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The Sea Wolf 24

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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

a brother, but its little he sees in takin in his lights or flyin false signals. He grumbles out when things dont go to suit him, and therell be always some tell-tale carryin word iv it aft to the Wolf. The Wolf is strong, and its the way of a wolf to hate strength, an strength it is hell see in Johnson--no knucklin under, and a Yes, sir, thank ye kindly, sir, for a curse or a blow. Oh, shes a-comin! Shes a-comin! An God knows where Ill get another boat-puller! What does the fool up an say, when the old man calls him Yonson, but Me name is Johnson, sir, an then spells it out, letter for letter. Ye should iv seen the old mans face! I thought hed let drive at him on the spot. He didnt, but he will, an hell break that squareheads heart, or its little I know iv the ways iv men on the ships iv the sea." Thomas Mugridge is becoming unendurable. I am compelled to Mister him and to Sir him with every speech. One reason for this is that Wolf Larsen seems to have taken a fancy to him. It is an unprecedented thing, I take it, for a captain to be chummy with the cook; but this is certainly what Wolf Larsen is doing. Two or three times he put his head into the galley and chaffed Mugridge good-naturedly, and once, this afternoon, he stood by the break of the poop and chatted with him for fully fifteen minutes. When it was over, and Mugridge was back in the galley, he became greasily radiant, and went about his work, humming coster songs in a nerve- racking and discordant falsetto. "I always get along with the officers," he remarked to me in a confidential tone. "I know the wy, I do, to myke myself uppreci- yted. There was my last skipper--wy I thought nothin of droppin down in the cabin for a little chat and a friendly glass. Mugridge, sez e to me, Mugridge, sez e, youve missed yer vokytion. An ows that? sez I. Yer should a been born a gentleman, an never ad to work for yer livin. God strike me dead, Ump, if that aynt wot e sez, an me a-sittin there in is own cabin, jolly-like an comfortable, a-smokin is cigars an drinkin is rum." This chitter-chatter drove me to distraction. I never heard a voice I hated so. His oily, insinuating tones, his greasy smile and his monstrous self-conceit grated on my nerves till sometimes I was all in a tremble. Positively, he was the most disgusting and loathsome person I have ever met. The filth of his cooking was indescribable; and, as he cooked everything that was eaten aboard, I was compelled to select what I ate with great circumspection, choosing from the least dirty of his concoctions. My hands bothered me a great deal, unused as they were to work. The nails were discoloured and black, while the skin was already grained with dirt which even a scrubbing-brush could not remove. Then blisters came, in a painful and never-ending procession, and I had a great burn on my forearm, acquired by losing my balance in a roll of the ship and pitching against the galley stove. Nor was my knee any better. The swelling had not gone down, and the cap was still up on edge. Hobbling about on it from morning till night was not helping it any. What I needed was rest, if it were ever to get well. Rest! I never before knew the meaning of the word. I had been resting all my life and did not know it. But now, could I sit still for one half-hour and do nothing, not even think, it would be the most pleasurable thing in the world. But it is a revelation, on the other hand. I shall be able to appreciate the lives of the working people hereafter. I did not dream that work was so terrible a thing. From half-past five in the morning till ten oclock at night I am everybodys slave, with not one moment to myself, except such as I can steal near the end of the second dog- watch. Let me pause for a minute to look out over the sea sparkling in the sun,

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