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|Posté le: Dim 9 Juil - 19:58 (2017) Sujet du message: TheBLUELAGOON
Mr Button was seated on a sea-chest with a fiddle under his left ear. He was playing the “Shan van vaught,” and accompanying the tune, punctuating it, with blows of his left heel on the fo’cs’le deck. “O the Frinch are in the bay, Says the Shan van vaught.” He was dressed in dungaree trousers, a striped shirt, and a jacket baize—green in parts from the influence of sun and salt. A typical old shell-back, round-shouldered, hooked of finger; a figure with strong hints of a crab about it. His face was like a moon, seen red through tropical mists; and as he played it wore an expression of strained attention as though the fiddle were telling him tales much more marvellous than the old bald statement about Bantry Bay. “Left-handed Pat,” was his fo’cs’le name; not because he was left-handed, but simply because everything he did he did wrong—or nearly so. Reefing or furling, or handling a slush tub—if a mistake was to be made, he made it. He was a Celt, and all the salt seas that had flowed between him and Connaught these forty years and more had not washed the Celtic element from his blood, nor the belief in fairies from his soul. The Celtic nature is a fast dye, and Mr Button’s nature was such that though he had been shanghaied by Larry Marr in ’Frisco, though he had got drunk in most ports of the world, though he had sailed with Yankee captains and been man-handled by Yankee mates, he still carried his fairies about with him—they, and a very large stock of original innocence. Nearly over the musician’s head swung a hammock from which hung a leg; other hammocks hanging in the semi-gloom called up suggestions of lemurs and arboreal bats. The swinging kerosene lamp cast its light forward, past the heel of the bowsprit to the knightheads, lighting here a naked foot hanging over the side of a bunk, here a face from which protruded a pipe, here a breast covered with dark mossy hair, here an arm tattooed. It was in the days before double topsail yards had reduced ships’ crews, and the fo’cs’le of the Northumberland had a full company: a crowd of packet rats such as often is to be found on a Cape Horner “Dutchmen” Americans—men who were farm labourers and tending pigs in Ohio three months back, old seasoned sailors like Paddy Button—a mixture of the best and the worst of the earth, such as you find nowhere else in so small a space as in a ship’s fo’cs’le. The Northumberland had experienced a terrible rounding of the Horn. Bound from New Orleans to ’Frisco she had spent thirty days battling with head-winds and storms—down there, where the seas are so vast that three waves may cover with their amplitude more than a mile of sea space; thirty days she had passed off Cape Stiff, and just now, at the moment of this story, she was locked in a calm south of the line. Mr Button finished his tune with a sweep of the bow, and drew his right coat sleeve across his forehead. Then he took out a sooty pipe, filled it with tobacco, and lit it. “Pawthrick,” drawled a voice from the hammock above, from which depended the leg, “what was that yarn you wiz beginnin’ to spin ter night ’bout a lip me dawn?” “A which me dawn?” asked Mr Button, cocking his eye up at the bottom of the hammock while he held the match to his pipe. “It vas about a green thing,” came a sleepy Dutch voice from a bunk. “Oh, a Leprachaun you mane. Sure, me mother’s sister had one down in Connaught.” “Vat vas it like?” asked the dreamy Dutch voice—a voice seemingly possessed by the calm that had made the sea like a mirror for the last three days, reducing the whole ship’s company meanwhile to the level of wasters. “Like? Sure, it was like a Leprachaun; and what else would it be like?” “What like vas that?” persisted the voice. “It was like a little man no bigger than a big forked raddish, an’ as green as a cabbidge. Me a’nt had one in her house down in Connaught in the ould days.
bound: 104 pages
publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 28, 2017)
isbn: 1545391882, 978-1545391884,
weight: 7.7 ounces (