It must a been a big un, the pilot remarked sympathetically.
Aye, ut was thot. Thungs was lively for a but. Ut finished the mate. He was on the brudge wuth me, an I told hum tull take a look tull the wedges o number one hatch. She was takin watter freely an I was no sure o number one. I dudna like the look o ut, an I was fuggerin maybe tull heave to tull the marn, when she took ut over abaft the brudge. My word, she was a bug one. We got a but of ut ourselves on the brudge. I dudna miss the mate ot the first, what o routin out Chips an bulkheadun thot door an stretchun the tarpaulin over the sky-light. Then he was nowhere to be found. The men ot the wheel said as he seen hum goin down the lodder just afore she hut us. We looked forard, we looked tull hus room, aye looked tull the engine-room, an we looked along aft on the lower deck, and there he was, on both sides the cover to the steam-pipe runnun tull the after-wunches.
The pilot ejaculated an oath of amazement and horror.
Aye, the skipper went on wearily, an on both sides the steam- pipe uz well. I tell ye he was in two pieces, splut clean uz a herrin. The sea must a-caught hum on the upper brudge deck, carried hum clean across the fiddley, an banged hum head-on tull the pipe cover. It sheered through hum like so much butter, down atween the eyes, an along the middle of hum, so that one leg an arm was fast tull the one piece of hum, an one leg an arm fast tull the other piece of hum. I tull ye ut was fair grewsome. We putt hum together an rolled hum in canvas uz we pulled hum out.
The pilot swore again.
Oh, ut wasna onythun tull greet about, Captain MacElrath assured him. Twas a guid ruddance. He was no a sailor, thot mate- fellow. He was only fut for a pugsty, an a dom puir apology for thot same.
It is said that there are three kinds of Irish - Catholic, Protestant, and North-of-Ireland - and that the North-of-Ireland Irishman is a transplanted Scotchman. Captain MacElrath was a North-of-Ireland man, and, talking for much of the world like a Scotchman, nothing aroused his ire quicker than being mistaken for a Scotchman. Irish he stoutly was, and Irish he stoutly abided, though it was with a faint lip-lift of scorn that he mentioned mere South-of-Ireland men, or even Orange-men. Himself he was Presbyterian, while in his own community five men were all that ever mustered at a meeting in the Orange Mens Hall. His community was the Island McGill, where seven thousand of his kind lived in such amity and sobriety that in the whole island there was but one policeman and never a public-house at all.
Captain MacElrath did not like the sea, and had never liked it. He wrung his livelihood from it, and that was all the sea was, the place where he worked, as the mill, the shop, and the counting- house were the places where other men worked. Romance never sang to him her siren song, and Adventure had never shouted in his sluggish blood. He lacked imagination. The wonders of the deep were without significance to him. Tornadoes, hurricanes, waterspouts, and tidal waves were so many obstacles to the way of a ship on the sea and of a master on the bridge - they were that to him, and nothing more. He had seen, and yet not seen, the many marvels and wonders of far lands. Under his eyelids burned the brazen glories of the tropic seas, or ached the bitter gales of the North Atlantic or far South Pacific; but his memory of them was of mess-room doors stove in, of decks awash and hatches threatened, of undue coal consumption, of long passages, and of fresh paint-work spoiled by unexpected squalls of rain.
I know my buzzness, was the way he often put it, and beyond his business was all that he did not know, all that he had seen with the mortal eyes of him and yet that he never dreamed existed. That he knew his business his owners were convinced, or at forty he would not have held command of the Tryapsic, three thousand tons net register, with a cargo capacity of nine thousand tons and valued at fifty-thousand pounds.
He had taken up seafaring through no love of it, but because it had been his destiny, because he had been the second son of his father instead of the first. Island McGill was only so large, and the land could support but a certain definite proportion of those that dwelt upon it. The balance, and a large
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