A Deal in Wheat And Other Stories
With set teeth, and ever and again glancing over the rail at the oncoming boat, the two
fed their fortune to the fire. The pelts, partially cured and still fatty, blazed like crude oil,
the hair crisping, the hides melting into rivulets of grease. For a minute the schooner
reeked of the smell and a stifling smoke poured from the galley stack. Then the embers of
the fire guttered and a long whiff of sea wind blew away the reek. A single skin, fallen in
the scramble, still remained on the floor of the galley. Hardenberg snatched it up, tossed
it into the flames and clapped the door to. "Now, let him squeal," he declared. "You
fellows, when that boat gets here, let me talk; keep your mouths shut or, by God, we'll all
The Three Crows watched the boat's approach in a silence broken only once by a long
whimper from Ally Bazan. "An' it was a-workin' out as lovely as Billy-oh," he said, "till
that syme underbred costermonger's swipe remembered he was Methody--an' him who,
only a few d'ys back, went raound s'yin' 'scrag the "Boomskys"!' A couple o' thousand
pounds gone as quick as look at it. Oh, I eyn't never goin' to git over this."
The boat came up and the Three Crows were puzzled to note that no brass-buttoned
personage sat in the stern-sheets, no harbour police glowered at them from the bow, no
officer of the law fixed them with the eye of suspicion. The boat was manned only by a
couple of freight-handlers in woolen Jerseys, upon the breasts of which were affixed the
two letters "C.H."
"Say," called one of the freight-handlers, "is this the Bertha Millner?"
"Yes," answered Hardenberg, his voice at a growl. "An' what might you want with her,
"Well, look here," said the other, "one of your hands came ashore mad as a coot and
broke into the house of the American Consul, and resisted arrest and raised hell generally.
The inspector says you got to send a provost guard or something ashore to take him off.
There's been several mix-ups among ships' crews lately and the town----"
The tide drifted the boat out of hearing, and Hardenberg sat down on the capstan head,
turning his back to his comrades. There was a long silence. Then he said:
"Boys, let's go home. I--I want to have a talk with President Ryder."