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"That fellow with the red hair," said the police captain as he pointed.

"I'll watch him," the sergeant answered.

The captain had raided two opium dens the day before, and the pride of
accomplishment puffed his chest. He would have given advice to the
sheriff of Oahu that evening.

He went on: "I can pick some men out of the crowd by the way they walk,
and others by their eyes. That fellow has it written all over him."

The red-headed man came nearer through the crowd. Because of the
warmth, he had stuffed his soft hat into a back pocket, and now the
light from a window shone steadily on his hair and made a fire of it, a
danger signal. He encountered the searching glances of the two officers
and answered with cold, measuring eyes, like the gaze of a prize
fighter who waits for a blow. The sergeant turned to his superior with
a grunt.

"You're right," he nodded.

"Trail him," said the captain, "and take a man with you. If that fellow
gets into trouble, you may need help."

He stepped into his automobile and the sergeant beckoned to a nearby

"Akana," he said, "we have a man-sized job tonight. Are you feeling

The Kanaka smiled without enthusiasm.

"The man of the red hair?"

The sergeant nodded, and Akana tightened his belt. He had eaten fish
baked in ti leaves that evening.

He suggested: "Morley has little to do. His beat is quiet. Shall I tell
him to come with us?"

"No," grinned the sergeant, and then looked up and watched the broad
shoulders of the red-haired man, who advanced through the crowd as the
prow of a ship lunges through the waves. "Go get Morley," he said

But Harrigan went on his way without misgivings, not that he forgot the
policeman, but he was accustomed to stand under the suspicious eye of
the law. In all the course of his wanderings it had been upon him. His
coming was to the men in uniform like the sound of the battle trumpet
to the cavalry horse. This, however, was Harrigan's first night in
Honolulu, and there was much to see, much to do. He had rambled through
the streets; now he was headed for the Ivilei district. Instinct
brought him there, the still, small voice which had guided him from
trouble to trouble all his life.

At a corner he stopped to watch a group of Kanakas who passed him,
wreathed with leis and thrumming their ukuleles. They sang in their
soft, many-voweled language and the sound was to Harrigan like the rush
and lapse of water on a beach, infinitely soothing and as lazy as the
atmosphere of Honolulu. All things are subdued in the strange city
where East and West meet in the middle of the Pacific. The gayest
crowds cannot quite disturb the brooding peace which is like the
promise of sleep and rest at sunset. It was not pleasing to Harrigan.
He frowned and drew a quick, impatient breath, muttering: "I'm not long
for this joint. I gotta be moving."

He joined a crowd which eddied toward the center of Ivilei. In there it
was better. Negro soldiers, marines from the _Maryland_, Kanakas,
Chinamen, Japanese, Portuguese, Americans; a score of nationalities and
complexions rubbed shoulders as they wandered aimlessly among the many
bright-painted cottages.

Yet even in that careless throng of pleasure-seekers no one rubbed
shoulders with Harrigan. The flame of his hair was like a red lamp
which warned them away. Or perhaps it was his eye, which seemed to
linger for a cold, incurious instant on every face that approached. He
picked out the prettiest of the girls who sat at the windows chatting
with all who passed. He did not have to shoulder to win a way through
the crowd of her admirers.

She was a _hap haoli_, with the fine features of the Caucasian and the
black of hair and eye which shows the islander. A rounded elbow rested
on the sill of the window; her chin was cupped in her hand.

"Send these away," said Harrigan, and leaned an elbow beside hers.

"Oh," she murmured; then: "And if I send them away?"

"I'll reward you."


For answer he dragged a crimson carnation from the buttonhole of a tall
man who stood at his side.

"What in hell - " began the victim, but Harrigan smiled and the other
drew slowly back through the crowd.

"Now send them away."

She looked at him an instant longer with a light coming slowly up
behind her eyes. Then she leaned out and waved to the chuckling

"Run away for a while," she said; "I want to talk to my brother."

She patted the thick red hair to emphasize the relationship, and the
little crowd departed, laughing uproariously. Harrigan slipped the
carnation into the jetty hair. His hand lingered a moment against the
soft masses, and she drew it down, grown suddenly serious.

"There are three policemen in the shadow of that cottage over there.
They're watching you."


The sound was so soft that it was almost a sigh, but she shivered

"What have you been doing?"

He answered regretfully: "Nothing."

"They're coming this way. The man who had the carnation is with them.
You better beat it."

"Nope. I like it here."

She shook her head, but the flame was blowing high now
in her eyes. A hand fell on Harrigan's shoulder.

"Hey!" said the sergeant in a loud voice.

Harrigan turned slowly and the sergeant's hand fell away. The man of
the carnation was far in the background.


"That flower. You can't get away with little tricks like that. You
better be starting on. Move along."

Harrigan glanced slowly from face to face. The three policemen drew
closer together as if for mutual protection.

"Please - honey!" urged the whisper of the girl.

The hand of Harrigan resting on the window sill had gathered to a
hard-bunched fist, white at the knuckles, but he nodded across the open
space between the cottages.

"If you're looking for work," he said, "seems as though you'd find a
handful over there."

A clatter of sharp, quick voices rose from a group of Negro soldiers
gathering around a white man. No one could tell the cause of the
quarrel. It might have been anything from an oath to a blow.

"Watch him," said Harrigan. "He looks like a man." He added
plaintively: "But looks are deceivin'."

The center of the disturbance appeared to be a man indeed. He was even
taller than Harrigan and broader of shoulder, and, like the latter,
there was a suggestion of strength in him which could not be defined by
his size alone. At the distance they could guess his smile as he faced
the clamoring mob.

"Break in there!" ordered the sergeant to his companions, and started
toward the angry circle.

As he spoke, they heard one of the Negroes curse and the fist of the
tall man darted at the face of a soldier and drove him toppling back
among his comrades. They closed on the white man with a yell; a passing
group of their compatriots joined the affray; the whole mass surged in
around the tall fellow. Harrigan's head went back and his eyes half
closed like a critic listening to an exquisite symphony.

"Ah-h!" he whispered to himself. "Watch him fight!"

The policemen struck the outer edge of the circle with drawn clubs, but
there they stopped. They could not dent that compacted mass. The
soldiers struggled manfully, but they were held at bay. Harrigan could
see the heaving shoulders of the defender over the heads of the
assailants, and the crack of hard-driven fists. The attackers were
crushed together and had little room to swing their arms with full
force, while the big man stood with his back against the wall of the
cottage and made every smashing punch count.

As if by common assent, the soldiers suddenly desisted and gave back
from this deadly fighter. His bellow of triumph rang over the clamor.
His hat was off; his long black hair stood straight up in the wind; and
he leaped after them with flailing arms.

But now the police had managed to pry their way into the mass by dint
of indiscriminate battering. As the black-haired man came face to face
with the sergeant, the light gleamed on a high-swung club that thudded
home; and the big man dropped out of sight. He came up again almost at
once, but with men draped from every portion of his body. The soldiers
and police had joined forces, and once more a dozen men clutched him,
spilling over him like football players in a scrimmage. He was knocked
from his feet by the impact.

"Coming!" shouted Harrigan.

He raced with long strides, head lowered and back bowed until his long
arms nearly swept the ground. Gathering impetus at every stride, he
crushed into the floundering heap of arms and legs. The police sergeant
rose and whirled with lifted club. Harrigan grunted with joy as he dug
his left into the man's midsection. The sergeant collapsed upon the
ground, embracing his stomach with both arms. Harrigan jerked away the
upper layers of the attackers and dragged the black-haired man to his

"Shoulder to shoulder!" thundered Harrigan, and smote Officer Akana
upon the point of the chin.

The victory was not yet won. The black soldiers of Uncle Sam's regular
army need not take second place to any body of troops in the world.
These men had tasted their own blood and they came tearing in now for

Harrigan, standing full in front of the rescued man until the latter
should have recovered his breath, found food for both fists, and his
love of battle was fed. The other man had fought stiffly erect,
standing with feet braced to give the weight of his whole body to every
punch; Harrigan raged back and forth like a panther, avoiding blows by
the catlike agility of his movements, which left both hands free to
strike sledge-hammer blows. Presently he heard a chuckling at his side.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw the black-haired man come into the
battle, straight and stiff as before, with long arms shooting out like

It was a glorious sight. Something made Harrigan's heart big; rose and
swelled his throat; rose again and came as a wild yell upon his tongue.
The unfortunates who have faced Irish legions in battle know that yell.
The soldiers did not know it, and they held back for a moment.
Something else lowered their spirits still more. It was the clanging of
the police patrol as it swung to a halt and a body of reserves poured

"Here comes our finish!" panted Harrigan to his comrade in arms. "But
oh, man, I'm thinkin' it was swate while it lasted!"

In his great moments the Irish brogue thronged thick upon his tongue.

"Finish, hell!" grunted the other. "After me, lad!"

And lowering his head like a bull, he drove forward against the crowd.
Harrigan caught the idea in a flash. He put his shoulder to the hip of
his friend. They became a flying wedge with the jabbing fists of the
black-haired man for a point - and they sank into the mass of soldiers
like a hot knife into butter, shearing them apart.

There were few who wished more action, for the police reserves were
capturing man after man. One or two resisted, but a revolver fired
straight in the air put a sudden period to such thoughts. The crowd
scattered in all directions and Harrigan was taking to his heels among
the rest when an iron hand caught his shoulder and jerked him to a
halt. It was the black-haired man.

"Easy," he cautioned. He pulled a cap out and settled it upon his head.
Harrigan followed suit with his soft hat.

"Are you after givin' yourself away to the law?" he queried,

"Steady, you fool," said the other; "they're only after the ones who
run away."

An excited Kanaka confronted them with brandished club.

"What's the cause of the disturbance, officer?" asked the big man.

The policeman for answer waved them away and darted after a running

"I'll be damned!" murmured Harrigan, and his eyes dwelt on his
companion's face almost tenderly.

They were at the edge of the crowd when a shrill voice called: "Those
two big men! Halt 'em! Stand!"

Officer Akana ran through the crowd with his regulation Colt brandished
above his head.

"The time's come!" said Harrigan's new friend, and broke into a run.


They were past the thick of the mob now and they dodged rapidly among
the cottages until the clamor of police fell away to a murmur behind
them, and they swung out onto the narrow, dark street which led back
toward the heart of Honolulu. For ten minutes they strode along without
a word. Under the light of a street lamp they stopped of one accord.

"I'm McTee."

"I'm Harrigan."

The gripping of the hands was more than fellowship; it was like a test
of strength which left each uncertain of the other's resources. They
were exactly opposite types. McTee was long of face, with an arched,
cruel nose, gleaming eyes, heavy, straight brows which pointed up and
gave a touch of the Mephistophelian to his expression, a narrow,
jutting chin, and lips habitually compressed to a thin line. It was a
handsome face, in a way, but it showed such a brutal dominance that it
inspired fear first and admiration afterward.

Such a man must command. He might be only the boss of a gang of
laborers, or he might be a financier, but never in any case an
underling. Altogether he combined physical and intellectual strength to
such a degree that both men and women would have stopped to look at
him, and once seen he would be remembered.

On the other hand, in Harrigan one felt only force, not directed and
controlled as in McTee, but impulsive, irregular, irresponsible,
uncompassed. He carried a contradiction in his face. The heavy,
hard-cut jaw, the massive cheekbones, the stiff, straight upper lip
indicated merely brutal endurance and energy, but these qualities were
tempered by possibilities of tenderness about the lips and by the
singular lights forever changing in the blue eyes. He would be hard for
the shrewdest judge to understand, for the simple reason that he did
not know himself.

In looking at McTee, one asked: "What is he?" In looking at Harrigan,
the question was: "What will he become?"

"Stayin' in town long?" asked Harrigan, and his voice was a little

"I'm bound out tonight."

"So long, then."

"So long."

They turned on their heels into opposite streets without further words,
with no thanks given for service rendered, with no exchange of
congratulations for the danger they had just escaped. That parting
proved them hardened knights of the road which leads across the world
and never turns back home.

Harrigan strode on full of thought. His uncertain course brought him at
last to the waterfront, and he idled along the black, odorous docks
until he came to a pier where a ship was under steam, making ready to
put out to sea. The spur touched the heart of Harrigan. The urge never
failed to prick him when he heard the scream of a steamer's horn as it
put to sea. It brought the thoughts of far lands and distant cities.

He strolled out to the pier and watched the last ropes cast loose. The
ship was not large, and even in the dark it seemed dingy and
dilapidated. He guessed that, big or small, this boat would carry her
crew to some distant quarter of the world, and therefore to a place to
be desired.

A strong voice gave an order from the deck - a hard voice with a ring in
it like the striking of iron against iron. Harrigan glanced up with a
start of recognition, and by the light of a swinging lantern he saw
McTee. If he were in command, this ship was certainly going to a far
port. Black water showed between the dock and the ship. In a moment
more it would be beyond reach, and that thought decided Harrigan. He
made a few paces back, noted the aperture in the rail of the ship where
the gangplank was being drawn in, then ran at full speed and leaped
high in the air.

The three sailors at the rail shouted their astonishment as Harrigan
struck the edge of the gangplank, reeled, and then pitched forward to
his knees. He rose and shook himself like a cat that has dropped from a
high fence to the ground.

"What're you?"

"I'm the extra hand."

And Harrigan ran up the steps to the bridge. There he found McTee with
the first and second mates.

"McTee," he said, "I came on your ship by chance an' saw you. If you
_can_ use an extra hand, let me stay. I'm footfree an' I need to be
movin' on."

Even through the gloom he caught the glint of the Scotchman's eye.

"Get off the bridge!" thundered McTee.

"But I'm Harrigan, and - "

McTee turned to his first and second mates.

"Throw that man off the bridge!" he ordered.

Harrigan didn't wait. He retreated down the steps to the deck and went
to the rail. A wide gap of swarthy water now extended between the ship
and the dock, but he placed his knee on the rail ready to dive. Then he
turned and stood with folded arms looking up to the bridge, for his
mind was dark with many doubts. He tapped a passing sailor on the

"What sort of an old boy is the captain?"

He made up his mind that according to the answer he would stay with the
ship or swim to the shore, but the sailor merely stared stupidly at him
for a moment and then grinned slowly. There might be malice, there
might be mere ridicule in that smile. He passed on before another
question could be asked.

"Huh!" grunted Harrigan. "I stay!"

He kept his eyes fixed on the bridge, remaining motionless at the rail
for an hour while the glow of Honolulu grew dimmer and dimmer past the
stern. There were lights in the after-cabin and he guessed that the
ship, in a small way, carried both freight and passengers. At last
McTee came down the steps to the deck and as he passed Harrigan
snapped: "Follow me."

He led the way aft and up another flight of steps to the after-cabin,
unlocked a door, and showed Harrigan into the captain's room. Here he
took one chair and Harrigan dropped easily into another.

"Now, what 'n hell was your line of thinkin', McTee," he began, "when
you told me to - "

"Stand up!" said McTee.


"Stand up!"

Harrigan rose very slowly. His jaw was setting harder and harder, and
his face became grim.

"Harrigan, you took a chance and came with me."


"I didn't ask you to come."

"Sure you didn't, but if you think you can treat me like a swine and
get away with it - "

It was wonderful to see the eyes of McTee grow small. They seemed to
retreat until they became points of light shining from the deep shadow
of his brow. They were met by the cold, incurious light of Harrigan's

"You're a hard man, Harrigan."

He made no answer, but listened to the deep thrum of the engines. It
seemed to him that the force which drove the ship was like a part of
McTee's will, a thing of steel.

"And I'm a hard man, Harrigan. On this ship I'm king. There's no will
but my will; there's no right but my right; there's no law but my law.
Remember, on land we stood as equals. On this ship you stand and I

The thin lips did not curve, and yet they seemed to be smiling cruelly,
and the eyes were probing deep, deep, deep into Harrigan's soul,
weighing, measuring, searching.

"When we reach land," said Harrigan, "I got an idea I'll have to break

He raised his hands, which trembled with the restrained power of his
arms, and moved them as though slowly breaking a stick of wood.

"I've broken men - like that," he finished.

"When I'm through with you, Harrigan, you'll take water from a
Chinaman. You're the first man I've ever seen who could make me stop
and look twice. I need a fellow like you, but first I've got to make
you my man. The best colt in the world is no good until he learns to
take the whip without bucking. I'm going to get you used to the whip.
This is frank talk, eh? Well, I'm a frank man. You're in the harness
now, Harrigan; make up your mind: Will you pull or will you balk? Answer

"I'll see you damned!"

"Good. You've started to balk, so now you'll have to feel the whip."

He pulled a cord, and while they waited, the relentless duel of the
eyes continued. A flash of instinct like a woman's intuition told
Harrigan what impulse was moving McTee. He knew it was the same thing
which makes the small schoolboy fight with the stranger; the same
curiosity as to the unknown power, the same relentless will to be
master, but now intensified a thousandfold in McTee, who looked for the
first time, perhaps, on a man who might be his master. Harrigan knew,
and smiled. He was confident. He half rejoiced in looking forward to
the long struggle.

A knock came and the door opened.

"Masters," said McTee to the boatswain, "we're three hands short."

"Yes, sir."

"Here are the three hands. Take them forward."


Masters looked at Harrigan, started to laugh, looked again, and then
silently held the door open. Harrigan stepped through it and followed
to the forecastle, a dingy retreat in the high bow of the ship. He had
to bend low to pass through the door, and inside he found that he could
not stand erect. It was his first experience of working aboard a ship,
and he expected to find a scrupulous neatness, and hammocks in place of
beds. Instead he looked on a double row of bunks heaped with swarthy
quilts, and the boatswain with a silent gesture indicated that one of
these belonged to Harrigan. He went to it without a word and sat down
cross-legged to survey his new quarters. It was more like the bunkhouse
of a western ranch than anything else he had been in, but all reduced
to a miniature, cramped and confined.

Now his eyes grew accustomed to the dim, unpleasant light which came
from a single lantern hanging on the central post, and he began to make
out the faces of the sailors. An oily-skinned Greek squatted on the
bunk to his left. To his right was a Chinaman, marvelously emaciated;
his lips pulled back in a continual smile, meaningless, like the grin
of a corpse.

Opposite was the inevitable Englishman, slender, good-looking, with
pale hair and bright, active eyes. Harrigan had traveled over half the
world and never failed to find at least one subject of John Bull in any
considerable group of men. This young fellow was talking with a giant
Negro, his neighbor. The black man chattered with enthusiasm while the
Englishman listened, nodding, intent.

One thing at least was certain about this crew: the Negro, the
Chinaman, the Greek, even the Englishman, despite his slender build,
they were all hard, strong men.

The cook brought out supper in buckets - stews, chunks of stale bread,
tea. As they ate, the sailors grew talkative.

"Slide the slum this way," said the Englishman.

The Negro pushed the bucket across the deck with his foot.

"A hard trip," went on the first speaker.

"All trips on the _Mary Rogers_ is hard," rumbled a voice.

"Aye, but Black McTee is blacker'n ever today."

"He belted the bos'n with a rope end," commented the Negro.

"He ain't human. This is my last trip with him. How about you, John?
You got a lump on your jaw yet where he cracked you for breakin' that

This was to the Chinaman, who answered in a soft guttural as if there
were bubbling oil in his throat: "Me sail two year Black McTee, an' - "

To finish his speech he passed a tentative hand across his swollen jaw.

"And you'll sail with him till you die, John," said the Englishman.
"When a man has had Black McTee for a boss, he'll want no other. He's
to other captains what whisky is to beer."

The white teeth of the Negro showed. "Maybe Black McTee won't live
long," he suggested.

There was a long silence. It lasted until the supper was finished. It
lasted until the men slid into their bunks. And Harrigan knew that
every man was repeating slowly to himself: "Maybe Black McTee won't
live long."

"Not if this gang goes after him," muttered Harrigan, "and yet - "

He remembered the fight in Ivilei and the heaving shoulders which
showed above the heads of the swarming soldiers. With that picture in
his mind he went to sleep.

They were far out of sight of land in the morning and loafing south
before the trade wind, with a heavy ground swell kicking them along
from behind. Harrigan saw the _Mary Rogers_ plainly for the first time.

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Online LibraryMax BrandHarrigan → online text (page 1 of 15)