Page:A Mainsail Haul - Masefield - 1913.djvu/19

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old skellinton of a boat lying bilged on the sand. And he went off in her, paddling with the rudder, and he got alongside before she actually sank.

Now, when he gets alongside, that there brigantine was all rusty and rotted and all grown green with grass. And flowers were growing on the deck, and barnacles were a foot thick below the water. The gulls had nested in her sails, and the ropes drifted in the wind like flags, and a big red rose-bush was twisted up the tiller. And there in the grass, with daisies and such, were the lanky white bones of all them Dagoes. They lay where they'd died, with the vino casks near by and a pannikin of tin that they'd been using as a dicebox. They was dead white bones, the whole crew—dead of waiting for Don Alfonso while he was drinking with the little red man.

So Don Alfonso he kneels and he prays, and "Oh," he says, "that I might die too, and me the cause of these here whited bones, and all from my love of licker! Never again will I touch rum," he says. "If I reach home," he says—he was praying, you must mind—"you'll see I never