Filled with white water, as though heaped with snow. In that line we seem to behold the beautiful face of danger a beauty that is in some way complementary to the beauty of the endurance of ships and the endurance of men. For the ship is saved, and so is the Dauber's soul, and the men who had been bullies in hours of peace reveal themselves as heroes in stress and peril.
After they had started, Flat Tail's uncle, old Mr. Webfoot, turned back and told his nephew to be very watchful, as there had been a great rain on the head-waters of Silver Creek, and he was afraid there would be a flood. "Be very careful," said Webfoot, "about the small leaks." "Pshaw," said Flat Tail, "who are you talking to? I am Mud Dauber's son, and do you think I need your advice?"
Get to hell from here!" Similarly, when the Mate, taking up the brush, makes a sketch of a ship for Dauber's better instruction, "God, sir," the Bosun said, "You do her fine!" "Aye!" said the Mate, "I do so, by the Lord!" And when the whole crew gathers round to impress upon Dauber the fact of his incompetence, "You hear?" the Bosun cried, "You cannot do it!"
Next day there was much beaver laughter over Flat Tail's repairs on the strong part of the dam, and the name that before had been a credit to him was turned into a reproach, for from that day the beavers called him, in derision, "Mud Dauber's son, the best blood in the colony."
As we read the first half of his narrative sea-poem, Dauber, we are again and again moved to impatience by the sheer literary left-handedness of the author. There are so many unnecessary words, so many unnecessary sentences. Of the latter we have an example in the poet's reflection as he describes the "fiery fishes" that raced Dauber's ship by night in the southern seas:
His narrative is meant to be as faithful to commonplace facts as a policeman's evidence in a court of law. We are not spared even the old familiar expletives. When Dauber's paintings, for example for he is an artist as well as an artisan have been destroyed by the malice of the crew, and he questions the Bosun about it, The Bosun turned: "I'll give you a thick ear! Do it? I didn't.
A friendly kingfisher who sat on a neighboring tree warned him that the water was coming through, but always too conceited to accept of counsel, he answered: "Oh, that's only a small leak, and near the shore. What does a kingfisher know about a beaver dam anyway! You needn't advise me! I am the great Mud Dauber's son. I shall fight the stream bravely, right here in the worst of the flood."
Whenever any one questioned his pretensions, he always replied: "I am Mud Dauber's son. I belong to the best blood in the colony." He utterly refused to gnaw or build. He was meant for something better, he said. And so one day in autumn, when the beavers were going out in search of food for winter use, as Flat Tail was good for nothing else, they set him to mind the dam.
Carter, writing of Westminster Abbey, records one thing with hearty gratitude. It had not been whitewashed. It was the one religious structure in the kingdom which showed its original finishing, and 'those modest hues which the native appearance of the stone so pleasantly bestows. Everywhere else the dauber's brush had been at work. He spoke of it with indignation.