The Sea Wolf
For three days I did my own work and Thomas Mugridge's too; and I flatter myself that I
did his work well. I know that it won Wolf Larsen's approval, while the sailors beamed
with satisfaction during the brief time my REGIME lasted.
"The first clean bite since I come aboard," Harrison said to me at the galley door, as he
returned the dinner pots and pans from the forecastle. "Somehow Tommy's grub always
tastes of grease, stale grease, and I reckon he ain't changed his shirt since he left 'Frisco."
"I know he hasn't," I answered.
"And I'll bet he sleeps in it," Harrison added.
"And you won't lose," I agreed. "The same shirt, and he hasn't had it off once in all this
But three days was all Wolf Larsen allowed him in which to recover from the effects of
the beating. On the fourth day, lame and sore, scarcely able to see, so closed were his
eyes, he was haled from his bunk by the nape of the neck and set to his duty. He sniffled
and wept, but Wolf Larsen was pitiless.
"And see that you serve no more slops," was his parting injunction. "No more grease and
dirt, mind, and a clean shirt occasionally, or you'll get a tow over the side. Understand?"
Thomas Mugridge crawled weakly across the galley floor, and a short lurch of the Ghost
sent him staggering. In attempting to recover himself, he reached for the iron railing
which surrounded the stove and kept the pots from sliding off; but he missed the railing,
and his hand, with his weight behind it, landed squarely on the hot surface. There was a
sizzle and odour of burning flesh, and a sharp cry of pain.
"Oh, Gawd, Gawd, wot 'ave I done?" he wailed; sitting down in the coal-box and nursing
his new hurt by rocking back and forth. "W'y 'as all this come on me? It mykes me fair
sick, it does, an' I try so 'ard to go through life 'armless an' 'urtin' nobody."
The tears were running down his puffed and discoloured cheeks, and his face was drawn
with pain. A savage expression flitted across it.
"Oh, 'ow I 'ate 'im! 'Ow I 'ate 'im!" he gritted out.
"Whom?" I asked; but the poor wretch was weeping again over his misfortunes. Less
difficult it was to guess whom he hated than whom he did not hate. For I had come to see
a malignant devil in him which impelled him to hate all the world. I sometimes thought
that he hated even himself, so grotesquely had life dealt with him, and so monstrously. At
such moments a great sympathy welled up within me, and I felt shame that I had ever