction of the man who paced up and


dow n by the hatchway Thus I was given to underst a nd
.


that he was the captain the Old Man in the cook s ver

, ,

n a cu l a r the indi v idual whom I In ust intervie w and put to


,

the trouble of somehow getting me ashore I had half .

started forw ard to get over w ith w hat I was ce rtain would
,

be a stormy five minutes when a more violent s u ffo


,
o

c a ting paroxysm seized the unfo rtunate person who w a s


lying on his back H e w r enched and writhed a b o u t co n
.
20 THE SEA - WO LF

v u l s iv e l
y The chin. with the clamp black bear d pointed
, ,

highe r in the a i r as the back muscles stiffened and the


chest swelled in an unconscious and instinctive e ffo rt to
get more air Under the w hiskers a n d all unseen I knew
.
, ,

that the skin w as taking on a pu r plish hue .

The captain o r Wolf Lar sen as men called him ceased


, , ,

pacing and gazed d own at the dying man So fierce had .

this final struggle become that the sailo r p a used in the act
of flinging more w a te r ove r him and stared curiously the ,

canv a s buc k et partly tilted and d ripping its contents to


the deck The dying man beat a tattoo on the hatch w ith his
.

heels straightened out his legs and stiffened in one gre a t


, ,

tense e ffo rt a n d rolled his head from side to side Then


, .

the muscles r elaxed the he a d stopped rolling and a sigh


, , ,

as of profound relief flo a ted U p w ard from his lips The


, .

j aw dropped the uppe r lip lifted and tw o ro w s of tobacco


, ,

discolored teeth appe a red It seemed as though his fe a tures


.

h a d frozen into a diabolical grin at the wo r ld he had left


and outw itted .

Then a most surprising thing occurred The captain .

broke loose upon the de a d man like a thunderc l ap Oaths .

rolled from his lips in a continuous stream And they .

were not namby p a m b y oath s o r mere expressions of inde


-
,

cc h e y E a ch w ord w a s a bl a sphemy and there were many


.
,

words They crisped and cra ckled like electric sp a rks I


. .

had nev e r heard anything like it in my l ife nor co uld I ,

have conceiv ed it po s sible With a turn for literary ex .

pression myse l f and a pench a nt fo r forcible figures and


,

phra s es I appreciated as no other listener I d a re s a y the


, , , ,

peculi a r vividness and strength a n d absolute blasphemy of


his met a phors The cause of it a l l as nea r as I co uld
.
,

make out w a s that the man who w a s mate h a d gone on a


, , ,

debauch before leaving San Francisco and then had the ,


C H A PTE R I I I

WOL F L AR SE N ceased swear ing as suddenly as he had


begun H e relighted his ciga r and g l anced a r ound His
. .

eyes ch a nced upon the cook .



Well Cooky ? he began with a suaveness that was
, ,

cold and of the temper of steel .

Yes sir the cook eagerly interpolated with appeasing


, , ,

and apologetic se rvility .

Don t you think you ve stretched that neck of yours


’ ’

j ust about enough It s unhealthy you kno w The m a te s’

, .

.

gone so I can t a fford to lose you too You must be ve ry


,

.
,

very c a refu l of your health Cooky Understand ? , .

His last w ord in striking contr a st with the smoothness


,

of his previous utte rance snapped like the lash of a w hip ,


.

The cook quailed under it .



Yes sir was the meek reply as the o ffending head
, , ,

disappeared into the galley .

At this sweeping rebuke which the cook had only ,

pointed the rest of the crew became uninterested and fel


,

to work at one task o r another A numbe r of men ho w .


,

ever w ho w ere lounging about a companionway bet ween the


,

galley and the hatch and w ho did not seem to be sailors


, ,

continued talking in lo w tones with one another The s e .


,

I after w ard learned w ere the hunters the men who shot
, ,

the seals and a ve ry supe rio r breed to common sailo r


,

fo l k
.


Jo h ansen Wolf Larsen called out A sailor stepped .

for w a rd obedientl y “
G e t you r palm and needle and se w
.

22
T HE SEA- WOLF 23

the begga r up You ll find some old canvas in the sail


.


locker M ake it do . .


What ll I put on his feet si r ? the man asked afte r

, ,

the customary A y a y sir

, , .


We ll see to that Wolf Larsen answe r ed and e levated

, ,

his voice in a call of Cooky


Thomas Mugridge popped out of his galley like a j ack
i n the box
- -
.
0

G o below and fill a sack with coal .

Any of you fellows got a Bible or p r aye r-book was


the captain s next demand this time of the hunte r s loung

,

ing about the companionway .

They shook their heads and some one made a j ocular ,

remark which I did not catch but which r aised a general ,

laugh .

Wolf Larsen made the same demand of the sailors .

Bibles and pra ye r books seemed scarce articles but one of


-
,

t h e men volunteered to pursue the quest a mongst the


watch below returning in a minute with the information
,

t hat there was none .

The captain shrugged his shoulde r s Then we ll drop .


him over without any palavering unless our clerical-look ,



ing castaway h a s the burial se rvice at sea by hea rt .

By this time he had swung fully ar ound and was facing


me .



You re a preache r ar en t you ? he asked

,

.

The hunte rs — the r e were six of them — to a man


, , ,

turned and regarded me I w as painfully awa r e of my .

likeness to a scarecro w A laugh went up at my appear .

ance — a laugh that was not lessened or softened by the


,

dead man stretched and grinning on the deck befo r e us ;


a lau gh that was as r ough and harsh and frank as the
sea itself ; that ar ose out of coar se feeli ngs and blunted
24 T HE S EA—WOLF

sensibilities f r om natures that knew neither courtesy nor


,

gentleness .

Wolf Larsen did not laugh though his gray eyes lighted ,

with a s light glint of amusement ; and in that moment ,

having stepped forw a rd quite close to him I receiv ed my ,

first impression of the man himse l f of the m a n as apart ,

from his body and from the torrent of b l a s p h e my I h a d


he a rd him spew forth The face with large features and
.
,

strong lines of the square order yet well filled out w as


, , ,

ap p arently m a ssi v e at first sight ; but again as w ith the ,

body the massiv eness seemed to vanish and a conviction


,

to gro w of a t r emendous and excessiv e mental or spiritual


strength that lay behind sleeping in the deep s of his ,

being The j a w the chin the bro w rising to a goodly


.
, ,

height and s w elling heavily above the eyes —these while , ,

stro n g in themselves unusu a lly strong seemed to speak


, ,

an immense vigor or v irility of spirit that lay behind and


beyond a n d out of sight There was no sounding such a
.

S pirit no measuring no determining of mete s and bounds


, , ,

no r neatly classifying in some pigeonhole w ith others of


similar type .


The eyes and it w a s my destiny to know them well
—w ere l arge and handsome w ide a p a rt as the true artist s
,

are wide sheltering unde r a heav y bro w and arched over


,

by thick black eyebrows The eyes themselv es w ere of.

that ba fflin g prote a n gray which is never twice the same ;


w hich runs through many shades and coloring s like inter
s hot silk in sunshine ; which is gray dark and light and , ,

greenish gray and sometimes of the clear azu r e of the


,

d e ep sea They were eyes that m a sked the soul w ith a


.

thousand guises a n d that sometimes Opened at rare


, ,

moments and allowed it to rush up as though it w ere


,

about to fare fo rth nakedly into the world on some wonder


T HE S EA-WOLF 25

ful adve n tu re — eyes that could brood with the hopeless


sombrenes s of le a den skies ; th at could snap and crackle
points of fire li k e those w hich sparkle from a whirling
sword ; that could grow chill as an arctic landscape and ,

yet agai n that could warm and soften and be all a dance
,
-

with love l ights intense and masculine l u rm g and com


-
, ,

pelling which at the same time fascinate and domin a te


,

women till they su r rende r in a gladness of j oy and of


relief and sac rifice .

But to return I told h im that unhapp i ly fo r the burial


.
,

service I w as not a preacher when he shar ply demanded


, ,

What do you do for a li v ing ?
I confess I h a d nev er had such a question asked me
before nor had I ev er canvassed it I was quite taken
,
.

aback and before I could find m yself had sillily stam


,

mered I I am a gentleman
, .

H is lip curled in a s w ift snee r .



I have w orked I do work I cried impetuously as
, , ,

though he we r e my j udge and I r equired vindication and ,

at the same time ve ry much aware of my a rr ant idiocy in


discussing the subj ect at all .

Fo r you r living
There was something so imperative and maste rful about
him that I was quite beside myself r attled as Fu ru s e t h

,

would hav e te r med it li ke a quaking child before a stern


,

schoolmaster .

Who feeds you ? was his next question .


I have an income I ans w e r ed stoutly and could have
, ,

bitten my tongue the next instant All of which you ,

will p a rdon my obse rving has nothing w hatsoeve r to do


,

with what I wish to see you about .

But he disregarded my protest .

Who earned it ? E h ? I thought so You r father . .


26 T HE S EA WOLF -

You stand on dead men s legs You ve neve r had any of ’


.

your o w n You couldn t w alk alone betw een two sunri s es


.

and hustle the meat fo r you r belly fo r three meals Let .


me see your hand .

His tremendous dormant strength must have stirred


, ,

swiftly and accurately or I must have slept a moment for


, ,

before I knew it he had stepped two paces forw ard ,

gripped my right hand in his and held it up fo r i n s p e c ,

tion I tried to withdraw it but his fingers tightened


.
, ,

without visible e ffort till I thought mine would be crushed


, .

It is hard to maintain one s dignity unde r such circum ’

stances I could not squirm or struggle like a s choolboy


. .

No r could I attack such a creatu r e who had but to twist


my arm to break it Nothing remained but to stand still
.

and a ccept the indignity I had time to notice that the.

pockets of the dead man had been emptied on the deck ,

and that his body and his grin had been wrapped from
view in canvas the folds of w hich the sailor J ohansen was
, , ,

sewing together with coa r se white twine shoving the ,

needle through with a leathe r contr ivance fitted on th e


palm of his hand .

Wolf Larsen d ropped my hand with a fli rt of disdain .

Dead men s hands have kept it soft G ood fo r little



.

else than dish washing and scullion work


- .


I w ish to be put asho r e I said firmly fo r I now had , ,

myself in contr ol I shall pay you whateve r you j udge


.


your del ay and trouble to be wo rth .

H e loo k ed at me curiously Mocke ry shone in his eye s . .

I have a counte r proposition to make and fo r the good


o f your soul My mate s gone and there ll be a lot of p r o

.
,

motion A sailor comes aft to take mate s p l ace c a bin boy


.

,
-

goes fo r a r d to t a ke sailor s place and you ta ke the c a bin


’ ’

boy s place sign the articles fo r the c r uise twenty dolla r s


, ,
T HE S EA- WO LF 27

pe r month and found Now what do you say ? And .

mind you it s fo r you r own soul s sake It will be the


,
’ ’
.

making of you You might learn in t ime to stand on you r


.


own legs a n d perhaps to toddle along a bit .

But I took no notice The sails of the vessel I had seen .

o ff to the southwes t had grown l a rger and pl a iner They .

w ere of the same schooner rig a s the Gna s t though the hull -
,

itself I could see was smaller She was a pretty sight


, , .
,

leaping and flyin g toward us and evidently bound to pass ,

at close range The wind had been momentarily in cre a s


.

in g and the sun after a few angry gleams had dis


, , ,

appe a red The sea had turned a dull le a den gray and
.

grown rougher and was now tossing foaming whitecap s to


,

the sky We w e r e t r a v e l l in g faste r a n d heeled f a rther


.

o v e r O nce in a gust the rail dipped u n de r the sea and


.
, , ,

the decks on that side were fo r the moment aw a sh with


water that made a couple of the hunters hastily lift their feet .



That vessel will soon be passing us I said a fte r a , ,

moment s pause “’
As she is going in the opposite d ire c
.

tion she is very probably bound fo r San Fr ancisco


,

.



Very probably was Wolf Larsen s answe r as he ,

,

turned par tly away f r om me and cried out Cooky ! Oh , ,



Cooky !
The Cockney popped out of the galley .

Where s that boy ? Tell him I want him



.

Yes sir ; and Thomas Mugridge fled swiftly aft and


,

disappe a red down anothe r comp a nion w ay near the wheel .

A moment late r he emerged a heavy set young fello w of ,


-

eighteen o r nineteen with a glowe ring villanous co u n t e , ,

nance t r aili ng at his heels


, .

E re e i s sir the cook said


’ ’
.
, ,

But Wolf Larsen ignored that wo rthy tur ning at onc e ,

to the cabin boy - .


28 TH E SEA- WOLF

What s your name boy ?


G eorge Le a ch si r came the sullen ans w er and the


, , ,

boy s bearing sho w ed clearly that he div ined the reason


fo r which he had been summoned .



Not an I rish name the captain sn a pped sharply , .

O T o o l e o r Mc C a r t h y would suit your mug a damn sight


bett e r Unless ve ry likely there s an I rishman in you r


.
, ,


mother s woodpile’
.

I saw the young fellow s hands clench at the insult and ’

the blood c r a w l scarlet up his neck .


But let that go Wo lf Larsen continued , You may .

have very good reasons for forgetting your name and I ll ,


like you none the worse for it as long as you toe the m a rk .

Telegraph Hill of course is you r po rt of entry It sticks


, , .

out all ove r you r mug Tough as they make them and .

tw ice as nasty I know the kind Well you c a n make


. .
,

up your mind to have it taken out of you on this craft .


Understand ? Who shipped you anyway ? ,

Mc C re a dy and Swanson .


Si r ! Wolf Larsen thundered .

Mc C re a dy and S w a nso n si r the boy co rre cted his



, , ,

eyes burning with a bitter light .


Who got the advance money ?

They did sir , .

I thought as much And damned glad you we r e to .

let them have it Couldn t make yourself scarce too


.

quick with several gentlemen you may have heard of


,


looking for you .

The boy metamorphosed into a savage on the instant .

His body bunched togethe r as though fo r a spring and ,

his face became as an infuriated beast s as he snarled ’


,

It s a ’


A what ? Wolf Larsen asked a peculia r softne s s in ,
30 T HE S EA—WOLF

as though I had been str uck myself I felt a sickening ,

shock in the pit of my stomach I instance this to show .

the sensitiveness of my nervous organization a t the time ,

and how unused I w as to spectacles of brutality The .


cabin boy and he weighed one hundred and sixty fiv e
- -

at the v ery least — crumpled up His body wra pped .

limply about the fist like a wet r ag about a stick H e .

li fted into the a i r described a sho rt cu rve and struck the


, ,

deck alongside the corpse on his head and shoulders ,

where he lay and writhed about in agony .



Well ? Lar sen asked of me “
H ave you made up .

you r mind ?
I had glanced occasionally at the app r oaching schoon er ,

and it was no w almost abre a st of us and not more than a


couple of hundred yards a w ay It w as a ve ry trim and .

neat little craft I could see a large black number on one


.
,

of its sails and I had seen pictures of pilot boats


,
- .



What v essel is that ? I a sked .

The pilot boat L a ay Mi n e Wolf Larsen a nswe red


-

,

grimly G o t rid of her pilots a n d running into San Fr a n


.


cisco She ll be there In five or six hours w ith this w ind
.

.


Will you please signal it then so t h at I m a y be put , ,

ashore .

Sorry but I ve lost the signal book overboa rd he re


,

,

marked and the group of hunters g rinned


,
.

'

I debated a m o m e n t l o o k in g him squ a r ely in the eyes


,
.

I h a d seen the frightful treatment of the cabin boy and -


,

knew that I should very probab l y r eceive the same if not ,

worse As I s a y I debated with myse l f and then I did


.
, ,

wh a t I consider the bravest act of my life I ran to the .

side w aving m y arms and shouting


,


L a dy Mi n e ahoy ! Take me asho r e ! A thousand

d ollar s if you take me asho r e !
AH O Y ! T A K E ME AS H O R E ! A T H O U SA N D D O LLA R S IF YOU T AKE ME
T HE SEA- WOLF I

I waited watching tw o men w ho stood by the wheel one


, ,

of them steering The other w a s lifting a megaphone to


.

his li ps I did not turn my he a d though I expected every


.
,

moment a k illing blow from the human brute behind me .

At last after w hat seemed centuries unable longer to st a nd


, ,

the strain I looked around H e had not moved He w as


,
. .

sta nding In the same position swaying easily to the roll of ,

the S hip and lighting a fresh ciga r .



What is the matte r ? Anything wrong ?
This was the cry fr om the L a dy Mi n e .


Yes ! I shouted at the top of my lungs , Life o r .


death ! One thousand dollars if you take me ashore !

Too much Frisco tanglefoot for the health of my


crew ! Wolf La rsen s houted after “
This one

—indi .
,

cating me with his thumb fancies sea serpents and ,


-


monkeys j ust now !
The man on the L a dy Mi n e laughed back th r ough the
meg a phone The pilot boat plunged past
.
-
.


G ive him hell for me ! came a final c ry and the two ,

men wav ed thei r arms in farewell .

I leaned despairingly o v er the rail watching the trim ,

little schooner s w iftly increasing the bleak s w eep of ocean


bet w een us And she would probably be in San Francisco
.

in five or six hours ! My he a d seemed bursting There .

was a n ache in my throat as though my heart were up in


it A cu r l ing w a ve struck the side and splashed salt spray
.

on my lips The wind puffed strongly and the Gnos t


.
,

heeled far ove r burying he r lee rail I could hea r the


,
.

water rushing down upon the deck .

When I tu r ned around a m oment late r I saw the cabin, ,

boy staggering to his feet H is f a ce was ghastly white .


,

twitching with suppressed pain H e looked very S ick . .

Well Leach are you goin g fo r a rd Wolf Lar sen asked


, ,

3 2 T H E SEA- WO LF


Yes si r came the ans w e r of a spirit cowed
, , .


And you ? I w as asked .


I ll give you a thousand

I began but was inte r ,

r u pt e d .

Stow that ! Are you going to take up your duties as


cabin boy ? O r do I hav e to t a k e you in h a nd
-

What was I to do ? To be brutally be a ten to be killed ,

perhaps would not help my c a s e I loo k ed steadily into


, .

the cruel gray eyes They might have been granite for .

all the light and warmth of a human soul they cont a ined .

One may see the soul stir in some men s eyes but his were ’

bleak and cold and g r ay as the sea itself


, ,
.


Well ?
Yes I said , .

Say yes sir ‘


, .


Yes si r I co rr ecte d
, , .

What is your name ?



Van Weyden si r , .

First name ? ”


Humph r ey si r ; H umph re y Van Weyde n, .

Age

Thi rty fiv e si r -
, .


That ll do G o to the cook and learn you r duties

. .

And thus it was that I passed into a st a te of involunta ry


se rvitude to Wolf Larsen H e was str onge r than I that .
,

was all But it was ve ry unreal at the time I t is no less


. .

unreal now that I look back upon it It will al w ays be to .

me a monstrous inconceivable thing a ho rrible nightmar e


, ,
.


H old on don t go yet ,

.

I stopped obediently in my wa l k towar d the galley .

Johansen call all hands Now that w e ve ev e rything


, .

cleaned up w e ll have the fune r al and get the decks clear ed


,


of useless lumbe r .
T HE S EA-WOLF 33

While J ohansen was summoning the watch below a ,

couple of sailors under t h e captain s directio n laid the


,

,

canvas swathed corpse upon a hatch cover On eithe r


- - .

side the deck against the rail and bottoms up were l a shed
, ,

a number of small boats Seve r al men picked up the.

hatch cover w ith its ghastly f r eight carried it to the lee


-
,

side and re s ted it on the boats the feet p o m t in g overboard


, , .

To the feet was attached the sack of coal which the cook
had fetched .

I h a d always conceived a burial at sea to be a very


solemn and a w e inspiring event but I was quickly d is il l u
-
,

s i o n e d by this burial at any rate


, One of the hunters a .
,


little dark eyed man w hom his mates called Smoke was
-
,

tellin g stories liberally intersprinkled w ith oaths and o b


,

s c e n it i e s ; and every minute o r so the group of hunters


gave mouth to a laughter that sounded to me like a w olf
chorus o r the barking of hell hounds The sailors t r ooped
- .

noisily aft some of the watch belo w rubbing the sleep from
,

thei r eyes and talked in lo w tones together There w as


, .

an ominous and worried expression on thei r faces It was .

ev ident that they did not like the outlook of a voyage


under such a captain and begun so inauspiciously From .

time to time they stole gl a nces at Wolf L a rsen and I , ,

could see th a t they we r e apprehensive of th e man .

H e stepped up to the hatch cover and all caps came o ff


-
, .

I r an my eyes over them — twenty men all told twenty ,

two including the man at the w heel and myself I was .

pardonably curious in my su rvey fo r it appe a red my fate ,

to be pent up w ith them on this mini a ture floating w orld


fo r I knew not how m any weeks or months The sailors .
,

in the m a in we r e E nglish and Scandin a vian and thei r


, ,

faces seemed of the heav y stolid order The hunters on


, .
,

t h e other hand had stronger and mo r e dive r sified faces


, ,

D
34 T HE S EA WOLF
-

w ith hard lines and the marks of the free play of passions .

Strange to s a y a n d I noted it at once Wolf Larsen s fea


, ,

tures showed no such evil stamp There seemed nothing .

vicious in them True there w ere lines but they were


.
, ,

the lines of decisio n and firmness It seemed rather a .


, ,

fra nk and Open countenance which fran kness or openness ,

w a s enh a nced by the fact that he w a s smooth s h a v en I -


.

could hardly believe until the next incident occurred


,
-
,

that it was the f a ce of a man who could behave as he had


behaved to the cabin boy -
.

At this moment as he opened his mouth to speak pu ff


, ,

afte r pu ff struck the schoone r and pressed her side under


The wind shrie k ed a wild song through the rigging Some .

of the hunters glanced anxiously aloft The lee r a i l .


,

where the dead man lay was buried in the s e a and as , ,

the schooner lifted a n d righted the water s w ept across the


deck wetting us abo v e our shoe tops A shower of rain
,
-
.

drove do w n upon us each drop stinging like a hailstone


, .

As it passed Wolf Larsen began to spe a k the ba r e headed


, ,
-

men sw a ying in unison to the he a ve and lunge of the deck .


I only remembe r one pa rt of the service he said , ,

and that is And the body sh a ll be cast into the sea


,

.


So cast it in .

He ceased speaking The men holding the hatch cove r


.
-

seemed perplexed puzzled no doubt by the briefness of


,

the ceremony H e burst upon them in a fury


. .


Lift up th a t end there damn you ! What the hell s ,

the matter with you ?


They elevated the end of the hatch cove r with pitiful -

haste and like a dog flung ove r side the dead man slid
, , ,

feet first into t h e sea The coal at his feet d r agged him
.

do w n H e w as gone
. .



J ohansen Wolf Larsen said briskly to the new mate
, ,
C HA P T E R IV

WHAT happened to me next on the sealing schooner l s t -


,

as I str ove to fit into my n e w en v ironment a re matters ,

of humi l i a tion and pain The cook w ho was c a lled the


.
,
” ”
doctor by the cre w “
, Tommy by the hunters and ,

Cooky by Wolf Larsen was a changed person The , .

difference w orked in my status brought about a corre


s p o n d i n g difference in tre a tment from him Ser v ile and .

fawning as he had been before he w as now as domineering ,

and bel l icose In truth I w as no longer the fine gentle


.
,

man with a skin soft a s a but only an ord inary


and very worthless cabin boy -
.

H e absu r dly insisted upon my addressing him as Mr .

Mugridge and his behavior and carri a ge we r e insu fferable


,

as he showed me my duties Besides my w ork in the .

cabin with its fou r sm a ll staterooms I w a s supposed to be


, ,

his assistant in the galley and my coloss a l ignora nce con


,

cerning such things as peeling potatoes or w ashing gre a s y


pots w a s a source of unending and s a rc a stic w onder to
him H e refused to take into considera tion w hat I was
.
,

or rather wh a t my l ife and the things I was accustomed


, ,

to had been This was par t of the a ttitude he chose to


.

adopt to w ard me ; a n d I confess ere the day w a s done , ,

that I hated him with more liv ely feelings th a n I had ever
hated a n y one in my life before .

This fi rst day was made more diffi cult fo r me from


the fact that the Gna s t unde r close reefs ( terms such as
, ,

these I did not lea r n till later) was plunging through what
,

36
THE SEA—
WOLF 37

M r M ug ridge called an o w l in sou easter


. At half-past ’ ’
.

five unde r his directions I set the table in the cabin w ith
, , ,

rough w eather trays in place and then ca rr ied the tea and
-
,

cooked food down from the galley In this connection I .

cannot forbear r elating my first expe rience with a boarding


sea.

Look sharp o r you ll get doused was Mr Mu g ri dg e s’


, .

parting inj unctio n as I left the galley with a big tea pot in
,
-

one hand and in the hollow of the other arm several


,

loaves of fresh baked bread One of the hunters a tall


- .
, ,

loose j ointed chap n a med Henderson was going aft at the


-
,

time from the steerage ( the name the hunters facetiously ,

gave their midships sleeping quarters ) to the cabin Wolf , .

Larsen was on the poop smoking his everlasting cigar , .

E r e she comes Sling yer ook the cook c ried


’ ’
. .

I stopped fo r I did not know w hat was comin g and


, ,

saw the galley doo r slide shut with a bang Then I saw .

H enderson leaping like a madman fo r the main rigging ,

up which he shot on the inside till he was many feet


, ,

higher than my head Also I saw a g r eat wave curling .


,

and foaming poised fa r above the r ail I was directly


, .

under it My mind did not work quickly everything w as


.
,

so new an d strange I gr asped that I was in dange r but


.
,

that was all I stood still in trepidation Then Wolf


.
,
.

Larsen shouted from the poop


G r ab hold something you — you Hump ! ,

But it was too late I sprang towar d the rigging to .


,

which I might have clung and w as met by the descend ,

ing wall of water What happened afte r that was ve ry


.

confusing I was beneath the wate r su ffocating and


.
,

drowning My feet were out from unde r me and I was


.
,

turning ove r and over and being swept along I knew not
where Several times I col l ided against hard obj ects o n ce
.
,
3 8 T HE S EA- WOLF

striking my right knee a te rr ible blow Then the flood .

seemed suddenly to subside and I was breathing the good


air ag a in I h a d been swept against the g a lley a n d a round
.

the steerage co m panio n w ay from the weathe r side into the


lee scuppers The pain from my hu rt k nee was agonizing
. .

I could n o t put my w eight on it or at least I thought I , , ,

could not put my w eight on it ; a n d I felt sure the leg


was bro k en But the cook was afte r me S houting through
.
,

the lee galley door



E re you ! Don t tyke all night about it ! Where s
’ ’ ’

the pot ? Lost overboard ? Serve you bloody well right


if yer neck was broke
I m a naged to struggle to my feet The great tea pot .
-

was still in my hand I limped to the galley and handed .

it to him But he was consuming with indignation r eal


.
,

o r feigned .

G awd b l i me me if you a y n t a slob Wot r e you ’ ’


.

good for a n yw y I d like to know ? E h ? Wot re you ’


,
’ ’

good fo r a n y w y ? C a w n t even ca rr y a bit of tea a ft


’ ’

without l o s in it Now I ll ave to boil some more



’ ’ ’
. .



A n wot r e you s n i ffli n about ? he burst out at me
’ ’ ’
,

with rene w ed r a ge C o s you ve u rt ye r pore little l e g


.
“ ’ ’ ’
,

pore little mamma s ’

I w as not s n ifflin g though my face might w ell have ,

been drawn and twitching f r om the pain But I called .

up all my resolution set my teeth and hobbled back a n d , ,

forth from g a lley to cabin a n d cabin to galley without


further mishap T w o things I had acquired by my acci .

dent : a n inj ured kneecap th a t went undressed and from


which I su ffered fo r wea ry months and the n ame of ,


Hump which Wo l f Larsen had called me from the
,

poop Thereafter fo r e and aft I was known by n o other


.
, ,

n a me until the te r m became a pa rt of my thought


,
TH E S EA-WOLF 39

p rocesses and I identified it with myself thought of myself ,

as Hump as though Hump were I and had always been I


, .

It was no easy task w aiting on the cabin t a ble where , ,

sat Wo l f L a rsen J ohansen and the six hunters The


, , .

cabin was sm a ll to begin with and to move around as I


, , ,

w a s compe l led to w a s not made easier by the schooner s


violent pitching and wallowing But what struck me .

most forcibly was the tot a l lack of sympathy on the par t


of the men whom I served I could feel my knee through .

my clothes swelling and swelling and I w a s sick


, , ,

and f a int from the pain of it I could catch glimpses .

of my face white and ghastly distorted with p a in in the


, , ,

cabin mirror All the men must have seen my condition


.
,

but not one spoke or took notice of me till I was almost ,

gr a teful to Wolf Larsen later on ( I was washing the , ,

dishes ) when he said


,


Don t let a little thing like that bothe r you You ll

.

get used to such things in time It m a y c ripple you some .


,

but all the same you ll be learning to w a lk ’


.


That s what you call a paradox isn t it ? he added

,

.

H e seemed pleased when I nodded my head with the



customary Yes sir , .

I suppose you kno w a bit about literar y things ? E h ?



G ood I ll have some talks with you sometime

. .

And then taking no further account of me he tu r ned his


, ,

back and went up on deck .

That night when I ha d finished an endless amount of


,

work I was sent to sleep in the steerage where I made


, ,

up a spare bunk I was glad to get out of the detestable


.

presence of the cook and to be o ff my feet To my sur .

prise my clothes h a d dried o u me and there seemed no


,

indi cati ons of catching cold eithe r from the last soaking ,

o r from the p r olonged soaking from the founderin g O f the


40 T HE S EA-WOLF

Ma rt i n e z Unde r ordinary circumstances after all that I


.
,

had unde rgone I S hould have been fit fo r bed and a


,

trained nurse .

But my knee was bothering me te rribly As well as I .

could make out the kneecap seemed turned up on edge


,

in the midst of the s w elling As I sat in my bunk e xa m i n .

ing it ( the six hunte rs were all in the steerage smo k ing
, ,

a n d talking in loud voices H ende r son took a passing


) ,

gl a nce at it .

Looks nasty he commented Tie a rag a r ound it


,
.

and it ll be all right



.

That was all ; and on the land I would have been lying
on t h e b ro a d of my back w ith a surgeon attending on me
: , ,

and w ith strict inj unctions to do nothing but rest But I .

must do these men j ustice Callous as they were to my .

su ffering they w ere equally callous to their o w n when


,

anything befell them And this was due I believe first .


, , ,

to habit ; and second to the fact that they were less sensi ,

tively organized I really believe that a finely org a nized


.
,

high str ung man w ould su ffe r twice and thrice as much as
-

they from a like inj ury


exhausted in fact —I w as p r evented
.

Tired as I was , , ,

from sleeping by the p a in in my knee It w as all I could .

do to keep from groaning aloud At home I should u n .

doubtedly have given vent to my anguish ; but this new and


elemental environment seemed to c a ll for a sav a ge re p re s
sion Like the savage the attitude of these men w as
.
,

stoical in gr eat things childish in little things I remem ,


.

ber later in the voyage seeing Kerfoot another of the


, , ,

hunters lose a finge r by hav ing it smashed to a j elly ; and


,

he did not even murmur or change the expression on


his face Yet I hav e s een the s a me m an time and again
.
, ,

fly into the most ou t r ageous passion ove r a tr ifle .


T HE S EA-WOLF 41

He w as doing it now vociferating bellowing waving his, , ,

a r ms and cursing like a fiend and all because of a dis


, ,

agreement with another hunte r as to w hethe r a seal pup


kne w in stinctively how to swim H e held that it did that .
,

it could swim the moment it was born The other hunter .


,

Latimer a lean Yankee looking fellow with sh r ewd nar


, ,
-
,

row slitted eyes held othe r wise held that the seal pup was
-
, ,

born on the land for no other reason than that it could not
swim that its mother was compelled to teach it to swim
,

as bir ds we r e compelled to teach thei r nestlings how to


fly.

Fo r the most par t the r emaining four hunte r s leaned on


,

the table or l a y in their bunks a n d left the discussion to


the t w o antagonists But they were supremely interested
.
,

for every little while they ardently took sides and some ,

times all were talking a t once till their voices surged back ,

and forth in waves of sound like mimic thunder rolls in the -

confined space Childish and immaterial as the topic was


.
,

the quality of their reasoning w a s still more childish and


immate rial In tr uth there was very little reasoning o r
.
,

none at all Thei r method was one of assertion a s s u mp


.
,

tion and denunci a tion They proved that a seal pup could
,
.

s wim or not s w im at bi rth by stating the proposition very


bellicosely and then follo w ing it up with an attac k on the
O pposing m a n s j udgment common sense nationality o r

, , ,

p a st histo ry R ebuttal was precisely simila r I have


. .

rel a ted this in order to show the mental c a liber of the


men with whom I was thrown in contact Intellectually .

they were child r en inhabiting the physical fo rms Of


,

men .

And they smoked incessantly smoked using a coarse


, , ,

cheap a n d o ffensiv e smelling tobacco The ai r was thick


,
- .

a n d murky with the s moke of it ; and this combined with ,


42 T HE S EA—WOLF

th e violent movement of the ship as she struggled through


the storm would s urely have made me se a sick had I been
,

a victim to that malady As it w as it made me quite .


,

squeamish though this nausea might have been due to the


,

pain of my leg and exhaustion .

As I l a y there thinking I natura lly dwelt upon myself ,

and my situ a tion It w a s unparalleled undreamed Of that


.
,
-
,

I Humphrey Van Weyden a scholar a n d a dilett a nte if you


, , ,

please in things a rtistic and litera ry should be lying here


, ,

on a B ering Sea seal hunting schooner Cabin boy I had -


.
-

neve r done any hard manual labor or scu l lion labor in my , ,

life I had lived a placid uneventful sedent a ry existence


.
, ,

all my days — the life of a schol a r and a recluse on an


assured and comfortable income Violent life and a thletic .

sports had never appealed to me I had al w ay s been a .

book worm so my sisters and f a ther had called me during


-

my childhood I had gone camping but once in my life


.
,

and then I left the party almost at its start and returned
to the comfo rts and conveniences of a roof And here I .

was with dreary and endless v istas before me of table


,

s e tting potato peeling a n d dish w ashing And I w a s


,
-
,
-
.

not strong The doctors had al w ays s a id that I h a d a


.

remark a ble constitution but I had ne v er developed it o r ,

my body through exercise My muscles were small and .

soft like a w om a n s o r so the doctors h a d said time a n d


,

aga in in the course of their attempts to persuade me to go


in fo r physical culture f a ds But I had preferred to use
-
.

my head rather than my body ; and here I was in no fit


, ,

condition for the rough life in prospect .

These a r e merely a few of the things that went through


my mind and are r ela ted for the sake of vindic a ting
,

my s elf in advance in t h e weak and helpless role I w a s


dest ined to play B ut I thought also of my mother and
.
, ,
C H A PT E R V

B UT my fi r st night in the hunte r s stee r age was also my ’

last N ext day Joh a nsen the new mate was r outed from
.
, ,

the cabin by Wolf Larsen and sent into the steerage to ,

sleep thereafter w hile I took possession of the tiny cabin


,

state room which on the first day of the voyage had a l


-
, , ,

r eady had two occupants The r eason for th i s change was


.

quickly learned by the hunters and became the cause of a ,

deal of grumbling on thei r p art I t seemed that Joh a nsen .


,

in his sleep lived over each night the events of the d a y


, .

His incessant talking and shouting and bellowing Of orders


had been too much for Wolf Larsen who had accordingly ,

foisted the nuisance upon his hunters .

Afte r a sleepless night I arose weak and in agony to, ,

b o b b l e through my second day on the Gnas t Thom a s .

M ugridge routed me out at half past fiv e much in t h e


-
,

fashion that Bill Sykes must have r outed out his dog ; but
M r Mug ri d g e s brutality to me was paid back in kind and
.

with interest The unnecessa ry noise he m a de ( I had lain


.
,

wide eyed the whole night) must ha v e aw a kened one Of


-
,

the hunters ; fo r a heav y shoe whizzed through the semi


d a rkness and Mr Mugri dge with a sha rp howl of pain
, .
, ,

humbly begged eve rybody s pardon Late r on in the ’


.
,

galley I noticed that his ea r was bruised and swollen It


,
.

ne v er w ent entirely back to its normal shape and was ,

called a cauliflower ea r by the s ai lors



.

The day w as filled w ith miserable v ariety I had taken .

my d ried clothes down from the galley the night before ,

44
T HE S EA WOLF -
45

and the first thing I did was to exchange the cook s gar ’

ments for them I looked for my pur s e In addition t o


. .

some small change ( and I have a good memory fo r such,

things ) it had contained one hundred and eighty fiv e dollar s


,
-

in gold and p a per The purse I found but its contents


.
, ,

with the exception of the small silver had been abstracted , .

I spoke to the cook about it when I went on deck to take ,

up my duties in the galley and though I h a d looked fo r ,

ward to a surly answ er I had not expected the belli geren t ,

harangue th a t I received .



Look ere Ump he began a malicious light in h i s

,

, ,

eyes a n d a snarl in his th r o a t ; d ye w ant yer nos e “ ’

punched ? If you t h in k I m a thief j ust keep it to y e r s e l f ‘ ’

, ,

o r you ll fin d o w bloody w ell mi s ty k e n you are Stri k e


’ ’
.

me blind if this a y n t gra titude for yer ! E re you come


’ ’
,

a pore m i s r a b l e specimen of uman scum an I ty k es ye r


’ ’
,

into my galley an tre a ts ye r a n s o m an this is w ot I g e t


’ ’
,

for it N e x time you c a n go to ell say I an I ve a good


.
’ ’

, ,
’ ’


mind to give you wh a t for a n y w y -

.

S O saying he put up his fists a n d started for me


, TO .

my shame be it I cowered a w ay from the blow a n d


,

r a n out the galley doo r What else was I to do ? Force .


,

nothing but force obta ined on this brute ship M or a l s ua


,
- .

sion w a s a thing unkno w n P icture it to yourself a m a n .

of ordina ry st a ture slender of build and with we a k und e


, , ,

v e l o p e d muscles w ho has li v ed a pe a ceful pl a cid life a n d


, , ,


is unused to violence of any sort wh a t could such a ma n
possibly do ? There was no more re a son th a t I s h oul d
stand and face these hum a n be a sts than that I should
st a nd and face an infuri a ted bull .

S O I thought it out at the time feeling the need fo r ,

vindic a tion and desiring to be a t peace w ith my conscience .

But this vindication d i d not s a tisfy Nor to this d a y c a n .


46 T HE S EA—WOLF

I permit my manhood to look back upon those events a n d


feel entirely exonerated The situ a tion w as something
.

that really exceeded rational formul a s for conduct and de


ma n d e d more th a n t h e cold conclusions of reason When .

vie w ed in the li ght of formal logic there is not one thing ,

o f w hich to be a s h a med ; but nevertheless a shame rises

w ithin me a t t h e recollection and in the p ride of my ma n,

hood I feel that my man hood has in unaccountable wa ys


been smirched and sullied .

All of w hich is neither here no r there The speed w ith .

which I r a n from the galley caused excruciating pain in


my knee and I s a nk do w n helplessly at the break of the
,

poop But the Cockney had not pursued me


. .

Look a t i m run ! Look at i m run



I could hear h i m ’

c rying An with a g y me leg at that ! Come on back you


.

,

pore little mamma s d a rling I won t it ye r ; no I won t

.
’ ’
,

.

I came back and w ent on with my work ; and here the


e pisode ended for the time though fu rther developments ,

were yet to take place I set the breakfast table in the


.
-

cabin and at seven o clock waited on the hunters and


,

O ffice r s The storm had evidently broken during the


.

night though a huge sea w as still running and a sti ff wind


,

blowing Sail had been made in the early w a tches so th a t


.
,

the Gnos t was racing along under everything except the


t w o topsails and the flying j ib These three sails I gath .
,

e red from the conversation w e r e to be set immedi a tely


,

after breakfast I learned also that Wo l f Larsen w as


.
, ,

a nxious to m a ke the most of the sto rm which was driving ,

h i m to the south w est into that portion of the sea where


he expected to pick up w ith the northeast tr ades It .

w a s before this ste a dy w ind th a t he hoped to m ake the

m a j or portion of the run to J a pan curv ing south into the ,

t ropics and no rth ag a in as he approached the coast O f Asia .


TH E S EA—WOLF 47

Afte r breakfast I had another unenviable experience .

When I had finished washing the dishes I cleaned the ,

c a bin stov e a n d carried the ashes up on deck to empty


them Wolf Larsen and H enderson were sta nding near
.

the w heel deep in conv ersation The sailor Johnson was


,
.
, ,

steering As I started toward the weather side I sa w him


.

make a sudden motion with his head which I mistook fo r ,

a token of recognition and good morn ing In reality he .


,

w a s attempting to warn me to throw my ashes ove r the

lee side Unconscious of my blunder I passed by Wolf


.
,

Larsen and the hunter and flung the ashes ove r the side
to windward The w ind drov e them b a ck and not only
.
,

over me but ove r Henderson and Wolf Larsen The next


, .

instant the latte r kicked me violently as a cu r is kicked , , .

I had not realized th e re could be so much pain in a kick .

I reeled aw a y from him and leaned ag a inst the cabin in a


half fainting con d ition E ve rything was sw imming befo r e
- .

my eyes and I turned sick The nausea overpo w ered


,
.

me and I managed to crawl to the side of the vessel


, .

But Wolf Larsen did not follow me up B r ushing the .

ashes from his clothes he had resumed his conversation ,

with Henderson J ohansen who had seen the a ff a i r


.
,

from the break of the poop sent a couple of sailors aft to ,

cle a n up the mess .

Later in the mo r ning I r eceived a surp rise of a totally


di fferent sort Fol l owing the cook s instr uctions I h a d
.

gone into Wolf L a rsen s state room to put it to rights and ’


-

make the bed Against the w a ll nea r the head of the


.
,

bunk was a rack filled with books I glanced ove r them


, .
,

noting with astonishment such names as Shakespeare ,

Tennyson P oe and De ! uincey There we r e scientific


, , .

works too a mong which were rep r esented men such as


, ,

Tyndall P rocto r an d Dar win Astr onomy and physics


, , .
48 T HE SEA- WOLF

we r e r epresented and I remar ked Bulfinch s Age of


,

Fable Sha w s History of E nglish and Ame rican Litera


” ’

,

ture and Johnson s Natural History in two large vol
,

umes Then there were a number of gramm a rs such a s


.
,

Metcalf s and R eed and Kellogg s ; and I smiled as I sa w


,


a copy of The Dean s E nglish ’
.

I could not r econcile these books with the man from what
I had seen of him and I wondered if he could possibly r e a d
,

them But when I came to make the bed I found bet w een
.
,

the blankets dropped apparently as he had sunk o ff to


,

sleep a complete Browning the Cambridge E dition It


, , .

was open at In a B a lcony and I noticed here and , ,

there p a ssages underlined in pencil Fu rther letting drop


, .
,

the volume during a lurch of the ship a sheet of paper ,

fell out It was scrawled ove r with geometrical diagrams


.

and calculations Of some sort .

I t was p a tent that this ter rible man was no ignorant


clod such as one would inevitably suppose him to be from
,

his exhibitions of brutality At once he became an enigma . .

One side or the othe r of his nature was perfectly compre


h e n s ib l e ; but both sides together were be w ildering I had .

alre a dy remarked that h is language w as excellent marred ,

with an occasional slight inaccuracy Of course in co m .


,

mon S peech with the sailors and hunters it sometimes ,

f ai rly bristled with errors which was due to the vernacular ,

itself ; but in the few words he had held with me it had


been clea r and correct .

This glimpse I had caught of his othe r side must have


emboldened me fo r I resolved to speak to him about the
,

money I had lost .

I h a ve been robbed I said to him a little later when


, , ,

I found him pacing up and do w n the poop alone .


Sir b e co rr ected not harshly but s te m l y
, , , .
T HE S EA WOLF -
49

I have been robbed sir I amended , , .

How did it happen ? he asked .

Then I told him the whole circumstance how my clothes ,

h a d been left to dry in the galley and how late r I w a s , , ,

nearly beaten by the cook when I mentioned the matte r .


H e smiled at my recital “
P ickings he concluded ; .
,

Cooky s pickings And don t you think you r miserable



.

life worth the price ? Besides consider it a lesson You ll , .


learn in time how to take care of your money for yourself .

I suppose up to now you r lawyer has done it for you o r


, , ,

your business agent .

I could feel the quiet sneer through his words but de ,



m a n de d , How can I get it back again ?
That s you r lookout You haven t any lawye r o r busi

.

ness agent now so you ll have to depend on yourself



.
,

When you get a dollar hang on to it A ma n who leaves , .

his money lying around the way you did deserves to lose , ,

it Besides you have sinned You have no right to put


.
, .

temptation in the way of you r fello w creatures You - .

tempted Cooky and he fell You have pl a ced his i mmo r


, .

t a l soul in j eopardy By the way do you believe in the


.
,

immortal soul
His lids lifted lazily as he asked the question and it ,

seemed that the deeps w ere opening to me and that I was


gazing into his soul But it was an illu s ion Fa r as it
. .

might have seemed no man has e v er seen very far into


,

Wolf Larsen s soul o r seen it at all — o i this I am con


, ,

v in c e d
. It was a very lonely soul I w a s to le a r n that , ,

nev er unmasked though at ra r e moments it played at


,

doing so .

I read immortality in you r eyes I answered dropping , ,

t he

sir
,

— a n experiment fo r I thought the inti macy of ,

the conversation warranted it .


50 TH E SEA- WOLF

H e took no notice By that I take it you see some


.
, ,

thing that is a l ive but that n e cessa rily does not have to
,

live foreve r .

I rea d more than that I continued boldly , .

Then you read co n sciousness You read the c o n .


.

s ci o u s n e s s of life that it is alive ; but still no fu rthe r away ,



no endlessness of life .

H ow clearly he thought and how well he expressed ,

what he thought ! From regarding me cu riously he turned ,

his head and gl a nced out ove r the le a den sea to w ind w a rd .

A ble a kness came into his eyes and the lines of his mouth ,

grew sev ere and harsh H e was evidently in a pessimistic


.

mood .


Then to what end ? he demanded ab r uptly tu rning ,

back to me . If I am immortal w hy—


I halted H o w could I explain my idealism to this man ?
.

H ow could I p ut into speech a something felt a something ,

like the strains of music heard in sleep a something that ,

convinced yet tr a nscended utterance ?



What do you believe then ? I countered , .

I believ e th a t li fe is a mess he ans w ered promptly , .

It is like yeast a ferment a thing that moves and may


, ,

move for a minute an hour a year o r a hundred years


, , , ,

but th a t in the end w ill cease to move The big eat the .

little that they may conti nue to move the strong eat the ,

weak that they may retain their str ength The lucky eat .

the most and move the longest that is all What do you , .


make of those things ?
H e swept his arm in an impatient gestu r e towa rd a
number of the sailors who were working on some kind
of rope stu ff amidships

They mov e ; so does t h e j ellyfish move They move .

in orde r to e a t in orde r that they may keep moving .


52 T HE S EA-WO LF

Not at all. H e was speaking r apidly now and his , ,

eyes we r e flashing “
It is piggishness and it is life Of
.
, .

w hat use or sense is an immortality of piggishness ? What


is the end ? What is it all about ? You h a ve made no
food Yet the food you have eaten o r wasted might have
.

saved the lives of a score of wretches who made the food


but did not eat it What immortal end did you se rve ?
.

Or did they ? Conside r yourse l f and me What does .

you r bo a sted immo rtality amount to when you r life runs


foul of mine ? You would l ike to go back to the land ,

w hich is a favo r able p l ace fo r you r kind of piggishness .

It is a whim of mine to keep you aboard this ship where ,

my piggishness flourishes And keep you I will I may . .

m a ke or bre a k you You ma y die tod ay this week or


.
, ,

n ext month . I could kill you no w with a blow of my fi s t , ,

for you are a miser a ble weakling But if we are immort a l .


,

what is the reason for this ? To be piggish as you and I


h a ve been all ou r lives does n o t s e e m to be j ust the thing
fo r immortals to be doing Again w hat s it all about ? .
,

Why h a ve I kept you he r e ?


Because you a r e stronger I managed to blu rt out , .


But why stronger ? he went on at once with his pe r
p e t u a l queries
.

Because I am a bigge r bit of the fe r
ment than you ? Don t you see ? Don t you see ?
’ ’


But the hopelessness of it I protested , .

I agree w ith you ” he answered , Then why mov e .


at all since moving is living ? Without moving a n d being


,

p a rt of the yeast there would be no hopelessnes s But .


,

and there it is — w e want to live and mo v e though w e


, ,

h a ve no re a son to bec a use it happens th a t it is the nature


,

of life to live and move to want to li v e and move If it


,
.

w ere not for this life would be dead It is bec a use Of this
,
.

life that is in you that you dream of your immortality T he .


T HE S EA-WOLF 53

l ife that is in you is alive and wants to go on being alive


fo r eve r Bah ! An eternity of piggishness
.

H e ab ruptly turned on his heel and started forwa r d He


.

stopped at the break of the poop and called me to him .

By t h e way how much was it that Cooky got away


,

with ? he asked .


One hund red and eighty-fiv e dolla r s sir I answered
, ,
.

H e nodded his head A moment late r as I started


.
,

down the companion stairs to lay the table fo r dinne r I ,

hear d him loudly cursing some men amidships .


C H APT E R V I

BY the follo w ing morning the sto rm had blown itself


quite out and the 6 /1t w as rollin g slightly on a calm
sea without a breath of wind Occasional l ight airs were .

felt howeve r and Wolf Larsen patrolled the poop con


, ,

s ta n tl y his eyes ever searching the sea to the no rth


,

eastwa r d fr om which dir ection the gr eat tr ade win d must


,
-

blow .

The men w e r e all on deck and busy preparing their


va rious boats fo r the season s hunting There ar e seven ’
.

boats aboar d the captain s dingey and the six which the
,

,

hunters w ill use Three a hunter a boat pulle r and


.
, ,
-
,

a boat steerer compose a boat s c r ew


-
, On board the ’
.

schooner the boat pullers and steerers are the cre w - .

The hunters too are supposed to be in command of the


, ,

w a tches subj ect always to the o r ders of Wolf Larsen


, , , .

All this and mo r e I have learned The Gh os t is co n


, , .

s i d e r e d the fastest schoone r in both the San Francisco

and Victo ria fleets In fact she w as once a private


.
,

yacht and was built fo r speed H er lines and fitti n gs


, .

—though I kno w nothing about such things — spe a k


fo r themselves Johnson was telling me about he r in
.

a sho rt chat I had w ith him during yesterday s second ’

dog watch
-
H e spoke enthusiastically with the lo v e
.
,

for a fine craft such as some men feel for horses He .

is greatly disgusted w ith t he outloo k and I a m gi v en ,

to understand that Wolf Larsen be a rs a very un s a v o ry


r eputation among the sealing capt a ins It w as the Gnos t .

54
T HE S EA—
WO LF 55

herself that lu r ed J ohnson into signing fo r the voyage ,

but he is alre a dy beginning to r epent .

As he told me the Gh os t is an eighty-ton schoone r of


,

a r emarkably fine model He r beam o r w idth is twenty .


, ,

three feet and he r length a little ove r ninety feet A lead


, .

keel of fabulous but unknown weight makes he r very


stable while she carries an immense spread of canvas
, .

Fr om the deck to the truck of the maintopmast is some


thing o v e r a hundred feet while the foremast with its ,

topmast is eight or ten feet sho rte r I am giving these .

details so that the size of this little floating world which


holds twenty two men may be appreciated It is a very
-
.

little world a mote a speck and I marvel that men should


, , ,

dare to venture the sea on a cont rivance so small and


fragile .

Wolf La r sen has also a r eputation fo r reckless ca rrying


, ,

on of sail I overheard H enderson and anothe r of the


.

hunters Standish a Califo r nian talking about it Two


, , , .

years ago he dismasted the Ghos t in a gale on Bering Sea ,

whereupon the present masts were p ut in which are ,

stronger and heavier in e v ery w ay H e is said to have .

r emarked w hen he put them in that he preferred turning


, ,

her over to losing the sticks .

E very man aboard with the exception of J ohansen who


, ,

is rathe r overcome by his promotion seems to have an ,

excuse fo r having sailed on the Ghos t H alf the men .

forward are deep w ater sailors and their excuse is that they
-
,

did not know anything about he r o r her capta in And .

those who do know whispe r that the hunte r s while ex


, ,

c e l l e n t shots were so notorious for their qua rr elsome and


,

rascally p r oclivities that they could not sign on any decen t


s ch o o n e n

I have made the acquaintance of ano t he r one of the


5 6 THE S EA-WOLF

cr ew — Louis he is called a rotund and j o v ial faced Nova


, ,
-

Scotia Ir ishman and a very sociable fellow prone to talk


, ,

as long as he can find a listene r I n the afternoon whil e .


,

the cook was below asleep and I was peeling the eve r
lasting potatoes Louis dropped into the galley fo r a
,


yarn His excuse fo r being aboard was that he was
.

drunk when he signed H e assured me again and again .

that it was the l a st thing in the world he would dream of


doing in a sobe r moment I t seems that he has been .

seal hunting regularly each season fo r a dozen years and


-
,

is accounted one of the two o r th r ee ve ry best boat stee r ers -

in both fleets .

Ah my boy he shook his head ominously at me


, , ,

tis th e worst schoone r ye could iv selected no r were ye



,

drunk at the time as was I Tis s e a l in is the sailor s .


’ ’ ’


p a radise o n othe r ships than this The mate w a s the .

first but mark me words there ll be more dead men before


, ,

the trip is done with Hist no w between you an me s e l f .


, ,

and the st a nchion there this Wo l f Larsen is a regu l a r ,

dev il an the Ghos t l l be a hell ship like she s al w ays ben


,
’ ’
-

since he had hold iv her Don t I know ? Don t I know ? .


’ ’

Don t I remembe r him in H a kodate tw o ye a rs gone



,

when he had a row an shot fou r iv his men ? Wasn t I ’ ’

a layin on the E m ma L not three hundred y a rds a w ay ?



- .
,

An there w a s a man the same ye a r he killed with a


blo w iv his fist Yes si r killed i m dead oh His he a d


.
, ,

- .

must iv smashed like an eggshell An wasn t there the .


’ ’

G overnor of Kura Isl a nd an the Chief iv P olice J a panese



, ,

gentlemen si r an didn t they come aboard the G hos t a s


’ ’

his guests a b rin g i n their w ives along —wee an pretty


, ,
’ ’
,

little bits of things like you see em painted on fans A n ’


.

as he was a gettin under w ay didn t the fond husbands


-

,

get left a ste rn like in their sampan a s it might b e b y


-
,
THE SEA-WOLF 57

a ccident ? An wasn t it a week late r that the poo r little


’ ’

l a dies was put ashore on the other side of the island w ith ,

nothin before em but to walk home a cro s t the mountains


’ ’

on their weeny teeny little straw sandals which wouldn t -


h a ng togethe r a mile Don t I know ? Tis the beast he ’ ’

is this Wolf L a rsen the great big beast mentioned iv in


,

R evelation ; an no good end will he eve r come t o But



.

I ve said nothin to ye mind ye I ve whispered never a


’ ’
, .

word ; fo r old fa t L o u is l l live the voyage out if the last ’


mothe r s son of y e z go to the fishes

.

Wolf Larsen 1 he snorted a moment late r Listen



.

to the word will ye ! Wolf tis w hat he is H e s not


,

.

black-hearted like some men Tis no heart he has at all .



.

Wolf j ust wolf tis what he is D ye wonde r h e s well


, ,

.
’ ’

named

But if h e is so well known for what he is I que ried , ,

how is it that he ca n get men to ship with him ?


An h o w is it ye can get men to do anything on G od s
’ ’


ea rth an sea ? Louis demanded with Celtic fire

H ow .

d ye find me aboard if t w a s n t that I was drunk as a pig


’ ’ ’

when I put me name do w n ? There s them that can t ’ ’

sail with bette r men like the hunters and them that don t , ,

kno w like the poo r devils of wind j amme r s fo r a rd there


,
-

.

But they ll come to it they ll come to it an be so rry the


,

,

d ay they w a s bo r n I could weep for the poor creatures .


,

did I b u t forget poor old fat Louis and the troubles befo r e
him But tis not a whispe r I ve d r opped mind ye n o t a
.
’ ’
, ,

whisper .


Them hunters is the wicked boys he b r oke fo rth ,

again fo r he su ffered from a constitutional pletho r a of


,

speech But wait till they get to cutting up iv j inks and


.

r o w in round H e s the b o y l l fix em
’ ’
Tis him that ll
.
’ ’ ’
.
’ ’

put the fear of G o d in their rott e n black hea rts Look at .


5 8 T HE S EA WOLF -

that hunter iv mine H orner Jock Horne r they call , .


‘ ’

h i m so qui et like a n easy goin soft s po k en a s a girl till


’ ’
- - -
, , ,

ye d think butte r wouldn t melt in the mouth iv him


’ ’
.

Didn t he kill his boat steerer last year ? T w as called a



-

sad a ccident but I met the boat puller in Yokohama an ,


-

the straight iv it w a s given me An there s Smoke the .


’ ’

black little de v il didn t the R o o s i a n s have him for three ’

ye a rs in the salt mines of Siberia for p o a ch i n on Copper ,


I s l a nd which is a R o o s ia n preserve ? Sh a ckled he was


, ,

hand an foot w ith his m a te An didn t they h a ve w ords



, .
’ ’

or a ruction of some kind ? —for t w as the other fel l ow ’

Smoke sent up in the buckets to the top of the mine ; a n ’

a piece at the time he w ent up a leg t o day an to mo rr ow , ,



-


an arm the next d a y the head an so on
, ,

.


But you can t mean it ! I cried out ove r come with ’

the horro r of it .



Mean w hat ? he demanded quick as a flash Tis ,
.

n othin I ve said De e f I am a n d dumb as ye should be


’ ’
.
, ,

for the sak e iv your mother ; an ne v er once have I opened ’

me lips but to say fine things iv them an him G o d curse ’

his soul a n may he rot in purgatory ten thousand years


,

,

and then go down to the last an deepest hell iv all ! ’

Johnson the man who h a d chafed me r aw when I first


,

came aboa r d seemed the least equivocal of the men forward ,

or aft In fact there was nothing equivocal about him


.
, .

One was struck at once by his str aightfo r wardness and


m a nliness which in turn were tempered by a modesty
, , ,

w hich might be mistaken fo r timidi t y But timid he was .

no t . H e seemed rather to have the courage of his con , ,

v i c ti o n s the ce rtainty of his manhood


, It w a s this t hat .

m a de him protest at the c o mmencement of our acquaint ,

ance against being c a lled Yonson And upon this and


, .
,

him Louis passed j udgment a n d pro phecy


, .
60 T HE SEA-WOLF

I always get along with the office r s he r emarked to ,

me in a confidential tone I kno w the w y I do to myke .


, ,

myself u p p r e ci y t e d There w a s my last skipper — w y I


- .

thought nothin of d ro p p in d o w n in the cabin for a little


’ ’

chat and a friendly glass Mugr idge sez e to me .


,
’ ’
,

Mugridge sez e you ve mi s sed yer v o ky ti o n


,
’ ’

, An ‘ ’
.
’ ‘ ’

O w s that ? sez I Yer should a been born a gentle


’ ’ ’ ‘ ’
.

man a n never a d to work for yer


,
’ ’
G o d stri k e me
dead Ump if that a y n t wot e sez an me a s ittin there
,

,
’ ’
,

-

in is o w n cabin j olly li ke an comfortable a s m o kin is



,
-

,
-
’ ’


cigars an d ri n k i n is rum’ ’ ’
.

This chitte r chatter drove me to distraction


- I never .

heard a voice I hated so H is oily insinuating tones his .


, ,

greasy smile and his monstrous self conceit grated on my


,
-

nerves till sometimes I w a s all in a tremble P ositi v e ly .


,

he w as the most disgusting and loathsome person I h a ve


ever met The filth of his cooking was indescrib a ble ; and
.
,

as b e cooked everything th a t was eaten aboard I was com ,

p e l l e d to select what I ate with great circumspection choos ,

ing from the least dirty of his concoctions .

My hands bothered me a great deal unused as they were ,

to w ork The n a ils w ere discolored and black while the


.
,

skin w as already gr ained with di rt which even a scrubbing


brush could not remo v e Then blisters came in a painfu l .
,

and never ending procession and I had a g r eat burn on my


-
,

forearm acquired by losing my balance in a roll of the


,

ship and pitching a gainst the galley stove Nor was my .

knee any better T h e s welling had not gone down and


.
,

the c a p was still up on edge H obbling about on it from .

morning to night w as not helping it any What I needed .

was rest if it were eve r to get w ell


,
.

R est ! I neve r before k n e w the meaning Of the word .

I had been resting all my life and did not know it .


T HE S EA-WOLF 61

But n o w could I Si t still fo r one half hou r and do noth


,
-

ing not even think it would be the most pleasurable


, ,

thing in the w orld But it is a revelation on the othe r .


,

hand I shall be a ble to appreciate the lives of the work


.

ing people hereafter I did not dream th a t w o r k was so .

terrible a thing From half past five in the morning till


.
-

ten o clock at night I am eve rybody s slave with not one


’ ’

moment to myself except such a s I can steal near the e n d


,

of the second dog w atch Let me pause fo r a minute to


- .

loo k out ove r the sea sparkling in the sun or to gaze at a ,

sailor going aloft to the ga ff tops a ils or running out the


'

-
,

bo w sprit and I am sure to he a r the h a teful v oice


,
E re ,

you Ump no s o dg e ri n
,

I ve got my peepers on yer
,

.

.

There are signs of ramp a nt b a d tempe r in the steer a ge ,

and the gossip is going around that Smoke and Hender


son have had a fight H enderson seems the best of the .

hunters a slow going fello w a n d hard to rouse ; but roused


,
-
,

he must hav e been for Smoke had a brui s ed a n d discolored


,

eye and looked particularly vicious when he came into the


,

c a bin for suppe r .

A cruel thing happened j ust before supper indic a tiv e of ,

the c a l l ousne s s and brutishness of the s e men There is .

one green h a nd in the cre w H a rrison by n a me a clum s y , ,

loo k ing c ountr y boy mastered I im a gine by the spirit of , , ,

a dventure and m a king his first voy a ge


, In the light .

b a ffling airs the schooner had been t a c k ing about a gre a t


de a l a t w hich times the sails pass from one side to t h e
,

other and a man is sent a loft to shift o v er t h e fore ga ff -

top s a il In some w ay w hen H a rrison w a s aloft the sheet


.
, ,

j ammed in the bloc k through which it runs at the end of


the g a ff As I understood it there were tw o wa ys of get
.
,

ting it cleared - fi rs t by lo w ering the fores a il w hich w a s


, , ,

comp a r a tiv ely e a sy and without danger ; and second by .


62 T H E SEA - WOLF

climbing out the peak h a lyards to the end of the ga ff itself


-
,

an exceedingly hazardous performance .

Johansen c a lled out to H ar rison to go out the halyards .

It w a s p a tent to everybody that the boy w as afra id And .

w ell he might be eighty feet above the deck to trust him


, ,

self O n those thin and j erking ropes H ad there been a .

ste a dy breeze it would not have been so b a d but the Ghos t ,

was r olling emptily in a long sea and w ith each ro l l the ,

canvas fl a pped and boomed a n d the haly a rds sl a cked a n d


j erked taut They were capable of snapping a man o ff
.

like a fly from a w hip la s h -


.

Har rison he a rd the order and understood wh a t w as de


m a n de d of him but hesitated , It w a s prob a bly the first .

time he had been aloft in his life Joh a nsen who h a d .


,

caught the cont a gion of Wolf Larsen s masterfulness ’

bur s t o u t with a v ol l ey of abuse and curses .



That ll do Joh a nsen Wolf Larsen s a id brusquely

, , .

I ll hav e you know that I do the s w earing on this ship



.


I f I need your assist a nce I ll c a ll you in ,

.


Yes sir the m a te ac k no w ledged submissively
, ,
.

In the me a ntime H arrison had st a rted out on the haly a rds .

I w as looking up from the g a lley door and I could see ,

him trembling as w ith ague in every l imb H e proceeded


, ,
.

very slowly and cautiously an inch at a time Outlined , .

against the clear blue of the sky he had the appe a r a nce ,

of an enor mous spider crawling along the tracery of its


web .

It was a slight uphill climb fo r the foresail peaked ,

high ; and the h a lyards running through variou s blocks


,

on the ga ff and mast g a v e him separate holds for hands


,

and feet But the trouble lay in that the wind was not
.

s t rong enough nor steady enough to keep the sail full .

When he was halfway out the Gh os t took a long roll to ,


T HE SEA—
WOLF 63
I

windward and back ag a in into the hollow between two


seas H a rrison ce a sed his progres s and held on tightly
. .

E ighty feet beneath I could see the a gonized stra in of


,

his muscles as he gripped for very life The s a il emptied .

a n d the ga ff s w ung amidships The halyards slackened .


,

and though it a l l happened very quic k ly I could see


, ,

them sag beneath the w eight of his body Then the g a ff .

swung to the side with an abrupt s w iftness the gre a t sail ,

boomed like a cannon and the three ro w s of reef points ,


-

slatted against the canvas like a volley of rifles H a rrison .


,

clinging on m a de the giddy rush through the air This


,
.

r ush ceased abruptly The halyards bec a me inst a nt l y .

ta ut I t was the sn a p of the whip His clutch w a s


. . .

broken One hand was torn loose from its hold The
. .

other lingered despe rately for a moment and follo w ed , .

His body pitched out and do w n but in some way he man ,

aged to save himself w ith his legs H e was hanging by .

them he a d do w n w ard A quick effort brought his hands


, .

up to the halyards ag a in ; but he was a long time r egain


ing his former position where he hung a pitiable Obj ect , ,
.


I ll bet he has no appetite for supper I heard Wolf

L a r s en s voice which came to me from around the corne r


of the galley “
Stand from under you Johansen !
.
, ,

W a tch out ! H ere she comes !
I n truth Harrison was very sick as a person is sea
, ,

sick ; and for a long time he clung to his precarious


perch without attempting to mov e J oh a nsen ho w ever .
, ,

continued violently to urge h i m on to the completion of


his task .


It is a shame I heard Johnson gro w ling in painfully
,

slow and correct E nglish H e w a s standing by the main .

r i ggi ng a few feet a w ay from me


,

The boy is willing .

enough H e will learn if he has a chance But this


.
-
.
64 TH E SEA-WO LF

is H e paused awhile fo r the wo r d mu r de r was ,


his final j udgment .


,

Hist will ye ! Louis whispered to him “
Fo r the .

love iv your mother hold you r mouth !


But Johnson lo oking on still continued his g rumbli ng
, , .


Look here the hunter Standish spoke to Wolf La r
, , ,

sen ,

that s my boat puller a n d I don t want to lose

- -
,

him .

Th a t s all right Standish was the r eply



H e s you r
, , .

boat puller w hen you v e got him in the boat ; but he s my


-
’ ’

sailor when I have him aboard and I ll do w hat I damn ,



well please with him .

But that s no reason Standish began in a to rr ent


of speech .


That ll do easy as she goes Wolf La r sen counselled

, ,

back . I ve told you what s what and let it stop at that


’ ’

, .

The man s mine and I ll make soup of him and eat it if


,


I w ant to .

There was an angry gleam in the hunter s eye but he ’


,

turned on his heel and entered the stee r age companion w ay ,

where he remained looking upward All hands were on , .

deck now and a l l eyes w ere aloft where a human life was
, ,

at grapples with de a th The callousness of these men .


,

to w hom industri a l orga nization gave contr ol of the lives


of other men was a pp a lling I who had lived out of the
, .
,

whi r l of the wo rld had neve r dreamed that its work was ,

carried on in such fashion Life had always seemed a .

peculiarly sac r ed thing but here it counted fo r nothing , ,

w as a ciphe r in the a rithmetic of comme r ce I must say .


,

however that the s a ilors themselves were sympatheti c as


, ,

instance the case of Johnson ; but the masters ( the hunters ,

and the capt a in ) were he a rtlessly indi fferent E ven t h e


,
.

p r otest of St a ndish arose out of the fact that he did not.


TH E S EA WO LF
-
65

w ish to lose his boat pulle r H ad it been some othe r - .

hunter s boat puller he like them would have been no



-
, , ,

more than amused .

But to r eturn to H arrison It took J ohansen insulti n g .


,

a n d reviling the poor wretch fully ten minutes to get him ,

st a rted again A little l a ter he m a de the end of the g a ff


.
,

w here a stride the sp a r itself b e had a better chance for


, ,

holding on He cle a red the sheet and w as free to return


.
, ,

slightly do w n hill no w along the haly a rds to the mast


-
, .

But he had lost his nerve Unsafe as w as his present .

position he was lo a th to forsake it fo r the more unsafe


,

position on the haly a rds .

H e looked along the ai ry path he must tr ave r se and ,

then do w n to the deck His eyes were w ide and staring .


,

and he was tr embling violently I had never seen fear so .

strongly stamped upon a human f a ce J ohansen called .

v ainly for him to come down At any moment he was .

liable to be snapped O ff the g a ff but he was helpless with ,

fright Wolf L a rsen walking up and do w n with Smoke


.
,

and in conversation took no more notice of him though . ,

he cried sh a rply once to the man a t the w heel :


, ,


You re o ff you r course my man ! Be c a reful unless

, ,

you r e loo k ing for trouble I


A y a y sir the helmsman responded putting a couple


, , , ,

Of spo k es down .

H e had been guilty of running the Ghos t seve ra l points


O ff he r co u rse in orde r th a t what little w ind ther e w a s

should fill t h e foresail and hold it ste a dy He had striven .

to help the unfortun a te H arrison at the risk of incurring


Wolf Lar sen s ange r ’
.

The time went by and the suspense to me was te rrible


, , , .

Thom a s Mugridge on the other h a nd considered it a


, ,

l aughable a ffair and was continually bobbing his head out


,

F
66 T HE S EA WOLF-

the galley doo r to make j ocose remarks How I h ate d .

him ! And ho w my h a tred fo r him gr ew and grew during ,

that fea rful time to cyclopean dimensions Fo r the first


, .

time in my life I experienced the desire to murder saw



r ed as some O f ou r pictu r esque w riters phrase it Life
,
.

in general might still be sac r ed but life in the particular ,

case of Thom a s Mug ridge had become v e ry profa ne


indeed I was frightened when I became conscious
.

that I w as seein g r ed and the thought flashed through


,

my mind : was I too becoming tainted by the brutality


, ,

O f my environment ? — I who even in the most flagr a nt


,

crimes had denied the j ustice and righteousness of capital


punishment ?
Fully half an hour went by and then I saw J ohnson ,

and Louis in some sort of altercation It ended with John .

son flinging off Louis s detaining arm and sta rting forw a r d

.

He crossed the deck sprang into the fore r igging and b e


, ,

gan to climb But the quick eye of Wolf Lar sen caught
.

him .

He r e you what ar e you up to ? he c ried


, , .

J ohnson s ascent was arrested He looked hi s captai n



.

in the eyes and replied slowly


I am going to get that boy down .

You ll get down out of that rigging and dam n lively


,

about it ! D ye hear ? G e t down !

Johnson hesita ted but the long year s of obedience to


,

the masters of ships overpowered him and he dropped ,

sullenly to the deck and went on for w ar d .

At h a lf afte r fiv e I went below to set the cabin table ,

but I hardly knew what I did fo r my eyes and br a in w ere ,

filled with the vision of a ma n white faced and tr emb ling ,


-
,

comically li ke a bug clinging to the thr a shing ga ff At


,
.

six o cloc k when I se rved supper going on deck to get the



, ,
-
68 TH E SEA-WOLF

lacked expression w hen w ith Wolf Larsen I have since de .

t e r mi n e d th a t a part of it was due to t h e man s personality


but that the gr eater pa rt w as due to his tota lly different out
look Unlike other materialists I had met and w ith whom
.

I had something in common to sta rt on I had n o t h in g i n com ,


a

mon w ith him P erhaps also it was the elemental simplicity


.
, ,

of his mind that ba ffled me H e drov e so directly to the .

core of the matter divesting a question al wa ys of all super


,

flu o u s details and with such an air of finality th a t I seemed


, ,

to find myself str uggling in deep w ater with no footing


under me Value of life ? H ow could I ans w er the ques
.

tion on the spur of the moment ? The s a credness of li fe I


had accepted as axiomatic That it was int rinsically v alu
.

able was a truism I had never questioned But w h en he .

challenged the truism I was speechless .


We were talking about this yesterday he said “
I , .

held that life was a fe r ment a yeasty something which ,

devoured life that it might live and th a t liv ing was merely ,

successful piggishness Why if the r e is anything in supply


.
,

and demand life is the cheapest thing in the world There


,
.

is only so much water so much ea rth so much air ; but the


, ,

life that is dem a nding to be h o rn is limitless N ature is a .

spendth rift Look at the fish and their millions of eggs


. .

Fo r that matter; l OOk at you a n d me In ou r loins are .

the possibilities of millions of li v es Could we but find .

time and Opportunity and utiliz e the last bit and eve ry bit
of the unbo rn life that is in us we could become the ,

fathers of nations and populate continents Life ? Bah ! .

It has no value Of cheap things it is the che a pest


. .

E veryw here it goes begging N a tu r e spills it out with a


.

lavish han d Where there is room for one life s h e so w s


.
,

a thous a nd lives and it s life eats life till the str ongest a n d
,


most piggish life is left .
T H E SEA - WOLF
“ “
You have r ead Darwin I said But you r ead him
, .

misunderstandingly when you conclude that the struggle


fo r existence sanctions your w anton destruction of life .

H e shrugged his shoulders You know you only mean


.
'

that in relation to hu man life fo r of t h e fle s h and the fo w l


,

and the fiSh you destroy as much as I o r any othe r man .

And human life is in no wise di fferent though you feel it ,

is and think that you reason w hy it is Why should I be .

parsimonious with this life which is cheap and without


value ? There are more sailors than the r e are ships on the
sea fo r them more workers than there a r e facto ries o r
,

machines fo r them Why you who live on the land know


.
,

that you house you r poo r people in the slums of cities and
loose famine and pestilence upon them and that the r e ,

still remain mo r e poo r people dying for want of a crust of


,

bread and a bit of me a t ( which is life destroyed ) than you


, ,

know what to do with Have you eve r seen the London


.

dockers fighting like wild beasts fo r a chance to work ?


H e started fOr the companion stairs but turned his head ,

fo r a final word . DO you know the only value life has is


what life puts upon itself ? And it is of course ove r estimated ,

since it is of necessity prej udiced in its own favo r Take .

that man I had aloft He held on as if he w e r e a precious


.

thing a treasure beyond diamonds o r rubies To you ?


, .

No To me ? Not at all To himself Yes But I do not


. . .

accept his estimate He sadly ove r rates himself There


. .

is plenty mo r e life demanding t o b e bo r n Had he fallen .

and dripped his b r ains upon the deck like honey f r om the
comb the r e would have been no loss to the world He
, .

was wo r th nothing to the world The supply is too la rge . .

To himself only was he of value and to show h o w fictitio u s ,

even this value was being dead he is unconscious that he


,

has lost himself He alone r ated himself beyond diamonds


.
7 0 T HE SEA—
WOLF

and rubies Diamonds and rubies are gone spread out on


.
,

the deck to be w a shed away by a bucket of sea-w ater and


,

he does not even kno w th a t the di a monds and rubies are


gone He does not lose anything for with the loss Of
.
,

himself he loses the kno w ledge of loss Don t you see ?


.

And w hat h a ve you to s a y ?


That you are at least consistent was all I could say
, ,

and I went on washing the dishes .


C H APT E R V I I

AT last afte r th r ee days of variable winds we have


, ,

caught the no rtheast trades I came on deck after a good .


,

night s r est in spite of my poo r knee to find the Gh os t



,

foaming along wing and wing and every s a il dra wing


,
- -
,

ex cept the j ibs w ith a fresh breeze astern Oh the won


,
.
,

de r of the great trade wind ! All day we sailed and all


-
,

night and the next day and the next d a y afte r day the
, , , ,

wind always aste rn and blowing steadily and strong The .

schooner sailed herself There w as no pul l ing and hauling


.

on sheets and tackles no shifting of topsails no work a t


, ,

all for the sailors to do except to stee r At night when .

the sun went do w n the sheets we r e slackened ; in the


,

morning when they yielded up the damp of the dew and


,

r elaxed they were pulled tight again and that was all
, .

Ten knots tw elve knots eleven knots va rying from time


, , ,

to time is the speed we ar e making And ever out of the


, .

no rtheast the brav e wind blo w s driving u s on ou r cou r se ,

two hu n dred and fifty miles bet w een the dawns It saddens .

me and gladdens me the gait with which we are leaving


,

San Fr ancisco behind and with which we are foaming


do w n upon the tropics E ach day g r o w s pe r ceptibly
.

war me r In the second dog watch the sailo r s come on


.
-

deck str ipped and heave buckets of wate r upon one


, ,

anothe r from overside Flying fi s h are beginning to be


.
-

seen and during the night the watch above sc r ambles


,

o v er the deck in pursuit of those that fall aboard In the .

mo rning Thomas Mugridge being duly b ribed the galley


, ,

7!
7 2 TH E S EA-WOLF

is pleasantly a r eek with the Odor Of their f rying ; while


dolphin me a t is se rved fore and aft on such occ a sions as
J ohnson catches the blazing beauties from the bo w sprit end .

J ohnson seems to spend all his spare time there or aloft


at the crosst r ees watching the G h os t cleaving the wate r
,

unde r press of sail There is passion adoration in his .


, ,

eyes a n d he goes about in a so rt of tr ance gazing in


, ,

ecstasy at the s w elling sails the foaming wake and the , ,

heave and the run of her ove r the liquid mountains that
are mo ving with us in stately procession .

The days and nights are all a wonder and a wild delight ,

and though I have little time from my dre a ry work I steal ,

odd moments to gaze and gaze at the unending glory of


what I never dreamed the wo r ld possessed Abo v e the s ky

.
,

is st a inless blue blue as the sea itself which unde r the ,

forefoot is of the color and sheen of a zure s a tin All around .

the ho rizon are p a le fle e cy clouds ne v er ch a nging never , , ,

moving like a silver setting for the fl a wless turquoise s ky


, .

I do not forget one night when I should have been ,

asleep of lying on the forec a stle he a d a n d gazing do w n at


,
-

the spectr a l ripple O f fo a m thrust a side by the Gh os t s fore ’

foot It sounded like the gurgling of a brook over mossy


.

stones in some quiet dell and the crooning song of it lured ,

me aw ay and out of myself till I w a s no longer H ump the


c a bin boy no r Van Weyden the m a n w h o had dreamed
-
, ,

a w a y thi rty fi v e ye a rs among books - But a voice behind .

me the unmistakable voice of Wolf Larsen strong with


, ,

the invincible certitude of the man a n d mellow with a pp r e


ci a t i o n of the words he was quoting a roused me ,
.

O t he bl zin g t op ic n ight w h e n t he w a ke
a r w e lt o f l i gh t ,

s a

T h t hol d t h e hot ky t m e
a s s a ,

A d t h e t dy fo foot no
n s ea th o gh t he pl a n e t pow de e d floo
re s re s r u - r rs

W h e t h e s ca e d w h a l fl k i fl m
er r e u es n a e .
T HE S EA—WOLF 73

He r pl t
a e s a re s ca rre d b y th e s un , d e ar la ss ,

A n d he r ope s e ta u t w i th t h e d w
r ar e ,

Fo r e b oom i ng d o w n on t h l d t il tra il t he o ut tra il



w e r e O ra
, o
ur ow n , ,

We ’
re s a g g i ng s o u th on t h e L ong T il ra t he tra il th t is a lw ys e w
a a n .

H ump ? H ow s it st rike you ? he asked after the


E h,

d u e p a use which words and setting demanded .

I looked into his face It was aglo w with light as the .


,

sea itself and the eyes were flashing in the st a rshine


, .

It strikes me as remarkable to say the least that you , ,



should show enthusiasm I ans w ered coldly , .


Why man it s living ! it s life
, , he cried
’ ’
.

Which is a cheap thing and without value I flu n g ,

his words a t him .

H e laughed and it was the first time I had heard honest


,

mirth in his voice .


Ah I cannot get you to u nderst a nd cannot drive it
, ,

into your head what a thing this life is Of course life


, .

is v alueless except to itself And I c a n tell you that my


, .

life is pretty v alu a ble j ust now — to myself It is beyond .

price which you will ackno w ledge is a terrific overrating


, ,

but w hich I cannot help fo r it is the life that is i n me that ,



makes the r ating .

H e appeared w aiting for the words with which to ex


press the thought that was i n him and finally went on ,
.

Do you k now I am filled w ith a str ange uplift ; I feel


,

as if a l l time were echoing through me as though all ,

powers were mine I kno w truth div ine good from evil .
, ,

right from w rong My vision is cle a r a n d far I could . .

a lmost believe in G o d But —and his voice changed and



.
,

the light went out of his face w hat is this condition ,

in which I find myself ? this j oy of living ? this exultation


of life this inspir tion I may w ell c ll it
? a a ? It i s what ,

comes when the r e is nothing wr ong with one s di g estion ’

,
74 THE S EA WOLF-

when his stomach is in trim and his appetite has an edge ,

and all goes w e l l It is the bribe fo r liv ing the ch a m


.
,

pagne of the blood the e ffer v escence of the ferment


,

— that ma k es some men think holy thoughts and othe r ,

men to see G o d or to create him w hen they cannot see


him That is all the drunkenness of life the stirring and
.
, ,

cr a wling of the yeast the babbling of the life that is insane


,


with consciousness tha t it is ali ve And bah ! T O mor .
-

row I sh a ll pay for it as the drunk a rd pays And I shall .

know th a t I must die at sea most likely ce a se c r aw li ng of


, ,

myself to be all acrawl with the corruption of the sea ; to


be fed upon to be carrion to yield up a l l the strength and
, ,

movement of my mu s cles that it m a y become strength and


mov ement in fin and sc a le and the guts of fishes B a h ! .

A nd bah ! ag a in The ch a mp a gne i s already flat The


. .


sparkle and bubble has gone out a n d it is a tasteles s drink .

H e left me as suddenly as he had come springing to the ,

deck w ith the w eight and softness of a tiger The Gh os t .

ploughed on he r way I noted the gurgling forefoot w a s


.

very li k e a snore and as I listened to it the e ffect of Wolf


,

L a rsen s swift rush from sublime exult a tion to despai r


slo w ly left me Then some deep -w a ter s ailo r from the


.
,

w a ist of the ship lifted a rich tenor voice in the Song of


,

the Trade Wind


Oh, I am m e n lo e
th e w i d the n sea v

I m t e dy
a d t ong
s ad t e ; ,
an s r , an ru

T h e y follo w my t ck b y t h clo d b ov e ra e u s a ,

O th f t ho l

er t op ic b l
e a rn e s s r ue .

T h ou gh da yl i ght d d k I follo w th e b ark


r an ar ,

I k p l ike eeb o u d on h t ail a n er r

I m t ong t t noon y t n d

s r es t h e moo n
a , e u er ,

I s t iff n t h b nt f h il ”
e e u o er s a .
7 6 TH E S EA WOLF
-

angry ; nor do I wish ever to see him in a genuine rage ,

when a l l the force of him is called into play .

Whi l e on the question of vag a ries I shall tell w hat befell ,

Thomas Mugridge in the cabin and at the same time com ,

p l e t e an incident upon which I have a lre a dy touched once

o r twice The twelve o clock dinner w a s o v er one d a y


.

, ,

and I had j ust finished putting the cabin in order ,

when Wolf Larsen and Thomas M ugridge descen d ed


the companion stairs Though the cook had a cubby
.

ho l e of a stateroom opening o ff from the c a bin in the ,

c a bin itself b e h a d n e v e r d a red to linger or to be seen


'
,

and he flit t e d to and fro once o r tw ice a d a y like a timid


, ,

spectre .


S O you know how to play Nap Wolf Larsen w a s

,

saying in a pleased sort of voice I might have guessed .

an E nglishman would know I lea r ned it myself i n En g .


-

lish ships .

Thomas Mugridge was beside himself a blithering i m ,


.

b e ci l e so ple a sed was he at chummin g thus with the


,

captain The little airs he put on and the p a inful striving


.

to assume the easy car ri a ge of a man born to a dignified


place in l ife would h a ve been sickening h a d they not been
ludicrous H e quite ignored my presence though I cred
.
,

i t e d him w ith being simply unable to see me His pale .


,

wishy washy eyes were s w imming li ke lazy summer se a s


-
,

though what blissful visions they beheld were beyond my


imagination .

G e t the cards H ump ,


Wolf Larsen ordered as they
, ,

took seats at the table “


And bring out the cig a rs a n d
.


the whiskey you ll find in my be rth

.

I returned with the articles in time to he ar the Cockney


hinting broadly that there was a mystery about him that ,

he might be a gentleman s son gone wrong o r somethi n g



TH E SEA-WO LF 77

o r othe r ; also that he was a r emittance man and was paid


,

to keep aw ay from E ngland d m l si r was ’ ’

py e a n s o e
y , ,

the way he put it ; p y e d a n s o me l y to sling my ook an


’ ’ ’ ’


keep s l i n g i n it

.

I had brought the customa ry liquor glasses but Wolf ,

Larsen frowned shook his head and signalled w ith his


, ,

h a nds for me to bring the tumblers These he filled two .


thirds full with undiluted w hiskey a gentleman s d rink ’
,

quoth Thomas M ugridge and they clinked thei r glasses


,

to the glorious g a me of Nap lighted ciga r s and fell to , ,

shu ffling and dealing the cards .

They played fo r money They increased the amounts .

of the bets They drank whiskey they drank it neat and


.
, ,

I fetched more I do not know whether Wolf Larsen


.

cheated or not — a thing he was thoroughly c a pable of


,

doing ,
- but he won stead ily The cook made r epeated .

j ourneys to his bunk for money E ach time he perfo r med .

the j ou rney with greate r s w agger but he neve r b rought ,

mo r e than a few dollars at a time He gr ew maudlin .


,

familia r could hardly see the cards or sit up right As a


, .

p r e l iminary to anothe r j ourney to his bunk he hooked ,

Wolf Larsen s buttonhole with a greasy forefinge r and


vacuously proclaimed and r eiterated I got money I



, .


got money I tell ye r an I m a gentleman s son
, ,
’ ’ ’
.

Wolf L a rsen was una ffected by the d rink yet he drank ,

glass fo r glass and if anything his glasses were fulle r


, .

There w as no change in him H e did not appea r even .

am used at the othe r s antics : ’

In the end w ith loud protestations that he could lose


,

like a gentleman the cook s last money was staked on the


,

game and lost Whereupon he leaned his head on his


.

hands and w ept Wolf Larsen looked cu riously at him


.
,

as though ab out t o probe and vivisect him then changed ,


78 T HE S EA-WOLF

his mind a s from the foregone conclusion that there was


,

n othing there to probe .


H ump he s a id to me elabor a tely po l ite kindly take
, , ,

Mr Mu g rid g e s arm and help him up on deck H e is not


.

.


feeling very well .


And tell Johnson to douse him with a few buc k et s of

salt water he added in a lo w er tone for my ear alone
, , .

I left Mr Mug ridge on deck in the h a nds o f a couple


.
,

of grinning s a ilors who had been told O ff for the purpose .

Mr Mugridge was sleepily S pluttering that he was a


.

gentleman s son But as I descended the companion



.

stairs to clear the table I heard him shriek as the first


bucket of wate r struck him .

Wolf Larsen was counting his w innings .


One hundred and eighty fiv e dollars even he s a id -
,

aloud Just as I thought The begga r came a board


.

.


without a cent .

And w hat you have won is mine sir I said boldly , , .

H e favored me w ith a quizzical smile H ump I have .


,

studied some gr amma r in my time and I think your tenses ,

are tangled Was mine you should have said not is


.

,

,

mine .


It is a question not of gr amma r but of ethics I , , ,

answered .

It was possibly a minute befo r e he spoke .


D ye know H ump he said with a slow se riousness

, , ,

which had in it an i n d e fin a b l e str ain of sadness that ,


this is the first time I have hea r d the word ethics in the
mouth of a man You and I ar e the o n l y m e n on this
.
~


ship who know its meaning .


At one time in my life he continued afte r anothe r , ,

pause I dreamed th a t I might some day talk with men


,

who used such language that I might lift myself out of ,


T HE S EA- WOLF 79

the place in life in which I had been bo r n and hold con ,

versation and mingle with men who talked about j ust


such things as ethics And t his is the first time I h a v e
.

e v er heard the word pronounced Which is all by the .

way fo r you are wrong It is a question neither of


,
.
,

gra mmar nor ethics but of fact , .



I understand I said , The fact is that you have the
.


money .

His face brightened H e seemed pleased at my


.

perspicacity .


But it is avoiding the real question I continued , ,

which is one of right .



Ah he remarked with a wry pucker of his mouth
, , ,

I see you still belie ve in such things as right and wrong .


But don t you ’
at all ? I demanded .

Not the least bit Might is right a n d that is all there


.
,

is to it Wea k ness is wrong Which is a very poor way


. .

of saying that it is good fo r oneself to be strong and e v il ,

for oneself to be weak o r bette r yet it is ple a surable to ,

be strong because of the profits ; painful to be weak b e


, ,

cause Of the pen a lties Just now the possess ion of this
.

money is a pleasurable thing It is good for one to .

possess it Being able to possess it I wr o n g myself and


.
,

the life that is in me if I give it to you and forego the



pleasure of possessing it .

But you wrong me by withholding it I obj ected ,


.

Not at all One man cannot wrong another man H e


. .

ca n only w rong himself As I see it I do wro n g always


.
,

when I consider the interests of others Don t you see ? .


How ca n two particles of the yeast wrong each other by


striving to de v our each other ? It is thei r inborn heritage
to strive to de v our and to striv e not to be devou r ed
, .


When they depart from this they sin .
80 T H E SEA - WOLF

Then you don t believe in alt ruism ? I asked

.

H e r eceived the word as if it had a familiar ring though ,

he pondered it thoughtfully Let me see it means som e ,



thing about co operation doesn t it ? ,

Well in a w a y there has come to be a sort of connec


,

tion I answered unsurprised by this time at such g a ps in
, ,

his vocabula ry which like his knowledge w as the a cquire


, , ,

ment of a self read self educated man whom no one h a d


-
,
-
,

directed in his studies and who had thought much and ,

tal k ed little or not at all “


An altruistic act is an act .

performed fo r the welfare of others It is unselfish as .


,

opposed to an act performed fo r self which is selfish , .

H e nodded h i s head Oh yes I r emembe r it now .



, , .

I ran across it in Spencer .


Spencer ! I c ried H ave you read him ? .


Not very much w as his confession ,

I understood .

quite a good deal of Fi r st P rinciples but his Biology



,
’ ‘ ’

took the wind out of my sails and his P sychology left ,


‘ ’

me butting around in the doldrums fo r m a ny a day I .

honestly could not understand w hat he w as driving at .

I put it do w n to mental deficiency on my part but since ,

then I have decided that it was for want of preparation .

I h a d no prope r basis Only Spencer and myself know .

how hard I hammered But I did get something out of .

his Data of Ethics There s where I ran across a l tru


.
’ ’ ‘


ism and I remembe r no w how it was used
,

.

I wonde r ed what this man could have got from such a


work Spencer I remembe r ed enough to kno w th a t a l tr u
.

ism w as imperativ e to his ideal of highest conduct Wolf .

Larsen ev idently h a d sifte d the great philosopher s te a ch


, ,

ings rej ecting and selecting according to his needs and


,

desires .

What else did you run ac r oss ? I asked .


T HE SEA - WOLF 8I

His brows drew in slightly w ith the mental e ffo rt of


suitably phrasing thoughts which he had neve r before put
into S peech I felt an elation of S pir it I was g r oping
. .

into his soul-stu ff as he made a practice of groping in the


soul stu ff of others I was explo ring virgin territory A
- . .

strange a terribly st range region was unrolling itself before


, ,

my eyes .

In as few wo r ds as possible he began Spence r puts , ,

it something like this : First a man must act for his own ,

b e n e fit — to do this is to be moral and good N ext he must .


,

act for the benefit of his child ren And third he must a ct .
,

fo r the benefit of his race .


And the highest finest right conduct I interj ected
, , , ,

is that act w hich benefits at the same time the man his ,

children and his race
,
.

I wouldn t stand fo r that he replied


’ “
Couldn t see
, .

the necessity for it no r the common sense I cut out the


,
.

ra ce a n d the children I would sac rifice nothing for them


. .

It s j ust so much slush and sentiment and you must see it


yourself at least for one w h o does not believe in eternal


,

life With immortality befo r e me altruism would be a


.
,

paying business proposition I might elevate my soul t o .

all kinds of altitudes But with nothing ete rnal befo r e me


.

but death given for a brief S pell this yeasty craw ling and
,

squi r ming which is called li fe why it would be immoral , ,

fo r me to perform any act that w a s a sacrifice Any s a cri .

fi c e that makes me lose one craw l o r squirm is foo l ish ,

and not only foolish for it is a w rong against myself and


,

a wicked thing I must not lose one crawl o r squirm if I


.

am to get the most out of the ferment Nor will the eter .

nal movelessness that is coming to me be ma d e easie r o r


harder by the sacri fi ces or s e l fi s h n e s s e s of the time when I

w a s yeasty and acrawl .

G
82 T HE SEA WOLF-

Then you are an individualist a mate rialist and logi , , ,



cally a hedonist
,
.



Big w ords he smiled But what is a hedonist ?
,
.

H e nodded agr eement when I had given the definition .


And you are also I continued a man one could not, ,

trust in the least thing w here it was possible for a selfish


interest to inte rvene ?
Now you re beginning to understand he said bright

, ,

e n in g .


You are a man utterly without w hat the wo r ld calls
morals ?


That s it ’
.

A man of whom to be always afraid



That s the way to put it

.

As one is a fraid of a snake o r a tiger or a sha rk ? , ,

Now you know me he said “


And you know me as ,
.

I am generally known Other men c a ll me Wolf . .




You a r e a so rt of monste r I added audaciously a , ,

Caliban w ho has pondered Setebos and who acts as you ,



act in idle moments by whim and fancy
, , .

His brow clouded at the allusion H e did not unde r .

st a nd and I quickly learned that he did not kno w the


,

poem .


I m j ust reading B r owning he confessed and it s
’ “
, ,

pretty tough I haven t got ve ry far along and as it is


.

,

I v e about lost my bearings

.

Not to be tiresome I shall say that I fetched the book


,

from his state room and read Calib a n aloud H e w a s


“ - .

d elighted It was a p rimitive mode of re a soning and of


.

looking at things that he understood thorough l y H e .

interrupte d again and aga in w ith comment and criticism .

When I finished he had me read it over a second time


, ,

.

and a third We fell into discussion philosophy science , ,
C H A P T E R IX

T H R E E d a ys of rest th r ee ble s sed days of rest are w hat


, ,

I h a d with Wolf Larsen eating at the cabin t a ble and doing


,

nothing but discuss life literature and the universe the


, , ,

w hi l e Thom a s Mugridge fumed and raged and did my


work as well as his own .


Wa tch out for squalls is all I can say to you was , ,

Louis s w a rning gi v en du ring a spare h a lf hour on deck


,
-

while Wolf L arsen w a s engaged in str aightening out a


r ow a mong the hunters .


Ye can t tell what ll be
’ ’
Louis w ent on in ,

response to my que ry for m ore definite information The .

man s as contra ry as air currents or w a ter currents You



.

c a n ne v er guess the w a ys iv him Tis j ust as you re ’ ’


.

t h i n ki n you know him a n d are makin a f a vorable slant


’ ’

along him that he w hirls around dead a head a n d comes


, , ,

howlin down upon v o u and a rippin all iv your fi n e



-


weather sails to r a gs .

So I w as not altogethe r surprised w hen the squall fore


told by Louis smote me We had been h a ving a heated .

discussion — upon life of course —and gro w n overbold


, , , , ,

I w a s p a ssing stiff strictures upon Wolf Larsen and the


life of Wolf Larsen In fact I w as v i v isecting him and
.
,

turning o v er h i s soul stu ff as keenly and thoroughly as it


-

w a s his custom to do it to others I t may be a weakness .

of mine th a t I h a v e an incisive way of speech ; but I


threw a l l restr a int to the w inds and cu t and sl a shed until
the whole man of him w as snarling The dark sun bronze .
-

84
T HE S EA-WOLF 85

of his face went black with w r ath his eyes were abl a ze , .


There w as no clearness or sanity in them nothing but
the terrific ra ge of a madman It was the wo l f in him .

that I Sa w and a mad wolf at that


, .

H e sprang fo r me with a half roar gripping my arm -


, .

I had steeled myself to brazen it out though I w a s trem ,

bling inw ardly ; but the enormous strength of the m a n w a s


too much for my fo rtitude H e had gripped me by the .

biceps w ith his single h a nd and w hen that gri p tightened,

I wilted and shrieked aloud My feet went out from .

under me I simply could not stand upright and endure


.

the agony The muscles refused their duty The pain


. .

was too great My biceps was being crushed to a pulp


. .

H e seemed to recover himself for a lucid gleam came ,

into his eyes and he relaxed his hold with a short laugh
,

that w a s more like a gro w l I fell to the floor feeling .


,

ve ry faint while he sat down lighted a cigar and watched


, , ,

me as a cat watches a mouse As I writhed about I could .

see in his eyes that curiosity I had so often noted that ,

wonder and perplexity that questing that everlasting que ry


, ,

of his as to w h a t it was all about .

I fin a lly cr a wl e d to my feet and ascended the co mp a n


ion stairs Fair we a the r w a s ove r and there was nothing
.
,

left but to return to the galley My left arm was numb .


,

as though paralyzed and days passed before I could use


,

it w hile weeks went by before the last s ti fi n e s s an d pain


,

w ent out of it And he had done nothing but put his


.

hand upon my arm and squeeze There had been no .

wrenching or j erking H e h a d j ust closed his hand with


.

a steady pressure What he might have done I did not


.

fully realize till next d a y when he put his head into the
,

galley and as a Sign of renewed f riendliness asked me


, , ,

how my arm was getting on .


86 T HE SEA—
WO LF

It might have been w orse he smiled , .

I was pee l ing potatoes H e pic k ed one up from t h e


.

pan It w a s fa ir sized firm a n d unpeeled H e closed his


.
-
, , .

hand upon it squeezed and t h e potato squirted ou t b e


, ,

t w een his fin g ers in mushy streams The pulpy r em .

n a nt he dropped back into the pan and turned aw a y and ,

I h a d a sharp vision of how it might have f a red with me


h a d the monste r put his r eal strength upon me .

But the three days rest w as good in spite of it all fo r it


had given my knee the very chance it needed It felt much .

better the s w elling h a d materially dec r eased and the ca p


, ,

seemed descending into its prope r place Also the three .


,

days rest brought the trouble I h a d fore s een It was



.

plainly Thomas Mu g ridg e s intention to make me pay for


those three days H e treated m e vilely cursed me co n


.
,

ti n u a l l y and heaped his own work upon me


,
H e even .

ventured to r aise his fist to me but I was becoming ani ,

mal li k e myself and I snarled in his face so terribly that


-
,

it must have f rightened him back It is no pleasant p ic .

ture I can conj ure up of myself Humphrey Van Weyden in , ,

that noisome S hip s galley crouched in a corne r ove r my


task my face raised to the face of the creature a bout to


,

st rike me my lip s lifted and snarlin g lik e a dog s my eyes


,

gle a ming with fear and helplessness and the courage th a t


comes of fear and helplessness I do not l ike the picture . .

It reminds me too strongly of a rat in a trap I do not .

c a re to thin k of it ; but it was e ffective for the threatened ,

blo w did not descend .

Thomas Mugridge backed away glaring as hatefully ,

and viciou s ly as I glared A p a ir of beasts is what w e


.

were penned together and sho w ing our teeth H e was a


,
.

coward a fr a id to stri k e me because I had not quailed


,

s ufficient l y in ad v ance ; so he chose a new way to i n t irn i ‘


88 T H E SEA~ WOL F

Mugr idge menaced with the kn ife he was sha r pening fo r


me Leach laughed and hurled more of his Telegr aph
.

Hill billingsgate and before eithe r he or I knew wh a t had


,

happened his right arm had been ripped O pen fro m elbow
,

to w rist by a quick slash of the knife The cook backed .

a w ay a fiendish expression on his face the knife held


, ,

before him in a position of defence But Leach took it .

quite calmly though blood was spoutin g upon the deck as


,

generously as wate r from a fount a in .


I m goin to get you Cooky he said and I ll get
’ ’ “
, , ,

you hard And I won t be in n o hurry about it You ll


.

.


be w ithout that knife when I come for you .

S O saying he turned and walked quietly forward


, Mug .

ridge s face was liv id w ith fea r at what he had done a n d


at w hat he might expect soone r o r l a te r from the man he


had stabbed But his demeano r toward me was more fer o
.

ci o u s th a n ever I n spite of his fea r at the reckoning he


.

must expect to pay fo r what he had done he could see ,

th a t it had been an ob j ect lesson to me and he became -


,

more domineering and exultant Also there was a lust in .

him akin to madness which had come w ith sight of the


, ,

blood he had draw n H e was beginning to see r ed in


.

whate v er direction he looked The psychology of it is .

sadly tangled and yet I could r ead the w orkings of his


,

mind as clearly as though it were a p rinted book .

Several days went by the Ghos t still foaming down the


,

tr ades and I could swea r I saw madness growing in


,

Thomas Mu g ri dg e s eyes And I confess that I became



.

afraid very much afraid Whet W het w het it went all


, .
, ,, ,

day long The look in his eyes as he felt the keen edge
.

and g l ared at me was positively ca rniv orous I w as afr ai d .

to turn my shoulder to him and w hen I left the galley I



,

went out back w ards to the amusement of the sailo rs


THE S EA- WO LF 89

and hunte r s who made a point of gathe ring in g roups to


,

w itness my exit The stra i n was too g r eat I sometimes


. .

thought my mind would give w ay under it a meet thing


on this ship of madmen and brutes Eve ry hour e v ery .
,

minute of my existence was in j eopardy I w as a hum a n .

soul in distress and yet no soul fore or aft betrayed s u ffi


, , ,

cient sympathy to come to my a i d At times I thought of .

thro wing myself on the mercy of Wolf Larsen but the ,

vi s ion of the moc k ing de v il in his eyes th a t questioned life


and sneered at it would come strong upon me and compel
me to refrain At other times I seriously c o ntemplated
.

suicide and the whole force of my hopeful philosophy was


,

requir ed to keep me from going o v e r the S ide in the dark


ness of night .

Se v eral times Wolf Larsen tried to inveigle me into dis


c u s s io n
,
but I gave him short answers and eluded him .

Fin a lly he commanded me to resume my seat a t the cabin


,

table for a time a n d let the cook do my w ork Then I .

spoke fr a nkly telling him what I w a s enduring from


,

Tho m as Mugridge because of the three days of fav oritism


which had been shown me Wolf Larsen r ega r ded me .

with smiling eyes .

So you re a fr a id eh

he snee r ed , .


Yes I said defiantly and honestly I am afraid
, , .


Th a t s the way with you fellows he cried half a n

, ,


g y
ri l
, sentiment a lizing about your immort a l souls and
afraid to die At sight of a S har p knife and a cowardly
.

Cockney the clinging of life to life overcomes all your fond


foolishness Why my dea r fellow you will li v e forev er
.
, , .

You a r e a god and G o d cannot be killed Cooky cannot


, .

hurt you You are sure of you r r esur r ection What s


. .

there to be afra id of
You have ete rnal l ife before you You ar e a million .
90 T HE S EA-WO LF

naire in immo rtality and a millionnaire whose fo r tune c a n


,

not be lost whose fo rtune is less perishable than the sta rs


,

and as l a sting as sp ace or time It is impossible for you to .

diminish you r princip a l Immo rtality is a thing w ithout .

beginning o r end E ternity is eternity and though you


.
,

die here and no w you will go on liv i ng somewhere else and


here a fter And it is all very beautiful this sh a king o ff of
.
,

the flesh and soaring of the imp risoned spirit Cooky .

c a nnot hurt you H e can only give you a boost on the


.

path you eternally must tre a d .


Or if you do not w ish to be boosted j ust yet why not
, ,

boost Cooky ? According to you r ide a s he too must be , , ,

an immortal millionnaire You cannot bankrupt him H is . .

pape r will always circulate at p a r You cannot diminish .

the length of his living by killing him for he is with out ,

beginning o r end H e s bound to go on living some


.

where somehow Then boost him Stick a knife in him


, . .

and let his spirit free As it is it s in a nasty prison a n d


.
,

you ll do him only a kindness by breaking do w n the door



.

And w ho kno w s - i t may be a very beautiful spirit that


will go so a ring up into the blue from that ugly c a rcass .

Boost h i m along and I ll p romote you to his place and


,

,

he s getting forty fiv e dollars a month

- .

I t w a s plain that I could look for no help or mercy from


Wolf L a rsen Wh a teve r was to be done I must do fo r
.

myself and out of the courage of fear I evolved the plan


of fighting Thom a s Mugridge with his own weapons I .

borro w ed a W hetstone from J ohansen Louis the boat .


,

steerer h a d alre a dy begged me fo r condensed milk and


,

sugar The l a zarette w here such delicacies we re stored


.
, ,

was situated bene a th the cabin floor Watc hi ng my chance . ,

I stole five cans of the mil k and th a t night when it w as , ,

L o uis s w a tch on deck I tr aded them with him fo r a dir k


,
9 2 T HE S EA WOLF -

And for two hours we sat there fa ce to face whet w het , , , ,

w het till t h e ne w s of it S pre a d abroad and half the


,

ship s company w a s crowding the galley doors to see the


sight .

E ncour a gement and advice w ere freely tendered and ,

Jock H o m er the quiet self spoken hunter w ho looked as


, ,
-

though he w ould not h a rm a mouse advi s ed me to le a v e ,

the ribs alone and to thrust upward for the abdomen a t ,



the s a me time gi v ing what he c a lled the Sp a nish t wist
to the bl a de Leach his bandaged a rm prominently to
.
,

the fore begged me to leave a few remnants of the cook


,

for him ; a n d Wolf Larsen paused once or twice at the


bre a k of the poop to gl a nce curiously a t what must h a ve
been to him a stir ring and craw l ing of the yeasty thing he
kne w as life .

And I make free to say that fo r the time being life


ass u med the same sordid values to me There w a s noth .

ing pretty about it nothing divine — only tw o co w ardly


,

m o v ing things that sat whetting steel upon stone and a ,

group of othe r mo v ing things cowardly and otherwise , ,

that looked on H alf of them I am su r e were anxious


.
, ,

to see us S hedding each other s blood It w ould have ’


.

been entert a inment And I do not think there w as one


.

who would have interfered had we closed in a death


struggle .

On the othe r hand t h e whole thing was laughable and


,

childish Whet whet W het — Humphrey Van Weyden


.
, , ,

sha rpening his knife in a ship s galley and trying its edge ’

with his thumb ! Of all situations this was the most i n c o n


ce iv a b l e . I know that my own kind could not have b e

l i e v e d it possible I had not been called Si s sy V an
.


Weyden all my days without re a son and th a t Sissy “
,

Van Weyden should be c a p a ble of doing this thing was a


THE S EA- WOLF 93

r evelation to H umphrey Van Weyden who knew not ,

whethe r to be exult a nt or ashamed .

But nothing happened At the end of t w o hours .

Thom a s Mug ridge put away knife and stone and held out
his hand .

Wot s the good of my ki n a o l y S how of ourselves for


’ ’ ’


them mugs ? he demanded “
They don t love us an .

,

bloody well glad they d be a s e e i n us c u t t in our throats



-
’ ’
.

Yer not a rf bad Ump ! You ve got spunk as you Yanks



,
’ ’

S

y ,an I like ’
yer in a w
y S O come on an s h ke
y

.

.

Coward that I might be I was less a coward th a n he ,


.

I t was a distinct victory I h a d gained and I refu s ed to ,

forego any of it by shaking h is detesta ble hand .


All right he said p r idelessly tyke it o r leave it
, ,

,

I ll like ye r none t h e less for it

And to save his face he .

turned fie rcely upon the onloo k e r s G e t outa my galley .

d oors you b l o o m in swabs !


This command was reinforced by a steaming kettle of


wate r and at S ight of it the sailors scrambled out of the
,

way This was a sort of victory fo r Thomas Mug ridge


.
,

and enabled him to accept more gracefully the defeat I


had given him though of course he was too discreet to
, , ,

attempt to d rive the hunters away .


I see Cooky s finish I heard Smoke say to Ho m e r

,
.


You bet was the reply ,

H ump runs the galley .


from now on and Cooky pulls in his horns
, .

Mugridge heard and shot a swift glance at me but I ,

gav e no Sign that the conv ersation had reached me I had .

not thought my victory was so fa r re a ching and complete -



,

but I r esolv ed to let go nothing I had gained A S the .

days went by Smoke s prophecy w as ve rified The


,

.

Cockney became more humble a n d slavish to me than even


to Wolf La r sen I mistered him and sirred him no .
94 TH E S EA WOLF
-

longer washed no more greasy pots and peeled no more


, ,

potatoes I did my o w n w ork and my o w n work only


. , ,

a n d w hen and in w hat fashion I saw fit Also I carried


.
,

the dirk in a sheath at my hip sailor fashion and main


,
-
,

t a in e d tow ard Thomas Mugridge a constant attitude which


was composed of equal pa r ts of domineering insult and , ,

contemp t .
96 T HE S EA—
WOLF

the sadness w hich h a s made the r ace sobe r minded clean -


,
s

lived a n d fan a tic a lly moral and which in this latte r con
, , ,

n e cti o n h a s culmin a ted among the E nglish in the R eformed


,

Chu r ch and Mrs G rundy . .

I n point of fact the chief vent to this p rimal melancholy


,

has been religion in its more agonizing forms But the .

compensations of such r eligion a r e denied Wolf Larsen .

His brutal mate rialism will not permit it So when his .


,

blue moods come on nothing r emains for him but to be


,

de v ilish We r e h e not so ter rible a man I could some


.
,

t imes feel sor r y fo r him as instance th r ee mornings ago


, ,

when I went into his state room to fill his wate r bottle and
- -

came unexpectedly upon him H e did not see me His . .

head was bu r ied in his hands and his shoulders were be a v ,

in g convulsively as with sobs H e seemed torn by some .

mighty g rief As I softly withdre w I could hear him


.


groaning G o d ! G o d ! G o d !
, Not that he was calling
upon G o d ; it was a me re expletive but it came from his ,

soul .

At dinne r he asked the hunters fo r a r emedy fo r he a d


ache and by evening str ong ma n that he was he was
, , ,

half-blind and reeling about the cabin .


I ve neve r been sick in my life Hump he said as I

, , ,

guided him to his r oom No r did I eve r have a he a dache


.

except the time my head was healing after having been



laid open fo r six inches by a capstan ba r - .

Fo r th r ee day s this blinding headache lasted a n d h e ,

su ffered a s wild animals su ffer as it seemed the w ay on ,

ship to su ffe r w ithout plaint without sympathy utterly


, , ,

alone .

This mo rn ing h o weve r on ente ring his state r oom to


, ,
-

make the bed and put things in orde r I found him well ,

a n d har d at wo rk Table a n d bunk we r e li tte r ed with


TH E SEA—WOLF 7

designs and calcul a tions On a large transpa r ent S heet .


,

comp a ss and squ a re in hand he w a s copying what a p ,

p e a re d to be a scale of some sort or other .



Hello H ump he greeted me genially
, ,

I m j ust .


finishing the finishing touches Want to see it work ? .


But w hat is it ? I asked .

A l a bor s a v ing dev ice fo r mariners navigation reduced


-
,

to kinderg a rten simplicity he answered g a yly “


From
,

.

to day a child will be able to navigate a S hip N O more


-
.

long w inded calcul a tions All you need is one sta r in the
- .

sky on a di rty night to know instantly w here you are .

Loo k I pl a ce the transparent sc a le on this star m a p r e


.
-
,

volv ing the Scale on the North P o l e On the scale I ve .


work ed out the circles of altitude a n d the lines of bea ring .

All I do is to put it on a star rev olve the sc a le till it is ,

opposite those figures on the ma p underne a th and presto ,



there you are the ship s precise loc a tion l
,

There w a s a ring of triumph in his voice a n d his eyes , ,

clear blue this morning as the sea were sp a rkling w ith ,

fi ght
You must be well up in mathematics I said Where , .

did you go to school


Never s a w the inside of one wors e luck was the , ,


ans w er .I had to dig it out fo r myself .


And why do you think I have m a de this thing ? he
demanded abruptly ,

Dreaming to leave footprints on
.


the s a nds of time ? He laughed one of his horrible
mock ing laughs “
Not a t a l l
. To get it patented to .
,

make money from it to revel in piggishness with all night


,

in while other men do the work That s my purpose .



.

Also I h a ve enj oyed w orking it out


, .


The cre a tive j oy I murmured ,
.

I gue s s that s what it ought to be call ed Which i s



.
9 8 TH E SEA WOLF
-

anothe r w a y of expressing the j oy of life in that it is a live ,

the triumph of movement ove r m a tter of the quick ove r ,

the dead the p r ide of the yeast because it is yeast and


,

cr a w ls .

I t h r e w up my hands with helpless disappro v al of his


in v eterate m a teri a lism and went about making the bed .

H e continued copying lines and figures upon the tra n s


parent sc a le It was a ta s k r equi ring the utmost nicety
.

and precision and I could not but admire the w a y he tem


,
o

pe red his strength to the fineness and delicacy of the need .

When I had fini s hed the bed I caught myself looking ,

at him in a fascinated sort of w a y H e was cert a inly a .


handsome man beautiful in the m asculine sense And .

again with neve r fai l ing w onder I r em a rked the total lack
,
-
,

of viciousness o r wickedness o r sinfulness in his face It


, , , .

was the face I am convinced of a man who did no wrong


, , .

And by this I do not wish to be misunderstood What I .

mean is th a t it w as the face of a man who either did


nothing contrary to the dict a tes of his conscience o r who ,

had no conscience I am inclined to the l a tter w ay of


.

accounting fo r it H e was a m a gn ificent atavism a man


.
,

so purely p rimitive that he was of the type th a t c a me into


the world befor e the development of the moral nature .

H e was not immoral but merely unmoral ,


.

A S I have said in the masculine sense his was a b e a ut i


,
c

ful face Smooth shav en eve ry line was distinct and it


.
-
, ,

was cu t as clear and sh a r p as a cameo ; while s e a a n d


sun had tanned the naturally f a ir Skin to a d a rk bronze
which bespoke struggle and battle and added both to his
savagery and his beauty The lips were full yet pos .
,
~

s e s s e d o f the firmness a lmost harshness which is charac


.
, ,

t e ri s t i c of thin lips The set of his mouth his chin his


.
, ,

j aw was likew ise fi r m o r h a rsh with all the fie rce n e s s and


, ,
I 00 T HE S EA -WOL F

H e had lifted his eyes to me at the commencement o f


my outburst and follo w ed me complacently until I had
,

done and stood before him b r eathless and dismayed H e .

w a ited a moment as though seeking where to begin and


, ,

then s a id

Hu m p do you know the parable of the sowe r who
,

w ent forth to so w ? I f you will remember some of the ,

seed fe l l upon stony places where there was not much ,

e a rth and forth w ith they sprung up because they had no


,

deepness of ea rth And when the sun was up they were


.

scorched and because they had no r oot they withered


,

a w ay .And some fell among th o rns and t h e tho r ns ,



sprung up and choked them .



Well ? I said .


Well ? he que ried half petulantly It was not , .


well I was one of those seeds
. .

H e dropped his head to the scale and r esumed the


copying I finished my work and had opened the doo r
.

to le a ve when he spoke to me
, .

Hump if you will look on the west coast Of the ma p


,

of N o rway you will see an indentation c a lled R omsda l


Fiord I was bo rn within a hund r ed miles of that str etch
.

of wate r But I was not born N orwegian I am a D a ne


. . .

My f a ther a n d mothe r were Danes and how they eve r ,

c a me to th a t bleak bight of l a nd on the west co a st I do


not kno w I neve r hea r d . Outside of that the r e is .

not h ing mysterious They we re poo r people and unlet .

t e re d .They came of gene r ations of poo r unlettered


people — peasants of the sea who sowed thei r sons o n the
w aves as h a s been thei r custom since time began The r e .


is no more to tell .


But there is I ob j ected It is still obscu r e to me
, .

What ca n I tell you ? he deman ded w ith a r ec ru ,


- WOL
TH E SEA F OI


de s ce n ce of fie rce n e s s Of the meagr eness of a c h ild s
.

life ? of fish diet and coarse living ? of going out with the
boats from the time I could cra wl ? of my brothers who ,

went away one by one to the deep sea fa r ming and ne v er -

came back ? of myself unable to r ead o r write c a bin boy , ,


-

at t h e o ma t u re age of ten on the coastwise old country ,


-

ships ? of the r ough fare and rougher usage w here kicks ,

and blo w s were bed and breakfast and took the place of
speech and fea r a n d hatr ed and p a in were my only soul
,

experiences ? I do not c a re to remembe r A madness .

comes up in my brain even now as I think of it But there .

were coastwise S kippers I would have r eturned and killed


when a man s strength came to me only the lines of my

life were cast at the time in othe r pl a ces I did r eturn .


,

not long ago but unfortunately the skippers were de a d


, ,

a l l but one a m a te in the O l d days a s k ip pe r whe n I met


, ,

him and when I left him a c ripple who would neve r walk
,


again .

But you who r ead Spence r and Darwin and have neve r
seen the inside of a school how did you lear n to r ead and ,

write ? I queried .

In the English me r chant se rvice Cabin-boy at tw el v e .


,

ship s boy at fourteen ordinary seaman at sixteen able


, ,

seaman at seventeen and cock O f the fo c sle infinite a m


,
’ ’
,

b it i o n and infinite loneliness r eceiving neithe r help no r ,

,

sympathy I did it all fo r myself nav igation mathe ,

ma ti cs science li te r atu r e and what not


, , And of what , .

use has it been ? Maste r and o w ne r of a S hip at the top


of my life as you say when I am beginning to diminish
, ,

and die Pa l t i y isn t it ? And when the sun was up I


.
,

was scorched and because I h a d no r oot I withe r ed away


,

But histo ry tells of slaves who r ose to the pu rple I ,

chided .
I 02 TH E SEA —
WOL F

And histo ry tells of oppo rtunities that came to the slav es


who r ose to the purple he an s wered grimly
, No man .

makes opportunity All the great men eve r did was to


.

know it when it came to them The Corsican knew I . .

hav e dreamed as g r eatly as the Corsican I should have .


know n the O pportuni ty but it never came The thorns
, .

sprung up and cho k ed me And Hump I c a n tell you


.
, ,

th a t you know more about me than any living man except ,



my o w n brother .

And what is he ? And where is h e


M aste r of the steamship Ma ce d o n i a seal hunter was ,
-
,

the ans w e r “
We w ill meet him most probably on the
.


J apan coast Men call him Death L a rsen
. .


Death Larsen ! I in v oluntarily cried “
I s he like .

you
H ar dly H e is a lump of an animal without any head
. .

H e has all my my —

Brutishness I suggested , .

Yes — thank you fo r the word


,
— all my b rutishness
, ,

but he ca n sca r cely read o r write .

And he has neve r philosophized on life I added , .

No ,
Wolf Larsen answered w ith an inde s c ribable a ir
,

O f sadness And he is all the happie r for leaving life



.

alone . He is too busy li v ing it to think about it My .


mistake was in eve r Opening the books .
1 04 T H E S EA—WOL F

Death L a rsen which tallies with the c a pt a in s b rief de


,

scription We may expect to meet Death Larsen on the


.


J a pan coast And look out for squal l s is Louis s pr Oph
.
,

e cy
,
for they hate one another like the w o l f whelps they -

a re
. De a th Larsen is in command of the only sealing
ste a mer in the fleet the Ma ce d on i a which c a rries fourteen
, ,

boat s w hereas the rest of the schooners c a rry only S ix


, .

There is w ild talk of can non abo a rd and of stran ge r a ids and ,

expediti ons she may m a ke ranging from O pium smuggling ,

into the States and arms smuggling into Chin a to bl a ck ,

birding and open piracy Yet I cannot but believe Louis .


,

for I have never yet c a ught him in a lie while he has a ,

cyclop aedic knowledge of sealing and the men of the seal


ing fleets .

As it is for w ard and in the galley so it is in the steerage ,

a n d aft on this verit a ble hell ship


,
Men fight and str ug - .

gle ferociously for one another s liv es The hunters are ’


.

looking for a shooting scrape at any moment betw een


Smoke and H enderson w hose old qu a rrel has not healed
, ,

while Wolf Larsen says positively that he will kill the sur
v i v o r of the a ffair if such affair comes O ff
,
H e frankly .

states that the position he t a kes is based on no mo r al


grounds that all the hunters cou l d kill and eat one another
,

so far as he is concerned we r e it not that he needs them ,

ali v e for the hunting If they will only hold thei r hands
.

until the se a son is over he promises them a roy a l c a rnival


, ,

when all grudges ca n be settled and the surviv ors m a y toss


the non surv ivors overboard and arrange a story a s to how
-

the missing men were lost at sea I think ev en the .

hunters are app a lled at his cold bloodedness Wicked - .

men though they be they are certainly v ery much a fraid


,

of him .

Thomas Mug ridge is cu r like In his subj ection to me -


,
T HE S EA—WOLF 1 05

while I go about in secret dread of him His is the cour .

age o f fea r — a str a nge thing I kno w we l l of myself


, ,

and at any moment it may master the fear and impel him
to t h e ta king of my life My knee is much better though
.
,

it often aches for long periods and the stiffness is gradu ,

ally leaving the arm which Wolf Larsen squeezed Other .

wise I a m in splendid condition feel th a t I a m in ,

My muscles are gro w ing h a rder


\

splendid condition .

and i n cre a s m g l n $12 6 My hands ho w ever a r e a spec


.
, ,

t a cle fo r grief They hav e a p a rboil e d appearance a re


.
,

a fflicted with hang nails while the nails a re broken and



-
,

discolored a n d the edges of the quick seem to be as


,

s u m i n g a fungoid sort of growth Also I am su ffering .


,

from boils due to the diet most likely for I was neve r
, , ,

a fflicted in this m a nner before .

I was amused a couple of evenings back by seeing


, ,

Wolf Larsen re a ding the Bible a copy of which after the , ,

futi le search for one at the beginning of the voyage had ,

been found in the dead mate s sea chest I wondered ’


- .

what Wolf Larsen could get from it and he read aloud ,

to me from E cclesiastes I could imagine h e was speak.

ing the thoughts of his own mind as he read to me and ,

his voice reve rberating deeply a n d mournfully in the co n


,

fined cabin charmed and held me H e may be u n e d u


, .

ca te d
, but he ce rtainly knows ho w to express the
signific a nce of the w ritten word I ca n hear him no w .
,

a s I shall al w ays hear him t h e p r imal melancholy vib r ant


,

in his voice as he read

I gathered me also silve r and gold and th e peculia r ,

tr easure of kings and of the pro v inces ; I gat me men


singers and women singers a n d the delights of the sons ,

of men as musical instr uments and that of all so rts


, , .
I 06 THE SEA -WOL F

SO I was great and increased more th a n all that were


,

before me in J erusalem ; also my wisdom r emained with


me .


Then I looked on all the works that my hands had
wrought and on the labor that I had l a bored to do ; and
behold all was vanity and vexation of S pi rit and there
, ,

w a s no profit under the sun .

All things come ali ke to all ; the r e is one event to the


righteous a n d to the wicked ; to the good and to the cle a n ,

and to the unclean ; to him t hat s a cri fice t h and to him ,

th a t s a cri fice t h not ; as is the good so is t h e sinne r ; and


,

he that s w e a reth as he that feareth an oath


, .

This is an evil among all things th a t a r e done unde r


the sun that there is one event unto all ; y e a also the
, ,

heart of the sons of men is full of evil and madness is in ,

thei r hear t whi le they live and afte r that they go to the
,

dead .

Fo r to him that is j oined to all the living there is h Op e ;


fo r a l iving dog is bette r th a n a dead lion .

Fo r the liv ing know that they Shall die ; but t h e dead
know not anything neithe r have they any mo r e a r ewar d ;
,

fo r the memo ry of them is forgotten .


Also thei r love and thei r hatred and their envy is
, , ,

now p e rished ; neithe r have they a n y more a po rtion fo r



eve r in anything that is done unde r the sun .

There you have it H ump he said closing the book


, , ,

upon his finge r and looking up at me “


The P reache r .

who w a s king ove r Israel in J e rusalem thought as I think .

You c a ll me a pessimist IS not this pessimism of the


blackest ? — All is vanity and vexation of spi rit There

!
,
’ ‘

is no profit unde r the sun There is one event unto all


’ ‘ ’
, ,

t o the fool and t h e wi se the clean and the unclean t h e


, ,
1 08 THE S EA—
WOLF
“ What tho t a s king h i th r h rri d Whe cc f
,
w i u , e u e n

A d w itho t
n ,
k i ng Wh i t he h rri e d h e n ce
u as , r u

O h m ny C p f th i fo b id d n W i n e
,
a a u o s r e

M t d o w n t h m e mo y o f th t i n s ol e nc l
.

” r a
us r e e

G reat ! Wolf Larsen cried G re a t ! That s the key



.

note Insolence ! H e could not have used a better w ord


. .

In v a in I obj ected and denied H e deluged me o v er .


,

whelmed me with argument .

It s not the n a ture of life to be otherwise Life when



.
,

it kno w s th a t it must ce a se living w ill al w ays rebel It , .

cannot help itself The P reac he r found life and the works
.

of life all a v a nity a n d vexation an e v il thing ; but death , ,

the ce a sing to be a ble to be vain and vexed he found an ,

evile r thing Through chapter afte r chapter he is worried


.

by the one event that cometh to all alike S O Omar s o I


'

.
, ,

so you even you fo r you rebelled ag ai nst dying when


, ,

Cooky sharpened a knife fo r you You w ere afraid to .

die ; the life that w a s in you th a t composes you th a t is , ,

gr e a te r than you did not w a nt to die You have t a lked


,
.

of the instinct of immortal ity I talk Of the instinct of life .


,

which is to li v e and which w hen de a th looms near and


, ,

large masters the instinct so called of immo rtality It


, , , .

mastered it in you ( you cannot deny it) because a crazy ,

Cockney cook sharpened a knife .


You are a fraid of him now You are afraid of me . .

You cannot deny it I f I S hould catch you by the throat .


,

thus ,
!
his h a nd w as about my throat and my breath w a s
shut o ff and began to press the life out of you thus
, , ,

and thus you r instinct of immo rt a l ity will go glimme ring


, ,

and you r instinct of life which is longing for life will flu t , ,

te r up and you will str uggle to sav e y ourself Eh I see


, .

the fea r of death in you r eyes You be a t the air with your .

ar m s .You exe rt a l l your puny str e ngth to struggle to


TH E S EA WOLF - 1 09

live You r hand is clutching my a r m lightly it feels as a


.
,

butte rfly resting there You r chest is heaving your tongue .


,

prot r uding you r skin turning da rk your eyes swimming


, , .


To live ! To l ive ! To live ! you are c r ying ; and you a re ’

c rying to live here and no w not h ereafte r You doubt , .

you r immortality eh ? H a ! H a You a re not su r e of it


, .

You w on t chance it Thi s life only you are certain is



.

real Ah it is gr owing dark and dar ke r It is the d ark


.
, .

ness of death the ceasing to be the ceasing to feel the


, , ,

ceasing to move that is gathe ring about you descending


!

, ,

upon you rising around you Your eyes are becoming set
, . .

They a r e glazing My voice sounds faint and fa r You


. .

cannot see my face And still you struggle in my grip . .

You kick w ith you r legs You r body draws itself up in .

knots like a snake s Your chest heaves and st r ains To



. .

live ! To live ! To live


I hea r d no mo r e Consciousness was blotted out by the
.

darkness he had so gr aphically described a n d when I came ,

to myself I was lying on the floor and he w a s smoking a


cigar and regarding me thoughtfully with that old familia r
light of cu riosity in his eyes .


Wel l h a ve I convinced you ? he demanded
, He r e .
,

take a drink of this I want to ask you some questions . .

I rolled my head negatively on the floor “


You r argu .

ments are too e r — forcible I managed to a rticulate


— ”
,

at cost of great pain to my aching throat .


You ll be all right in half an hou r he assu r ed me

,
.

And I promise I won t use any more physical demonst r a ’


tions G e t up now You ca n sit on a ch a ir
. . .

And toy that I was of this monster the discussion of


, ,

Omar a n d the P reache r was resumed And half the night .

we sat up ove r it .
C HA P T E R XI I

T HE last twenty four hours have w itnessed a carnival of


-

brutality From cabin to forec a stle it seems to hav e


.

bro k en out like a cont a gion I scarcely k no w w here to


.

begin Wolf Larsen w a s really the cau s e of it The rela


. .

tio n s among the men stra ined and made ten s e by feuds
, ,

qu a rrels a n d grudges were in a state of unst a ble equi


, ,

librium and evil p a ssions flared up in flame like p rai rie


,

grass .

Thomas Mugridge is a sne a k a spy an informer H e , , .

has been a ttempting to curry fa v or and reinst a te himself


in the good gr a ces of the c a ptain by c a rrying t a les of the
men forw ard H e it w a s I kn ow that c a rried some Of
.
, ,

Johnson s hasty talk to Wolf Larsen J ohnson it seems



.
, ,

bought a suit of Oilskins from the Slop chest and found -

them to be of greatly inferior qu a lity Nor was b e slow .

in advertising the fact The slop chest is a sort of m inia


.
-

ture d r y goods store which is c a rried by a l l sealing sch o o n e rs


-

and which is stock ed w ith a rticles peculiar to the needs of


the s a ilors Wh a tever a sailor purch a ses is taken from his
.

subsequent earnings on the sealing grounds ; for a s it is ,

with the hunters so it is w ith the boat pullers and steerers -

—i n the pl a ce of wages they receive a l a ”


a r a te of so

y ,

much per S k in for e v ery skin c a ptured in their p a rticu l a r boat .

But of Johnson s grumbling a t t h e s lo p chest I k new



-

nothing so that what I witnessed c a me w ith the shock of


,

sudden surprise I h a d j ust fini s hed s w eeping the c a bin


.
,

and had been in v eigled by Wolf L a rs en into a discussion


[ 10
I I2 TH E SEA-WOL F

Well J ohnson then damn you ! Can you guess w hy


, , ,

I have sent for you



Yes and no sir was the slow reply
,
'
, My work is , .

done well The mate kno w s that and you know it sir
.
, , .


S O there cannot be any complaint .


And is th a t all ? Wolf Larsen queried his voice soft , ,

and low and purring ,


.

I k now you hav e it in for me Johnson continued w ith ,

his unalter a ble and pon d erous slowness “


Yo u do not .

like me You You .



G o on Wolf Larsen prompted Don t be afraid of ’
.
,

my feeli ngs .

I am not afraid the sailo r reto rted a slight angry , ,

flush r ising through his sunburn If I speak not fast it .


,

is because I have not been from the old countr y a s long as


you You do not like me because I am too much of a
.


ma n ; th a t is w hy sir , .

You a r e too much of a man for ship di s cipline if that ,

is w hat you mean and if you know w hat I mean was , ,

Wolf Larsen s retort ’


.


I know E nglish a n d I kno w what you mean si r , , ,

Johnson answered his flush deepening at the slur on his ,

kno w ledge of the E nglish langu a ge .



Johnson Wolf Larsen said with an a ir of dismissing
, ,

all th a t had gone before as introducto ry to the m a in busi


ness in hand “
I understand you r e not quite satisfied
,


with those O ilskins ?

No I am not They are no good sir
,
.
, .

And you v e been shooting o ff your mouth about them



.


I say what I think sir the s a ilor a nswered courage , ,

o usl
y not,failing a t the s a me time in ship courtesy w hich ,

demanded th a t sir be appended to each speech he


tn a de .
T HE S EA WOLF -
1 13

I t was at this moment th a t I ch a nced to gl a nce at J ohan ~

sen His big fists were clenching a n d unclenching and his


.
,

face was positively fiendish S O m a lignantly did he look at ,

Johnson I noticed a black discolor a tion still faintly visi


.
,

ble unde r Joh a nsen s eye a m a rk of the thrashing he had


,

received a few nights before from the s a ilor Fo r the first .

time I began to divine that someth i ng terrible was about


to be en a cted — wh a t I could not imagine
, , .


Do you know what happe n s to men who say what

you ve said about my l p chest and me ? Wolf Larsen

-

was dem a nding .


I know sir was the answer , , .


Wh a t ? Wolf La r sen demanded sharply and impera ,

tiv e l y .


What you and the mate t here a r e going to do to me ,

Look at him Hump Wolf L a rsen said to me l ook


, , ,

at this bit of animated dust this aggregation of matte r that ,

moves and breathes and defies me a n d thoroughly believes ‘

itself to be compounded of something good ; that is i m


p r essed with cert a in hum a n fiction s such a s righteousness
and honesty a n d that will liv e up to them in spite of all
,

personal discomforts and menaces What do you think of .

h i m Hump ? What do you think of him ?


,


I think th a t he is a better man than you a r e I ,

answered impelled someho w with a desire to dra w upon


, , ,

myself a portion of the w rath I felt w as about to break


upon his head His human fictions a s you choose to
.

,

call them make for nobility and manhood You hav e no


, .

fictions no dreams no ide a ls You a re a pauper


, , . .

H e nodded his head with a sav age pleasantne s s ! uite .

true Hump quite true I h a v e no fictions that make fo r


, , .

nobility and manhood A living dog is better than a dead .


1 14 THE S EA—WOLF

lion s a y I w ith the preacher My only doctrine is the


, .

doctrine of expediency a n d it m a kes for su rviv ing This


, .

bit of the ferment w e c a ll Johnson when he is no longer ‘


,

a bit of the ferment only dust a n d a shes w ill h a v e no


, ,

more nobility than a n y dust and ashes while I sh a ll sti l l ,



be aliv e a n d roa ring .



Do you k no w what I am going to do ? h e q u e s ti o n e d .

I shook my he a d .

Well I am going to exercise my prerogativ e of ro a ring


,


and S how you ho w f a res nobility Watch me . .

Three y a rds a w a y from Johnson he w as a n d sitting ,

do w n Nine feet ! And yet he left the ch a ir in full l e a p


.
,

w ithout fir s t gaining a st a nding position H e left the -


.

ch a ir j ust as he s a t in it squ a rely springing from the


, ,

sitting p osture li k e a w ild animal a tiger a n d like a tiger , ,

covered the intervening space It w a s an av a l a nche of .

fury that Johnson stro v e v ain l y to fend O ff H e thre w one .

arm do w n to protect the stom a ch the other arm up to pro


te e t the he a d ; b u t Wolf Lar s en s fi s t drove mid w ay b e
tween o n the chest w ith a crushing resounding impac t
, , , .

Johnson s bre a th suddenly expe ll ed shot from his mouth


, ,

and as sudden l y chec k ed with the forced a udible expira, ,

tion of a m a n w ielding an axe H e almost fell backwa rd .


,

and sw a yed from side to side in an e ffort to reco v er his


balance .

I cannot gi v e the furthe r p a rticulars of the horrible


scene that fo l lo w ed It w a s too rev olting It turns me
. .

sick e v en no w w hen I think of it J ohnson fought bra v e l y .

enough but he w a s no m a tch for Wolf L a rsen much less


, ,

for Wo l f Larsen a n d the mate It w as frightful I had . .

not im a gined a human being could endure so much a n d


still liv e and struggle on And struggle on Johnson did. .

Of course there w a s no hop e for him not the s l ightest , ,


1 16 T HE S EA- WOLF

man like a sack of rubbish and hove him clear up the com
panion stairs through the narro w doorw a y a n d out on deck
, , .

The b l ood from his nose gushed in a scarlet stream ove r


the feet of the helmsman w ho was none other th a n Louis
, ,

his boat mate But Louis took and gave a spoke and
- .

gazed imperturbably into the binnacle .

Not so w a s the conduct of G eorge Leach the erstw hile ,

cabin boy Fore and aft there w as nothing that could


- .

have surprised us more than hi s consequent behav io r .

H e it was that came up on the poop without orders and


dragged Johnson forward w he r e he set about dressing his
,

w ounds as well as he could and making him comfo rtable .

J ohnson as Johnson was unrecognizable ; and not only


, ,

th a t for his features as human fe a tures at all were u n


, , ,

recognizable s o di scolo r ed and swollen had they become


,

in the few minutes which had elapsed between t he be gin


ning of the beating and the dragging forward of the body .

But of Leach s behavio r ’


By the time I had finished
cle a nsing the c a bin he had taken care of Johnson I had .

come up on d eck for a b r eath of fresh air and to try to


get some repose for my overwrought nerves Wolf Lar .

sen w as smo k ing a cigar and examining the patent log


which the G ho s t usually to w ed astern but which h a d been
hauled in for some purpose Suddenly Le a ch s voice came.

to my ears It w as tense and hoarse w ith an overmaster


.

ing rage I tu rned a n d saw him st a nding j ust beneath the


.

bre a k of the po op on the port side of the g a lley His .

f a ce was convulsed and white his eyes were flashing his , ,

c l enched fists ra ised overhe a d .


May G o d d a mn you r soul to hell Wolf La r sen only , ,

hell s too good for you you coward you murderer you

, , ,

pig w as his opening salut a tion .

I was thunderstruck I look ed fo r his instant a n n ihi


.
H IS FA C E WA S L D
CO N V U S E A ND W H IT E H IS
, E Y ES W E R E FL AS H I N G H IS
,

C LE NCH E D FIS T R AIS E D OV E R H EAD .


I 18 T HE S EA—WO LF

to leap upon the boy and destr oy him But it w as not his .

w him His cig a r w ent out and he continued to gaze


.
,

silently a n d curiously .

Leach had worked himself into an ecstasy of impotent


rage .

Pig ! Pig ! P ig ! he w a s reiterating at the top of his


lungs . Why don t you come do w n and ki l l me you

murderer ? You can do it ! I ain t afraid ! There s no ’ ’

one to stop you ! Damn sight bette r de a d and outa your


reach than a li v e and in your clutches ! Come on you ,

co w ard ! Kill me K ill me Kill me


It w as at this stage that Thomas Mu g r id g e s e rr atic soul ’

brought him into the scene H e had been listening a t the .

g a lley door but he now came out ostensibly to fling some


, ,

scr a ps over the side but Ob v iously to see the killing he w a s


,

cert a in would t a ke pl a ce H e smirk ed gre a sily up into the


.

face of Wolf L a rsen w ho seemed not to see him But the


, .

Cockney w a s un a bashed though mad stark mad H e , , .

turned to Le a ch saying ,


Such l a n g w idg e ! S h o ck in ’

Leach s r a ge w as no longer impotent Here at last w as



.

something re a dy to h a nd And for the first time since the .

st a bbing the Coc k ney had appe a red outside the g a l ley
w ithout his knife The words had b a rely left his m o n t h
.

w hen he w a s knocked down by Le a ch Three time s he .

struggled to his feet striv ing to gam the g a lley and e a ch


, ,

time w a s knocked do w n .

Oh Lord , he cried El p El p Tyke i m .


’ ’

aw

y ,c a r u t yer ? Ty’
k e i m a w
y
’ ’

The hunter s l a ughed from S heer relief Tr a gedy h a d .

dwindled the f a rce h a d begun The sai l ors now crowded


, .

boldly a ft grinning a n d shu ffl ing to w a tch the pummelli ng


, ,

of the hated Coc k ney And even I felt a great j oy surge up


.
T HE S EA WOLF
-
1 19

w ithin me I confess that I delighted in this beating Leach


.

was giving to Thomas Mugridge though it was as terrible , ,

almost a s the one M ugridge had caused to be given to


,

Johnson But the expression of Wolf Larsen s face neve r


.

changed H e did not ch a nge his po s ition either but con


.
,

t i n u e d to g a ze down w ith a great curiosity Fo r a l l his .

pragmatic certitude it seemed as if he watched the pl a y,

and mo v ement of life in the hope of discov ering something


more ab out it of discerning in its maddest w rithings a
,

something w hich had hitherto esc a ped him — the key to its ,

mystery as it w ere w hich would m a ke a l l cle a r and pl a in


, , .

But the beating ! I t w as quite s imilar to the one I had


witnessed in the cabin The Coc k ney strove in vain to .

protect him s elf from the infuriated boy And in vain he .

stro v e to g a in the shelter of the c a bin H e rolled to w ard .

it grovel l ed to w ard it fell toward it when he was knocked


, ,

down But blow follo w ed blow w ith bewildering rapidity


. .

H e was knocked about like a shuttlecock until fin a lly , , ,

like Johnson he w a s be a ten a n d kicked as he l a y help l ess


,

on the deck And no one interfered Le a ch could have


. .

kille d him but having evidently fi l led the measure of his


, ,

vengeance he drew away from h i s prostrate foe who w a s


, ,

whimpering and wailing in a puppyish sort Of way and ,

wal k ed forw a rd .

But these t w o affairs we r e only the opening events of the


day s pro g ramme In the afternoon Smoke and H ender

.

son fell foul of each other and a fusill a de of shots came ,

up f r om the steerage followed by a stampede of the other ,

four hunters fo r the deck A column of thick acrid .


,


smoke the kind alw ays made by black powde r w a s —
a rising through the open companionway and dow n ,

through it le a ped Wolf Larsen The sound of blo w s .

and s cu ffl in g came to our ears Both me n wer e w oun d ed .


,
I 20 T H E SEA - WOLF

and he was th r ashing them both for having disobeyed his


orders and crippled themselves in ad v ance of the hunting
se a son In f a ct they were badly wounded and having
.
, , ,

thrashed them he proceeded to operate upon them in a


,

rough surgic a l fashion and to dress thei r wounds I .

served as assistant while he p r obed and cleansed the


p a ss a ges made by the bullets and I s a w the two men ,

endure his crude surgery without an aesthetics and with no


more to uphold them than a sti ff tumbler of whiskey .

Then in the first dog watch t r ouble came to a head in


,
-
,

the forecastle I t took its rise out of the tittle tattle and
.
-

tale bea ring w hich had been the cause of Johnson s beat
-

ing and from the noise we heard and from the sight of
, ,

the bruised men next day it w as patent that half the ,

forecastle had soundly drubbed the othe r half .

The second dog watch and the d a y were w ound up by


-

a fight betw een J ohansen and the lean Yankee looking ,


-

hunte r Latimer It was caused by remarks of L a t ime r s


, .

concerning the noises made b y the mate in his sleep and ,

though Johansen w as w hipped he kept the steerage aw ak e ,

fo r the r est of the night while he blissfully slumbered and


fought the fight ove r and over again .

As fo r myself I was opp r essed with nightmare The


, .

day had been like some ho rrible dream Bruta l ity ha d .

follo w ed brut a lity and flaming passions and cold blooded


,
-

cruelty had driven men to seek one a nother s lives and to ’

s trive to hurt and m a im and destroy


,
My ne r ves w ere
,
.

shoc k ed My mind itself was shocked All my days had


. .

been passed in comparative ignorance of the animality of


man I n fact I had known li fe only in its intellectual
.
,

phases Brutality I had experienced but it was the brutal


.
,

ity of the intellect — the cutt ing s a rca s m of Charley


Fu ru s e t h the cruel epigra ms a n d occasional harsh w it ti
,
C H A PT E R XI I I

FO R three days I did my o w n w ork and Thomas


Mu g ri d g e s too ; and I flatter myself that I did his work

well I kno w that it won Wolf Larsen s approval while


.

the sailors beamed with satisfaction during the brief time


my r é gime l a sted .

The first clean bite since I come a board Har rison ,

said to me at the g a l ley door as he returned the dinner ,

pots and pans from the forecastle Somehow Tommy s ’

g r ub always t a stes of grease stale gre a se a n d I reckon he , ,

ain t ch a nged his shirt since he left Frisco


’ ’
.


I know he hasn t I answered ’

,
.


And I ll bet he S leeps in it Har rison added

, .


And you won t lose I agreed

The same shirt and
,
.

,

he h a sn t had it o ff once in a l l this time



.

But three days w as all Wolf Larsen allowed him in


which to recover from the effects of the beating On the .

fourth day lame and sore scarcely able to see so closed


, , ,

were his eyes he w as h a led from his bunk by the nape Of


,

the neck and set to his duty H e s n i ffl e d and w ept but .


,

Wolf Larsen was pitiless .

And see that you se rve no mo r e slops w as his parting ,

inj unction . No more grease and di rt mind a n d a cle a n , ,

shirt occasionally o r you l l get a tow ove r the side


,

.

Understand
Thomas Mugridge crawled weakly across the galley
floor and a sho rt lurch of the Ghos t sent him staggering
,
.

I n attempting to recover himself he re a ched for the ir on ,

1 22
TH E SEA- WOLF 1 23

r a iling w hich su rr ounded the stove and kep t the pots from
sliding o ff but he missed the railing and his hand with , ,

his weight behind it landed squar ely on the hot surface, .

There w as a sizzle and Odo r of bu rning flesh and a sharp ,

c ry of pain .

Oh G awd G a w d wot ave I done


, , he w ailed sitting
,

,

do w n in the coal box and nursing his new hu r t by rocking


-

bac k and forth W y as a l l this come on me It myke s


.
’ ’

me fair sick it does an I try so ard to go through life


, ,
’ ’


armless an u rti n nobody
’ ’ ’
.

The tears w ere running do w n his puffed a n d discolo r ed


cheeks and his face w a s drawn with pain A savage
,
.

expression fli tt e d across it .

Oh o w I ate i m ! O w I ate i m he gritted out


,
’ ’ ’ ’ ’ ’
.


Whom ? I asked ; b u t the poor w retch w as weepin g
again ove r his misfortunes Less di fficult it was to gues s .

whom he hated than whom he did n o t hate Fo r I h a d .

come to see a malignant devil in him w hich impelled him


to hate all the world I sometimes thought that he h a te d
.

ev en himself so grotesquely had life dealt with him a n d


, ,

so monstrously At such moments a great sympathy


.

welled up within me and I felt sh a me that I had eve r ,

j oyed in his d i s c o mfit u re or pain Life h a d been unfai r .

to him It had played him a scu rvy tr ick when it fash


.

i o n e d him into the thing he was and it had pl a yed h i m ,

scu rvy tricks ev e r since What chance had he to be any .

thing else than he was ? And as though answering my


unspoken thought he wailed ,


I nev e r a d no chance nor arf a chance ! 0 0 w a s

,
’ ’

there to send me to school or put tommy in my ung ry ,


belly or wipe my bloody nose for me w en I was a kiddy


, ,

O o ever did anything fo r me heh ? 00 I S y


’ ’ ’
, ,

Neve r mind Tommy I said placing a soothing han d
, , ,
1 24 T H E SEA - WOLF

on his shoulder Cheer up It ll a l l come right in the
. .

end You v e long ye a rs before you and you c a n make


.

,

anything you ple a se of yourself .

It s a lie ! a bloody lie ! he shouted in my face flin g


ing Off the hand “


It s a l i e and you know it I m already
.

, .

m y d e a n m y d e out O f le a vin s a n scr a ps I t s a l l right


’ ’ ’ ’

, .

for you Ump You w as born a gentleman You ne v er


,

. .

k new w ot it w a s to go ungry to cry y e rs e l f asleep w ith


yer l ittle belly g n a w in a n gu awin like a rat in s ide yer ’ ’ ’

, .

It car u t co m e right If I was P resident of the United



.

Stytes to morr er o w would it fill my belly for one time


-
,

w en I was a kiddy and it went empty ?


O w could it I S y ? I was born to s u ffe ri n and


“ ’ ’ ’
,

I v e a d more cruel s u ffe ri n than any ten men


’ ’ ’
s o rr e r .
,

I a v e I ve been in o rs pit a l arf my bleedin life I ve



.
’ ’
.

a d t h e fe v e r in Aspinwall in Avana in N e w Orleans


'

-
, , .

I ne a r died of the scurvy and w a s rotten w ith it six months


in B a rb a does Smallpox in On o l u l u t w o broken legs in
.

Sh a nghai pneumonia in U n a l a s k a ~t h re e busted ribs an


, ,

my insides all twisted in Fri s co An ere I am no w ’


.
’ ’
.

Look a t me ! Look at me ! My ri b s kic k ed loose from


my b a c k a gain I ll be coughin blood before eyght be l ls
.
’ ’
.

O w c a n it be m y d e up to me I ar s k ? Oo s goin to do
’ ’ ’ ’
,

it ? G aw d ? O w G a w d must a v e ated me w en e signed


’ ’ ’ ’ ’

me on for a voyage in this b l o o mi n wor l d of is ! ’ ’

This tirade a gainst destiny went on for a n hour or more ,

and then he buckled to his work limping a n d groaning , ,

a n d in his eyes a great hatred for a l l created things His .

diagno s is w a s corre ct ho w ev er for he w a s seized w ith , ,

occasional sicknesses during w hich he v omited b l ood and ,

su ffered gre a t pain And as he s a id it seemed G o d hated .


,

him too much to let him die for he ultim a tely grew bette r ,

and waxed more m a lign a nt th a n e v er .


I 26 T H E S EA - WOLF

But upon me had de v olv ed the task of tending their


wounds and pulling them through and I did my best
, ,

by them .

Wolf Larsen underwent another bad attack of head


ache which lasted t w o days H e must have su ffered .

severely for he called me in and obeyed my commands


, ,

like a sick child But nothing I could do seemed to relieve


.

hi m .At my suggestion howeve r he gave up smoking , ,

and drinking ; tho u gh why such a magnificent animal as


he should have headaches at all puzzles me .


Tis the hand of G o d I m tellin you is the w ay Louis

,
’ ’

sees it Tis a visitation for his black hearted deeds and


.

-
,

there s more behind and comin o r else


’ ’

,

O r else I prompted ,
.

G o d is noddin and not doin his duty though it s me


’ ’ ’
,

as shouldn t say it ’
.

I was mistaken when I said that I was in the good


g r aces of all Not only does Thom a s Mugridge continue
.

to hate me but he has discovered a new reason for hating


,

me It took me no little while to puzzle it out but I


.
,

finally discovered that it was because I w as more luckily



born than he ge n tleman born he put it , .


And still no more dead men I twitted Louis w hen , ,

Smoke and H enderson side by side in f riendly conversa , ,

tion took thei r first exercise on deck


,
.

Louis surveyed me w ith his shrewd g ray eyes and shook


his head portentously She s a comin I tell you and .

-

, ,

it ll be sheets and halyards stand by all hands w hen she


, ,

begins to howl I ve had the feel iv it this long time and


.

,

I ca n feel it now a s plainly as I feel the r igging iv a dar k



night She s close S he s close
.

,

.


Who goes first ? I queried .

Not old fat Louis I promise you he laughed Fo r , , .


T HE S EA- WOLF 1 27


tis in the bones iv me I know that come this time next
year I ll be gazin in the old mother s eyes weary with
’ ’ ’

,

w a t c hi n iv the sea fo r the five sons she gav e to it

.



Wot s e been s yi n to yer ?
’ ’ ’ ’
Thomas Mug ridge
demanded a moment later .


That he s g o mg home some day to see his mother I

answ ered diplomatically


I neve r a d none was the Cockney s comment as he

,

gazed with lust r eless hopeless eyes into mine


, .
C H A PT E R X IV

IT has dawned upon me that I have never placed a


proper valuation upon w omankind Fo r that matter though .
,

not amative to any considerable degree so far a s I have


discovered I was never outside the atmosphere of w omen
,

until no w My mother and sisters were al w a ys about me


.
,

and I w a s alw ays t rying to escape them for they worried


me to di s traction with their solicitude for my health and
with their periodic inroads on my den when my orderly ,

confusion upon which I p rided myself w as turned into


, ,

worse confusion and less order though it looked neat ,

enough to the eye I never could find anything w hen


.

they had dep a rted But now alas ho w welc o me would


.
, ,

have been the feel of thei r p r esence the frou frou and ,
-

swish sw ish of thei r S kir ts w hich I had so cordially


-

detested ! I am sure if I ever get home that I shall


, ,

nev er be irritable with them again They may dose me .

and doctor me morning noon and night a n d dust and


, , ,

s w eep and put my den to rights every minute of the day ,

and I shall only lean back and sur v ey it a l l and be thank


ful in that I am possessed of a mothe r and some several
sisters .

All of w hich has set me w onde ring Where are the .

mothe r s of these twenty and odd men on the G h os t ? It


st rikes me as unnatur a l and unhe a lthful that men should
be totally separated from women and herd through the
wo r ld by themselves Co a rseness and s a v agery are the
.

inevitable results .These men about me should have


I 28
1 30 T HE S EA—
WOLF

eighty three Ten year s ago Fr om some little po r t in


- . .

M a dagasca r I w as trading . .


You see he went on as though addressing his neg
, ,

l e c t e d mother across half the gi rth of the earth “


each ,

year I w as going home So what was the good to w rite ? .

It w as only a yea r And each yea r something happened .


,

and I did not go But I am mate now and when I pay .


, ,

o ff at Frisco maybe with fiv e hundred dollars I will ship


, ,

myself on a w ind j ammer round the H orn to Liv erpool -


,

which will give me more money ; and then I will pay my


passage from there home Then Sh e will not do any mo r e .

work .

But does she work ? now ? H ow old is she ?



About seventy he answered And then boastingly , .
, ,

We work from the time w e are born until we die in my ,

country Th a t s why we live so long I will live to a


.

.

hundred .

I shall never forget this conve r sation The wo rds w ere .

the last I e v er heard him utte r P erhaps they were the .

last he did utter too Fo r going down into the cabin to


, .
,

turn in I decided that it w as too stuffy to sleep below It


, .

w as a calm night We were out of the Trades and the .


,

Gh o s t w as forging ahead barely a knot an hou r So I .

tucked a blanket and pillow unde r my arm and went up


on deck .

As I passed between Ha rrison and the binnacle which ,

was built into the top of the c a bin I noticed that he was ,

this time fully three points o ff T h inking th a t he w a s .

asleep and wishing him to escape r eprimand o r w orse I


, ,

spoke to him But he was not asleep His eyes w ere wide
. .

and staring He seemed greatly pe rturbed unable to


.
,

r eply to me .

Wh at s the matter ? I asked


’ “
A r e you sick ? .
THE S EA WOLF -
1 31

H e shook his head and with a deep sigh as of awaken, ,


.

ing caught his breath


,
.

You d better get on you r course then I chided


H e put a few spokes over and I watched the co m


.
, ,

pass ,

card swing slowly to N N W and steady itself with slight


oscillations .

I took a fresh hold on my bedclothes and w as p r epa ring


to start on w hen some movement caught my eye and I
,

looked astern to the rail A sinewy hand dripping with .


,

w ater was clutching the r ail A second hand took fo r m


,
.

in the darkness beside it I watched fascinated What .


, .

visitant from the gloom of the deep was I to behold ?


Wh a te v er it was I kne w t h a t ~i t was climbing aboar d by
,

the log line I s a w a head the hair wet and str aight
-
.
, ,

shape itself and then the unmistakable eyes and face of


,

Wolf Larsen His right cheek was red with blood which
. .

flowed from some wound in the head .

H e drew himself inboard with a quick e ffo rt and arose ,

to his feet glancing swiftly as he did so at the man at


, , ,

the wheel as though to assur e himself of his identity


,

and that there was nothing to fear from him The sea .

water was stre a ming from him It made little audible .

gurgles w hich distracted me As he stepped towa r d me I .

shrank bac k instinctively fo r I saw that in his eyes which ,

spelled death .

All right Hump he said in a low voice


, , Whe r e s .


the m ate ?
I shook my head .

Johansen he called softly J ohansen ! .


Whe r e is he ? he demanded of H ar rison .

The young fellow seemed to have r ecovered his co m


p o s u re for he
,
a nswered steadily enough “
I don t know ,

,

sir I saw him go fo r a rd a little while ago


.

.
1 32 THE S EA—WOLF

So did I go fo r a r d But you will obse rve that I ’


.


didn t come b a ck the way I went C a n you explain it ?

.


You mu s t hav e been overboard sir , .


Shall I look for him in the steerage sir ? I asked , .

Wo l f Larsen shook his head You wouldn t find him ’

H ump But you ll do Come on


. Nev er mind your

. .


bedding Leave it where it is
. .

I followed at his heels There was nothin g stirring .

amidships .

Those cursed hunters was his comment , .


damned fat and lazy to stand a four hour watch - .

But on the forec a stle head we found three s ai lors asleep -


.

H e turned them over and looked at their fa ces They .

composed the watch on deck and it was the ship s custom ,


in good weather to let the w atch sleep with the exception


,

of the o ffi cer the helmsman and the look out


, ,
-
.

Who s look out ’


he dem a nded - .


Me sir ans w ered Holyo a k one of the deep water
, , ,
-

sailors a slight tr emor in his voice


,
I winked o ff j ust this .


very minute Si r I m sorry sir It w on t happen ag ai n
, .

, .

.


Did you he a r or see anything on deck ?
No sir I , ,

But Wolf L a rsen had turned away w ith a sno r t of dis


gust leav ing the sailor rubbing his eyes w ith surprise at
,

having been let o ff so easily .



Softly now Wolf Larsen warned me in a whisper
, , ,

as he doubled his body int o the forecastle scutt l e and


prepared to descend .

I follo w ed with a quaking hea rt What was to h a ppen .

I knew no more th a n did I know wh a t had happened .

But blood had been shed and it was through no whim Of ,

Wo l f Larsen that he h a d gone over the S ide with his scalp


laid open Besides Joh a nsen was missing
.
,
.
1 34 T HE S EA WOLF
-

handed it to me He began at the first bunks forw ard on


.

the starboard side In the top one l a v O o fty O o ft y a


.
-
,

Kanaka and splendid seaman so n a med by h is m a tes ,


H e was asleep on his back and bre a thing a s pl a cidly as a


woman One arm was under his head the other lay on
.
,

t op of the blankets Wo l f Larsen put thumb and fore .

fi nger to the w rist and counted the pulse In the midst .

of it the Kanaka r oused H e aw oke as gent l y as he s lept . .

There w as no mo v ement of the body whate v er The eyes .


,

only moved They flashed w ide open big a n d black and


, .
, ,

stared unblinking into ou r faces Wo l f Larsen put his


, , .

finge r to his lips as a S ign fo r silence and the eyes closed ,

again .

In the lowe r bunk lay Louis grossly fat and w arm and ,

s w eaty asleep unfeignedly and sleeping l a boriously


, .

While Wolf Larsen held his w rist he stirred uneasily ,

bowing his body so that fo r a moment it rested on shoul


de r s and heels His lips moved and he gave voice to this
.
,

enigmatic utterance
A shilling s worth a qua rter ; but keep you r lamps out

for thruppenny bits or the p ub li ca n s l l S hove em on you


,
’ ’


fo r Sixpence .

Then he r olled over on his side with a heavy sobbing ,

sigh saying
,

A Sixpence is a tanne r and a shilling a bob but what ,



a pony is I don t know ’
.

Satisfied w ith the honesty of his and the Kanaka s ’

sleep Wolf Larsen passed on to the next tw o bunks on


,

the starboard side occupied top a n d bottom a s we saw in


, ,

the light of the sea lamp by Leach and Johnson -


,
.

As Wo l f Larsen bent do w n to the lower b unk to t a ke


Johnson s pulse I standing erect and holding the lamp

, , ,

saw Leach s head r aise stealthily as he peered over the



TH E S EA—WOLF 1 35

sid e of his bunk to see what w a s going on H e must have .

divined Wolf Larsen s tr ick and the sureness of detection


for the light was at once dashed from my hand and the
forecastle left in darkness H e must have leaped also at .
, ,

the same instant straight do w n on Wolf Lar sen


, .

The fi r st sounds were those of a conflict betw een a bull


and a wolf I hear d a great infu riated bellow go up from
.

Wolf Larsen and from Leach a snarling th a t was desper


,

ate and blood curdling Johnson must have j oined him


- .

immediately so that his abj ect and grovelling c onduct on


,

deck fo r the past few days had been no more than planned
deception .

I was so te rr o r st ricken by this fight in the da r k that I


-

leaned against the ladder t r embling and unable to ascend ,


.

And upon me was that old sickness at the pit of the stom
a c h caused always by the spectacle of physical violence
, .

I n this instance I could not see but I could hea r the impact ,


of the blows the soft c rushing sound made by flesh strik
ing forcibly against flesh Then there was the cr a shing .

about of the entwined bodies the labored breathing the , ,

short quick gasp s of sudden pain


, .

The r e must have been mo r e men in the conspi r acy to


murde r the captain and mate fo r by the sounds I knew ,

that Leach and J ohnson had been quickly r einfo r ced by


some of thei r mates .

G e t a knife somebody ! Leach was shouting


, .

P ound him on the head ! Mash his b r ains out ! was


J ohnson s c ry

.

But after his first bellow Wolf Lar sen made no noise , .

H e was fighting grimly and silently fo r life H e was .

sore beset Do w n a t the very fi r st he had been unable


.
,

to gain his feet and for all of his tremendous st rengt h I


,

felt that there was no hope fo r him .


1 36 THE S EA WO LF -

The fo r ce with which they struggled was vividly i m


p r essed o u me ; for I w as knocked do w n by their surging
bodies and badly bruised But in the confusion I managed
.

to c rawl into an empty lower bunk out of the way .


All hands ! We ve got him ! We ve got him ! I
’ ’

could hear Leach crying .


Who ? demanded those who had been r eally asl e ep ,

and w ho had wakened to they k n ew not w hat .


It s the bloody mate ! was Leach s c rafty answe r
’ ’

str ai ned fr o m him in a smothered sort of way .

This was g r eeted with w hoops of j oy and from then on ,

Wolf Larsen had seven strong men on top of him Louis , ,

I believe taking no part in it The foreca stle was like an


, .

angr y hive of bees ar oused by some marauder .

What ho ! below the r e ! I hear d Latimer shout down


the scuttle too cauti ous to descend into the inferno of pas
,

S ion he could hear r aging beneath him in the darkness .


Won t somebody get a knife ? Oh won t somebody

,


get a knife ? Leach pleaded in the fi r st interval of co m
r a t iv e silence
p a .

The number of the assailants was a cause of confusion .

They blocked thei r o w n e ffo rts while Wolf Larsen with , ,

but a single pu rpose achieved his This was to fight his


,
.

w a
y across the floo r to the ladde r Though in total dark .

ness I followed his progr ess by its sound N O man less


,
.

than a giant could have done what he did once he had ,

ga ined the foot of the ladder Step by step by the might .


,

of his arms the whole pack of men stri v i ng to d rag him


,

back and do w n he drew his body up from the floo r till


,
.

'

he stood erect And then step by step hand and foot he


.
, , ,

slowly st ruggled up the ladde r .

The very last of all I saw Fo r Latimer having finally


, .
,

gone fo r a lante rn held it so that its light shone down the


,
C H A P T E R XV

T H E RE was a deal of cursing and groaning as the men at


the bottom of the ladde r crawled to their feet .


Somebody strike a light my thumb s out of j oint ,

said one of the men Pa rsons a swarthy satu rnine man


, , , ,

bo a t steerer in Standish s boat in w hich H arrison w as


-

pulle r .

You ll find it knockin about by the bitts Leach s a id


’ ’

, ,

sitting down on the edge of the bunk in which I w as


concealed .

There w as a fumbling and a scratching of m a tches and ,

the sea lamp flared up dim and smo k y and in its w eird
-
, ,

light bare legged men moved about nursing their b ru l s e s


-
,

and caring for their hurts O o fty O o ft y laid hold of P ar


.
-

sous s thu mb pulli ng it out stoutly and sn a pping it b a ck



,

into place I noticed at the same time that the Kanaka s


.

knuckles were laid open clear across and to the bone H e .

exhibited them exposing beautiful white teeth in a grin as


,

he did so and explaining that the wounds had come from


striking Wolf Larsen in the mouth .

S O it was you was it you black begga r ? belli gerently


, ,

demanded one Kelly an Irish-American and a longshore


, ,

man making his first trip to sea and boat-puller for


, ,

Ke rfoot .

As he made the demand he spat out a mouthful of blood


and teeth and shoved his pugnacious face close to Oo fty
O o ft y. The Kanaka leaped backw ard to his bunk to ,

r etu rn with a second leap flourishing a long kni fe


,
.

I 38
T HE S EA- WOLF 1 39

Aw go lay down you make me tired Leach inte r


, , ,

fe r e d
. H e was evidently for all of his youth and in e x
,

p e ri e n c e cock ,of the forecastle G w an you Kelly .


, .

You le a ve O o ft y alone H ow in hell did he know it was


.

you in the dark


Kelly subsided with some mutte ring and the Kanaka ,

flashed his white teeth in a grateful smile H e was a .

beautiful creature almost feminine in the pleasing lines


,

of his fi gure and there was a softness and d reaminess in


,

his l a rge eyes w hich seemed to contradict his well earned -

r eput a tion for strife and action .


How did he get a w ay ? Johnson asked .

H e w as sitting on the S ide of his bunk the whole pose ,

of his fig u re indicating utte r dej ection and hopelessness .

He was still breathing heavily from the exertion he had


m a de His shirt had been ripped entirely from him in the
.

struggle a n d blood from a gash in the c h e ck was flowing


,

do w n his naked chest marking a red path ac r oss his white


,

thigh and dripping to the floor .

'

Because he is the devil as I told you befo r e was , ,

Leach s answer ; and thereat he was on his feet and rag


ing his disappointment with tears in his eyes .


And not one of you to get a knife ! was his unceasing
lament .

But the rest of the hands had a lively fea r of co n s e


q u e n ce s to come and gave no heed to him .


H o w l l he know which w as w hich ? Kelly asked and

a s he went on he looked murde r ously about him unless



one of us peaches .


He ll kno w as soon as eve r he claps eyes on us

,

P arsons r eplied One look at you d be enough
.

.


Tell him the deck flopped up and gouged ye r teeth

out iv yer j aw Louis grinned H e was the only man
, .
1 40 T HE S EA WOLF -

who w as not out of his bun k and he was j ubilant in that ,

he possessed no bruises to advertise that he h a d had a


hand in the night s work Just wait till he gets a glimpse

.


iv yer mugs to morrow the gang i v ye he chuckled
-
, , .


We ll say w e thought it w as the mate said one

, .

And another I know what I ll say — that I h e e re d a



,

r ow j umped out of my bunk got a j olly good crack on


, ,

the j aw for my pains, and s ai led in myself Cou l dn t tell .



who o r what it was in the dark and j ust hit out .



A n t w as me you hit of course Kelly seconded his
’ ’
, , ,

face b rightening for the moment .

Leach and J ohnson took no pa rt in the discussion and ,

it was plain to see that thei r mates looked upon them as


-

men fo r whom the worst was inevitable who we r e beyond ,

hope and already dead Leach stood their fears and t e .

ro a c h e s for some time Then he broke out


p .


You m a ke me tir ed ! A nice lot of g a z a b a s you a r e !
I f you t a lked less with ye r mouth and did something with
yer hands he d a ben done with by now Why couldn t
,

- .

one of you j ust one of you get me a knife when I sung


, ,

out ? You make me sick ! A -b e e fin and bell o rin round ’ ’ ’


,

as though he d kill you when he gets you ! You know


damn w ell he won t Can t a fford to No shipping mas ’


.

.

t ers o f beach combe r s ove r here and he wants yer in his ,

b usiness and he wants yer bad Who s to pull o r steer or ’


.
,

sail ship if he loses ye r ? It s me and Johnson hav e to ’

face the music G e t into ye r bunks no w and shut yer


.
, ,

faces ; I want to get some sleep .


That s all right all right P arsons spoke up

Mebbe ,
.

he won t do fo r us but ma r k my wo rds h e l l l l be an i ce



, ,


box to this s hip f r om no w on .

All the while I had been apprehensive concernin g my


o w n predicament What would happen to me when thes e
.
1 42 THE S EA—WOLF

waiting for me H e greeted me with one of his whimsical


.

smiles .

Come get to w ork Docto r The signs are favorable


, , .

fo r an extensive practice this voya ge I don t k now what .


the Gh os t would have been without you a n d if I could ,

o nly che r ish such noble sentiments I would tell you her

master is deeply grateful .

!
I knew the run of the simple medicine -chest the Gho s t
car ried and while I was heating wate r on the cabin stove
,

and getting the things ready for dressing his wounds he ,

moved about laughing and chatting and examining his


, ,

hurts with a calculating eye I had never before seen .

hi m stripped and the sight of his body quite took my


,

breath aw ay It has never been my w eakness to ex a lt the


.

flesh —far from it ; but there is enough of the artist in me


to appreci a te its w onder .

I must s a y that I was fascinated by the p e rfect lines of


Wolf Larsen s figure and by w hat I may term the terrible

beauty of it I had noted the men in the forecastle P o w e r


. .

fully muscled though some of them were there had been ,

something w rong w ith all of them an insu ffi cient develop ,

ment here an undue development there a tw ist or a crook


, ,

that destroyed symmetry legs too sho rt or too long o r too , ,

much sinew o r bone exposed o r too little O o fty O o ft y , .


-

had been the only one whose lines were at all pleasing ,

while in so fa r as they pleased that fa r had they been


, ,

what I should call feminine .

But Wolf Larsen was the man type the masculine and -
, ,

almost a god in his perfectness As he mo v ed a bout o r .

raised his arms the gr eat muscles leapt and moved under
the satiny S kin I hav e forgotten to say that the bronze
.

ended with his face His body thanks to his Sc a ndinavian


.
,

stock was fair as the fairest woman s I r emembe r his


,

.
T HE S EA WOLF
- 1 43

putting his hand up to feel of the wound on his head and ,

my watching the biceps move like a li v ing thing under its


white sheath It was the biceps that had nearly crushed
.

out my life once that I had seen strike so many kil l ing
,

blows I could not take my eyes from him I stood


. .

motionless a roll of antiseptic cotton in my hand unwind


,

ing and S pilling itse l f down to the floor .

H e noticed me and I became conscious that I was,

staring at him .

G o d made you well I said , .


Did he ? he answered “
I have often thought so
myself and wonde r ed w hy
, .

P urpose I began .


Utility he inte rr upted
,

This body was made fo r .

use These muscles were made to gr ip and tear and


.
, ,

destroy living things that get between me and life But .

have you thought of the othe r living things ? They too , ,

have muscles of one kind and another made to gr ip and


, , ,

tea r and destroy ; and when they come betw een me and
,

life I outg rip them outtea r them o ut d e s t roy them


, , , .


P urpose does not explain that Utility does . .


I t is not beautiful I protested ,
.


Life isn t you mean he smiled

, Yet you say I was
, .


made well Do you see this ?
.

H e braced his legs and feet p ressing the cabin floo r ,

with his toes in a clutching so rt of way K nots and .

ridges and mounds of muscles w rithed and bunched


under the skin .

Feel them he commanded



, .

They were hard as iron And I obse rved also that his .
, ,

whole body had unconsciously drawn itself together tense ,

and alert ; that muscles were softly crawling and shaping


about the hips along the back and ac ross the shoulde r s ;
, ,
1 44 T HE SEA—
WOLF

that the arms were slightly lifted their muscles contr acting , ,

the fingers crooking till the hands w ere li ke talons ; and


that even the eyes had changed exp r ession and into them
we re coming watchfulness and measurement and a light
none other than of battle .

Stability equilib rium he said r elaxing on the instant


, , ,

and sinking his body back into r epose Feet w ith which .

to clutch the ground legs to stand on and to help with ,

stand w hile with arms and hands teeth and nails I


, , ,

s tr uggle to kill and to be not kil led P ur pose ? Utili ty .


is the better word .

I did not argue I had seen the mechanism of the .

p rimitive fighting beast and I was as str ongly impressed ,

as if I h a d se e n the engines of a great battleship or ‘

Atlantic line r .

I was surp rised conside ring the fie r ce st ruggle in the


,

fo r ecastle at the s u p e rfi cia l i ty of his hu rts and I p ride


, ,

myself that I d r essed them dexter ously With the e xce p .

tion of several bad wounds the rest were merely severe ,

b ruises and l acerations The blo w which he had received .

befo r e going overboard had laid his scalp Open sever al


inches This unde r his direction I cleansed and sewed
.
, ,

togethe r hav ing first Shaved the edges of the wound


,
.

Then the calf of his leg was badly lacerated and looked
as though it had been mangled by a bulldog Some .

sailor he told me had laid hold of it by his teeth at the


, , ,

beginning of the fight and hung on and been dragged to ,

the top of the forecastle ladder when he was kicked loose ,


.


By the way Hump as I have remar ked you are a
, , ,


handy man Wolf L a rsen began when my w ork was done
, ,
.

A S you know we re short a mate H ereafte r you shall


, .

stand watches receive seventy fiv e doll a rs pe r month and


,
-
,

be addressed fore and aft as Mr V a n Weyden . .
C H A P T E R XV I

I CAN N OT say that the position of mate ca rried with it


anything more j oyful than that the r e w e r e no mo r e di s hes
to wash I was ignorant of the S implest duties of mate
.
,

and would have fared badly indeed had the sailors not
sympathized wi t h me I knew nothing of the minuti ae of
.

ropes and rigging of the trimming and setting of sails ;


but the sailors took pains to put me to rights —Louis
,

proving an especially good teache r and I had little ,


-

t r ouble with those under me .

With the hunters it w a s otherwise Familia r in va rying .

degr ee with the sea they took me as a sort of j oke In


, .

truth it was a j oke to me th a t I the veriest landsman


, , , ,

should be filling the offi ce of mate ; but to be taken as


a j oke by others w as a di fferent matter I made no com .

plaint but Wolf Larsen dem a nded the most punctili ous
,

sea etiquet e in my case


t — far more than poor J ohansen
,

had eve r received ; and at the expense of sev eral rows ,

threats and much grumbling he brought the hunters to


, ,

time I was Mr Van Weyden fore and aft and it was


. .
,

only uno ffi cially that Wolf Larsen himself ever addressed


me as Hump .

It was amusing P e rhaps the wind would haul a few


.

points while we were at dinner a n d as I left the table he ,

would say Mr Van Weyden will you kindly put about


, .
,

on the po rt t a ck And I would go on deck bec k on Louis


.
,

to me and lear n from him what w a s to be done Then a


, .
,

few minutes later having digested his instr uctions and


,

146
TH E S EA - WOLF 1 47

tho r oughly maste r ed the manoeuvre I would p r oceed to ,

issue my orders I remember an ea r ly instance of this


.

kind w hen Wolf L a rsen appeared on the scene j ust a s I


,

had begun to give orders H e smoked his cigar and looked .

on quietly till the thing was accomplished and then paced ,

aft by my side along the weather poop .


Hump he said I beg pardon M r Van Weyden
, ,

, . .

I congratulate you I think you ca n now fire your f a ther s


.

legs back into the grave to him You ve discovered you r .


Ow n and learned to stand on them A little rope w ork .


-
,

sail making a n d experience with storms and such things


-
, ,

and by the end of the voyage you could ship on any coast

ing schooner .

It was during this pe riod between the death of J ohansen ,

and the arrival on the sealing grounds that I passed my ,

pleasantest hours on the Gh os t Wolf Larsen was quite .

considerate the sailors helped me and I w as no longe r in


, ,

i rritating contact with Thomas Mugridge And I make .

free to say as the days went by that I found I was taking


, ,

a ce rtain secret pride in myself Fantastic as the situation .

was —a landlubber second in command


,
I w as neve r , ,

t h e l e s s ca rrying it off well ; and during that brief ti me I


,

was proud of myself and I grew to lov e the heave and r oll
,

of the G hos t unde r my feet as she w a llowed north and


west through the tr opic sea to the islet whe r e we filled ou r
water casks - .

But my happiness was not unalloyed It w as compara .


'

tive a period of less misery slipped in between a past of


,

gr eat miseries a n d a future of great miseries Fo r the .

G ho s t so far as the seamen w ere concerned was a h ell ship


, ,
-

of t h e worse de s cription They ne v er h a d a moment s .


rest or peace Wolf Larsen treasured against them the


.

attempt on his life a n d the drubbing he had received in


1 48 T HE S EA—WOLF

the forecastle ; and morning noon and night and all night
, , ,

as well he devoted himself to making life un l ivable fo r


,

them .

H e k new well the psychology of the little thing and it ,

w as the little things by which he kept the c rew worked up


to the verge of madness I have seen H a r rison c a lled
.

from his bunk to put properly a w ay a misplaced paint


bru s h and the two watches below b a l e d from t h e ir t i re d
,

sleep to accompany him and see him do it A little thing .


,

tr uly but when multiplied by the thousand ingenious de


,

vices of such a mind the mental state of the men in the


,

forecastle may be slightly comprehended .

Of cour se much g r umbling went on and little outbursts ,

were continually occur ring Blows were struck and there


.
,

were always tw o or three men nu r sing inj u ries at the h a nds


of the human beast who was their master Conce rted a o .

tion was impossible in face of the heavy arsenal of weapons


carried in the steerage and cabin Leach and J ohnson .

were the two p a rticula r victi ms of Wolf L a rsen s diabolic ’

temper and the look of profound mel a ncholy w hich had


,

settled on J ohnson s face and in his eyes made my hea rt


bleed .

With Leach it was di fferent There was too much of the .

fi ghtin g beast in him H e seemed possessed by an i n s a ti


.

a ble fury which gave no time fo r grief His lip s had h e .

come distorted into a permanent snarl which at mere , ,

sight of Wolf Larsen broke out in sound hor rible and


, ,

men a cing and I do believe unconsciously I have seen


, , , .

him follo w Wolf Lar sen about with his eyes like an ani ,

mal its keeper the while t h e animal like snarl sounded


,
-

deep in h is th r oat and vi brated fo rth between his teeth .

I r emembe r once on deck in bright day touching him


, , ,

on the shoulde r as p r elimina ry to giving a n order H is '


.
1 50 T HE S EA WOLF -

It gi v es a th rill to life he explained to me when , ,

li fe is carri ed in one s h a nd Man is a natural gambler



.
,

and life is the biggest stake he c a n l a y The greater the .

odds the greater the th rill Why should I deny myself


,
.

the j oy of exciting Leach s soul to fever pitch ? Fo r that ’


-

m a tter I do him a kindness The gre a tness of sensati on


, .

is mutual He is living mo r e royally than a n y man fo r a rd


.

though he does not know it Fo r he has what they hav e .

not pu r pose something to do and be done an all absorb


, ,
-

ing end to striv e to attain the desire to kill me the hope , ,

that he ma y kill me R e a lly H ump he is living deep and


.
, ,

high I doubt th a t he has ever lived so swiftly and keenly


.

befo r e and I honestly en v y him sometimes when I see


, , ,


him raging at the summit of passion and sensibi l ity .



Ah but it is co w ardly co w ardly ! I cried
,

You , .


have all the a d v antage .


Of the t w o of us you and I who is the gr eate r co w
, ,

ard ? he asked seriously “


If the situation is unple a sing
.
,

you compromise with you r conscience when you m a ke


yourse l f a party to it If you were re a lly great really
.
,

true to yourself you would j oin forces with Leach a n d


,

J ohnson But you are afraid you are afraid You want
.
, .

to live The life that is in you cries out th a t it must liv e


.
,

no matte r w hat the cost ; so you li v e ignominiously untrue ,

to the best you dream of sinning against your whole pitiful,

little code and if there were a hell he a ding you r soul


, , ,

stra ight for it Bah ! I pl a y the bra ver pa rt I do no sin


. .
,

for I am true to the promptings of the life that is in me .

I am sincere with my soul at least and that is w hat you ,



are not .

There was a sting in what he said P erh a ps afte r a l l .


, ,

I w a s playing a cow a rdly pa rt And the more I thought .

about it the mo r e it appeared that my duty to m y self l a y


T HE S EA- WOLF 151

in doing w hat he had advised lay in j oining forces with ,

Johnson a n d Leach and working for his death R ight .

here I think entered the austere conscience of my P uritan


, ,

ancestr y impelling me towa r d lurid d eeds and s a nctioning


,

even murde r as right conduct I dwelt upon the idea It . .

w ould be a most moral act to rid the world of such a


monster Humanity would be better and happie r for it
.
,

life fairer and s weeter .

I pondered it long lying S leepless in my bunk and r e ,

view ing in endless procession the facts of the situ a tion .

I talked w ith Johnson and Leach during the night w atches ,

when Wolf Larsen w as belo w Both men had lost hope .


,

— Johnson because of temperamental despondency ; Leach


, ,

because he had beaten himself out in the vain struggle and


was exhausted But he caught my hand in a passionate .

g ri p one night saying : ,

I think yer squa r e Mr Van Weyden But stay where , . .

you are and keep yer mouth shut Say nothin but s a w .

wood We re dead men I kno w it ; but a l l the S ame you


.

might be able to do us a favo r some time when we need it



d a mn bad .

It was only next day when Wa inw r ight Island loomed to ,

wind w ard close abeam that Wolf Larsen opened his mouth
, ,

in p r ophecy H e had attacked Johnson been att a cked by


.
,

Leach and had j ust finished whipping the pai r of them


, .



Leach he said you know I m going to kill you
, ,
“ ’


some time o r other don t you ? ,

A snarl was the answer .


And as for you Johnson you ll get so tired of life , ,

before I m through with you that you ll fling you r self ove r
’ ’


the S ide See if you don t
.

.



That s a suggestion he a dded in an aside to me

, , .

“ ’
I ll bet you a month s pay he acts upon it ’
.
!
1 52 T HE S EA-WOLF

I had C herished a hope that his victims would find an


opportunity to escape while filling our w a ter barrels but -
,

Wolf L a rsen had selected his spot well The Gh os t lay .

half a mile beyond the surf line of a lonely beach H ere -


.

debouched a deep gorge w ith precipitous volc a nic walls


, ,

w hich no man could scale And here under his direct



.
,

supe rvision , fo r he w ent ashore himself —Leach and ,

J ohnson filled the small casks and rolled them do w n to the


beach They had no C hance to make a break fo r liberty in
.

one of the boats .

H a rrison and Kelly however made such an attempt


, , .

They composed one of the boat s cre w s and their task was ’

to ply between the schoone r and the sho r e ca rr ying a ,

single cask each trip J ust before dinner sta rting fo r th e


.
,

beach w ith an empty barrel they altered thei r course and ,

bo r e a w ay to the left to round the promontory w hich j utted


into the sea between them and liberty Beyond its foam .

ing base lay the pretty villages of the J apanese colonists ,

and smiling valleys w hich penetrated deep into the interior .

Once in the f a stnesses they promised and the t w o men ,

could defy Wolf Larsen .

I had observed H e n derson and Smoke loite ring about


the deck all morning and I now learned w hy they w e r e
,

there Pr ocuring their rifles they opened fire in a leisurely


.
,

manne r upon the dese r ters It w as a cold blooded ex .


-

h ib i t i o n of marksmanship At first their bullets zipped


.

h a rmlessly along the surface of the w ater on either side


the boat ; but as the men continued to pull lustily they
, ,

struck closer and C lose r .


Now watch me take Kelly s right oa r S moke said ’
, ,

drawing a mo r e careful aim .

I w as looking through the glasses and I s a w the oa r ,

blade shatter as he shot H enderson duplicated it select


.
,
!
1 54 TH E S EA WOLF -


the things I done and and j ust tell him G o d bless him
, ,


for me .

I nodded my head but said We ll all w in back to San


, ,

Francisco Leach and you ll be with me when I go to see


M a tt Mc C a rt hy .


I d like to believe you he ans w ered shaking my

, ,

h a nd but I can t Wolf L a r s e n l l do for me I know it ;


,
“ ’
.

,

and all I can hope is he ll do it quick ’
.

And as he left me I was aware of the same des ire at my


heart Since it was to be done let it be done with de
.
,

s pa t c h The general gloom had gathered me into its folds


. .

The worst appeared inevitable ; and as I paced the deck ,

hou r after hour I found myself a ffl icted with Wolf Lar


,

sen s repulsive ideas What w as it a l l about ? Where w as



.

the grandeu r of li fe that it should permit such wanton


destruction of human souls ? It w as a C heap and sordid
thing a fter all this life and the sooner o v e r the better
, , .

Over and done with ! I too leaned upon the rail and , ,

gazed longingly into the sea with the certainty that soone r ,

or later I should be sin k ing do w n down through the , ,

cool green depths of its oblivion .


C H A PT E R XV I I

S T R AN G E to say in spite of the general foreboding noth


, ,
~

( n g of especial moment happened on the Gh os t We r an .

on to the north and west till w e raised the co a st of J a pan


and picked up with the great seal herd Coming from no .

man knew where in the illimitable P a cific it was travelling ,

north on its annu a l migration to the rookeries of Bering


Sea And north we travelled w ith it rav a ging and destroy
.
,

ing flinging the n a ked carcasses to the S hark and salting


,

do w n the skins so that they might later a dorn the fai r


shoulde r s of the women of the C ities .

It w as wanton slaughter and a l l fo r w oman s sake N O


,

.

man ate of the seal meat or the Oi l Afte r a good day s .


ki l ling I have seen our decks covered with hides and


bodies sli ppe ry with fat and blood the scuppers r unning
, ,

r ed ; masts ropes a n d r ails spattered with the S anguinary


, ,

color ; and the men like butchers plying their tra de naked
, ,

and red of arm and h and ha r d at work with ripping and


,

fle n s i n g knives removing the skins from the p r etty sea


-
,

creatures they had killed .

It w a s my task to tally the pelts as they came aboa r d


from the bo a ts to ove r see the skinning and afterward the
,

C leansing of the decks and b ringing things shipshape


again . It was not pleasant work My soul and my .

stomach r evolted at it ; and yet in a w ay this handling, ,

and directing of many men w as good for me It devel .

oped what little executi v e ability I possessed and I was ,

awar e of a toughening or hardening which I was unde r


I SS
1 56 T HE S EA WOLF
-

going and which could not be anything but wholesome fo r


Si s sy V a n Weyden .

One thing I w as beginning to feel and that w a s th a t I ,

could nev er a gain be quite the same man I had been .

While my hope a n d faith in hum a n life still survi v ed Wolf


Larsen s destructiv e criticism he had neverthele s s been a

cause of C hange in minor matters H e had opened up for me


.

the w orld of the re a l of w hich I had kno w n pra ctic a lly noth
,

ing and from which I had always shrunk I h a d learned .

to look more C losely at life as it was lived to recognize ,

that there were such things a s facts in the w orld to emerge ,

fr om the realm of mind and idea and to pl a ce certa in val


ues on the concrete and obj ectiv e phases of exi s tence .

I s a w more of Wolf Larsen than e v er w hen w e had


gained the grounds Fo r when the weather w a s fair a n d
.

we were in the midst of the herd all hands wer e a w ay in ,

the boats and left on boa r d were only he and I a n d Thomas


, ,

Mugridge w ho did not count But there w as no p l ay


,
.

about it The six boats spreading out fan w ise from the
.
,
-

schooner until the first weather boat and the l a st lee bo a t


were anywhere from ten to twenty miles ap a rt cruised ,

along a straight course over the sea till nightfall or b a d


weathe r drove them in It was our duty to sail the G h os t
.

well to leew a rd of the last lee boat so that all the boats ,

should have fai r wind to ru n fo r us in case of squalls or


threatening weathe r .

It is no S light matte r fo r two men pa rticularly when a ,

sti ff wind has sp rung up to handle a vessel like the Gho s t


, ,

steering keeping lookout for the boats and setting or


, ,

taking in s a il ; so it devolv ed upon me to learn and l earn


quickly Steering I picked up easily but running aloft to
.
,

the crosstr ees and swinging my w hole w eight by my arms


w hen I left the ratlin es and C limbed still highe r was more ,
1 58 T HE S EA—
WOLF

the white surf line a n d bello wing caverns whe r e the sea
-

charges on the l a nd And still w e rocked gently and .


,

th ere was no w ind .

It s no squall Wolf Larsen said



Old Mother
, .

Nature s going to get up on her hind l egs and ho w l for all


that s in her a n d it ll keep us j umping Hump to pull


,

, ,

through with half ou r boats You d better r un up and .


loosen the tops a ils .

But if it is going to b o w l and there a r e only two of ,



us ? I asked a note of protest in my voice , .


Why we ve got to make the best of the first of it and
,

run down to our bo a ts before our canvas is ripped out of


us Afte r that I don t give a rap what happens The
.

.

s t i c k s l l stand it a n d you and I will have to though we ve


’ ’

, ,

plenty c u t out for us .

Still the calm continued We ate dinner a hurried and .


,

anxious meal for me with eightee n me n ab r oad o n the sea


and beyond the bulge of the ea rth and with that heaven
r olling mount a in range of clouds moving slo w ly do w n upon
us Wo l f L a rsen did not seem a ffected however though
.
,

I noticed w hen w e returne d to the deck a s l ight twitch


, ,

ing of the nostrils a perceptible quickness of movement , .

His face w as stern the lines of it had grown hard and yet , ,

in his eyes blue clear blue this day there was a str ange
,
-
, ,
-

brilliancy a bright scintillating light It struck me that he


, .

was j oyous in a ferocious so rt of way ; that he was gl a d


,

there was an impending struggle ; that he was thrilled a n d


upborne with kno w ledge that one of the great moments of
living when the tide of life surges up in flood was upon
, ,

him .

Once a n d un w itting that he did so o r that I saw he


, ,

laughed aloud mockingly and defiantly at the a d v ancing


, ,

st orm I see him yet standing there like a pygmy out of


.
,
TH E SEA - WOLF 1 59

the Arabian N ights before the h uge fr ont of some malig


nant ge n ie H e was daring destiny and he was unafraid
.
, .

He walked to the galley Cooky by the time you ve .


,

finished pots and pans you ll be wanted on deck Stand ’


.


re a dy for a call .


Hump he said becoming cognizant of the fascinated
, ,

gaze I bent upon him this beats w his k ey and is where


, ,


your Omar misses I think he only half liv ed after all
. .

The western half of the s ky had by no w grown mu rky .

The sun had dimmed a n d faded out of sight It was two .

in the afternoon and a ghostly tw ilight shot through by


, ,

wandering purplish lights had descended upon us In this , .

purplish light Wolf Larsen s face glo w ed and glowed and ’

to my excited fa n cy h e appeared encircled b y a halo We


l

lay in the midst of an une a rthly quiet while all about us ,

were signs and omens of oncoming sound and movement .

The sultr y heat had become unendurable The s w eat was .

standing on my forehead and I could feel it trickling do w n


,

my nose I felt a s though I should faint and r eached out


.
,

to the rail for suppo rt .

And then j ust then the faintest possible whisper of air


, ,

pa s sed by I t was from the east a n d like a w hisper it


.
,

c a me and w ent The drooping canvas was not stirred and


.
,

yet my face had felt the air and been cooled .


Cooky Wolf Larsen called in a lo w voice Thomas
, .

M ugridge turned a pitiable scared face “


Let go th a t , .

fore boom t a ckle a n d pass it across and w hen she s w illing


-
,

let go the sheet and come in snug with the tackle And .

if you make a mess of it it will be the last you eve r make


, .

Underst a nd
Mr V an Weyden stand by to pass the head sails ove r
.
,
-
.

Then j ump for the topsails and spread them quick as


G o d l l let you the quicker you do it the easier you ll find
’ ’
[ 60 T H E S EA - WOLF

it As fo r Cooky if he isn t lively bat him between the


.
,

eyes .

I was aw a re of the compliment and pleased in th a t no ,

thre a t had a ccomp a nied my instructions We we r e lying .

he a d to northwest and it was his intention to j ibe o v e r all


,

w ith the first pu ff .


We ll have the breeze on ou r quarter he explained to

me . By the la st guns the boats were be a ring a w ay



slightly to the south ard ’
.

H e turned and w al k ed aft to the wheel I w ent forward .

and took my station at the j ibs Another whis pe r of .

wind a n d another p a s s ed by The c a nvas fl a pped l a zily


, , . .

Thank G a w d S he s not comin a l l of a bunch Mr Van


’ ’

, .


Weyden was the Cockney s fe rvent ej a culation
,

.

And I w as indeed thankful for I h a d by this time learned ,

enough to kno w w ith all our c a nva s spread what disaste r


, ,

i n such even t a waited us The whispers of w ind became .

puffs the sails fille d the Gh os t mo v ed Wolf Larsen put


, , .

the wheel h a rd up to port and w e began to pay o ff The


, , .

wind was n o w dead a stern muttering and pu ffing stronge r ,

and stronger and my head s ai ls were pounding lustily I did


,
-
.

not see w h a t went on else w here though I felt the sudden ,

s urge a n d heel of the schoone r a s the wind pressures -

changed to the j ibing of the fore and main sails My h a nds - .

were full with the fly i n g j ib j ib a n d staysail ; and by the-


, ,

time this p a rt of my t a sk w as a ccomplished the Gho s t w a s


leaping into the south w est the wind on her quarter and a l l ,

her sheets to starboard Without pausing fo r bre a th .


,

though my he a rt w a s beating like a trip hammer from my -

exertions I sprang to the topsails and before the w ind h a d


, ,

become too strong w e h a d them fairly set and were coi l in g


down Then I w ent aft for orders
. .

Wolf Larsen nodded a p p roval and r elinquished the


1 62 TH E SEA WO LF
-

me and in my quest fo r them I fo r got myself Fo r an


, .

hour I saw nothing but the naked deso l ate sea And , .

then where a vagrant S haft of sunlight struck the oce a n


,

and turned its surface to wrathful silver I caught a sm a l l ,

black S peck thrust S ky w ard for an instant and s w allo w ed


up I waited patientl y Ag ai n the tiny point of bl a ck
. .

proj ected itself through the w rathful blaze a couple of


points o ff our port bow I did not attempt to shout but
- .
,

communic a ted the ne w s to Wolf Larsen by w a v ing my


arm He C hanged the cou r se and I signalled a ffirmation
.
,

when the speck showed dead ahead .

I t grew larger and so s w iftl y that fo r the fi r st time I


,

fully appreci a ted the speed of our flight Wolf L a rsen .

motioned fo r me to come down and when I stood beside ,

him at the w heel gav e me instructions for heav ing to .


E xpect all hell to break loose he cautioned me but , ,

don t mind it Yours is to do you r own work and to have



.

Cooky stand by the fore sheet - .

I managed to make my w a y fo rward but the r e was l ittle ,

C hoice of sides for the weathe r ra il seemed buried as often


,
-

as the lee Ha v ing instructed Thom a s Mugridge as to


.

what he was to do I C l a mbered i nto the fore rigging a few


,

feet The bo a t w as n o w very close and I could m a k e out


.
,

plainly that it w as lying head to wind and sea and dra g


ging on its mast and sail which had been thro w n o ver
,

board and m ade to serv e as a s e a anchor The three men - .

were bailing E a ch rol l ing mountain w helmed them from


.

vie w and I would w ai t with sickening anxiety fearing


, ,

that they would never appear again Then and with .


,

bla ck suddenness the boat w ould shoot clear through the


,

foamin g crest bow pointed to the sky and the whole


, ,

length of her bottom showing wet and dar k till she , ,

seemed on e n d There wou l d be a fleeting glimpse of


T HE S EA-WO LF 1 63

the th r ee men flinging wate r in f r antic haste w hen she ,

would topple over and fall into the yawning v alley b o w ,

down a n d sho w ing her full inside length to the stern u p


reared almost directly above the bow E ach time that she .

r eappeared was a mira cle .

T h e G h o s t suddenly changed her course k e e p m g a w a y , ,

and it came to me with a S hock that Wolf Lar s en w a s


giv ing up the r escue as impossible Then I realized .

th a t he was preparing to he a ve to and d r opped to the ,

deck to be in readiness We we r e now dead before.

the wind the boat far a w ay and abreast of us


,
I felt .

an abrupt easing of the schooner a loss for the moment ,

of all strain and pressure coupled with a swift acceleration


,

of speed She was rushing around on he r heel into the


.

wind .

As she a rr ived at right angles to the sea the full force ,

of the wind ( from w hich we had hitherto run a w ay )


, ,

caught us I w as unfortunately and ignorantly facing it


. .

It stood up against me like a wall filling my lungs with ,

air which I could not expel And as I choked and .

strangled and as the Ghos t w allowed fo r an instant broad


, ,

side on a n d rolling str a ight ove r a n d far into the wind I ,

beheld a huge sea rise fa r a bo v e my head I turned a side .


,

caught my breath and looked again The wave overtopped


, .

the Gh os t and I gazed shee r up and int o it A S h a ft Of


, .

sun li ght smote the over curl and I caught a glimpse of


-
,

t r anslucent rushing green backed by a milky smothe r


, ,

of foam .

Then it descended pandemonium broke loose eve ry


, ,

thing happened a t once I was struck a crushing stun


.
,
.

ning blow no w here in particul a r a n d yet e v erywhere


, .

My hold had been bro k en loose I was under water a n d , ,

th e thought passed through my mind that this was the


3 64 T HE S EA-WOLF

ter rible thing of which I h a d heard the being s w ept in t h e ,

trough of the sea My body struc k a n d pounded as it was


.

da s hed help l essly along and turned over a n d over and ,

when I could hold my breath no longer I breathed the ,

stinging salt wate r into my lungs But through it all I



.

clung to the one idea f m us t g e t the j i b b a che d o v e r t o


w in dw a rd I had no fear of death I h a d no doubt but
. .

th a t I should come through somehow And as this idea of .

fulfilling Wolf L a rsen s orde r persisted in my dazed co n


s ci o u s n e s s I seemed to see him st a nding at the wheel in


,

the midst of the wild welter pitting his will against t h e ,

will of the storm and defying it .

I brought up violently against what I took to be the rail ,

b r eathed and brea thed the sweet ai r again I tried to


, .

r ise but struck my head and w a s knocked back on hands


,

and knees By some freak of the waters I had been s w ept


.

clear unde r the forecastle head and into the eyes As I


'

-
.

scr a mbled out on all fours I passed ove r the body of ,

Thomas Mugr idge who lay in a groaning he a p There


, .

was no time to investigate I must get the j ib backed .

over .

When I eme r ged on deck it seemed that the end of


everything had come On all sides there was a rending
.

and crashing of wood and steel and canvas The G hos t .

was being w renched and torn to fr a gments The foresail .

and fore topsail emptied of the wind by the manoeuvre


, ,

and with no one to bring in the sheet in time were thun ,

dering into ribbons the heavy boom threshing a n d splin


,

tering from rail to rail The air was thick w ith flying .

wrec k a ge detached ropes a n d stays w ere hissing and coil


,

ing li k e sn a kes a n d do w n through it all cra shed the ga ff


,

Of the foresail .

The sp a r could not hav e missed me by many inches .


1 66 T HE S EA—WOLF

a score of feet aw ay And so nicely had he ni ade his ca l


.
,
~

culation we drifted fairly do w n upon it so th a t nothing


, ,

remained to do but hook the t a c k l e s to either end and


hoist it aboard But this was not done so easily as it is
.

written .

I n the bow was Kerfoot O o fty Oo fty in the ste m ,


-
,

a n d Kelly amidships A s we drifted closer the boat w ould


.
,

ri s e on a wave while we sank in the t r ough till almost ,

str a ight above me I could see the heads of the th r ee men


craned o v erside and looking down Then the next .
,

moment we would lift and soa r up w ard while they sank


,

far do w n beneath us It seemed incredible that the next


.

surge should not c ru sh the G h os t down upon the tiny


eggshell .

But at the right moment I passed the tackle to the


, ,

Kan a ka while Wolf Larsen did the s a me thing forward to


,

Kerfoot Both tackles were b o o k e d in a trice and the


.
,

th r ee men deftly timing the roll m a de a S imultaneous


, ,

leap a board the schooner As the Ghos t rolled her side .

out of water the bo a t was l ifted snugly ag a inst her and


, ,

before the return roll c a me w e h a d heaved it in over the ,

side a n d turned it bottom up on the deck I noticed blood .

spouting from Ke rfo o t s left hand In some w ay the third



.

finger had been crushed to a pulp But he g a ve no sign .

of p a in and with his single right hand helped us l ash the


,

boat in its place .


St a nd by to let that j 1l ) ove r you O o ft y ! Wolf La r ,
.

sen commanded the very second w e h a d finished w ith the


,

boat .

Kelly come a ft a n d S l a ck o ff the main sheet !
,
-

You Kerfoot go fo r a rd and see wh a t s become Of Cooky


, ,
’ ’

Mr Van Weyden ru n aloft ag ai n and cu t a w ay any str ay


.
, ,

stu ff on your way !


And having commanded he went aft with his peculi a r ,
T HE S EA WOLF -
1 67

ti ge rish leaps to the wheel While I toiled up the fore


,
.

shrouds the Gh os t s l o w ly paid off This time as we went .


,

into the trough of the s e a and w ere swept there we r e no ,

sails to carry awa y And halfway to the crosstrees and


.
,

flattened ag a inst the rigging by the full force of t h e wind


so that it w ould have been impossible fo r me to have fallen ,

the Gh os t almost on her be a m ends and the masts parallel


with the w a ter I looked not down but at almost right angles
, , ,

from the perpendicular to the deck of the Gh os t But I ,


.

saw not the deck but whe r e the deck should have been
, , ,

for it was buried beneath a wild tumbling of water Out .

of this water I could see the two masts rising and that ,

was all The Ghos t for the moment was buried beneath
.
, ,

the sea As she squ a red o ff more and mo r e escaping from


.
,

the Side pressure s h e ri g h t e d herself and broke he r deck


'

, ,

like a whale s back through the ocean su r face


, .

Then we r a ced and wildly across the wild sea the


, , ,

while I hung like a fly in the crosstrees and searched fo r


the othe r boats In half an hou r I S ighted the second one
.
,

s w amped and botto m up to which were desper a tely cling ,

: ing J ock Horner fat Louis and J o h nson This time I


, , .

r emained a l oft and Wolf Larsen succeeded in heaving


,

to without being swept As befo r e we d rifted do w n upon it


.
,
.

Tackles were made fast and lines flung to the men who ,

scrambled aboard like monkeys The boat itself was .

crushed and splintered against the schooner s side a S it ’

came inbo a rd ; but the wreck was securely lashed fo r it ,

could be patched and made whole again .

Once more the Gh os t bore aw ay before the storm this ,

time so submerging herself that for some seconds I thought


she would never reappear E ven the wheel quite a deal .
,

highe r than the w aist w a s covered and swept again and ,

again At such moments I felt strangely alon e with G o d


.
,
1 68 TH E S EA—
WOLF

alone with him and watching the chaos of his wrath And .

then the w heel would reappear and Wo l f Lar sen s bro a d ,


shoulders his hands gr ipping the spokes and holding the


,

schooner to the course of his will himself an e a rth god ,


-
,

dominating the storm flinging its descending w aters from


,

him and riding it to his own ends And oh the marvel of .


,

it ! the ma rvel of it ! That tiny men should liv e and


breathe and wo rk and d riv e so frail a contrivance of wood
,

and cloth through so t r emendous an elemental st rife !


As before the Gho s t s w ung out of the trough lifting
, ,

her deck again out of the sea and dashed before the howl ,

ing blast I t was now half past five and half an hou r
.
-
,

later w hen the last of the day lost itself in a dim a n d fu ri


,

ous twilight I sighted a third boat It was bottom up


, .
,

and t here w as no S ign of its crew Wolf Larsen repeated


\ .

his man oeuvre h Ol d in g o ff and then rounding up to w ind


,

ward and drifting down upon it But this time he missed .

by forty feet the bo a t passing a stern


,
.


Number fou r boat ! O o fty O o ft y cried his keen eyes -
,

reading its number in the one second when it li fted C le a r


of the foam and upside do w n .

It was Henderson s boat and w ith him had been lost



,

H olyoak and Williams anothe r of the deep w a t e r cro w d


,
-
v
.

Lost they indubitably were ; but the bo a t remaine d and ,

Wolf Larsen made one more reckless effort to recov er it .

I h a d come do w n to the deck and I s a w H o m er a n d Ker ,

foot vainly protest a gainst the attempt .

By G o d I ll not be robbed of my boat by any storm


,


th a t ever blew out of hell ! he shouted and though we ,

four stood with ou r he a ds together that we might hear his ,

voice seemed faint and far as though removed from us a n


,

immense distance .

Mr Van Weyden ! he cried and I hea rd th r oug h


.
,
1 70 THE S EA WOLF -

of us tw o hunters three sailo r s Wolf La r sen and I


,
-
, , , ,

reefed first one and then the other the j i b and mainsail
, , .

H ove to under this sho rt canvas ou r d ecks w ere compara


t i v e l y free of wate r while the Gh os t bobbed and ducked


-
,

a mongst the combers like a cork .

I had burst open the ends of my finge r s at the ve ry


first and during the r e e fin g I had w orked with tears of
,

pain running down my cheeks And when all w a s done .


,

I gave up like a woman and rolled upon the deck in the


agony of exhaustion .

In the meantime Thomas Mugridge like a drowned rat , ,

was being dragged out from unde r the forecastle head


w here he had cravenly ensconced himself I saw him .

pulled aft to the cabin and noted with a shock of surp rise
that the galley had dis a ppeared A clean space of deck .

showed whe r e it had stood .

I n the cabin I found all hands assembled sailors as well , ,

and while co ffee was being cooked over the small stove we
dr a nk w hiskey and crunche d hardtack Never in my life .

had food been so welcome And ne v er had hot co ffee .

tasted so good So violently did the Ghos t pitch and toss


.

and tumble that it w as impossible for even the sailors to


move about without holding on and several times after a , ,


c ry of No w she takes it ! we w ere heaped u p on the

w a ll of the port cabins a s though it had been the deck .



To hell with a lookout I hear d Wolf Larsen say ,

w hen w e h a d eaten and drunk ou r fill There s nothing .


ca n be done on deck If anything s going to run us down ’


.

we couldn t get out of its way Turn in all hands and get

.
, ,

some sleep .

The s a ilors slipped forwa rd setting the side lights as they ,


-

went while the two hunters remained to sleep in the cabin


, ,

it not being deemed advisable to open the slide to the


TH E S EA-WOLF 17 1

steerage compani on w ay Wolf Larsen and I between us


.
, ,

c u t o ff K e rfo o t s crushed finger and sewed up the stump



.

Mugridge who during all t h e time he had been compelled


, ,

to cook and serve coffee and keep the fire going b a d com ,

plained of intern a l pains now s w ore that he had a broken


,

rib or two On examination we found that he had three


. .

But his case was defe rr ed to next d a y princip a lly for the ,

reason that I did not know anything about broken ribs


and would fi r st have to r ead it up .

I don t think it was wo rth it I said to Wolf Larsen


, ,

a broken boat for Kelly s life ’
.

But Kelly didn t amo u nt to much was the reply


, .


G ood night.

After a l l that h a d passed su ffe ring intolerable anguish


,

in my finger ends a n d with three boats missing to say


, ,

nothing of the w ild c a pers the Ghos t w as cutting I should ,

hav e thought it impossible to sleep But my eyes must .

have closed the inst a nt my head touched the pillow and ,

in utter exhaustion I slept throughout the night the ,

while the Ghos t lonely and undirected fought he r way


, ,

th r ough the storm .


C H A PTE R XV I I I

T HE next day while the storm w as blowing itself out


, ,

Wo l f L a rsen and I crammed anatomy and surge ry and


set Mu g rid g e s ribs Then when the storm bro k e Wolf

.
, ,

Lar sen cruised b a ck and forth over that portion of the


ocean where w e h a d encountered it and some w h a t more ,

to the westw a rd while the boats were being rep a ired a n d


,

ne w s a ils m a de and bent Sealing schooner after sealing .

schooner w e sighted and boa r ded most of which were in ,

search of lost boats and most of w hich w ere c a rrying boats


,

and crew s they h a d picked up and w hich did not belong


to them Fo r the thick of the fleet had been to the west
.

w a rd of us and the boats scattered far and w ide had


, , ,

he a ded in mad flight fo r the nearest refuge .

Two of our bo a ts w ith men all safe we took o ff the


, ,

Ci s co a n d to Wolf Larsen s huge delight and my o w n


, ,

grief he culled Smoke with Nilson and Leach from the


, , ,

S a n D i eg o S O that at the end of fi v e d a ys we found


.
, ,

oursel v es short but four men - H ende r son Ho lyoa k , , ,

Willi a ms and Kelly


,
— and were once more hunting on
,

the flanks of the herd .

As we follo w ed it north we began to enco u nte r the


dreaded sea fogs Day a fter day the boats lo w ered a n d
- .

were swallo w ed up almost ere they touched the w a ter ,

while w e on board pumped the horn at regul a r interv a ls


and e v ery fifteen minutes fired the bomb gun Boats were .

continu a lly being lo s t and found it being the custom fo r ,

a bo a t to hunt on lay with wh a teve r schooner pic ked it


, ,

1 72
1 74 T HE SEA—WOLF

C lea r day — a thin g w e rarely encountered now —I had


, ,

the satis faction of r unning and handli ng the G h os t and


picking up the bo a ts myself Wolf Larsen h a d been
.

smitten with one of his he a daches and I stood at the ,

wheel from m orning until evening sailing across the ,

ocean after the last lee boat and heaving to and picking
it and the othe r five up without command o r suggestion
f r om him .

G ales we encountered now and a gain fo r it w as a ra w ,

and stormy r egion and in the middle of June a typhoon


, , ,

most memorable to me and most importa nt because of the


changes wrought through it upon my futu r e We must .

have been caught nearly at the centre of this C ircula r


storm and Wolf Larsen r an o ut of it and to the south
,

wa rd fi r st unde r a double reefed j ib and finally under bare


,
-
,

poles N ever had I im a gined so great a sea The seas


. .

pre v iously encountered were as ripples compared with


these which ran a half mile from crest to crest and w hich
,

up r eared I am confident above our m a sthead So gr eat


, , .

was it that Wolf Larsen himself did not dare he a ve to ,

though he w as being d riven far to the southward and out


of the seal herd .

We must have been well in the path of the trans


P a ci fi c steamships when the typhoon moderated and here , ,

to the surprise of the hunters we found ourselv es in the,

midst of seals a second herd o r sort of rear guard they ,


-
,

declared and a most unusual thing But it was Bo a ts


,
.

o v e r ! the boom boom of guns and the pitiful slaughter


-
,

through the long day .

It was a t this time that I was approached by Leach I .

had j ust finished t a llying the skins of the l a st bo a t aboard ,

when he came to my S ide in the darkness and said in a


, ,

low tone
THE SEA - WOLF I75

Can you tell me M r Van Weyden how fa r we a r e Off


, .
,

the co a st and w hat the bearings of Yokoh a ma are


,

My heart leaped with g l adness fo r I knew what he had ,

,
n —
in mind and I gave him the beari gs west no r thwest -

and fiv e hundred miles aw a y .


Thank you sir was all he said as he slipped back
, ,

into the darkness .

Next morning No 3 boat and Johnson and Leach were.

missing The water breakers and grub boxes from all the
.
-

other boats were likewise missing as were the beds and ,


sea b a gs of the two men Wolf Larsen w as furious H e . .

set sail a n d bore aw ay into the w est no rthwest t w o hunters -


,

constantly at the mastheads a n d sweeping the sea with


gl a sses himself pacing the deck like an angry lion H e
,
.

k n ew too w ell my sympathy fo r the r unaw ays to send me


aloft as lookout .

The wind was fai r but fi t fu l and it was like looking fo r ,

a needle in a haystack to raise th a t tiny boat out of the


blue immensity But he put the G hos t through her best
.

paces so as to get between the deserters and the land .

This accomplished he cruised back a n d forth ac ross w hat


,

he kne w must be their course .

On the morning of the thir d day shortly afte r eight ,

bells a c ry that the boat was sighted c a me down from


,

Smoke at the masthead All h a n d s lined the rail A . .

sn a ppy breeze w as blowing from the w est with the p r om


ise of more wind behind it ; a n d the r e to leeward in the , ,

troubled silv e r of the r ising sun appea red and disappea r ed ,

a bl a ck speck .

We squared away and ran fo r it My hea rt was as lead . .

I felt myse l f turning sick in anticipation ; and as I looked


at the gleam of triumph in Wolf Larsen s eyes his form ’

swam before me and I felt almost irresistibly impelled to


1 76 T HE SEA - WO LF

fling myself upon him So unne rved was I by the thought


.

Of impending violence to Leach and Johnson that my

r eason must h a ve left me I know that I slipped down .

into the steera ge in a d a ze and that I was j ust beginning


,

the ascent to the deck a loaded shot g un i n my hands ,


-
,

when I hea r d the startled cry


There s five men in that boat !

I suppo rted myself in the companionway weak and ,

tr embling while the observation w a s being verified by the


,

r emarks of the r est of the men Then my k nees gave .

from under me and I s a nk down myself again but over , ,

come by S hock at knowledge of wh a t I had so nearly done .

Also I was very thankful as I put the gun aw a y and


,

slipped back on deck .

N O one had r emarked my absence The boat was nea r .

enough fo r us to make out that it w a s large r t han a n y


sealing boat and built on di fferent li nes As we dre w .

C lose r the sail was taken in and the mast unstepped


,
Oars .

were shipped and its occupants waited fo r us to heave to


,

and take them aboar d .

Smoke who had descended to the deck and was now


,

standing by my side began to chuckle in a sig nificant way


, .

I looked at him inquiringly .



T a lk of a mess ! he giggled .


What s wrong ? I demanded

.

Aga in he chuckled .

Don t you see there in the ste m sheets on the


,
-
,

bottom May I neve r shoot a seal again if that ain t a


.

woman !
I looked closely but was not sure until exclamations
,

b r oke out on a l l side s The bo a t contained fou r men a n d


.
,

its fifth occupant w as certainly a wom a n We were agog .

with excitement all except Wolf La r sen who was too


, ,
178 T HE SEA- WOLF


of them called it a bloody shame with Yokohama so
near .

I found myself st rangely afraid of this woman I was e s


c o rt i n g aft
. Also I was awk w ard It seemed to me that .

I was realizing fo r the first time what a delicate fragile ,

creature a woman is ; and as I caught he r arm to help


he r do w n the companion stairs I was sta rtled by its sm a ll
,

ness and softness Indeed she was a slender delic a te


.
, ,

woman as women go but to me she w as so ethereally s l e n


,

der and delicate that I was quite prepared for her arm to
crumble in my grasp All this in frankness to show my
.
, ,

first impression afte r long denial of women in general


, ,

and of Maud Bre w ste r in pa rticula r .

No need to go to any great trouble for me S h e pro ,

tested w hen I had seated her in Wolf Larsen s arm ch a ir


,

-
,

w hich I had dr a gged h a stily from his cabin “


The men .

were looking for land at any moment this morning and ,

the vessel should be in by night ; don t you think so ’

H er simple faith in the immedia te future took me aback .

H ow could I explain to he r the situation the strange man ,

who stalked the sea like Destiny all that it had taken me ,

months to lear n ? But I a nswered honestly


If it were any other captain except ours I should s a y ,

you would be ashore in Yokohama to morrow But our - .

captain is a strange m a n and I beg of you to be prepared


,

for anything understand
, for anything .

I — I confess I h a rdly do understand she he s itated , ,

a pe rturbed but not frightened expression in her eyes .

Or is it a misconception of mine that S hip w recked people


are always shown every consideration ? Thi s is such a

little thing you know We are so close to land
,
. .


Candidly I do not know I strove to reassure her
, ,
.

I w ished merely to prepare you for the worst if the worst ,


T HE S EA- WOLF 9

is to come This man this captain is a b rute a demon


.
, , , ,

and one ca n never tell wh a t will be his next fanta stic act .

I was g r owing excited but she interr upted me with an ,



Oh I see and her voice sounded w ea ry To think w as
, , .

patently an e ffo rt She was clea r ly on the verge of physi


.

ca l coll a pse .

She asked no furthe r questions and I vouchsafed no ,

r emarks devoting myself to Wolf L a rsen s command


,

which was to mak e her comfortable I bustled about in .

quite housewifely fa shion procuring sooth i ng lotions for ,

her sunburn raiding Wolf Larsen s p riv ate stores fo r a


,

bottle of po rt I kne w to be there and directing Thomas ,

Mug ridge In the preparation of the spare state room - .

The w ind was freshening rapidly the Gh os t heeling ,

ove r more and mo re and by the time the state room was ,
-

ready she was dashing through the wate r at a lively


clip I had quite forgotten the existence of Leach and
.
'

J ohnson when suddenly like a thunderclap Bo a t ho !


, , ,

came down the open companion w ay It was Smoke s .


unmistakable voice crying from the masthead ,


I S hot a .

glance at the woman but she was leaning back in the arm
,

ch a ir her eyes closed unutter a bly tired I doubted that


, ,
.

she had heard and I resolved to prevent he r seeing the


,

brutality I knew w ould follow the capture of the deserters .

She was tired Very good She S hould sleep


. . .

There we r e s wift commands on deck a stamping of ,

feet a n d a slapping of r eef points as the Ghos t shot into -

the wind and about on the other tack A S she filled away .

and heeled the a r m chair began to S lide across the cabin


,
-

floo r and I sprang fo r it j ust in time to prevent the res


,

cued woman from being spilled o ut .

H er eyes were too heavy to s u ggest more than a hint


of the S leepy surp rise that pe rplexed her as she looked
1 80 T HE SEA-WOLF

up at me a n d she half stumbled half tottered as I led her


, , ,

to her cabin Mugridge grinned insinu a tingly in my fa ce


.

as I shoved him out and ordered him back to his g a lley


w ork ; and he w on his re v enge by S pre a ding glo w ing
r eports among the hunters as to wh a t an excellent l y dy s ’

my d e I w a s proving myself to be .

She leaned heav ily against me and I do believe that


,

she had fallen asleep again betw een the a r m ch a ir a n d the


-

state room This I discovered when she ne a rly fell into


- .

the bunk during a sudden lurch of t h e schooner She .

aroused smiled drowsily and was o ff to sleep again ;


, ,

and asleep I left her under a he a vy pair of sailor s blan


,

kets he r he a d resting on a pillow I had app r opriated from


,

Wolf Larsen s bunk ’


.
82 T H E S EA —
WOLF

Three oilers and a fou rth engineer w as his g reeting , .

But we l l m a k e s a ilors out of them or boat pullers at any


,
-

r ate No w w h a t of the la dy ?
.
,

I kn ow not why b ut I was aware of a tw inge o r pang, ,

like the cut of a knife when he mentioned her I thought , .

it a certain si l ly fastidiousness on my part but it persisted ,

in spite of me and I merely shrugged my S houlders in


,

answer .

Wolf Larsen pursed his lips in a long quizzical whistle , .


What s her n ame then ? he demanded

, .


I don t know I replied

She is asleep She was
,
. .

very tir ed In fact I am waiting to hear the n e w s from


.
,

you What vessel was it ?
.


Mail steamer he answered shortly The Ci ty of
, .

Toh i o from Frisco bound for Yokoh a ma Disabled in


, , .

th a t typhoon Old tub Opened up top and bottom like


. .

a S ieve They were adrift fou r days And you don t


. .


kno w who or what she is eh ? m a id wife o r wido w ? , , ,

Well well , .

He shook his head in a bante ring way and r egarded me ,

with laughing eyes .


Are you I began It was on the verge of my .

tongue to ask if he were going to take the castaways in


to Yokohama .



Am I what ? he asked .


What do you intend doing with Leach and Johnson ?
He shook his head “
R eally Hump I don t know .
, ,

.

You see with these a dditions I v e about all the crew I


,


want .

And they ve about all the esc a ping they want I said

,
.

Why not give them a ch a nge of treatment ? Take them


abo a rd and deal gently with them Wh a t e ve r they h ave
, .


done they have been hounded into doing .
T HE S EA- WOLF 83

By me ?
By you I answered steadily
, And I give you warn .

ing Wolf Larsen that I may forget love of my o w n life in


, ,
'

the desire to kill you if you go too fa r in maltre ating those



poor wretches .

B r avo he cried You do me p r oud Hump ! .


,

You ve found your legs with a vengeance You re quite



.

an individual You were unfortunate in having your life


.

cast in easy places but you re developing and I like you ,


,

the bette r for it .

His voice and expression changed His fac e was se r i


'

ous.

Do you believe in prom i ses ? h e asked “
Are .


they sacred things ?


Of course I a n s w ered ,
.


Then here s a compact he went on consummate acto r

, ,

that he was If I promise not to lay my hands upon


.

Leach and J ohnson will you promise in tu r n not to , , ,



attempt to kill me ?
Oh not that I m afr aid of you not that I m af raid of
,

,

you he h a stened to add


, .

I could hardly believe my c a rs What was coming ove r .

the man ?

I s it a go ? he asked impatiently .


A go I ans w e r ed
, .

His hand went out to mine and as I shook it hea rtily I ,

could have sworn I saw the mocking devil shine up for a


moment in his eyes .

We strolled across the poop to the lee side The boat .

was close at hand now and in despe rate plight J ohnson , .

w a s stee ring Leach bailing We overhauled them about


, .

two feet to thei r one Wolf Larsen motioned Louis to .

keep o ff slightly and w e dashed abreast of the boat not a


, ,
'

score of feet to windward The Ghos t blanketed it The . .


1 84 T HE S EA WOLF-

S p ritsail flapped e mptily and the boat righted to an even


keel causing the two men s w iftly to change position The
,
.

boat lost he a d w ay and as we li fted on a huge surge toppled


, , ,

a n d fell into the trough .

It was at t h is moment that Leach a n d J o h n s o n looked ,

up into the f a ces of thei r shipmates who lined t h e r ail ,

amidship s The r e was no greeting They were as de a d


. .

men in their comrades eyes and between them was the


gulf that parts the li v ing and the dead .

The next insta nt they w ere opposite the poop where ,

stood Wolf Larsen and I We were falling in the trough


.
,

they were rising on the surge Johnson looked at me .


'
,

and I could see that his face was w orn and h a ggard I .

w aved my hand to him and he answered the greeting , ,

but w ith a w ave that was hopele s s a n d desp a iring It .

w a s as if he were s a ying f a re w ell I did not see into the .

eyes of Leach fo r h e w a s looking at Wolf Larsen the


, ,

old and implac a ble snarl of hatred str ong as eve r on his
face .

Then they were gone astern The spritsail filled with .

the wind sud denly c a reening the fra il open craft til l it
, ,

seemed it w ould surely cap s ize A w hitec a p fo a med a b o v e


.

it and bro k e acros s in a snow w hite smother Then the - .

bo a t emerged h a lf s w amped Le a ch flinging the water out


, ,

and Johnson clinging to the steering o a r his face w hi te -