He bared his inmost soul to his sympathetic listener, and then, affecting to think from a remark of Mr. Chalk's that he was going to relate the secret of the voyage, declined to hear it on the ground that he was only a rough sailorman and not to be trusted. Mr.
"He's in love with his wife the little hussy! Stole him from me, and as good a sailorman as the trade has ever seen if he is a Dutchman." "German," Grief corrected. "It's all the same," was the retort. "The sea was robbed of a good man that night he went ashore and Notutu took one look at him. I reckon they looked good to each other.
Sailormen don't bother much about their relations, as a rule, said the night-watchman; sometimes because a railway-ticket costs as much as a barrel o' beer, and they ain't got the money for both, and sometimes because most relations run away with the idea that a sailorman has been knocking about 'arf over the world just to bring them 'ome presents.
Perhaps there was a Billy Harper, and perhaps he had been in Shanghai for forty years and was still there; but it was news to me. For fully half an hour longer, the sailorman and I talked on in similar fashion.
He did not notice a man coming up behind him, who now stood scrutinizing him admiringly from top to toe. "Hullo, my noble American sailorman!" The voice at his back brought Barry around with a jerk. He glimpsed a figure which might have stepped direct from Bond Street or Fifth Avenue, natty, trim, wide-shouldered.
When we passed the Brooklyn Navy Yard I talked so much and so eagerly of the battle-ships at anchor there that the lady must have thought I had followed the sea, for she asked: "Are you a sailorman?" It was the first question that was in any way personal. "I used to sail a catboat," I said. My answer seemed to puzzle her, and she frowned.
When supper was over and Trot had helped with the dishes, she joined Button-Bright and the sailorman on the little porch again. Dusk had fallen, and the moon was just rising. They all sat in silence for a time and watched the silver trail that topped the crests of the waves far out to sea. "Oh, Button-Bright!" cried the little girl presently.
The old Mexican lay upon a blanket on the grass, already in a stupor from his mescal, and dreaming, perhaps, of the nights when he and Pizarro touched glasses to their New World fortunes so old his wrinkled face seemed to proclaim him to be. And in the door of the jacal stood Tonia. And Lieutenant Sandridge sat in his saddle staring at her like a gannet agape at a sailorman.
She went off to serve a customer at the other end of the bar wot was making little dents in it with his pot, and the man came back and sat down by Sam agin, and began to talk about horse-racing. At least, he tried to, but Sam couldn't talk of nothing but that locket, and wot a nice steady sailorman could do with thirty pounds. "Well, p'r'aps you'll find it," ses the man, chaffing-like.
Ah-Fang-Fu reappeared behind him. "Catchee dlunk ev'ly time for comee here," he chattered. "'Taint 'umanly possible," declared the new arrival, staggering down the steps, "fer a 'ealthy sailorman to git drunk on coloured water just 'cause the publican calls it beer! I ain't drunk; I'm only miserable. Gimmee a pipe, Pidgin." Ah-Fang-Fu barred the door and ascended.