"Take him up, Alex," directed the big fireman, and Harrigan followed
one of the men up the narrow ladder and then aft. He was grateful for
this light respite from the heat of the hole, but his joy faded when
the man opened a door and he stood at last before the chief, Douglas
Campbell, who looked up at the burly Irishman in a long silence.
The scion of the ancient and glorious clan of the Campbells had fallen
far indeed. His face was a brilliant red, and the nose, comically
swollen at the end, was crossed with many blue veins. Like Milton's
_Satan_, however, he retained some traces of his original brightness.
Harrigan knew at once that the chief engineer was fully worthy of
joining those rulers of the south seas and harriers of weaker men,
McTee and White Henshaw.
"Stand straight and look me in the eye," said Campbell, and in his
voice was a slight "bur-r-r" of the Scotch accent.
Harrigan jerked back his shoulders and stood like a soldier at
"A drinkin' man," he was saying to himself, "may be hard an' fallen
low, but he's sure to have a heart."
"So you're the mutineer, my fine buck?"
Harrigan hesitated, and this seemed to infuriate Campbell, who banged a
brawny fist on a table and thundered: "Answer me, or I'll skin your
The cold, blue eyes of Harrigan did not falter. They studied the face
of the Campbell as a fighter gauges his opponent.
"If I say 'yes,'" he responded at length, "it's as good as puttin'
myself in chains; if I say 'no,' you'll be thinkin' I'm givin' in, you
an' McTee, damn his eyes!"
Campbell grew still redder.
"You damn him, do you? McTee is Scotch; he's a gentleman too good to be
named by swine!"
The irrepressible Harrigan replied: "He's enough to make swine speak!"
Amazement and then a gleam of laughter shone in the eyes of the chief
engineer. He was seized, apparently, by a fit of violent coughing and
had to turn away, hiding his face with his hand. When he faced the
Irishman again, his jaw was set hard, but his eyes were moist.
"Look me in the eye, laddie. Men say a good many things about me; they
call me a slave driver and worse. Why? Because when I say 'move,' my
men have to jump. I've asked you a question, and I'm going to get an
answer. Are you a mutineer or not?"
"I will not pleasure McTee by sayin' I'm not!"
The ponderous hand rose over the table, but it was checked before it
"What the devil has McTee to do with this?" he bellowed.
"He's the one that sent me here." Harrigan was thinking fast as he went
on: "And you're going to keep me here for the sake of McTee."
Campbell changed from red to purple and exploded: "I'll keep no man
here to please another; not White Henshaw himself. He rules on deck,
and I rule below. D'you hear? Tell me you're a liar! Speak up!"
"You're a liar," said Harrigan instantly.
The engineer's mouth opened and closed twice while he stared at
"Get out!" he shouted, springing to his feet. "I'll have you boxed up
and sweated; I'll have you pounded to a pulp! Wait! Stay here! I'll
bring in some men!"
Harrigan was desperate. He knew that what he had said was equivalent to
a mutiny. He threw caution to the wind. Campbell had rung a bell.
"Bring your men an' be damned!" he answered; and now his head tilted
back and he set his shoulders to the wall. "I'll be afther lickin' your
whole crew! A man do ye call yourself? Ah-h, ye're not fit to be
lickin' the boots ay a man! Slave driver? No, ye're an overseer, an'
Henshaw kicks you an' you pass the kick along. But lay a hand on
Harrigan, an' he'll tear the rotten head off your shoulders!"
The door flew open, and the second assistant engineer, a burly man,
with two or three others, appeared at the entrance, drawn by the
furious clamor of the bell.
"What - " began the second assistant, and then stopped as he caught
sight of Harrigan against the wall with his hands poised, ready for the
"Who called you?" roared Campbell.
"Your bell - " began the assistant.
"You lie! Get out! I was telling a joke to my old friend Harrigan.
Maybe I leaned back against the bell. Shake hands with Harrigan. I've
known him for years."
Incredulous, Harrigan lowered his clenched fist and relaxed it to meet
the hesitant hand of the assistant.
"Now be off," growled the chief, and the others fled.
As the door closed, Harrigan turned in stupid amazement upon the
Scotchman. The latter had dropped into his chair again and now looked
at Harrigan with twinkling eyes.
"You'd have fought 'em all, eh, lad?"
He burst into heavy laughter.
"Ah, the blue devil that came in your eyes! Why did I not let them have
one whirl at you? Ha, ha, ha!"
"Wake me up," muttered Harrigan. "I'm dreamin'!"
"There's a thick lie in my throat," said Campbell. "I must wash it out
and leave a truth there!"
He opened a small cupboard, exposing a formidable array of black and
green bottles. One of the black he pulled down, as well as two small
glasses, which he filled to the brim.
"To your bonny blue eyes, lad!" he said, and raised a glass. "Here's an
end to the mutiny - and a drop to our old friendship!"
Harrigan, still with clouded mind, raised the glass and drank. It was a
fine sherry wine.
"How old would you say that wine was?" queried the Scotchman with
The carelessness did not deceive Harrigan. His mind went blanker still,
for he knew little about good wines.
"Well?" asked the engineer.
"H-m!" muttered Harrigan, and racked his brain to remember the ages at
which a good vintage becomes a rare old wine. "About thirty-five
"By the Lord!" cried Campbell. "It never fails - a strong man knows his
liquor like a book! You're almost right. Add three years and you have
it! Thirty-eight years in sunshine and shadow!"
He leaned back and gazed dreamily up to the ceiling.
"Think of it," he went on in a reverent murmur. "Men have been born and
grown strong and then started toward the shady side of life since this
wine was put in the bottle. For thirty-eight years it has been
gathering and saving its perfume - draw a breath of it now, lad! - and
when I uncork the bottle, all the odor blows out to me at once."
"True," said Harrigan, nodding sagely. "I've thought the same thing,
but never found the words for it, chief."
"Have you?" asked Campbell eagerly. "Sit down, lad; sit down! Well,
well! Good wine was put on earth for a blessing, but men have misused
it, Harrigan - but hear me preaching when I ought to be praying!"
"Prayin'?" repeated the diplomatic Harrigan. "No, no, man! Maybe you've
drunk a good store of liquor, but it shines through you. It puts a
flush on your face like a sun shinin' through a cloud. You'd hearten
any man on a dark day!"
He could not resist the play on the words, and a shadow crossed the
face of the engineer.
"Harrigan," he growled, "there's a double meaning in what you say, but
I'll not think of it. You're no fool, lad, but do not vex me. But say
your say. I suppose I'm red enough to be seen by my own light on a dark
night. What does Bobbie say?
"Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
"Well, well! I forgave you for the sake of Bobbie! Do you know his
A light shone in the eye of Harrigan. He began to sing softly in his
musical, deep voice: "Ye banks and braes of bonny Doon - "
"No, no, man!" cried Campbell, raising his hand in horror at the sound
of the false accent. "It should go like this!"
He pulled a guitar out of a case and commenced to strum lightly on it,
while he rendered the old song in a voice roughened by ill usage but
still strong and true. A knock at the door interrupted him at the
climax of his song, and he glared toward the unseen and rash intruder.
"What will ye hae?" he roared, continuing the dialect which the song
had freshened on his tongue.
"The shift in the fireroom is short-handed," said the voice. "That
fellow Harrigan has not shown up. Shall we search for him?"
"Search for the de'il!" thundered Campbell. "Harrigan is doing a fine
piece of work for me; shall I let him go to the fireroom to swing a
"The captain's orders, sir," persisted the voice rashly.
Campbell leaped for the door and jerked it open a few inches.
"Be off!" he cried; "or I'll set you passin' coal yourself, my fine
lad! What? Will ye be asking questions? Is there no discipline? Mutiny,
mutiny - that's what this is!"
"Aye, aye, sir!" murmured a rapidly retreating voice.
Campbell closed and locked the door and turned back to Harrigan with a
"The world's a wide place," he said, "but there's few enough in it who
know our Bobbie, God bless him! When I've found one, shall I let him go
down to the fireroom? Ha! Now tell me what's wrong between you and
"I will not talk," said Harrigan with another bold stroke of diplomacy,
"till I hear the rest of that song. The true Scotch comes hard on my
tongue, but I'll learn it."
"You will, laddie, for your heart's right. Man, man, I'm nothing now,
but you should have heard me sing in the old days - "
"When we were in Glasgow," grinned Harrigan.
"In Glasgow," repeated Campbell, and then lifted his head and finished
the song. "Now for the story, laddie."
Harrigan started, as though recalled from a dream built up by the
music. Then he told briefly the tale of the tyranny aboard the _Mary
Rogers_, now apparently to be repeated.
"So I thought," he concluded, "that it was to be the old story over
again - look at my hands!"
He held them out. The palms were still red and deeply scarred. Campbell
said nothing, but his jaw set savagely.
"I thought it was to be this all over again," went on Harrigan, "till I
met you, chief. But with you for a friend I'll weather the storm.
McTee's a hard man, but when Scot meets Scot - I'll bet on the
"Would you bet on me against Black McTee?" queried the engineer, deeply
moved. "Well, lad, McTee's a dour man, but dour or not he shall not run
the engine room of the _Heron_."
And he banged on the table for emphasis.
"Scrub down the bridge every morning, as they tell you, but when they
send you below to pass the coal, come and report to me first. I'll have
work for you to do - chiefly practicing the right accent for Bobbie's
songs. Is not that a man's work?"
To make good this promise, Campbell straightway sang for Harrigan's
delectation two or three more of his favorite selections. It was
evening, and the shift in the fireroom was ended before Harrigan left
the engineer's room. On his way to the deck he passed the tired firemen
from the hole of the ship. They stared at the Irishman with wide eyes,
for it was known that he had been in the chief engineer's room for
several hours; they looked upon him as one who has been in hell and has
escaped from thence to the upper air.
He was, in fact, a marked man when he reached the forecastle. Rumor
travels through a ship's crew and it was already known that Black McTee
hated the Irishman and that White Henshaw had commenced to persecute
him in a new and terrible manner.
This would have been sufficient tragedy to burden the shoulders of any
one man, however strong, and when to this was added the fact that he
had been kept by the grim chief engineer for several hours in the
chief's own room, and finally considering that this man had passed
through a shipwreck, one of three lone survivors, it is easy to
understand why the sailors gave him ample elbow room.
It was evidently expected that he would break out into a torrent of
abuse, and when he, perceiving this, remained silent, their awe
increased. All through supper he was aware of their wondering glances;
above all he felt the gray, steady eyes of Jerry Hovey, the bos'n, yet
he ate without speaking, replying to their tentative questions with
grunts. Before the meal was finished and the pipes and cigarettes
lighted, he was a made man. Persevering in his role, as soon as he had
eaten he went out on deck and sat down in the corner between the rail
and the forecastle upon a coil of rope.
As deep as the blue sea in the evening light was the peace which lay on
the soul of Harrigan, for the day had brought two great victories, one
over McTee and the other over the chief engineer. It was not a stolid
content, for he knew the danger of the implacable hate of McTee, but
with the aid of Campbell he felt that he would have a fighting chance
at least to survive, and that was all he asked.
So he sat on the coil of rope leaning against the rail, and looked
ahead. It was almost completely dark when a hand fell on his shoulder
and he looked up into the steady, gray-blue eyes of the bos'n.
"I promised to talk to you tonight," said that worthy, and sat down
uninvited on a neighboring coil of rope.
He waited for a response. As a rule, sailors are glad to curry favor
with the bos'n. Harrigan, however, sat without speaking, staring
through the gloom.
"Well?" said Hovey at length. "You're a silent man, Harrigan."
There was no response.
"All right; I like a silent man. In a way of speakin', I need 'em like
you! If you say little to me, you're likely to say little to others.
"I don't talk much myself," went on Hovey, "until I know my man. I
ain't seen much of you, but I guess I figure you straight."
He grew suddenly cautious, cunning, and the steady, gray-blue eyes
reminded Harrigan of a cat when she crouches for hours watching the
"You ain't got much reason for standing in with White Henshaw?" he
"H'm," grunted the Irishman, and waited.
"Sure, you ain't," went on Hovey soothingly, "because McTee has raised
hell between you. They say McTee tried his damnedest to break you?"
The last question was put in a different manner; it came suddenly like
a surprise blow in the dark.
"Well?" queried Harrigan. "What of it?"
"He tried all the way from Honolulu?"
"Did he try his fists?"
Jerry Hovey cursed with excitement.
"I carried him to his cabin afterward," said Harrigan truthfully.
"Would you take on McTee again? Black McTee?"
"If I had to. Why?"
"Oh, nothin'. But McTee has started White Henshaw on your trail. Maybe
you know what Henshaw is? The whole South Seas know him!"
"You'll have a sweet hell of a time before this boat touches port,
"I'll weather it."
"Yes, this trip, but what about the next? If Henshaw is breakin' a man,
he keeps him on the ship till the man gives in or dies. I know!
Henshaw'll get so much against you that he could soak you for ten years
in the courts by the time we touch port. Then he'll offer to let you
off from the courts if you'll ship with him again, and then the old
game will start all over again. You may last one trip - other men
have - one or two - but no one has ever lasted out three or four
shippings under White Henshaw. It can't be done!"
He paused to let this vital point sink home. Only the same dull silence
came in reply, and this continued taciturnity seemed to irritate Hovey.
When he spoke again, his voice was cold and sharp.
"He's got you trapped, Harrigan. You're a strong man, but you'll never
get his rope off your neck. He'll either hang you with it or else tie
you hand and foot an' make you his slave. I _know!_"
There was a bitter emphasis on the last word that left no doubt as to
his meaning, and Harrigan understood now the light of that steady,
gray-blue eye which made the habitual smile of good nature meaningless.
"Ten years ago I shipped with White Henshaw. Ten years ago I didn't
have a crooked thought or a mean one in my brain. Today there's hell
inside me, understand? Hell!" He paused, breathing hard.
"There's others on this ship that have been through the same grind,
some of them longer than me. There's others that ain't here, but that
ain't forgotten, because me an' some of the rest, we seen them dyin' on
their feet. Maybe they ain't dropped into the sea, but they're just the
same, or worse. You'll find 'em loafin' along the beaches. They take
water from the natives, they do."
He went on in a hoarse whisper: "On this ship I've seen 'em busted. An'
Henshaw has done the bustin'. This is a coffin ship, Harrigan, an'
Henshaw he's the undertaker. He don't bring 'em to Davy Jones's
locker - he does worse - he brings 'em to hell on earth, a hell so bad
that when they go below, they don't notice no difference. Harrigan, me
an' a few of the rest, we know what's been done, an' some of us have
thought wouldn't it be a sort of joke, maybe, if sometime what Henshaw
has done to others was done to himself, what?"
The sweat was standing out on Harrigan's face wet and cold. It seemed
to him that through the darkness he could make out whole troops of
those broken men littering the decks. He peered through the dark at the
bos'n, and made out the hint of the gray-blue eyes watching him again
as the cat watches the mousehole, and the heart of Harrigan ached.
"Hovey, are you bound for the loincloth an' the beaches, like the
"No, because I've sold my soul to White Henshaw; but you're bound
there, Harrigan, because you can never sell your soul. I looked in your
eyes and seen it written there like it was in a book."
He gripped the Irishman by the shoulder.
"There's some say this is the last voyage of White Henshaw, but me an'
some of the rest, we know different. He can't leave the sea, which
means that he won't take us out of hell. Now, talk straight. You stood
up to McTee; would you stand up to Henshaw?"
Harrigan muttered after a moment of thought: "I suppose this is mutiny,
"Aye, but I'm safe in talkin' it. White Henshaw trusts me, he does,
because I've sold my soul to him. If you was to go an' tell him what
I've said, he'd laugh at you an' say you was tryin' to incite
discontent. What's it goin' to be, Harrigan? Will you join me an' the
rest who can set you free an' make a man of you, or will you stay by
McTee and White Henshaw and that devil Campbell?"
"How could you set me free?"
"One move - altogether - in the night - we'd have the ship for our own,
an' we could beach her and take to the shore at any place we pleased."
Harrigan repeated: "One move - altogether - in the night! I don't like
it, bos'n. I'll stand up to my man foot to foot an' hand to hand, but
for strikin' at him in the dark - I can't do it."
He caught the sound of Hovey's gritting teeth.
"Think it over," persisted the bos'n. "We need you, Harrigan, but if
you don't join, we'll help McTee and Henshaw and Campbell to make life
hell for you."
"I've thought it over. I don't like the game. This mutiny at
night - it's like hittin' a man who's down."
"Then God help you, Harrigan, for you ain't the man I took you for."
He rose and left Harrigan to the dark, which now lay so thick over the
sea that he could only dimly make out the black, wallowing length of
the ship. After a time, he went into the dingy forecastle and stretched
out on his bunk. Some of the sailors were already in bed, propping
their heads up with brawny, tattooed arms while they smoked their
pipes. For a time Harrigan pondered the mutiny, glancing at the stolid
faces of the smokers and trying to picture them in action when they
would steal through the night barefooted across the deck - some of them
with bludgeons, others with knives, and all with a thirst for murder.
Sleep began to overcome him, and he fought vainly against it. In a
choppy sea the bows of a ship make the worst possible bed, for they
toss up and down with sickening rapidity and jar quickly from side to
side; but when a vessel is plowing through a long-running ground swell,
the bows of the ship move with a sway more soothing than the swing of a
hammock in a wind. Under these circumstances Harrigan was lulled to
He woke at length with a consciousness, not of a light shining in his
face, but of one that had just been flashed across his eyes. Then a
guarded voice said: "He's dead to the world; he won't hear nothin'."
Peering cautiously up from under the shelter of his eyelashes, he made
out a bulky figure leaning above him.
"Sure he's dead to the world," said a more distant voice. "After the
day he must have put in with Campbell, he won't wake up till he's
dragged out. I know!"
"Lift his foot and let it drop," advised another. "If you can do that
to a man without waking him, you know he's not going to be waked up by
Harrigan's foot was immediately raised and dropped. He merely sighed as
if in sleep, and continued to breathe heavily, regularly. After a
moment he was conscious that the form above him had disappeared. Then
very slowly he turned his head and raised his eyelids merely enough to
peer through the lashes. The sailors sat cross-legged in a loose circle
on the floor of the forecastle. At the four corners of the group sat
four significant figures. They were like the posts of the prize ring
supporting the rope; that is to say, the less important sailors who sat
between them. Each of the four was a man of mark.
Facing Harrigan were Jacob Flint and Sam Hall. The former was a little
man, who might have lived unnoticed forever had it not been for a
terrible scar which deformed his face. It was a cut received in a knife
fight at a Chinese port. The white, gleaming line ran from the top of
his temple, across the side of his right eye, and down to the
cheekbone. The eye was blind as a result of the wound, but in healing
the cut had drawn the skin so that the lids of the eye were pulled awry
in a perpetual, villainous squint. It was said that before this wound
Flint had been merely an ordinary sailor, but that afterward he was
inspired to live up to the terror of his deformed face.
Sam Hall, the "corner post," at Flint's right, was a type of blond
stupidity, huge of body, with a bull throat and a round, featureless
face. You looked in vain to find anything significant in this fellow
beyond his physical strength, until your glance lingered on his eyes.
They were pale blue, expressionless, but they hinted at possibilities
of berserker rage.
The other two, whose backs were toward Harrigan, were Garry Cochrane
and Jim Kyle. The latter might have stood for a portrait of a pirate of
the eighteenth century, with a drooping, red mustache and bristling
beard. The reputation of this monster, however, was far less terrible
than that of any of the other three, certainly far less than Garry
Cochrane. This was a lean fellow with bright black eyes, glittering
like a suspicious wolf's.
Between these corner posts sat the less distinguished sailors. They
might have been notable cutthroats in any other assemblage of
hard-living men, but here they granted precedence willingly to the four
more notable heroes.
Around the circle walked Jerry Hovey like a shepherd about his flock.
It was apparent that they all held him in high favor. His chief claim
to distinction, or perhaps his only one, was that he had served as
bos'n for ten years under White Henshaw; but this record was enough to
win the respect of even Garry Cochrane.
It was Jim Kyle who had peered into the face of Harrigan, for now he
was pushing to one side the lantern he had used and settling back into
his place in the circle. He gestured over his shoulder with his thumb.
"How'd you happen to miss out with the Irishman, Jerry?"
"Talk low or you may wake him," warned Hovey. "I lost him because the
fool ain't sailed long enough to know White Henshaw. He has an idea
that mutiny at night is like hittin' a man when he's down - as if there
was any other way of hittin' Henshaw an' gettin' away with it!"
The chuckle of the sailors was like the rumble of the machinery below,
blended and lost with that sound.
"So he's out - an' you know what that means," went on Hovey.
A light came into the pale eyes of Sam Hall, and his thick lips pulled
back in a grin.
"Aye," he growled, "we do! He's a strong man, but" - and here he raised
his vast arms and stretched them - "I'll tend to Harrigan!"
The voice of the bos'n was sharp: "None o' that! Wait till I give
orders, Sam, before you raise a hand. We're too far from the coast. Let
old Henshaw bring us close inshore, an' then we'll turn loose."
"What I don't see," said one of the sailors, "is how we make out for
hard cash after we hit the coast. We beach the Heron - all right; but
then we're turned loose in the woods without a cent."
"You're a fool," said Garry Cochrane. "We loot the ship before we