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Martin Eden 185

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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

admiringly, "and youve put on weight." "I sure have." Joes face was beaming. "I never knew what it was to live till I hit hoboin. Im thirty pounds heavier an feel tiptop all the time. Why, I was worked to skin an bone in them old days. Hoboin sure agrees with me." "But youre looking for a bed just the same," Martin chided, "and its a cold night." "Huh? Lookin for a bed?" Joe shot a hand into his hip pocket and brought it out filled with small change. "That beats hard graft," he exulted. "You just looked good; thats why I battered you." Martin laughed and gave in. "Youve several full-sized drunks right there," he insinuated. Joe slid the money back into his pocket. "Not in mine," he announced. "No gettin oryide for me, though there aint nothin to stop me except I dont want to. Ive ben drunk once since I seen you last, an then it was unexpected, bein on an empty stomach. When I work like a beast, I drink like a beast. When I live like a man, I drink like a man--a jolt now an again when I feel like it, an thats all." Martin arranged to meet him next day, and went on to the hotel. He paused in the office to look up steamer sailings. The Mariposa sailed for Tahiti in five days. "Telephone over to-morrow and reserve a stateroom for me," he told the clerk. "No deck-stateroom, but down below, on the weather-side,--the port-side, remember that, the port-side. Youd better write it down." Once in his room he got into bed and slipped off to sleep as gently as a child. The occurrences of the evening had made no impression on him. His mind was dead to impressions. The glow of warmth with which he met Joe had been most fleeting. The succeeding minute he had been bothered by the ex-laundrymans presence and by the compulsion of conversation. That in five more days he sailed for his loved South Seas meant nothing to him. So he closed his eyes and slept normally and comfortably for eight uninterrupted hours. He was not restless. He did not change his position, nor did he dream. Sleep had become to him oblivion, and each day that he awoke, he awoke with regret. Life worried and bored him, and time was a vexation.


"Say, Joe," was his greeting to his old-time working-mate next morning, "theres a Frenchman out on Twenty-eighth Street. Hes made a pot of money, and hes going back to France. Its a dandy, well-appointed, small steam laundry. Theres a start for you if you want to settle down. Here, take this; buy some clothes with it and be at this mans office by ten oclock. He looked up the laundry for me, and hell take you out and show you around. If you like it, and think it is worth the price--twelve thousand--let me know and it is yours. Now run along. Im busy. Ill see you later." "Now look here, Mart," the other said slowly, with kindling anger, "I come here this mornin to see you. Savve? I didnt come here to get no laundry. I come a here for a talk for old friends sake, and you shove a laundry at me. I tell you, what you can do. You can take that laundry an go to hell." He was out of the room when Martin caught him and whirled him around. "Now look here, Joe," he said; "if you act that way, Ill punch your head. An for old friends sake Ill punch it hard. Savve?--you will, will you?" Joe had clinched and attempted to throw him, and he was twisting and writhing out of the advantage of the others hold. They reeled about the room, locked in each others arms, and came down with a crash across the splintered wreckage of a wicker chair. Joe was underneath, with arms spread out and held and with Martins knee on his chest. He was panting and gasping for breath when Martin released him. "Now well talk a moment," Martin said. "You cant get fresh with me. I want that laundry business finished first of all. Then you can come back and

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