Nearer the tug advanced, so near that the tugmen could see the streaks through the red underbody. Nearer yet, head on, and then the wheel was swung broad, while Dan leaned out of the pilot-house, looking down at the two men forward, who were whirling weighted heaving-lines about their heads like lariats.
Jackson looked in vain for the heavy, foreign faces, the greasy canvas jackets and blanket trousers he was accustomed to see. Not that these men seemed to be landsmen each carried in his face and bearing the indefinable something by which sailors of all races may distinguish each other at a glance from fishermen, tugmen, and deck-hands.
The tugmen and the bargemen talked in quiet voices as they made fast their craft to the pier. Below them the water was lapping and slapping. "The world's work has been clogged up a little. It's to go on again now." The next day three heavy battleships steamed sluggishly through the Narrows and came to anchor in the bay. When interviewed by reporters, their commanders were vastly amused.
It was a good, plain, simple talk such as longshoremen, dock-rats, tugmen, and seamen often hear in this place, but it impressed young Merrithew; for, although he had never accepted his misfortunes, nor reasoned away the things that tried his soul in this philosophical manner, yet he had always had a vague conviction that everything that happened was for his good and would work out in the end.
After breakfast she was left alone in the hut, and she could hear the loud talking of the tugmen and see Lem working on the scow. Soon Middy Burnes' tug steamed away toward Ithaca, and Fledra knew that she was alone with no creature between her and Lem but Lon Cronk. When Lon and Lem returned, the hut was tidy. Fledra had hoped that if she made it so Lon might want her to stay.
And nothing remains but lingering perhaps in the memory of a few men, the sound of their names, vanished a long time ago from the first page of the great London dailies; from big posters in railway-stations and the doors of shipping offices; from the minds of sailors, dockmasters, pilots, and tugmen; from the hail of gruff voices and the flutter of signal flags exchanged between ships closing upon each other and drawing apart in the open immensity of the sea.