Harrigan (1918)

Max Brand

Chapter 1


"That fellow with the red hair," said the police captain as he pointed.

"I'll watch him," the sergeant answered.

The captain had raided two opium dens the day before, and the pride of accomplishment puffed his chest. He would have given advice to the sheriff of Oahu that evening.

He went on: "I can pick some men out of the crowd by the way they walk, and others by their eyes. That fellow has it written all over him."

The red-headed man came nearer through the crowd. Because of the warmth, he had stuffed his soft hat into a back pocket, and now the light from a window shone steadily on his hair and made a fire of it, a danger signal. He encountered the searching glances of the two officers and answered with cold, measuring eyes, like the gaze of a prize fighter who waits for a blow. The sergeant turned to his superior with a grunt.

"You're right," he nodded.

"Trail him," said the captain, "and take a man with you. If that fellow gets into trouble, you may need help."

He stepped into his automobile and the sergeant beckoned to a nearby policeman.

"Akana," he said, "we have a man-sized job tonight. Are you feeling fit?"

The Kanaka smiled without enthusiasm.

"The man of the red hair?"

The sergeant nodded, and Akana tightened his belt. He had eaten fish baked in ti leaves that evening.

He suggested: "Morley has little to do. His beat is quiet. Shall I tell him to come with us?"

"No," grinned the sergeant, and then looked up and watched the broad shoulders of the red-haired man, who advanced through the crowd as the prow of a ship lunges through the waves. "Go get Morley," he said abruptly.

But Harrigan went on his way without misgivings, not that he forgot the policeman, but he was accustomed to stand under the suspicious eye of the law. In all the course of his wanderings it had been upon him. His coming was to the men in uniform like the sound of the battle trumpet to the cavalry horse. This, however, was Harrigan's first night in Honolulu, and there was much to see, much to do. He had rambled through the streets; now he was headed for the Ivilei district. Instinct brought him there, the still, small voice which had guided him from trouble to trouble all his life.

At a corner he stopped to watch a group of Kanakas who passed him, wreathed with leis and thrumming their ukuleles. They sang in their soft, many-voweled language and the sound was to Harrigan like the rush and lapse of water on a beach, infinitely soothing and as lazy as the atmosphere of Honolulu. All things are subdued in the strange city where East and West meet in the middle of the Pacific. The gayest crowds cannot quite disturb the brooding peace which is like the promise of sleep and rest at sunset. It was not pleasing to Harrigan. He frowned and drew a quick, impatient breath, muttering: "I'm not long for this joint. I gotta be moving."

He joined a crowd which eddied toward the center of Ivilei. In there it was better. Negro soldiers, marines from the Maryland, Kanakas, Chinamen, Japanese, Portuguese, Americans; a score of nationalities and complexions rubbed shoulders as they wandered aimlessly among the many bright-painted cottages.

Yet even in that careless throng of pleasure-seekers no one rubbed shoulders with Harrigan. The flame of his hair was like a red lamp which warned them away. Or perhaps it was his eye, which seemed to linger for a cold, incurious instant on every face that approached. He picked out the prettiest of the girls who sat at the windows chatting with all who passed. He did not have to shoulder to win a way through the crowd of her admirers.

She was a hap haoli, with the fine features of the Caucasian and the black of hair and eye which shows the islander. A rounded elbow rested on the sill of the window; her chin was cupped in her hand.

"Send these away," said Harrigan, and leaned an elbow beside hers.

"Oh," she murmured; then: "And if I send them away?"

"I'll reward you."


For answer he dragged a crimson carnation from the buttonhole of a tall man who stood at his side.

"What in hell—" began the victim, but Harrigan smiled and the other drew slowly back through the crowd.

"Now send them away."

She looked at him an instant longer with a light coming slowly up behind her eyes. Then she leaned out and waved to the chuckling semicircle.

"Run away for a while," she said; "I want to talk to my brother."

She patted the thick red hair to emphasize the relationship, and the little crowd departed, laughing uproariously. Harrigan slipped the carnation into the jetty hair. His hand lingered a moment against the soft masses, and she drew it down, grown suddenly serious.

"There are three policemen in the shadow of that cottage over there. They're watching you."


The sound was so soft that it was almost a sigh, but she shivered perceptibly.

"What have you been doing?"

He answered regretfully: "Nothing."

"They're coming this way. The man who had the carnation is with them. You better beat it."

"Nope. I like it here."

She shook her head, but the flame was blowing high now in her eyes. A hand fell on Harrigan's shoulder.

"Hey!" said the sergeant in a loud voice.

Harrigan turned slowly and the sergeant's hand fell away. The man of the carnation was far in the background.


"That flower. You can't get away with little tricks like that. You better be starting on. Move along."

Harrigan glanced slowly from face to face. The three policemen drew closer together as if for mutual protection.

"Please—honey!" urged the whisper of the girl.

The hand of Harrigan resting on the window sill had gathered to a hard-bunched fist, white at the knuckles, but he nodded across the open space between the cottages.

"If you're looking for work," he said, "seems as though you'd find a handful over there."

A clatter of sharp, quick voices rose from a group of Negro soldiers gathering around a white man. No one could tell the cause of the quarrel. It might have been anything from an oath to a blow.

"Watch him," said Harrigan. "He looks like a man." He added plaintively: "But looks are deceivin'."

The center of the disturbance appeared to be a man indeed. He was even taller than Harrigan and broader of shoulder, and, like the latter, there was a suggestion of strength in him which could not be defined by his size alone. At the distance they could guess his smile as he faced the clamoring mob.

"Break in there!" ordered the sergeant to his companions, and started toward the angry circle.

As he spoke, they heard one of the Negroes curse and the fist of the tall man darted at the face of a soldier and drove him toppling back among his comrades. They closed on the white man with a yell; a passing group of their compatriots joined the affray; the whole mass surged in around the tall fellow. Harrigan's head went back and his eyes half closed like a critic listening to an exquisite symphony.

"Ah-h!" he whispered to himself. "Watch him fight!"

The policemen struck the outer edge of the circle with drawn clubs, but there they stopped. They could not dent that compacted mass. The soldiers struggled manfully, but they were held at bay. Harrigan could see the heaving shoulders of the defender over the heads of the assailants, and the crack of hard-driven fists. The attackers were crushed together and had little room to swing their arms with full force, while the big man stood with his back against the wall of the cottage and made every smashing punch count.

As if by common assent, the soldiers suddenly desisted and gave back from this deadly fighter. His bellow of triumph rang over the clamor. His hat was off; his long black hair stood straight up in the wind; and he leaped after them with flailing arms.

But now the police had managed to pry their way into the mass by dint of indiscriminate battering. As the black-haired man came face to face with the sergeant, the light gleamed on a high-swung club that thudded home; and the big man dropped out of sight. He came up again almost at once, but with men draped from every portion of his body. The soldiers and police had joined forces, and once more a dozen men clutched him, spilling over him like football players in a scrimmage. He was knocked from his feet by the impact.

"Coming!" shouted Harrigan.

He raced with long strides, head lowered and back bowed until his long arms nearly swept the ground. Gathering impetus at every stride, he crushed into the floundering heap of arms and legs. The police sergeant rose and whirled with lifted club. Harrigan grunted with joy as he dug his left into the man's midsection. The sergeant collapsed upon the ground, embracing his stomach with both arms. Harrigan jerked away the upper layers of the attackers and dragged the black-haired man to his feet.

"Shoulder to shoulder!" thundered Harrigan, and smote Officer Akana upon the point of the chin.

The victory was not yet won. The black soldiers of Uncle Sam's regular army need not take second place to any body of troops in the world. These men had tasted their own blood and they came tearing in now for revenge.

Harrigan, standing full in front of the rescued man until the latter should have recovered his breath, found food for both fists, and his love of battle was fed. The other man had fought stiffly erect, standing with feet braced to give the weight of his whole body to every punch; Harrigan raged back and forth like a panther, avoiding blows by the catlike agility of his movements, which left both hands free to strike sledge-hammer blows. Presently he heard a chuckling at his side. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the black-haired man come into the battle, straight and stiff as before, with long arms shooting out like pistons.

It was a glorious sight. Something made Harrigan's heart big; rose and swelled his throat; rose again and came as a wild yell upon his tongue. The unfortunates who have faced Irish legions in battle know that yell. The soldiers did not know it, and they held back for a moment. Something else lowered their spirits still more. It was the clanging of the police patrol as it swung to a halt and a body of reserves poured out.

"Here comes our finish!" panted Harrigan to his comrade in arms. "But oh, man, I'm thinkin' it was swate while it lasted!"

In his great moments the Irish brogue thronged thick upon his tongue.

"Finish, hell!" grunted the other. "After me, lad!"

And lowering his head like a bull, he drove forward against the crowd. Harrigan caught the idea in a flash. He put his shoulder to the hip of his friend. They became a flying wedge with the jabbing fists of the black-haired man for a point—and they sank into the mass of soldiers like a hot knife into butter, shearing them apart.

There were few who wished more action, for the police reserves were capturing man after man. One or two resisted, but a revolver fired straight in the air put a sudden period to such thoughts. The crowd scattered in all directions and Harrigan was taking to his heels among the rest when an iron hand caught his shoulder and jerked him to a halt. It was the black-haired man.

"Easy," he cautioned. He pulled a cap out and settled it upon his head. Harrigan followed suit with his soft hat.

"Are you after givin' yourself away to the law?" he queried, bewildered.

"Steady, you fool," said the other; "they're only after the ones who run away."

An excited Kanaka confronted them with brandished club.

"What's the cause of the disturbance, officer?" asked the big man.

The policeman for answer waved them away and darted after a running soldier.

"I'll be damned!" murmured Harrigan, and his eyes dwelt on his companion's face almost tenderly.

They were at the edge of the crowd when a shrill voice called: "Those two big men! Halt 'em! Stand!"

Officer Akana ran through the crowd with his regulation Colt brandished above his head.

"The time's come!" said Harrigan's new friend, and broke into a run.

Chapter 2


They were past the thick of the mob now and they dodged rapidly among the cottages until the clamor of police fell away to a murmur behind them, and they swung out onto the narrow, dark street which led back toward the heart of Honolulu. For ten minutes they strode along without a word. Under the light of a street lamp they stopped of one accord.

"I'm McTee."

"I'm Harrigan."

The gripping of the hands was more than fellowship; it was like a test of strength which left each uncertain of the other's resources. They were exactly opposite types. McTee was long of face, with an arched, cruel nose, gleaming eyes, heavy, straight brows which pointed up and gave a touch of the Mephistophelian to his expression, a narrow, jutting chin, and lips habitually compressed to a thin line. It was a handsome face, in a way, but it showed such a brutal dominance that it inspired fear first and admiration afterward.

Such a man must command. He might be only the boss of a gang of laborers, or he might be a financier, but never in any case an underling. Altogether he combined physical and intellectual strength to such a degree that both men and women would have stopped to look at him, and once seen he would be remembered.

On the other hand, in Harrigan one felt only force, not directed and controlled as in McTee, but impulsive, irregular, irresponsible, uncompassed. He carried a contradiction in his face. The heavy, hard-cut jaw, the massive cheekbones, the stiff, straight upper lip indicated merely brutal endurance and energy, but these qualities were tempered by possibilities of tenderness about the lips and by the singular lights forever changing in the blue eyes. He would be hard for the shrewdest judge to understand, for the simple reason that he did not know himself.

In looking at McTee, one asked: "What is he?" In looking at Harrigan, the question was: "What will he become?"

"Stayin' in town long?" asked Harrigan, and his voice was a little wistful.

"I'm bound out tonight."

"So long, then."

"So long."

They turned on their heels into opposite streets without further words, with no thanks given for service rendered, with no exchange of congratulations for the danger they had just escaped. That parting proved them hardened knights of the road which leads across the world and never turns back home.

Harrigan strode on full of thought. His uncertain course brought him at last to the waterfront, and he idled along the black, odorous docks until he came to a pier where a ship was under steam, making ready to put out to sea. The spur touched the heart of Harrigan. The urge never failed to prick him when he heard the scream of a steamer's horn as it put to sea. It brought the thoughts of far lands and distant cities.

He strolled out to the pier and watched the last ropes cast loose. The ship was not large, and even in the dark it seemed dingy and dilapidated. He guessed that, big or small, this boat would carry her crew to some distant quarter of the world, and therefore to a place to be desired.

A strong voice gave an order from the deck—a hard voice with a ring in it like the striking of iron against iron. Harrigan glanced up with a start of recognition, and by the light of a swinging lantern he saw McTee. If he were in command, this ship was certainly going to a far port. Black water showed between the dock and the ship. In a moment more it would be beyond reach, and that thought decided Harrigan. He made a few paces back, noted the aperture in the rail of the ship where the gangplank was being drawn in, then ran at full speed and leaped high in the air.

The three sailors at the rail shouted their astonishment as Harrigan struck the edge of the gangplank, reeled, and then pitched forward to his knees. He rose and shook himself like a cat that has dropped from a high fence to the ground.

"What're you?"

"I'm the extra hand."

And Harrigan ran up the steps to the bridge. There he found McTee with the first and second mates.

"McTee," he said, "I came on your ship by chance an' saw you. If you can use an extra hand, let me stay. I'm footfree an' I need to be movin' on."

Even through the gloom he caught the glint of the Scotchman's eye.

"Get off the bridge!" thundered McTee.

"But I'm Harrigan, and—"

McTee turned to his first and second mates.

"Throw that man off the bridge!" he ordered.

Harrigan didn't wait. He retreated down the steps to the deck and went to the rail. A wide gap of swarthy water now extended between the ship and the dock, but he placed his knee on the rail ready to dive. Then he turned and stood with folded arms looking up to the bridge, for his mind was dark with many doubts. He tapped a passing sailor on the shoulder.

"What sort of an old boy is the captain?"

He made up his mind that according to the answer he would stay with the ship or swim to the shore, but the sailor merely stared stupidly at him for a moment and then grinned slowly. There might be malice, there might be mere ridicule in that smile. He passed on before another question could be asked.

"Huh!" grunted Harrigan. "I stay!"

He kept his eyes fixed on the bridge, remaining motionless at the rail for an hour while the glow of Honolulu grew dimmer and dimmer past the stern. There were lights in the after-cabin and he guessed that the ship, in a small way, carried both freight and passengers. At last McTee came down the steps to the deck and as he passed Harrigan snapped: "Follow me."

He led the way aft and up another flight of steps to the after-cabin, unlocked a door, and showed Harrigan into the captain's room. Here he took one chair and Harrigan dropped easily into another.

"Now, what 'n hell was your line of thinkin', McTee," he began, "when you told me to—"

"Stand up!" said McTee.


"Stand up!"

Harrigan rose very slowly. His jaw was setting harder and harder, and his face became grim.

"Harrigan, you took a chance and came with me."


"I didn't ask you to come."

"Sure you didn't, but if you think you can treat me like a swine and get away with it—"

It was wonderful to see the eyes of McTee grow small. They seemed to retreat until they became points of light shining from the deep shadow of his brow. They were met by the cold, incurious light of Harrigan's stare.

"You're a hard man, Harrigan."

He made no answer, but listened to the deep thrum of the engines. It seemed to him that the force which drove the ship was like a part of McTee's will, a thing of steel.

"And I'm a hard man, Harrigan. On this ship I'm king. There's no will but my will; there's no right but my right; there's no law but my law. Remember, on land we stood as equals. On this ship you stand and I sit."

The thin lips did not curve, and yet they seemed to be smiling cruelly, and the eyes were probing deep, deep, deep into Harrigan's soul, weighing, measuring, searching.

"When we reach land," said Harrigan, "I got an idea I'll have to break you."

He raised his hands, which trembled with the restrained power of his arms, and moved them as though slowly breaking a stick of wood.

"I've broken men—like that," he finished.

"When I'm through with you, Harrigan, you'll take water from a Chinaman. You're the first man I've ever seen who could make me stop and look twice. I need a fellow like you, but first I've got to make you my man. The best colt in the world is no good until he learns to take the whip without bucking. I'm going to get you used to the whip. This is frank talk, eh? Well, I'm a frank man. You're in the harness now, Harrigan; make up your mind: Will you pull or will you balk? Answer me!"

"I'll see you damned!"

"Good. You've started to balk, so now you'll have to feel the whip."

He pulled a cord, and while they waited, the relentless duel of the eyes continued. A flash of instinct like a woman's intuition told Harrigan what impulse was moving McTee. He knew it was the same thing which makes the small schoolboy fight with the stranger; the same curiosity as to the unknown power, the same relentless will to be master, but now intensified a thousandfold in McTee, who looked for the first time, perhaps, on a man who might be his master. Harrigan knew, and smiled. He was confident. He half rejoiced in looking forward to the long struggle.

A knock came and the door opened.

"Masters," said McTee to the boatswain, "we're three hands short."

"Yes, sir."

"Here are the three hands. Take them forward."

Chapter 3


Masters looked at Harrigan, started to laugh, looked again, and then silently held the door open. Harrigan stepped through it and followed to the forecastle, a dingy retreat in the high bow of the ship. He had to bend low to pass through the door, and inside he found that he could not stand erect. It was his first experience of working aboard a ship, and he expected to find a scrupulous neatness, and hammocks in place of beds. Instead he looked on a double row of bunks heaped with swarthy quilts, and the boatswain with a silent gesture indicated that one of these belonged to Harrigan. He went to it without a word and sat down cross-legged to survey his new quarters. It was more like the bunkhouse of a western ranch than anything else he had been in, but all reduced to a miniature, cramped and confined.

Now his eyes grew accustomed to the dim, unpleasant light which came from a single lantern hanging on the central post, and he began to make out the faces of the sailors. An oily-skinned Greek squatted on the bunk to his left. To his right was a Chinaman, marvelously emaciated; his lips pulled back in a continual smile, meaningless, like the grin of a corpse.

Opposite was the inevitable Englishman, slender, good-looking, with pale hair and bright, active eyes. Harrigan had traveled over half the world and never failed to find at least one subject of John Bull in any considerable group of men. This young fellow was talking with a giant Negro, his neighbor. The black man chattered with enthusiasm while the Englishman listened, nodding, intent.

One thing at least was certain about this crew: the Negro, the Chinaman, the Greek, even the Englishman, despite his slender build, they were all hard, strong men.

The cook brought out supper in buckets—stews, chunks of stale bread, tea. As they ate, the sailors grew talkative.

"Slide the slum this way," said the Englishman.

The Negro pushed the bucket across the deck with his foot.

"A hard trip," went on the first speaker.

"All trips on the Mary Rogers is hard," rumbled a voice.

"Aye, but Black McTee is blacker'n ever today."

"He belted the bos'n with a rope end," commented the Negro.

"He ain't human. This is my last trip with him. How about you, John? You got a lump on your jaw yet where he cracked you for breakin' that truck."

This was to the Chinaman, who answered in a soft guttural as if there were bubbling oil in his throat: "Me sail two year Black McTee, an'—"

To finish his speech he passed a tentative hand across his swollen jaw.

"And you'll sail with him till you die, John," said the Englishman. "When a man has had Black McTee for a boss, he'll want no other. He's to other captains what whisky is to beer."

The white teeth of the Negro showed. "Maybe Black McTee won't live long," he suggested.

There was a long silence. It lasted until the supper was finished. It lasted until the men slid into their bunks. And Harrigan knew that every man was repeating slowly to himself: "Maybe Black McTee won't live long."

"Not if this gang goes after him," muttered Harrigan, "and yet—"

He remembered the fight in Ivilei and the heaving shoulders which showed above the heads of the swarming soldiers. With that picture in his mind he went to sleep.

They were far out of sight of land in the morning and loafing south before the trade wind, with a heavy ground swell kicking them along from behind. Harrigan saw the Mary Rogers plainly for the first time. She was small, not more than fifteen hundred or two thousand tons, and the dingiest, sootiest of all tramp freighters. He had little time to make observations.

In the first place all hands washed down the decks, some of the men in rubber boots, the others barefooted, with their trousers rolled up above the knees. Harrigan was one of this number. The cool water from the hose swished pleasantly about his toes. He began to think better of life at sea as the wind blew from his nostrils the musty odors of the forecastle. Then the bos'n, with the suggestion of a grin in his eyes, ordered him up to scrub the bridge. He climbed the steps with a bucket in one hand and a brush in the other. There stood McTee leaning against the wheelhouse and staring straight ahead across the bows. He seemed quite oblivious of his presence until, having finished his job, Harrigan started back down the steps.

"D'you call this clean?" rumbled McTee. "All over again!"

And Harrigan dropped to his knees without protest and commenced scrubbing again. As he worked, he hummed a tune and saw the narrow jaw of McTee jut out. Harrigan smiled.

He had scarcely finished stowing his bucket and brush away when the bos'n brought him word that he was wanted in the fireroom. Masters's face was serious.

"What's the main idea?" asked Harrigan.

The bos'n cast a worried eye fore and aft.

"Black McTee's breakin' you," he said; "you're getting the whip."


"God help you, that's all. Now get below."

There was a certain fervency about this speech which impressed even Harrigan. He brooded over it on his way to the fireroom. There he was set to work passing coal. He had to stand in a narrow passage scarcely wide enough for him to turn about in. On either side was a towering black heap which slanted down to his feet. Midway between the piles was the little door through which he shoveled the coal into the fireroom.

All was stifling hot, with a breath of coal dust and smoke to choke the lungs. Even the Greek firemen sweated and cursed, though they were used to that environment. An ordinary man might have succumbed simply to that fiery, foul atmosphere. It was like a glimpse of hell, dark, hopeless.

It was not the heat or the atmosphere which troubled Harrigan, but his hands. His skin was puffed and soft from the scrubbing of the bridge. Now as he grasped the rough wood of the short-handled scoop the epidermis wore quickly and left his palms half raw. For a time he managed to shift his grip, bringing new portions of his hands to bear on the wood, but even this skin was worn away in time. When he finished his shift, his hands were bleeding in places and raw in the palms.

As he came on deck, he tied them up with bits of soft waste in lieu of a bandage and made no complaint, yet his fingers were trembling when he ate supper that night. He caught the eyes of the rest of the crew studying him with a cold calculation. They were estimating the strength of his endurance and he knew at once that they had been through the same trial one by one until they were broken.

He could see that they hated the captain and he wondered why they would ship with him time and again. He watched their expressions when Black McTee was mentioned, and then he understood. They were waiting for the time when the captain should weaken. Then they would have their revenge.

The second day was a repetition of the first. He began with scrubbing down the bridge. The suds, strong with lye, ate shrewdly at his raw hands. Still he hummed as he worked and watched McTee's frown grow dark. When he was ordered below to the fireroom, he wrapped his hands in the soft waste again. That helped him for a time, but after the first two hours the waste matted and grew hard with perspiration and blood. He had to throw it away and take the shovel handle against his bare skin. He told himself that it was only a matter of time before calluses would form, but what chance was there for a formation of calluses when the water and suds softened his hands every morning?

On the third day he was a little more used to the torture. His hands were hopelessly raw now, but still he made no complaint and stuck with his task. That night he secured a rag and retreated to the stretch of deck between the wheelhouse and the after-cabin, where he squatted beside a bucket of water and washed his hands carefully. Both hands were puffed and red; one of the creases in the left palm bled a steady trickle. He washed them slowly, with infinite relish of the cool water, until he felt that peculiar sensation which warns us that we are watched by another eye.

He looked up to see a young woman standing above him at the rail of the after-cabin. She had been watching him by the light from the window of the wheelhouse.

Chapter 4


"Let me bandage your hands," she said. "I have some salve in my room."

Her voice was a balm to the troubled heart of Harrigan. His knotted forehead relaxed.

"Are you coming up?"


He ran up the ladder and followed her to a cabin. She rummaged through a suitcase and finally brought out a little tin box of salve and a roll of gauze. As she stooped with her back to him, he saw that her hair was red—not fiery red like his, but a deep dull bronze, with points of gold where the light struck it. When she straightened and turned, her eyes went wide, looking up to him, for he bulked huge in the tiny cabin.

"What a big fellow you are!"

He did not answer for a moment; he was too busy watching her eyes, which were sea-green, and strangely pleasant and restful.

"Do you know me?" she asked with a slight frown.

"'Scuse me," muttered Harrigan. "I thought at first I did."

He abased his glance while she took one of his hands and turned it palm up.

"Ugh!" she muttered. "How did this happen?"


"Do you mean to say they make you work with your hands in this condition?"


"Poor fellow! That black captain!"

Her voice had changed from a peculiarly soft, low accent to a shrill tone that made Harrigan start.

"Poor fellow!" she repeated. "Sit down."

The campstool creaked under the burden of his weight. She pulled up the chair in front of him and placed his left hand on her knees.

"This is peroxide. Tell me if it hurts too much."

She spilled some of the liquid across his palm; it frothed.

"Ouch!" grunted Harrigan involuntarily.

She caught his wrists with both hands.

"Why, your whole arm is trembling! You must be in torture with this. Have you made any complaint?"


She studied him for a moment, scenting a mystery somewhere and guessing that he would not speak of it. And she asked no questions. She said not a word and merely bowed her head and started to apply the salve with delicate touches. For the result, a confession of all his troubles tumbled up the big man's throat to his tongue. He had to set his teeth to keep it back.

She became aware of those cold, incurious eyes studying her face as she wrapped the gauze bandage deftly around the injured palms.

"Why do you watch me so closely?"

It disarmed him. Those possibilities of tenderness came about his stiff-set lips, and the girl wondered.

"I was thinkin' about my home town."

"Where is it?"

He frowned and waved his hand in a sweep which included half the points on the compass.

"Back there."

She waited, wrapping up the gauze bandage.

"When I was a kid, I used to go down to the harbor an' watch the ships comin' in an' goin' out," he went on cautiously.

She nodded, and he resumed with more confidence: "I'd sit on the pierhead an' watch the ships. I knew they was bringing the smell of far lands in their holds."

There was a little pause; then his head tilted back and he burst into the soft, thick brogue: "Ah-h, I was afther bein' woild about the schooners blowin' out to sea wid their sails shook out like clouds. An' then I'd look down to the wather around the pier, an' it was green, deep green, ah-h, the deep sea-green av it! An' I would look into it an' dream. Whin I seen your eyes—"

He stopped, grown cold as a man will when he feels that he has laid his inner self indecently bare to the eye of the world. But she did not stir; she did not smile.

"I felt like a kid again," said Harrigan, recovering from the brogue. "Like a kid sittin' on the pierhead an' watchin' the green water. Your eyes are that green," he finished.

Self-consciousness, the very thing which she had been trying to keep the big sailor from, turned her blood to fire. She knew the quick color was running from throat to cheek; she knew the cold, incurious eye would note the change. He was so far aware of the alteration that he rose and glanced at the door.

"Good-by," she said, and then quite forgetting herself: "I shall ask the captain to see that you are treated like a white man."

"You will not!"

"I beg your pardon?" she said, but the hint of insulted dignity was lost on Harrigan.

"You will not," he repeated. "It'd simply make him worse."

She was glad of the chance to be angry; it would explain her heightening color.

"The captain must be an utter brute."

"I figger he's nine tenths man, an' the other tenth devil, but there ain't no human bein' can change any of them ten parts. Good-by. I'm thankin' you. My name's Harrigan."

She opened the door for him.

"If you wish to have that dressing changed, ask for Miss Malone."

"Ah-h!" said Harrigan. "Malone!"

She explained coldly: "I'm Scotch, not Irish."

"Scotch or Irish," said Harrigan, and his head tilted back as it always did when he was excited. "You're afther bein' a real shport, Miss Malone!"

"Miss Malone," she repeated, closing the door after him, and vainly attempting to imitate the thrill which he gave to the word. "What a man!"

She smiled for a moment into space and then pulled the cord for the cabin boy.

Chapter 5


The cabin boy did duty for all the dozen passengers, and therefore he was slow in answering. When he appeared, she asked him to carry the captain word that she wished to speak with him. He returned in a short time to say that Captain McTee would talk with her now in his cabin. She followed aft to the captain's room. He did not rise when she entered, but turned in his chair and relinquished a long, black, fragrant cigar.

"Don't stop smoking," she said. "I want you in a pleasant mood to hear what I have to say."

Without reply he placed the cigar in his mouth and the bright black eyes fastened upon her. That suddenly intent regard was startling, as if he had leaned over and spoken a word in her ear. She shrugged her shoulders as if trying to shake off a compelling hand and then settled into a chair.

"I've come to say something that's disagreeable for you to hear and for me to speak."

Still he would not talk. He was as silent as Harrigan. She clenched her hands and drove bravely ahead. She told how she had called the red-headed sailor up to the after-cabin and dressed his hurts, and she described succinctly, but with rising anger the raw and swollen condition of his fingers. The captain listened with apparent enjoyment; she could not tell whether he was relishing her story or his slowly puffed cigar. In the end she waited for his answer, but evidently none was forthcoming.