in the high, old tottering voice that seemed to have been tuned
and broken at the capstan bars. Then he rapped on the door with a
bit of stick like a handspike that he carried, and when my fatherappeared, called roughly for a glass of rum. This, when it was
brought to him, he drank slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering on
the taste and still looking about him at the cliffs and up at oursignboard.
"This is a handy cove," says he at length; "and a pleasant
sittyated grog-shop. Much company, mate?" My father told him no,
very little company, the more was the pity.
"Well, then," saidhe, "this is the berth for me. Here you,
matey," he cried to the man who trundled the barrow; "bring up
alongside and help up my chest. I'll stay here a bit," he
continued. "I'm a plain man; rumand bacon and eggs is what I want,
and that head up there for to watch ships off. What you mought call
me? You mought call me captain. Oh, I see what you're at—there";
and he threw down three or fourgold pieces on the threshold. "You
can tell me when I've worked through that," says he, looking as
fierce as a commander.
And indeed bad as his clothes were and coarsely as he spoke, he
had noneof the appearance of a man who sailed before the mast, but
seemed like a mate or skipper accustomed to be obeyed or to strike.
The man who came with the barrow told us the mail had set him down
themorning before at the Royal George, that he had inquired what
inns there were along the coast, and hearing ours well spoken of, I
suppose, and described as lonely, had chosen it from the others forhis place of residence. And that was all we could learn of our
He was a very silent man by custom. All day he hung round the
cove or upon the cliffs with a brass telescope; all evening hesat
in a corner of the parlour next the fire and drank rum and water
very strong. Mostly he would not speak when spoken to, only look up
sudden and fierce and blow through his nose like a...
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