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rooky shore. In the midst of it all blow the cobwebs out of one's brain.
me s aroustio signal from the In addition to "fugging it" below while admiral of their squadron: "Since you off duty, there is the awful monotony liku atoaming about, you will proceed of a routine life spent amidst cramped 40 once to the Cape Pharaoh patrol.” surroundings. No wonder, then, naval
As a result the commander got no officers acquire the habit of pacing sleep, and he was feeling like nothing up and down like animals in the Zoo! on earth next morning when he Mackellar, coming “straight from observed Mackellar violating an Ad- the beach," did not understand the miralty order. "What the devil do peculiarly touchy and liverish atmoyou mean by smoking on the quarter- sphere into which war conditions had deok?" he roared.
thrust him. He ought to have been "I'm sorry, sir," answered Mackel- more cautious in speaking his mind in lar, throwing his cigarette over the a community swayed by tradition. ship's side. Unfortunately it was the Saluting the quarter-deck is a case in weather side, and the wind caught point. When asked by the officer of the "gaspar" and whisked some of its the watch why he did not comply hot ashes into the commander's eyes. with this usage, Mackellar said he
"Side-boy," the commander called, "didn't see any particular reason for stamping his foot on the deck with saluting a teak deck." pain, "tell the staff-surgeon to look "All the same, my brave fellow," the me up in my cabin immediately." officer of the watch reproved him, “you
"Ay, ay, sir,” said the side-boy, ought to respect a custom which the scampering away.
mighty Nelson was pleased to follow." What the commander might have There was no question about it from said next to Mackellar is uncertain the start. Mackellar jarred the mess. because a colossal wave struck the Their ruffled feelings found a ready ship, drenching them both in spray protagonist in Lieutenant Fitz-Boodle. and broken green seas.
This officer was the very antithesis At the time Mackellar joined the of the lean, æsthetic-looking MackelAlcibiades spring was drawing nigh, lar. Burly and strong, Fitz-Boodle after a winter spent in the most was so full-blooded that he used up disagreeable waters in the world. many a handkerchief in stanching his Officers and men were in the grip of frequent nose-bleeds. Mackellar clashed that mouldiness which shore-going with him quite early in the game people find it so difficult to under- on a subject that was very dear to stand. “How can you be mouldy," Fitz-Boodle's heart, or, rather, his they ask, "and yet breathe the fresh stomach. He was excessively fond of air of the sea?"
swine's flesh, and as mess caterer his There is precious little fresh air word was law when it came to what the between-decks in a cruiser carrying a ward-room should eat. Mackellar, on complement of several hundred men. the other hand, heartily disliked pig Most of the air is "potted." A in all its posthumous forms, and fighting-ship vacillates between "action strenuously objected to Fitz-Boodle's stations' during the day and "defense fancy occupying such a large part preparedness" at night, when every of the menu. Some wag suggested an thing is closed down as tight as a drum. "anti-swine club," and a few dietetic Therefore, unless one's watch is kept rebels joined up. They went delirious on the bridge, there is scarcely enough with joy when Mackellar condemned expc - in a modern man-o'-war to a lot of obviously bad pork. This he
had a perfect right to do as officer in charge of the victualing department during the paymaster's absence, and it meant that a fresh supply could not be obtained for another couple of weeks. The band played the "Roast Beef of Old England" before dinner, and Fitz-Boodle was much annoyed at the vociferous applause of the “antiswiners.” To make matters worse, the fish course was particularly high that night, and Mackellar suggested that in future they be permitted to wear their new respirators during this dangerous interval. Fitz-Boodle was incensed, and, in his capacity of president on that occasion, imposed the time-honored penalty for such a breach of dinner etiquette. He fined Mackellar a glass of No. 1 port all round.
Not long afterwards the Alcibiades fired a practice torpedo. When it made its hissing exit from the submerged tube, however, the sliding-door in the ship's side jammed, and the torpedo flat was flooded. Luckily the bulkheads held tight, the tube was eventually plugged, and soon the sea-water was pumped out, and matters put to rights again.
When the alarm was at its height, and Mackellar felt the stern end of the ship drop several feet. beneath him from the weight of the inrushing sea, he dashed down to his cabin for his swimming-waistcoat. Unfortunate ly, Fitz-Boodle saw him in this excited frame of mind. He said Mackellar was in a funk. In the eyes of men who have been accustomed to the perils of the sea from boyhood there can be no more awful stigma.
“You'd have more 'guts' if you played 'footer,'” Fitz-Boodle said at tea-time.
"Nevertheless, I don't propose to cultivate courage at such a cost,” declared Mackellar, who hated the tyranny of thought which games
created in a mind like Fitz-Boodle's
“We'll see to that soon enough," said Fitz-Boodle, firing a salvo of rock-cakes at him.
Immediately after dinner, therefore, Fitz-Boodle got a "pukka" ward-room scrimmage going, and soon there was a pyramidal mass of struggling naval officers in the center of the room. FitzBoodle's strategy was to get Mackellar entangled in this dangerous, wriggling heap. His onslaught was so sudden and vigorous, however, that Mackellar was whirled against the captain, who was sitting on one of the couches enjoying the sport. That was not all. The impact striking the wretched Mackellar in the pit of the stomach, he developed all the symptoms of mal de mer. The captain's dignity suffered accordingly, and he was obliged to make a hasty exit.
“This all comes of the naval mess being no longer the select club it used to be," remarked Lieutenant-Commander Barnwell. He was a splendid navigator, but mad on the subject of Who's Who, much to the amusement of his messmates, who were constantly pulling his leg on the subject.
"Don't talk rot,” said Staff-Surgeon O'Brien, calling for a split whisky-andsoda. “After all, what are we but glorified policemen, armed with big guns instead of revolvers? And some of us haven't even the manners of an ordinary 'bobby,'" the staff-surgeon concluded, looking hard at Fitz-Boodle.
One day, when the Alcibiades was in harbor, the picket-boat landed officers on the dreary coast near their mooring. Mackellar found himself the odd man in so far as a walking companion was concerned, so he went off on his own. Rain coming on, a crofter invited him to take refuge in his cottage. A peat-fire crackled cheerfully in the old-fashioned fireplace, lighting up the eyes of a darkhaired lass who was working her spinning-wheel. Somehow or other
their liquid depths suggested the Spanish Armada to Mackellar, and he was weaving all sorts of romantic incidents into her imaginary genealogical tree, when, much to his disgust, a couple of engine-room artificers came in and spoiled the scene. Gulping down the tea which the mother had brewed for him, and swallowing an oatcake, he pressed half-a-crown on one of the children, and departed in an abstracted sort of way. When he arrived at the naval pier he fancied a number of officers were looking at him curiously. Fitz-Boodle said he was "tight."
The captain of the Alcibiades regarded him sternly. “What on earth do you mean by masquerading in that cap, Mackellar?” he demanded. “Take it off at once."
Mackellar uncapped, and, much to his amazement, found he was wearing an engine-room artificer's cap. In the uncertain light of the crofter's cottage he had mistaken it for his own.
"The captain wishes to see you in his cabin, sir," the sentry said to Mackellar a short time after he had returned on board.
The captain was in a peevish mood. Bad news had just come from his Southsea home, which he had not seen for many weary months. He stood in front of a long table in his fore-cabin, looking gaunt and worn. The commander was standing on his right.
“Will you explain, Mackellar," the captain commanded, "your disgraceful conduct of this afternoon?”
Mackellar briefly narrated what had happened.
"I can't believe such a preposterous yarn,” the captain said incredulously.
“You have no sound reason for doubting my word,” Mackellar retorted passionately. "What's all the row about, anyway?” he asked. “My only offense consisted in wearing a
cap that had an inferior badge on it."
“Commander," the captain ordered, "stop his leave.”
"Very good, sir,” answered the commander, rubbing his hands together briskly.
“Thank you, sir," Mackellar said hotly, as he was leaving the cabin.
"Commander," the captain roared in a voice choking with rage, “send him to his cabin!"
T he staff-surgeon came below a few minutes later. "The captain has asked me to inform him, Mackellar," he said, "whether or not you were in an intoxicated condition this afternoon."
"Perhaps it's being exposed to the fumes of rum," Mackellar answered somewhat hysterically. The historic custom of serving out this potent spirit took place every morning outside the ship's office.
O'Brien laughed heartily. “Alcoholism has, as a rule, a more material basis than that, Mackellar," he said. “However, we shall see in a moment."
The staff-surgeon thereupon proceeded to examine him. His diagnostic nostrils sniffed Mackellar's breath, and he placed a tiny instrument called an alcoholometer on his tongue. He asked him to say, "Around the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran."
Mackellar repeated this peculiar sentence in a clear, unfaltering voice, in which there was not the slightest thickness of speech.
“How about your wine bill?” the staff-surgeon asked.
“I've touched nothing but grapejuice since coming on board,” answered Mackellar.
"Good!” O'Brien exclaimed. “You'll be pleased to hear I'll give you a certificate of sobriety any time you wish."
"I'm very much obliged to you, sir," said Mackellar, heaving a sigh of relief.
“Now, my lad,” the staff-surgeon
said kindly, lighting a cigarette, "you "how Lieutenant Fitz-Boodle does may have your grievances; so have talk about you. And what's that your messmates theirs. You haven't 'watch' you keep?" bent sufficiently to the spirit of the “Decoding?" said Mackellar. navy. You must bear in mind that, “That's right, sir. It's shocking. with the exception of the medical I say give a bloke a chance. Now, officer, all your other messmates supposing I were to complain of his came into the service as boys. It's discrepancies,” the wine steward said. the only thing they have ever known, "The ward room, for instance, ought and what you may regard lightly is a to close at 11 P.m., and yet he often serious matter to them,” O'Brien keeps me and the master-at-arms concluded.
up till after midnight. It's a bit 'ard, “What am I to do, then, in the sir,” concluded the little wine steward, present instance?" Mackellar asked. whose job was all the more distasteful
“You'll go to the captain in the to him because he was a Good Temmorning, and tell him how sorry you plar, “considering we're turned out of are for the whole occurrence. In the our hammocks between 5 and 6 A.M." meåntime I'll smooth the way for While at sea Fitz-Boodle "ran in" you by impressing upon the skipper the wine-room steward. In other the fact that you haven't been long words, he had him reported to the in the service," said O'Brien.
corporal of the watch. The latter "I suppose I'll have to humble called the master-at-arms, who took myself," Mackellar said dolefully. the wine steward before the officer on
"It's the only way," said O'Brien. the bridge, and explained his mis"The man with a stiff neck will have demeanor to him. The officer ordered it broken every time in the navy." the master-at-arms to put his name in
Mackellar accordingly obeyed his the commander's report. mentor. The captain of the Alcibiades Such cases are usually heard by the accepted the proffered olive-branch, commander at eleven o'clock in the and the incident was closed.
morning. On that occasion the comSomewhat chastened in spirit, Mac mander deals out rough justice from kellar was beginning to absorb some behind a small table, which is usually thing of the discipline of the service, placed near the ward-room door. when he was called upon to decode The master-at-arms calls out the the wireless messages which are re- names of delinquents, who appear ceived in cipher. He had had no before the commander, cap in hand. training in this intricate work. A “What's the charge?" the comdiploma in accountancy does not mander inquired in the case of Martin, carry with it a knowledge of how to the wine-room steward, referring to his unravel the mysterious language of the clean record before him. fleet. Mackellar made a mistake Fitz-Boodle fell in before the comwhich concerned ritual rather than mander, and saluted. fact. Unfortunately Fitz-Boodle was "Shortly after midnight last night, on watch on the bridge at the time, sir," said Fitz-Boodle, “I had occasion and the signal was taken to him. The to pass near where this man slings his error was discovered, and made the hammock. I called out 'Gangway,' subject of caustic comment on the in order that he might make way. part of Fitz-Boodle.
Instead of doing so, he was insolent, "It's too bad, sir," the sallow- and swore at me.” faced wine steward said to Mackellar, “What have you got to say in an
swer to this serious charge, Martin?” voice. It was not Martin who swore, the commander asked the wine-room sir; it was I," Mackellar said, "and I steward.
had every reason for doing so," he "It isn't true, sir. I gave way im- concluded, rubbing the side of his head mediately without saying a single ruefully. word. Indeed, sir, I was too tired for "I'm quite sure it was Martin," anything. Mr. Mackellar will confirm Fitz-Boodle persisted. what I say," the wine-room steward “Inasmuch as there is some doubt declared.
about the matter, I'll let you off with a Mackellar was called.
caution this time, Martin," said the "I was on my way for'ard to the commander, marking his decision opdecoding-office about the time men- posite the wine-steward's name in tioned," Mackellar began, "and as I the "doomsday book.” “As for approached the vicinity of Martin's you, Mr. Mackellar," he concluded, hammock I struck my head against a "you'll please practise self-restraint in stanchion. I swore in a rather loud future." Chambers's Journal.
(To be continued.)
ON RETAIL DEALING IN COAL.
AN AMATEUR'S EXPERIMENT. A woman who still clung to the old without fires, as their mothers could belief that English folk have more not buy coal. common sense than other folk, was Yet, curiously enough, there was sorely troubled in her mind last winter. coal to be bought, and most of their For, in that long cruel spell, when mothers had the money to buy it. everything was frozen, and the East That this woman •knew: she saw the wind cut as a knife, she found scores coal almost every day, huge truck of little children sitting in rooms loads, and she could handle the where there was not even a live cinder. money if she chose. She was puzzled, Their fingers and noses were blue with therefore, as well as troubled. For, let cold; their whole bodies indeed were her try as she would, she could not on the shiver; while as for their nerves, shut her eyes to the fact that no nathey were all ajar, and with them of tion, that had any common sense at all, course their tempers.
would ever allow, even in war time, its Now no little child can be cold little children, they on whom its whole even for a day without suffering in future depends, to be robbed of their health, as well as in temper; and many health and strength through going of these mites had been cold for weeks. without fires, when there was both That the whole set of them should coal wherewith to make fires for them, be more or less run down was, there and money at hand wherewith to pay fore, a foregone conclusion; and run for the coal. There must be some down they certainly were. For the mistake somewhere, something wrong, most part, indeed, they were just in she decided; and, being of the the state to "take" anything, from sort that cannot just stand and measles to consumption. And all be wait, she promptly set to work cause day in day out they were cold; to try to find out what and all because they must sit in rooms where.