Twelve Stories and a Dream
7. Jimmy Goggles The God
"It isn't every one who's been a god," said the sunburnt man. "But it's happened to me.
Among other things."
I intimated my sense of his condescension.
"It don't leave much for ambition, does it?" said the sunburnt man.
"I was one of those men who were saved from the Ocean Pioneer. Gummy! how time
flies! It's twenty years ago. I doubt if you'll remember anything of the Ocean Pioneer?"
The name was familiar, and I tried to recall when and where I had read it. The Ocean
Pioneer? "Something about gold dust," I said vaguely, "but the precise--"
"That's it," he said. "In a beastly little channel she hadn't no business in--dodging pirates.
It was before they'd put the kybosh on that business. And there'd been volcanoes or
something and all the rocks was wrong. There's places about by Soona where you fair
have to follow the rocks about to see where they're going next. Down she went in twenty
fathoms before you could have dealt for whist, with fifty thousand pounds worth of gold
aboard, it was said, in one form or another."
"I remember the case now," I said. "There was something about salvage--"
But at the word salvage the sunburnt man exploded into language so extraordinarily
horrible that I stopped aghast. He came down to more ordinary swearing, and pulled
himself up abruptly. "Excuse me," he said, "but--salvage!"
He leant over towards me. "I was in that job," he said. "Tried to make myself a rich man,
and got made a god instead. I've got my feelings--
"It ain't all jam being a god," said the sunburnt man, and for some time conversed by
means of such pithy but unprogressive axioms. At last he took up his tale again.
"There was me," said the sunburnt man, "and a seaman named Jacobs, and Always, the
mate of the Ocean Pioneer. And him it was that set the whole thing going. I remember
him now, when we was in the jolly-boat, suggesting it all to our minds just by one
sentence. He was a wonderful hand at suggesting things. 'There was forty thousand
pounds,' he said, 'on that ship, and it's for me to say just where she went down.' It didn't
need much brains to tumble to that. And he was the leader from the first to the last. He
got hold of the Sanderses and their brig; they were brothers, and the brig was the Pride of