Part 1 out of 6
This etext was prepared by David Price, email firstname.lastname@example.org
from the 1917 Mills & Boon edition.
MICHAEL, BROTHER OF JERRY
Very early in my life, possibly because of the insatiable
curiosity that was born in me, I came to dislike the performances
of trained animals. It was my curiosity that spoiled for me this
form of amusement, for I was led to seek behind the performance in
order to learn how the performance was achieved. And what I found
behind the brave show and glitter of performance was not nice. It
was a body of cruelty so horrible that I am confident no normal
person exists who, once aware of it, could ever enjoy looking on
at any trained-animal turn.
Now I am not a namby-pamby. By the book reviewers and the namby-
pambys I am esteemed a sort of primitive beast that delights in
the spilled blood of violence and horror. Without arguing this
matter of my general reputation, accepting it at its current face
value, let me add that I have indeed lived life in a very rough
school and have seen more than the average man's share of
inhumanity and cruelty, from the forecastle and the prison, the
slum and the desert, the execution-chamber and the lazar-house, to
the battlefield and the military hospital. I have seen horrible
deaths and mutilations. I have seen imbeciles hanged, because,
being imbeciles, they did not possess the hire of lawyers. I have
seen the hearts and stamina of strong men broken, and I have seen
other men, by ill-treatment, driven to permanent and howling
madness. I have witnessed the deaths of old and young, and even
infants, from sheer starvation. I have seen men and women beaten
by whips and clubs and fists, and I have seen the rhinoceros-hide
whips laid around the naked torsos of black boys so heartily that
each stroke stripped away the skin in full circle. And yet, let
me add finally, never have I been so appalled and shocked by the
world's cruelty as have I been appalled and shocked in the midst
of happy, laughing, and applauding audiences when trained-animal
turns were being performed on the stage.
One with a strong stomach and a hard head may be able to tolerate
much of the unconscious and undeliberate cruelty and torture of
the world that is perpetrated in hot blood and stupidity. I have
such a stomach and head. But what turns my head and makes my
gorge rise, is the cold-blooded, conscious, deliberate cruelty and
torment that is manifest behind ninety-nine of every hundred
trained-animal turns. Cruelty, as a fine art, has attained its
perfect flower in the trained-animal world.
Possessed myself of a strong stomach and a hard head, inured to
hardship, cruelty, and brutality, nevertheless I found, as I came
to manhood, that I unconsciously protected myself from the hurt of
the trained-animal turn by getting up and leaving the theatre
whenever such turns came on the stage. I say "unconsciously." By
this I mean it never entered my mind that this was a programme by
which the possible death-blow might be given to trained-animal
turns. I was merely protecting myself from the pain of witnessing
what it would hurt me to witness.
But of recent years my understanding of human nature has become
such that I realize that no normal healthy human would tolerate
such performances did he or she know the terrible cruelty that
lies behind them and makes them possible. So I am emboldened to
suggest, here and now, three things:
First, let all humans inform themselves of the inevitable and
eternal cruelty by the means of which only can animals be
compelled to perform before revenue-paying audiences. Second, I
suggest that all men and women, and boys and girls, who have so
acquainted themselves with the essentials of the fine art of
animal-training, should become members of, and ally themselves
with, the local and national organizations of humane societies and
societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals.
And the third suggestion I cannot state until I have made a
preamble. Like hundreds of thousands of others, I have worked in
other fields, striving to organize the mass of mankind into
movements for the purpose of ameliorating its own wretchedness and
misery. Difficult as this is to accomplish, it is still more
difficult to persuade the human into any organised effort to
alleviate the ill conditions of the lesser animals.
Practically all of us will weep red tears and sweat bloody sweats
as we come to knowledge of the unavoidable cruelty and brutality
on which the trained-animal world rests and has its being. But
not one-tenth of one per cent. of us will join any organization
for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and by our words and
acts and contributions work to prevent the perpetration of
cruelties on animals. This is a weakness of our own human nature.
We must recognize it as we recognize heat and cold, the opaqueness
of the non-transparent, and the everlasting down-pull of gravity.
And still for us, for the ninety-nine and nine-tenths per cent. of
us, under the easy circumstance of our own weakness, remains
another way most easily to express ourselves for the purpose of
eliminating from the world the cruelty that is practised by some
few of us, for the entertainment of the rest of us, on the trained
animals, who, after all, are only lesser animals than we on the
round world's surface. It is so easy. We will not have to think
of dues or corresponding secretaries. We will not have to think
of anything, save when, in any theatre or place of entertainment,
a trained-animal turn is presented before us. Then, without
premeditation, we may express our disapproval of such a turn by
getting up from our seats and leaving the theatre for a promenade
and a breath of fresh air outside, coming back, when the turn is
over, to enjoy the rest of the programme. All we have to do is
just that to eliminate the trained-animal turn from all public
places of entertainment. Show the management that such turns are
unpopular, and in a day, in an instant, the management will cease
catering such turns to its audiences.
GLEN ELLEN, SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA,
December 8, 1915
But Michael never sailed out of Tulagi, nigger-chaser on the
Eugenie. Once in five weeks the steamer Makambo made Tulagi its
port of call on the way from New Guinea and the Shortlands to
Australia. And on the night of her belated arrival Captain Kellar
forgot Michael on the beach. In itself, this was nothing, for, at
midnight, Captain Kellar was back on the beach, himself climbing
the high hill to the Commissioner's bungalow while the boat's crew
vainly rummaged the landscape and canoe houses.
In fact, an hour earlier, as the Makambo's anchor was heaving out
and while Captain Kellar was descending the port gangplank,
Michael was coming on board through a starboard port-hole. This
was because Michael was inexperienced in the world, because he was
expecting to meet Jerry on board this boat since the last he had
seen of him was on a boat, and because he had made a friend.
Dag Daughtry was a steward on the Makambo, who should have known
better and who would have known better and done better had he not
been fascinated by his own particular and peculiar reputation. By
luck of birth possessed of a genial but soft disposition and a
splendid constitution, his reputation was that for twenty years he
had never missed his day's work nor his six daily quarts of
bottled beer, even, as he bragged, when in the German islands,
where each bottle of beer carried ten grains of quinine in
solution as a specific against malaria.
The captain of the Makambo (and, before that, the captains of the
Moresby, the Masena, the Sir Edward Grace, and various others of
the queerly named Burns Philp Company steamers had done the same)
was used to pointing him out proudly to the passengers as a man-
thing novel and unique in the annals of the sea. And at such
times Dag Daughtry, below on the for'ard deck, feigning
unawareness as he went about his work, would steal side-glances up
at the bridge where the captain and his passengers stared down on
him, and his breast would swell pridefully, because he knew that
the captain was saying: "See him! that's Dag Daughtry, the human
tank. Never's been drunk or sober in twenty years, and has never
missed his six quarts of beer per diem. You wouldn't think it, to
look at him, but I assure you it's so. I can't understand. Gets
my admiration. Always does his time, his time-and-a-half and his
double-time over time. Why, a single glass of beer would give me
heartburn and spoil my next good meal. But he flourishes on it.
Look at him! Look at him!"
And so, knowing his captain's speech, swollen with pride in his
own prowess, Dag Daughtry would continue his ship-work with extra
vigour and punish a seventh quart for the day in advertisement of
his remarkable constitution. It was a queer sort of fame, as
queer as some men are; and Dag Daughtry found in it his
justification of existence.
Wherefore he devoted his energy and the soul of him to the
maintenance of his reputation as a six-quart man. That was why he
made, in odd moments of off-duty, turtle-shell combs and hair
ornaments for profit, and was prettily crooked in such a matter as
stealing another man's dog. Somebody had to pay for the six
quarts, which, multiplied by thirty, amounted to a tidy sum in the
course of the month; and, since that man was Dag Daughtry, he
found it necessary to pass Michael inboard on the Makambo through
a starboard port-hole.
On the beach, that night at Tulagi, vainly wondering what had
become of the whaleboat, Michael had met the squat, thick, hair-
grizzled ship's steward. The friendship between them was
established almost instantly, for Michael, from a merry puppy, had
matured into a merry dog. Far beyond Jerry, was he a sociable
good fellow, and this, despite the fact that he had known very few
white men. First, there had been Mister Haggin, Derby and Bob, of
Meringe; next, Captain Kellar and Captain Kellar's mate of the
Eugenie; and, finally, Harley Kennan and the officers of the
Ariel. Without exception, he had found them all different, and
delightfully different, from the hordes of blacks he had been
taught to despise and to lord it over.
And Dag Daughtry had proved no exception from his first greeting
of "Hello, you white man's dog, what 'r' you doin' herein nigger
country?" Michael had responded coyly with an assumption of
dignified aloofness that was given the lie by the eager tilt of
his ears and the good-humour that shone in his eyes. Nothing of
this was missed by Dag Daughtry, who knew a dog when he saw one,
as he studied Michael in the light of the lanterns held by black
boys where the whaleboats were landing cargo.
Two estimates the steward quickly made of Michael: he was a
likable dog, genial-natured on the face of it, and he was a
valuable dog. Because of those estimates Dag Daughtry glanced
about him quickly. No one was observing. For the moment, only
blacks stood about, and their eyes were turned seaward where the
sound of oars out of the darkness warned them to stand ready to
receive the next cargo-laden boat. Off to the right, under
another lantern, he could make out the Resident Commissioner's
clerk and the Makambo's super-cargo heatedly discussing some error
in the bill of lading.
The steward flung another quick glance over Michael and made up
his mind. He turned away casually and strolled along the beach
out of the circle of lantern light. A hundred yards away he sat
down in the sand and waited.
"Worth twenty pounds if a penny," he muttered to himself. "If I
couldn't get ten pounds for him, just like that, with a thank-you-
ma'am, I'm a sucker that don't know a terrier from a greyhound.--
Sure, ten pounds, in any pub on Sydney beach."
And ten pounds, metamorphosed into quart bottles of beer, reared
an immense and radiant vision, very like a brewery, inside his
A scurry of feet in the sand, and low sniffings, stiffened him to
alertness. It was as he had hoped. The dog had liked him from
the start, and had followed him.
For Dag Daughtry had a way with him, as Michael was quickly to
learn, when the man's hand reached out and clutched him, half by
the jowl, half by the slack of the neck under the ear. There was
no threat in that reach, nothing tentative nor timorous. It was
hearty, all-confident, and it produced confidence in Michael. It
was roughness without hurt, assertion without threat, surety
without seduction. To him it was the most natural thing in the
world thus to be familiarly seized and shaken about by a total
stranger, while a jovial voice muttered: "That's right, dog.
Stick around, stick around, and you'll wear diamonds, maybe."
Certainly, Michael had never met a man so immediately likable.
Dag Daughtry knew, instinctively to be sure, how to get on with
dogs. By nature there was no cruelty in him. He never exceeded
in peremptoriness, nor in petting. He did not overbid for
Michael's friendliness. He did bid, but in a manner that conveyed
no sense of bidding. Scarcely had he given Michael that
introductory jowl-shake, when he released him and apparently
forgot all about him.
He proceeded to light his pipe, using several matches as if the
wind blew them out. But while they burned close up to his
fingers, and while he made a simulation of prodigious puffing, his
keen little blue eyes, under shaggy, grizzled brows, intently
studied Michael. And Michael, ears cocked and eyes intent, gazed
at this stranger who seemed never to have been a stranger at all.
If anything, it was disappointment Michael experienced, in that
this delightful, two-legged god took no further notice of him. He
even challenged him to closer acquaintance with an invitation to
play, with an abrupt movement lifting his paws from the ground and
striking them down, stretched out well before, his body bent down
from the rump in such a curve that almost his chest touched the
sand, his stump of a tail waving signals of good nature while he
uttered a sharp, inviting bark. And the man was uninterested,
pulling stolidly away at his pipe, in the darkness following upon
the third match.
Never was there a more consummate love-making, with all the base
intent of betrayal, than this cavalier seduction of Michael by the
elderly, six-quart ship's steward. When Michael, not entirely
unwitting of the snub of the man's lack of interest, stirred
restlessly with a threat to depart, he had flung at him gruffly:
"Stick around, dog, stick around."
Dag Daughtry chuckled to himself, as Michael, advancing, sniffed
his trousers' legs long and earnestly. And the man took advantage
of his nearness to study him some more, lighting his pipe and
running over the dog's excellent lines.
"Some dog, some points," he said aloud approvingly. "Say, dog,
you could pull down ribbons like a candy-kid in any bench show
anywheres. Only thing against you is that ear, and I could almost
iron it out myself. A vet. could do it."
Carelessly he dropped a hand to Michael's ear, and, with tips of
fingers instinct with sensuous sympathy, began to manipulate the
base of the ear where its roots bedded in the tightness of skin-
stretch over the skull. And Michael liked it. Never had a man's
hand been so intimate with his ear without hurting it. But these
fingers were provocative only of physical pleasure so keen that he
twisted and writhed his whole body in acknowledgment.
Next came a long, steady, upward pull of the ear, the ear slipping
slowly through the fingers to the very tip of it while it tingled
exquisitely down to its roots. Now to one ear, now to the other,
this happened, and all the while the man uttered low words that
Michael did not understand but which he accepted as addressed to
"Head all right, good 'n' flat," Dag Daughtry murmured, first
sliding his fingers over it, and then lighting a match. "An' no
wrinkles, 'n' some jaw, good 'n' punishing, an' not a shade too
full in the cheek or too empty."
He ran his fingers inside Michael's mouth and noted the strength
and evenness of the teeth, measured the breadth of shoulders and
depth of chest, and picked up a foot. In the light of another
match he examined all four feet.
"Black, all black, every nail of them," said Daughtry, "an' as
clean feet as ever a dog walked on, straight-out toes with the
proper arch 'n' small 'n' not too small. I bet your daddy and
your mother cantered away with the ribbons in their day."
Michael was for growing restless at such searching examination,
but Daughtry, in the midst of feeling out the lines and build of
the thighs and hocks, paused and took Michael's tail in his magic
fingers, exploring the muscles among which it rooted, pressing and
prodding the adjacent spinal column from which it sprang, and
twisting it about in a most daringly intimate way. And Michael
was in an ecstasy, bracing his hindquarters to one side or the
other against the caressing fingers. With open hands laid along
his sides and partly under him, the man suddenly lifted him from
the ground. But before he could feel alarm he was back on the
"Twenty-six or -seven--you're over twenty-five right now, I'll bet
you on it, shillings to ha'pennies, and you'll make thirty when
you get your full weight," Dag Daughtry told him. "But what of
it? Lots of the judges fancy the thirty-mark. An' you could
always train off a few ounces. You're all dog n' all correct
conformation. You've got the racing build and the fighting
weight, an' there ain't no feathers on your legs."
"No, sir, Mr. Dog, your weight's to the good, and that ear can be
ironed out by any respectable dog--doctor. I bet there's a
hundred men in Sydney right now that would fork over twenty quid
for the right of calling you his."
And then, just that Michael should not make the mistake of
thinking he was being much made over, Daughtry leaned back,
relighted his pipe, and apparently forgot his existence. Instead
of bidding for good will, he was bent on making Michael do the
And Michael did, bumping his flanks against Daughtry's knee;
nudging his head against Daughtry's hand, in solicitation for more
of the blissful ear-rubbing and tail-twisting. Daughtry caught
him by the jowl instead and slowly moved his head back and forth
as he addressed him:
"What man's dog are you? Maybe you're a nigger's dog, an' that
ain't right. Maybe some nigger's stole you, an' that'd be awful.
Think of the cruel fates that sometimes happens to dogs. It's a
damn shame. No white man's stand for a nigger ownin' the likes of
you, an' here's one white man that ain't goin' to stand for it.
The idea! A nigger ownin' you an' not knowin' how to train you.
Of course a nigger stole you. If I laid eyes on him right now I'd
up and knock seven bells and the Saint Paul chimes out of 'm. '
Sure thing I would. Just show 'm to me, that's all, an' see what
I'd do to him. The idea of you takin' orders from a nigger an'
fetchin' 'n' carryin' for him! No, sir, dog, you ain't goin' to
do it any more. You're comin' along of me, an' I reckon I won't
have to urge you."
Dag Daughtry stood up and turned carelessly along the beach.
Michael looked after him, but did not follow. He was eager to,
but had received no invitation. At last Daughtry made a low
kissing sound with his lips. So low was it that he scarcely heard
it himself and almost took it on faith, or on the testimony of his
lips rather than of his ears, that he had made it. No human being
could have heard it across the distance to Michael; but Michael
heard it, and sprang away after in a great delighted rush.
Dag Daughtry strolled along the beach, Michael at his heels or
running circles of delight around him at every repetition of that
strange low lip-noise, and paused just outside the circle of
lantern light where dusky forms laboured with landing cargo from
the whale-boats and where the Commissioner's clerk and the
Makambo's super-cargo still wrangled over the bill of lading.
When Michael would have gone forward, the man withstrained him
with the same inarticulate, almost inaudible kiss.
For Daughtry did not care to be seen on such dog-stealing
enterprises and was planning how to get on board the steamer
unobserved. He edged around outside the lantern shine and went on
along the beach to the native village. As he had foreseen, all
the able-bodied men were down at the boat-landing working cargo.
The grass houses seemed lifeless, but at last, from one of them,
came a challenge in the querulous, high-pitched tones of age:
"Me walk about plenty too much," he replied in the beche-de-mer
English of the west South Pacific. "Me belong along steamer.
Suppose 'm you take 'm me along canoe, washee-washee, me give 'm
you fella boy two stick tobacco."
"Suppose 'm you give 'm me ten stick, all right along me," came
"Me give 'm five stick," the six-quart steward bargained.
"Suppose 'm you no like 'm five stick then you fella boy go to
hell close up."
There was a silence.
"You like 'm five stick?" Daughtry insisted of the dark interior.
"Me like 'm," the darkness answered, and through the darkness the
body that owned the voice approached with such strange sounds that
the steward lighted a match to see.
A blear-eyed ancient stood before him, balancing on a single
crutch. His eyes were half-filmed over by a growth of morbid
membrane, and what was not yet covered shone red and irritated.
His hair was mangy, standing out in isolated patches of wispy
grey. His skin was scarred and wrinkled and mottled, and in
colour was a purplish blue surfaced with a grey coating that might
have been painted there had it not indubitably grown there and
been part and parcel of him.
A blighted leper--was Daughtry's thought as his quick eyes leapt
from hands to feet in quest of missing toe- and finger-joints.
But in those items the ancient was intact, although one leg ceased
midway between knee and thigh.
"My word! What place stop 'm that fella leg?" quoth Daughtry,
pointing to the space which the member would have occupied had it
not been absent.
"Big fella shark-fish, that fella leg stop 'm along him," the
ancient grinned, exposing a horrible aperture of toothlessness for
"Me old fella boy too much," the one-legged Methuselah quavered.
"Long time too much no smoke 'm tobacco. Suppose 'm you big fella
white marster give 'm me one fella stick, close up me washee-
washee you that fella steamer."
"Suppose 'm me no give?" the steward impatiently temporized.
For reply, the old man half-turned, and, on his crutch, swinging
his stump of leg in the air, began sidling hippity-hop into the
"All right," Daughtry cried hastily. "Me give 'm you smoke 'm
He dipped into a side coat-pocket for the mintage of the Solomons
and stripped off a stick from the handful of pressed sticks. The
old man was transfigured as he reached avidly for the stick and
received it. He uttered little crooning noises, alternating with
sharp cries akin to pain, half-ecstatic, half-petulant, as he drew
a black clay pipe from a hole in his ear-lobe, and into the bowl
of it, with trembling fingers, untwisted and crumbled the cheap
leaf of spoiled Virginia crop.
Pressing down the contents of the full bowl with his thumb, he
suddenly plumped upon the ground, the crutch beside him, the one
limb under him so that he had the seeming of a legless torso.
From a small bag of twisted coconut hanging from his neck upon his
withered and sunken chest, he drew out flint and steel and tinder,
and, even while the impatient steward was proffering him a box of
matches, struck a spark, caught it in the tinder, blew it into
strength and quantity, and lighted his pipe from it.
With the first full puff of the smoke he gave over his moans and
yelps, the agitation began to fade out of him, and Daughtry,
appreciatively waiting, saw the trembling go out of his hands, the
pendulous lip-quivering cease, the saliva stop flowing from the
corners of his mouth, and placidity come into the fiery remnants
of his eyes.
What the old man visioned in the silence that fell, Daughtry did
not try to guess. He was too occupied with his own vision, and
vividly burned before him the sordid barrenness of a poorhouse
ward, where an ancient, very like what he himself would become,
maundered and gibbered and drooled for a crumb of tobacco for his
old clay pipe, and where, of all horrors, no sip of beer ever
obtained, much less six quarts of it.
And Michael, by the dim glows of the pipe surveying the scene of
the two old men, one squatted in the dark, the other standing,
knew naught of the tragedy of age, and was only aware, and
overwhelmingly aware, of the immense likableness of this two-
legged white god, who, with fingers of magic, through ear-roots
and tail-roots and spinal column, had won to the heart of him.
The clay pipe smoked utterly out, the old black, by aid of the
crutch, with amazing celerity raised himself upstanding on his one
leg and hobbled, with his hippity-hop, to the beach. Daughtry was
compelled to lend his strength to the hauling down from the sand
into the water of the tiny canoe. It was a dug-out, as ancient
and dilapidated as its owner, and, in order to get into it without
capsizing, Daughtry wet one leg to the ankle and the other leg to
the knee. The old man contorted himself aboard, rolling his body
across the gunwale so quickly, that, even while it started to
capsize, his weight was across the danger-point and
counterbalancing the canoe to its proper equilibrium.
Michael remained on the beach, waiting invitation, his mind not
quite made up, but so nearly so that all that was required was
that lip-noise. Dag Daughtry made the lip-noise so low that the
old man did not hear, and Michael, springing clear from sand to
canoe, was on board without wetting his feet. Using Daughtry's
shoulder for a stepping-place, he passed over him and down into
the bottom of the canoe. Daughtry kissed with his lips again, and
Michael turned around so as to face him, sat down, and rested his
head on the steward's knees.
"I reckon I can take my affydavy on a stack of Bibles that the dog
just up an' followed me," he grinned in Michael's ear.
"Washee-washee quick fella," he commanded.
The ancient obediently dipped his paddle and started pottering an
erratic course in the general direction of the cluster of lights
that marked the Makambo. But he was too feeble, panting and
wheezing continually from the exertion and pausing to rest off
strokes between strokes. The steward impatiently took the paddle
away from him and bent to the work.
Half-way to the steamer the ancient ceased wheezing and spoke,
nodding his head at Michael.
"That fella dog he belong big white marster along schooner . . .
You give 'm me ten stick tobacco," he added after due pause to let
the information sink in.
"I give 'm you bang alongside head," Daughtry assured him
cheerfully. "White marster along schooner plenty friend along me
too much. Just now he stop 'm along Makambo. Me take 'm dog
along him along Makambo."
There was no further conversation from the ancient, and though he
lived long years after, he never mentioned the midnight passenger
in the canoe who carried Michael away with him. When he saw and
heard the confusion and uproar on the beach later that night when
Captain Kellar turned Tulagi upside-down in his search for
Michael, the old one-legged one remained discreetly silent. Who
was he to seek trouble with the strange ones, the white masters
who came and went and roved and ruled?
In this the ancient was in nowise unlike the rest of his dark-
skinned Melanesian race. The whites were possessed of unguessed
and unthinkable ways and purposes. They constituted another world
and were as a play of superior beings on an exalted stage where
was no reality such as black men might know as reality, where,
like the phantoms of a dream, the white men moved and were as
shadows cast upon the vast and mysterious curtain of the Cosmos.
The gang-plank being on the port side, Dag Daughtry paddled around
to the starboard and brought the canoe to a stop under a certain
"Kwaque!" he called softly, once, and twice.
At the second call the light of the port was obscured apparently
by a head that piped down in a thin squeak.
"Me stop 'm, marster."
"One fella dog stop 'm along you," the steward whispered up.
"Keep 'm door shut. You wait along me. Stand by! Now!"
With a quick catch and lift, he passed Michael up and into unseen
hands outstretched from the iron wall of the ship, and paddled
ahead to an open cargo port. Dipping into his tobacco pocket, he
thrust a loose handful of sticks into the ancient's hand and
shoved the canoe adrift with no thought of how its helpless
occupant would ever reach shore.
The old man did not touch the paddle, and he was unregardless of
the lofty-sided steamer as the canoe slipped down the length of it
into the darkness astern. He was too occupied in counting the
wealth of tobacco showered upon him. No easy task, his counting.
Five was the limit of his numerals. When he had counted five, he
began over again and counted a second five. Three fives he found
in all, and two sticks over; and thus, at the end of it, he
possessed as definite a knowledge of the number of sticks as would
be possessed by the average white man by means of the single
More it was, far more, than his avarice had demanded. Yet he was
unsurprised. Nothing white men did could surprise. Had it been
two sticks instead of seventeen, he would have been equally
unsurprised. Since all acts of white men were surprises, the only
surprise of action they could achieve for a black man would be the
doing of an unsurprising thing.
Paddling, wheezing, resting, oblivious of the shadow-world of the
white men, knowing only the reality of Tulagi Mountain cutting its
crest-line blackly across the dim radiance of the star-sprinkled
sky, the reality of the sea and of the canoe he so feebly urged
across it, and the reality of his fading strength and of the death
into which he would surely end, the ancient black man slowly made
his shoreward way.
In the meanwhile, Michael. Lifted through the air, exchanged into
invisible hands that drew him through a narrow diameter of brass
into a lighted room, Michael looked about him in expectancy of
Jerry. But Jerry, at that moment, lay cuddled beside Villa
Kennan's sleeping-cot on the slant deck of the Ariel, as that trim
craft, the Shortlands astern and New Guinea dead ahead, heeled her
scuppers a-whisper and garrulous to the sea-welter alongside as
she logged her eleven knots under the press of the freshening
trades. Instead of Jerry, from whom he had last parted on board a
boat, Michael saw Kwaque.
Kwaque? Well, Kwaque was Kwaque, an individual, more unlike all
other men than most men are unlike one another. No queerer estray
ever drifted along the stream of life. Seventeen years old he
was, as men measure time; but a century was measured in his lean-
lined face, his wrinkled forehead, his hollowed temples, and his
deep-sunk eyes. From his thin legs, fragile-looking as
windstraws, the bones of which were sheathed in withered skin with
apparently no muscle padding in between--from such frail stems
sprouted the torso of a fat man. The huge and protuberant stomach
was amply supported by wide and massive hips, and the shoulders
were broad as those of a Hercules. But, beheld sidewise, there
was no depth to those shoulders and the top of the chest. Almost,
at that part of his anatomy, he seemed builded in two dimensions.
Thin his arms were as his legs, and, as Michael first beheld him,
he had all the seeming of a big-bellied black spider.
He proceeded to dress, a matter of moments, slipping into duck
trousers and blouse, dirty and frayed from long usage. Two
fingers of his left hand were doubled into a permanent bend, and,
to an expert, would have advertised that he was a leper. Although
he belonged to Dag Daughtry just as much as if the steward
possessed a chattel bill of sale of him, his owner did not know
that his anaesthetic twist of ravaged nerves tokened the dread
The manner of the ownership was simple. At King William Island,
in the Admiralties, Kwaque had made, in the parlance of the South
Pacific, a pier-head jump. So to speak, leprosy and all, he had
jumped into Dag Daughtry's arms. Strolling along the native
runways in the fringe of jungle just beyond the beach, as was his
custom, to see whatever he might pick up, the steward had picked
up Kwaque. And he had picked him up in extremity.
Pursued by two very active young men armed with fire-hardened
spears, tottering along with incredible swiftness on his two
spindle legs, Kwaque had fallen exhausted at Daughtry's feet and
looked up at him with the beseeching eyes of a deer fleeing from
the hounds. Daughtry had inquired into the matter, and the
inquiry was violent; for he had a wholesome fear of germs and
bacilli, and when the two active young men tried to run him
through with their filth-corroded spears, he caught the spear of
one young man under his arm and put the other young man to sleep
with a left hook to the jaw. A moment later the young man whose
spear he held had joined the other in slumber.
The elderly steward was not satisfied with the mere spears. While
the rescued Kwaque continued to moan and slubber thankfulness at
his feet, he proceeded to strip them that were naked. Nothing
they wore in the way of clothing, but from around each of their
necks he removed a necklace of porpoise teeth that was worth a
gold sovereign in mere exchange value. From the kinky locks of
one of the naked young men he drew a hand-carved, fine-toothed
comb, the lofty back of which was inlaid with mother-of-pearl,
which he later sold in Sydney to a curio shop for eight shillings.
Nose and ear ornaments of bone and turtle-shell he also rifled, as
well as a chest-crescent of pearl shell, fourteen inches across,
worth fifteen shillings anywhere. The two spears ultimately
fetched him five shillings each from the tourists at Port Moresby.
Not lightly may a ship steward undertake to maintain a six-quart
When he turned to depart from the active young men, who, back to
consciousness, were observing him with bright, quick, wild-animal
eyes, Kwaque followed so close at his heels as to step upon them
and make him stumble. Whereupon he loaded Kwaque with his trove
and put him in front to lead along the runway to the beach. And
for the rest of the way to the steamer, Dag Daughtry grinned and
chuckled at sight of his plunder and at sight of Kwaque, who
fantastically titubated and ambled along, barrel-like, on his
On board the steamer, which happened to be the Cockspur, Daughtry
persuaded the captain to enter Kwaque on the ship's articles as
steward's helper with a rating of ten shillings a month. Also, he
learned Kwaque's story.
It was all an account of a pig. The two active young men were
brothers who lived in the next village to his, and the pig had
been theirs--so Kwaque narrated in atrocious beche-de-mer English.
He, Kwaque, had never seen the pig. He had never known of its
existence until after it was dead. The two young men had loved
the pig. But what of that? It did not concern Kwaque, who was as
unaware of their love for the pig as he was unaware of the pig
The first he knew, he averred, was the gossip of the village that
the pig was dead, and that somebody would have to die for it. It
was all right, he said, in reply to a query from the steward. It
was the custom. Whenever a loved pig died its owners were in
custom bound to go out and kill somebody, anybody. Of course, it
was better if they killed the one whose magic had made the pig
sick. But, failing that one, any one would do. Hence Kwaque was
selected for the blood-atonement.
Dag Daughtry drank a seventh quart as he listened, so carried away
was he by the sombre sense of romance of this dark jungle event
wherein men killed even strangers because a pig was dead.
Scouts out on the runways, Kwaque continued, brought word of the
coming of the two bereaved pig-owners, and the village had fled
into the jungle and climbed trees--all except Kwaque, who was
unable to climb trees.
"My word," Kwaque concluded, "me no make 'm that fella pig sick."
"My word," quoth Dag Daughtry, "you devil-devil along that fella
pig too much. You look 'm like hell. You make 'm any fella thing
sick look along you. You make 'm me sick too much."
It became quite a custom for the steward, as he finished his sixth
bottle before turning in, to call upon Kwaque for his story. It
carried him back to his boyhood when he had been excited by tales
of wild cannibals in far lands and dreamed some day to see them
for himself. And here he was, he would chuckle to himself, with a
real true cannibal for a slave.
A slave Kwaque was, as much as if Daughtry had bought him on the
auction-block. Whenever the steward transferred from ship to ship
of the Burns Philp fleet, he always stipulated that Kwaque should
accompany him and be duly rated at ten shillings. Kwaque had no
say in the matter. Even had he desired to escape in Australian
ports, there was no need for Daughtry to watch him. Australia,
with her "all-white" policy, attended to that. No dark-skinned
human, whether Malay, Japanese, or Polynesian, could land on her
shore without putting into the Government's hand a cash security
of one hundred pounds.
Nor at the other islands visited by the Makambo had Kwaque any
desire to cut and run for it. King William Island, which was the
only land he had ever trod, was his yard-stick by which he
measured all other islands. And since King William Island was
cannibalistic, he could only conclude that the other islands were
given to similar dietary practice.
As for King William Island, the Makambo, on the former run of the
Cockspur, stopped there every ten weeks; but the direst threat
Daughtry ever held over him was the putting ashore of him at the
place where the two active young men still mourned their pig. In
fact, it was their regular programme, each trip, to paddle out and
around the Makambo and make ferocious grimaces up at Kwaque, who
grimaced back at them from over the rail. Daughtry even
encouraged this exchange of facial amenities for the purpose of
deterring him from ever hoping to win ashore to the village of his
For that matter, Kwaque had little desire to leave his master,
who, after all, was kindly and just, and never lifted a hand to
him. Having survived sea-sickness at the first, and never setting
foot upon the land so that he never again knew sea-sickness,
Kwaque was certain he lived in an earthly paradise. He never had
to regret his inability to climb trees, because danger never
threatened him. He had food regularly, and all he wanted, and it
was such food! No one in his village could have dreamed of any
delicacy of the many delicacies which he consumed all the time.
Because of these matters he even pulled through a light attack of
home-sickness, and was as contented a human as ever sailed the
And Kwaque it was who pulled Michael through the port-hole into
Dag Daughtry's stateroom and waited for that worthy to arrive by
the roundabout way of the door. After a quick look around the
room and a sniff of the bunk and under the bunk which informed him
that Jerry was not present, Michael turned his attention to
Kwaque tried to be friendly. He uttered a clucking noise in
advertisement of his friendliness, and Michael snarled at this
black who had dared to lay hands upon him--a contamination,
according to Michael's training--and who now dared to address him
who associated only with white gods.
Kwaque passed off the rebuff with a silly gibbering laugh and
started to step nearer the door to be in readiness to open it at
his master's coming. But at first lift of his leg, Michael flew
at it. Kwaque immediately put it down, and Michael subsided,
though he kept a watchful guard. What did he know of this strange
black, save that he was a black and that, in the absence of a
white master, all blacks required watching? Kwaque tried slowly
sliding his foot along the floor, but Michael knew the trick and
with bristle and growl put a stop to it.
It was upon this tableau that Daughtry entered, and, while he
admired Michael much under the bright electric light, he realized
"Kwaque, you make 'm walk about leg belong you," he commanded, in
order to make sure.
Kwaque's glance of apprehension at Michael was convincing enough,
but the steward insisted. Kwaque gingerly obeyed, but scarcely
had his foot moved an inch when Michael's was upon him. The foot
and leg petrified, while Michael stiff-leggedly drew a half-circle
of intimidation about him.
"Got you nailed to the floor, eh?" Daughtry chuckled. "Some
nigger-chaser, my word, any amount."
"Hey, you, Kwaque, go fetch 'm two fella bottle of beer stop 'm
along icey-chestis," he commanded in his most peremptory manner.
Kwaque looked beseechingly, but did not stir. Nor did he stir at
a harsher repetition of the order.
"My word!" the steward bullied. "Suppose 'm you no fetch 'm beer
close up, I knock 'm eight bells 'n 'a dog-watch onta you.
Suppose 'm you no fetch 'm close up, me make 'm you go ashore 'n'
walk about along King William Island."
"No can," Kwaque murmured timidly. "Eye belong dog look along me
too much. Me no like 'm dog kai-kai along me."
"You fright along dog?" his master demanded.
"My word, me fright along dog any amount."
Dag Daughtry was delighted. Also, he was thirsty from his trip
ashore and did not prolong the situation.
"Hey, you, dog," he addressed Michael. "This fella boy he all
right. Savvee? He all right."
Michael bobbed his tail and flattened his ears in token that he
was trying to understand. When the steward patted the black on
the shoulder, Michael advanced and sniffed both the legs he had
kept nailed to the floor.
"Walk about," Daughtry commanded. "Walk about slow fella," he
cautioned, though there was little need.
Michael bristled, but permitted the first timid step. At the
second he glanced up at Daughtry to make certain.
"That's right," he was reassured. "That fella boy belong me. He
all right, you bet."
Michael smiled with his eyes that he understood, and turned
casually aside to investigate an open box on the floor which
contained plates of turtle-shell, hack-saws, and emery paper.
"And now," Dag Daughtry muttered weightily aloud, as, bottle in
hand, he leaned back in his arm-chair while Kwaque knelt at his
feet to unlace his shoes, "now to consider a name for you, Mister
Dog, that will be just to your breeding and fair to my powers of
Irish terriers, when they have gained maturity, are notable, not
alone for their courage, fidelity, and capacity for love, but for
their cool-headedness and power of self-control and restraint.
They are less easily excited off their balance; they can recognize
and obey their master's voice in the scuffle and rage of battle;
and they never fly into nervous hysterics such as are common, say,
Michael possessed no trace of hysteria, though he was more
temperamentally excitable and explosive than his blood-brother
Jerry, while his father and mother were a sedate old couple indeed
compared with him. Far more than mature Jerry, was mature Michael
playful and rowdyish. His ebullient spirits were always on tap to
spill over on the slightest provocation, and, as he was afterwards
to demonstrate, he could weary a puppy with play. In short,
Michael was a merry soul.
"Soul" is used advisedly. Whatever the human soul may be--
informing spirit, identity, personality, consciousness--that
intangible thing Michael certainly possessed. His soul, differing
only in degree, partook of the same attributes as the human soul.
He knew love, sorrow, joy, wrath, pride, self-consciousness,
humour. Three cardinal attributes of the human soul are memory,
will, and understanding; and memory, will, and understanding were
Just like a human, with his five senses he contacted with the
world exterior to him. Just like a human, the results to him of
these contacts were sensations. Just like a human, these
sensations on occasion culminated in emotions. Still further,
like a human, he could and did perceive, and such perceptions did
flower in his brain as concepts, certainly not so wide and deep
and recondite as those of humans, but concepts nevertheless.
Perhaps, to let the human down a trifle from such disgraceful
identity of the highest life-attributes, it would be well to admit
that Michael's sensations were not quite so poignant, say in the
matter of a needle-thrust through his foot as compared with a
needle-thrust through the palm of a hand. Also, it is admitted,
when consciousness suffused his brain with a thought, that the
thought was dimmer, vaguer than a similar thought in a human
brain. Furthermore, it is admitted that never, never, in a
million lifetimes, could Michael have demonstrated a proposition
in Euclid or solved a quadratic equation. Yet he was capable of
knowing beyond all peradventure of a doubt that three bones are
more than two bones, and that ten dogs compose a more redoubtable
host than do two dogs.
One admission, however, will not be made, namely, that Michael
could not love as devotedly, as wholeheartedly, unselfishly,
madly, self-sacrificingly as a human. He did so love--not because
he was Michael, but because he was a dog.
Michael had loved Captain Kellar more than he loved his own life.
No more than Jerry for Skipper, would he have hesitated to risk
his life for Captain Kellar. And he was destined, as time went by
and the conviction that Captain Kellar had passed into the
inevitable nothingness along with Meringe and the Solomons, to
love just as absolutely this six-quart steward with the
understanding ways and the fascinating lip-caress. Kwaque, no;
for Kwaque was black. Kwaque he merely accepted, as an
appurtenance, as a part of the human landscape, as a chattel of
But he did not know this new god as Dag Daughtry. Kwaque called
him "marster"; but Michael heard other white men so addressed by
the blacks. Many blacks had he heard call Captain Kellar
"marster." It was Captain Duncan who called the steward
"Steward." Michael came to hear him, and his officers, and all
the passengers, so call him; and thus, to Michael, his god's name
was Steward, and for ever after he was to know him and think of
him as Steward.
There was the question of his own name. The next evening after he
came on board, Dag Daughtry talked it over with him. Michael sat
on his haunches, the length of his lower jaw resting on Daughtry's
knee, the while his eyes dilated, contracted and glowed, his ears
ever pricking and repricking to listen, his stump tail thumping
ecstatically on the floor.
"It's this way, son," the steward told him. "Your father and
mother were Irish. Now don't be denying it, you rascal--"
This, as Michael, encouraged by the unmistakable geniality and
kindness in the voice, wriggled his whole body and thumped double
knocks of delight with his tail. Not that he understood a word of
it, but that he did understand the something behind the speech
that informed the string of sounds with all the mysterious
likeableness that white gods possessed.
"Never be ashamed of your ancestry. An' remember, God loves the
Irish--Kwaque! Go fetch 'm two bottle beer fella stop 'm along
icey-chestis!--Why, the very mug of you, my lad, sticks out Irish
all over it." (Michael's tail beat a tattoo.) "Now don't be
blarneyin' me. 'Tis well I'm wise to your insidyous, snugglin',
heart-stealin' ways. I'll have ye know my heart's impervious.
'Tis soaked too long this many a day in beer. I stole you to sell
you, not to be lovin' you. I could've loved you once; but that
was before me and beer was introduced. I'd sell you for twenty
quid right now, coin down, if the chance offered. An' I ain't
goin' to love you, so you can put that in your pipe 'n' smoke it."
"But as I was about to say when so rudely interrupted by your
Here he broke off to tilt to his mouth the opened bottle Kwaque
handed him. He sighed, wiped his lips with the back of his hand,
"'Tis a strange thing, son, this silly matter of beer. Kwaque,
the Methusalem-faced ape grinnin' there, belongs to me. But by my
faith do I belong to beer, bottles 'n' bottles of it 'n' mountains
of bottles of it enough to sink the ship. Dog, truly I envy you,
settin' there comfortable-like inside your body that's untainted
of alcohol. I may own you, and the man that gives me twenty quid
will own you, but never will a mountain of bottles own you.
You're a freer man than I am, Mister Dog, though I don't know your
name. Which reminds me--"
He drained the bottle, tossed it to Kwaque, and made signs for him
to open the remaining one.
"The namin' of you, son, is not lightly to be considered. Irish,
of course, but what shall it be? Paddy? Well may you shake your
head. There's no smack of distinction to it. Who'd mistake you
for a hod-carrier? Ballymena might do, but it sounds much like a
lady, my boy. Ay, boy you are. 'Tis an idea. Boy! Let's see.
Banshee Boy? Rotten. Lad of Erin!"
He nodded approbation and reached for the second bottle. He drank
and meditated, and drank again.
"I've got you," he announced solemnly. "Killeny is a lovely name,
and it's Killeny Boy for you. How's that strike your
honourableness?--high-soundin', dignified as a earl or . . . or a
retired brewer. Many's the one of that gentry I've helped to
retire in my day."
He finished his bottle, caught Michael suddenly by both jowls,
and, leaning forward, rubbed noses with him. As suddenly
released, with thumping tail and dancing eyes, Michael gazed up
into the god's face. A definite soul, or entity, or spirit-thing
glimmered behind his dog's eyes, already fond with affection for
this hair-grizzled god who talked with him he knew not what, but
whose very talking carried delicious and unguessable messages to
"Hey! Kwaque, you!"
Kwaque, squatted on the floor, his hams on his heels, paused from
the rough-polishing of a shell comb designed and cut out by his
master, and looked up, eager to receive command and serve.
"Kwaque, you fella this time now savvee name stop along this fella
dog. His name belong 'm him, Killeny Boy. You make 'm name stop
'm inside head belong you. All the time you speak 'm this fella
dog, you speak 'm Killeny Boy. Savvee? Suppose 'm you no savvee,
I knock 'm block off belong you. Killeny Boy, savvee! Killeny
Boy. Killeny Boy."
As Kwaque removed his shoes and helped him undress, Daughtry
regarded Michael with sleepy eyes.
"I've got you, laddy," he announced, as he stood up and swayed
toward bed. "I've got your name, an' here's your number--I got
that, too: HIGH-STRUNG BUT REASONABLE. It fits you like the
paper on the wall.
"High-strung but reasonable, that's what you are, Killeny Boy,
high-strung but reasonable," he continued to mumble as Kwaque
helped to roll him into his bunk.
Kwaque returned to his polishing. His lips stammered and halted
in the making of noiseless whispers, as, with corrugated brows of
puzzlement, he addressed the steward:
"Marster, what name stop 'm along that fella dog?"
"Killeny Boy, you kinky-head man-eater, Killeny Boy, Killeny Boy,"
Dag Daughtry murmured drowsily. "Kwaque, you black blood-drinker,
run n' fetch 'm one fella bottle stop 'm along icey-chestis."
"No stop 'm, marster," the black quavered, with eyes alert for
something to be thrown at him. "Six fella bottle he finish
The steward's sole reply was a snore.
The black, with the twisted hand of leprosy and with a barely
perceptible infiltration of the same disease thickening the skin
of the forehead between the eyes, bent over his polishing, and
ever his lips moved, repeating over and over, "Killeny Boy."
For a number of days Michael saw only Steward and Kwaque. This
was because he was confined to the steward's stateroom. Nobody
else knew that he was on board, and Dag Daughtry, thoroughly aware
that he had stolen a white man's dog, hoped to keep his presence
secret and smuggle him ashore when the Makambo docked in Sydney.
Quickly the steward learned Michael's pre-eminent teachableness.
In the course of his careful feeding of him, he gave him an
occasional chicken bone. Two lessons, which would scarcely be
called lessons, since both of them occurred within five minutes
and each was not over half a minute in duration, sufficed to teach
Michael that only on the floor of the room in the corner nearest
the door could he chew chicken bones. Thereafter, without
prompting, as a matter of course when handed a bone, he carried it
to the corner.
And why not? He had the wit to grasp what Steward desired of him;
he had the heart that made it a happiness for him to serve.
Steward was a god who was kind, who loved him with voice and lip,
who loved him with touch of hand, rub of nose, or enfolding arm.
As all service flourishes in the soil of love, so with Michael.
Had Steward commanded him to forego the chicken bone after it was
in the corner, he would have served him by foregoing. Which is
the way of the dog, the only animal that will cheerfully and
gladly, with leaping body of joy, leave its food uneaten in order
to accompany or to serve its human master.
Practically all his waking time off duty, Dag Daughtry spent with
the imprisoned Michael, who, at command, had quickly learned to
refrain from whining and barking. And during these hours of
companionship Michael learned many things. Daughtry found that he
already understood and obeyed simple things such as "no," "yes,"
"get up," and "lie down," and he improved on them, teaching him,
"Go into the bunk and lie down," "Go under the bunk," "Bring one
shoe," "Bring two shoes." And almost without any work at all, he
taught him to roll over, to say his prayers, to play dead, to sit
up and smoke a pipe with a hat on his head, and not merely to
stand up on his hind legs but to walk on them.
Then, too, was the trick of "no can and can do." Placing a
savoury, nose-tantalising bit of meat or cheese on the edge of the
bunk on a level with Michael's nose, Daughtry would simply say,
"No can." Nor would Michael touch the food till he received the
welcome, "Can do." Daughtry, with the "no can" still in force,
would leave the stateroom, and, though he remained away half an
hour or half a dozen hours, on his return he would find the food
untouched and Michael, perhaps, asleep in the corner at the head
of the bunk which had been allotted him for a bed. Early in this
trick once when the steward had left the room and Michael's eager
nose was within an inch of the prohibited morsel, Kwaque,
playfully inclined, reached for the morsel himself and received a
lacerated hand from the quick flash and clip of Michael's jaws.
None of the tricks that he was ever eager to do for Steward, would
Michael do for Kwaque, despite the fact that Kwaque had no touch
of meanness or viciousness in him. The point was that Michael had
been trained, from his first dawn of consciousness, to
differentiate between black men and white men. Black men were
always the servants of white men--or such had been his experience;
and always they were objects of suspicion, ever bent on wreaking
mischief and requiring careful watching. The cardinal duty of a
dog was to serve his white god by keeping a vigilant eye on all
blacks that came about.
Yet Michael permitted Kwaque to serve him in matters of food,
water, and other offices, at first in the absence of Steward
attending to his ship duties, and, later, at any time. For he
realized, without thinking about it at all, that whatever Kwaque
did for him, whatever food Kwaque spread for him, really
proceeded, not from Kwaque, but from Kwaque's master who was also
his master. Yet Kwaque bore no grudge against Michael, and was
himself so interested in his lord's welfare and comfort--this lord
who had saved his life that terrible day on King William Island
from the two grief-stricken pig-owners--that he cherished Michael
for his lord's sake. Seeing the dog growing into his master's
affection, Kwaque himself developed a genuine affection for
Michael--much in the same way that he worshipped anything of the
steward's, whether the shoes he polished for him, the clothes he
brushed and cleaned for him, or the six bottles of beer he put
into the ice-chest each day for him.
In truth, there was nothing of the master-quality in Kwaque, while
Michael was a natural aristocrat. Michael, out of love, would
serve Steward, but Michael lorded it over the kinky-head. Kwaque
possessed overwhelmingly the slave-nature, while in Michael there
was little more of the slave-nature than was found in the North
American Indians when the vain attempt was made to make them into
slaves on the plantations of Cuba. All of which was no personal
vice of Kwaque or virtue of Michael. Michael's heredity, rigidly
selected for ages by man, was chiefly composed of fierceness and
faithfulness. And fierceness and faithfulness, together,
invariably produce pride. And pride cannot exist without honour,
nor can honour without poise.
Michael's crowning achievement, under Daughtry's tutelage, in the
first days in the stateroom, was to learn to count up to five.
Many hours of work were required, however, in spite of his unusual
high endowment of intelligence. For he had to learn, first, the
spoken numerals; second, to see with his eyes and in his brain
differentiate between one object, and all other groups of objects
up to and including the group of five; and, third, in his mind, to
relate an object, or any group of objects, with its numerical name
as uttered by Steward.
In the training Dag Daughtry used balls of paper tied about with
twine. He would toss the five balls under the bunk and tell
Michael to fetch three, and neither two, nor four, but three would
Michael bring forth and deliver into his hand. When Daughtry
threw three under the bunk and demanded four, Michael would
deliver the three, search about vainly for the fourth, then dance
pleadingly with bobs of tail and half-leaps about Steward, and
finally leap into the bed and secure the fourth from under the
pillow or among the blankets.
It was the same with other known objects. Up to five, whether
shoes or shirts or pillow-slips, Michael would fetch the number
requested. And between the mathematical mind of Michael, who
counted to five, and the mind of the ancient black at Tulagi, who
counted sticks of tobacco in units of five, was a distance shorter
than that between Michael and Dag Daughtry who could do
multiplication and long division. In the same manner, up the same
ladder of mathematical ability, a still greater distance separated
Dag Daughtry from Captain Duncan, who by mathematics navigated the
Makambo. Greatest mathematical distance of all was that between
Captain Duncan's mind and the mind of an astronomer who charted
the heavens and navigated a thousand million miles away among the
stars and who tossed, a mere morsel of his mathematical knowledge,
the few shreds of information to Captain Duncan that enabled him
to know from day to day the place of the Makambo on the sea.
In one thing only could Kwaque rule Michael. Kwaque possessed a
jews' harp, and, whenever the world of the Makambo and the
servitude to the steward grew wearisome, he could transport
himself to King William Island by thrusting the primitive
instrument between his jaws and fanning weird rhythms from it with
his hand, and when he thus crossed space and time, Michael sang--
or howled, rather, though his howl possessed the same soft
mellowness as Jerry's. Michael did not want to howl, but the
chemistry of his being was such that he reacted to music as
compulsively as elements react on one another in the laboratory.
While he lay perdu in Steward's stateroom, his voice was the one
thing that was not to be heard, so Kwaque was forced to seek the
solace of his jews' harp in the sweltering heat of the gratings
over the fire-room. But this did not continue long, for, either
according to blind chance, or to the lines of fate written in the
book of life ere ever the foundations of the world were laid,
Michael was scheduled for an adventure that was profoundly to
affect, not alone his own destiny, but the destinies of Kwaque and
Dag Daughtry and determine the very place of their death and
The adventure that was so to alter the future occurred when
Michael, in no uncertain manner, announced to all and sundry his
presence on the Makambo. It was due to Kwaque's carelessness, to
commence with, for Kwaque left the stateroom without tight-closing
the door. As the Makambo rolled on an easy sea the door swung
back and forth, remaining wide open for intervals and banging shut
but not banging hard enough to latch itself.
Michael crossed the high threshold with the innocent intention of
exploring no farther than the immediate vicinity. But scarcely
was he through, when a heavier roll slammed the door and latched
it. And immediately Michael wanted to get back. Obedience was
strong in him, for it was his heart's desire to serve his lord's
will, and from the few days' confinement he sensed, or guessed, or
divined, without thinking about it, that it was Steward's will for
him to stay in the stateroom.
For a long time he sat down before the closed door, regarding it
wistfully but being too wise to bark or speak to such inanimate
object. It had been part of his early puppyhood education to
learn that only live things could be moved by plea or threat, and
that while things not alive did move, as the door had moved, they
never moved of themselves, and were deaf to anything life might
have to say to them. Occasionally he trotted down the short
cross-hall upon which the stateroom opened, and gazed up and down
the long hall that ran fore and aft.
For the better part of an hour he did this, returning always to
the door that would not open. Then he achieved a definite idea.
Since the door would not open, and since Steward and Kwaque did
not return, he would go in search of them. Once with this concept
of action clear in his brain, without timidities of hesitation and
irresolution, he trotted aft down the long hall. Going around the
right angle in which it ended, he encountered a narrow flight of
steps. Among many scents, he recognized those of Kwaque and
Steward and knew they had passed that way.
Up the stairs and on the main deck, he began to meet passengers.
Being white gods, he did not resent their addresses to him, though
he did not linger and went out on the open deck where more of the
favoured gods reclined in steamer-chairs. Still no Kwaque or
Steward. Another flight of narrow, steep stairs invited, and he
came out on the boat-deck. Here, under the wide awnings, were
many more of the gods--many times more than he had that far seen
in his life.
The for'ard end of the boat-deck terminated in the bridge, which,
instead of being raised above it, was part of it. Trotting around
the wheel-house to the shady lee-side of it, he came upon his
fate; for be it known that Captain Duncan possessed on board in
addition to two fox-terriers, a big Persian cat, and that cat
possessed a litter of kittens. Her chosen nursery was the wheel-
house, and Captain Duncan had humoured her, giving her a box for
her kittens and threatening the quartermasters with all manner of
dire fates did they so much as step on one of the kittens.
But Michael knew nothing of this. And the big Persian knew of his
existence before he did of hers. In fact, the first he knew was
when she launched herself upon him out of the open wheel-house
doorway. Even as he glimpsed this abrupt danger, and before he
could know what it was, he leaped sideways and saved himself.
From his point of view, the assault was unprovoked. He was
staring at her with bristling hair, recognizing her for what she
was, a cat, when she sprang again, her tail the size of a large
man's arm, all claws and spitting fury and vindictiveness.
This was too much for a self-respecting Irish terrier. His wrath
was immediate with her second leap, and he sprang to the side to
avoid her claws, and in from the side to meet her, his jaws
clamping together on her spinal column with a jerk while she was
still in mid-air. The next moment she lay sprawling and
struggling on the deck with a broken back.
But for Michael this was only the beginning. A shrill yelling,
rather than yelping, of more enemies made him whirl half about,
but not quick enough. Struck in flank by two full-grown fox-
terriers, he was slashed and rolled on the deck. The two, by the
way, had long before made their first appearance on the Makambo as
little puppies in Dag Daughtry's coat pockets--Daughtry, in his
usual fashion, having appropriated them ashore in Sydney and sold
them to Captain Duncan for a guinea apiece.
By this time, scrambling to his feet, Michael was really angry.
In truth, it was raining cats and dogs, such belligerent shower
all unprovoked by him who had picked no quarrels nor even been
aware of his enemies until they assailed him. Brave the fox-
terriers were, despite the hysterical rage they were in, and they
were upon him as he got his legs under him. The fangs of one
clashed with his, cutting the lips of both of them, and the
lighter dog recoiled from the impact. The other succeeded in
taking Michael in flank, fetching blood and hurt with his teeth.
With an instant curve, that was almost spasmodic, of his body,
Michael flung his flank clear, leaving the other's mouth full of
his hair, and at the same moment drove his teeth through an ear
till they met. The fox-terrier, with a shrill yelp of pain,
sprang back so impetuously as to ribbon its ear as Michael's teeth
combed through it.
The first terrier was back upon him, and he was whirling to meet
it, when a new and equally unprovoked assault was made upon him.
This time it was Captain Duncan, in a rage at sight of his slain
cat. The instep of his foot caught Michael squarely under the
chest, half knocking the breath out of him and wholly lifting him
into the air, so that he fell heavily on his side. The two
terriers were upon him, filling their mouths with his straight,
wiry hair as they sank their teeth in. Still on his side, as he
was beginning to struggle to his feet, he clipped his jaws
together on a leg of one, who screamed with pain and retreated on
three legs, holding up the fourth, a fore leg, the bone of which
Michael's teeth had all but crushed.
Twice Michael slashed the other four-footed foe and then pursued
him in a circle with Captain Duncan pursuing him in turn.
Shortening the distance by leaping across a chord of the arc of
the other's flight, Michael closed his jaws on the back and side
of the neck. Such abrupt arrest in mid-flight by the heavier dog
brought the fox-terrier down on deck with, a heavy thump.
Simultaneous with this, Captain Duncan's second kick landed,
communicating such propulsion to Michael as to tear his clenched
teeth through the flesh and out of the flesh of the fox-terrier.
And Michael turned on the Captain. What if he were a white god?
In his rage at so many assaults of so many enemies, Michael, who
had been peacefully looking for Kwaque and Steward, did not stop
to reckon. Besides, it was a strange white god upon whom he had
never before laid eyes.
At the beginning he had snarled and growled. But it was a more
serious affair to attack a god, and no sound came from him as he
leaped to meet the leg flying toward him in another kick. As with
the cat, he did not leap straight at it. To the side to avoid,
and in with a curve of body as it passed, was his way. He had
learned the trick with many blacks at Meringe and on board the
Eugenie, so that as often he succeeded as failed at it. His teeth
came together in the slack of the white duck trousers. The
consequent jerk on Captain Duncan's leg made that infuriated
mariner lose his balance. Almost he fell forward on his face,
part recovered himself with a violent effort, stumbled over
Michael who was in for another bite, tottered wildly around, and
sat down on the deck.
How long he might have sat there to recover his breath is
problematical, for he rose as rapidly as his stoutness would
permit, spurred on by Michael's teeth already sunk into the fleshy
part of his shoulder. Michael missed his calf as he uprose, but
tore the other leg of the trousers to shreds and received a kick
that lifted him a yard above the deck in a half-somersault and
landed him on his back on deck.
Up to this time the Captain had been on the ferocious offensive,
and he was in the act of following up the kick when Michael
regained his feet and soared up in the air, not for leg or thigh,
but for the throat. Too high it was for him to reach it, but his
teeth closed on the flowing black scarf and tore it to tatters as
his weight drew him back to deck.
It was not this so much that turned Captain Duncan to the pure
defensive and started him retreating backward, as it was the
silence of Michael. Ominous as death it was. There were no
snarls nor throat-threats. With eyes straight-looking and
unblinking, he sprang and sprang again. Neither did he growl when
he attacked nor yelp when he was kicked. Fear of the blow was not
in him. As Tom Haggin had so often bragged of Biddy and Terrence,
they bred true in Jerry and Michael in the matter of not wincing
at a blow. Always--they were so made--they sprang to meet the
blow and to encounter the creature who delivered the blow. With a
silence that was invested with the seriousness of death, they were
wont to attack and to continue to attack.
And so Michael. As the Captain retreated kicking, he attacked,
leaping and slashing. What saved Captain Duncan was a sailor with
a deck mop on the end of a stick. Intervening, he managed to
thrust it into Michael's mouth and shove him away. This first
time his teeth closed automatically upon it. But, spitting it
out, he declined thereafter to bite it, knowing it for what it
was, an inanimate thing upon which his teeth could inflict no
Nor, beyond trying to avoid him, was he interested in the sailor.
It was Captain Duncan, leaning his back against the rail,
breathing heavily, and wiping the streaming sweat from his face,
who was Michael's meat. Long as it has taken to tell the battle,
beginning with the slaying of the Persian cat to the thrusting of
the mop into Michael's jaws, so swift had been the rush of events
that the passengers, springing from their deck-chairs and hurrying
to the scene, were just arriving when Michael eluded the mop of
the sailor by a successful dodge and plunged in on Captain Duncan,
this time sinking his teeth so savagely into a rotund calf as to
cause its owner to splutter an incoherent curse and howl of
A fortunate kick hurled Michael away and enabled the sailor to
intervene once again with the mop. And upon the scene came Dag
Daughtry, to behold his captain, frayed and bleeding and breathing
apoplectically, Michael raging in ghastly silence at the end of a
mop, and a large Persian mother-cat writhing with a broken back.
"Killeny Boy!" the steward cried imperatively.
Through no matter what indignation and rage that possessed him,
his lord's voice penetrated his consciousness, so that, cooling
almost instantly, Michael's ears flattened, his bristling hair lay
down, and his lips covered his fangs as he turned his head to look
"Come here, Killeny!"
Michael obeyed--not crouching cringingly, but trotting eagerly,
gladly, to Steward's feet.
"Lie down, Boy."
He turned half around as he flumped himself down with a sigh of
relief, and, with a red flash of tongue, kissed Steward's foot.
"Your dog, Steward?" Captain Duncan demanded in a smothered voice
wherein struggled anger and shortness of breath.
"Yes, sir. My dog. What's he been up to, sir?"
The totality of what Michael had been up to choked the Captain
completely. He could only gesture around from the dying cat to
his torn clothes and bleeding wounds and the fox-terriers licking
their injuries and whimpering at his feet.
"It's too bad, sir . . . " Daughtry began.
"Too bad, hell!" the captain shut him off. "Bo's'n! Throw that
"Throw the dog overboard, sir, yes, sir," the boat-swain repeated,
Dag Daughtry's face hardened unconsciously with the stiffening of
his will to dogged opposition, which, in its own slow quiet way,
would go to any length to have its way. But he answered
respectfully enough, his features, by a shrewd effort, relaxing
into a seeming of his customary good-nature.
"He's a good dog, sir, and an unoffending dog. I can't imagine
what could a-made 'm break loose this way. He must a-had cause,
"He had," one of the passengers, a coconut planter from the
The steward threw him a grateful glance and continued.
"He's a good dog, sir, a most obedient dog, sir--look at the way
he minded me right in the thick of the scrap an' come 'n' lay
down. He's smart as chain-lightnin', sir; do anything I tell him.
I'll make him make friends. See. . . "
Stepping over to the two hysterical terriers, Daughtry called
Michael to him.
"He's all right, savvee, Killeny, he all right," he crooned, at
the same time resting one hand on a terrier and the other on
The terrier whimpered and backed solidly against Captain Duncan's
legs, but Michael, with a slow bob of tail and unbelligerent ears,
advanced to him, looked up to Steward to make sure, then sniffed
his late antagonist, and even ran out his tongue in a caress to
the side of the other's ear.
"See, sir, no bad feelings," Daughtry exulted. "He plays the
game, sir. He's a proper dog, he's a man-dog.--Here, Killeny!
The other one. He all right. Kiss and make up. That's the
The other fox-terrier, the one with the injured foreleg, endured
Michael's sniff with no more than hysterical growls deep in the
throat; but the flipping out of Michael's tongue was too much.
The wounded terrier exploded in a futile snap at Michael's tongue
"He all right, Killeny, he all right, sure," Steward warned
With a bob of his tail in token of understanding, without a shade
of resentment, Michael lifted a paw and with a playful casual
stroke, dab-like, brought its weight on the other's neck and
rolled him, head-downward, over on the deck. Though he snarled
wrathily, Michael turned away composedly and looked up into
Steward's face for approval.
A roar of laughter from the passengers greeted the capsizing of
the fox-terrier and the good-natured gravity of Michael. But not
alone at this did they laugh, for at the moment of the snap and
the turning over, Captain Duncan's unstrung nerves had exploded,
causing him to jump as he tensed his whole body.
"Why, sir," the steward went on with growing confidence, "I bet I
can make him friends with you, too, by this time to-morrow . . . "
"By this time five minutes he'll be overboard," the captain
answered. "Bo's'n! Over with him!"
The boatswain advanced a tentative step, while murmurs of protest
arose from the passengers.
"Look at my cat, and look at me," Captain Duncan defended his
The boatswain made another step, and Dag Daughtry glared a threat
"Go on!" the Captain commanded.
"Hold on!" spoke up the Shortlands planter. "Give the dog a
square deal. I saw the whole thing. He wasn't looking for
trouble. First the cat jumped him. She had to jump twice before
he turned loose. She'd have scratched his eyes out. Then the two
dogs jumped him. He hadn't bothered them. Then you jumped him.
He hadn't bothered you. And then came that sailor with the mop.
And now you want the bo's'n to jump him and throw him overboard.
Give him a square deal. He's only been defending himself. What
do you expect any dog that is a dog to do?--lie down and be walked
over by every strange dog and cat that comes along? Play the
game, Skipper. You gave him some mighty hard kicks. He only
"He's some defender," Captain Duncan grinned, with a hint of the
return of his ordinary geniality, at the same time tenderly
pressing his bleeding shoulder and looking woefully down at his
tattered duck trousers. "All right, Steward. If you can make him
friends with me in five minutes, he stays on board. But you'll
have to make it up to me with a new pair of trousers."
"And gladly, sir, thank you, sir," Daughtry cried. "And I'll make
it up with a new cat as well, sir--Come on, Killeny Boy. This big
fella marster he all right, you bet."
And Michael listened. Not with the smouldering, smothering,
choking hysteria that still worked in the fox-terriers did he
listen, nor with quivering of muscles and jumps of over-wrought
nerves, but coolly, composedly, as if no battle royal had just
taken place and no rips of teeth and kicks of feet still burned
and ached his body.
He could not help bristling, however, when first he sniffed a
trousers' leg into which his teeth had so recently torn.
"Put your hand down on him, sir," Daughtry begged.
And Captain Duncan, his own good self once more, bent and rested a
firm, unhesitating hand on Michael's head. Nay, more; he even
caressed the ears and rubbed about the roots of them. And Michael
the merry-hearted, who fought like a lion and forgave and forgot
like a man, laid his neck hair smoothly down, wagged his stump
tail, smiled with his eyes and ears and mouth, and kissed with his
tongue the hand with which a short time before he had been at war.
For the rest of the voyage Michael had the run of the ship.
Friendly to all, he reserved his love for Steward alone, though he
was not above many an undignified romp with the fox-terriers.
"The most playful-minded dog, without being silly, I ever saw,"
was Dag Daughtry's verdict to the Shortlands planter, to whom he
had just sold one of his turtle-shell combs. "You see, some dogs
never get over the play-idea, an' they're never good for anything
else. But not Killeny Boy. He can come down to seriousness in a
second. I'll show you, and I'll show you he's got a brain that
counts to five an' knows wireless telegraphy. You just watch."
At the moment the steward made his faint lip-noise--so faint that
he could not hear it himself and was almost for wondering whether
or not he had made it; so faint that the Shortlands planter did
not dream that he was making it. At that moment Michael was lying
squirming on his back a dozen feet away, his legs straight up in
the air, both fox-terriers worrying with well-stimulated
ferociousness. With a quick out-thrust of his four legs, he
rolled over on his side and with questioning eyes and pricked ears
looked and listened. Again Daughtry made the lip-noise; again the
Shortlands planter did not hear nor guess; and Michael bounded to
his feet and to his lord's side.
"Some dog, eh?" the steward boasted.
"But how did he know you wanted him?" the planter queried. "You
never called him."
"Mental telepathy, the affinity of souls pitched in the same
whatever-you-call-it harmony," the steward mystified. "You see,
Killeny an' me are made of the same kind of stuff, only run into
different moulds. He might a-been my full brother, or me his,
only for some mistake in the creation factory somewhere. Now I'll
show you he knows his bit of arithmetic."
And, drawing the paper balls from his pocket, Dag Daughtry
demonstrated to the amazement and satisfaction of the ring of
passengers Michael's ability to count to five.
"Why, sir," Daughtry concluded the performance, "if I was to order
four glasses of beer in a public-house ashore, an' if I was
absent-minded an' didn't notice the waiter 'd only brought three,
Killeny Boy there 'd raise a row instanter."
Kwaque was no longer compelled to enjoy his jews' harp on the
gratings over the fire-room, now that Michael's presence on the
Makambo was known, and, in the stateroom, on stolen occasions, he
made experiments of his own with Michael. Once the jews' harp
began emitting its barbaric rhythms, Michael was helpless. He
needs must open his mouth and pour forth an unwilling, gushing
howl. But, as with Jerry, it was not mere howl. It was more akin
to a mellow singing; and it was not long before Kwaque could lead
his voice up and down, in rough time and tune, within a definite
Michael never liked these lessons, for, looking down upon Kwaque,
he hated in any way to be under the black's compulsion. But all
this was changed when Dag Daughtry surprised them at a singing
lesson. He resurrected the harmonica with which it was his wont,
ashore in public-houses, to while away the time between bottles.
The quickest way to start Michael singing, he discovered, was with
minors; and, once started, he would sing on and on for as long as
the music played. Also, in the absence of an instrument, Michael
would sing to the prompting and accompaniment of Steward's voice,
who would begin by wailing "kow-kow" long and sadly, and then
branch out on some old song or ballad. Michael had hated to sing
with Kwaque, but he loved to do it with Steward, even when Steward
brought him on deck to perform before the laughter-shrieking
Two serious conversations were held by the steward toward the
close of the voyage: one with Captain Duncan and one with
"It's this way, Killeny," Daughtry began, one evening, Michael's
head resting on his lord's knees as he gazed adoringly up into his
lord's face, understanding no whit of what was spoken but loving
the intimacy the sounds betokened. "I stole you for beer money,
an' when I saw you there on the beach that night I knew you'd
bring ten quid anywheres. Ten quid's a horrible lot of money.
Fifty dollars in the way the Yankees reckon it, an' a hundred Mex
in China fashion.
"Now, fifty dollars gold 'd buy beer to beat the band--enough to
drown me if I fell in head first. Yet I want to ask you one
question. Can you see me takin' ten quid for you? . . . Go on.
Speak up. Can you?"
And Michael, with thumps of tail to the floor and a high sharp
bark, showed that he was in entire agreement with whatever had
"Or say twenty quid, now. That's a fair offer. Would I? Eh!
Would I? Not on your life. What d'ye say to fifty quid? That
might begin to interest me, but a hundred quid would interest me
more. Why, a hundred quid all in beer 'd come pretty close to
floatin' this old hooker. But who in Sam Hill'd offer a hundred
quid? I'd like to clap eyes on him once, that's all, just once.
D'ye want to know what for? All right. I'll whisper it. So as I
could tell him to go to hell. Sure, Killeny Boy, just like that--
oh, most polite, of course, just a kindly directin' of his steps
where he'd never suffer from frigid extremities."
Michael's love for Steward was so profound as almost to he a mad
but enduring infatuation. What the steward's regard for Michael
was coming to be was best evidenced by his conversation with
"Sure, sir, he must 've followed me on board," Daughtry finished
his unveracious recital. "An' I never knew it. Last I seen of 'm
was on the beach. Next I seen of 'm there, he was fast asleep in
my bunk. Now how'd he get there, sir? How'd he pick out my room?
I leave it to you, sir. I call it marvellous, just plain
"With a quartermaster at the head of the gangway!" Captain Duncan
snorted. "As if I didn't know your tricks, Steward. There's
nothing marvellous about it. Just a plain case of steal.
Followed you on board? That dog never came over the side. He
came through a port-hole, and he never came through by himself.
That nigger of yours, I'll wager, had a hand in the helping. But
let's have done with beating about the bush. Give me the dog, and
I'll say no more about the cat."
"Seein' you believe what you believe, then you'd be for
compoundin' the felony," Daughtry retorted, the habitual obstinate
tightening of his brows showing which way his will set. "Me, sir,
I'm only a ship's steward, an' it wouldn't mean nothin' at all
bein' arrested for dog-stealin'; but you, sir, a captain of a fine
steamer, how'd it sound for you, sir? No, sir; it'd be much wiser
for me to keep the dog that followed me aboard."
"I'll give ten pounds in the bargain," the captain proffered.
"No, it wouldn't do, it wouldn't do at all, sir, an' you a
captain," the steward continued to reiterate, rolling his head
sombrely. "Besides, I know where's a peach of an Angora in
Sydney. The owner is gone to the country an' has no further use
of it, an' it'd be a kindness to the cat, air to give it a good
regular home like the Makambo."
Another trick Dag Daughtry succeeded in teaching Michael so
enhanced him in Captain Duncan's eyes as to impel him to offer
fifty pounds, "and never mind the cat." At first, Daughtry
practised the trick in private with the chief engineer and the
Shortlands planter. Not until thoroughly satisfied did he make a
public performance of it.
"Now just suppose you're policemen, or detectives," Daughtry told
the first and third officers, "an' suppose I'm guilty of some
horrible crime. An' suppose Killeny is the only clue, an' you've
got Killeny. When he recognizes his master--me, of course--you've
got your man. You go down the deck with him, leadin' by the rope.
Then you come back this way with him, makin' believe this is the
street, an' when he recognizes me you arrest me. But if he don't
realize me, you can't arrest me. See?"
The two officers led Michael away, and after several minutes
returned along the deck, Michael stretched out ahead on the taut
rope seeking Steward.
"What'll you take for the dog?" Daughtry demanded, as they drew
near--this the cue he had trained Michael to know.
And Michael, straining at the rope, went by, without so much as a
wag of tail to Steward or a glance of eye. The officers stopped
before Daughtry and drew Michael back into the group.
"He's a lost dog," said the first officer.
"We're trying to find his owner," supplemented the third.
"Some dog that--what'll you take for 'm?" Daughtry asked, studying
Michael with critical eyes of interest. "What kind of a temper's
"Try him," was the answer.
The steward put out his hand to pat him on the head, but withdrew
it hastily as Michael, with bristle and growl, viciously bared his
"Go on, go on, he won't hurt you," the delighted passengers urged.
This time the steward's hand was barely missed by a snap, and he
leaped back as Michael ferociously sprang the length of the rope
"Take 'm away!" Dag Daughtry roared angrily. "The treacherous
beast! I wouldn't take 'm for gift!"
And as they obeyed, Michael strained backward in a paroxysm of
rage, making fierce short jumps to the end of the tether as he
snarled and growled with utmost fierceness at the steward.
"Eh? Who'd say he ever seen me in his life?" Daughtry demanded
triumphantly. "It's a trick I never seen played myself, but I've
heard tell about it. The old-time poachers in England used to do
it with their lurcher dogs. If they did get the dog of a strange
poacher, no gamekeeper or constable could identify 'm by the dog--
mum was the word."
"Tell you what, he knows things, that Killeny. He knows English.
Right now, in my room, with the door open, an' so as he can find
'm, is shoes, slippers, cap, towel, hair-brush, an' tobacco pouch.
What'll it be? Name it an' he'll fetch it."
So immediately and variously did the passengers respond that every
article was called for.
"Just one of you choose," the steward advised. "The rest of you
pick 'm out."
"Slipper," said Captain Duncan, selected by acclamation.
"One or both?" Daughtry asked.
"Come here, Killeny," Daughtry began, bending toward him but
leaping back from the snap of jaws that clipped together close to
"My mistake," he apologized. "I ain't told him the other game was
over. Now just listen an, watch. 'n' see if you can catch on to
the tip I'm goin' to give 'm."
No one saw anything, heard anything, yet Michael, with a whine of
eagerness and joy, with laughing mouth and wriggling body, was
upon the steward, licking his hands madly, squirming and twisting
in the embrace of the loved hands he had so recently threatened,
making attempts at short upward leaps as he flashed his tongue
upward toward his lord's face. For hard it was on Michael, a
nerve and mental strain of the severest for him so to control
himself as to play-act anger and threat of hurt to his beloved
"Takes him a little time to get over a thing like that," Daughtry
explained, as he soothed Michael down.
"Now, Killeny! Go fetch 'm slipper! Wait! Fetch 'm ONE slipper.
Fetch 'm TWO slipper."
Michael looked up with pricked ears, and with eyes filled with
query as all his intelligent consciousness suffused them.
"TWO slipper! Fetch 'm quick!"
He was off and away in a scurry of speed that seemed to flatten
him close to the deck, and that, as he turned the corner of the
deck-house to the stairs, made his hind feet slip and slide across
the smooth planks.
Almost in a trice he was back, both slippers in his mouth, which
he deposited at the steward's feet.
"The more I know dogs the more amazin' marvellous they are to me,"
Dag Daughtry, after he had compassed his fourth bottle, confided
in monologue to the Shortlands planter that night just before
bedtime. "Take Killeny Boy. He don't do things for me
mechanically, just because he's learned to do 'm. There's more to
it. He does 'm because he likes me. I can't give you the hang of
it, but I feel it, I KNOW it.
"Maybe, this is what I'm drivin' at. Killeny can't talk, as you
'n 'me talk, I mean; so he can't tell me how he loves me, an' he's
all love, every last hair of 'm. An' actions speakin' louder 'n'
words, he tells me how he loves me by doin' these things for me.
Tricks? Sure. But they make human speeches of eloquence cheaper
'n dirt. Sure it's speech. Dog-talk that's tongue-tied. Don't I
know? Sure as I'm a livin' man born to trouble as the sparks fly
upward, just as sure am I that it makes 'm happy to do tricks for
me . . . just as it makes a man happy to lend a hand to a pal in a
ticklish place, or a lover happy to put his coat around the girl
he loves to keep her warm. I tell you . . . "
Here, Dag Daughtry broke down from inability to express the
concepts fluttering in his beer-excited, beer-sodden brain, and,
with a stutter or two, made a fresh start.
"You know, it's all in the matter of talkin', an' Killeny can't
talk. He's got thoughts inside that head of his--you can see 'm
shinin' in his lovely brown eyes--but he can't get 'em across to
me. Why, I see 'm tryin' to tell me sometimes so hard that he
almost busts. There's a big hole between him an' me, an' language
is about the only bridge, and he can't get over the hole, though
he's got all kinds of ideas an' feelings just like mine.
"But, say! The time we get closest together is when I play the
harmonica an' he yow-yows. Music comes closest to makin' the
bridge. It's a regular song without words. And . . . I can't
explain how . . . but just the same, when we've finished our song,
I know we've passed a lot over to each other that don't need words
for the passin'."
"Why, d'ye know, when I'm playin' an' he's singin', it's a regular
duet of what the sky-pilots 'd call religion an' knowin' God.
Sure, when we sing together I'm absorbin' religion an' gettin'
pretty close up to God. An' it's big, I tell you. Big as the
earth an' ocean an' sky an' all the stars. I just seem to get
hold of a sense that we're all the same stuff after all--you, me,
Killeny Boy, mountains, sand, salt water, worms, mosquitoes, suns,
an' shootin' stars an' blazin comets . . . "
Day Daughtry left his flight as beyond his own grasp of speech,
and concluded, his half embarrassment masked by braggadocio over
"Oh, believe me, they don't make dogs like him every day in the
week. Sure, I stole 'm. He looked good to me. An' if I had it
over, knowin' as I do known 'm now, I'd steal 'm again if I lost a
leg doin' it. That's the kind of a dog HE is."
The morning the Makambo entered Sydney harbour, Captain Duncan had
another try for Michael. The port doctor's launch was coming
alongside, when he nodded up to Daughtry, who was passing along
"Steward, I'll give you twenty pounds."
"No, sir, thank you, sir," was Dag Daughtry's answer. "I couldn't
bear to part with him."
"Twenty-five pounds, then. I can't go beyond that. Besides,
there are plenty more Irish terriers in the world."
"That's what I'm thinkin', sir. An' I'll get one for you. Right
here in Sydney. An' it won't cost you a penny, sir."
"But I want Killeny Boy," the captain persisted.
"An' so do I, which is the worst of it, sir. Besides, I got him
"Twenty-five sovereigns is a lot of money . . . for a dog,"
Captain Duncan said.
"An' Killeny Boy's a lot of dog . . . for the money," the steward
retorted. "Why, sir, cuttin' out all sentiment, his tricks is
worth more 'n that. Him not recognizing me when I don't want 'm
to is worth fifty pounds of itself. An' there's his countin' an'
his singin', an' all the rest of his tricks. Now, no matter how I
got him, he didn't have them tricks. Them tricks are mine. I
taught him them. He ain't the dog he was when he come on board.
He's a whole lot of me now, an' sellin' him would be like sellin'
a piece of myself."
"Thirty pounds," said the captain with finality.
"No, sir, thankin' you just the same, sir," was Daughtry's
And Captain Duncan was forced to turn away in order to greet the
port doctor coming over the side.
Scarcely had the Makambo passed quarantine, and while on her way
up harbour to dock, when a trim man-of-war launch darted in to her
side and a trim lieutenant mounted the Makambo's boarding-ladder.
His mission was quickly explained. The Albatross, British cruiser
of the second class, of which he was fourth lieutenant, had called
in at Tulagi with dispatches from the High Commissioner of the
English South Seas. A scant twelve hours having intervened
between her arrival and the Makambo's departure, the Commissioner
of the Solomons and Captain Kellar had been of the opinion that
the missing dog had been carried away on the steamer. Knowing
that the Albatross would beat her to Sydney, the captain of the
Albatross had undertaken to look up the dog. Was the dog, an
Irish terrier answering to the name of Michael, on board?
Captain Duncan truthfully admitted that it was, though he most
unveraciously shielded Dag Daughtry by repeating his yarn of the
dog coming on board of itself. How to return the dog to Captain
Kellar?--was the next question; for the Albatross was bound on to
New Zealand. Captain Duncan settled the matter.
"The Makambo will be back in Tulagi in eight weeks," he told the
lieutenant, "and I'll undertake personally to deliver the dog to