Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

Default

This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

A FOGHORN CONCLUSION.

COMPLETE ; STORY.

(By FOX RUSSELL.), !];

The Saucy Sally was a vessel of renown. No blustering liner, no fussy tug, no squattering steamer, she ; but - a bluffbowed, smartly painted, trim-built sailin-- barge, plying chiefly from the lower reaches of the Thames to ports west of Dover. She. had no equal of her class, et any point of sailing; and certainly her master, Mr. Joseph Pigg, was not the man to let her fair fame suffer for ■Want of seamanship. *Cajp'n Pigg,' as he insisted upon being called, was a great, hairy-faced man, .with brawny muscles and a blood-shot eye. And in these respects his mate, Bob Topper, Tgreatly "favoured fact, their physical resemblance was isthei; marked; but.'their tastes were in mo ways similar —-'the Cap'n' was fond of his glass, whilst the mate was a bluelibbon man—Joseph Pigg couldn't 'bear music, in any form, whilst the total abstainer had a weakness for ihe flute, and would not infrequently burst into Bong —>bhe skipper hated women, whereas the mate was, what he himself called *a bit of a gay lathero.' But notwithstanding these dissimilarities of tastes and disposition, they got along fairly well together,, and both met on the common ground of getting as much work out of the two 'hands' as was ordinarily possible. The skipper didn't drink alcoholic liquors before the mate, and the mate returned the compliment by refraining from any-musical outrage in the hearing. Bf his superior officer. 'In the skipper's absence Mr. Topper would 'take it ouf in alleged music on board—and his efforts on the flute were of so soul-stirring a nature as to accasionally reduce the two- 'hands' to a state of "midway between tears and insanity. One hot summer afternoon, when the "Saucy Sally' was taking in cargo and, the skipper was ashore, Mr. Topper, seated on the coambings of the hatchway, abandoned himself to the melancholy pleasures of "Haydn's Surprise," the tune being wrung out of a tarnished German silver flute. "Kittiwake Jack," one of the crew, Was seated as far as possible f or'ard, vainly trying to absorb his tea and stop his ears at one and the came time, whilst his fellow sufferer, Bill Brown, having hastily dived below, lay in his bunk, striving to deaden the iweird wailing sounds that filled the ship. [And just as 'Haydn's Surprise' was half way through, for the seventh time, the fikipper walked on board. The flautist stopped short, and stared pp at him. "Didn't expect you back so booii, JDap'n," he said in confused tones. "No. What's that 'owlin' row you're paaking?" I "I dnnno about no 'owlin' row, but—"

" ,( Well, I do. I sfpose, aceordin' to you, I ain't got no musical bear," sneered .Cap'n Pigg. • . "This- I —this here tune-r-" " "Yes. This disgustin' noise—what is It?"

i The ma&e looked sulky. '" "This Surprise,'" he-growl-

"So I should think. I dunno who the Moke wap, bufciit must have givem Haydn quite -a torn! Don't let's f ave no more ©f it."

"Well, I don't see as there's no 'arm in jnusic. And I didn't loose it off when you was about. I know you dont like it, so I studied your pecooliarities. I"act is, I studies yer too much," and the mate looked-mutinous. . ••"'

Oap'n Pigg scowled. "You shet yer 'cad,'' he grunted as he stamped off below. He went to -a small cupboard in the corner of the cabin, and mixed himself a stiff 'go.of, gin and water, which he-tossed off at one gulp, fcayingi " •Hadyo's Striae," eh? Hadyn'a S'prise Ibe d —disked! 13 dont oome no s'prises •ere while Tm master of ihe 'Saucy BaßyM" After thi*"- light breeze, things quickly Battled down again, on the old lines beifcween master and mate, and the voyage (to Obiehester" harbour was entirely unaverefcfcl, the barge bringing up at a Snug anchorage near -ISmsworth. V lie next,., ray Mr. Tbpper had tmBressed ami gone jovexboard for a swim. , «Afiter tkis, climbing ut) the balwtay, he 'regained the deck, aaid .proceeded to dry this- (hairy ■ frame. on An ancient flannel *hirfc. in (the midst of this occupation, Ceinpdeaiary forgetful of his" ;supierior joffieer'B prejudices, ha broke into song. fDhirty eeoonds after he had let go 3/Se fiiafc howl, the skipper's head "was thrasi up ihe companion way.

*'Wc(dj«E jwant to make all that row ittboirfc"? i&aiytMrig_ disagreed with yer? If take something for at?*

i "Ifs" at «iunny thing yer can't let a imaa alone,.when? «ll 'c's a doir* is making a bit oflT'armony on board/* replied jhe mate in the act o£ drying ;<{rig shodc head.

('i "'.Aanncmy be overboard!" ■cried Mr. "Now, look" ' ?«e, Bob Topper, I ain't a bnreasonable" Hnan""in my" Ukes' and dislikes, but it aiat fair to sing at a feller-creature "With the voice Nettiine fitted you out ■fcrithfi I never.done you no 'axin."

•By this time the mate had struggled into his tarry trousers, and felt more NJndependent. No man "can look digniJfted, clad only in an old flannel shirt. • "My voice ain't mone so dusty, skipper, I don't think.- - Ojeast-wayv Poll fimithera says—"

"Blow Poll Smrbhers!"- burst in Pigg hotly, "don't start talking to mc of yer iPoHs and Sues. A sailor man's no business wMi any of 'em. (AH I says is, ■stop plavdn** of that flute % and stop •ingin*." '

And.the more disPppearsd below/

The mate stared reflectively at the top of the companion.'

'fl studies 'im too. much," he mutlered, "that's wot it is—l. studies, 'im too much."

2sext day, the 'Saiicy Sally* shipped some single'ballast, got nnder weigh on ■the first of the ebb tide, and safely threading her way past the shallows and through the narrow channels of the harbour, emerged brio the open sea, and turned her buff-bowed stem eastwards.

The following afternoon, as Bob Topper took his trick at "the wheel, he ruminated on the mutability of human affairs in general, and the 'contraryness* of skippers in particular.

"Won't 'aye no music, won't 'e?-Well, I reckon it's like religion .wben 'Uie missionaries is shovin' of it into the '.African nigegrs—they just jplly well got to 'aye dt! An' so it'll b? with.the ole man.' I'll jest fix up a scheme as'll do Mm a treat."

He smiled-broadly; and when Bob Topper smiled, the corners of his mouth seemed to almost meet at .the back of his head.

And-as soon as the 'Saucy Sally* had ■""fitched and tossed- her; way np channel'

—for she was light as a cork in ballast -rand dropped anchor a little way off Graves'end, (Bob Topper sculled himself ashore. Twenty minutes after stepping out of the -boat, he was seated, in the back parlour of a friend, a musical instrument maker.

When Mr. Topper went aboard again, he carried under his arm a large brown paper package, which he smuggled below, without encountering the skipper, who was in his cabin at the time, communing with a bill of lading and a glass of Tollands neat. And, soon after the mate had come aboard, 'the Cap'n' went ashore.

And then Mr. Topper laid himself out for some tranquil enjoyment, on quite an unusual scale. He unfastened the package, produced a gramophone, brought it on to the deck, and started "The Washington 'Post."

'Kittiwake Jack' and Bill Brown immediately -fled below .-

The mate sat on the edge of the hatch and gazed lovingly at the new 'instrument of torture, as he beat time to the inspiriting strains, with a belaying pin. "When the 'Washington Post' was finished, he laid on "Jacksonville,' with a chorus of human laughter, which 'sounded quite eerie. And so intent was he on this occupation, that he never even noticed the approach of Oap'n Pigg's boat until it waa almost alongside.

The skipper clambered aboard, looking black as thunder. This new outrage was not to ibe borne. Just as his foot .touched the deck the instrument ga»ve forth its unholy caohination of *Ha! Ha! Ha!' in the high nasal tones peculiar to its kind.

Cap'n Pigg was not easily disconcerted, but this ghostly "Ha! Ha! Ha!" was a distinct trial to his nerves; he thrust his hands deep into his coat pockets, glared at -the mate, and then growled: "Wodyer got there? More 'armony?" 'KJrammarphone," was the mate's brief reply. He was getting sulky.

"Grammar be blowed! Worst grammar I ever 'card," returned Pigg. "Turn ■the bloomin' thing off—and turn it off at the main. Enough to give any. respectable, la-wabidin' aailor-man the *ump."

He proceeded two steps down the companion: then hurled this parting shot at the offending mate:

"You oiighter be 'cad of a laundry where the 'andle of the mangle turns a pianer-horgan as well—work and play!" he concluded scornfully, as he disappeared from the musician's sight, below.

The mate whistled softly; then he stopped the offending instrument and conveyed it below.

"P'raps the old manll be glad of it, one o' these days," he muttered mysteriously.

"Sounds like a escape o' gas," snorted the skipper, angrily, as he applied himself to the square-faced bottle of Hollands, "Grammarphone be busted 1 Should like to take an' 'cave it overboard, I-should!"

The next trip of the 'Saucy Sally' was a, more eventful one. She left Tilbury ia a light haze, which first thickened into a pale-coloured.fog, end, then, aided by tiie smoke from the tall chimneys, to a regular "pea-souper." The mate, ■mking advantage of the Captain's spell below, brought up a long 'yard of tin,' which looked,remarkably like the "Saucy Sallys. fog-horn, and .quietly slipped it overboard

. As-they gat lower., and lower down the river, the fog increased, and both Oap'n Pigg and Topper experienced a certain amount of anxiety as, first, toother barge, then a tramp steamer, and finally, a huge liner, all sounding their fog-horns loudly passed them considerably too close for comfort. The skipper himself was at the wheel, and coughing the raw, damp fog out of his (throat, he shouted hoarsely to Topper: "Better get our log-horn goin', mate." "Aye, aye, skipper. It's in your cabin, ain't it?" "Yes, in the first locker." The mate descended the companionsteps,- with a mysterious smile on his face, and big dexter optic closed. The casual observer might have thought that Mr. Topper was actually indulging in a wqik. After a time he re-appeared on deck, walked aft, and said: "Fog-horn don't seem nowheres about, skipper. Thought you always kept her in your charge." Cap'n Pigg whisked the wheel round just in time to escape a, tug, fussing upstream, aiod feeling.her way through the fog at-half speed j and then he grunted Hourly: ."So I do. . Wbat the d—delay in fiodin' it is; I can't understand. 'Ere ketch 'old o' the spokes, and 111 go; always got to do everything myself on this old tank, seems to me'." And-thus grumbling, Cap'n Pigg went sing up and down the river; but the below—not altogether unwillingly, as, being a man who understood the importance of economising time, he combined his. search for the fog-horn with tne quenching of a highly useful thirst. But -when he came on deck again, wiping this mouth with the back of his hand, ho was unaccompanied by the fog-horn. ■ Where the blamed thing's got t<j, 1 runno. more**! the dead. I.:see it there, myßelf,.not two days.ago, but it ain't nowheres to be found now." "BaitiheT orkard. skipper, ain't it, in all this maze o' shippin'?" returned Mr. Topper with a half turn at the wheel. "Yes, I don't more'n 'arf like it," returned the Oap'n uneasily, "my nerves ain't quite what- they was. An' a fog's a thing as I never could abide." On glided the < Saucy Sadly' almost tbe only one on the great .water way' whicb spoke not, in the midst of a Babel of confusing sounds. Syrens whooped, steam ■whistles shrieked hoarsely; . the raucous voices of fog-horns proclaimed the "Whereabouts of scores of craft, pas-trim-built bar,£e slid noiselessly along, ghost-like, • - in the dun-coloured 'smother,' giving no intimation of her proximity. .. ,

■ Then- it was that Mr. Bob Topper's moment for action arrived. In casual tones, he observed to the skipper.:

"Pity we ain't got somethin' as'll make __ sound kind, eo*s to let people know as we're a comin'."

Oap'n Pigg said nothing; hut the anxiety deepened. perceptibly in his face.

"Wlhere the blank blank are yer comin' to?" roared the voice of another bargeman, as, tooting loudly on a foghorn, one of the 'Medway flyers' shaved past them.

"Near thing, that," observed the, mate, calmly.

Cap'n Kgg went a shade paler beneath the tan on his weather-beaten face. -

. "Cuss : ,'im! careless 'ound!" he muttered. "Might a' sunk us."

"'Ad no proper look out, I expect," returned "even if 'c 'ad, 'c couldn't see anything, and we got no fog-horn to shew 'em where we was, yer see." '"*' •

"No. An' p'raps we shall go to the bottom, all along o' our 'aving lost our ole bit o' tin. It's a orful thing to <thhrk of, ain't it?" said Cap'n Pigg solemnly. ..„.. - * ""**..

The mate -appeared to 'be- in a brown study. Then, as though he had suddenly been inspired, he exclaimed: "What about the grammar-phone, skipper?" . . _ ) ' Even in the midst of his perturbation, Capn' Pigg looked askance at mention of the hated instrument. But is was a case of 'any port in a storm,' and with a grim nod, he relieved the mate at the wheel and said: "Fetch the blooming consarn up." Mr. Topper obeyed' with alacrity in his step, and a wink in his eye. The 'consarn' was quickly brought on deck, and the 'Washington Post' let loose on the astonished ears of fog-smothered mariners, right and left of them. One old shell-back, coming up river on a gravesend shrimper, listened in blank astonishment for a minute, and then confided huskily to his mate that he thought their time had; come. " 'Eavenly strains 1 It's wot they calls 'the music o' the spears,'" he said mysteriously. "Hangels'- music wot comes just before a bloke's time's up. We better prepare for the wust." His mate less superstitious and with more common-sense, rejoined: "Gam! 'Music o' the spears' be Mowed! It's more like «■ pianner-horgan or a 'urdy-gurdy." The shrimper glided on; and a tramp steamer, going dead slow, just shaved past the musical barge. Its master roared derisively from the bridge: " 'Ullo, barge ahoy! Wot yer got there? Punch and Judy show aboard?" Which cost Cap'n Pigg a nasty twinge. He had always prided himself on his seaman-like ways, and to proceed thus, down the great river, like a mountebank, or a Cockney out for a Bank holiday, hurt his feelings more than he could say. Yet another insult was to be hurled at the 'Saucy Sally,' for 'Jacksonville,' with its weird human chorus, haveing been turned on—when "the 'Ha! Ha! Ha!'rang out on the ears of a passing tug's Captain, that outraged gentleman, thinking he was being personally derided, shouted, as the tide swept them out of sight: "Yah! 'Oo yer larftn' at? Set o' bloomin' monkeys." ■But the gramophone was certainly playing a useful part in warning others off the 'Saucy Sally,' down that fogladen river. And, when, at the end of their day's slow journey, they let go their anchor, the 'Washington Post' was again nasally shrieking out its marchtipae glories. The mate stopped the machine and carried it tenderly below; then, returning to the deck, he observed: "Good job as we 'ad the grammarphone aboard, Cap'n." Cap'n Pigg swallowed a lump in his t£roat, and looked like a child confronted with a dose of nauseous medicine, as he gruffly replied:

"It's better'n nothin' when yer wants a row made."

A pause ensued, and then the Bkipper •went on:

"In future,, I don't object—not very much—to the dammarphone—grammarphone, I mean—'lf you can stand music, well, so can I. But you can't contrarst the beauty o' the two instruments, and I'm goin' ashore, straight away, to buy myself a good, old-fashioned fog-'orn. The tone of .this is altogether more 'armonious and more soothin' to the Fear, than that there beastly grammarphone ever could be."

The mate heaved 'a deep sigh and sorrowfully went below. In the effort to ram music into his superior officer, he had to admit himself defeated.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item
Bibliographic details
Word Count
2,705

A FOGHORN CONCLUSION. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 64, 16 March 1909

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.

Working