Part 3 out of 6
"Merciful God!" Captain Doane breathed aloud.
The great cow whale had turned about, and, on the surface, was
charging straight back at them. Such was her speed that a bore
was raised by her nose like that which a Dreadnought or an
Atlantic liner raises on the sea.
"Hold fast, all!" Captain Doane roared.
Every man braced himself for the shock. Henrik Gjertsen, the
sailor at the wheel, spread his legs, crouched down, and stiffened
his shoulders and arms to hand-grips on opposite spokes of the
wheel. Several of the crew fled from the waist to the poop, and
others of them sprang into the main-rigging. Daughtry, one hand
on the rail, with his free arm clasped the Ancient Mariner around
All held. The whale struck the Mary Turner just aft of the fore-
shroud. A score of things, which no eye could take in
simultaneously, happened. A sailor, in the main rigging, carried
away a ratline in both hands, fell head-downward, and was clutched
by an ankle and saved head-downward by a comrade, as the schooner
cracked and shuddered, uplifted on the port side, and was flung
down on her starboard side till the ocean poured level over her
rail. Michael, on the smooth roof of the cabin, slithered down
the steep slope to starboard and disappeared, clawing and
snarling, into the runway. The port shrouds of the foremast
carried away at the chain-plates, and the fore-topmast leaned over
drunkenly to starboard.
"My word," quoth the Ancient Mariner. "We certainly felt that."
"Mr. Jackson," Captain Doane commanded the mate, "will you sound
The mate obeyed, although he kept an anxious eye on the whale,
which had gone off at a tangent and was smoking away to the
"You see, that's what you get," Grimshaw snarled at Nishikanta.
Nishikanta nodded, as he wiped the sweat away, and muttered, "And
I'm satisfied. I got all I want. I didn't think a whale had it
in it. I'll never do it again."
"Maybe you'll never have the chance," the captain retorted.
"We're not done with this one yet. The one that charged the Essex
made charge after charge, and I guess whale nature hasn't changed
any in the last few years."
"Dry as a bone, sir," Mr. Jackson reported the result of his
"There she turns," Daughtry called out.
Half a mile away, the whale circled about sharply and charged
"Stand from under for'ard there!" Captain Doane shouted to one of
the sailors who had just emerged from the forecastle scuttle, sea-
bag in hand, and over whom the fore-topmast was swaying giddily.
"He's packed for the get-away," Daughtry murmured to the Ancient
Mariner. "Like a rat leaving a ship."
"We're all rats," was the reply. "I learned just that when I was
a rat among the mangy rats of the poor-farm."
By this time, all men on board had communicated to Michael their
contagion of excitement and fear. Back on top of the cabin so
that he might see, he snarled at the cow whale when the men seized
fresh grips against the impending shock and when he saw her close
at hand and oncoming.
The Mary Turner was struck aft of the mizzen shrouds. As she was
hurled down to starboard, whither Michael was ignominiously flung,
the crack of shattered timbers was plainly heard. Henrik
Gjertsen, at the wheel, clutching the wheel with all his strength,
was spun through the air as the wheel was spun by the fling of the
rudder. He fetched up against Captain Doane, whose grip had been
torn loose from the rail. Both men crumpled down on deck with the
wind knocked out of them. Nishikanta leaned cursing against the
side of the cabin, the nails of both hands torn off at the quick
by the breaking of his grip on the rail.
While Daughtry was passing a turn of rope around the Ancient
Mariner and the mizzen rigging and giving the turn to him to hold,
Captain Doane crawled gasping to the rail and dragged himself
"That fetched her," he whispered huskily to the mate, hand pressed
to his side to control his pain. "Sound the well again, and keep
More of the sailors took advantage of the interval to rush for'ard
under the toppling fore-topmast, dive into the forecastle, and
hastily pack their sea-bags. As Ah Moy emerged from the steerage
with his own rotund sea-bag, Daughtry dispatched Kwaque to pack
the belongings of both of them.
"Dry as a bone, sir," came the mate's report.
"Keep on sounding, Mr. Jackson," the captain ordered, his voice
already stronger as he recovered from the shock of his collision
with the helmsman. "Keep right on sounding. Here she comes
again, and the schooner ain't built that'd stand such hammering."
By this time Daughtry had Michael tucked under one arm, his free
arm ready to anticipate the next crash by swinging on to the
In making its circle to come back, the cow lost her bearings
sufficiently to miss the stern of the Mary Turner by twenty feet.
Nevertheless, the bore of her displacement lifted the schooner's
stern gently and made her dip her bow to the sea in a stately
"If she'd a-hit . . . " Captain Doane murmured and ceased.
"It'd a-ben good night," Daughtry concluded for him. "She's a-
knocked our stern clean off of us, sir."
Again wheeling, this time at no more than two hundred yards, the
whale charged back, not completing her semi-circle sufficiently,
so that she bore down upon the schooner's bow from starboard. Her
back hit the stem and seemed just barely to scrape the martingale,
yet the Mary Turner sat down till the sea washed level with her
stern-rail. Nor was this all. Martingale, bob-stays and all
parted, as well as all starboard stays to the bowsprit, so that
the bowsprit swung out to port at right angles and uplifted to the
drag of the remaining topmast stays. The topmast anticked high in
the air for a space, then crashed down to deck, permitting the
bowsprit to dip into the sea, go clear with the butt of it of the
forecastle head, and drag alongside.
"Shut up that dog!" Nishikanta ordered Daughtry savagery. "If you
don't . . . "
Michael, in Steward's arms, was snarling and growling
intimidatingly, not merely at the cow whale but at all the hostile
and menacing universe that had thrown panic into the two-legged
gods of his floating world.
"Just for that," Daughtry snarled back, "I'll let 'm sing. You
made this mess, and if you lift a hand to my dog you'll miss
seeing the end of the mess you started, you dirty pawnbroker,
"Perfectly right, perfectly right," the Ancient Mariner nodded
approbation. "Do you think, steward, you could get a width of
canvas, or a blanket, or something soft and broad with which to
replace this rope? It cuts me too sharply in the spot where my
three ribs are missing."
Daughtry thrust Michael into the old man's arm.
"Hold him, sir," the steward said. "If that pawnbroker makes a
move against Killeny Boy, spit in his face, bite him, anything.
I'll be back in a jiffy, sir, before he can hurt you and before
the whale can hit us again. And let Killeny Boy make all the
noise he wants. One hair of him's worth more than a world-full of
skunks of money-lenders."
Daughtry dashed into the cabin, came back with a pillow and three
sheets, and, using the first as a pad and knotting the last
together in swift weaver's knots, he left the Ancient Mariner safe
and soft and took Michael back into his own arms.
"She's making water, sir," the mate called. "Six inches--no,
seven inches, sir."
There was a rush of sailors across the wreckage of the fore-
topmast to the forecastle to pack their bags.
"Swing out that starboard boat, Mr. Jackson," the captain
commanded, staring after the foaming course of the cow as she
surged away for a fresh onslaught. "But don't lower it. Hold it
overside in the falls, or that damned fish'll smash it. Just
swing it out, ready and waiting, let the men get their bags, then
stow food and water aboard of her."
Lashings were cast off the boat and the falls attached, when the
men fled to holding-vantage just ere the whale arrived. She
struck the Mary Turner squarely amidships on the port beam, so
that, from the poop, one saw, as well as heard, her long side bend
and spring back like a limber fabric. The starboard rail buried
under the sea as the schooner heeled to the blow, and, as she
righted with a violent lurch, the water swashed across the deck to
the knees of the sailors about the boat and spouted out of the
"Heave away!" Captain Doane ordered from the poop. "Up with her!
Swing her out! Hold your turns! Make fast!"
The boat was outboard, its gunwale resting against the Mary
"Ten inches, sir, and making fast," was the mate's information, as
he gauged the sounding-rod.
"I'm going after my tools," Captain Doane announced, as he started
for the cabin. Half into the scuttle, he paused to add with a
sneer for Nishikanta's benefit, "And for my one chronometer."
"A foot and a half, and making," the mate shouted aft to him.
"We'd better do some packing ourselves," Grimshaw, following on
the captain, said to Nishikanta.
"Steward," Nishikanta said, "go below and pack my bedding. I'll
take care of the rest."
"Mr. Nishikanta, you can go to hell, sir, and all the rest as
well," was Daughtry's quiet response, although in the same breath
he was saying, respectfully and assuringly, to the Ancient
Mariner: "You hold Killeny, sir. I'll take care of your dunnage.
Is there anything special you want to save, sir?"
Jackson joined the four men below, and as the five of them, in
haste and trepidation, packed articles of worth and comfort, the
Mary Turner was struck again. Caught below without warning, all
were flung fiercely to port and from Simon Nishikanta's room came
wailing curses of announcement of the hurt to his ribs against his
bunk-rail. But this was drowned by a prodigious smashing and
crashing on deck.
"Kindling wood--there won't be anything else left of her," Captain
Doane commented in the ensuing calm, as he crept gingerly up the
companionway with his chronometer cuddled on an even keel to his
Placing it in the custody of a sailor, he returned below and was
helped up with his sea-chest by the steward. In turn, he helped
the steward up with the Ancient Mariner's sea-chest. Next, aided
by anxious sailors, he and Daughtry dropped into the lazarette
through the cabin floor, and began breaking out and passing up a
stream of supplies--cases of salmon and beef, of marmalade and
biscuit, of butter and preserved milk, and of all sorts of the
tinned, desiccated, evaporated, and condensed stuff that of modern
times goes down to the sea in ships for the nourishment of men.
Daughtry and the captain emerged last from the cabin, and both
stared upward for a moment at the gaps in the slender, sky-
scraping top-hamper, where, only minutes before, the main- and
mizzen-topmasts had been. A second moment they devoted to the
wreckage of the same on deck--the mizzen-topmast, thrust through
the spanker and supported vertically by the stout canvas,
thrashing back and forth with each thrash of the sail, the main-
topmast squarely across the ruined companionway to the steerage.
While the mother-whale expressing her bereavement in terms of
violence and destruction, was withdrawing the necessary distance
for another charge, all hands of the Mary Turner gathered about
the starboard boat swung outboard ready for lowering. A
respectable hill of case goods, water-kegs, and personal dunnage
was piled on the deck alongside. A glance at this, and at the
many men of fore and aft, demonstrated that it was to be a
perilously overloaded boat.
"We want the sailors with us, at any rate--they can row," said
"But do we want you?" Grimshaw queried gloomily. "You take up too
much room, for your size, and you're a beast anyway."
"I guess I'll be wanted," the pawnbroker observed, as he jerked
open his shirt, tearing out the four buttons in his impetuousness
and showing a Colt's .44 automatic, strapped in its holster
against the bare skin of his side under his left arm, the butt of
the weapon most readily accessible to any hasty dip of his right
hand. "I guess I'll be wanted. But just the same we can dispense
with the undesirables."
"If you will have your will," the wheat-farmer conceded
sardonically, although his big hand clenched involuntarily as if
throttling a throat. "Besides, if we should run short of food you
will prove desirable--for the quantity of you, I mean, and not
otherwise. Now just who would you consider undesirable?--the
black nigger? He ain't got a gun."
But his pleasantries were cut short by the whale's next attack--
another smash at the stern that carried away the rudder and
destroyed the steering gear.
"How much water?" Captain Doane queried of the mate.
"Three feet, sir--I just sounded," came the answer. "I think,
sir, it would be advisable to part-load the boat; then, right
after the next time the whale hits us, lower away on the run,
chuck the rest of the dunnage in, and ourselves, and get clear."
Captain Doane nodded.
"It will be lively work," he said. "Stand ready, all of you.
Steward, you jump aboard first and I'll pass the chronometer to
Nishikanta bellicosely shouldered his vast bulk up to the captain,
opened his shirt, and exposed his revolver.
"There's too many for the boat," he said, "and the steward's one
of 'em that don't go along. Get that. Hold it in your head. The
steward's one of 'em that don't go along."
Captain Doane coolly surveyed the big automatic, while at the fore
of his consciousness burned a vision of his flat buildings in San
He shrugged his shoulders. "The boat would be overloaded, with
all this truck, anyway. Go ahead, if you want to make it your
party, but just bear in mind that I'm the navigator, and that, if
you ever want to lay eyes on your string of pawnshops, you'd
better see that gentle care is taken of me.--Steward!"
Daughtry stepped close.
"There won't be room for you . . . and for one or two others, I'm
sorry to say."
"Glory be!" said Daughtry. "I was just fearin' you'd be wantin'
me along, sir.--Kwaque, you take 'm my fella dunnage belong me,
put 'm in other fella boat along other side."
While Kwaque obeyed, the mate sounded the well for the last time,
reporting three feet and a half, and the lighter freightage of the
starboard boat was tossed in by the sailors.
A rangy, gangly, Scandinavian youth of a sailor, droop-shouldered,
six feet six and slender as a lath, with pallid eyes of palest
blue and skin and hair attuned to the same colour scheme, joined
Kwaque in his work.
"Here, you Big John," the mate interfered. "This is your boat.
You work here."
The lanky one smiled in embarrassment as he haltingly explained:
"I tank I lak go along cooky."
"Sure, let him go, the more the easier," Nishikanta took charge of
the situation. "Anybody else?"
"Sure," Dag Daughtry sneered to his face. "I reckon what's left
of the beer goes with my boat . . . unless you want to argue the
"For two cents--" Nishikanta spluttered in affected rage.
"Not for two billion cents would you risk a scrap with me, you
money-sweater, you," was Daughtry's retort. "You've got their
goats, but I've got your number. Not for two billion billion
cents would you excite me into callin' it right now.--Big John!
Just carry that case of beer across, an' that half case, and store
in my boat.--Nishikanta, just start something, if you've got the
Simon Nishikanta did not dare, nor did he know what to do; but he
was saved from his perplexity by the shout:
"Here she comes!"
All rushed to holding-ground, and held, while the whale broke more
timbers and the Mary Turner rolled sluggishly down and back again.
"Lower away! On the run! Lively!"
Captain Doane's orders were swiftly obeyed. The starboard boat,
fended off by sailors, rose and fell in the water alongside while
the remainder of the dunnage and provisions showered into her.
"Might as well lend a hand, sir, seein' you're bent on leaving in
such a hurry," said Daughtry, taking the chronometer from Captain
Doane's hand and standing ready to pass it down to him as soon as
he was in the boat.
"Come on, Greenleaf," Grimshaw called up to the Ancient Mariner.
"No, thanking you very kindly, sir," came the reply. "I think
there'll be more room in the other boat."
"We want the cook!" Nishikanta cried out from the stern sheets.
"Come on, you yellow monkey! Jump in!"
Little old shrivelled Ah Moy debated. He visibly thought,
although none knew the intrinsicness of his thinking as he stared
at the gun of the fat pawnbroker and at the leprosy of Kwaque and
Daughtry, and weighed the one against the other and tossed the
light and heavy loads of the two boats into the balance.
"Me go other boat," said Ah Moy, starting to drag his bag away
across the deck.
"Cast off," Captain Doane commanded.
Scraps, the big Newfoundland puppy, who had played and pranced
about through all the excitement, seeing so many of the Mary
Turner's humans in the boat alongside, sprang over the rail, low
and close to the water, and landed sprawling on the mass of sea-
bags and goods cases.
The boot rocked, and Nishikanta, his automatic in his hand, cried
"Back with him! Throw him on board!"
The sailors obeyed, and the astounded Scraps, after a brief flight
through the air, found himself arriving on his back on the Mary
Turner's deck. At any rate, he took it for no more than a rough
joke, and rolled about ecstatically, squirming vermicularly, in
anticipation of what new delights of play were to be visited upon
him. He reached out, with an enticing growl of good fellowship,
for Michael, who was now free on deck, and received in return a
forbidding and crusty snarl.
"Guess we'll have to add him to our collection, eh, sir?" Daughtry
observed, sparing a moment to pat reassurance on the big puppy's
head and being rewarded with a caressing lick on his hand from the
puppy's blissful tongue.
No first-class ship's steward can exist without possessing a more
than average measure of executive ability. Dag Daughtry was a
first-class ship's steward. Placing the Ancient Mariner in a nook
of safety, and setting Big John to unlashing the remaining boat
and hooking on the falls, he sent Kwaque into the hold to fill
kegs of water from the scant remnant of supply, and Ah Moy to
clear out the food in the galley.
The starboard boat, cluttered with men, provisions, and property
and being rapidly rowed away from the danger centre, which was the
Mary Turner, was scarcely a hundred yards away, when the whale,
missing the schooner clean, turned at full speed and close range,
churning the water, and all but collided with the boat. So near
did she come that the rowers on the side next to her pulled in
their oars. The surge she raised, heeled the loaded boat gunwale
under, so that a degree of water was shipped ere it righted.
Nishikanta, automatic still in hand, standing up in the
sternsheets by the comfortable seat he had selected for himself,
was staggered by the lurch of the boat. In his instinctive,
spasmodic effort to maintain balance, he relaxed his clutch on the
pistol, which fell into the sea.
"HA-AH!" Daughtry girded. "What price Nishikanta? I got his
number, and he's lost you fellows' goats. He's your meat now.
Easy meat? I should say! And when it comes to the eating, eat
him first. Sure, he's a skunk, and will taste like one, but
many's the honest man that's eaten skunk and pulled through a
tight place. But you'd better soak 'im all night in salt water,
Grimshaw, whose seat in the sternsheets was none of the best,
grasped the situation simultaneously with Daughtry, and, with a
quick upstanding, and hooking out-reach of hand, caught the fat
pawn-broker around the back of the neck, and with anything but
gentle suasion jerked him half into the air and flung him face
downward on the bottom boards.
"Ha-ah!" said Daughtry across the hundred yards of ocean.
Next, and without hurry, Grimshaw took the more comfortable seat
"Want to come along?" he called to Daughtry.
"No, thank you, sir," was the latter's reply. "There's too many
of us, an' we'll make out better in the other boat."
With some bailing, and with others bending to the oars, the boat
rowed frantically away, while Daughtry took Ah Moy with him down
into the lazarette beneath the cabin floor and broke out and
passed up more provisions.
It was when he was thus below that the cow grazed the schooner
just for'ard of amidships on the port side, lashed out with her
mighty tail as she sounded, and ripped clean away the chain plates
and rail of the mizzen-shrouds. In the next roll of the huge,
glassy sea, the mizzen-mast fell overside.
"My word, some whale," Daughtry said to Ah Moy, as they emerged
from the cabin companionway and gazed at this latest wreckage.
Ah Moy found need to get more food from the galley, when Daughtry,
Kwaque, and Big John swung their weight on the falls, one at a
time, and hoisted the port boat, one end at a time, over the rail
and swung her out.
"We'll wait till the next smash, then lower away, throw everything
in, an' get outa this," the steward told the Ancient Mariner.
"Lots of time. The schooner'll sink no faster when she's awash
than she's sinkin' now."
Even as he spoke, the scuppers were nearly level with the ocean,
and her rolling in the big sea was sluggish.
"Hey!" he called with sudden forethought across the widening
stretch of sea to Captain Doane. "What's the course to the
Marquesas? Right now? And how far away, sir?"
"Nor'-nor'-east-quarter-east!" came the faint reply. "Will fetch
Nuka-Hiva! About two hundred miles! Haul on the south-east trade
with a good full and you'll make it!"
"Thank you, sir," was the steward's acknowledgment, ere he ran
aft, disrupted the binnacle, and carried the steering compass back
to the boat.
Almost, from the whale's delay in renewing her charging, did they
think she had given over. And while they waited and watched her
rolling on the sea an eighth of a mile away, the Mary Turner
"We might almost chance it," Daughtry was debating aloud to Big
John, when a new voice entered the discussion.
"Cocky! --Cocky!" came plaintive tones from below out of the
"Devil be damned!" was the next, uttered in irritation and anger.
"Devil be damned! Devil be damned!"
"Of course not," was Daughtry's judgment, as he dashed across the
deck, crawled through the confusion of the main-topmast and its
many stays that blocked the way, and found the tiny, white morsel
of life perched on a bunk-edge, ruffling its feathers, erecting
and flattening its rosy crest, and cursing in honest human speech
the waywardness of the world and of ships and humans upon the sea.
The cockatoo stepped upon Daughtry's inviting index finger,
swiftly ascended his shirt sleeve, and, on his shoulder, claws
sunk into the flimsy shirt fabric till they hurt the flesh
beneath, leaned head to ear and uttered in gratitude and relief,
and in self-identification: "Cocky. Cocky."
"You son of a gun," Daughtry crooned.
"Glory be!" Cooky replied, in tones so like Daughtry's as to
"You son of a gun," Daughtry repeated, cuddling his cheek and ear
against the cockatoo's feathered and crested head. "And some
folks thinks it's only folks that count in this world."
Still the whale delayed, and, with the ocean washing their toes on
the level deck, Daughtry ordered the boat lowered away. Ah Moy
was eager in his haste to leap into the bow. Nor was Daughtry's
judgment correct that the little Chinaman's haste was due to fear
of the sinking ship. What Ah Moy sought was the place in the boat
remotest from Kwaque and the steward.
Shoving clear, they roughly stored the supplies and dunnage out of
the way of the thwarts and took their places, Ah Moy pulling bow-
oar, next in order Big John and Kwaque, with Daughtry (Cocky still
perched on his shoulder) at stroke. On top of the dunnage, in the
stern-sheets, Michael gazed wistfully at the Mary Turner and
continued to snarl crustily at Scraps who idiotically wanted to
start a romp. The Ancient Mariner stood up at the steering sweep
and gave the order, when all was ready, for the first dip of the
A growl and a bristle from Michael warned them that the whale was
not only coming but was close upon them. But it was not charging.
Instead, it circled slowly about the schooner as if examining its
"I'll bet it's head's sore from all that banging, an' it's
beginnin' to feel it," Daughtry grinned, chiefly for the purpose
of keeping his comrades unafraid.
Barely had they rowed a dozen strokes, when an exclamation from
Big John led them to follow his gaze to the schooners forecastle-
head, where the forecastle cat flashed across in pursuit of a big
rat. Other rats they saw, evidently driven out of their lairs by
the rising water.
"We just can't leave that cat behind," Daughtry soliloquized in
"Certainly not," the Ancient Mariner responded swinging his weight
on the steering-sweep and heading the boat back.
Twice the whale gently rolled them in the course of its leisurely
circling, ere they bent to their oars again and pulled away. Of
them the whale seemed to take no notice. It was from the huge
thing, the schooner, that death had been wreaked upon her calf;
and it was upon the schooner that she vented the wrath of her
Even as they pulled away, the whale turned and headed across the
ocean. At a half-mile distance she curved about and charged back.
"With all that water in her, the schooner'll have a real kick-back
in her when she's hit," Daughtry said. "Lordy me, rest on your
oars an' watch."
Delivered squarely amidships, it was the hardest blow the Mary
Turner had received. Stays and splinters of rail flew in the air
as she rolled so far over as to expose half her copper wet-
glistening in the sun. As she righted sluggishly, the mainmast
swayed drunkenly in the air but did not fall.
"A knock-out!" Daughtry cried, at sight of the whale flurrying the
water with aimless, gigantic splashings. "It must a-smashed both
"Schooner he finish close up altogether," Kwaque observed, as the
Mary Turner's rail disappeared.
Swiftly she sank, and no more than a matter of moments was it when
the stump of her mainmast was gone. Remained only the whale,
floating and floundering, on the surface of the sea.
"It's nothing to brag about," Daughtry delivered himself of the
Mary Turner's epitaph. "Nobody'd believe us. A stout little
craft like that sunk, deliberately sunk, by an old cow-whale! No,
sir. I never believed that old moss-back in Honolulu, when he
claimed he was a survivor of the sinkin' of the Essex, an' no more
will anybody believe me."
"The pretty schooner, the pretty clever craft," mourned the
Ancient Mariner. "Never were there more dainty and lovable
topmasts on a three-masted schooner, and never was there a three-
masted schooner that worked like the witch she was to windward."
Dag Daughtry, who had kept always foot-loose and never married,
surveyed the boat-load of his responsibilities to which he was
anchored--Kwaque, the Black Papuan monstrosity whom he had saved
from the bellies of his fellows; Ah Moy, the little old sea-cook
whose age was problematical only by decades; the Ancient Mariner,
the dignified, the beloved, and the respected; gangly Big John,
the youthful Scandinavian with the inches of a giant and the mind
of a child; Killeny Boy, the wonder of dogs; Scraps, the
outrageously silly and fat-rolling puppy; Cocky, the white-
feathered mite of life, imperious as a steel-blade and wheedlingly
seductive as a charming child; and even the forecastle cat, the
lithe and tawny slayer of rats, sheltering between the legs of Ah
Moy. And the Marquesas were two hundred miles distant full-hauled
on the tradewind which had ceased but which was as sure to live
again as the morning sun in the sky.
The steward heaved a sigh, and whimsically shot into his mind the
memory-picture in his nursery-book of the old woman who lived in a
shoe. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his
hand, and was dimly aware of the area of the numbness that
bordered the centre that was sensationless between his eyebrows,
as he said:
"Well, children, rowing won't fetch us to the Marquesas. We'll
need a stretch of wind for that. But it's up to us, right now, to
put a mile or so between us an' that peevish old cow. Maybe
she'll revive, and maybe she won't, but just the same I can't help
feelin' leary about her."
Two days later, as the steamer Mariposa plied her customary route
between Tahiti and San Francisco, the passengers ceased playing
deck quoits, abandoned their card games in the smoker, their
novels and deck chairs, and crowded the rail to stare at the small
boat that skimmed to them across the sea before a light following
breeze. When Big John, aided by Ah Moy and Kwaque, lowered the
sail and unstepped the mast, titters and laughter arose from the
passengers. It was contrary to all their preconceptions of mid-
ocean rescue of ship-wrecked mariners from the open boat.
It caught their fancy that this boat was the Ark, what of its
freightage of bedding, dry goods boxes, beer-cases, a cat, two
dogs, a white cockatoo, a Chinaman, a kinky-headed black, a gangly
pallid-haired giant, a grizzled Dag Daughtry, and an Ancient
Mariner who looked every inch the part. Him a facetious,
vacationing architect's clerk dubbed Noah, and so greeted him.
"I say, Noah," he called. "Some flood, eh? Located Ararat yet?"
"Catch any fish?" bawled another youngster down over the rail.
"Gracious! Look at the beer! Good English beer! Put me down for
Never was a more popular wrecked crew more merrily rescued at sea.
The young blades would have it that none other than old Noah
himself had come on board with the remnants of the Lost Tribes,
and to elderly female passengers spun hair-raising accounts of the
sinking of an entire tropic island by volcanic and earthquake
"I'm a steward," Dag Daughtry told the Mariposa's captain, "and
I'll be glad and grateful to berth along with your stewards in the
glory-hole. Big John there's a sailorman, an' the fo'c's'le 'll
do him. The Chink is a ship's cook, and the nigger belongs to me.
But Mr. Greenleaf, sir, is a gentleman, and the best of cabin fare
and staterooms'll be none too good for him, sir."
And when the news went around that these were part of the
survivors of the three-masted schooner, Mary Turner, smashed into
kindling wood and sunk by a whale, the elderly females no more
believed than had they the yarn of the sunken island.
"Captain Hayward," one of them demanded of the steamer's skipper,
"could a whale sink the Mariposa?"
"She has never been so sunk," was his reply.
"I knew it!" she declared emphatically. "It's not the way of
ships to go around being sunk by whales, is it, captain?"
"No, madam, I assure you it is not," was his response.
"Nevertheless, all the five men insist upon it."
"Sailors are notorious for their unveracity, are they not?" the
lady voiced her flat conclusion in the form of a tentative query.
"Worst liars I ever saw, madam. Do you know, after forty years at
sea, I couldn't believe myself under oath."
Nine days later the Mariposa threaded the Golden Gate and docked
at San Francisco. Humorous half-columns in the local papers,
written in the customary silly way by unlicked cub reporters just
out of grammar school, tickled the fancy of San Francisco for a
fleeting moment in that the steamship Mariposa had rescued some
sea-waifs possessed of a cock-and-bull story that not even the
reporters believed. Thus, silly reportorial unveracity usually
proves extraordinary truth a liar. It is the way of cub
reporters, city newspapers, and flat-floor populations which get
their thrills from moving pictures and for which the real world
and all its spaciousness does not exist.
"Sunk by a whale!" demanded the average flat-floor person.
"Nonsense, that's all. Just plain rotten nonsense. Now, in the
'Adventures of Eleanor,' which is some film, believe me, I'll tell
you what I saw happen . . . "
So Daughtry and his crew went ashore into 'Frisco Town uheralded
and unsung, the second following morning's lucubrations of the sea
reporters being varied disportations upon the attack on an Italian
crab fisherman by an enormous jellyfish. Big John promptly sank
out of sight in a sailors' boarding-house, and, within the week,
joined the Sailors' Union and shipped on a steam schooner to load
redwood ties at Bandon, Oregon. Ah Moy got no farther ashore than
the detention sheds of the Federal Immigration Board, whence he
was deported to China on the next Pacific Mail steamer. The Mary
Turner's cat was adopted by the sailors' forecastle of the
Mariposa, and on the Mariposa sailed away on the back trip to
Tahiti. Scraps was taken ashore by a quartermaster and left in
the bosom of his family.
And ashore went Dag Daughtry, with his small savings, to rent two
cheap rooms for himself and his remaining responsibilities,
namely, Charles Stough Greenleaf, Kwaque, Michael, and, not least,
Cocky. But not for long did he permit the Ancient Mariner to live
"It's not playing the game, sir," he told him. "What we need is
capital. We've got to interest capital, and you've got to do the
interesting. Now this very day you've got to buy a couple of
suitcases, hire a taxicab, go sailing up to the front door of the
Bronx Hotel like good pay and be damned. She's a real stylish
hotel, but reasonable if you want to make it so. A little room,
an inside room, European plan, of course, and then you can
economise by eatin' out."
"But, steward, I have no money," the Ancient Mariner protested.
"That's all right, sir; I'll back you for all I can."
"But, my dear man, you know I'm an old impostor. I can't stick
you up like the others. You . . . why . . . why, you're a friend,
don't you see?"
"Sure I do, and I thank you for sayin' it, sir. And that's why
I'm with you. And when you've nailed another crowd of treasure-
hunters and got the ship ready, you'll just ship me along as
steward, with Kwaque, and Killeny Boy, and the rest of our family.
You've adopted me, now, an' I'm your grown-up son, an' you've got
to listen to me. The Bronx is the hotel for you--fine-soundin'
name, ain't it? That's atmosphere. Folk'll listen half to you
an' more to your hotel. I tell you, you leaning back in a big
leather chair talkin' treasure with a two-bit cigar in your mouth
an' a twenty-cent drink beside you, why that's like treasure.
They just got to believe. An' if you'll come along now, sir,
we'll trot out an' buy them suit-cases."
Right bravely the Ancient Mariner drove to the Bronx in a taxi,
registered his "Charles Stough Greenleaf" in an old-fashioned
hand, and took up anew the activities which for years had kept him
free of the poor-farm. No less bravely did Dag Daughtry set out
to seek work. This was most necessary, because he was a man of
expensive luxuries. His family of Kwaque, Michael, and Cocky
required food and shelter; more costly than that was maintenance
of the Ancient Mariner in the high-class hotel; and, in addition,
was his six-quart thirst.
But it was a time of industrial depression. The unemployed
problem was bulking bigger than usual to the citizens of San
Francisco. And, as regarded steamships and sailing vessels, there
were three stewards for every Steward's position. Nothing steady
could Daughtry procure, while his occasional odd jobs did not
balance his various running expenses. Even did he do pick-and-
shovel work, for the municipality, for three days, when he had to
give way, according to the impartial procedure, to another needy
one whom three days' work would keep afloat a little longer.
Daughtry would have put Kwaque to work, except that Kwaque was
impossible. The black, who had only seen Sydney from steamers'
decks, had never been in a city in his life. All he knew of the
world was steamers, far-outlying south-sea isles, and his own
island of King William in Melanesia. So Kwaque remained in the
two rooms, cooking and housekeeping for his master and caring for
Michael and Cocky. All of which was prison for Michael, who had
been used to the run of ships, of coral beaches and plantations.
But in the evenings, sometimes accompanied a few steps in the rear
by Kwaque, Michael strolled out with Steward. The multiplicity of
man-gods on the teeming sidewalks became a real bore to Michael,
so that man-gods, in general, underwent a sharp depreciation. But
Steward, the particular god of his fealty and worship,
appreciated. Amongst so many gods Michael felt bewildered, while
Steward's Abrahamic bosom became more than ever the one sure haven
where harshness and danger never troubled.
"Mind your step," is the last word and warning of twentieth-
century city life. Michael was not slow to learn it, as he
conserved his own feet among the countless thousands of leather-
shod feet of men, ever hurrying, always unregarding of the
existence and right of way of a lowly, four-legged Irish terrier.
The evening outings with Steward invariably led from saloon to
saloon, where, at long bars, standing on sawdust floors, or seated
at tables, men drank and talked. Much of both did men do, and
also did Steward do, ere, his daily six-quart stint accomplished,
he turned homeward for bed. Many were the acquaintances he made,
and Michael with him. Coasting seamen and bay sailors they mostly
were, although there were many 'longshoremen and waterfront
workmen among them.
From one of these, a scow-schooner captain who plied up and down
the bay and the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers, Daughtry had
the promise of being engaged as cook and sailor on the schooner
Howard. Eighty tons of freight, including deckload, she carried,
and in all democracy Captain Jorgensen, the cook, and the two
other sailors, loaded and unloaded her at all hours, and sailed
her night and day on all times and tides, one man steering while
three slept and recuperated. It was time, and double-time, and
over-time beyond that, but the feeding was generous and the wages
ran from forty-five to sixty dollars a month.
"Sure, you bet," said Captain Jorgensen. "This cook-feller,
Hanson, pretty quick I smash him up an' fire him, then you can
come along . . . and the bow-wow, too." Here he dropped a hearty,
wholesome hand of toil down to a caress of Michael's head.
"That's one fine bow-wow. A bow-wow is good on a scow when all
hands sleep alongside the dock or in an anchor watch."
"Fire Hanson now," Dag Daughtry urged.
But Captain Jorgensen shook his slow head slowly. "First I smash
"Then smash him now and fire him," Daughtry persisted. "There he
is right now at the corner of the bar."
"No. He must give me reason. I got plenty of reason. But I want
reason all hands can see. I want him make me smash him, so that
all hands say, 'Hurrah, Captain, you done right.' Then you get
the job, Daughtry."
Had Captain Jorgensen not been dilatory in his contemplated
smashing, and had not Hanson delayed in giving sufficient
provocation for a smashing, Michael would have accompanied Steward
upon the schooner, Howard, and all Michael's subsequent
experiences would have been totally different from what they were
destined to be. But destined they were, by chance and by
combinations of chance events over which Michael had no control
and of which he had no more awareness than had Steward himself.
At that period, the subsequent stage career and nightmare of
cruelty for Michael was beyond any wildest forecast or
apprehension. And as to forecasting Dag Daughtry's fate, along
with Kwaque, no maddest drug-dream could have approximated it.
One night Dag Daughtry sat at a table in the saloon called the
Pile-drivers' Home. He was in a parlous predicament. Harder than
ever had it been to secure odd jobs, and he had reached the end of
his savings. Earlier in the evening he had had a telephone
conference with the Ancient Mariner, who had reported only
progress with an exceptionally strong nibble that very day from a
retired quack doctor.
"Let me pawn my rings," the Ancient Mariner had urged, not for the
first time, over the telephone.
"No, sir," had been Daughtry's reply. "We need them in the
business. They're stock in trade. They're atmosphere. They're
what you call a figure of speech. I'll do some thinking to-night
an' see you in the morning, sir. Hold on to them rings an' don't
be no more than casual in playin' that doctor. Make 'm come to
you. It's the only way. Now you're all right, an' everything's
hunkydory an' the goose hangs high. Don't you worry, sir. Dag
Daughtry never fell down yet."
But, as he sat in the Pile-drivers' Home, it looked as if his
fall-down was very near. In his pocket was precisely the room-
rent for the following week, the advance payment of which was
already three days overdue and clamorously demanded by the hard-
faced landlady. In the rooms, with care, was enough food with
which to pinch through for another day. The Ancient Mariner's
modest hotel bill had not been paid for two weeks--a prodigious
sum under the circumstances, being a first-class hotel; while the
Ancient Mariner had no more than a couple of dollars in his pocket
with which to make a sound like prosperity in the ears of the
retired doctor who wanted to go a-treasuring.
Most catastrophic of all, however, was the fact that Dag Daughtry
was three quarts short of his daily allowance and did not dare
break into the rent money which was all that stood between him and
his family and the street. This was why he sat at the beer table
with Captain Jorgensen, who was just returned with a schooner-load
of hay from the Petaluma Flats. He had already bought beer twice,
and evinced no further show of thirst. Instead, he was yawning
from long hours of work and waking and looking at his watch. And
Daughtry was three quarts short! Besides, Hanson had not yet been
smashed, so that the cook-job on the schooner still lay ahead an
unknown distance in the future.
In his desperation, Daughtry hit upon an idea with which to get
another schooner of steam beer. He did not like steam beer, but
it was cheaper than lager.
"Look here, Captain," he said. "You don't know how smart that
Killeny Boy is. Why, he can count just like you and me."
"Hoh!" rumbled Captain Jorgensen. "I seen 'em do it in side
shows. It's all tricks. Dogs an' horses can't count."
"This dog can," Daughtry continued quietly. "You can't fool 'm.
I bet you, right now, I can order two beers, loud so he can hear
and notice, and then whisper to the waiter to bring one, an', when
the one comes, Killeny Boy'll raise a roar with the waiter."
"Hoh! Hoh! How much will you bet?"
The steward fingered a dime in his pocket. If Killeny failed him
it meant that the rent-money would be broken in upon. But Killeny
couldn't and wouldn't fail him, he reasoned, as he answered:
"I'll bet you the price of two beers."
The waiter was summoned, and, when he had received his secret
instructions, Michael was called over from where he lay at
Kwaque's feet in a corner. When Steward placed a chair for him at
the table and invited him into it, he began to key up. Steward
expected something of him, wanted him to show off. And it was not
because of the showing off that he was eager, but because of his
love for Steward. Love and service were one in the simple
processes of Michael's mind. Just as he would have leaped into
fire for Steward's sake, so would he now serve Steward in any way
Steward desired. That was what love meant to him. It was all
love meant to him--service.
"Waiter!" Steward called; and, when the waiter stood close at
hand: "Two beers.--Did you get that, Killeny? TWO beers."
Michael squirmed in his chair, placed an impulsive paw on the
table, and impulsively flashed out his ribbon of tongue to
Steward's close-bending face.
"He will remember," Daughtry told the scow-schooner captain.
"Not if we talk," was the reply. "Now we will fool your bow-wow.
I will say that the job is yours when I smash Hanson. And you
will say it is for me to smash Hanson now. And I will say Hanson
must give me reason first to smash him. And then we will argue
like two fools with mouths full of much noise. Are you ready?"
Daughtry nodded, and thereupon ensued a loud-voiced discussion
that drew Michael's earnest attention from one talker to the
"I got you," Captain Jorgensen announced, as he saw the waiter
approaching with but a single schooner of beer. "The bow-wow has
forgot, if he ever remembered. He thinks you 'an me is fighting.
The place in his mind for ONE beer, and TWO, is wiped out, like a
wave on the beach wipes out the writing in the sand."
"I guess he ain't goin' to forget arithmetic no matter how much
noise you shouts," Daughtry argued aloud against his sinking
spirits. "An' I ain't goin' to butt in," he added hopefully.
"You just watch 'm for himself."
The tall, schooner-glass of beer was placed before the captain,
who laid a swift, containing hand around it. And Michael, strung
as a taut string, knowing that something was expected of him, on
his toes to serve, remembered his ancient lessons on the Makambo,
vainly looked into the impassive face of Steward for a sign, then
looked about and saw, not TWO glasses, but ONE glass. So well had
he learned the difference between one and two that it came to him-
-how the profoundest psychologist can no more state than can he
state what thought is in itself--that there was one glass only
when two glasses had been commanded. With an abrupt upspring, his
throat half harsh with anger, he placed both fore-paws on the
table and barked at the waiter.
Captain Jorgensen crashed his fist down.
"You win!" he roared. "I pay for the beer! Waiter, bring one
Michael looked to Steward for verification, and Steward's hand on
his head gave adequate reply.
"We try again," said the captain, very much awake and interested,
with the back of his hand wiping the beer-foam from his moustache.
"Maybe he knows one an' two. How about three? And four?"
"Just the same, Skipper. He counts up to five, and knows more
than five when it is more than five, though he don't know the
figures by name after five."
"Oh, Hanson!" Captain Jorgensen bellowed across the bar-room to
the cook of the Howard. "Hey, you square-head! Come and have a
Hanson came over and pulled up a chair.
"I pay for the drinks," said the captain; "but you order,
Daughtry. See, now, Hanson, this is a trick bow-wow. He can
count better than you. We are three. Daughtry is ordering three
beers. The bow-wow hears three. I hold up two fingers like this
to the waiter. He brings two. The bow-wow raises hell with the
waiter. You see."
All of which came to pass, Michael blissfully unappeasable until
the order was filled properly.
"He can't count," was Hanson's conclusion. "He sees one man
without beer. That's all. He knows every man should ought to
have a glass. That's why he barks."
"Better than that," Daughtry boasted. "There are three of us. We
will order four. Then each man will have his glass, but Killeny
will talk to the waiter just the same."
True enough, now thoroughly aware of the game, Michael made outcry
to the waiter till the fourth glass was brought. By this time
many men were about the table, all wanting to buy beer and test
"Glory be," Dag Daughtry solloquized. "A funny world. Thirsty
one moment. The next moment they'd fair drown you in beer."
Several even wanted to buy Michael, offering ridiculous sums like
fifteen and twenty dollars.
"I tell you what," Captain Jorgensen muttered to Daughtry, whom he
had drawn away into a corner. "You give me that bow-wow, and I'll
smash Hanson right now, and you got the job right away--come to
work in the morning."
Into another corner the proprietor of the Pile-drivers' Home drew
Daughtry to whisper to him:
"You stick around here every night with that dog of yourn. It
makes trade. I'll give you free beer any time and fifty cents
cash money a night."
It was this proposition that started the big idea in Daughtry's
mind. As he told Michael, back in the room, while Kwaque was
unlacing his shoes:
"It's this way Killeny. If you're worth fifty cents a night and
free beer to that saloon keeper, then you're worth that to me . .
. and more, my son, more. 'Cause he's lookin' for a profit.
That's why he sells beer instead of buyin' it. An', Killeny, you
won't mind workin' for me, I know. We need the money. There's
Kwaque, an' Mr. Greenleaf, an' Cocky, not even mentioning you an'
me, an' we eat an awful lot. An' room-rent's hard to get, an'
jobs is harder. What d'ye say, son, to-morrow night you an' me
hustle around an' see how much coin we can gather?"
And Michael, seated on Steward's knees, eyes to eyes and nose to
nose, his jowls held in Steward's hand's wriggled and squirmed
with delight, flipping out his tongue and bobbing his tail in the
air. Whatever it was, it was good, for it was Steward who spoke.
The grizzled ship's steward and the rough-coated Irish terrier
quickly became conspicuous figures in the night life of the
Barbary Coast of San Francisco. Daughtry elaborated on the
counting trick by bringing Cocky along. Thus, when a waiter did
not fetch the right number of glasses, Michael would remain quite
still, until Cocky, at a privy signal from Steward, standing on
one leg, with the free claw would clutch Michael's neck and
apparently talk into Michael's ear. Whereupon Michael would look
about the glasses on the table and begin his usual expostulation
with the waiter.
But it was when Daughtry and Michael first sang "Roll me Down to
Rio" together, that the ten-strike was made. It occurred in a
sailors' dance-hall on Pacific Street, and all dancing stopped
while the sailors clamoured for more of the singing dog. Nor did
the place lose money, for no one left, and the crowd increased to
standing room as Michael went through his repertoire of "God Save
the King," "Sweet Bye and Bye," "Lead, Kindly Light," "Home, Sweet
Home," and "Shenandoah."
It meant more than free beer to Daughtry, for, when he started to
leave, the proprietor of the place thrust three silver dollars
into his hand and begged him to come around with the dog next
"For that?" Daughtry demanded, looking at the money as if it were
Hastily the proprietor added two more dollars, and Daughtry
"Just the same, Killeny, my son," he told Michael as they went to
bed, "I think you an' me are worth more than five dollars a turn.
Why, the like of you has never been seen before. A real singing
dog that can carry 'most any air with me, and that can carry half
a dozen by himself. An' they say Caruso gets a thousand a night.
Well, you ain't Caruso, but you're the dog-Caruso of the entire
world. Son, I'm goin' to be your business manager. If we can't
make a twenty-dollar gold-piece a night--say, son, we're goin' to
move into better quarters. An' the old gent up at the Hotel de
Bronx is goin' to move into an outside room. An' Kwaque's goin'
to get a real outfit of clothes. Killeny, my boy, we're goin' to
get so rich that if he can't snare a sucker we'll put up the cash
ourselves 'n' buy a schooner for 'm, 'n' send him out a-treasure-
huntin' on his own. We'll be the suckers, eh, just you an' me,
an' love to."
The Barbary Coast of San Francisco, once the old-time sailor-town
in the days when San Francisco was reckoned the toughest port of
the Seven Seas, had evolved with the city until it depended for at
least half of its earnings on the slumming parties that visited it
and spent liberally. It was quite the custom, after dinner, for
many of the better classes of society, especially when
entertaining curious Easterners, to spend an hour or several in
motoring from dance-hall to dance-hall and cheap cabaret to cheap
cabaret. In short, the "Coast" was as much a sight-seeing place
as was Chinatown and the Cliff House.
It was not long before Dag Daughtry was getting his twenty dollars
a night for two twenty-minute turns, and was declining more beer
than a dozen men with thirsts equal to his could have
accommodated. Never had he been so prosperous; nor can it be
denied that Michael enjoyed it. Enjoy it he did, but principally
for Steward's sake. He was serving Steward, and so to serve was
his highest heart's desire.
In truth, Michael was the bread-winner for quite a family, each
member of which fared well. Kwaque blossomed out resplendent in
russet-brown shoes, a derby hat, and a gray suit with trousers
immaculately creased. Also, he became a devotee of the moving-
picture shows, spending as much as twenty and thirty cents a day
and resolutely sitting out every repetition of programme. Little
time was required of him in caring for Daughtry, for they had come
to eating in restaurants. Not only had the Ancient Mariner moved
into a more expensive outside room at the Bronx; but Daughtry
insisted on thrusting upon him more spending money, so that, on
occasion, he could invite a likely acquaintance to the theatre or
a concert and bring him home in a taxi.
"We won't keep this up for ever, Killeny," Steward told Michael.
"For just as long as it takes the old gent to land another bunch
of gold-pouched, retriever-snouted treasure-hunters, and no
longer. Then it's hey for the ocean blue, my son, an' the roll of
a good craft under our feet, an' smash of wet on the deck, an' a
spout now an' again of the scuppers.
"We got to go rollin' down to Rio as well as sing about it to a
lot of cheap skates. They can take their rotten cities. The
sea's the life for us--you an' me, Killeny, son, an' the old gent
an' Kwaque, an' Cocky, too. We ain't made for city ways. It
ain't healthy. Why, son, though you maybe won't believe it, I'm
losin' my spring. The rubber's goin' outa me. I'm kind o'
languid, with all night in an' nothin' to do but sit around. It
makes me fair sick at the thought of hearin' the old gent say once
again, 'I think, steward, one of those prime cocktails would be
just the thing before dinner.' We'll take a little ice-machine
along next voyage, an' give 'm the best.
"An' look at Kwaque, Killeny, my boy. This ain't his climate.
He's positively ailin'. If he sits around them picture-shows much
more he'll develop the T.B. For the good of his health, an' mine
an' yours, an' all of us, we got to get up anchor pretty soon an'
hit out for the home of the trade winds that kiss you through an'
through with the salt an' the life of the sea."
In truth, Kwaque, who never complained, was ailing fast. A
swelling, slow and sensationless at first, under his right arm-
pit, had become a mild and unceasing pain. No longer could he
sleep a night through. Although he lay on his left side, never
less than twice, and often three and four times, the hurt of the
swelling woke him. Ah Moy, had he not long since been delivered
back to China by the immigration authorities, could have told him
the meaning of that swelling, just as he could have told Dag
Daughtry the meaning of the increasing area of numbness between
his eyes where the tiny, vertical, lion-lines were cutting more
conspicuously. Also, could he have told him what was wrong with
the little finger on his left hand. Daughtry had first diagnosed
it as a sprain of a tendon. Later, he had decided it was chronic
rheumatism brought on by the damp and foggy Sun Francisco climate.
It was one of his reasons for desiring to get away again to sea
where the tropic sun would warm the rheumatism out of him.
As a steward, Daughtry had been accustomed to contact with men and
women of the upper world. But for the first time in his life,
here in the underworld of San Francisco, in all equality he met
such persons from above. Nay, more, they were eager to meet him.
They sought him. They fawned upon him for an invitation to sit at
his table and buy beer for him in whatever garish cabaret Michael
was performing. They would have bought wine for him, at enormous
expense, had he not stubbornly stuck to his beer. They were, some
of them, for inviting him to their homes--"An' bring the wonderful
dog along for a sing-song"; but Daughtry, proud of Michael for
being the cause of such invitations, explained that the
professional life was too arduous to permit of such diversions.
To Michael he explained that when they proffered a fee of fifty
dollars, the pair of them would "come a-runnin'."
Among the host of acquaintances made in their cabaret-life, two
were destined, very immediately, to play important parts in the
lives of Daughtry and Michael. The first, a politician and a
doctor, by name Emory--Walter Merritt Emory--was several times at
Daughtry's table, where Michael sat with them on a chair according
to custom. Among other things, in gratitude for such kindnesses
from Daughtry, Doctor Emory gave his office card and begged for
the privilege of treating, free of charge, either master or dog
should they ever become sick. In Daughtry's opinion, Dr. Walter
Merritt Emory was a keen, clever man, undoubtedly able in his
profession, but passionately selfish as a hungry tiger. As he
told him, in the brutal candour he could afford under such changed
conditions: "Doc, you're a wonder. Anybody can see it with half
an eye. What you want you just go and get. Nothing'd stop you
except . . . "
"Oh, except that it was nailed down, or locked up, or had a
policeman standing guard over it. I'd sure hate to have anything
"Well, you have," Doctor assured him, with a significant nod at
Michael on the chair between them.
"Br-r-r!" Daughtry shivered. "You give me the creeps. If I
thought you really meant it, San Francisco couldn't hold me two
minutes." He meditated into his beer-glass a moment, then laughed
with reassurance. "No man could get that dog away from me. You
see, I'd kill the man first. I'd just up an' tell 'm, as I'm
tellin' you now, I'd kill 'm first. An' he'd believe me, as
you're believin' me now. You know I mean it. So'd he know I
meant it. Why, that dog . . . "
In sheer inability to express the profundity of his emotion, Dag
Daughtry broke off the sentence and drowned it in his beer-glass.
Of quite different type was the other person of destiny. Harry
Del Mar, he called himself; and Harry Del Mar was the name that
appeared on the programmes when he was doing Orpheum "time."
Although Daughtry did not know it, because Del Mar was laying off
for a vacation, the man did trained-animal turns for a living.
He, too, bought drinks at Daughtry's table. Young, not over
thirty, dark of complexion with large, long-lashed brown eyes that
he fondly believed were magnetic, cherubic of lip and feature, he
belied all his appearance by talking business in direct business
"But you ain't got the money to buy 'm," Daughtry replied, when
the other had increased his first offer of five hundred dollars
for Michael to a thousand.
"I've got the thousand, if that's what you mean."
"No," Daughtry shook his head. "I mean he ain't for sale at any
price. Besides, what do you want 'm for?"
"I like him," Del Mar answered. "Why do I come to this joint?
Why does the crowd come here? Why do men buy wine, run horses,
sport actresses, become priests or bookworms? Because they like
to. That's the answer. We all do what we like when we can, go
after the thing we want whether we can get it or not. Now I like
your dog, I want him. I want him a thousand dollars' worth. See
that big diamond on that woman's hand over there. I guess she
just liked it, and wanted it, and got it, never mind the price.
The price didn't mean as much to her as the diamond. Now that dog
"Don't like you," Dag Daughtry broke in. "Which is strange. He
likes most everybody without fussin' about it. But he bristled at
you from the first. No man'd want a dog that don't like him."
"Which isn't the question," Del Mar stated quietly. "I like him.
As for him liking or not liking me, that's my look-out, and I
guess I can attend to that all right."
It seemed to Daughtry that he glimpsed or sensed under the other's
unfaltering cherubicness of expression a steelness of cruelty that
was abysmal in that it was of controlled intelligence. Not in
such terms did Daughtry think his impression. At the most, it was
a feeling, and feelings do not require words in order to be
experienced or comprehended.
"There's an all-night bank," the other went on. "We can stroll
over, I'll cash a cheque, and in half an hour the cash will be in
Daughtry shook his head.
"Even as a business proposition, nothing doing," he said. "Look
you. Here's the dog earnin' twenty dollars a night. Say he works
twenty-five days in the month. That's five hundred a month, or
six thousand a year. Now say that's five per cent., because it's
easier to count, it represents the interest on a capital value of
one hundred an' twenty thousand-dollars. Then we'll suppose
expenses and salary for me is twenty thousand. That leaves the
dog worth a hundred thousand. Just to be fair, cut it in half--a
fifty-thousand dog. And you're offerin' a thousand for him."
"I suppose you think he'll last for ever, like so much land'," Del
Mar smiled quietly.
Daughtry saw the point instantly.
"Give 'm five years of work--that's thirty thousand. Give 'm one
year of work--it's six thousand. An' you're offerin' me one
thousand for six thousand. That ain't no kind of business--for me
. . . an' him. Besides, when he can't work any more, an' ain't
worth a cent, he'll be worth just a plumb million to me, an' if
anybody offered it, I'd raise the price."
"I'll see you again," Harry Del Mar told Daughtry, at the end of
his fourth conversation on the matter of Michael's sale.
Wherein Harry Del Mar was mistaken. He never saw Daughtry again,
because Daughtry saw Doctor Emory first.
Kwaque's increasing restlessness at night, due to the swelling
under his right arm-pit, had began to wake Daughtry up. After
several such experiences, he had investigated and decided that
Kwaque was sufficiently sick to require a doctor. For which
reason, one morning at eleven, taking Kwaque along, he called at
Walter Merritt Emory's office and waited his turn in the crowded
"I think he's got cancer, Doc.," Daughtry said, while Kwaque was
pulling off his shirt and undershirt. "He never squealed, you
know, never peeped. That's the way of niggers. I didn't find our
till he got to wakin' me up nights with his tossin' about an'
groanin' in his sleep.--There! What'd you call it? Cancer or
tumour--no two ways about it, eh?"
But the quick eye of Walter Merritt Emory had not missed, in
passing, the twisted fingers of Kwaque's left hand. Not only was
his eye quick, but it was a "leper eye." A volunteer surgeon in
the first days out in the Philippines, he had made a particular
study of leprosy, and had observed so many lepers that infallibly,
except in the incipient beginnings of the disease, he could pick
out a leper at a glance. From the twisted fingers, which was the
anaesthetic form, produced by nerve-disintegration, to the
corrugated lion forehead (again anaesthetic), his eyes flashed to
the swelling under the right arm-pit and his brain diagnosed it as
the tubercular form.
Just as swiftly flashed through his brain two thoughts: the
first, the axiom, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER YOU FIND A LEPER, LOOK FOR
THE OTHER LEPER; the second, the desired Irish terrier, who was
owned by Daughtry, with whom Kwaque had been long associated. And
here all swiftness of eye-flashing ceased on the part of Walter
Merritt Emory. He did not know how much, if anything, the steward
knew about leprosy, and he did not care to arouse any suspicions.
Casually drawing his watch to see the time, he turned and
"I should say his blood is out of order. He's run down. He's not
used to the recent life he's been living, nor to the food. To
make certain, I shall examine for cancer and tumour, although
there's little chance of anything like that."
And as he talked, with just a waver for a moment, his gaze lifted
above Daughtry's eyes to the area of forehead just above and
between the eyes. It was sufficient. His "leper-eye" had seen
the "lion" mark of the leper.
"You're run down yourself," he continued smoothly. "You're not up
to snuff, I'll wager. Eh?"
"Can't say that I am," Daughtry agreed. "I guess I got to get
back to the sea an' the tropics and warm the rheumatics outa me."
"Where?" queried Doctor Emory, almost absently, so well did he
feign it, as if apparently on the verge of returning to a closer
examination, of Kwaque's swelling.
Daughtry extended his left hand, with a little wiggle of the
little finger advertising the seat of the affliction. Walter
Merritt Emory saw, with seeming careless look out from under
careless-drooping eyelids, the little finger slightly swollen,
slightly twisted, with a smooth, almost shiny, silkiness of skin-
texture. Again, in the course of turning to look at Kwaque, his
eyes rested an instant on the lion-lines of Daughtry's brow.
"Rheumatism is still the great mystery," Doctor Emory said,
returning to Daughtry as if deflected by the thought. "It's
almost individual, there are so many varieties of it. Each man
has a kind of his own. Any numbness?"
Daughtry laboriously wiggled his little finger.
"Yes, sir," he answered. "It ain't as lively as it used to was."
"Ah," Walter Merritt Emory murmured, with a vastitude of
confidence and assurance. "Please sit down in that chair there.
Maybe I won't be able to cure you, but I promise you I can direct
you to the best place to live for what's the matter with you.--
And while the trained-nurse-apparelled young woman seated Dag
Daughtry in the enamelled surgeon's chair and leaned him back
under direction, and while Doctor Emory dipped his finger-tips
into the strongest antiseptic his office possessed, behind Doctor
Emory's eyes, in the midst of his brain, burned the image of a
desired Irish terrier who did turns in sailor-town cabarets, was
rough-coated, and answered to the full name of Killeny Boy.
"You've got rheumatism in more places than your little finger," he
assured Daughtry. "There's a touch right here, I'll wager, on
your forehead. One moment, please. Move if I hurt you, Otherwise
sit still, because I don't intend to hurt you. I merely want to
see if my diagnosis is correct.--There, that's it. Move when you
feel anything. Rheumatism has strange freaks.--Watch this, Miss
Judson, and I'll wager this form of rheumatism is new to you.
See. He does not resent. He thinks I have not begun yet . . . "
And as he talked, steadily, interestingly, he was doing what Dag
Daughtry never dreamed he was doing, and what made Kwaque, looking
on, almost dream he was seeing because of the unrealness and
impossibleness of it. For, with a large needle, Doctor Emory was
probing the dark spot in the midst of the vertical lion-lines.
Nor did he merely probe the area. Thrusting into it from one
side, under the skin and parallel to it, he buried the length of
the needle from sight through the insensate infiltration. This
Kwaque beheld with bulging eyes; for his master betrayed no sign
that the thing was being done.
"Why don't you begin?" Dag Daughtry questioned impatiently.
"Besides, my rheumatism don't count. It's the nigger-boy's
"You need a course of treatment," Doctor Emory assured him.
"Rheumatism is a tough proposition. It should never be let grow
chronic. I'll fix up a course of treatment for you. Now, if
you'll get out of the chair, we'll look at your black servant."
But first, before Kwaque was leaned back, Doctor Emory threw over
the chair a sheet that smelled of having been roasted almost to
the scorching point. As he was about to examine Kwaque, he looked
with a slight start of recollection at his watch. When he saw the
time he startled more, and turned a reproachful face upon his
"Miss Judson," he said, coldly emphatic, "you have failed me.
Here it is, twenty before twelve, and you knew I was to confer
with Doctor Hadley over that case at eleven-thirty sharp. How he
must be cursing me! You know how peevish he is."
Miss Judson nodded, with a perfect expression of contrition and
humility, as if she knew all about it, although, in reality, she
knew only all about her employer and had never heard till that
moment of his engagement at eleven-thirty.
"Doctor Hadley's just across the hall," Doctor Emory explained to
Daughtry. "It won't take me five minutes. He and I have a
disagreement. He has diagnosed the case as chronic appendicitis
and wants to operate. I have diagnosed it as pyorrhea which has
infected the stomach from the mouth, and have suggested emetine
treatment of the mouth as a cure for the stomach disorder. Of
course, you don't understand, but the point is that I've persuaded
Doctor Hadley to bring in Doctor Granville, who is a dentist and a
pyorrhea expert. And they're all waiting for me these ten
minutes! I must run.
"I'll return inside five minutes," he called back as the door to
the hall was closing upon him.--"Miss Judson, please tell those
people in the reception-room to be patient."
He did enter Doctor Hadley's office, although no sufferer from
pyorrhea or appendicitis awaited him. Instead, he used the
telephone for two calls: one to the president of the board of
health; the other to the chief of police. Fortunately, he caught
both at their offices, addressing them familiarly by their first
names and talking to them most emphatically and confidentially.
Back in his own quarters, he was patently elated.
"I told him so," he assured Miss Judson, but embracing Daughtry in
the happy confidence. "Doctor Granville backed me up. Straight
pyorrhea, of course. That knocks the operation. And right now
they're jolting his gums and the pus-sacs with emetine. Whew! A
fellow likes to be right. I deserve a smoke. Do you mind, Mr.
And while the steward shook his head, Doctor Emory lighted a big
Havana and continued audibly to luxuriate in his fictitious
triumph over the other doctor. As he talked, he forgot to smoke,
and, leaning quite casually against the chair, with arrant
carelessness allowed the live coal at the end of his cigar to rest
against the tip of one of Kwaque's twisted fingers. A privy wink
to Miss Judson, who was the only one who observed his action,
warned her against anything that might happen.
"You know, Mr. Daughtry," Walter Merritt Emory went on
enthusiastically, while he held the steward's eyes with his and
while all the time the live end of the cigar continued to rest
against Kwaque's finger, "the older I get the more convinced I am
that there are too many ill-advised and hasty operations."
Still fire and flesh pressed together, and a tiny spiral of smoke
began to arise from Kwaque's finger-end that was different in
colour from the smoke of a cigar-end.
"Now take that patient of Doctor Hadley's. I've saved him, not
merely the risk of an operation for appendicitis, but the cost of
it, and the hospital expenses. I shall charge him nothing for
what I did. Hadley's charge will be merely nominal. Doctor
Granville, at the outside, will cure his pyorrhea with emetine for
no more than a paltry fifty dollars. Yes, by George, besides the
risk to his life, and the discomfort, I've saved that man, all
told, a cold thousand dollars to surgeon, hospital, and nurses."
And while he talked on, holding Daughtry's eyes, a smell of roast
meat began to pervade the air. Doctor Emory smelled it eagerly.
So did Miss Judson smell it, but she had been warned and gave no
notice. Nor did she look at the juxtaposition of cigar and
finger, although she knew by the evidence of her nose that it
"What's burning?" Daughtry demanded suddenly, sniffing the air and
"Pretty rotten cigar," Doctor Emory observed, having removed it
from contact with Kwaque's finger and now examining it with
critical disapproval. He held it close to his nose, and his face
portrayed disgust. "I won't say cabbage leaves. I'll merely say
it's something I don't know and don't care to know. That's the
trouble. They get out a good, new brand of cigar, advertise it,
put the best of tobacco into it, and, when it has taken with the
public, put in inferior tobacco and ride the popularity of it. No
more in mine, thank you. This day I change my brand."
So speaking, he tossed the cigar into a cuspidor. And Kwaque,
leaning back in the queerest chair in which he had ever sat, was
unaware that the end of his finger had been burned and roasted
half an inch deep, and merely wondered when the medicine doctor
would cease talking and begin looking at the swelling that hurt
his side under his arm.
And for the first time in his life, and for the ultimate time, Dag
Daughtry fell down. It was an irretrievable fall-down. Life, in
its freedom of come and go, by heaving sea and reeling deck,
through the home of the trade-winds, back and forth between the
ports, ceased there for him in Walter Merritt Emory's office,
while the calm-browed Miss Judson looked on and marvelled that a
man's flesh should roast and the man wince not from the roasting
Doctor Emory continued to talk, and tried a fresh cigar, and,
despite the fact that his reception-room was overflowing,
delivered, not merely a long, but a live and interesting,
dissertation on the subject of cigars and of the tobacco leaf and
filler as grown and prepared for cigars in the tobacco-favoured
regions of the earth.
"Now, as regards this swelling," he was saying, as he began a
belated and distant examination of Kwaque's affliction, "I should
say, at a glance, that it is neither tumour nor cancer, nor is it
even a boil. I should say . . . "
A knock at the private door into the hall made him straighten up
with an eagerness that he did not attempt to mask. A nod to Miss
Judson sent her to open the door, and entered two policemen, a
police sergeant, and a professionally whiskered person in a
business suit with a carnation in his button-hole.
"Good morning, Doctor Masters," Emory greeted the professional
one, and, to the others: "Howdy, Sergeant;" "Hello, Tim;" "Hello,
Johnson--when did they shift you off the Chinatown squad?"
And then, continuing his suspended sentence, Walter Merritt Emory
held on, looking intently at Kwaque's swelling:
"I should say, as I was saying, that it is the finest, ripest,
perforating ulcer of the bacillus leprae order, that any San
Francisco doctor has had the honour of presenting to the board of
"Leprosy!" exclaimed Doctor Masters.
And all started at his pronouncement of the word. The sergeant
and the two policemen shied away from Kwaque; Miss Judson, with a
smothered cry, clapped her two hands over her heart; and Dag
Daughtry, shocked but sceptical, demanded:
"What are you givin' us, Doc.?"
"Stand still! don't move!" Walter Merritt Emory said peremptorily
to Daughtry. "I want you to take notice," he added to the others,
as he gently touched the live-end of his fresh cigar to the area
of dark skin above and between the steward's eyes. "Don't move,"
he commanded Daughtry. "Wait a moment. I am not ready yet."
And while Daughtry waited, perplexed, confused, wondering why
Doctor Emory did not proceed, the coal of fire burned his skin and
flesh, till the smoke of it was apparent to all, as was the smell
of it. With a sharp laugh of triumph, Doctor Emory stepped back.
"Well, go ahead with what you was goin' to do," Daughtry grumbled,
the rush of events too swift and too hidden for him to comprehend.
"An' when you're done with that, I just want you to explain what
you said about leprosy an' that nigger-boy there. He's my boy,
an' you can't pull anything like that off on him . . . or me."
"Gentlemen, you have seen," Doctor Emory said. "Two undoubted
cases of it, master and man, the man more advanced, with the
combination of both forms, the master with only the anaesthetic
form--he has a touch of it, too, on his little finger. Take them
away. I strongly advise, Doctor Masters, a thorough fumigation of
the ambulance afterward."
"Look here . . . " Dag Daughtry began belligerently.
Doctor Emory glanced warningly to Doctor Masters, and Doctor
Masters glanced authoritatively at the sergeant who glanced
commandingly at his two policemen. But they did not spring upon
Daughtry. Instead, they backed farther away, drew their clubs,
and glared intimidatingly at him. More convincing than anything
else to Daughtry was the conduct of the policemen. They were
manifestly afraid of contact with him. As he started forward,
they poked the ends of their extended clubs towards his ribs to
ward him off.
"Don't you come any closer," one warned him, flourishing his club
with the advertisement of braining him. "You stay right where you
are until you get your orders."
"Put on your shirt and stand over there alongside your master,"
Doctor Emory commanded Kwaque, having suddenly elevated the chair
and spilled him out on his feet on the floor.
"But what under the sun . . . " Daughtry began, but was ignored by
his quondam friend, who was saying to Doctor Masters:
"The pest-house has been vacant since that Japanese died. I know
the gang of cowards in your department so I'd advise you to give
the dope to these here so that they can disinfect the premises
when they go in."
"For the love of Mike," Daughtry pleaded, all of stunned
belligerence gone from him in his state of stunned conviction that
the dread disease possessed him. He touched his finger to his
sensationless forehead, then smelled it and recognized the burnt
flesh he had not felt burning. "For the love of Mike, don't be in
such a rush. If I've got it, I've got it. But that ain't no
reason we can't deal with each other like white men. Give me two
hours an' I'll get outa the city. An' in twenty-four I'll be outa
the country. I'll take ship--"
"And continue to be a menace to the public health wherever you
are," Doctor Masters broke in, already visioning a column in the
evening papers, with scare-heads, in which he would appear the
hero, the St. George of San Francisco standing with poised lance
between the people and the dragon of leprosy.
"Take them away," said Waiter Merritt Emory, avoiding looking
Daughtry in the eyes.
"Ready! March!" commanded the sergeant.
The two policemen advanced on Daughtry and Kwaque with extended
"Keep away, an' keep movin'," one of the policemen growled
fiercely. "An' do what we say, or get your head cracked. Out you
go, now. Out the door with you. Better tell that coon to stick
right alongside you."
"Doc., won't you let me talk a moment?" Daughtry begged of Emory.
"The time for talking is past," was the reply. "This is the time
for segregation.--Doctor Masters, don't forget that ambulance when
you're quit of the load."
So the procession, led by the board-of-heath doctor and the
sergeant, and brought up in the rear by the policemen with their
protectively extended clubs, started through the doorway.
Whirling about on the threshold, at the imminent risk of having
his skull cracked, Dag Daughtry called back:
"Doc! My dog! You know 'm."
"I'll get him for you," Doctor Emory consented quickly. "What's
"Room eight-seven, Clay street, the Bowhead Lodging House, you
know the place, entrance just around the corner from the Bowhead
Saloon. Have 'm sent out to me wherever they put me--will you?"
"Certainly I will," said Doctor Emory, "and you've got a cockatoo,
"You bet, Cocky! Send 'm both along, please, sir."
"My!" said Miss Judson, that evening, at dinner with a certain
young interne of St. Joseph's Hospital. "That Doctor Emory is a
wizard. No wonder he's successful. Think of it! Two filthy
lepers in our office to-day! One was a coon. And he knew what
was the matter the moment he laid eyes on them. He's a caution.
When I tell you what he did to them with his cigar! And he was
cute about it! He gave me the wink first. And they never dreamed
what he was doing. He took his cigar and . . . "
The dog, like the horse, abases the base. Being base, Waiter
Merritt Emory was abased by his desire for the possession of
Michael. Had there been no Michael, his conduct would have been
quite different. He would have dealt with Daughtry as Daughtry
had described, as between white men. He would have warned
Daughtry of his disease and enabled him to take ship to the South
Seas or to Japan, or to other countries where lepers are not
segregated. This would have worked no hardship on those
countries, since such was their law and procedure, while it would
have enabled Daughtry and Kwaque to escape the hell of the San
Francisco pest-house, to which, because of his baseness, he
condemned them for the rest of their lives.
Furthermore, when the expense of the maintenance of armed guards
over the pest-house, day and night, throughout the years, is
considered, Walter Merritt Emory could have saved many thousands
of dollars to the tax-payers of the city and county of San
Francisco, which thousands of dollars, had they been spent
otherwise, could have been diverted to the reduction of the
notorious crowding in school-rooms, to purer milk for the babies
of the poor, or to an increase of breathing-space in the park
system for the people of the stifling ghetto. But had Walter
Merritt Emory been thus considerate, not only would Daughtry and
Kwaque have sailed out and away over the sea, but with them would
have sailed Michael.
Never was a reception-roomful of patients rushed through more
expeditiously than was Doctor Emory's the moment the door had
closed upon the two policemen who brought up Daughtry's rear. And
before he went to his late lunch, Doctor Emory was away in his
machine and down into the Barbary Coast to the door of the Bowhead
Lodging House. On the way, by virtue of his political
affiliations, he had been able to pick up a captain of detectives.
The addition of the captain proved necessary, for the landlady put
up a stout argument against the taking of the dog of her lodger.
But Milliken, captain of detectives, was too well known to her,
and she yielded to the law of which he was the symbol and of which
she was credulously ignorant.
As Michael started out of the room on the end of a rope, a
plaintive call of reminder came from the window-sill, where
perched a tiny, snow-white cockatoo.
"Cocky," he called. "Cocky."
Walter Merritt Emory glanced back and for no more than a moment
hesitated. "We'll send for the bird later," he told the landlady,
who, still mildly expostulating as she followed them downstairs,
failed to notice that the captain of the detectives had carelessly
left the door to Daughtry's rooms ajar.
But Walter Merritt Emory was not the only base one abased by
desire of possession of Michael. In a deep leather chair, his
feet resting in another deep leather chair, at the Indoor Yacht
Club, Harry Del Mar yielded to the somniferous digestion of lunch,
which was for him breakfast as well, and glanced through the first
of the early editions of the afternoon papers. His eyes lighted
on a big headline, with a brief five lines under it. His feet
were instantly drawn down off the chair and under him as he stood
up erect upon them. On swift second thought, he sat down again,
pressed the electric button, and, while waiting for the club
steward, reread the headline and the brief five lines.
In a taxi, and away, heading for the Barbary Coast, Harry Del Mar
saw visions that were golden. They took on the semblance of
yellow, twenty-dollar gold pieces, of yellow-backed paper bills of
the government stamping of the United States, of bank books, and
of rich coupons ripe for the clipping--and all shot through the
flashings of the form of a rough-coated Irish terrier, on a galaxy
of brilliantly-lighted stages, mouth open, nose upward to the
drops, singing, ever singing, as no dog had ever been known to
sing in the world before.
Cocky himself was the first to discover that the door was ajar,
and was looking at it with speculation (if by "speculation" may be
described the mental processes of a bird, in some mysterious way
absorbing into its consciousness a fresh impression of its
environment and preparing to act, or not act, according to which
way the fresh impression modifies its conduct). Humans do this
very thing, and some of them call it "free will." Cocky, staring
at the open door, was in just the stage of determining whether or
not he should more closely inspect that crack of exit to the wider
world, which inspection, in turn, would determine whether or not
he should venture out through the crack, when his eyes beheld the
eyes of the second discoverer staring in.
The eyes were bestial, yellow-green, the pupils dilating and
narrowing with sharp swiftness as they sought about among the
lights and glooms of the room. Cocky knew danger at the first
glimpse--danger to the uttermost of violent death. Yet Cocky did
nothing. No panic stirred his heart. Motionless, one eye only
turned upon the crack, he focused that one eye upon the head and
eyes of the gaunt gutter-cat whose head had erupted into the crack
like an apparition.
Alert, dilating and contracting, as swift as cautious, and
infinitely apprehensive, the pupils vertically slitted in jet into
the midmost of amazing opals of greenish yellow, the eyes roved
the room. They alighted on Cocky. Instantly the head portrayed
that the cat had stiffened, crouched, and frozen. Almost
imperceptibly the eyes settled into a watching that was like to
the stony stare of a sphinx across aching and eternal desert
sands. The eyes were as if they had so stared for centuries and
No less frozen was Cocky. He drew no film across his one eye that
showed his head cocked sideways, nor did the passion of
apprehension that whelmed him manifest itself in the quiver of a
single feather. Both creatures were petrified into the mutual
stare that is of the hunter and the hunted, the preyer and the
prey, the meat-eater and the meat.
It was a matter of long minutes, that stare, until the head in the
doorway, with a slight turn, disappeared. Could a bird sigh,
Cocky would have sighed. But he made no movement as he listened
to the slow, dragging steps of a man go by and fade away down the
Several minutes passed, and, just as abruptly the apparition
reappeared--not alone the head this time, but the entire sinuous
form as it glided into the room and came to rest in the middle of
the floor. The eyes brooded on Cocky, and the entire body was
still save for the long tail, which lashed from one side to the
other and back again in an abrupt, angry, but monotonous manner.
Never removing its eyes from Cocky, the cat advanced slowly until
it paused not six feet away. Only the tail lashed back and forth,
and only the eyes gleamed like jewels in the full light of the
window they faced, the vertical pupils contracting to scarcely
perceptible black slits.
And Cocky, who could not know death with the clearness of concept
of a human, nevertheless was not altogether unaware that the end
of all things was terribly impending. As he watched the cat
deliberately crouch for the spring, Cocky, gallant mote of life
that he was, betrayed his one and forgivable panic.
"Cocky! Cocky!" he called plaintively to the blind, insensate
It was his call to all the world, and all powers and things and
two-legged men-creatures, and Steward in particular, and Kwaque,
and Michael. The burden of his call was: "It is I, Cocky. I am
very small and very frail, and this is a monster to destroy me,
and I love the light, bright world, and I want to live and to
continue to live in the brightness, and I am so very small, and
I'm a good little fellow, with a good little heart, and I cannot
battle with this huge, furry, hungry thing that is going to devour
me, and I want help, help, help. I am Cocky. Everybody knows me.
I am Cocky."
This, and much more, was contained in his two calls of: "Cocky!
And there was no answer from the blind walls, from the hall
outside, nor from all the world, and, his moment of panic over,
Cocky was his brave little self again. He sat motionless on the
windowsill, his head cocked to the side, with one unwavering eye
regarding on the floor, so perilously near, the eternal enemy of
all his kind.
The human quality of his voice had startled the gutter-cat,
causing her to forgo her spring as she flattened down her ears and
bellied closer to the floor.
And in the silence that followed, a blue-bottle fly buzzed rowdily
against an adjacent window-pane, with occasional loud bumps
against the glass tokening that he too had his tragedy, a prisoner
pent by baffling transparency from the bright world that blazed so
Nor was the gutter-cat without her ill and hurt of life. Hunger
hurt her, and hurt her meagre breasts that should have been full
for the seven feeble and mewing little ones, replicas of her save
that their eyes were not yet open and that they were grotesquely
unsteady on their soft, young legs. She remembered them by the
hurt of her breasts and the prod of her instinct; also she
remembered them by vision, so that, by the subtle chemistry of her
brain, she could see them, by way of the broken screen across the
ventilator hole, down into the cellar in the dark rubbish-corner
under the stairway, where she had stolen her lair and birthed her
And the vision of them, and the hurt of her hunger stirred her
afresh, so that she gathered her body and measured the distance
for the leap. But Cocky was himself again.
"Devil be damned! Devil be damned!" he shouted his loudest and
most belligerent, as he ruffled like a bravo at the gutter-cat
beneath him, so that he sent her crouching, with startlement,
lower to the floor, her ears wilting rigidly flat and down, her
tail lashing, her head turning about the room so that her eyes
might penetrate its obscurest corners in quest of the human whose
voice had so cried out.
All of which the gutter-cat did, despite the positive evidence of
her senses that this human noise had proceeded from the white bird
itself on the window-sill.
The bottle fly bumped once again against its invisible prison wall
in the silence that ensued. The gutter-cat prepared and sprang
with sudden decision, landing where Cocky had perched the fraction
of a second before. Cocky had darted to the side, but, even as he
darted, and as the cat landed on the sill, the cat's paw flashed
out sidewise and Cocky leaped straight up, beating the air with
his wings so little used to flying. The gutter-cat reared on her
hind-legs, smote upward with one paw as a child might strike with
its hat at a butterfly. But there was weight in the cat's paw,
and the claws of it were outspread like so many hooks.
Struck in mid-air, a trifle of a flying machine, all its delicate
gears tangled and disrupted, Cocky fell to the floor in a shower
of white feathers, which, like snowflakes, eddied slowly down
after, and after the plummet-like descent of the cat, so that some
of them came to rest on her back, startling her tense nerves with
their gentle impact and making her crouch closer while she shot a
swift glance around and overhead for any danger that might
Harry Del Mar found only a few white feathers on the floor of Dag
Daughtry's room in the Bowhead Lodging House, and from the
landlady learned what had happened to Michael. The first thing
Harry Del Mar did, still retaining his taxi, was to locate the
residence of Doctor Emory and make sure that Michael was confined
in an outhouse in the back yard. Next he engaged passage on the
steamship Umatilla, sailing for Seattle and Puget Sound ports at
daylight. And next he packed his luggage and paid his bills.
In the meantime, a wordy war was occurring in Walter Merritt
"The man's yelling his head off," Doctor Masters was contending.
"The police had to rap him with their clubs in the ambulance. He
was violent. He wanted his dog. It can't be done. It's too raw.
You can't steal his dog this way. He'll make a howl in the
"Huh!" quoth Walter Merritt Emory. "I'd like to see a reporter
with backbone enough to go within talking distance of a leper in
the pest-house. And I'd like to see the editor who wouldn't send
a pest-house letter (granting it'd been smuggled past the guards)