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Even Satan smiled, even the Jewish elders were lightly affable as they made pretendedly fierce gestures at the squat patient hay-bales. Tim, the hatter, danced a limber foolish jig upon the deck, and McGarver bellowed, "The bon-nee bon-nee banks of Loch Lo-o-o-o-mond." The crowd bawled: "Come on, Bill Wrenn; your turn. Hustle up with that bale, Pete, or we'll sic Bill on you."
McGarver, the straw-boss, would always lie awake to enjoy a good brisk indecent story, but he liked Wrennie's admiration of him, so, lunging with his bull-like head out of his berth, he snorted: "Hey, you, Pete, it's time to pound your ear. Cut it out."
To McGarver he had been "Bill Wrenn" since the fifth day, when he had kept a hay-bale from slipping back into the hold on the boss's head. Satan and Pete still called him "Wrennie," but he was not thinking about them just now with Tim listening admiringly to his observations on socialism. Tim fell asleep. Bill Wrenn lay quiet and let memory color the sky above him.
"Dry up!" irritatedly snapped a Canadian. "Aw, cut it out, you ," groaned another. "Shut up," added McGarver, the straw-boss. "Both of you." Raging: "Gwan to bed, Pete, or I'll beat your block clean off. I mean it, see? Hear me?" Yes, Pete heard him. Doubtless the first officer on the bridge heard, too, and perhaps the inhabitants of Newfoundland.
He stole. He bullied. He was a drunkard and a person without cleanliness of speech. Tim, the hatter, was a loud-talking weakling, under Pete's domination. Tim wore a dirty rubber collar without a tie, and his soul was like his neckware. McGarver, the under-boss, was a good shepherd among the men, though he had recently lost the head foremanship by a spree complicated with language and violence.
The moon touched sadly the lightly sketched Anglesey coast and the rippling wake, but Bill Wrenn, oblivious of dream moon and headland, faced his fellow-bruiser. They circled. Pete stuck out his foot gently. Morton sprang in, bawling furiously, "None o' them rough-and-tumble tricks." "Right-o," added McGarver. Pete scowled. He was left powerless.
But Morton was off some place, in a darkness where there weren't things to enjoy. Mr. Wrenn had lost him forever. Once he heard himself wishing that even Tim, the hatter, or "good old McGarver" were along.
McGarver held him, kicking and yammering, his mild mustache bristling like a battling cat's, till the next round, when Pete was knocked out by a clumsy whirlwind of fists. He lay on the deck, with Bill standing over him and demanding, "What's my name, heh?" "I t'ink it's Bill now, all right, Wrennie, old hoss Bill, old hoss," groaned Pete. He was permitted to sneak off into oblivion.
Though it was so late as eight bells of the evening, Pete, the tough factory hand, and Tim, the down-and-out hatter, were still playing seven-up at the dirty fo'c'sle table, while McGarver, under-boss of the Morris cattle gang, lay in his berth, heavily studying the game and blowing sulphurous fumes of Lunch Pail Plug Cut tobacco up toward Wrennie. Pete, the tough, was very evil. He sneered.
"Nice work," Satan interjected from time to time, with smooth irony. "Sure. Go ahead. Like to hear your plans." McGarver broke in: "Cut that out, Marvin. You're a `Satan' all right. Quit your kidding the little man. He's all right. And he done fine on the job last three-four days." Lying on his mattress, Bill stared at the network of the ratlines against the brilliant sky.