Leonard smiled when he heard the mess hall dignified into a salon; but at the latter end of the sentence he sat up suddenly in his bunk and began pulling on his jacket despite the twinges in his side. "Eh, how's that fight?" At that instant Hogan lolled against the jamb and announced his entrance with a laugh. "What's this Deschaillon's telling me, Mike the men fighting over cards?"

Through the idle noon periods, the crew lay about on gunny sacks under improvised awnings, with a man posted on the forward bridge as lookout. The colorful mazes of the Sargasso were as irritating as flowered wall paper in a sickroom. Even Hogan's and Deschaillon's spirits sagged under the brilliant sweltering sameness. The navvies moved about half naked, and burned brown as nuts.

The whole crew came through the door in an orderly but somewhat embarrassed manner. A few of the men had on shirts, some undershirts, others were stripped to the waist, their torsos shining with moisture, Deschaillon's hand trembled slightly as he lighted two bracket lamps, Hogan's little eyes sparkled in anticipation. "What is it, Galton?" Madden picked out the nearest man bruskly.

The American had once been pitcher for his college team, and the lump of coal crashed under the first man's jaw and he dropped backwards as if hit by a piece of shrapnel. The second gunman banged at the shadow where Madden was hid. The bullets sang about the American's ears, when Deschaillon's ostrich-like kick flashed through the light and caught the sailor in the pit of the stomach.