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The Sea Wolf 18







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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf




his dog; but Mr. Mugridges brutality to me was paid back in kind and with interest. The unnecessary noise he made (I had lain wide-eyed the whole night) must have awakened one of the hunters; for a heavy shoe whizzed through the semi-darkness, and Mr. Mugridge, with a sharp howl of pain, humbly begged everybodys pardon. Later on, in the galley, I noticed that his ear was bruised and swollen. It never went entirely back to its normal shape, and was called a "cauliflower ear" by the sailors. The day was filled with miserable variety. I had taken my dried clothes down from the galley the night before, and the first thing I did was to exchange the cooks garments for them. I looked for my purse. In addition to some small change (and I have a good memory for such things), it had contained one hundred and eighty- five dollars in gold and paper. The purse I found, but its contents, with the exception of the small silver, had been abstracted. I spoke to the cook about it, when I went on deck to take up my duties in the galley, and though I had looked forward to a surly answer, I had not expected the belligerent harangue that I received. "Look ere, Ump," he began, a malicious light in his eyes and a snarl in his throat; "dye want yer nose punched? If you think Im a thief, just keep it to yerself, or youll find ow bloody well mistyken you are. Strike me blind if this aynt gratitude for yer! Ere you come, a pore misrable specimen of uman scum, an I tykes yer into my galley an treats yer ansom, an this is wot I get for it. Nex time you can go to ell, say I, an Ive a good mind to give you what-for anywy." So saying, he put up his fists and started for me. To my shame be it, I cowered away from the blow and ran out the galley door. What else was I to do? Force, nothing but force, obtained on this brute-ship. Moral suasion was a thing unknown. Picture it to yourself: a man of ordinary stature, slender of build, and with weak, undeveloped muscles, who has lived a peaceful, placid life, and is unused to violence of any sort--what could such a man possibly do? There was no more reason that I should stand and face these human beasts than that I should stand and face an infuriated bull. So I thought it out at the time, feeling the need for vindication and desiring to be at peace with my conscience. But this vindication did not satisfy. Nor, to this day can I permit my manhood to look back upon those events and feel entirely exonerated. The situation was something that really exceeded rational formulas for conduct and demanded more than the cold conclusions of reason. When viewed in the light of formal logic, there is not one thing of which to be ashamed; but nevertheless a shame rises within me at the recollection, and in the pride of my manhood I feel that my manhood has in unaccountable ways been smirched and sullied. All of which is neither here nor there. The speed with which I ran from the galley caused excruciating pain in my knee, and I sank down helplessly at the break of the poop. But the Cockney had not pursued me. "Look at im run! Look at im run!" I could hear him crying. "An with a gyme leg at that! Come on back, you pore little mammas darling. I wont it yer; no, I wont." I came back and went on with my work; and here the episode ended for the time, though further developments were yet to take place. I set the breakfast-table in the cabin, and at seven oclock waited on the hunters and officers. The storm had evidently broken during the night, though a huge sea was still running and a stiff wind blowing. Sail had been made in the early watches, so that the Ghost was racing along under everything except the two topsails and the flying jib. These three sails, I gathered from the conversation, were to be set immediately after breakfast. I learned, also, that Wolf Larsen was anxious to make the most of the storm, which was driving him

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