Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/191

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only sailors who are forced to live together on long voyages know how to hate. My bunk was immediately over his, and when I slid out in the morning my feet had to dangle in front of his venomous face. When I crawled up at night the same thing happened. We worked side by side, got the same pay, and ate the same grub, yet I never was with him without feeling his animosity toward me.

“It was only by the merest accident that I found out why he hated me. He blurted it out in the forecastle one night after I had gone on deck, and the men told me when I dropped down the companion-way again. He hated me because I brushed my teeth! Oh!—you needn’t laugh! Men have murdered each other for less. I once knew a man who picked a quarrel at the club with a diplomat because he dared to twist his mustache at the same angle as his own; and another—an Austrian colonel—who challenged a brother officer to a mortal duel for serving a certain Johannesburg when it was a well-known fact that he claimed to own every bottle of that year’s vintage.

“I continued brushing my teeth, of course, and at the same time kept an eye on the Portuguese whose slurs and general ugliness at