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The Sea Wolf 23

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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

wasnt it a week later that the poor little ladies was put ashore on the other side of the island, with nothin before em but to walk home acrost the mountains on their weeny-teeny little straw sandals which wouldnt hang together a mile? Dont I know? Tis the beast he is, this Wolf Larsen--the great big beast mentioned iv in Revelation; an no good end will he ever come to. But Ive said nothin to ye, mind ye. Ive whispered never a word; for old fat Louisll live the voyage out if the last mothers son of yez go to the fishes." "Wolf Larsen!" he snorted a moment later. "Listen to the word, will ye! Wolf--tis what he is. Hes not black-hearted like some men. Tis no heart he has at all. Wolf, just wolf, tis what he is. Dye wonder hes well named?" "But if he is so well-known for what he is," I queried, "how is it that he can get men to ship with him?" "An how is it ye can get men to do anything on Gods earth an sea?" Louis demanded with Celtic fire. "How dye find me aboard if twasnt that I was drunk as a pig when I put me name down? Theres them that cant sail with better men, like the hunters, and them that dont know, like the poor devils of wind-jammers forard there. But theyll come to it, theyll come to it, an be sorry the day they was born. I could weep for the poor creatures, did I but forget poor old fat Louis and the troubles before him. But tis not a whisper Ive dropped, mind ye, not a whisper." "Them hunters is the wicked boys," he broke forth again, for he suffered from a constitutional plethora of speech. "But wait till they get to cutting up iv jinks and rowin round. Hes the boyll fix em. Tis him thatll put the fear of God in their rotten black hearts. Look at that hunter iv mine, Horner. Jock Horner they call him, so quiet-like an easy-goin, soft-spoken as a girl, till yed think butter wouldnt melt in the mouth iv him. Didnt he kill his boat-steerer last year? Twas called a sad accident, but I met the boat-puller in Yokohama an the straight iv it was given me. An theres Smoke, the black little devil--didnt the Roosians have him for three years in the salt mines of Siberia, for poachin on Copper Island, which is a Roosian preserve? Shackled he was, hand an foot, with his mate. An didnt they have words or a ruction of some kind?--for twas the other fellow Smoke sent up in the buckets to the top of the mine; an a piece at a time he went up, a leg to-day, an to-morrow an arm, the next day the head, an so on." "But you cant mean it!" I cried out, overcome with the horror of it. "Mean what!" he demanded, quick as a flash. "Tis nothin Ive said. Deef I am, and dumb, as ye should be for the sake iv your mother; an never once have I opened me lips but to say fine things iv them an him, God curse his soul, an may he rot in purgatory ten thousand years, and then go down to the last an deepest hell iv all!" Johnson, the man who had chafed me raw when I first came aboard, seemed the least equivocal of the men forward or aft. In fact, there was nothing equivocal about him. One was struck at once by his straightforwardness and manliness, which, in turn, were tempered by a modesty which might be mistaken for timidity. But timid he was not. He seemed, rather, to have the courage of his convictions, the certainty of his manhood. It was this that made him protest, at the commencement of our acquaintance, against being called Yonson. And upon this, and him, Louis passed judgment and prophecy. "Tis a fine chap, that squarehead Johnson weve forard with us," he said. "The best sailorman in the focsle. Hes my boat- puller. But its to trouble hell come with Wolf Larsen, as the sparks fly upward. Its meself that knows. I can see it brewin an comin up like a storm in the sky. Ive talked to him like

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