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THREE SHEETS in the WIND
MOST CON VINC ING lecture or
Jl lesson on morals is the one.delivered
Jμ '■ ••■■'l : . » pij °>' an immoral, or unmoral, person. I
I In l eanic d this early in life, when, with a
Crowd of other youngsters, 1 was try-
ing to drown' a. half-grown puppy.
We would have succeeded; hut along
came a tramp — -a nigged, dirty, black-bearded
derelict — who watched us - a moment, then gave ut
terance to a villainous Hood of billingsgate. I can
not write down the names lie called us, nor the ad
jectives with which he qualified the names; but his
concluding speech, expurgated, ran something like
this: "Any man or boy, who will illtreat a dumb and
defenseless animal that can't talk back and explain
matters, is mean, that's all — just mean. He 's mean
enough to steal the cross off a donkey's back.' .
Then, still storming at us, he reeled on his way,
while we rescued the halt' dead creature and ■ nursed
it back to life. Later, we found it a home, and be
came an unorganized, unofficial Humane Society.
We lied, stole, tickled the devil and played truant as
before, but were a menace to other boys who, with the
savagery of children, found pleasure in cruelty. The
tramp's anger and disgust had done more for us
than the behests of father, mother or Sunday school
; With pity for dumb brutes my one j moral quality,
I s grew up and went to sea. where morals are not
taught — where nothing ?is taught or acquired but
gation and an
came to me in
time, as well as a
but in all else I re
mained at a stand
still, or went back
ward. Sailors are
children, it is said,
and like all sail
ors, even when I
berthed aft, I
grumbled, q v a r -
reled, swore and
drank, with no re
or principle to
curb me until I re
ceived my second
lesson in morals
— or ethics, if you
like — and this
time from a man 1
despised as s heart
ily as a I might
have I despised the
tramp had he not
impressed me. Af
terward I received
other tutelage, and ,^^^^^^^_^^^^^
finally became the civilized commander of a passen
ger steamship; but my later development has no place
in this story, which is concerned only with that sec
ond lecture and the events which followed — events
that made me a teetotaler for life. ' •
This lecture came from Bill Edwards who, as sec
ond mate of my first ship, had kicked me off the poop
and hazed me for the whole voyage because I had
dared raise my voice in boyish protest at his "sprit
sail-yarding" of a shark that he had caught with a
line and pulled aboard: I lacked the vocabulary and
the superiority in size and strength possessed by the
tramp, so my protest was ignored, and the shark,
alive and uninjured, went overboard with a small spar
lashed athwart its mouth, to die of starvation. Later,
however, having attained my growth, strength and
chest measurement, I met Kdwards in a Rangoon
boarding-house, and thrashed him within an inch of
his life. Then we had gone our separate ways —he
;to the hospital, Ito jail —not to meet again until
Frisco Prank, a Honolulu boarding master, having
taken my last cent for bed, board and bar, turned me
out without my dunnage, without another boarding
house to take me in, and without a ship in port to
sign in. - It was then, sitting on a string piece of the
* wharf, staring at the water with aching eyes while I
nursed an aching head, that Edwards approached
from behind me and, stooping over my shoulder,
peered into my face.
"It's you, Jack," he said, not unkindly. "Heard
you were in port; but what's the matter 1 Lost your
mot her f ,
the beach," 1 answered, bitterly. 1 did not
welcome his presence, but in my extremity I
would have talked with a coolie. "Fired out when
1 'd blown my last cent ; and his bill was big enough
to give him an excuse to hold my clothes."
"Frisco Frank, hey! He can't hold a sailor's
clothes. Don't you know that , ?''
"Yes. but I don't care to fall back on sailor's rights.
"I want no cat. aboard. They're bad luck" "
I've: had papers too long," I sneered ill-naturedly.
"You came in first mate of the Century, I heard.
"Quit, if it 's any of your business," I answered,
savagely. "Did n't'like her." ;■
"Oh, don't get wrathy ! I'm not looking for scraps,
for I know you can lick me. But I 'in older than you,
and never having held any grudge, I feel like telling
you something. You did n't quit that big ship be
cause you did n't like her. You had a good berth, a
good skipper, and good prospects. What you quit
for was a run ashore, and a big drunk. You Ye had
them, and now you 're paying." ;
"You Ye a line preacher,' , I rejoined.
"I'm not preaching —thai is. about light and
wrong. It 's the dam foolishness of it. I've been
called all kinds of a scoundrel; but no man ever
called me a fool, even though- 1 can just write my
name and can't read it in print. No man ever saw
me drunk. In all my life I never spent as much as a
dollar over a bar. I know the taste of the stuff and
don't like it. Do you like it?"
"No," I answered, dubiously. "Can't say that I do.
It '■ the stimulation 1 like."
"Dutch courage, that lasts about fifteen minutes,
then needs replenishing. Then you 're sleepy Of quar
relsome, according ■to • your liver — in either case in
danger of robbery or arrest. Who benefits, any way .'
The men behind the bar, but they don't drink. Did
you ever see a saloonkeeper or bartender drunk? ,
"1 Ye seen them drink," 1 replied, doggedly.
"Yes, for sociability or business, and then the
smallest drink possible. It's the dam fools in front
of the bar that take all they can decently gel into a
glass, and then some more. And think of the cost at
the end of a year. Why, the price of one drink will
buy three loaves of bread, and three loaves of bread
will keep a big man alive three . days. That , l the
foolishness of it. Poverty all over the world and
saloon keepers getting rich. Frisco Frank has his
house and horses. Where yours
"Oh, shut up ! 1 'ye got what he has n't got."
"An - education and a mate's license. What does lit ,
want of them'/ He has brains and money— all your
money. 1 tell you. if it was n't for the bar, boarding
masters would go out of business and Fo'castle Jack
could ship where he likes on his own terms. If all
men would swear off, saloon keepers, bartenders, and
every man connected with making or selling the stuff
would take to the ground and grow something that
could be eaten. As it ', is, more grain goes into the
making of booze than of bread. Dead broke?"
.-"I 'm not, even though I never had your chance, not
having any schooling. 1 never signed above second
mate because I could n't learn navigation. But IYe
jumped above first mate and skipper. . J 'm an owner
— I employ skippers and mates."
1 looked at him in surprise. He certainly was well
.-.."1 Vβ made money," he went on. "Never mind
how. JYe made it, and taken a Chinese partner with
more. We bought a schooner from the underwriters,
patched her up, and mean to make some more money
with her. She's up at the Carriage Drive. Igo out
skipper, for I can handle her; i but I want a licensed
sailing master with papers to satisfy the law. You 'ye
got 'em. Want the berth?"
"Want a drink more than anything else," I an
'•"V/Or want your breakfast more than anything
•I else, I take it. But if you '11 ship with me I '11
buy you a drink of Frisco's grog to steady you, and
get your clothes, but there '11 be no advance I'm too
short. We can get aboard just in time for dinner,
which will be breakfast for you. I' 11; give you an
other bracer at five o'clock, and that will end it. We
sail to Yokohama in ballast for a cargo to Frisco.
And remember, in port I am managing owner and
you are skipper; but at sea 1 'in skipper and you
mate. You are to navigate, keep the log correctly,
and oversee the accounts and ship's papers. What
do you say f
"I '11 go you," I said, rising. "Any port in a storm."
"You mean any ship in
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