JAMES CONLAND M.D.
I ploughed the land with horses
But my heart was ill at ease
For the old sea-faring men
Came to me now and then
With their sagas of the seas.
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 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.
"Yep. That and mines and lumber and shipping. Built one place at
San Diego the old man has; another at Los Angeles; owns half a
dozen railroads half the lumber on the Pacific slope and lets
his wife spend the money" the Philadelphian went on lazily. "The
West don't suit her she says. She just tracks around with the boy
and her nerves trying to find out what'll amuse him I guess.
Florida Adirondacks Lakewood Hot Springs New York and round
again. He isn't much more than a second-hand hotel clerk now. When
he's finished in Europe he'll be a holy terror."
"What's the matter with the old man attending to him personally?"
said a voice from the frieze ulster.
"Old man's piling up the rocks. 'Don't want to be disturbed I
guess. He'll find out his error a few years from now. 'Pity
because there's a heap of good in the boy if you could get at it."
"Mit a rope's end; mit a rope's end!" growled the German.
Once more the door banged and a slight slim-built boy perhaps
fifteen years old a half-smoked cigarette hanging from one corner
of his mouth leaned in over the high footway. His pasty yellow
complexion did not show well on a person of his years and his
look was a mixture of irresolution bravado and very cheap
smartness. He was dressed in a cherry-coloured blazer
knickerbockers red stockings and bicycle shoes with a red
flannel cap at the back of the head. After whistling between his
teeth as he eyed the company he said in a loud high voice:
"Say it's thick outside. You can hear the fish-boats squawking
all around us. Say wouldn't it be great if we ran down one?"
"Shut the door Harvey" said the New Yorker. "Shut the door and
stay outside. You're not wanted here."
"Who'll stop me?" he answered deliberately. "Did you pay for my
passage Mister Martin? 'Guess I've as good right here as the next
He picked up some dice from a checkerboard and began throwing
right hand against left.
"Say gen'elmen this is deader'n mud. Can't we make a game of
poker between us?"
There was no answer and he puffed his cigarette swung his legs
and drummed on the table with rather dirty fingers. Then he pulled
out a roll of bills as if to count them.
"How's your mamma this afternoon?" a man said. "I didn't see her
"In her state-room I guess. She's 'most always sick on the ocean.
I'm going to give the stewardess fifteen dollars for looking after
her. I don't go down more 'n I can avoid. It makes me feel
mysterious to pass that butler's-pantry place. Say this is the
first time I've been on the ocean."
"Oh don't apologize Harvey."
"Who's apologizing? This is the first time I've crossed the ocean
gen'elmen and except the first day I haven't been sick one
little bit. No sir!" He brought down his fist with a triumphant
bang wetted his finger and went on counting the bills.
"Oh you're a high-grade machine with the writing in plain
sight" the Philadelphian yawned. "You'll blossom into a credit to
your country if you don't take care."
"I know it. I'm an American - first last and all the time. I'll
show 'em that when I strike Europe. Piff! My cig's out. I can't
smoke the truck the steward sells. Any gen'elman got a real
Turkish cig on him?"
The chief engineer entered for a moment red smiling and wet.
"Say Mac" cried Harvey cheerfully "how are we hitting it?"
"Vara much in the ordinary way" was the grave reply. "The young
are as polite as ever to their elders an' their elders are e'en
tryin' to appreciate it."
A low chuckle came from a corner. The German opened his
cigar-case and handed a skinny black cigar to Harvey.
"Dot is der broper apparatus to smoke my young friendt" he said.
"You vill dry it? Yes? Den you vill be efer so happy."
Harvey lit the unlovely thing with a flourish: he felt that he was
getting on in grownup society.
"It would take more 'n this to keel me over" he said ignorant that
he was lighting that terrible article a Wheeling 'stogie'.
"Dot we shall bresently see" said the German. "Where are we
now Mr. Mactonal'?"
"Just there or thereabouts Mr. Schaefer" said the engineer.
"We'll be on the Grand Bank to-night; but in a general way o'
speakin' we're all among the fishing-fleet now. We've shaved
three dories an' near scalped the boom off a Frenchman since
noon an' that's close sailing' ye may say."
"You like my cigar eh?" the German asked for Harvey's eyes were
full of tears.
"Fine full flavor" he answered through shut teeth. "Guess we've
slowed down a little haven't we? I'll skip out and see what the
"I might if I vhas you" said the German.
Harvey staggered over the wet decks to the nearest rail. He was
very unhappy; but he saw the deck-steward lashing chairs together
and since he had boasted before the man that he was never
seasick his pride made him go aft to the second-saloon deck at
the stern which was finished in a turtle-back. The deck was
deserted and he crawled to the extreme end of it near the
flag-pole. There he doubled up in limp agony for the Wheeling
"stogie" joined with the surge and jar of the screw to sieve out
his soul. His head swelled; sparks of fire danced before his eyes;
his body seemed to lose weight while his heels wavered in the
breeze. He was fainting from seasickness and a roll of the ship
tilted him over the rail on to the smooth lip of the turtle-back.
Then a low gray mother-wave swung out of the fog tucked Harvey
under one arm so to speak and pulled him off and away to
leeward; the great green closed over him and he went quietly to
He was roused by the sound of a dinner-horn such as they used to
blow at a summer-school he had once attended in the Adirondacks.
Slowly he remembered that he was Harvey Cheyne drowned and dead
in mid-ocean but was too weak to fit things together. A new smell
filled his nostrils; wet and clammy chills ran down his back and
he was helplessly full of salt water. When he opened his eyes he
perceived that he was still on the top of the sea for it was
running round him in silver-coloured hills and he was lying on a
pile of half-dead fish looking at a broad human back clothed in a
"It's no good" thought the boy. "I'm dead sure enough and this
thing is in charge."
He groaned and the figure turned its head showing a pair of little
gold rings half hidden in curly black hair.
"Aha! You feel some pretty well now?" it said. "Lie still so: we
With a swift jerk he sculled the flickering boat-head on to a
foamless sea that lifted her twenty full feet only to slide her
into a glassy pit beyond. But this mountain-climbing did not interrupt
blue-jersey's talk. "Fine good job I say that I catch you. Eh
wha-at? Better good job I say your boat not catch me. How you
come to fall out?"
"I was sick" said Harvey; "sick and couldn't help it."