« AnkstesnisTęsti »
nice, fat-faced lions from Allegheny, Penn
in at Point Barrow once. Ice and snow sylvania, painted a lifelike green, and no and all that sort of thing, you know." doubt by this time he is enthroned in a The honorable descendant, it appeared, plaza somewhere and tourists from the had been induced to go down to the BlanStates are driven at high rates to see him. comar as assistant superintendent. The
In place of the lion we took on another Blancomar is a place that many have seen passenger, and we fell on him with tears. from a distance, and some few know. The He was the Honorable Percy Algernon few who know it would gladly go to some Sydney Blake Carothers, better known trouble to blast it from thr face of the sea. along the latitudes as "Goldilocks," owing Blancomar sticks up, a dazzling white to his hair being as English as the rest of pillar a hundred feet high, out of the turhim. He was that queer though plentiful quoise Caribbean. Its top is about three English animal, a younger son, whose miles square. The Sun of Cancer blazes eldest brother was born with all the fam- on it till it frizzles, and a pretty little setily silver spoons in his mouth, while Percy tlement of corrugated iron sheds stores was born to premeditated poverty.
the day's heat for the night. The sheds Besides entirely hopeless prospects, are the only vegetation on Blancomar. Percy had inherited the caste system. He The appealing quality of this sea-beauty would not have believed it; but there are
is that it is almost pure phosphate. All too many generations of caste behind a that is necessary is to hack the top with Hindu or an Englishman to be wiped picks, and dump the rock down a chute out lightly. It was this that made the into a ship below. All around the rock Honorable Percy willing to work as field- the sea is deep. The sides of Blancomar hand, lead a forlorn hope, or drive mules pitch like walls straight into submarine - anything rather than keep shop. Percy hell. In calm weather a ship can lie close thought that it was due to an inability for to. The captain needs merely to be clever doing office work intelligently. But it about springs to his cables, and stay awake was caste, inherited from ancestors who night and day, and keep his eye on the may have robbed shops but never kept rock and on the wicked sea until he has his them.
cargo and can sheer away, thanking God So, when the Honorable Percy Alger- for another escape. non, etc., Carothers came aboard the Trin- The gentlemen who own the rock have culo and said: “I 've got to jolly well set- a neat little gold-mine, with only one tle accounts with some chaps in New drawback: no man who ever has been on York, you know,” we knew at once that it Blancomar and escaped alive, will ever go was caste that made him thus explode back to it. West Indies men, who know with the fury of vengeance.
all about it, they have seen specters in We knew, too, that it must be some- their ports-would as soon tie a rock to thing unusual to induce Goldilocks to rise their feet and plunge into the Sigsbee to a point of order regarding vengeance. Deep. As the descendant of a race accustomed to The family arrangement on Blancomar extensive family bereavements in the de- is to give each man a hole to peck at with capitation way every time England got a his pick, mention his daily stint of barnew king or queen, he took things mostly rows of phosphate rock, and make him as they came and did not lay up for him- stay in that hole till he has done his solself on this earth treasures of revenge, any emn duty. The sun stays with him. From more than he did treasures of money. dawn to dusk it still looks into each blaz
While the Trinculo was rolling out ing hole. The only ship that touches at into the Windward Passage again, he the rock is the company's vessel, which arwent into details so far as it was humanly rives half a dozen times a year to get phospossible for him. Up Vancouver-way phate and deliver supplies and live men once I met an Englishman of Percy's kind enough to feed the death-rate. that had been frozen in a whole winter in On the steep southwest face of Blancothe Arctic Circle all alone. He used to mar a little trail, just wide enough for one think that he was telling a shamelessly man at a time, zigzags downward to a elaborated tale when he said in moments tiny strip of beach where by skilful hanof great verbosity: "Long winter I put dling a ship's boat can be landed. The ap
proach to this trail on top of the rock is them,” said he, “that I was n't in the guarded day and night by a man with a business of killing men for a ton of smelly repeating rifle.
rock--or standing by and seeing it done, This little precaution is taken because either. I ordered 'em to set signal for the contract laborers from the States gener- first ship that came by to take me off, ally become actively homesick about thirty don't you know. The superintendent seconds after they are landed from the jawed back something, do you see, about company's ship. Every new batch of la- ordering me to duty; and, of course, I borers is so sure to contract this ailment, did n't bother to notice. Then he called that when the superintendent and his as- to some chap to be witness, and ordered sistants receive them, the reception com- me again. He did the silly rot three times, mittee has its revolver holsters open and and I turned to walk off. But he shouted, the revolvers loose in them. Revolvers and his men closed around me, and there are not worn merely at receptions, how- were too jolly many of 'em to fight, so I ever, on Blancomar. The officials there stood still. He made a long jaw. I 'll might forget to put on their trousers some cut out the rubbishy part, old chaps. morning, but never their revolvers. They "In the old days, it seems, the laborers have such an affection for weapons that used to strike, and they 'd sit still and eat they sleep with them close by; and one in- the company's grub, and when the ship terested in really good, well-kept guns arrived they would swarm into her inwould admire the arsenal of rifles under stead of phosphate, and when they got lock in the superintendent's house,
back to the States, d' you see, they'd All these matters the Honorable Percy bring suits for damages, false pretenses, discovered very soon. A fortnight's duty and all that sort of rot. So at last the showed him more.
company got a good lawyer-good, you “Look here, old chaps,” said he, when know, in the legal sense. I say! That's he had gotten thus far in his artless story; not half bad, eh, what? I 'll skip the legal "I'm no little Christian Helper, eh? But twaddle, though. Remember the voodoo this game was too much for my tummy." thing, Bob, that we saw back of Jeremie
He went into his cabin and returned one night? Well, the lawyer did somewith a handful of photographic prints. thing like that before one of your big "Took 'em on the sly, whenever I got a courts, and he got a decision about three chance," he explained. They were not leagues long. The superintendent read it art, those pictures; but they told Percy's to me. They had a great pile of 'em, story ever so much better than he was tell- printed, in the office and used to hand a ing it. Goldilocks was no Christian copy out to each workman. I'd received Helper and we were n't either; but after one, you know, but I never thought to looking at about a dozen, Bob said that it read it, mixed-up English and all that sort made him sick. It is n't nice to see men of thing. But I read it then. It showed dying in holes like Norway rats.
me how I'd been had by the phosphate Percy kept one photograph till the last. crowd, and how all the poor swine of navHe held his hand over it for a time and vies had been had, don't you know. D' you then showed it, suddenly. The face of a want to read it?" dead man stared at us. Between the eyes
There was about a league of what passes was a little, round, black hole.
for human language in law-courts, to re“Superintendent's own hand-work,” count the undoubted fact that Blancomar said Goldilocks, becoming almost volumi- was an island, under private ownership of nous. “Man refused work. Said he was American citizens, in the open sea, beyond sick. Showed fight. Delirious, I think, the jurisdiction of any State. Another myself. They nearly caught me making league without a gleam of punctuation or that picture."
intelligence went into the question of maBefore that killing, Percy went on, herine jurisdiction beginning with Noah. In had been "jawing a bit of straight” to the the third league the learned court at last superintendent pretty regularly; but after felt itself headed in the direction of the the killing, he refused absolutely to have stables and began to trot. And in the last anything more to do with the Blancomar ten lines it stated, quite intelligibly, that Phosphate Works Company. "Told therefore and whereas, and because of all
the other therefores and whereases, the got a little excited over it and jolly well island Blancomar was adjudged to be le- broke up the distilling apparatus, and gally a ship under the American flag. messed up my plans a bit, doing it.
"See the point?" asked the Honorable “You see," continued Carothers, “I'd Goldilocks when we reached the end, intended to signal the first ship and get it worn, but alive. “I did n't--at first. I to take off myself and the laborers, and refused duty and got a lovely stinger on leave Weeks and his ugly family to stay the head that laid me out neat. I woke on the rock till the phosphate ship came up in my bunk, and thinking it over, I down. They had plenty of grub, of course. saw it. If the Blancomar was a ship, why, But we could n't leave them to die from a man that refused duty was a mutineer. thirst, and the only way to get water on Jolly, was n't it? Eh, what?” The noble Blancomar is to distill it from sea-water. descendant checked himself with, “I say, So we had to take 'em along. That is chaps, but I'm talking!"
what a fellow gets for messing, don't you It required dainty handling to get know. Goldilocks under way again, and at best "We hoisted the American Mag---nice after his horrible discovery that he had thing to float over the Blancomar, eh?indulged in sustained speech, his gait was upside down and waited. Of course the jerky. He relapsed into the British fash- first ship to answer might have been bound ion of disconnected words. By careful at straight for the States, and then we 'd tention it was possible to understand that have been in a hole of sorts. But I did n't the Honorable Carothers had thought over care much. I was too jolly well annoyed. the situation for some painful hours. Then Luckily a Danish tramp came along, he lounged over to the superintendent's bound Haiti-way. We told 'em the office to announce tamely that he had seen straight truth, that our water-supply was a great light and would obey orders. bally well wound up, and they took us off
. They were glad. There were more than Weeks and his gang kept still. I'd told two hundred laborers, and only seven offi- them that if they talked rubbish, we 'd cials, counting Percy, to guard them. leave 'em on the rock and they would They forgave him and he went to work. most likely dry up into little leather He worked so hard that on the third night corpses before another ship hove in sight. after that, he stood over the superinten- Weeks paid the passage for all hands, too, dent's bed with a revolver and induced
out of the company funds, after a little him to part with the key to the arsenal, talk with me. I thought he should. Not which was emptied promptly by laborers more than right, eh, what? I did n't care picked by Percy.
whether Weeks kept his mouth shut after "They were a dirty lot to mess with," we landed in Haiti or not.
But he did. said Percy, "those poor devils, but I had They don't like the Blancomar Phosphate the luck to hit it right with those I picked Works Company in Gonaives, where we out for arming. They obeyed orders; went ashore, and he kept quiet.” and the whole show came off as smooth as The Honorable made signals of distress. Boxing Day Pantomime in old Drury “Give him air!" yelled Toledo Spencer, Lane. We got the rest of his gang after fanning him with his hat. "Goldilocks," we had the superintendent--Weeks, his
said Bob, “remember your ancestors at name was, and he looked weak that night. Runnymede or anywhere else and go Not half bad that, what?"
through with it. Your story is n't half so Goldilocks looked so pathetically pleased bad as it sounds." that Dick Sutton assured him on his sa
me, you fellows,” said cred honor that it was the best ever, and Goldilocks, appealingly. “It 's sickening he proceeded, quite encouraged. “There
to gas so much, and I have n't heard a was n't a thing of what you could call word yet about what you chaps have been scandal, except for one chap, the foreman doing, don't you know. Where did you go, or something like that. He ran and locked Dick, after we got out of Johannesburg?" himself in the house where they kept the We brought the Honorable Goldilocks distillation plant, and commenced to sho firmly back to his story and ordered him like a silly Guy Fawkes, you know. The to finish it. men had to break in to make peace. They "Why, 't is finished!" said he. "The men scattered, and shipped wherever they “Very well,” said Bob. “Then you could. Quite a few vessels in Gonaives fellows shut up for while. I want to that week. Weeks stayed, he and his remember where I mislaid my brain the happy family. He did a lot of cabling last time I used it. I need it to think and this morning he met me on the wharf something with.” and said that the president of the com- What a hopeful beggar you are, Bob!” pany was coming down himself and then said Dick. he 'd have me laid by the heels for piracy Bob looked at Dick with the serene and mutiny. So I knocked him down and glance of a man too lazy to be open to came aboard, and here I am, you chaps. insult, and stretched himself out with his Is there any Scotch aboard ?" And the hat over his face. Honorable Percy Algernon Sydney Blake About an hour afterward, just when Carothers relapsed into his majestic native we were having an interesting row about silence.
whether or not the Cuban Majah snake is That night the Trinculo Aopped her really as good eating as Dick said, Bob tottering way out of the Windward very interrupted with a triviality about how slowly, owing to what her engineer called much money the crowd had. After unanithe eccentricities of iron fragments. It
It mously amending the resolution to read was after breakfast-time next morning “how little,” we fell to counting, the subwhen the white pillar of Blancomar came ject being one that had not occupied anyin sight some miles away.
body's reasoning powers before. The pot The first mate, standing near us, looked amounted to a little over $1100, Amerthrough his glass and uttered a word that ican. sounded like “Well!” He complemented "That 'll do," said Bob. “I'll be treait with “The rock 's flying distress sig- surer." And he took it. Then he retired nals !” and started for the bridge. Goldi- under his hat again, and our utmost violocks stretched out his leg to stop him. lence failed to get any human emotion out "Steady on!" said he. “There's nobody of him. He only said that he was considon the rock. They were all taken off a ering how to manage something. week ago. Water-supply went bad-and Bob was a great manager for everybody other things."
except himself, and always ready to use Then why, cried the mate in a fine By- his talents for the public good. It was a ronic burst, did the many adjectived and harmless weakness and it saved more sensisublimely blanked and otherwise unprinta- ble persons much trouble. So we left him ble lubbers, old women, fertilizer grub- alone after making him promise not to bers, land-crabs, and explicitly qualified strain his mind, and watched the tumbled boobies leave their colors flying union rocky mountains of Cuba change from down? Tell him that! Nobody told him blue to red as the Trinculo bobbed toward that; and he continued to converse heat- them. She pointed her stubby nose straight edly with the universe at large till Blan- at the wild wall as if she meant to butt comar dropped into the sea astern.
out her cast-iron brains under the cliff " It was a silly ass trick, right enough!" where the dancing surf swung white veils. said Percy, when the mariner at last ex- Suddenly two mountains swung apart hausted the subject and wandered away. and the Trinculo slipped into a harbor “Regular derelict, eh, what? Regular like an inland seą. It was the harbor of derelict on the high seas !"
Guantanamo, and before us lay the great Bob McAllister erected himself on his naval station of the United States of long legs and gave an intimation that he America-a bird-house of a signal-station, was a man about to make speech. Then half a dozen board huts, half a dozen corhe sat down again lazily and asked: rugated iron ones, two red water tanks on “When will this packet make Caimanéra, stilts, something that looked like a poordo you suppose ?"
house, and a wharf. Toledo Spencer thought that, if the lit- But in the foreground there was a big tle pieces of string that the engineer had thing sitting on the water, shapeless, leadtied around his engines did not unravel, color, ominously ugly, with leaning towers we should be in that me-tro-po-lis of palm of funnels and long, sleek guns. "Battlehuts and alligators before dark.
ship!” said Dick, studying it with the glass. “Hey! here 's luck! that 's the Here! Listen, and I 'll disclose, as I said Oklahoma!"
before. Go away, Goldilocks.” That was luck! They loved Dick and Goldilocks yawned and went. Bob disme on the Oklahoma, from the captain closed.
closed. “And now, you see," he condown to the mascot pig. They loved us cluded, “since you fellows know the Oklabecause once they had come on us in a no- homa, there 's a shore end to this as well man's-land where Dick and I had tried as the schooner end. The schooner end pearl-fishery with immaterial results. The requires brains. That 's why Me and grub had given out, and the cold beer was Dick and Spencer will attend to it. The nearly gone. They saved us, and gave us shore end requires only cheek. It 's as if of their best, and took us away from there; made to order for you, Wesley,” he said and, naturally, they looked on us as bene- to me, without a blush. factors.
The Trinculo waddled on, through the “What!” said Bob. “Do you fellows harbor that expanded and narrowed and know the Oklahoma crowd? And do they expanded again, big enough for a dozen know you?” he added, with such an ex- fleets, till she poked into the swampy Caipression that I had to explain to him, manéra River. Before she was fast to the while I pushed his nose down to the ship's pier that was the only visible sign of hurail, that sarcasm was n't his strong point. man affairs, Bob was sprinting up the
Then, because he seemed to be anxious steaming, reed-lined trail to the palm-hut about it, we gave him satisfactory assur- village. We stayed stretched out on deck ances that the Oklahoma's mess knew only with something cool to drink and said good about us.
what a good manager he was, Goldilocks “Very well,” said Bob. “That helps dissenting. He handed in a minority reimmensely. I will now disclose. At port, saying that Bob was not a manager least,” said he, taking a second thought, but a lunatic. "I will disclose to all except Goldilocks. Bob managed so well, however, that Goldilocks, you are a bloody mutineer and by dark his Cuban friend and brother, the pirate, unfit for the society of honest men. Señor José Ortega, was alongside with his Noble son of a thousand earls, oblige me good schooner La Pez, a sweet craft so by vanishing out of the picture right here. wide that she was almost circular and You go on with the Trinculo to-morrow built of timbers that would have been to Santiago and lay up in that nice little more appropriate as pier-spiles. sky-blue Casa Venus till you hear from "Now remember, Wesley," said Bob beme, which won't be long. I'll give you fore he and Dick and Spencer climbed into back enough of your money to keep you in her; "you 're to visit the Oklahoma tothe idleness to which you are accustomed. morrow with your face nicely washed and It is n't that I don't trust you, genuine say “how d'ye do' prettily. Then, sooner descendant of real, genuine ancestors, but or later, you will deftly turn the tide of because I want to be able to swear, if I your sparkling conversation to the subject must, that you had nothing to do with of phosphate. At the psychological mowhat is going to happen. I hope your be- ment, you will fash the photographs taken nighted British peerage of a mind will see by the haughty and insolent Englishman my American point.”
with the canary-colored hair. You will "Stop rotting," said Goldilocks. “I be considerate enough, of course, not to don't mind going to Santiago. I'll go vex your friends' minds with any referthere right enough to oblige you, and I'll ence to the recent trouble on the rock. wait there till you write to me to pull you You will also suffer from a total loss of out of the mess that no doubt you 're going memory about such persons as Me, Dick, into."
and Spencer. We are as we were not. “Faithful heart of oak!" said Bob. Your mission begins and ends, especially "Now when we get to Caimanéra, I 'll ends, with establishing a proper mental hustle ashore to look up a man that I condition aboard the Cnited States battleknow. He helped me run arms once, be ship Oklahoma regarding the phosphate fore the Spanish-American sweepstakes. If business. See?" he 's alive yet, and it he is there yet, he 'll And the schooner La Pez slatted away be able to produce a schooner that I want. toward the Caribbean.