in Bombay then I was receive a Letter from my native
place that for my daughter married every thing is settle
made come soon. So Sir on my work I was kept a sub-
situde Barber Gawoosi Mahomed by the promised when
I will be return then you kindly give back my work and
sir I went away to my native. Now I am arrived here
on the . . . and the steamer is arrived and I am asking
the same fellow to whom I was put in my place for the
subsitude of shaving work. Sir. He is refusing not giv-
ing me back my work Speaking proudly Sir I am a poor
man Where I may go and speak all of my complain Sir
Thinking 1st god and afterwards you Sir I was kind-
ness giving him my work for as a subsitude only to per-
form for one trip Now he is doing forcely to take my
bread sir In this five years how I was passed my days
your honour knows about my conduct and sir I am not
keeping any other hope except you my officer will be
justify. Sir my children thinking me parent and sir I
thinking you my parent and in my daughter married I
got debt for other people about Three Hundred Rs and
in this hope I am arrived from the country in time of
ship arrived when I was went and asked that for to give
THE SCRIBE 55
back my work he given me such a hard replyin proudly
from that I am quite could not said a word and at pres-
ent I am in such hard circumstances that for god knows
... By the act of Benivolance.
A clear appeal a hard case indeed! By the
aid of Annaji's broad J. one is made 'forcely' to
see the poor ill-used old servitor driven from his
work by the machinations of the cunning 'subsi-
tude.' A hard case! But it has no foundation
in fact. Last voyage Johan went to his country.
There was no talk of 'subsitudes' or of his com-
ing back. He bade me a courteous farewell, and
accepted a small douceur and a reference chili.
'In such hard circumstances that for god knows.'
I see no sign of such hard circumstances. Johan's
cap is gold embroidered, and must have cost
Rupees fifteen; his razor box is studded with cun-
ning brasswork; his upturned shoes are new and
costly, and his attire in general is not consistent
with a declaration of extreme poverty.
Nevertheless, I have put Gawoosi Mahomed
away, and Johan Shaban comes to me in the morn-
ings 'on the business of shaving work.' But
Annaji's letter has nothing to do with the change.
Gawoosi ate GARLIC !
I have reason to think that Annaji has received
a present for what is thought to be his share in the
matter. Now, when I go to the Post Office to see
that my letters are properly date-marked, he
salaams courteously and addresses me as Huzoor,
'T^HEY were repairing rigging on a Russian
barque, and the clean wholesome odour of
Stockholm tar was borne on the wind to us, as
we lay, smothered in choking dust, 'coaling' against
time, that we might sail with the evening's tide.
On our vessel, a gaunt naked collier, everything
was in disorder: decks littered with cargo, gear,
and stores, and thick with the dust from the coal-
tips; every one in a hurry, bustling to and fro,
seeing to this or that before dark fell. Grimy
figures about the coal-tips and the hatchways sway-
ing long poles and shouting hoarse cries, "From
under there, from under!" Then the coal,
rumbling and rattling down the iron shutes and
raising, skyward, a cloud of blinding dust. A
clatter of chain runners as the empty waggons are
run off, and again the hoarse cry, "From under
there, from under!" A busy scene of haste and
hurry, a marked contrast to quiet routine aboard
of the Russian.
She was an old vessel, probably a 'crack'
American packet in her day, for her stern, rounded
in seemly curves, was just what those master ship-
STOCKHOLM TAR 57
wrights of Bath and Delaware would put afloat in
the 'sixties. Built masts, heavy lower yards, and
a good spread of rigging, all told of a worthy
vessel; but the pump-windmill turning lazily in
the fitful breeze, and the thin stream of clean
water trickling from her scuppers, showed that her
staunchness was a thing of the past, and that the
years had brought her to her last adventure, tim-
ber droghing in the North Atlantic. Her crew
of blue-eyed Finns were discharging the cargo,
heaving logs out of the massive bow ports and
turning them on a rough stage, from whence they
were dragged ashore by stout horses, to cries of
encouragement and cracking of whips.
Others of her crew were in the topmast rigging,
working at the shrouds. Pigmy figures they
looked, bold against the clear sky. They were
tarring the shrouds, and the sight and the old
familiar smell brought back memories of days
when I 'signed' for the 'Horn' under canvas, be-
fore 'knocking-off the sea, to go in steamboats';
memories of hot days in the Tropics, when the
south-east 'Trades' filled the sails, and we were
at it, hard at it, 'tarring "down.' The light steady
breeze keeping the sails ataut, clambering figures
on the spidery rigging, a hot sun, and the smell
of tar clean, wholesome Stockholm tar, beloved
of sailormen, their remedy for all ills. How
gingerly, at first, we would touch the sticky mess;
a wa'd, perhaps, or an old mitt, and a little care,
5 8 ' BROKEN STOWAGE'
and but then a shout from the keen-eye'd bosun
and a hail from the deck far below would tell that
our 'niceness' was observed, and was being held
forth to 'all han'ds' in stentorian shouts. "Now,
then, main t'galn yard, there ! Coin' t' be awl day
at them foot-ropes? Ho! It's 'is 'ands, is it?
All right, men, git on wit' yer work. Never mind
th' young gen'elman as wants t' keep 'is 'ands clean
fer playin' th' pianny. Ho, yus! It's 'is 'ans, it
is ! Where's 'is walet as'll take him 'im hup a clean
towel an' a cake o' scentid soap for 'is nice, delikit
'ans?" After that there was nothing for it but to
throw caution to the winds, and dip into the pot,
over the wrists, all the time keeping an eye on the
fore to see that your mate didn't get off his yard
before you. When the pot was empty, 'down to
the deck again for a fresh supply, a few minutes
for a 'drink, and, perhaps, if you had done well, a
puff or two at a pipe, and then, "Up wit' ye, me
son! Weather tawps'l yardarm, an' mind them
And so the sun, passing high o'er our heads and
working down to the western horizon, would see us.
still at it when the fleecy 'trade' clouds gathered
about his setting. Daybreak to sunset was a long
'day, but it was finished, this 'tarring down,' finished
for the voyage, when the last man came down from
aloft and we gathered about the galley-door to
clean ourselves .and prepare for a scant supper.
And then, when the rising moon would touch our
STOCKHOLM TAR 59
work, lining the yards and rigging with a silver
thread, we would put our tarry clothes in the now
empty tar-barrel and set it alight and afloat, and
watch it flaming and spluttering 'way astern till
eight bells were struck and the watch would go
That was in other days, but now we were in a
grimy collier, working against time to sail with the
evening's tide. Dark falls and brings with it a
'smirring' of thin rain, a bounty to 'lay' the chok-
ing dust. We have but two hours to finish, and
the siding still shows a long line of waiting
waggons. Huge flares at the coal-tips give light to
the workers, and the incessant cry, fainter and
scarce articulate now, marks the tipping of a
waggon, "Fr'under, there under!" At last, with
a pile of coal at each hatchway, piles that will
take an hour's hard 'trimming,' we haul out from
under the tips and warp across the dock.
Electric arcs shine out at the pierhead, and the
lights of the low town across the river shine and
twinkle as lights do on wet nights. The muddy
flood bears in from the sea, surging past the pier-
heads and seeking under the grimy wharves. The
dock gates are not yet open but moving oilskin-
clad figures on the dockside and the rattle of
chains thrown down or levers shipped in readiness
all tell of an early start. We are waiting near
where the Russian barque lies. Her tall masts
and spars tower in the 'darkness above us. There
60 'BROKEN STOWAGE'
is a glimmer of light through an open cloor, anH
forward one plays a fiddle a quick, uncanny tune
that Finns play on 'dark nights. She lies quiet at
her moorings, this old timber 'drogher.' With her
is no crazy night-work, no unseemly haste, no put-
ting to sea in a state of reckless insecurity, with
hatches open and derricks aloft. When God's
good daylight wanes her sailormen cease work,
and the old barque, unmindful of screaming
whistles, clattering winches, and hoarse shouts
from the dockhead, lies quietly at her moorings,
and about her is a clean, wholesome odour, an
odour of rough-hewn logs and Stockholm tar.
TJADJI MAHOMMED CASSUM whose
A A other name, as shown by his trade card, is
Messrs. Cheap Jack and Company, general orders
supplier, came on board on Sunday morning to
see what business could be done. With him came
a small coolie boy, staggering under the weight
of a large flat basket. The basket contained the
Hadji's stock of ' 'tassa silks, Madrassi cloth, em-
broider' tea-cloth, mantle harder, cus'in cover,
Benares brass an' ruppees silverwork, Sahib!' the
usual stock of a Muslim box-wallah who does busi-
ness with confiding sailor folk.
On Sunday was his only chance. On working
days the thunderous clank and rattle of throbbing
winches and the cries of men at the hatches in-
terfere with the due extolling of each and all o
his wares. This the Hadji knew. He knew, too,
that the time and leisure necessary for the proper
conduct of barter was not to be thought of on
working days unless, maybe, in the case of the
'Daktar Sahib!' So, on Sunday morning, after
waiting considerately till we had selected a cool
62 'BROKEN STOWAGE'
spot and a long chair, the Hadji advanced to the
attack with a profusion of two-handed salaams.
He would be a man of mark in Islam the
Hadji. His red-dyed beard and green turban
showed me that he had performed the Haj the
pilgrimage to Mecca. Those thick lips that uttered
so many courteous greetings and compliments on
my apparent well-being had kissed the Keblah!
So, I thought, I shall acquire merit in being cheated
by such a holy man ! But, in good time ! In good
time! There is my budget of news to be attended
"Salaam, Sahib/' he repeated, after a due in-
terval had passed.
"Get out!" I said snappishly. "Get out!
Jaof" A man does not like to have his reading
of a fortnight-old Lorgnette interfered with on the
cool of a quiet Sunday morning.
The Hadji squatted on his haunches on deck.
The small boy put down the basket with a sigh of
content, and promptly went to sleep.
"Sahib! I got it good tings, dis time! You
like de look?"
"Jao, Sooarf Jao/f"
The Hadji stroked his red-dyed beard. Tig,'
indeed! Was this the way to treat a holy man,
lately returned from perilous adventure. There
would be an extra eight annas or a rupee to pay for
that 'Sooar,' I felt!
THE 'REAL' CASHMIRI SHAWL 63
"Sahib! You look see! No cost for lookin',
Sir!" The Hadji untied a bundle and exposed a
pile of gilt-embroidered tea-cloths. I had a mind
to call the quartermaster and have the holy one
summarily removed. But then, I thought Sun-
day ! He, too, would have his papers on mail day,
and would now probably be deeply immersed in
the advertisement pages of the Oban Times.
The Hadji held a long mantle border outspread
on two arms. "Sewen rupees, Sahib," he said
simply; but his eyes told me that it was rare value,
that only to me could he consent to part with
it at that ridiculous price.
I showed a proper contempt; the mantle border
was put aside. Then another, and on, till the
bundle was exhausted. Gilt embroidery was clearly
not a selling line and the Hadji turned to his
brasswork arranging the plates, vases, and un-
nameable ornaments in serried ranks. Each was
handled with a due reverence imaginary specks
of dust were carefully blown from the carved
work. A sight to gladden the soul of Brum-
All to no purpose: I hold by the engineer's
view of brasswork!
At the opening of the fourth bundle I ma'de
some demur. "Don't want anything," I said, pick-
ing up my paper and trying to resume reading.
It was hopeless ! Even Lorgnette had lost interest,
64 ' BROKEN STOWAGE '
for, all the time as I rea'd, I knew the Hadji's
eyes were on me, that he was patiently waiting for
me to turn my attention to business.
A 'dress length of 'tassa' (Tussore) silk was
spread out ready for my inspection; he rustled it
between his hands. "Chirrp like canary, 'Sahib"
"Chirrp like Ha'des!" said I, "take it away!"
"Cheap, Sahib! Only twenty-two rupee!"
"Twen-ty-two rupee!" I echoed. "You must
think you've got a 'greenhorn' !"
"Arre nay, Sahib!" The Hadji became as 'dust
to my feet. "Arre nay! I saavy you blenty time
comin' Bombay! If I tink you new gentlee-man
sahib, I askin' twenty-fife rupee!"
Here was a fine turn of Oriental sophistry!
Deliberately he shows himself a rogue that I
might esteem myself smart in driving a bargain!
The Hadji had learned more than his prayers
over there at Mecca! I picked up a shawl and
'examined it carelessly. "Reel Cashmiri, Sahib,"
said the Hadji, admiring the texture between his
'finger and thumb. "Make in 'de Cashmir, Sahib!
dese Hindu fella!"
"Manchester ke saman hai," I said, throwing it
clown with an 'exaggerated gesture of contempt.
The Hadji, with a stern frown, lifted it, folded it
carefully, and stowed it away in his bundle. At
'first silent, his indignation got the upper hand.
"Arre, Sahib" he said. "You no saavy dat Cash-
THE 'REAL' CASHMIRI SHAWL 65
mir, for speakin' like Hat! How can makin' in
Manchester like 'dat?" He drew a large ring
from his finger, entered the end of the shawl
(slipped from the bundles in some mysterious
way), and pulled it swiftly through.
Still I was scornful.
Then his face brightened, and he came at me
on a new tack. He turned to the sleeping boy
"De Sahib makin' jokin', no? He makin' de fun!
Laugh he make laughin' 1" The boy slept
solidly on; he was making a purring noise with his
"Oh! Bhun karao," I said testily. 'Tack up
and get out! 7aof Don't want any of your
jammed trash. 'JaoJ"
The Hadji stared at me anxiously. This! when
business was going on so nicely, quite up to the
standard of a bazaar transaction!
I picked up my paper again, lit a fresh cheroot
tried dropping the ash on his goods. No use!
The Hadji flicke'd the ash off and courteously
removed the goods out of my way.
"If dis no real Cashmiri you look, Sahib!"
He tore a thread from the edge of the shawl, lit
one of my matches and applied it; the thread
frizzle'd and emitte'd a pungent odour. I had an
idea that wool would give the same, but was too
lazy to experiment. The Hadji would know that.
"Sahib!" confidentially, looking round to see
that no one was there to note his weakness "I sell
66 ' BROKEN STOWAGE'
you for cheap! I give you for ten rupee! I
wantin' de money for luck; not sold one pice, dis
morning. Ten rupee?"
"Ten rupee! Ten rupee!! Go to," I said.
"How much give, Sahib? What price you
I said I wouldn't take it as a gift.
He bundled it carelessly and placed it beside my
chair. "What you like, Sahib," he said with a fine,
air of resignation!
"Wouldn't give you ten annas! Take it away!
No use to me," I said.
"Present for lady! De Memsahlb likin' dat
real Cashmiri shawl!" He arranged it, full length,
on top of the basket and sleeping boy.
I looked to be deep in my paper made no an-
swer. For a time the conversation was left to two
perky crows, quarrelling over a dead rat or some-
thing, but soon the Hadji returned to the attack.
He was a famous stayer Hadji Mahommed Cas-
sum, whose other name was Messrs. Cheap Jack
and Company, General Orders supplier!
"S'pose you gettin' too cheap, Sahib, how much
"Hangnation ! Don't want it at all !
Wouldn't buy it at any price!"
"Arre, no, Sahib. No! No! No buyin' "
The Hadji held out both hands and deliberately
and tangibly pushed the suggestion to one side,
half rose from his squatting to do it, A mar-
THE 'REAL' CASHMIRI SHAWL 67
vellous gesture! I distinctly saw the suggestion
of buying vanish in the direction of the engineers'
"Nay, nay! No buy! S'pose you goin' in de
bazaar an' you see dat real Cashmiri shawl. . . .
How much you t'ink for very cheap?" A purely
hypothetical question, I thought. The Hadji had
a far-away look in his eyes. He was indeed inter-
ested in a circling bramleykite who had settled the
crows' argument by taking the rat in his claws and
Off-hand. "Oh! two 'dibs,' " I said.
Instantly the far-away look vanished from his
;eyes. Before the few words were quite said, the
Hadji had the shawl parcelled, laid on my chair,
was busily packing his bundles preparing to
"But I don't want it," I said. "That was purely
a suppositious case! I don't want it at all; even
at two rupees!"
The Hadji looked at me reproachfully.
"Arre, Sahib! I no saavy dat talkin'. You say
two 'dib' ! You' word! You' gent-lee-man word!
I lose on dat, but I give you for two rupee! I
wantin' you' money! You very lucky gent-lee-
man, I see" tapping his forehead "you bring
me luck. I sell blenty t'ings now!"
"But, hang it all, it was only a question !"
"Arre, nay, Sahib! You give you' word! Two
rupee, you say! Gent-lee-man word!"
68 'BROKEN STOWAGE'
"T* h' pot with you an'd your gentleeman
word, ye jammed old fraud!"
The quartermaster had come over, ami was
waiting for orders.
The Hadji cast an entreating glance at me. In
great mental distress he packed his bundles and
prodded the purring boy. By despairing mein and
mute gesture, he intimated that his faith was gone
that honour was a sham that this perfidious
world is no place for a simple-hearted Hadji !
"No gent-lee-man word," he sobbed, as he went
That was three clays ago.
On Sunday afternoon he slipped aboard to see
if I had come by my honour again, and sat, in full
view, outside my room door, for a matter of an
hour. Since then I have 'gone to live with him' (as
the Arabs say). As I pass about my duties, I am
conscious of his close regard. His entreating eyes
are turned on me from under the arches of a dock
crane. There he squats all day. Beside him, the
purring, sleeping boy purrs and sleeps over the
large flat basket, and, from any distance I can dis-
tinguish the 'real' Cashmiri shawl, as it lies, placed
handily on top of the brasswork bundle. I see the
Hadji when I am at mess, peering into the cabin,
over the shoulder of the punkah boy. He is
'doubtless anxious to know if I can take my food.
J can only see his head and shoulders from my
seat, but I feel sure that the 'real' Cashmiri shawl
THE 'REAL' CASHMIRI SHAWL 69
hangs in graceful folds over his arm. Last night
I dreamt of a red-bearded Hadji, of 'real' Cash-
miri shawls, of a small coolie boy, who purred
t (that would be my fan) in his sleep.
It is becoming intolerable !
Something will have to be done !
There are two courses of action open to me.
One is to kick the Hadji, together with his 'tassa'
silks, em-broider' 'tea-cloth, mantle harder, cus'in
cover,' etc., his small coolie boy, and his large flat
basket, into the middle of the Dock Roadway!
That would be expensive, for the Parsee magis-
trate, who has the keeping of the King's peace in
these parts, is particularly severe on the employ-
ment of physical force. I would be fined ten or
fifteen rupees, and there would have to be a
further payment of 'rupees five to complain-
ant, as compensation.'
The other way is more pacific; it is the course I
shall most probably adopt.
I shall pay the Hadji his two rupees and restore
his wavered faith in the stability of the Raj in
the sacredness of a 'gent-lee-man word !'
Besides, I know of a small person at home who
would be quite glad of a 'real' Cashmiri shawl to
hap round her dollies these cold nights !
DROPPING THE PILOT
WHEN a north gale blows over the estuary
of the Mersey and raises a tumbling sea
across the tide the outward pilots have to travel
far before they can be put ashore. In ordinary
weather they are taken off the outward-bound
steamers by a pilot-boat stationed outside the
channel, but in a northerly gale the sea runs over-
high for boat service, and the pilot steamer has
enough to do to keep her station and to direct the
inward-bound vessels. Down the coast there is
no shelter to be had, for North Wales is open to
the wind, and the long rollers, crashing into shoal
water, set up such a sea that even the most ven-
turesome would hardly care to put off in it. Holy-
head harbour is white-lashed by the whip of the
wind, and the tide race round the South Stack
makes Penrhos Bay an awkward landing; from
Formby to the Stack there is no bulwark to the
north wind, and so, the gale continuing, the pilots
are carried down channel arid are put ashore at
that port of shelter that requires the least diver-
gence from the progress of a voyage. For south
and west bound vessels Dunmore Bay, on the
DROPPING THE PILOT 71
south-east coast of Ireland, is most favoured. It
is no great distance from the track to Finisterre,
and the local pilots and fishermen are ever on the
lookout for the good north wind that blows a
badly-needed sovereign to their pockets with every
Mersey pilot that they put on the beach. When
the wind comes strong over Killea on the Hill, the
sea folk of Dunmore are early astir, counting the
tides and watching for the distant smoke, south
away, that tells of a steamer rounding the Coning-
On a blustering day we go to sea from the
Mersey. The north cone is dangling from the
signal staff at New Brighton, and our Pilot, seeing
it, feels in his pockets to discover how funds stand,
and wishes he had brought more travelling com-
forts than a hard hat and an oilskin coat. "I'll
be two, mebbe three, days away," says he to the
Captain. "The wind's strong north outside, and
none of our boats will take me off on this side of
the channel. Ye'll have to carry me on, Captain
on to Dunmore or Milford!" The Captain,
ill-pleased at the prospect of a halt, however short,
in his voyage, hopes that there may be a shift of
wind before Holyhead is reached, but the Pilot,
glancing to the Formby shore, where everything
stands out distinct in the clear north wind, shakes
his head weatherwise. A philosopher of sorts,
like all who own the wind and tide for master, he
goes about the setting of his course, the ordering
72 'BROKEN STOWAGE'
of the helm, and gives no further thought to the
matter; a day or two from home is no great mat-
ter, though a hard hat and an oilskin coat may be
a rather meagre outfit.
It is a Saturday, and we are a goodly company
of south-bound ships; all sorts, all sizes, plunging
down the channel, unleashed on our errands, a
convoy of sheering hulls lifting to the wind and
sea, with a cloud of whirling smoke-wrack blown
low on the water. Out here it is blowing a mod-
erate gale, and the lightships are making rough
weather of it, labouring uneasily with the wind
athwart the tide. A large barque, towing in, is
flying signals for a pilot, but the pilot-boat is un-
able to 'board her' and steams slowly ahead with
a message at the masthead 'Steer after me into
smooth water.' In this we read that they can do
us no service, so we steer round the Bar Lightship
and shape a course for Holyhead. On the coast
of Anglesey we meet the pilot-boat of the outer
station. She is weathering out the gale in the
open, and answers our signals with a curt U.V.
'Too much sea!' That settles it, and, his term of
office at an end, the Pilot goes below, assured that
it will be on Ireland he will set foot.
Through the night we run 'down by the Irish
banks, and daybreak finds us rounding the Tuskar
Light, bearing up for Dunmore Bay. The wind
has lessened, and is veering uncertainly. The sky
shows p/omise of westerly winds, and a long, evert
DROPPING THE PILOT 73
swell is setting into the bay; we must make haste
to land our man and get well away on our passage
across the Bay of Biscay before a sou'west wind
rouses the sea against us. We are early on the
tide, and the old Hook Tower is close to before a
boat puts off. An ancient-cutter she is, yawing
wildly down the wind and bruising the water be-
fore her in the fashion of a stout old-timer. Near
by she lies to and puts a small dinghy in the water;