Rudyard Kipling – An Almanac of Twelve Sports


Thank God who made the British Isles
And taught me how to play,
I do not worship crocodiles
Or bow the knee to clay!
Give me a willow wand and I,
With hide and cork and twine,
From century to century
Will gambol round my Shrine.
EText-No. 34113
Title: An Almanac of Twelve Sports
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
Language: English
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EText-No. 34113
Title: An Almanac of Twelve Sports
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
Language: English
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EText-No. 34113
Title: An Almanac of Twelve Sports
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
Language: English
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EText-No. 34113
Title: An Almanac of Twelve Sports
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
Language: English
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EText-No. 34113
Title: An Almanac of Twelve Sports
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
Language: English
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EText-No. 34113
Title: An Almanac of Twelve Sports
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
Language: English
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Rudyard Kipling – American Notes

In an issue of the London World in April, 1890, there appeared the following paragraph: “Two small rooms connected by a tiny hall afford sufficient space to contain Mr. Rudyard Kipling, the literary hero of the present hour, ‘the man who came from nowhere,’ as he says himself, and who a year ago was consciously nothing in the literary world.”

Six months previous to this Mr. Kipling, then but twenty-four years old, had arrived in England from India to find that fame had preceded him. He had already gained fame in India, where scores of cultured and critical people, after reading “Departmental Ditties,” “Plain Tales from the Hills,” and various other stories and verses, had stamped him for a genius.

Fortunately for everybody who reads, London interested and stimulated Mr. Kipling, and he settled down to writing. “The Record of Badalia Herodsfoot,” and his first novel, “The Light that Failed,” appeared in 1890 and 1891; then a collection of verse, “Life’s Handicap, being stories of Mine Own People,” was published simultaneously in London and New York City; then followed more verse, and so on through an unending series.

In 1891 Mr. Kipling met the young author Wolcott Balestier, at that time connected with a London publishing house. A strong attachment grew between the two, and several months after their first meeting they came to Mr. Balestier’s Vermont home, where they collaborated on “The Naulahka: A Story of West and East,” for which The Century paid the largest price ever given by an American magazine for a story. The following year Mr. Kipling married Mr. Balestier’s sister in London and brought her to America.

The Balestiers were of an aristocratic New York family; the grandfather of Mrs. Kipling was J. M. Balestier, a prominent lawyer in New York City and Chicago, who died in 1888, leaving a fortune of about a million. Her maternal grandfather was E. Peshine Smith of Rochester, N. Y., a noted author and jurist, who was selected in 1871 by Secretary Hamilton Fish to go to Japan as the Mikado’s adviser in international law. The ancestral home of the Balestiers was near Brattleboro’, Vt., and here Mr. Kipling brought his bride. The young Englishman was so impressed by the Vermont scenery that he rented for a time the cottage on the “Bliss Farm,” in which Steele Mackaye the playwright wrote the well known drama “Hazel Kirke.”

The next spring Mr. Kipling purchased from his brother-in-law, Beatty Balestier, a tract of land about three miles north of Brattleboro’, Vt., and on this erected a house at a cost of nearly $50,000, which he named “The Naulahka.” This was his home during his sojourn in America. Here he wrote when in the mood, and for recreation tramped abroad over the hills. His social duties at this period were not arduous, for to his home he refused admittance to all but tried friends. He made a study of the Yankee country dialect and character for “The Walking Delegate,” and while “Captains Courageous,” the story of New England fisher life, was before him he spent some time among the Gloucester fishermen with an acquaintance who had access to the household gods of these people.

He returned to England in August, 1896, and did not visit America again till 1899, when he came with his wife and three children for a limited time.

It is hardly fair to Mr. Kipling to call “American Notes” first impressions, for one reading them will readily see that the impressions are superficial, little thought being put upon the writing. They seem super-sarcastic, and would lead one to believe that Mr. Kipling is antagonistic to America in every respect. This, however, is not true. These “Notes” aroused much protest and severe criticism when they appeared in 1891, and are considered so far beneath Mr. Kipling’s real work that they have been nearly suppressed and are rarely found in a list of his writings. Their very caustic style is of interest to a student and lover of Kipling, and for this reason the publishers believe them worthy of a good binding.

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Title: American Notes
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
Language: English
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Title: American Notes
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: American Notes
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: American Notes
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Rudyard Kipling – Actions and Reactions

It came without warning, at the very hour his hand was outstretched to crumple the Holz and Gunsberg Combine. The New York doctors called it overwork, and he lay in a darkened room, one ankle crossed above the other, tongue pressed into palate, wondering whether the next brain-surge of prickly fires would drive his soul from all anchorages. At last they gave judgment. With care he might in two years return to the arena, but for the present he must go across the water and do no work whatever. He accepted the terms. It was capitulation; but the Combine that had shivered beneath his knife gave him all the honours of war: Gunsberg himself, full of condolences, came to the steamer and filled the Chapins’ suite of cabins with overwhelming flower-works.

“Smilax,” said George Chapin when he saw them. “Fitz is right. I’m dead; only I don’t see why he left out the ‘In Memoriam’ on the ribbons!”

“Nonsense!” his wife answered, and poured him his tincture. “You’ll be back before you can think.”

He looked at himself in the mirror, surprised that his face had not been branded by the hells of the past three months. The noise of the decks worried him, and he lay down, his tongue only a little pressed against his palate.

An hour later he said: “Sophie, I feel sorry about taking you away from everything like this. I—I suppose we’re the two loneliest people on God’s earth to-night.”

EText-No. 2381
Title: Actions and Reactions
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: Actions and Reactions
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Title: Actions and Reactions
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Rudyard Kipling – A Song of the English

Our brows are bound with spindrift and the weed is on our knees;
Our loins are battered ’neath us by the swinging, smoking seas.
From reef and rock and skerry—over headland ness, and voe—
The Coastwise Lights of England watch the ships of England go!

Through the endless summer evenings, on the lineless, level floors;
Through the yelling Channel tempest when the siren hoots and roars—
By day the dipping house-flag and by night the rocket’s trail—
As the sheep that graze behind us so we know them where they hail.
EText-No. 37091
Title: A Song of the English
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
Language: English
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EText-No. 37091
Title: A Song of the English
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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EText-No. 37091
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Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: A Song of the English
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Rudyard Kipling – A Diversity of Creatures

Isn’t it almost time that our Planet took some interest in the proceedings of the Aërial Board of Control? One knows that easy communications nowadays, and lack of privacy in the past, have killed all curiosity among mankind, but as the Board’s Official Reporter I am bound to tell my tale.

At 9.30 A.M., August 26, A.D. 2065, the Board, sitting in London, was informed by De Forest that the District of Northern Illinois had riotously cut itself out of all systems and would remain disconnected till the Board should take over and administer it direct.

Every Northern Illinois freight and passenger tower was, he reported, out of action; all District main, local, and guiding lights had been extinguished; all General Communications were dumb, and through traffic had been diverted. No reason had been given, but he gathered unofficially from the Mayor of Chicago that the District complained of ‘crowd-making and invasion of privacy.’

As a matter of fact, it is of no importance whether Northern Illinois stay in or out of planetary circuit; as a matter of policy, any complaint of invasion of privacy needs immediate investigation, lest worse follow.

EText-No. 13085
Title: A Diversity of Creatures
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Rudyard Kipling – “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks



The weather door of the smoking-room had been left open to the North Atlantic fog, as the big liner rolled and lifted, whistling to warn the fishing-fleet.


“That Cheyne boy’s the biggest nuisance aboard,” said a man in a frieze overcoat, shutting the door with a bang. “He isn’t wanted here. He’s too fresh.”


A white-haired German reached for a sandwich, and grunted between bites: “I know der breed. Ameriga is full of dot kind. I dell you you should imbort ropes’ ends free under your dariff.”


“Pshaw! There isn’t any real harm to him. He’s more to be pitied than anything,” a man from New York drawled, as he lay at full length along the cushions under the wet skylight. “They’ve dragged him around from hotel to hotel ever since he was a kid. I was talking to his mother this morning. She’s a lovely lady, but she don’t pretend to manage him. He’s going to Europe to finish his education.”


“Education isn’t begun yet.” This was a Philadelphian, curled up in a corner. “That boy gets two hundred a month pocket-money, he told me. He isn’t sixteen either.”


“Railroads, his father, aind’t it?” said the German.


EText-No. 2186
Title: “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks
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Title: “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Title: “Captains Courageous”: A Story of the Grand Banks
Author: Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936
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Rudyard Kipling – Wee Willie Winkie

His full name was Percival William Williams, but he picked up the other name in a nursery-book, and that was the end of the christened titles. His mother’s ayah called him Willie-Baba, but as he never paid the faintest attention to anything that the ayah said, her wisdom did not help matters.

His father was the Colonel of the 195th, and as soon as Wee Willie Winkie was old enough to understand what Military Discipline meant, Colonel Williams put him under it. There was no other way of managing the child. When he was good for a week, he drew good-conduct pay; and when he was bad, he was deprived of his good-conduct stripe. Generally he was bad, for India offers many chances of going wrong to little six-year-olds.

Children resent familiarity from strangers, and Wee Willie Winkie was a very particular child. Once he accepted an acquaintance, he was graciously pleased to thaw. He accepted Brandis, a subaltern of the 195th, on sight. Brandis was having tea at the Colonel’s, and Wee Willie Winkie entered strong in the possession of a good-conduct badge won for not chasing the hens round the compound. He regarded Brandis with gravity for at least ten minutes, and then delivered himself of his opinion.

‘I like you,’ said he slowly, getting off his chair and coming over to Brandis. ‘I like you. I shall call you Coppy, because of your hair. Do you mind being called Coppy? It is because of ve hair, you know.’

Here was one of the most embarrassing of Wee Willie Winkie’s peculiarities. He would look at a stranger for some time, and then, without warning or explanation, would give him a name. And the name stuck. No regimental penalties could break Wee Willie Winkie of this habit. He lost his good-conduct badge for christening the Commissioner’s wife ‘Pobs’; but nothing that the Colonel could do made the Station forego the nickname, and Mrs. Collen remained ‘Pobs’ till the end of her stay. So Brandis was christened ‘Coppy,’ and rose, therefore, in the estimation of the regiment.

If Wee Willie Winkie took an interest in any one, the fortunate man was envied alike by the mess and the rank and file. And in their envy lay no suspicion of self-interest. ‘The Colonel’s son’ was idolised on his own merits entirely. Yet Wee Willie Winkie was not lovely. His face was permanently freckled, as his legs were permanently scratched, and in spite of his mother’s almost tearful remonstrances he had insisted upon having his long yellow locks cut short in the military fashion. ‘I want my hair like Sergeant Tummil’s,’ said Wee Willie Winkie, and, his father abetting, the sacrifice was accomplished.

Three weeks after the bestowal of his youthful affections on Lieutenant Brandis—henceforward to be called ‘Coppy’ for the sake of brevity—Wee Willie Winkie was destined to behold strange things and far beyond his comprehension.

Coppy returned his liking with interest. Coppy had let him wear for five rapturous minutes his own big sword—just as tall as Wee Willie Winkie. Coppy had promised him a terrier puppy; and Coppy had permitted him to witness the miraculous operation of shaving. Nay, more—Coppy had said that even he, Wee Willie Winkie, would rise in time to the ownership of a box of shiny knives, a silver soap-box, and a silver-handled ‘sputter-brush,’ as Wee Willie Winkie called it. Decidedly, there was no one except his father, who could give or take away good-conduct badges at pleasure, half so wise, strong, and valiant as Coppy with the Afghan and Egyptian medals on his breast. Why, then, should Coppy be guilty of the unmanly weakness of kissing—vehemently kissing—a ‘big girl,’ Miss Allardyce to wit? In the course of a morning ride, Wee Willie Winkie had seen Coppy so doing, and, like the gentleman he was, had promptly wheeled round and cantered back to his groom, lest the groom should also see.

Under ordinary circumstances he would have spoken to his father, but he felt instinctively that this was a matter on which Coppy ought first to be consulted.

‘Coppy,’ shouted Wee Willie Winkie, reining up outside that subaltern’s bungalow early one morning—’I want to see you, Coppy!’

‘Come in, young ‘un,’ returned Coppy, who was at early breakfast in the midst of his dogs. ‘What mischief have you been getting into now?’

Wee Willie Winkie had done nothing notoriously bad for three days, and so stood on a pinnacle of virtue.

I’ve been doing nothing bad,’ said he, curling himself into a long chair with a studious affectation of the Colonel’s languor after a hot parade. He buried his freckled nose in a tea-cup and, with eyes staring roundly over the rim, asked: ‘I say, Coppy, is it pwoper to kiss big girls?’

‘By Jove! You’re beginning early. Who do you want to kiss?’

‘No one. My muvver’s always kissing me if I don’t stop her. If it isn’t pwoper, how was you kissing Major Allardyce’s big girl last morning, by ve canal?’

Coppy’s brow wrinkled. He and Miss Allardyce had with great craft managed to keep their engagement secret for a fortnight. There were urgent and imperative reasons why Major Allardyce should not know how matters stood for at least another month, and this small marplot had discovered a great deal too much.

‘I saw you,’ said Wee Willie Winkie calmly. ‘But ve sais didn’t see. I said, “Hut jao!”‘

‘Oh, you had that much sense, you young Rip,’ groaned poor Coppy, half amused and half angry. ‘And how many people may you have told about it?’

‘Only me myself. You didn’t tell when I twied to wide ve buffalo ven my pony was lame; and I fought you wouldn’t like.’

‘Winkie,’ said Coppy enthusiastically, shaking the small hand, ‘you’re the best of good fellows. Look here, you can’t understand all these things. One of these days—hang it, how can I make you see it!—I’m going to marry Miss Allardyce, and then she’ll be Mrs. Coppy, as you say. If your young mind is so scandalised at the idea of kissing big girls, go and tell your father.’

‘What will happen?’ said Wee Willie Winkie, who firmly believed that his father was omnipotent.

‘I shall get into trouble,’ said Coppy, playing his trump card with an appealing look at the holder of the ace.

‘Ven I won’t,’ said Wee Willie Winkie briefly. ‘But my faver says it’s un-man-ly to be always kissing, and I didn’t fink you’d do vat, Coppy.’

‘I’m not always kissing, old chap. It’s only now and then, and when you’re bigger you’ll do it too. Your father meant it’s not good for little boys.’

‘Ah!’ said Wee Willie Winkie, now fully enlightened. ‘It’s like ve sputter-brush?’

‘Exactly,’ said Coppy gravely.

‘But I don’t fink I’ll ever want to kiss big girls, nor no one, ‘cept my muvver. And I must vat, you know.’

There was a long pause, broken by Wee Willie Winkie.

‘Are you fond of vis big girl, Coppy?’

‘Awfully!’ said Coppy.

‘Fonder van you are of Bell or ve Butcha—or me?’

‘It’s in a different way,’ said Coppy. ‘You see, one of these days
Miss Allardyce will belong to me, but you’ll grow up and command the
Regiment and—all sorts of things. It’s quite different, you see.’

‘Very well,’ said Wee Willie Winkie, rising. ‘If you’re fond of ve big girl, I won’t tell any one. I must go now.’

Coppy rose and escorted his small guest to the door, adding—’You’re the best of little fellows, Winkie. I tell you what. In thirty days from now you can tell if you like—tell any one you like.’

Thus the secret of the Brandis-Allardyce engagement was dependent on a little child’s word. Coppy, who knew Wee Willie Winkie’s idea of truth, was at ease, for he felt that he would not break promises. Wee Willie Winkie betrayed a special and unusual interest in Miss Allardyce, and, slowly revolving round that embarrassed young lady, was used to regard her gravely with unwinking eye. He was trying to discover why Coppy should have kissed her. She was not half so nice as his own mother. On the other hand, she was Coppy’s property, and would in time belong to him. Therefore it behoved him to treat her with as much respect as Coppy’s big sword or shiny pistol.

The idea that he shared a great secret in common with Coppy kept Wee Willie Winkie unusually virtuous for three weeks. Then the Old Adam broke out, and he made what he called a ‘camp-fire’ at the bottom of the garden. How could he have foreseen that the flying sparks would have lighted the Colonel’s little hay-rick and consumed a week’s store for the horses? Sudden and swift was the punishment—deprivation of the good-conduct badge and, most sorrowful of all, two days’ confinement to barracks—the house and veranda—coupled with the withdrawal of the light of his father’s countenance.

He took the sentence like the man he strove to be, drew himself up with a quivering under-lip, saluted, and, once clear of the room ran, to weep bitterly in his nursery—called by him ‘my quarters.’ Coppy came in the afternoon and attempted to console the culprit.

‘I’m under awwest,’ said Wee Willie Winkie mournfully, ‘and I didn’t ought to speak to you.’

Very early the next morning he climbed on to the roof of the house—that was not forbidden—and beheld Miss Allardyce going for a ride.

‘Where are you going?’ cried Wee Willie Winkie.

‘Across the river,’ she answered, and trotted forward.

Now the cantonment in which the 195th lay was bounded on the north by a river—dry in the winter. From his earliest years, Wee Willie Winkie had been forbidden to go across the river, and had noted that even Coppy—the almost almighty Coppy—had never set foot beyond it. Wee Willie Winkie had once been read to, out of a big blue book, the history of the Princess and the Goblins—a most wonderful tale of a land where the Goblins were always warring with the children of men until they were defeated by one Curdie. Ever since that date it seemed to him that the bare black and purple hills across the river were inhabited by Goblins, and, in truth, every one had said that there lived the Bad Men. Even in his own house the lower halves of the windows were covered with green paper on account of the Bad Men who might, if allowed clear view, fire into peaceful drawing-rooms and comfortable bedrooms. Certainly, beyond the river, which was the end of all the Earth, lived the Bad Men. And here was Major Allardyce’s big girl, Coppy’s property, preparing to venture into their borders! What would Coppy say if anything happened to her? If the Goblins ran off with her as they did with Curdie’s Princess? She must at all hazards be turned back.

The house was still. Wee Willie Winkie reflected for a moment on the very terrible wrath of his father; and then—broke his arrest! It was a crime unspeakable. The low sun threw his shadow, very large and very black, on the trim garden-paths, as he went down to the stables and ordered his pony. It seemed to him in the hush of the dawn that all the big world had been bidden to stand still and look at Wee Willie Winkie guilty of mutiny. The drowsy sais gave him his mount, and, since the one great sin made all others insignificant, Wee Willie Winkie said that he was going to ride over to Coppy Sahib, and went out at a foot-pace, stepping on the soft mould of the flower-borders.

The devastating track of the pony’s feet was the last misdeed that cut him off from all sympathy of Humanity. He turned into the road, leaned forward, and rode as fast as the pony could put foot to the ground in the direction of the river.

But the liveliest of twelve-two ponies can do little against the long canter of a Waler. Miss Allardyce was far ahead, had passed through the crops, beyond the Police-posts, when all the guards were asleep, and her mount was scattering the pebbles of the river-bed as Wee Willie Winkie left the cantonment and British India behind him. Bowed forward and still flogging, Wee Willie Winkie shot into Afghan territory, and could just see Miss Allardyce a black speck, flickering across the stony plain. The reason of her wandering was simple enough. Coppy, in a tone of too-hastily-assumed authority, had told her overnight that she must not ride out by the river. And she had gone to prove her own spirit and teach Coppy a lesson.

Almost at the foot of the inhospitable hills, Wee Willie Winkie saw the Waler blunder and come down heavily. Miss Allardyce struggled clear, but her ankle had been severely twisted, and she could not stand. Having fully shown her spirit, she wept, and was surprised by the apparition of a white, wide-eyed child in khaki, on a nearly spent pony.

‘Are you badly, badly hurted?’ shouted Wee Willie Winkie, as soon as he was within range. ‘You didn’t ought to be here.’

‘I don’t know,’ said Miss Allardyce ruefully, ignoring the reproof.
‘Good gracious, child, what are you doing here?’

‘You said you was going acwoss ve wiver,’ panted Wee Willie Winkie, throwing himself off his pony. ‘And nobody—not even Coppy—must go acwoss ve wiver, and I came after you ever so hard, but you wouldn’t stop, and now you’ve hurted yourself, and Coppy will be angwy wiv me, and—I’ve bwoken my awwest! I’ve bwoken my awwest!’

The future Colonel of the 195th sat down and sobbed. In spite of the pain in her ankle the girl was moved.

‘Have you ridden all the way from cantonments, little man? What for?’

‘You belonged to Coppy. Coppy told me so!’ wailed Wee Willie Winkie disconsolately. ‘I saw him kissing you, and he said he was fonder of you van Bell or ve Butcha or me. And so I came. You must get up and come back. You didn’t ought to be here. Vis is a bad place, and I’ve bwoken my awwest.’

‘I can’t move, Winkie,’ said Miss Allardyce, with a groan. ‘I’ve hurt my foot. What shall I do?’

She showed a readiness to weep anew, which steadied Wee Willie
Winkie, who had been brought up to believe that tears were the depth
of unmanliness. Still, when one is as great a sinner as Wee Willie
Winkie, even a man may be permitted to break down.

‘Winkie,’ said Miss Allardyce, ‘when you’ve rested a little, ride back and tell them to send out something to carry me back in. It hurts fearfully.’

The child sat still for a little time and Miss Allardyce closed her eyes; the pain was nearly making her faint. She was roused by Wee Willie Winkie tying up the reins on his pony’s neck and setting it free with a vicious cut of his whip that made it whicker. The little animal headed towards the cantonments.

‘Oh, Winkie, what are you doing?’

‘Hush!’ said Wee Willie Winkie. ‘Vere’s a man coming—one of’ve Bad
Men. I must stay wiv you. My faver says a man must always look
after a girl. Jack will go home, and ven vey’ll come and look for us.
Vat’s why I let him go.’

Not one man but two or three had appeared from behind the rocks of the hills, and the heart of Wee Willie Winkie sank within him, for just in this manner were the Goblins wont to steal out and vex Curdie’s soul. Thus had they played in Curdie’s garden—he had seen the picture—and thus had they frightened the Princess’s nurse. He heard them talking to each other, and recognised with joy the bastard Pushto that he had picked up from one of his father’s grooms lately dismissed. People who spoke that tongue could not be the Bad Men. They were only natives after all.

They came up to the boulders on which Miss Allardyce’s horse had blundered.

Then rose from the rock Wee Willie Winkie, child of the Dominant Race, aged six and three-quarters, and said briefly and emphatically ‘Jao!’ The pony had crossed the river-bed.

The men laughed, and laughter from natives was the one thing Wee Willie Winkie could not tolerate. He asked them what they wanted and why they did not depart. Other men with most evil faces and crooked-stocked guns crept out of the shadows of the hills, till, soon, Wee Willie Winkie was face to face with an audience some twenty strong. Miss Allardyce screamed.

‘Who are you?’ said one of the men.

‘I am the Colonel Sahib’s son, and my order is that you go at once.
You black men are frightening the Miss Sahib.

One of you must run into cantonments and take the news that the Miss
Sahib has hurt herself, and that the Colonel’s son is here with her.’

‘Put our feet into the trap?’ was the laughing reply.

‘Hear this boy’s speech!’

‘Say that I sent you—I, the Colonel’s son. They will give you money.’

‘What is the use of this talk? Take up the child and the girl, and we can at least ask for the ransom. Ours are the villages on the heights,’ said a voice in the background.

These were the Bad Men—worse than Goblins—and it needed all Wee Willie Winkie’s training to prevent him from bursting into tears. But he felt that to cry before a native, excepting only his mother’s ayah, would be an infamy greater than any mutiny. Moreover, he, as future Colonel of the 195th, had that grim regiment at his back.

‘Are you going to carry us away?’ said Wee Willie Winkie, very blanched and uncomfortable.

‘Yes, my little Sahib Bahadur,’ said the tallest of the men, ‘and eat you afterwards.’

‘That is child’s talk,’ said Wee Willie Winkie. ‘Men do not eat men.’

A yell of laughter interrupted him, but he went on firmly—’And if you do carry us away, I tell you that all my regiment will come up in a day and kill you all without leaving one. Who will take my message to the Colonel Sahib?’

Speech in any vernacular—and Wee Willie Winkie had a colloquial acquaintance with three—was easy to the boy who could not yet manage his ‘r’s’ and ‘th’s’ aright.

Another man joined the conference, crying: ‘O foolish men! What this babe says is true. He is the heart’s heart of those white troops. For the sake of peace let them go both, for if he be taken, the regiment will break loose and gut the valley. Our villages are in the valley, and we shall not escape. That regiment are devils. They broke Khoda Yar’s breastbone with kicks when he tried to take the rifles; and if we touch this child they will fire and rape and plunder for a month, till nothing remains. Better to send a man back to take the message and get a reward. I say that this child is their God, and that they will spare none of us, nor our women, if we harm him.’

It was Din Mahommed, the dismissed groom of the Colonel, who made the diversion, and an angry and heated discussion followed. Wee Willie Winkie, standing over Miss Allardyce, waited the upshot. Surely his ‘wegiment,’ his own ‘wegiment,’ would not desert him if they knew of his extremity.

* * * * *

The riderless pony brought the news to the 195th, though there had been consternation in the Colonel’s household for an hour before. The little beast came in through the parade-ground in front of the main barracks, where the men were settling down to play Spoil-five till the afternoon. Devlin, the Colour-Sergeant of E Company, glanced at the empty saddle and tumbled through the barrack-rooms, kicking; up each Room Corporal as he passed. ‘Up, ye beggars! There’s something happened to the Colonel’s son,’ he shouted.

‘He couldn’t fall off! S’elp me, ‘e couldn’t fall off,’ blubbered a drummer-boy. ‘Go an’ hunt acrost the river. He’s over there if he’s anywhere, an’ maybe those Pathans have got ‘im. For the love o’ Gawd don’t look for ‘im in the nullahs! Let’s go over the river.’

‘There’s sense in Mott yet,’ said Devlin. ‘E Company, double out to the river—sharp!’

So E Company, in its shirt-sleeves mainly, doubled for the dear life, and in the rear toiled the perspiring Sergeant, adjuring it to double yet faster. The cantonment was alive with the men of the 195th hunting for Wee Willie Winkie, and the Colonel finally overtook E Company, far too exhausted to swear, struggling in the pebbles of the river-bed.

Up the hill under which Wee Willie Winkie’s Bad Men were discussing the wisdom of carrying off the child and the girl, a look-out fired two shots.

‘What have I said?’ shouted Din Mahommed. ‘There is the warning! The pulton are out already and are coming across the plain! Get away! Let us not be seen with the boy!’

The men waited for an instant, and then, as another shot was fired, withdrew into the hills, silently as they had appeared.

‘The wegiment is coming,’ said Wee Willie Winkie confidently to Miss
Allardyce, ‘and it’s all wight. Don’t cwy!’

He needed the advice himself, for ten minutes later, when his father came up, he was weeping bitterly with his head in Miss Allardyce’s lap.

And the men of the 195th carried him home with shouts and rejoicings; and Coppy, who had ridden a horse into a lather, met him, and, to his intense disgust, kissed him openly in the presence of the men.

But there was balm for his dignity. His father assured him that not only would the breaking of arrest be condoned, but that the good-conduct badge would be restored as soon as his mother could sew it on his blouse-sleeve. Miss Allardyce had told the Colonel a story that made him proud of his son.

‘She belonged to you, Coppy,’ said Wee Willie Winkie, indicating Miss
Allardyce with a grimy forefinger. ‘I knew she didn’t ought to go
acwoss ve wiver, and I knew ve wegiment would come to me if I sent
Jack home.’

‘You’re a hero, Winkie,’ said Coppy—’a pukka hero!’

‘I don’t know what vat means,’ said Wee Willie Winkie, ‘but you mustn’t call me Winkie any no more. I’m ‘Percival Will’am Will’ams.’

And in this manner did Wee Willie Winkie enter into his manhood.

Rudyard Kipling – The Son of His Father

“It is a queer name,” Mrs. Strickland admitted, “and none of our family have ever borne it, but, you see, he is the first man to us.”

So he was called Adam, and to that world about him he was the first of men – a man-child alone. Heaven sent him no Eve for a companion, but all earth, horse and foot, was at his feet. As soon as he was old enough to appear in public, he held a levee; and Strickland’s sixty policemen, with their sixty clanking sabres, bowed to the dust before him. When his fingers closed a little on Imam Din’s sword-hilt, they rose and roared – till Adam roared, too, and was withdrawn.

“Now, that was no cry of fear,” said Imam Din, afterwards, speaking to his companions in the Police Lines. “He was angry – and so young! Brothers, he will make a very strong Police officer.”

“Does the Memsahib give him the breast?” said a new Phillour recruit, the dye smell not yet out of his yellow cotton uniform.

“Ho!” said an up-country Naik, scornfully. “It has not been known for more than ten days that my woman suckles him.” He curled his moustaches as lordly as ever an Inspector could afford to do, for he knew that the husband of the foster-mother of the son of the District Superintendent of Police was a man sure of consideration.

“I am glad,” said Imam Din, loosening his belt. “Those who drink our blood become of our own blood, and I have seen, in these thirty years, that the sons of the Sahibs, once being born here, return when they are men. Yes, they return after they have been to Belait [Europe].”

“And what do they do in Belait?” asked the recruit, respectfully.

“Get instruction – which thou hast not,” returned the Naik. “Also they drink of belaitee-panee [soda-water], enough to give them that devil’s restlessness which endures for all their lives. Whence we of Hind have trouble.”

“My father’s uncle,” said Imam Din, slowly, with importance, “was Ressaldar of the Longcoat Horse; and the Empress called him to Belait in the year that she had accomplished fifty years of rule. He said (and there were also other witnesses) that the Sahibs there drink common water, even as do we; and that the belaitee-panee does not run in all the rivers.

“He said also that there was a Shish Mahal – half a glass palace – half a koss in length and that the rail-gbarri ran under the roads, and that there are boats bigger than a village. He is a great talker.” The Naik spoke scornfully. He had no well-born uncles.

“He is a man of good birth,” said Imam Din, with the least possible emphasis on the first word, and the Naik was silent.

“Ho! ho!” Imam Din reached out to his pipe, chuckling until his fat sides shook again. “Strickland Sahib’s foster-mother was the wife of an Arain in the Ferozepur district. I was a young man then, ploughing while the English fought. This child will also be suckled here, and he will have double wisdom, and when he is a Police officer it will be very bad for the thieves in this illakha.”

“There will be no English in the land then. They are asking permission of clerks and low-caste men to continue their rule even now,” said the Naik.

“All but foolish men – such as those clerks are – would know that this asking is but an excuse for making trouble, and thus holding the country more strictly. Now, in an investigation, is it not our custom to permit the villagers to talk loosely and give us abuse for a little time? Then do we not grow hot, and walk them to the thana two by two – as these clerks will be walked? Thus do I read the new talk.”

“So do not I,” said the Naik, who borrowed the native newspapers.

“Because thou art young, and wast born in time of peace. I saw the year that was to end the English rule. Men said it was ended, indeed, and that all could now take their neighbour’s cattle. This I saw ploughing, and I was minded to fight too, being a young man. My father sent me to Gurgaon to buy cattle, and I saw the tents of Van Corlin Sahib(1) in the wheat, and I saw that he was going up and down collecting the revenue, neither abating nor increasing it, though Delhi was all afire, and the Sahibs lay dead about the fields. I have seen what I have seen. This Raj will not be talked down; and he who builds on the present madness of the Sahib-log, which, O Naik, covers great cunning, builds for himself a lock-up. My father’s uncle has seen their country, and he says that he is afraid as never he feared before. So Strickland Sahib’s boy will come back to this country, and his son after him. Naik, have they named him yet?”

“The butler spoke to my household, having heard the talk at table, and he says that they will call him Adam, and no jaw-splitting English name. Ud-daam. The padre will name him at their church in due time.”(1) Van Cortland?

“Who can tell the ways of Sahibs? Now, Strickland Sahib knows more of the Faith than ever I had time to learn-prayers, charms, names, and stories of the Blessed Ones. Yet he is not a Musalman,” said Imam Din, thoughtfully.

“For the reason that he knows as much of the gods of Hindustan, and so rides with a rein in each hand. Remember that he sat under the Baba Atall, a fakir among fakirs, for ten days: whereby a man came to be hanged for the murder of the dancing-girl on the night of the great earthquake,” said the Naik.

“True – it is true – and yet . . . they are one day so wise, the
Sahibs, and another so foolish. But he has named the child well:
Adam. Huzrut Adam! Ho! ho! Father Adam we must call him.”

“And all who minister to the child,” said the Naik, quietly, but with meaning, “will come to great honour.”

Adam throve, being prayed over before the gods of at least three creeds, in a garden almost as fair as Eden. There were gigantic clumps of bamboo that talked continually, and enormous plantains on whose soft paper skin he could scratch with his nails; green domes of mango-trees as huge as the dome of St. Paul’s, full of parrots as big as cassowaries, and grey squirrels the size of foxes. At the end of the garden stood a hedge of flaming poinsettias higher than any-thing in the world, because, childlike, Adam’s eye could not carry to the tops of the mango-trees. Their green went out against the blue sky, but the red poinsettias he could just see. A nurse who talked continually about snakes and pulled him back from the mouth of a fascinating dry well, and a mother who believed that the sun hurt little heads, were the only drawbacks to this loveliness. But, as his legs grew under him, he found that by scaling an enormous rampart -three feet of broken-down mud wall at the end of the garden – he could come into a ready-made kingdom where every one was his slave. Imam Din showed him the way one evening, and the police troopers cooking their supper received him with rapture, and gave him pieces of very indigestible but altogether delightful spiced bread.

Here he sat or sprawled in the horse-feed where the police horses were picketed in a double line, and he named them, men and beasts together, according to his ideas and experiences, as his First Father had done before him. In those days everything had a name, from the mud mangers to the heel-ropes; for things were people to Adam, exactly as people are things to folk in their second childhood. Through all the conferences – one hand twisted into Imam Din’s beard, and the other on his polished belt-buckle – there were two other people who came and went across the talk – Death and Sickness – persons stronger than Imam Din, and stronger than the heel-roped stallions. There was Mata, the small-pox, a woman in some way connected with pigs; and Heza, the cholera, a black man, according to Adam; and Booka, starvation; and Kismet, who quietly settled all questions, from the choking of a pet mungoose in the kitchen drain, to the absence of a young policeman who once missed a parade and never came back. It was all very wonderful to Adam, but not worth much thinking over; for a child’s mind is bounded by his eyes exactly as a horse’s view of the road is limited by blinkers. Between all these objectionable shadowy vagrants stood a ring of kind faces and strong arms, and Mata and Heza would never touch Adam, the first of men. Kismet might do so, because – and this was a mystery no staring into the looking-glass would solve – Kismet, who was a man, was also written, like police orders for the day, in or on Adam’s head. Imam Din could not explain how this might be, and it was from that grey fat Muhammadan that Adam learned through every inflection the Khuda janta (God knows) that settled everything in his mind.

Beyond the fact that “Khuda” was a very good man and kept lions, Adam’s theology did not run far. Mrs. Strickland tried to teach him a few facts, but he revolted at the story of Genesis as untrue. A turtle, he said, upheld the world, and one-half the adventures of Huzrut Nu (Father Noah) had never been told. If Mamma wanted to hear them, she must ask Imam Din. Adam had heard of a saint who had made wooden cakes and pressed them to his stomach when he felt hungry, and the Feeding of the Multitude did not impress him. So it came about that a reading of miracle stories generally ended in a monologue by Adam on other and much more astonishing miracles.

“It’s awful,” said Mrs. Strickland, half crying, “to think of his growing up like a little heathen.” Mrs. Strickland (Miss Youghal that was, if you remember her) had been born and brought up in England, and did not quite understand things.

“Let him alone,” said Strickland; “he’ll grow out of it all, or it will only come back to him in dreams.”"Are you sure?” said his wife, to whom Strickland’s least word was pure truth.

“Quite. I was sent home when I was seven, and they flicked it out of me with a wet towel at Harrow. Public schools don’t encourage any-thing that isn’t quite English.”

Mrs. Strickland shuddered, for she had been trying not to think of the separation that follows motherhood in India, and makes life there, for all that is written to the contrary, not quite the most desirable thing in the world. Adam trotted out to hear about more miracles, and his nurse must have worried him beyond bounds, for she came back weeping, saying that Adam Baba was in danger of being eaten alive by wild horses.

As a matter of fact, he had shaken off Juma by bolting between a couple of picketed horses and lying down under their bellies. That they were personal friends of his, Juma did not understand, nor Strickland either. Adam was settled at ease when his father arrived, breathless and white, and the stallions put back their ears and squealed.

“If you come here,” said Adam, “they will hit you kicks. Tell
Juma I have eaten my rice and wish to be alone.”

“Come out at once,” said Strickland, for the horses were beginning to paw violently.

“Why should I obey Juma’s order? She is afraid of horses.”

“It is not Juma’s order. It is mine. Obey!”

“Ho!” said Adam, “Juma did not tell me that.” And he crawled out on all fours among the shod feet. Mrs. Strickland was crying bitterly with fear and excitement, and as a sacrifice to the home gods Adam had to be whipped. He said with perfect justice: “There was no order that I should not sit with the horses, and they are my horses. Why is there this tamasha?”

Strickland’s face showed him that the whipping was coming, and the child turned white. Mother-like, Mrs. Strickland left the room, but Juma, the foster-mother, stayed to see.

“Am I to be whipped here?” he gasped.

“Of course.”

“Before that woman? Father, I am a man -I am not afraid. It is my izzat – my honour.”

Strickland only laughed (to this day I cannot imagine what possessed him), and gave Adam the little tap-tap with a riding-cane that was whipping sufficient for his years.

When it was all over, Adam said quietly: “I am little, and you are big. If I stayed among my horse folk I should not have been whipped. You are afraid to go there.”

The merest chance led me to Strickland’s house that afternoon. When I was half-way down the drive Adam passed me, without recognition, at a fast run. I caught one glimpse of his face under his big hat, and it was the face of his father as I had once seen that in the grey of morning when it bent above a leper. I caught the child by the shoulder.

“Let me go!” he screamed, and he and I were the best of friends, as a rule. “Let me go!”

“Where to, Father Adam?” He was quivering like a new-haltered colt.

“To the well. I have been beaten. I have been beaten before women! Let me go!” He tried to bite my hand.

“That is a small matter,” I said. “Men are horn to beatings.”

“Thou hast never been beaten,” he said savagely.

“Indeed I have. Times past counting.”

“Before women?”

“My mother and the ayah saw. By women too, for that matter. What of it?”

“What didst thou do?” He stared beyond my shoulder up the long drive.

“It is long ago, and I have forgotten. I was older than thou art; but even then I forgot, and now the thing is but a jest to be talked of”

Adam drew one big breath and broke down utterly in my arms. Then he raised his head, and his eyes were Strickland’s eyes when Strickland gave orders.

“Ho! Imam Din.”

The fat orderly seemed to spring out of the earth at our feet, crashing through the bushes, and standing to attention.

“Hast thou ever been beaten?” said Adam.”Assuredly. By my father when I was thirty years old. He beat me with a plough-beam before all the women of the village.”"Wherefore?”

“Because I had returned to the village on leave from the Government service, and had said of the village elders that they had not seen the world. Therefore he beat me, to show that no seeing of the world changed father and son.”

“And thou?”

“I stood up. He was my father.”

“Good,” said Adam, and turned on his heel without another word.

Imam Din looked after him. “An elephant breeds but once in a lifetime, but he breeds elephants. Yet I am glad I am no father of tuskers,” said he.

“What is it all?” I asked.

“His father beat him with a whip no bigger than a reed. But the child could not have done what he desired to do without leaping through me. And I am of some few pounds weight. Look!”

Imam Din stepped back through the bushes, and the pressed grass showed that he had been lying curled round the mouth of the dry well.

“When there was talk of beating I knew that one who sat among horses, such as ours, was not like to kiss his father’s hand. So I lay down in this place.” We both stood still looking at the well-curb.

Adam came back along the garden path to us. “I have spoken to my father,” he said simply. “Imam Din, tell thy Naik that his woman is dismissed my service.”

“Huzoor!” said Imam Din, stooping low.

“For no fault of hers.”

“Protector of the Poor!”

And to-day.”


“It is an order! Go!”

Again the salute, and Imam Din departed, with that same set of the back which he wore when he had taken an order from Strickland. I thought that it would be well to go too, but Strickland beckoned me from the verandah. When I came up he was perfectly white, and rocking to and fro in his chair, repeated “Good God!” half a dozen times.

“Do you know that he was going to chuck himself down the well – because I tapped him just now ~” he said helplessly.

“I ought to,” I replied. “He has just dismissed his nurse – on his own authority, I suppose?”

“He told me just now that he wouldn’t have her for a nurse any more. I never supposed he meant it for an instant. I suppose she’ll have to go.”

It is written elsewhere that Strickland was feared through the length and breadth of the Punjab by murderers, horse-thieves, and cattle-lifters.

Adam returned, halting outside the verandah, very white about the lips.

“I have sent away Juma because she saw that – that which happened. Until she is gone I do not come in the house,” he said.

But to send away thy foster-mother ~” said Strickland, with reproach.

“I do not send her away. It is thy blame, and the small forefinger was pointed to Strickland. “I will not obey her; I will not eat from her hand, and I will not sleep with her. Send her away.”

Strickland stepped out and lifted the child into the verandah.

“This folly has lasted long enough,” he said. “Come, now, and be wise.”

“I am little, and you are big,” said Adam, between set teeth.
“You can beat me before this man or cut me to pieces. But I will
not have Juma for my ayah any more. I will not eat till she goes.
I swear it by – my father’s head.”

Strickland sent him indoors to his mother, and we could hear sounds of weeping, and Adam’s voice saying nothing more than, “Send Juma away.” Presently Juma came in and wept too, and Adam repeated, “It is no fault of thine, but go!”

And the end of it was that Juma went, with all her belongings, and Adam fought his own way alone into his little clothes until a new ayah came. His address of welcome to her was rather amazing. In a few words it ran: “If I do wrong send me to my father. If you strike me I will try to kill you. I do not wish my ayah to play with me. Go and eat rice.”

>From that day Adam forswore the society of ayahs and small native girls as much as a small boy can, confining himself to Imam Din and his friends of the police. The Naik, Juma’s husband, had been presuming not a little on his position, and when Adam’s favour was withdrawn from his wife he judged it best to apply for a transfer to another post. There were too many companions anxious to report his shortcomings to Strickland.

Towards his father Adam kept a guarded neutrality. There was not a touch of sulkiness in it, for the child’s temper was as clear as a bell. But the difference and the politeness worried Strickland.

If the other men had loved Adam before the affair of the well, they worshipped him now.

He knows what honour means,” said Imam Din; “he has justified himself upon a point thereof. He has carried an order through his father’s household as a child of the blood might do. Therefore he is not altogether a child any longer. Wah! He is a tiger’s cub.” The next time that Adam made his little unofficial inspection of the line, Imam Din, and by consequence all the others, stood upon their feet, with their hands to their sides, instead of calling out from where they lay, “Salaam, Babajee,” and other disrespectful things.

But Strickland took long counsel with his wife, and she with the cheque-book and their lean bank-account, and they decided that Adam must go “home” to his aunts. But England is not home to a child that has been born in India, and it never becomes home-like unless he spends all his youth there. The bank-book showed that if they economised through the summer by going to a cheap hill-station instead of to Simla, where Mrs. Strickland’s parents lived, and where Strickland might be noticed by the powers, they could send Adam home in the next spring. It would be hard pinching, but it could be done. In India all the money that people in other lands save against a rainy day runs off in loss by exchange, which to-day cuts a man’s income down almost exactly to one-half There is nothing to show for money when all is put by, and that is what makes married life there so hard. Strickland used to say, sometimes, that he envied the convicts in the jail. They had no position to keep up, and the ball and chain that the worst of them wore was only a few pounds weight of iron.

Dalhousie was chosen as being the cheapest of the hill-stations; Dalhousie and a little five-roomed cottage full of mildew, tucked away among the rhododendrons.

Adam had been to Simla three or four times, and knew by name the most of the Tonga drivers from Kalka to Tara Deva; but this new plan disquieted him. He came to me for information, his hands deep in his knickerbocker pockets, walking, step for step, as his father walked.

“There will be none of my bhai-bund [Brotherhood] up there,” said he, disconsolately, “and they say that I must lie still in a doolie for a day and a night, being carried like a sheep. I wish to take some of my mounted men to Dalhousie.”

I told him that there was a small boy called Victor, at Dalhousie, who had a calf for a pet, and was allowed to play with it on the public roads. After that Adam could not sufficiently hurry the packing.

“First,” said he, “I shall ask that man Victor to let me play with the cow’s child. If he is mug-gra [ill-conditioned] I shall tell my policemen to take it away.”

“But that is unjust,” said Strickland, “and there is no order that the police should do injustice.”

“When the Government pay is not sufficient, and low-caste men are promoted, what can an honest man do?” he replied, in the very touch and accent of Imam Din, and Strickland’s eyebrows went up.

“You talk too much to the police, my son,” he said.

“Always, about everything,” said Adam, promptly. “They say that when I am an officer I shall know as much as my father.” “God forbid, little one!”

“They say, too, that you are as clever as Shaitan to know things.”

“They say that, do they?” said Strickland, looking pleased. His pay was small, but he had his reputation, and that was dear to him.

“They say also – not to me, but to one another when they eat rice behind the wall – that in your own heart you esteem yourself as wise as Suleiman, who was cheated by Shaitan.”

This time Strickland did not look so pleased. Adam, in all innocence, launched into a long story about Suleiman-bin-Daoud, who once, out of vanity, pitted his wits against Shaitan, and because God was not on his side Shaitan sent “a little devil of low caste,” as Adam put it, who cheated him utterly, and put him to shame before “all the other Rajas.”

“By Jove!” said Strickland, when the tale was done, and went away, while Adam took me to task for laughing at Imam Din’s story. I did not wonder that he was called Huzrut Adam, for he looked old as all time in his grave childhood, sitting cross-legged, his battered little helmet far at the back of his head, his forefinger wagging up and down, native fashion, and the wisdom of serpents on his unconscious lips.

That May he went up to Dalhousie with his mother, and in those days the journey ended in fifty or sixty miles of uphill travel in a doolie or palanquin, along a road winding through the Himalayas. Adam sat in the doolie with his mother,and Strickland rode and tied with me, a spare doolie following. The march began after we got out of the train at Pathankot, in a hot night among the rice – and poppy-fields.

It was all new to Adam, and he had opinions to advance – notably about a fish that jumped on a wayside pond.

“Now I know,” he shouted, “how Khuda puts them there. First He makes them and then He drops them down. That was a new one.” Then, lifting his head to the stars, he cried, “O God, do it again, but slowly, that I, Adam, may see.”

But nothing happened, and the doolie-bearers lit the noisome, dripping rag torches, and Adam’s eyes shone big in the dancing light, and we smelt the dry dust of the plains that we were leaving after eleven months’ hard work.

At stated times the men ceased their drowsy, grunting tune, and sat down for a smoke. Between the guttering of their water-pipes we could hear the cries of the beasts of the night, and the wind stirring in the folds of the mountain ahead. At the changing stations the voice of Adam, the first of men, would be lifted to rouse the sleepers in the huts till the fresh relays of bearers shambled from their cots, and the relief-pony with them.

Then we would re-form and go on, and by the time the moon rose Adam was asleep, and there was no sound in the night except the grunting of the men, the husky murmur of some river a thousand feet down in the valley, and the squeaking of Strickland’s saddle. So we went up from the date-palm to deodar, till the dawn wind came round a corner all fresh from the snows, and we snuffed it. I heard Strickland say: “Wife, my overcoat, please,” and Adam, fretfully: “Where is Dalhousie, and the cow’s child?” and then I slept till Strickland turned me out of the warm doolie at seven o’clock, and I stepped into the splendour of a cool hill day, the plains sweltering twenty miles back and three thousand feet below.

Adam waked too, and needs must ride in front of me to ask a million questions, and shout at the monkeys, and clap his hands when the painted pheasants bolted across our road, and hail every wood-cutter and drover and pilgrim within sight, till we halted for breakfast at a staging-house. After breakfast, being a child, he went out to play with a train of bullock-drivers haltered by the road-side, and we had to chase him out of a native liquor-shop where he was bargaining with a naked seven-year-old for a mynah in a bamboo cage.

Said he, wriggling on my pommel, as we went on again: “There were four men behosh [insensible] at the back of that house. Wherefore do men grow behosh from drinking?”

“It is the nature of the water,” l said, and calling back: “Strick, what’s that grog-shop doing so close to the road? It’s a temptation to any one’s servants.”

“Dun’no,” said a sleepy voice in the doolie. “This is Kennedy’s district. ‘Twasn’t here in my time.”

“Truly the water smells bad,” Adam went on. “I smelt it, but I did not get the mynah even for six annas. The woman of the house gave me a love-gift, that I found, playing near the verandah.”

“And what was the gift, Father Adam?”

“A nose-ring for my ayah. Ohe! ohe! Look at that camel with a bag on his nose.” A string of loaded camels came cruising round the corner, as a fleet rounds a cape.

“Ho, Malik! why does not a camel salaam like an elephant? His neck is long enough,” Adam cried.

“The Angel Jibrail made him a fool from the beginning,” said the driver, as he swayed on the top of the led beast, and laughter ran all along the line of red-bearded men.

“That is true,” said Adam, and they laughed again.

At last, in the late afternoon, we came to Dalhousie, loveliest of the hill-stations, and separated.Adam hardly could be restrained from setting out at once to find Victor and the “cow’s child.” I found them both, something to my trouble, next morning. The two young sinners had a calf on a taut line just at a sharp turn in the Mall, and were pretending that he was a Raja’s elephant who had gone mad. But it was my horse that nearly went mad, and they shouted with delight. Then we began to talk, and Adam, by way of crushing Victor’s repeated reminders that he and not “that other” was the owner of the calf, said: “It is true I have no cow’s child, but a great dacoity has been done on my father.”

“We came up together yesterday. There could have been nothing,” I said.

“It was my mother’s horse. She has been dacoited with beating and blows, and now it is so thin.” He held his hands an inch apart. “My father is at the tar-house sending tars. Imam Din will cut off all their heads. I desire your saddle-cloth for a howdah to my elephant. Give it me.”

This was exciting, but not lucid. I went to the telegraph-office and found Strickland in a bad temper among many telegraph-forms. A dishevelled, one-eyed groom stood in a corner, whimpering at intervals. He was a man whom Adam invariably addressed as “Be-shakl be-ukl, be-ank” – ugly, stupid, eyeless. It seemed, according to Strickland, that he had sent his wife’s horse up to Dalhousie by road, a fortnight’s march. This is the custom in Upper India. Among the foot-hills near Dhunnera or Dhar, horse and man had been violently set upon in the night by four men, who had beaten the groom (his leg was bandaged from knee to ankle in proof), had incidentally beaten the horse, and had robbed the groom of the bucket, and all his money eleven rupees, nine annas, three pie. Last, they had left him for dead by the wayside, where wood-cutters had found and nursed him. Then the one-eyed howled with anguish, thinking over his bruises. “They asked me if I was Strickland Sahib’s servant, and I, thinking the protection of the name would be sufficient, spoke the truth. Then they beat me grievously.”

“Hm!” said Strickland. “I thought they wouldn’t dacoit as a business on the Dalhousie road. This is meant for me personally – sheer badmashi [impudence]. All right.”

In justice to a very hard-working class, it must be said that the thieves of Upper India have the keenest sense of humour. The last compliment that they can pay a Police officer is to rob him, and if, as once they did, they can loot a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, on the eve of his retirement, of everything except the clothes on his back, their joy is complete. They cause letters of derision and telegrams of condolence to be sent to the victim; for of all men, thieves are most compelled to keep up with modern progress.

Strickland was a man of few words where his business was concerned. I had never seen a Police officer robbed before, and I expected some excitement; but Strickland held his tongue. He took the groom’s deposition and retired into himself for a time, evolving thieves. Then he sent Kennedy, of the Pathankot charge, an official letter and an unofficial note. Kennedy’s reply was purely unofficial, and it ran thus: “This seems a compliment solely intended for you. My wonder is, you didn’t get it before.

The men are probably back in your district by this time. The Dhunnera and foot-hill people are highly respectable cultivators, and seeing my Assistant is an unlicked pup, and I can’t trust my Inspector out of my sight, I am not going to turn their harvest upside down with a police investigation. I am run off my feet with vaccination police work. You’d better look at home. The Shubkudder Gang were through here a fortnight back. They laid up at the Amritsar Serai, and then worked down. No cases against them in my charge, but remember you lagged their malik for receiving in Prub Dyal’s burglary. They owe you one.”

“Exactly what I thought,” said Strickland. “I had a notion it was the Shubkudder Gang from the first. We must make it pleasant for them at Peshawur, and in my district too. They are just the kind that would lie up under Imam Din’s shadow.”

>From this point onward the wires began to he worked heavily. Strickland had a very fair knowledge of the Shubkudder Gang, gathered at first hand.

They were the same syndicate that had once stolen a Deputy Commissioner’s cow, put horse-shoes on her, and taken her forty miles into the jungle before they lost interest in the joke. They added insult to insult by writing that the Deputy Commissioner’s cows and horses were so much alike that it took them two days to find out the difference, and they would not lift the like of such cattle any more.

The District Superintendent at Peshawur replied to Strickland that he was expecting the gang, and Strickland’s Assistant in his own district, being young and full of zeal, sent up the most amazing clues.

“Now that’s just what I want that young fool not to do,” said Strickland. “He hasn’t passed the lower standard yet, and he’s an English boy born and bred, and his father before him. He has about as much tact as a bull, and he won’t work quietly under my Inspector. I wish the Government would keep our service for country-born men. Those first five or six years give a man a pull that lasts him his life. Adam, if you were only old enough to be my ‘Stunt”!” He looked down at the little fellow on the verandah. Adam was deeply interested in the dacoity, and, unlike a child, did not lose interest after the first week. On the contrary, he would ask his father every evening what had been done, and Strickland had drawn him a picture on the white wall of the verandah showing the different towns in which policemen were on the lookout for the thieves. They were Amritsar, Jullundur, Phillour, Gurgaon, in case the gang were moving south; Rawal Pindi and Peshawur, with Multan. Adam looked up at the picture as he answered:

“There has been great dikh [trouble] in this case.”

“Very great trouble. I wish thou wert a young man and my assistant to help me.”

“Dost thou need help, my father?” Adam asked curiously, with his head on one side.

“Very much.”

“Leave it all alone. It is bad. Let loose everything.”

“That must not be. Those beginning a business continue to the end.”

“Thou wilt continue to the end? Dost thou not know who did the dacoity?”

Strickland shook his head. Adam turned to me with the same question, and I answered it in the same way.

“What foolish people!” he said, and turned his back on us. He showed plainly in all our dealings afterwards how we had fallen in his opinion. Strickland told me that he would sit at the door of his work-room and stare at him for half an hour at a time as he went through his papers. Strickland seemed to work harder over the case than if he had been in office on the plains.

“And sometimes I look up and I fancy the little chap’s laughing at me. It’s an awful thing to have a son. You see, he’s your own and his own, and between the two you don’t know quite how to handle him,” said Strickland. “I wonder what in the world he thinks about?”

I asked Adam this on my own account. He put his head on one side for a moment and replied: “In these days I think about great things; I do not play with Victor and the cow’s child any more. He is only a baba.”

At the end of the third week of Strickland’s leave the result of Strickland’s labours – labours that had made Mrs. Strickland more indignant against dacoits than any one else – came to hand. The police at Peshawur reported that half the Shubkudder Gang were held at Peshawur to account for the possession of some blankets and a horse-bucket. Strickland’s Assistant had also four men under suspicion in his charge; and Imam Din must have stirred up Strickland’s Inspector to investigations on his own account, for a string of incoherent telegrams came in from the Club Secretary, in which he entreated, exhorted, and commanded Strickland to take his “mangy havildars” off the club premises. “Your men, in servants’ quarters here, examining cook. Marker indignant. Steward threatens resignation. Members furious. Saises stopped on roads. Shut up, or my resignation goes to committee.”

“Now, I shouldn’t in the least wonder,” said Strickland, thoughtfully, to his wife, “if the club was not just the place where a man would lie up. Bill Watson isn’t at all pleased, though. I think I shall have to cut my leave by a week and go down there. If there’s anything to be told, the men will tell me. It will never do for the gang to think they can dacoit my belongings.”

That was in the forenoon, and Strickland asked me to tiff in to leave me some instructions about his big dog, with authority to rebuke those who did not attend to her. Tietens was growing too old and too fat to live in the plains in summer. When I came, Adam had climbed into his high chair at the table, and Mrs. Strickland seemed ready to weep at any moment over the general misery of things.

“I go down the hill to-morrow, little son,” said Strickland.

“Wherefore?” said Adam, reaching out for a ripe mango and burying his head in it.

“Imam Din has caught the men who did the dacoity, and there are also others at Peshawur under suspicion. I must go to see.”

“Bus!” said Adam, between the sucks at his mango, as Mrs.
Strickland tucked the napkin round his neck. “It is enough.
Imam Din speaks lies. Do not go.”

“It is necessary. There has been great dikhdari (trouble-giving].”

Adam came out of the fruit for a minute and laughed. Then, returning, he spoke between slow and deliberate mouthfuls.

“The dacoits live in Beshakl’s head. They will never be caught.
All people know that. The cook knows, and the scullion, and
Rahim Baksh here.”

“Nay,” said the butler behind his chair, hastily. “What should I know? Nothing at all does the servant of the Presence know.”

“Accha,” said Adam, and sucked on. “Only it is known.”

“Speak, then,” said Strickland. “What dost thou know? Remember the sais was beaten insensible.”

“That was in the bad-water shop where I played when we came here. The boy who would not sell me the mynah for six annas told me that a one-eyed man had come there and drunk the bad waters and gone mad. He broke bedsteads. They hit him with a bamboo till he fell senseless, and, fearing he was dead, they nursed him on milk like a little baba. When I was playing first with the cow’s child I asked Beshakl if he were that man, and he said no. But I knew, because many wood-cutters asked him whether his head were whole now.”

“But why,” I interrupted, “did Beshakl tell lies?”

“Oh! he is a low-caste man, and desired consideration. Now he is a witness in a great law-case, and men will go to the jailkhana on his account. It was to give trouble and obtain notice.”

“Was it all lies?” said Strickland,

“Ask him,” said Adam, cheerily, through the mango-juice.

Strickland passed through the door; there was a howl of despair in the servants’ quarters up the hill, and he returned with the one-eyed groom.

“Now,” said Strickland, “it is known. Declare!” “Beshakl,” said Adam, while the man gasped. “Imam Din has caught four men, and there are some more at Peshawur. Bus! Bus! Bus! Tell about the mare and how she rolled.”

“Thou didst get drunk by the wayside, and didst make a false case

to cover it. Speak!”

Like many other men, Strickland, in possession of a few facts, was irresistible. The groom groaned.

“I – I did not get drunk – till – till – Protector of the Poor, the mare rolled.”

“All horses roll at Dhunnera. The road is too narrow before that, and they smell where the other horses have rolled. This the bullock-drivers told me when they came there,” said Adam.

“She rolled. The saddle was cut, and the curb-chain was lost.”

“See!” said Adam, tugging a curb-chain from his pocket. “That woman in the shop gave it to me for a love-gift. Beshakl said it was not his when I showed it. But I knew.”

“Then they in the grog-shop, knowing that I was the servant of the Presence, said that unless I drank and spent money they would tell.”

“A lie. A lie,” said Strickland. “Son of an owl, speak truth now at least.”

“Then I was afraid because I had lost the curb-chain, so I cut the saddle across and about.”

“She did not roll, then?” said Strickland, bewildered and very angry.

“It was the curb-chain that was lost. That was the beginning of all. I cut the saddle to look as though she had rolled, and went to drink in the shop. I drank, and there was a fray. The rest I have forgotten, till I was recovered.”

“And the mare the while? What of the mare?”

The man looked at Strickland, and collapsed. “I will speak truth.

She bore fagots for a wood-cutter for a week.”

“Oh, poor Diamond!” said Mrs. Strickland.

“And Beshaki was paid four annas for her hire three days ago by the wood-cutter’s brother, who is the left-hand man of the jhampanis here,” said Adam, in a loud and joyful voice. “We all knew. We all knew. I and all the servants.”

Strickland was silent. His wife stared helplessly at the child – the soul called out of the Nowhere, that went its own way alone.

“Did no man help thee with the lies?” I asked of the groom.

“None, Protector of the Poor – not one.”

“They grew, then?”

“As a tale grows in the telling. Alas! I am a very bad man,” and he blinked his one eye dole-fully.

“Now four men are held at my station on thy account, and God knows how many more at Peshawur, besides the questions at Multan, and my izzat is lost, and the mare has been pack-pony to a wood-cutter. Son of devils, what canst thou do to make amends?”

There was just a little break in Strickland’s voice, and the man caught it. Bending low, he answered in the abject, fawning whine that confounds right and wrong more surely even than most modern creeds, “Protector of the Poor, is the police service shut to an honest man?”

“Out!” cried Strickland, and swiftly as the groom departed he must have heard our shout of laughter behind him.

“If you dismiss that man, Strick, I shall engage him. He’s a genius,” I said. “It will take you months to put this mess right, and Billy Watson won’t give you a minute’s peace.”

“You aren’t going to tell him?” said Strickland, appealingly.

“I couldn’t keep this to myself if you were my own brother. Four men held in your district -four or forty at Peshawur – and what was that you said about Multan?”

“Oh, nothing. Only some camel men there have been -”

“On account of a curb-chain. Oh, my aunt!”

“And whose memsahib was thy aunt?” said Adam, with the mango stone in his fist. We began to laugh again.

“But here,” said Strickland, pulling his face together, “is a very bad child who has caused his father to lose honour before all the policemen of the Punjab.”

“Oh, they know,” said Adam. “It was only for the sake of show that they caught the people. Assuredly they all knew it was bunao [make-up].”

“And since when hast thou known?” said the first policeman in
India to his son.

“Four days after we came here – after the wood-cutter had asked Beshakl of the health of his head. Beshaki all but slew a wood-cutter at that bad-water place.”

“If thou hadst spoken then, time and money and trouble to me and to others had all been spared. Baba, thou hast done a wrong greater than thy knowledge, and thou hast put me to shame, and set me out upon false words, and broken my honour. Thou hast done very wrong. But perhaps thou didst not think?”

“Nay, but I did think. Father, my honour was lost when that happened that – that happened in Juma’s presence. Now it is made whole again.”

And, with the most enchanting smile in the world, Adam climbed on to his father’s lap.

Rudyard Kipling – The Devil and the Deep Sea

All supplies very bad and dear, and there are no facilities for even the smallest repairs. – Sailing Directions.

Her nationality was British, but you will not find her house-flag in the list of our mercantile marine. She was a nine-hundred-ton, iron, schooner-rigged, screw cargo-boat, differing externally in no way from any other tramp of the sea. But it is with steamers as it is with men. There are those who will for a consideration sail extremely close to the wind; and, in the present state of a fallen world, such people and such steamers have their use. From the hour that the Aglaia first entered the Clyde — new, shiny, and innocent, with a quart of cheap champagne trickling down her cut-water — Fate and her owner, who was also her captain, decreed that she should deal with embarrassed crowned heads, fleeing Presidents, financiers of over-extended ability, women to whom change of air was imperative, and the lesser law-breaking Powers. Her career led her sometimes into the Admiralty Courts, where the sworn statements of her skipper filled his brethren with envy. The mariner cannot tell or act a lie in the face of the sea, or mis-lead a tempest; but, as lawyers have discovered, he makes up for chances withheld when he returns to shore, an affidavit in either hand.

The Aglaia figured with distinction in the great Mackinaw salvage-case. It was her first slip from virtue, and she learned how to change her name, but not her heart, and to run across the sea. As the Guiding Light she was very badly wanted in a South American port for the little matter of entering harbour at full speed, colliding with a coal-hulk and the State’s only man-of-war, just as that man-of-war was going to coal. She put to sea without explanations, though three forts fired at her for half an hour. As the Julia M’Gregor she had been concerned in picking up from a raft certain gentlemen who should have stayed in Noumea, but who preferred making themselves vastly unpleasant to authority in quite another quarter of the world; and as the Shah-in-Shah she had been overtaken on the high seas, indecently full of munitions of war, by the cruiser of an agitated Power at issue with its neighbour. That time she was very nearly sunk, and her riddled hull gave eminent lawyers of two countries great profit. After a season she reappeared as the Martin Hunt painted a dull slate-colour, with pure saffron funnel, and boats of robin’s-egg blue, engaging in the Odessa trade till she was invited (and the invitation could not well be disregarded) to keep away from Black Sea ports altogether.

She had ridden through many waves of depression. Freights might drop out of sight, Seamen’s Unions throw spanners and nuts at certificated masters, or stevedores combine till cargo perished on the dock-head; but the boat of many names came and went, busy, alert, and inconspicuous always. Her skipper made no complaint of hard times, and port officers observed that her crew signed and signed again with the regularity of Atlantic liner boatswains. Her name she changed as occasion called; her well-paid crew never; and a large percentage of the profits of her voyages was spent with an open hand on her engine-room. She never troubled the underwriters, and very seldom stopped to talk with a signal-station, for her business was urgent and private.

But an end came to her tradings, and she perished in this manner. Deep peace brooded over Europe, Asia, Africa, America, Australasia, and Polynesia. The Powers dealt together more or less honestly; banks paid their depositors to the hour; diamonds of price came safely to the hands of their owners; Republics rested content with their Dictators; diplomats found no one whose presence in the least incommoded them; monarchs lived openly with their lawfully wedded wives. It was as though the whole earth had put on its best Sunday bib and tucker; and business was very bad for the Martin Hunt. The great, virtuous calm engulfed her, slate sides, yellow funnel, and all, but cast up in another hemisphere the steam whaler Haliotis, black and rusty, with a manure-coloured funnel, a litter of dingy white boats, and an enormous stove, or furnace, for boiling blubber on her forward well-deck. There could be no doubt that her trip was successful, for she lay at several ports not too well known, and the smoke of her trying-out insulted the beaches.

Anon she departed, at the speed of the average London four-wheeler, and entered a semi-inland sea, warm, still, and blue, which is, perhaps, the most strictly preserved water in the world. There she stayed for a certain time, and the great stars of those mild skies beheld her playing puss-in-the-corner among islands where whales are never found. All that while she smelt abominably, and the smell, though fishy, was not whalesome. One evening calamity descended upon her from the island of Pygang-Watai, and she fled, while her crew jeered at a fat black-and-brown gunboat puffing far behind. They knew to the last revolution the capacity of every boat, on those seas, that they were anxious to avoid. A British ship with a good conscience does not, as a rule, flee from the man-of-war of a foreign Power, and it is also considered a breach of etiquette to stop and search British ships at sea. These things the skipper of the Haliotis did not pause to prove, but held on at an inspiriting eleven knots an hour till nightfall. One thing only he overlooked.

The Power that kept an expensive steam-patrol moving up and down those waters (they had dodged the two regular ships of the station with an ease that bred contempt) had newly brought up a third and a fourteen-knot boat with a clean bottom to help the work; and that was why the Haliotis, driving hard from the east to the west, found herself at daylight in such a position that she could not help seeing an arrangement of four flags, a mile and a half behind, which read: “Heave to, or take the consequences!”

She had her choice, and she took it. The end came when, presuming on her lighter draught, she tried to draw away northward over a friendly shoal. The shell that arrived by way of the Chief Engineer’s cabin was some five inches in diameter, with a practice, not a bursting, charge. It had been intended to cross her bows, and that was why it knocked the framed portrait of the Chief Engineer’s wife – and she was a very pretty girl – on to the floor, splintered his wash-hand stand, crossed the alleyway into the engine-room, and striking on a grating, dropped directly in front of the forward engine, where it burst, neatly fracturing both the bolts that held the connecting-rod to the forward crank.

What follows is worth consideration. The forward engine had no more work to do. Its released piston-rod, therefore, drove up fiercely, with nothing to check it, and started most of the nuts of the cylinder-cover. It came down again, the full weight of the steam behind it, and the foot of the disconnected connecting-rod, useless as the leg of a man with a sprained ankle, flung out to the right and struck the starboard, or right-hand, cast-iron supporting-column of the forward engine, cracking it clean through about six inches above the base, and wedging the upper portion outwards three inches towards the ship’s side. There the connecting-rod jammed. Meantime, the after-engine, being as yet unembarrassed, went on with its work, and in so doing brought round at its next revolution the crank of the forward engine, which smote the already jammed connecting-rod, bending it and therewith the piston-rod cross-head- the big cross-piece that slides up and down so smoothly.

The cross-head jammed sideways in the guides, and, in addition to putting further pressure on the already broken starboard supporting-column, cracked the port, or left-hand, supporting-column in two or three places. There being nothing more that could be made to move, the engines brought up, all standing, with a hiccup that seemed to lift the Haliotis a foot out of the water; and the engine-room staff, opening every steam outlet that they could find in the confusion, arrived on deck somewhat scalded, but calm. There was a sound below of things happening – a rushing, clicking, purring, grunting, rattling noise that did not last for more than a minute. It was the machinery adjusting itself, on the spur of the moment, to a hundred altered conditions. Mr. Wardrop, one foot on the upper grating, inclined his ear sideways, and groaned. You cannot stop engines working at twelve knots an hour in three seconds without disorganising them. The Haliotis slid forward in a cloud of steam, shrieking like a wounded horse. There was nothing more to do. The five-inch shell with a reduced charge had settled the situation. And when you are full, all three holds, of strictly preserved pearls; when you have cleaned out the Tanna Bank, the Sea-Horse Bank, and four other banks from one end to the other of the Amanala Sea -when you have ripped out the very heart of a rich Government monopoly so that five years will not repair your wrong-doings – you must smile and take what is in store. But the skipper reflected, as a launch put out from the man-of-war, that he had been bombarded on the high seas, with the British flag – several of them – picturesquely disposed above him, and tried to find comfort from the thought.

Where,” said the stolid naval lieutenant hoisting himself aboard, “where are those dam’ pearls?”

They were there beyond evasion. No affidavit could do away with the fearful smell of decayed oysters, the diving-dresses, and the shell-littered hatches. They were there to the value of seventy thousand pounds, more or less; and every pound poached.

The man-of-war was annoyed; for she had used up many tons of coal, she had strained her tubes, and, worse than all, her officers and crew had been hurried. Every one on the Haliotis was arrested and rearrested several times, as each officer came aboard; then they were told by what they esteemed to be the equivalent of a midshipman that they were to consider themselves prisoners, and finally were put under arrest.

It’s not the least good,” said the skipper, suavely. “You’d much better send us a tow – “

“Be still – you are arrest!” was the reply.

“Where the devil do you expect we are going to escape to?” We’re helpless. You’ve got to tow us into somewhere, and explain why you fired on us. Mr. Wardrop, we’re helpless, aren’t we?”

“Ruined from end to end,” said the man of machinery. “If she rolls, the forward cylinder will come down and go through her bottom. Both columns are clean cut through. There’s nothing to hold anything up.”

The council of war clanked off to see if Mr. Wardrop’s words were true. He warned them that it was as much as a man’s life was worth to enter the engine-room, and they contented themselves with a distant inspection through the thinning steam. The Haliotis lifted to the long, easy swell, and the starboard supporting-column ground a trifle, as a man grits his teeth under the knife. The forward cylinder was depending on that unknown force men call the pertinacity of materials, which now and then balances that other heartbreaking power, the perversity of inanimate things.

“You see!” said Mr. Wardrop, hurrying them away. “The engines aren’t worth their price as old iron.”

“We tow,” was the answer. “Afterwards we shall confiscate.”

The man-of-war was short-handed, and did not see the necessity for putting a prize-crew aboard the Haliotis. So she sent one sublieutenant, whom the skipper kept very drunk, for he did not wish to make the tow too easy, and, moreover, he had an inconspicuous little rope hanging from the stem of his ship.

Then they began to tow at an average speed of four knots an hour. The Haliotis was very hard to move, and the gunnery-lieutenant, who had fired the five-inch shell, had leisure to think upon consequences. Mr. Wardrop was the busy man. He borrowed all the crew to shore up the cylinders with spars and blocks from the bottom and sides of the ship. It was a day’s risky work; but anything was better than drowning at the end of a tow-rope; and if the forward cylinder had fallen,it would have made its way to the sea-bed, and taken the Haliotis after.

“Where are we going to, and how long will they tow us?” he asked of the skipper.

“God knows! and this prize-lieutenant’s drunk. What do you think you can do?”

“There’s just the bare chance,” Mr. Wardrop whispered, though no one was within hearing -”there’s just the bare chance o’ repairin’ her, if a man knew how. They’ve twisted the very guts out of her, bringing her up with that jerk; but I’m saying that, with time and patience, there’s just the chance o’ making steam yet. We could do it.”

The skipper’s eye brightened. “Do you mean,” he began, “that she is any good?”

“Oh, no,” said Mr. Wardrop. “She’ll need three thousand pounds in repairs, at the lowest, if she’s to take the sea again, an’ that apart from any injury to her structure. She’s like a man fallen down five pair o’ stairs. We can’t tell for months what has happened; but we know she’ll never be good again without a new inside. Ye should see the condenser-tubes an’ the steam connections to the donkey, for two things only. I’m not afraid of them repairin’ her. I’m afraid of them stealin’ things.”

“They’ve fired on us. They’ll have to explain that.”

“Our reputation’s not good enough to ask for explanations. Let’s take what we have and be thankful. Ye would not have consuls remembern’ the Guidin’ Light, an’ the Shah-in-Shah, an’ the Aglaia, at this most alarmin’ crisis. We’ve been no better than pirates these ten years. Under Providence we’re no worse than thieves now. We’ve much to be thankful for – if we e’er get back to her.”

“Make it your own way, then,” said the skipper. “If there’s the least chance – “

“I’ll leave none,” said Mr. Wardrop – “none that they’ll dare to take. Keep her heavy on the tow, for we need time.”

The skipper never interfered with the affairs of the engine-room, and Mr. Wardrop – an artist in his profession – turned to and composed a work terrible and forbidding. His background was the dark-grained sides of the engine-room; his material the metals of power and strength, helped out with spars, baulks, and ropes. The man-of-war towed sullenly and viciously. The Haliotis behind her hummed like a hive before swarming. With extra and totally unneeded spars her crew blocked up the space round the forward engine till it resembled a statue in its scaffolding, and the butts of the shores interfered with every view that a dispassionate eye might wish to take. And that the dispassionate mind might be swiftly shaken out of its calm, the well-sunk bolts of the shores were wrapped round untidily with loose ends of ropes, giving a studied effect of most dangerous insecurity. Next, Mr. Wardrop took up a collection from the after-engine, which, as you will remember, had not been affected in the general wreck. The cylinder escape-valve he abolished with a flogging-hammer. It is difficult in far-off ports to come by such valves, unless, like Mr. Wardrop, you keep duplicates in store. At the same time men took off the nuts of two of the great holding-down bolts that serve to keep the engines in place on their solid bed. An engine violently arrested in mid-career may easily jerk off the nut of a holding-down bolt, and this accident looked very natural.

Passing along the tunnel, he removed several shaft coupling-bolts and -nuts, scattering other and ancient pieces of iron underfoot. Cylinder-bolts he cut off to the number of six from the after-engine cylinder, so that it might match its neighbour, and stuffed the bilge – and feed-pumps with cotton-waste. Then he made up a neat bundle of the various odds and ends that he had gathered from the engines – little things like nuts and valve-spindles, all carefully tallowed – and retired with them under the floor of the engine-room, where he sighed, being fat, as he passed from manhole to manhole of the double bottom, and in a fairly dry submarine compartment hid them. Any engineer, particularly in an unfriendly port, has a right to keep his spare stores where he chooses; and the foot of one of the cylinder shores blocked all entrance into the regular store-room, even if that had not been already closed with steel wedges. In conclusion, he disconnected the after-engine, laid piston and connecting-rod, carefully tallowed, where it would be most inconvenient to the casual visitor, took out three of the eight collars of the thrust-block, hid them where only he could find them again, filled the boilers by hand, wedged the sliding doors of the coal-bunkers, and rested from his labours. The engine-room was a cemetery, and it did not need the contents of the ash-lift through the skylight to make it any worse.

He invited the skipper to look at the completed work.

Saw ye ever such a forsaken wreck as that ?” said he, proudly. “It almost frights me to go under those shores. Now, what d’ you think they’ll do to us?”

“Wait till we see,” said the skipper. ” It’ll be bad enough when it comes.”

He was not wrong. The pleasant days of towing ended all too soon, though the Haliotis trailed behind her a heavily weighted jib stayed out into the shape of a pocket; and Mr. Wardrop was no longer an artist of imagination, but one of seven-and-twenty prisoners in a prison full of insects. The man-of-war had towed them to the nearest port, not to the headquarters of the colony, and when Mr. Wardrop saw the dismal little harbour, with its ragged line of Chinese junks, its one crazy tug, and the boat-building shed that, under the charge of a philosophical Malay, represented a dockyard, he sighed and shook his head.

“I did well,” he said. “This is the habitation o’ wreckers an’ thieves. We’re at the uttermost ends of the earth. Think you they’ll ever know in England?”

“Doesn’t look like it,” said the skipper.

They were marched ashore with what they stood up in, under a generous escort, and were judged according to the customs of the country, which, though excellent, are a little out of date. There were the pearls; there were the poachers; and there sat a small but hot Governor. He consulted for a while, and then things began to move with speed, for he did not wish to keep a hungry crew at large on the beach, and the man-of-war had gone up the coast. With a wave of his hand – a stroke of the pen was not necessary – he consigned them to the black gang-tana, the back-country, and the hand of the Law removed them from his sight and the knowledge of men. They were marched into the palms, and the back-country swallowed them up – all the crew of the Haliotis.

Deep peace continued to brood over Europe, Asia, Africa, America,

Australasia, and Polynesia.

It was the firing that did it. They should have kept their counsel; but when a few thousand foreigners are bursting with joy over the fact that a ship under the British flag has been fired at on the high seas, news travels quickly; and when it came out that the pearl-stealing crew had not been allowed access to their consul (there was no consul within a few hundred miles of that lonely port) even the friendliest of Powers has a right to ask questions. The great heart of the British public was beating furiously on account of the performance of a notorious race-horse, and had not a throb to waste on distant accidents; but somewhere deep in the hull of the ship of State there is machinery which more or less accurately takes charge of foreign affairs. That machinery began to revolve, and who so shocked and surprised as the Power that had captured the Haliotis? It explained that colonial governors and far-away men-of-war were difficult to control, and promised that it would most certainly make an example both of the Governor and the vessel. As for the crew reported to be pressed into military service in tropical climes, it would produce them as soon as possible, and it would apologise, if necessary. Now, no apologies were needed. When one nation apologises to an-other, millions of amateurs who have no earthly concern with the difficulty hurl themselves into the strife and embarrass the trained specialist. It was requested that the crew be found, if they were still alive – they had been eight months beyond knowledge – and it was promised that all would be forgotten.

The little Governor of the little port was pleased with himself. Seven-and-twenty white men made a very compact force to throw away on a war that had neither beginning nor end – a jungle and stockade fight that flickered and smouldered through the wet hot years in the hills a hundred miles away, and was the heritage of every wearied official. He had, he thought, deserved well of his country; and if only some one would buy the unhappy Haliotis, moored in the harbour below his verandah, his cup would be full. He looked at the neatly silvered lamps that he had taken from her cabins, and thought of much that might be turned to account. But his countrymen in that moist climate had no spirit. They would peep into the silent engine-room, and shake their heads. Even the men-of-war would not tow her further up the coast, where the Governor believed that she could be repaired. She was a bad bargain; but her cabin carpets were undeniably beautiful, and his wife approved of her mirrors.

Three hours later cables were bursting round him like shells, for, though he knew it not, he was being offered as a sacrifice by the nether to the upper millstone, and his superiors had no regard for his feelings. He had, said the cables, grossly exceeded his power, and failed to report on events. He would, therefore – at this he cast himself back in his hammock – produce the crew of the Haliotis. He would send for them, and, if that failed, he would put his dignity on a pony and fetch them himself. He had no conceivable right to make pearl-poachers serve in any war. He would be held responsible.

Next morning the cables wished to know whether he had found the crew of the Haliotis. They were to be found, freed and fed – he was to feed them – till such time as they could be sent to the nearest English port in a man-of-war. If you abuse a man long enough in great words flashed over the sea-beds, things happen. The Governor sent inland swiftly for his prisoners, who were also soldiers; and never was a militia regiment more anxious to reduce its strength. No power short of death could make these mad men wear the uniform of their service. They would not fight, except with their fellows, and it was for that reason the regiment had not gone to war, but stayed in a stockade, reasoning with the new troops. The autumn campaign had been a fiasco, but here were the Englishmen. All the regiment marched back to guard them, and the hairy enemy, armed with blow-pipes, rejoiced in the forest. Five of the crew had died, but there lined up on the Governor’s verandah two-and-twenty men marked about the legs with the scars of leech-bites. A few of them wore fringes that had once been trousers; the others used loin-cloths of gay patterns; and they existed beautifully but simply in the Governor’s verandah, and when he came out they sang at him. When you have lost seventy thousand pounds’ worth of pearls, your pay, your ship, and all your clothes, and have lived in bondage for five months beyond the faintest pretences of civilisation, you know what true independence means, for you become the happiest of created things – natural man.

The Governor told the crew that they were evil, and they asked for food. When he saw how they ate, and when he remembered that none of the pearl patrol-boats were expected for two months, he sighed. But the crew of the Haliotis lay down in the verandah, and said that they were pensioners of the Governor’s bounty. A grey-bearded man, fat and bald-headed, his one garment a green-and-yellow loin-cloth, saw the Haliotis in the harbour, and bellowed for joy. The men crowded to the verandah-rail, kicking aside the long cane chairs. They pointed, gesticulated, and argued freely, without shame. The militia regiment sat down in the Governor’s garden. The Governor retired to his hammock – it was as easy to be killed lying as standing-and his women squeaked from the shuttered rooms.

“She sold?” said the grey~bearded man, pointing to the Haliotis.
He was Mr. Wardrop.

“No good,” said the Governor, shaking his head. “No one come buy.”

“He’s taken my lamps, though,” said the skipper. He wore one leg of a pair of trousers, and his eye wandered along the verandah. The Governor quailed. There were cuddy camp-stools and the skipper’s writing-table in plain sight.

“They’ve cleaned her out, o’ course,” said Mr. Wardrop. “They would. We’ll go aboard and take an inventory. See!” He waved his hands over the harbour. “We – live – there – now. Sorry?”

The Governor smiled a smile of relief.

“He’s glad of that,” said one of the crew, reflectively. “I shouldn’t wonder.”

They flocked down to the harbour-front, the militia regiment clattering behind, and embarked themselves in what they found – it happened to be the Governor’s boat. Then they disappeared over the bulwarks of the Haliotis, and the Governor prayed that they might find occupation inside.

Mr. Wardrop’s first bound took him to the engine-room; and when the others were patting the well-remembered decks, they heard him giving God thanks that things were as he had left them. The wrecked engines stood over his head untouched; no inexpert hand had meddled with his shores; the steel wedges of the store-room were rusted home; and, best of all, the hundred and sixty tons of good Australian coal in the bunkers had not diminished.

“I don’t understand it,” said Mr. Wardrop. “Any Malay knows the
use o’ copper. They ought to have cut away the pipes. And with
Chinese junks coming here, too. It’s a special interposition o’

“You think so,” said the skipper, from above. “There’s only been one thief here, and he’s cleaned her out of all my things, anyhow.”

Here the skipper spoke less than the truth, for under the planking of his cabin, only to be reached by a chisel, lay a little money which never drew any interest – his sheet-anchor to windward. It was all in clean sovereigns that pass current the world over, and might have amounted to more than a hundred pounds.

“He’s left me alone. Let’s thank God,” repeated Mr. Wardrop.

“He’s taken everything else; look!”

The Haliotis, except as to her engine-room, had been systematically and scientifically gutted from one end to the other, and there was strong evidence that an unclean guard had camped in the skipper’s cabin to regulate that plunder. She lacked glass, plate, crockery, cutlery, mattresses, cuddy carpets and chairs, all boats, and her copper ventilators. These things had been removed, with her sails and as much of the wire rigging as would not imperil the safety of the masts.

“He must have sold those,” said the skipper. “The other things are in his house, I suppose.”

Every fitting that could be pried or screwed out was gone. Port, starboard, and masthead lights; teak gratings; sliding sashes of the deckhouse; the captain’s chest of drawers, with charts and chart-table; photographs, brackets, and looking-glasses; cabin doors; rubber cuddy mats; hatch-irons; half the funnel-stays; cork fenders; carpenter’s grindstone and tool-chest; holystones, swabs, squeegees; all cabin and pantry lamps; galley-fittings en bloc; flags and flag-locker; clocks, chronometers; the forward compass and the ship’s bell and belfry, were among the missing.

There were great scarred marks on the deck-planking over which the cargo-derricks had been hauled. One must have fallen by the way, for the bulwark-rails were smashed and bent and the side-plates bruised.

“It’s the Governor,” said the skipper “He’s been selling her on the instalment plan.”

“Let’s go up with spanners and shovels, and kill ‘em all,” shouted the crew. “Let’s drown him, and keep the woman!”

“Then we’ll be shot by that black-and-tan regiment – our regiment. What’s the trouble ashore ~ They’ve camped our regiment on the beach.”

“We’re cut off; that’s all. Go and see what they want,” said Mr.
Wardrop. “You’ve the trousers.”

In his simple way the Governor was a strategist. He did not desire that the crew of the Haliotis should come ashore again, either singly or in detachments, and he proposed to turn their steamer into a convict-hulk. They would wait – he explained this from the quay to the skipper in the barge – and they would continue to wait till the man-of-war came along, exactly where they were. If one of them set foot ashore, the entire regiment would open fire, and he would not scruple to use the two cannon of the town. Meantime food would be sent daily in a boat under an armed escort. The skipper, bare to the waist, and rowing, could only grind his teeth; and the Governor improved the occasion, and revenged himself for the bitter words in the cables, by saying what he thought of the morals and manners of the crew. The barge returned to the Haliotis in silence, and the skipper climbed aboard, white on the cheek-bones and blue about the nostrils.

“I knew it,” said Mr. Wardrop; “and they won’t give us good food, either. We shall have bananas morning, noon, and night, an’ a man can’t work on fruit. We know that.”

Then the skipper cursed Mr. Wardrop for importing frivolous side-issues into the conversation; and the crew cursed one another, and the Haliotis, the voyage, and all that they knew or could bring to mind. They sat down in silence on the empty decks, and their eyes burned in their heads. The green harbour water chuckled at them overside. They looked at the palm-fringed hills inland, at the white houses above the harbour road, at the single tier of native craft by the quay, at the stolid soldiery sitting round the two cannon, and, last of all, at the blue bar of the horizon. Mr. War-drop was buried in thought, and scratched imaginary lines with his untrimmed finger-nails on the planking.

“I make no promise,” he said, at last, “for I can’t say what may or may not have happened to them. But here’s the ship, and here’s us.”

There was a little scornful laughter at this, and Mr. Wardrop knitted his brows. He recalled that in the days when be wore trousers he had been Chief Engineer of the Haliotis.

“Harland, Mackesy, Noble, Hay, Naughton, Fink, O’Hara, Trumbull.”

“Here, sir!” The instinct of obedience waked to answer the roll-call of the engine-room.


They rose and went.

“Captain, I’ll trouble you for the rest of the men as I want them. We’ll get my stores out, and clear away the shores we don’t need, and then we’ll patch her up. My men will remember that they’re in the Haliotis, – under me.”

He went into the engine-room, and the others stared. They were used to the accidents of the sea, but this was beyond their experience. None who had seen the engine-room believed that anything short of new engines from end to end could stir the Haliotis from her moorings.

The engine-room stores were unearthed, and Mr. Wardrop’s face, red with the filth of the bilges and the exertion of travelling on his stomach, lit with joy. The spare gear of the Haliotis had been unusually complete, and two-and-twenty men, armed with screw-jacks, differential blocks, tackle, vices, and a forge or so, can look Kismet between the eyes without winking. The crew were ordered to replace the holding-down and shaft-bearing bolts, and return the collars of the thrust-block. When they had finished, Mr. Wardrop delivered a lecture on repairing compound engines without the aid of the shops, and the men sat about on the cold machinery. The cross-head jammed in the guides leered at them drunkenly, but offered no help. They ran their fingers hopelessly into the cracks of the starboard supporting-column, and picked at the ends of the ropes round the shores, while Mr. Wardrop’s voice rose and fell echoing, till the quick tropic night closed down over the engine-room skylight.

Next morning the work of reconstruction began. It has been explained that the foot of the connecting-rod was forced against the foot of the starboard supporting-column, which it had cracked through and driven outward towards the ship’s skin. To all appearance the job was more than hopeless, for rod and column seemed to have been welded into one. But herein Providence smiled on them for one moment to hearten them through the weary weeks ahead. The second engineer -more reckless than resourceful – struck at random with a cold chisel into the cast-iron of the column, and a greasy, grey flake of metal flew from under the imprisoned foot of the connecting-rod, while the rod itself fell away slowly, and brought up with a thunderous clang somewhere in the dark of the crank-pit. The guides-plates above were still jammed fast in the guides, but the first blow had been struck. They spent the rest of the day grooming the donkey-engine, which stood immediately forward of the engine-room hatch. Its tarpaulin, of course, had been stolen, and eight warm months had not improved the working parts. Further, the last dying hiccup of the Haliotis seemed – or it might have been the Malay from the boat-house – to have lifted the thing bodily on its bolts, and set it down inaccurately as regarded its steam connections.

“If we only had one single cargo-derrick!” Mr. Wardrop sighed. “We can take the cylinder-cover off by hand, if we sweat; but to get the rod out o’ the piston’s not possible unless we use steam. Well, there’ll be steam the morn, if there’s nothing else. She’ll fizzle!”

Next morning men from the shore saw the Haliotis through a cloud, for it was as though the deck smoked. Her crew were chasing steam through the shaken and leaky pipes to its work in the forward donkey-engine; and where oakum failed to plug a crack, they stripped off their loin-cloths for lapping, and swore, half-boiled and mother-naked. The donkey-engine worked – at a price – the price of constant attention and furious stoking- worked long enough to allow a wire-rope (it was made up of a funnel and a foremast-stay) to be led into the engine-room and made fast on the cylinder-cover of the forward engine. That rose easily enough, and was hauled through the skylight and on to the deck, many hands assisting the doubtful steam. Then came the tug of war, for it was necessary to get to the piston and the jammed piston-rod. They removed two of the piston junk-ring studs, screwed in two strong iron eye-bolts by way of handles, doubled the wire-rope, and set half a dozen men to smite with an extemporised battering-ram at the end of the piston-rod, where it peered through the piston, while the donkey-engine hauled upwards on the piston itself. After four hours of this furious work, the piston-rod suddenly slipped, and the piston rose with a jerk, knocking one or two men over into the engine-room. But when Mr. Wardrop declared that the piston had not split, they cheered, and thought nothing of their wounds; and the donkey-engine was hastily stopped; its boiler was nothing to tamper with.

And day by day their supplies reached them by boat. The skipper humbled himself once more before the Governor, and as a concession had leave to get drinking-water from the Malay boat-builder on the quay. It was not good drinking-water, but the Malay was anxious to supply anything in his power, if he were paid for it.

Now when the jaws of the forward engine stood, as it were, stripped and empty, they began to wedge up the shores of the cylinder itself. That work alone filled the better part of three days – warm and sticky days, when the hands slipped and sweat ran into the eyes. When the last wedge was hammered home there was no longer an ounce of weight on the supporting-columns; and Mr. Wardrop rummaged the ship for boiler-plate three-quarters of an inch thick, where he could find it. There was not much available, but what there was was more than beaten gold to him. In one desperate forenoon the entire crew, naked and lean, haled back, more or less into place, the starboard supporting-column, which, as you remember, was cracked clean through. Mr. Wardrop found them asleep where they had finished the work, and gave them a day’s rest, smiling upon them as a father while he drew chalk-marks about the cracks. They woke to new and more trying labour; for over each one of those cracks a plate of three-quarter-inch boiler-iron was to be worked hot, the rivet-holes being drilled by hand. All that time they were fed on fruits, chiefly bananas, with some sago.

Those were the days when men swooned over the ratchet-drill and the hand-forge, and where they fell they had leave to lie unless their bodies were in the way of their fellows’ feet. And so, patch upon patch, and a patch over all, the starboard supporting-column was clouted; but when they thought all was secure, Mr. Wardrop decreed that the noble patchwork would never support working engines; at the best, it could only hold the guide-bars approximately true. The deadweight of the cylinders must be borne by vertical struts; and, therefore, a gang would repair to the bows, and take out, with files, the big bow-anchor davits, each of which was some three inches in diameter. They threw hot coals at Wardrop, and threatened to kill him, those who did not weep (they were ready to weep on the least provocation); but he hit them with iron bars heated at the end, and they limped forward, and the davits came with them when they returned. They slept sixteen hours on the strength of it, and in three days two struts were in place, bolted from the foot of the starboard supporting-column to the under side of the cylinder. There remained now the port, or condenser-column, which, though not so badly cracked as its fellow, had also been strengthened in four places with boiler-plate patches, but needed struts. They took away the main stanchions of the bridge for that work, and, crazy with toil, did not see till all was in place that the rounded bars of iron must be flattened from top to bottom to allow the air-pump levers to clear them. It was Wardrop’s oversight, and he wept bitterly before the men as he gave the order to unbolt the struts and flatten them with hammer and the flame. Now the broken engine was underpinned firmly, and they took away the wooden shores from under the cylinders, and gave them to the robbed bridge, thanking God for even half a day’s work on gentle, kindly wood instead of the iron that had entered into their souls. Eight months in the back-country among the leeches, at a temperature of 84 degrees moist, is very bad for the nerves.

They had kept the hardest work to the last, as boys save Latin prose, and, worn though they were, Mr. Wardrop did not dare to give them rest. The piston-rod and connecting-rod were to be straightened, and this was a job for a regular dockyard with every appliance. They fell to it, cheered by a little chalk showing of work done and time consumed which Mr. Wardrop wrote up on the engine-room bulkhead. Fifteen days had gone -fifteen days of killing labour – and there was hope before them.

It is curious that no man knows how the rods were straightened. The crew of the Haliotis remember that week very dimly, as a fever patient remembers the delirium of a long night. There were fires everywhere, they say; the whole ship was one consuming furnace, and the hammers were never still. Now, there could not have been more than one fire at the most, for Mr. Wardrop distinctly recalls that no straightening was done except under his own eye. They remember, too, that for many years voices gave orders which they obeyed with their bodies, but their minds were abroad on all the seas. It seems to them that they stood through days and nights slowly sliding a bar backwards and forwards through a white glow that was part of the ship. They remember an intolerable noise in their burning heads from the walls of the stoke-hole, and they remember being savagely beaten by men whose eyes seemed asleep. When their shift was over they would draw straight lines in the air, anxiously and repeatedly, and would question one another in their sleep, crying, “Is she straight?”

At last – they do not remember whether this was by day or by night – Mr. Wardrop began to dance clumsily, and wept the while; and they too danced and wept, and went to sleep twitching all over; and when they woke, men said that the rods were straightened, and no one did any work for two days, but lay on the decks and ate fruit. Mr. Wardrop would go below from time to time, and pat the two rods where they lay, and they heard him singing hymns.

Then his trouble of mind went from him, and at the end of the third day’s idleness he made a drawing in chalk upon the deck, with letters of the alphabet at the angles. He pointed out that, though the piston-rod was more or less straight, the piston-rod cross-head – the thing that had been jammed sideways in the guides – had been badly strained, and had cracked the lower end of the piston-rod. He was going to forge and shrink a wrought-iron collar on the neck of the piston-rod where it joined the cross-head, and from the collar he would bolt a Y-shaped piece of iron whose lower arms should be bolted into the cross-head. If anything more were needed, they could use up the last of the boiler-plate.

So the forges were lit again, and men burned their bodies, but hardly felt the pain. The finished connection was not beautiful, but it seemed strong enough – at least, as strong as the rest of the machinery; and with that job their labours came to an end. All that remained was to connect up the engines, and to get food and water. The skipper and four men dealt with the Malay boat-builder by night chiefly; it was no time to haggle over the price of sago and dried fish. The others stayed aboard and replaced piston, piston-rod, cylinder-cover, cross-head, and bolts, with the aid of the faithful donkey-engine. The cylinder-cover was hardly steam-proof, and the eye of science might have seen in the connecting-rod a flexure something like that of a Christmas-tree candle which has melted and been straightened by hand over a stove, but, as Mr. Wardrop said, “She didn’t hit anything.”

As soon as the last bolt was in place, men tumbled over one another in their anxiety to get to the hand starting-gear, the wheel and worm, by which some engines can be moved when there is no steam aboard. They nearly wrenched off the wheel, but it was evident to the blindest eye that the engines stirred. They did not revolve in their orbits with any enthusiasm, as good machines should; indeed, they groaned not a little; but they moved over and came to rest in a way which proved that they still recognised man’s hand. Then Mr. Wardrop sent his slaves into the darker bowels of the engine-room and the stoke-hole, and followed them with a flare-lamp. The boilers were sound, but would take no harm from a little scaling and cleaning. Mr. Wardrop would not have any one over-zealous, for he feared what the next stroke of the tool might show. “The less we know about her now,” said he, “the better for us all, I’m thinkin’. Ye’ll understand me when I say that this is in no sense regular engineerin’.”

As his raiment, when he spoke, was his grey beard and uncut hair, they believed him. They did not ask too much of what they met, but polished and tallowed and scraped it to a false brilliancy.

“A lick of paint would make me easier in my mind,” said Mr. Wardrop, plaintively. “I know half the condenser-tubes are started; and the propeller-shaftin’ ‘s God knows how far out of the true, and we’ll need a new air-pump, an’ the main-steam leaks like a sieve, and there’s worse each way I look; but – paint’s like clothes to a man, ‘an ours is near all gone.”

The skipper unearthed some stale ropy paint of the loathsome green that they used for the galleys of sailing-ships, and Mr. Wardrop spread it abroad lavishly to give the engines self-respect.

His own was returning day by day, for he wore his loin-cloth continuously; but the crew, having worked under orders, did not feel as he did. The completed work satisfied Mr. Wardrop. He would at the last have made shift to run to Singapore, and gone home without vengeance taken to show his engines to his brethren in the craft; but the others and the captain forbade him. They had not yet recovered their self-respect.

“It would be safer to make what ye might call a trial trip, but beggars mustn’t be choosers; an if the engines will go over to the hand-gear, the probability – I’m only saying it’s a probability the chance is that they’ll hold up when we put steam on her.”

“How long will you take to get steam?” said the skipper.

God knows! Four hours – a day – half a week. If I can raise sixty pound I’ll not complain.”

“Be sure of her first; we can’t afford to go out half a mile, and break down.”

“My soul and body, man, we’re one continuous breakdown, fore an’ aft! We might fetch Singapore, though.”

“We’ll break down at Pygang-Watai, where we can do good,” was the answer, in a voice that did not allow argument. “She’s my boat, and – I’ve had eight months to think in.”

No man saw the Haliotis depart, though many heard her. She left at two in the morning, having cut her moorings, and it was none of her crew’s pleasure that the engines should strike up a thundering half-seas-over chanty that echoed among the hills. Mr. Wardrop wiped away a tear as he listened to the new song.

“She’s gibberin’ – she’s just gibberin’,” he whimpered. “Yon’s the voice of a maniac.

And if engines have any soul, as their masters believe, he was quite right. There were outcries and clamours, sobs and bursts of chattering laughter, silences where the trained ear yearned for the clear note, and torturing reduplications where there should have been one deep voice. Down the screw-shaft ran murmurs and warnings, while a heart-diseased flutter without told that the propeller needed re-keying.

“How does she make it?” said the skipper.

“She moves, but – but she’s breakin’ my heart. The sooner we’re at Pygang-Watai, the better. She’s mad, and we’re waking the town.”

“Is she at all near safe?”

“What do I care how safe she is? She’s mad. Hear that, now! To be sure, nothing’s hittin’ anything, and the bearin’s are fairly cool, but – can ye not hear?”

“If she goes,” said the skipper, “I don’t care a curse. And she’s my boat, too.”

She went, trailing a fathom of weed behind her. From a slow two knots an hour she crawled up to a triumphant four. Anything beyond that made the struts quiver dangerously, and filled the engine-room with steam. Morning showed her out of sight of land, and there was a visible ripple under her bows; but she complained bitterly in her bowels, and, as though the noise had called it, there shot along across the purple sea a swift, dark proa, hawk-like and curious, which presently ranged alongside and wished to know if the Haliotis were helpless. Ships, even the steamers of the white men, had been known to break down in those waters, and the honest Malay and Javanese traders would sometimes aid them in their own peculiar way. But this ship was not full of lady passengers and well-dressed officers. Men, white, naked and savage, swarmed down her sides — some withred-hot iron bars, and others with large hammers – threw themselves upon those innocent inquiring strangers, and, before any man could say what had happened, were in full possession of the proa, while the lawful owners bobbed in the water overside. Half an hour later the proa’s cargo of sago and trepang, as well as a doubtful-minded compass, was in the Haliotis. The two huge triangular mat sails, with their seventy-foot yards and booms, had followed the cargo, and were being fitted to the stripped masts of the steamer.

They rose, they swelled, they filled, and the empty steamer visibly laid over as the wind took them. They gave her nearly three knots an hour, and what better could men ask? But if she had been forlorn before, this new purchase made her horrible to see. Imagine a respectable charwoman in the tights of a ballet-dancer rolling drunk along the streets, and you will come to some faint notion of the appearance of that nine-hundred-ton, well-decked, once schooner-rigged cargo-boat as she staggered under her new help, shouting and raving across the deep. With steam and sail that marvellous voyage continued; and the bright-eyed crew looked over the rail, desolate, unkempt, unshorn, shamelessly clothed beyond the decencies.

At the end of the third week she sighted the island of Pygang-Watai, whose harbour is the turning-point of a pearl sea-patrol. Here the gun-boats stay for a week ere they retrace their line. There is no village at Pygang-Watai; only a stream of water, some palms, and a harbour safe to rest in till the first violence of the southeast monsoon has blown itself out. They opened up the low coral beach, with its mound of whitewashed coal ready for supply, the deserted huts for the sailors, and the flagless flagstaff.

Next day there was no Haliotis – only a little proa rocking in the warm rain at the mouth of the harbour, whose crew watched with hungry eyes the smoke of a gunboat on the horizon.

Months afterwards there were a few lines in an English newspaper to the effect that some gunboat of some foreign Power had broken her back at the mouth of some far-away harbour by running at full speed into a sunken wreck.