Drift from Two Shores
With The Entrees
"Once, when I was a pirate--!"
The speaker was an elderly gentleman in correct evening dress, the room a tasteful one,
the company of infinite respectability, the locality at once fashionable and exclusive, the
occasion an unexceptionable dinner. To this should be added that the speaker was also
With these conditions self-evident, all that good breeding could do was to receive the
statement with a vague smile that might pass for good-humored incredulity or courteous
acceptation of a simple fact. Indeed, I think we all rather tried to convey the impression
that our host, when he WAS a pirate,--if he ever really was one,--was all that a self-
respecting pirate should be, and never violated the canons of good society. This idea was,
to some extent, crystallized by the youngest Miss Jones in the exclamation, "Oh, how
"It was, of course, many years ago, when I was quite a lad."
We all murmured "Certainly," as if piracy were a natural expression of the exuberance of
"I ought, perhaps, explain the circumstances that led me into this way of life."
Here Legrande, a courteous attache of the Patagonian legation, interposed in French and
an excess of politeness, "that it was not of a necessity," a statement to which his English
neighbor hurriedly responded, "Oui, oui."
"There ess a boke," he continued, in a well-bred, rapid whisper, "from Captain Canot,--a
Frenchman,--most eenteresting--he was--oh, a fine man of education--and what you call a
'slavair,'" but here he was quietly nudged into respectful silence.
"I ran away from home," continued our host. He paused, and then added, appealingly, to
the two distinguished foreigners present: "I do not know if I can make you understand
that this is a peculiarly American predilection. The exodus of the younger males of an
American family against the parents' wishes does not, with us, necessarily carry any
obloquy with it. To the average American the prospect of fortune and a better condition
lies OUTSIDE of his home; with you the home means the estate, the succession of honors
or titles, the surety that the conditions of life shall all be kept intact. With us the children
who do not expect, and generally succeed in improving the fortunes of the house, are
marked exceptions. Do I make myself clear?"
The French-Patagonian attache thought it was "charming and progressif." The Baron Von
Pretzel thought he had noticed a movement of that kind in Germany, which was