Jack London

         The Proud Goat of Aloysius Pankburn

             From "A Son of the Sun"


    Quick eye that he had for the promise of adventure, prepared always for the
unexpected  to  leap  out  at  him  from  behind  the  nearest  cocoanut  tree, 
nevertheless David Grief received no warning when  he  laid  eyes  on  Aloysius
Pankburn. It was on the little steamer Berthe. Leaving his schooner to  follow,
Grief had taken passage for the short run across from Raiatea to Papeete.  When
he first saw Aloysius Pankburn, that somewhat fuddled  gentleman  was  drinking 
a lonely cocktail at the tiny bar between decks next to the  barber  shop.  And
when Grief left the barber's hands half an hour  later  Aloysius  Pankburn  was
still hanging over the bar, still drinking by himself.
    Now it is not good for man to drink alone, and Grief threw  sharp  scrutiny 
into his passing glance. He  saw  a  well-built  young  man  of  thirty,  well-
featured, well-dressed, and evidently, in the world's catalogue,  a  gentleman. 
But in the faint hint of slovenliness, in the shaking, eager hand that  spilled 
the liquor, and in the nervous, vacillating eyes, Grief read  the  unmistakable
marks of the chronic alcoholic.
    After dinner he chanced upon Pankburn again. This time it was on deck,  and 
the young man, clinging to the rail and peering into the distance  at  the  dim 
forms of a man and woman in two steamer  chairs  drawn  closely  together,  was 
crying, drunkenly. Grief noted that the man's arm was around the woman's waist.
Aloysius Pankburn looked on and cried.
    "Nothing to weep about," Grief said genially.
    Pankburn looked at him, and gushed tears of profound self-pity.
    "It's hard," he sobbed.  "Hard.  Hard.  That  man's  my  business  manager. 
I employ him. I pay him a good screw. And that's how he earns it."
    "In that case, why don't you put a stop to it?" Grief advised.
    "I can't. She'd shut off my whiskey. She's my trained nurse."
    "Fire her, then, and drink your head off."
    "I can't. He's got all my money. If I did, he wouldn't give me sixpence  to 
buy a drink with."
    This woful possibility brought a fresh wash of tears. Grief was interested. 
Of all unique situations he could never have imagined such a one as this.
    "They were engaged to take care of me," Pankburn was blubbering,  "to  keep 
me away from the drink. And that's the way they do it, lollygagging  all  about 
the ship and letting me drink myself to death. It isn't right, I tell  you.  It
isn't right. They were sent along with  me  for  the  express  purpose  of  not 
letting me drink, and they let me drink to swinishness as long as I leave  them
alone. If I complain they threaten not to let me have another  drop.  What  can 
a poor devil do? My death will be on their heads, that's all. Come on down  and
join me."
    He released his clutch on the rail, and would have  fallen  had  Grief  not 
caught his arm. He seemed to undergo a transformation, to  stiffen  physically, 
to thrust his chin forward aggressively, and to glint harshly in his eyes.
    "I won't let them kill me. And they'll be sorry. I've  offered  them  fifty
thousand - later on, of course. They laughed. They don't know. But I know."  He
fumbled in his coat pocket and drew forth an object that flashed in  the  faint
light. "They don't know the meaning of that. But I do." He looked at Grief with 
abrupt suspicion. "What do you make out of it, eh? What do you make out of it?"
    David Grief caught a swift vision of an alcoholic degenerate putting a very
loving young couple to death with a copper spike, for a copper spike  was  what
he held in his hand, an evident old-fashioned ship-fastening.
    "My mother thinks I'm up here to get cured of the booze habit. She  doesn't
know. I bribed the doctor to prescribe a voyage. When  we  get  to  Papeete  my
manager is going to charter a schooner and away  we'll  sail.  But  they  don't
dream. They think it's the booze. I know. I only know.  Good  night,  sir.  I'm
going to bed - unless - er - you'll join me in a night cap. One last drink, you 


    In the week that followed at Papeete  Grief  caught  numerous  and  bizarre
glimpses of Aloysius Pankburn. So did  everybody  else  in  the  little  island
capital; for neither  the  beach  nor  Lavina's  boarding  house  had  been  so
scandalized in years. In midday, bareheaded,  clad  only  in  swimming  trunks,
Aloysius Pankburn ran down the main street from Lavina's to the water front. He 
put on the gloves with a fireman from the Berthe in a scheduled four-round bout   
at the Folies Bergères, and was knocked out  in  the  second  round.  He  tried 
insanely to drown himself in a two-foot pool  of  water,  dived  drunkenly  and
splendidly from fifty feet up in the rigging  of  the  Mariposa  lying  at  the 
wharf, and chartered the cutter Toerau at more than her purchase price and  was
only saved by his manager's refusal financially to  ratify  the  agreement.  He
bought out the old blind leper at the market, and sold  breadfruit,  plantains,
and sweet potatoes at such cut-rates that the  gendarmes  were  called  out  to 
break the rush of bargain-hunting natives. For that  matter,  three  times  the
gendarmes arrested him for riotous  behaviour,  and  three  times  his  manager
ceased from love-making long enough  to  pay  the  fines  imposed  by  a  needy 
colonial administration.
    Then the Mariposa sailed for San Francisco, and in the  bridal  suite  were 
the manager and the trained nurse, fresh-married. Before departing, the manager
had thoughtfully bestowed eight five-pound  banknotes  on  Aloysius,  with  the
foreseen result that Aloysius awoke several days later to  find  himself  broke
and perilously near to delirium tremens. Lavina, famed for her good heart  even
among the driftage of South Pacific rogues and scamps, nursed  him  around  and
never let it filter into his returning  intelligence  that  there  was  neither
manager nor money to pay his board.
    It was several evenings after this that David  Grief,  lounging  under  the 
after deck awning of the Kittiwake and idly scanning the meagre columns of  the
Papeete Avant-Coureur, sat suddenly up and  almost  rubbed  his  eyes.  It  was
unbelievable, but there it was. The old South Seas Romance  was  not  dead.  He
    Wanted, - To exchange a  half  interest  in  buried  treasure,  worth  five 
million francs, for transportation for one to an unknown island in the  Pacific 
and facilities for carrying away the loot. Ask for Folly, at Lavina's.
    Grief looked at his watch. It was early yet, only eight o'clock.
    "Mr. Carlsen," he called in the direction of a glowing pipe. "Get the  crew 
for the whaleboat. I'm going ashore."
    The husky voice of the Norwegian mate was raised for'ard, and half a  dozen
strapping Rapa Islanders ceased their singing and manned the boat.
    "I came to see Folly, Mr. Folly, I imagine," David Grief told Lavina.
    He noted the quick interest in her eyes as she turned her  head  and  flung 
a command in native across two open rooms to the  outstanding  kitchen.  A  few
minutes later a barefooted native girl padded in and shook her head.
    Lavina's disappointment was evident.
    "You're stopping aboard the Kittiwake, aren't you?" she  said.  "I'll  tell 
him you called."
    "Then it is a he?" Grief queried.
    Lavina nodded.
    "I hope you can do something for him,  Captain  Grief.  I'm  only  a  good-
natured woman. I don't know. But he's a likable man, and he may be telling  the 
truth; I don't know. You'll know. You're not a softhearted fool like me.  Can't 
I mix you a cocktail?"


    Back on board his schooner and dozing in a deck chair under a three-months-
old magazine, David Grief was aroused  by  a  sobbing,  Blubbering  noise  from 
overside. He opened his eyes. From the Chilean cruiser, a  quarter  of  a  mile 
away, came the stroke of eight bells.  It  was  midnight.  From  overside  came 
a splash and another slubbering noise. To him it seemed  half  amphibian,  half 
the sounds of a man crying to himself and querulously chanting his  sorrows  to
the general universe.
    A jump took David Grief  to  the  low  rail.  Beneath,  centred  about  the 
slubbering noise, was an area of agitated  phosphorescence.  Leaning  over,  he 
locked his hand under the armpit of a man, and, with pull and heave and  quick-
changing grips, he drew on deck the naked form of Aloysius Pankburn.
    "I didn't have a sou-markee,"  he  complained.  "I  had  to  swim  it,  and 
I couldn't find your gangway. It was very miserable. Pardon  me.  If  you  have 
a towel to put about my middle, and a good stiff drink, I'll  be  more  myself. 
I'm Mr. Folly, and you're the Captain Grief, I presume, who called on me when I 
was out. No, I'm not drunk. Nor am I cold. This isn't shivering. Lavina allowed 
me only two drinks to-day. I'm on the edge of  the  horrors,  that's  all,  and 
I was beginning to see things when I couldn't find the gangway. If you'll  take 
me below I'll be  very  grateful.  You  are  the  only  one  that  answered  my 
    He was shaking pitiably in the warm night, and down in the cabin, before he
got his towel, Grief saw to it that a half-tumbler of whiskey was in his  hand.
    "Now fire ahead," Grief said, when he had got his guest into  a  shirt  and 
a pair of duck trousers. "What's this advertisement of yours?  I'm  listening." 
    Pankburn looked at the whiskey bottle, but Grief shook his head.
    "All right, Captain, though I tell you on whatever is  left  of  my  honour 
that I am not drunknot in the least. Also, what I shall tell you is true,  and 
I shall tell it briefly, for it is clear to me that you are a  man  of  affairs 
and action. Likewise, your chemistry is good. To you  alcohol  has  never  been 
a million maggots gnawing at every cell of you. You've never been to hell. I am
there now. I am scorching. Now listen.
    "My mother is alive. She is  English.  I  was  born  in  Australia.  I  was 
educated at York and Yale. I am a master of arts, a doctor of philosophy; and I 
am no good. Furthermore, I am an alcoholic. I have been an athlete. I  used  to
swan-dive a hundred and ten feet in the clear. I hold several amateur  records.
I am a fish. I learned the crawl-stroke from the first of the Cavilles. I  have
done thirty miles in a rough sea. I have another record. I have  punished  more
whiskey than any man of my years. I will steal sixpence from you for the  price
of a drink. Finally, I will tell you the truth.
    "My father was an American - an Annapolis man. He was a midshipman  in  the 
War of the Rebellion. In '66 he was a lieutenant on the  Suwanee.  Her  captain 
was Paul Shirley. In '66 the Suwanee coaled at an island in the Pacific which I 
do not care to mention, under a protectorate which did not exist then and which 
shall be nameless. Ashore, behind the bar of a  public  house,  my  father  saw 
three copper spikes - ship's spikes."
    David Grief smiled quietly.
    "And now I can tell you  the  name  of  the  coaling  station  and  of  the 
protectorate that came afterward," he said.
    "And of the three spikes?" Pankburn asked with equal quietness. "Go  ahead, 
for they are in my possession now."
    "Certainly. They were behind German Oscar's bar  at  Peenoo-Peenee.  Johnny 
Black brought them there from off his schooner the night he died. He  was  just 
back from a long cruise to the westward, fishing  bêche-de-mer  and  sandalwood
trading. All the beach knows the tale."
    Pankburn shook his head.
    "Go on," he urged.
    "It was before my time, of course," Grief explained. "I only tell what I've
heard. Next came  the  Ecuadoran  cruiser,  of  all  directions,  in  from  the 
westward, and bound home. Her officers recognized the spikes. Johnny Black  was
dead. They got hold of his mate and log-book. Away to the  westward  went  she.
Six months after, again bound home, she dropped in at  Peenoo-Peenee.  She  had
failed, and the tale leaked out."
    "When the revolutionists were marching on Guayaquil," Pankburn took it  up,
"the federal officers, believing a defence of the city  hopeless,  salted  down
the government treasure chest, something like a million dollars gold,  but  all
in English coinage, and put it on board the American schooner Flirt. They  were
going to run at daylight. The American captain skinned out in the middle of the 
night. Go on."
    "It's an old story," Grief resumed. "There  was  no  other  vessel  in  the 
harbour. The federal leaders couldn't run. They put their backs to the wall and 
held the city. Rohjas Salced, making a forced  march  from  Quito,  raised  the 
siege. The revolution was broken, and the one ancient steamer that  constituted 
the Ecuadoran navy was sent in pursuit of the Flirt. They caught  her,  between 
the Banks Group and the New Hebrides, hove to and flying distress signals.  The
captain had died the day before-blackwater fever." 
    "And the mate?" Pankburn challenged.
    "The mate had been killed a week earlier by  the  natives  on  one  of  the 
Banks, when they sent a boat in for water. There were no navigators  left.  The 
men were put to the torture. It was beyond international law.  They  wanted  to
confess, but couldn't. They told of the three spikes in the trees on the beach, 
but where the island was they did  not  know.  To  the  westward,  far  to  the 
westward, was all they knew. The tale now goes two ways. One is that  they  all
died under the torture. The other is that  the  survivors  were  swung  at  the 
yardarm. At any rate, the Ecuadoran cruiser went  home  without  the  treasure.
Johnny Black brought the three spikes to Peenoo-Peenee, and left them at German 
Oscar's, but how and where he found them he never told."
    Pankburn looked hard at the whiskey bottle.
    "Just two fingers," he whimpered.
    Grief considered, and poured a meagre drink. Pankburn's eyes sparkled,  and 
he took new lease of life.
    "And this is where I come in with the missing details,"  he  said.  "Johnny 
Black did tell. He told my father. Wrote him from Levuka, before he came on  to 
die at Peenoo-Peenee. My father had saved his life  one  rough-house  night  in
Valparaiso. A Chink pearler,  out  of  Thursday  Island,  prospecting  for  new
grounds to the north of New Guinea, traded for the three spikes with a  nigger.
Johnny Black bought them for copper weight. He didn't dream any more  than  the
Chink, but coming back he stopped for hawksbill turtle at the very beach  where
you say the mate of the Flirt was killed. Only  he  wasn't  killed.  The  Banks
Islanders held him prisoner, and he was  dying  of  necrosis  of  the  jawbone, 
caused by an arrow wound in the fight on the beach. Before he died he told  the
yarn to Johnny Black. Johnny Black wrote my father from Levuka. He was  at  the
end of his ropecancer. My father, ten years afterward,  when  captain  of  the
Perry, got the spikes from German Oscar. And from my father, last will and
testament, you know, came the spikes and the  data.  I  have  the  island,  the
latitude and longitude of the beach where the three spikes were nailed  in  the
trees. The spikes are up at Lavina's now. The latitude and longitude are in  my
head. Now what do you think?"
    "Fishy," was Grief's instant judgment. "Why didn't your father go  and  get 
it himself?"
    "Didn't need it. An uncle died and left him a fortune. He retired from  the
navy, ran foul of an epidemic of trained nurses in Boston, and  my  mother  got 
a divorce. Also, she fell heir to an income of something like  thirty  thousand
dollars, and went to live in New Zealand. I was divided between them, half-time 
New Zealand, half-time United States, until my father's death last year. Now my 
mother has me altogether. He left me his money - oh, a couple of millions - but 
my mother has had guardians appointed on account of the drink.  I'm  worth  all 
kinds of money, but I can't touch a penny save what is doled out to me. But the 
old man, who had got the tip on my drinking, left me the three spikes  and  the 
data thereunto pertaining. Did it through his lawyers, unknown  to  my  mother; 
said it beat life insurance, and that if I had the backbone to go  and  get  it 
I could drink my back teeth awash until I died. Millions in  the  hands  of  my 
guardians, slathers of shekels of my mother's that'll be mine if she  beats  me 
to the crematory, another million waiting to be dug up, and in the meantime I'm 
cadging on Lavina for two  drinks  a  day.  It's  hell,  isn't  it? - when  you 
consider my thirst."
    "Where's the island?"
    "It's a long way from here."
    "Name it."
    "Not on your life, Captain Grief. You're making an easy half-million out of
this. You will sail under my directions, and when we're well to sea and on  our
way I'll tell you and not before."
    Grief shrugged his shoulders, dismissing the subject.
    "When I've given you another drink I'll send the boat ashore with you,"  he
    Pankburn was taken aback. For at least five minutes he debated with himself,
then licked his lips and surrendered.
    "If you promise to go, I'll tell you now."
    "Of course I'm willing to go. That's why I asked you. Name the island."
    Pankburn looked at the bottle.
    "I'll take that drink now, Captain."
    "No you won't. That drink was for you if you went ashore. If you are  going 
to tell me the island, you must do it in your sober senses."
    "Francis Island, if  you  will  have  it.  Bougainville  named  it  Barbour 
    "Off there all by its lonely in the Little Coral Sea," Grief said. "I  know 
it. Lies between New Ireland and New Guinea. A rotten hole now, though  it  was 
all right when the Flirt drove in the spikes and the Chink pearler  traded  for
them. The steamship Castor, recruiting labour for the  Upolu  plantations,  was 
cut off there with all hands two years  ago.  I  knew  her  captain  well.  The 
Germans sent a cruiser, shelled the bush, burned half a dozen villages,  killed
a couple of niggers and a lot of pigs, and - and  that  was  all.  The  niggers
always were bad there, but they turned really bad forty  years  ago.  That  was
when they cut off a whaler. Let me see? What was her name?"
    He stepped to the bookshelf, drew out the bulky "South Pacific  Directory," 
and ran through its pages.
    "Yes. Here it is. Francis, or Barbour," he skimmed.  "Natives  warlike  and
treacherous - Melanesian - cannibals. Whaleship Western cut off - that was  her 
name.  Shoals - points - anchorages - ah,  Redscar,  Owen  Bay,  Likikili  Bay, 
that's more like it; deep indentation, mangrove swamps, good  holding  in  nine 
fathoms when white scar  in  bluff  bears  west-southwest."  Grief  looked  up. 
"That's your beach, Pankburn, I'll swear."
    "Will you go?" the other demanded eagerly.
    Grief nodded.
    "It sounds good to me. Now if the story had been of a hundred millions,  or
some such crazy sum, I wouldn't look at it for a moment. We'll sail  to-morrow,
but under one consideration. You are to be absolutely under my orders."
    His visitor nodded emphatically and joyously.
    "And that means no drink."
    "That's pretty hard," Pankburn whined.
    "It's my terms. I'm enough of a doctor to see you don't come to  harm.  And 
you are to work - hard work, sailor's work. You'll stand  regular  watches  and
everything, though you eat and sleep aft with us."
    "It's a go." Pankburn put out his hand to  ratify  the  agreement.  "If  it 
doesn't kill me," he added.
    David Grief poured a generous three-fingers into the tumbler  and  extended 
    "Then here's your last drink. Take it."
    Pankburn's hand went halfway out. With a sudden  spasm  of  resolution,  he
hesitated, threw back his shoulders, and straightened up his head.
    "I guess I won't," he began, then,  feebly  surrendering  to  the  gnaw  of 
desire, he reached hastily for the glass, as  if  in  fear  that  it  would  be 


    It is a long traverse from Papeete in the Societies  to  the  Little  Coral 
Sea - from 150 west longitude to 150 east longitude - as  the  crow  flies  the
equivalent to a voyage across the Atlantic. But the Kittiwake did not go as the 
crow flies. David Grief's numerous interests diverted her course many times. He 
stopped to take a look-in at uninhabited Rose island with an eye to  colonizing 
and planting cocoanuts. Next, he paid his respects to  Tui  Manua,  of  Eastern 
Samoa, and opened an intrigue for a share of the trade monopoly of  that  dying 
king's three islands. From Apia he carried several relief agents and a load  of 
trade goods to the Gilberts. He peeped in at Ontong-Java Atoll,  inspected  his 
plantations on Ysabel, and  purchased  lands  from  the  salt-water  chiefs  of 
northwestern Malaita. And all along this devious way he made a man of  Aloysius 
    That thirster, though he lived  aft,  was  compelled  to  do  the  work  of 
a common sailor. And not only did he take his wheel and lookout, and  heave  on 
sheets and tackles, but the dirtiest and most arduous tasks were appointed him. 
Swung aloft in a  bosun's  chair,  he  scraped  the  masts  and  slushed  down. 
Holystoning the deck or scrubbing it with fresh limes made his  back  ache  and 
developed the wasted, flabby muscles. When the Kittiwake lay at anchor and  her 
copper bottom was scrubbed with cocoanut husks by the native  crew,  who  dived 
and did it under water, Pankburn was sent down on his shift and as  many  times 
as any on the shift.
    "Look at yourself," Grief said. "You are twice. the man you were  when  you 
came on board. You haven't had one drink, you didn't die,  and  the  poison  is 
pretty well worked out of you. It's the  work.  It  beats  trained  nurses  and 
business managers. Here, if you're thirsty. Clap your lips to this."
    With several deft strokes of his heavy-backed sheath-knife, Grief clipped a
triangular piece of shell from the end of a husked drinking-cocoanut. The thin, 
cool liquid, slightly milky and effervescent, bubbled to the brim. With a  bow, 
Pankburn took the natural cup, threw his head back, and held it back  till  the 
shell was empty. He drank many of these nuts each day. The black steward, a New 
Hebrides boy sixty years of age, and his assistant, a Lark Islander of  eleven, 
saw to it that he was continually supplied.
    Pankburn did not object to the hard work. He devoured work, never  shirking 
and always beating the native sailors in jumping to obey  a  command.  But  his
sufferings during the period of driving the alcohol  out  of  his  system  were 
truly heroic. Even when the last shred of the poison was exuded, the desire, as 
an obsession, remained in his head. So it was, when, on  his  honour,  he  went
ashore at Apia, that he attempted to put the public houses out of  business  by
drinking up their stocks in trade. And so it was, at two in the  morning,  that
David Grief found him in front  of  the  Tivoli,  out  of  which  he  had  been
disorderly thrown by Charley Roberts. Aloysius, as of  old,  was  chanting  his
sorrows to the stars. Also, and more concretely, he was punctuating the  rhythm
with cobbles of coral stone, which  he  flung  with  amazing  accuracy  through
Charley Roberts's windows.
    David Grief took him away, but not till next morning did  he  take  him  in 
hand. It was on the deck of the Kittiwake, and there was  nothing  kindergarten 
about it. Grief struck him, with bare knuckles, punched him and punished  him - 
gave him the worst thrashing he had ever received.
    "For the good of your soul, Pankburn," was the way he emphasized his blows.
"For the good of your mother. For the progeny that will  come  after.  For  the
good of the world, and the universe, and the whole race of man yet to  be.  And
now, to hammer the lesson home, we'll do it all over again. That, for the  good
of your soul; and that, for your  mother's  sake;  and  that,  for  the  little
children, undreamed of and unborn, whose mother you'll love  for  their  sakes, 
and for love's sake, in the lease of manhood that will be yours when I am  done
with you. Come on and take your medicine. I'm not done with you yet. I've  only
begun. There are many other reasons which I shall now proceed to expound."
    The brown sailors and the black stewards and cook looked  on  and  grinned. 
Far from them was the questioning of any of the mysterious and incomprehensible
ways of white men. As for Carlsen, the mate, he was grimly in accord  with  the
treatment his employer  was  administering;  while  Albright,  the  supercargo,
merely played with his mustache and smiled. They were  men  of  the  sea.  They 
lived life in the rough. And alcohol, in themselves as well as  in  other  men,
was a problem they had learned  to  handle  in  ways  not  taught  in  doctors' 
    "Boy! A bucket of fresh water and a towel,"  Grief  ordered,  when  he  had
finished. "Two buckets and two towels," he added, as he surveyed his own hands.
    "You're a pretty one," he said to  Pankburn.  "You've  spoiled  everything. 
I had the poison completely out of you. And now you are fairly reeking with it.
We've got to begin all over again. Mr. Albright! You  know  that  pile  of  old
chain on the beach at the boat-landing. Find the owner, buy it, and fetch it on 
board. There must be a hundred and fifty fathoms  of  it.  Pankburn!  To-morrow 
morning you start in pounding the rust off of it. When you've done that, you'll 
sandpaper it. Then you'll paint it. And nothing else  will  you  do  till  that 
chain is as smooth as new."
    Aloysius Pankburn shook his head.
    "I quit. Francis Island can go to hell for all of me. I'm  done  with  your
slave-driving. Kindly put me ashore at once. I'm a white man. You  can't  treat
me this way."
    "Mr. Carlsen, you will see that Mr. Pankburn remains on board."
    "I'll have you broken for this!" Aloysius screamed. "You can't stop me."
    "I can give you another licking," Grief answered. "And let me tell you  one
thing, you besotted whelp, I'll keep on licking you as long as my knuckles hold 
out or until you yearn to hammer chain rust. I've taken you in  hand,  and  I'm 
going to make a man out of you if I have to kill you to do it. Now go below and 
change your clothes. Be  ready  to  turn  to  with  a  hammer  this  afternoon. 
Mr. Albright, get that chain aboard pronto. Mr. Carlsen, send the boats  ashore 
after it. Also, keep your eye on Pankburn. If he shows signs of keeling over or 
going into the shakes, give him a nip - a small one. He may need it after  last 


    For the rest of the time  the  Kittiwake  lay  in  Apia  Aloysius  Pankburn 
pounded chain rust. Ten hours a day he pounded. And on the long stretch  across 
to the Gilberts he still pounded. Then came the sandpapering. One  hundred  and 
fifty fathoms is nine hundred feet, and every  link  of  all  that  length  was 
smoothed and polished as no link ever was before. And when the  last  link  had 
received its second coat of black paint, he declared himself.
    "Come on with more dirty work," he told Grief.  "I'll  overhaul  the  other 
chains if you say so. And you needn't worry about me any more. I'm not going to 
take another drop. I'm going to train up. You got my proud goat when  you  beat 
me, but let me tell you, you only got it temporarily. Train! I'm going to train
till I'm as hard all the way through, and clean all the way  through,  as  that 
chain is. And some day, Mister David Grief, somewhere, somehow, I'm going to be 
in such shape that I'll lick you as you licked me. I'm going to pulp your  face 
till your own niggers won't know you." 
    Grief was jubilant.
    "Now you're talking like a man," he cried. "The only way you'll  ever  lick 
me is to become a man. And then, maybe -"
    He paused in the hope that the other would catch the  suggestion.  Aloysius
groped for it, and, abruptly, something akin to illumination shone in his eyes.
    "And then I won't want to, you mean?"
    Grief nodded.
    "And that's the curse of it," Aloysius lamented. "I really believe I  won't 
want to. I see the point. But I'm going to go right on and shape myself up just 
the same."
    The warm, sunburn glow in Grief's face seemed to grow warmer. His hand went
    "Pankburn, I love you right now for that."
    Aloysius grasped the hand, and shook his head in sad sincerity.
    "Grief," he mourned, "you've got my goat, you've got  my  proud  goat,  and 
you've got it permanently, I'm afraid."


    On a sultry tropic day, when the last flicker of the  far  southeast  trade 
was fading out and the seasonal change for the northwest monsoon was coming on,
the Kittiwake lifted above the sea-rim the jungle-clad coast of Francis Island. 
Grief, with compass bearings and binoculars, identified the volcano that marked 
Redscar, ran past Owen Bay, and lost the last of the breeze at the entrance  to 
Likikili Bay. With the two whaleboats out and towing, and with Carlsen  heaving 
the lead, the Kittiwake sluggishly entered a deep and narrow indentation. There 
were no beaches. The mangroves began at the water's edge, and behind them  rose 
steep jungle, broken here and there by jagged peaks of  rock.  At  the  end  of 
a mile, when the  white  scar  on  the  bluff  bore  west-southwest,  the  lead 
vindicated the "Directory," and the anchor rumbled down in nine fathoms.
For the rest of that day and until the afternoon of the day following they
remained on the Kittiwake and waited. No canoes appeared. There were no signs
of human life. Save for the occasional splash of a fish or the screaming of
cockatoos, there seemed no other life. Once, however, a huge butterfly, twelve
inches from tip to tip, fluttered high over their mastheads and drifted across
to the opposing jungle.
    "There's no use in sending a boat in to be cut up," Grief said.
    Pankburn was incredulous, and volunteered to go in alone, to swim it if  he
couldn't borrow the dingey.
    "They haven't forgotten the German cruiser,"  Grief  explained.  "And  I'll 
wager that bush is alive with men right now. What do you think, Mr. Carlsen?"
    That veteran adventurer of the islands was emphatic in his agreement.
    In the late afternoon of the second day Grief ordered a whaleboat into  the
water. He took his place in the bow, a live cigarette in his mouth and a short-
fused stick of dynamite in his hand, for he was bent  on  shooting  a  mess  of 
fish. Along the thwarts half a dozen Winchesters  were  placed.  Albright,  who
took the steering-sweep, had a Mauser within reach of hand. They pulled in  and
along the green wall of vegetation. At times they rested on  the  oars  in  the
midst of a profound silence.
    "Two to one the bush is swarming with themin quids," Albright whispered... 
    Pankburn listened a moment longer and took the bet. Five minutes later they
sighted a school of mullet. The brown rowers held their oars. Grief touched the 
short fuse to his cigarette and threw the stick. So short was the fuse that the 
stick exploded in the instant after it struck  the  water.  And  in  that  same 
instant the bush exploded into life. There were wild  yells  of  defiance,  and 
black and naked bodies leaped forward like apes through the mangroves.
    In the whaleboat every rifle was lifted. Then  came  the  wait.  A  hundred 
blacks, some few armed with ancient Sniders, but the greater portion armed with
tomahawks, fire-hardened spears, and bone-tipped arrows, clustered on the roots 
that rose out of the bay. No word was spoken.  Each  party  watched  the  other 
across twenty feet of water. An old,  one-eyed  black,  with  a  bristly  face, 
rested a Snider on his hip, the muzzle directed  at  Albright,  who,  in  turn, 
covered him back with the Mauser. A couple of minutes of this tableau  endured. 
The stricken fish rose to the surface or struggled half-stunned  in  the  clear 
    "It's all right, boys," Grief said quietly. "Put down your  guns  and  over 
the side with you. Mr. Albright, toss the tobacco to that one-eyed brute."
    While the Rapa men dived for the fish, Albright threw  a  bundle  of  trade
tobacco ashore. The one-eyed man nodded his head and writhed his features in an 
attempt at amiability. Weapons were lowered, bows unbent, and arrows  put  back 
in their quivers.
    "They know tobacco," Grief announced, as they  rowed  back  aboard.  "We'll 
have visitors. You'll break out a case of  tobacco,  Mr. Albright,  and  a  few
trade-knives. There's a canoe now."
    Old One-Eye, as befitted a chief and  leader,  paddled  out  alone,  facing 
peril for the rest of the tribe. As Carlsen leaned over the rail  to  help  the 
visitor up, he turned his head and remarked casually:
    "They've dug up the money, Mr. Grief. The old beggar's loaded with it."
    One-Eye floundered down on deck, grinning appeasingly and failing  to  hide 
the fear he had overcome but which still possessed him. He was lame of one leg,
and this was accounted for by a terrible scar, inches deep, which ran down  the
thigh from hip to knee. No clothes he wore whatever, not even a string, but his 
nose, perforated in a  dozen  places  and  each  perforation  the  setting  for 
a carved spine of bone, bristled like a porcupine. Around his neck and  hanging
down on his dirty chest was a string of gold sovereigns.  His  ears  were  hung
with silver  half-crowns,  and  from  the  cartilage  separating  his  nostrils 
depended a big English penny, tarnished and green, but unmistakable.
    "Hold on, Grief," Pankburn said, with perfectly assumed carelessness.  "You 
say they know only beads and tobacco. Very well. You follow  my  lead.  They've 
found the treasure, and we've got to trade them out of it. Get the  whole  crew 
aside and lecture them that they are to be  interested  only  in  the  pennies. 
Savve? Gold coins must be beneath contempt, and silver coins merely  tolerated.
Pennies are to be the only desirable things."
    Pankburn took charge of the trading. For the penny  in  One-Eye's  nose  he 
gave ten sticks of tobacco. Since each stick  cost  David  Grief  a  cent,  the 
bargain was manifestly unfair. But for the half-crowns Pankburn gave  only  one 
stick each. The string of sovereigns  he  refused  to  consider.  The  more  he 
refused, the more One-Eye insisted on a trade. At last, with an  appearance  of
irritation and anger, and as a palpable concession, Pankburn  gave  two  sticks
for the string, which was composed of ten sovereigns.
    "I take my hat off to you," Grief said to Pankburn that  night  at  dinner. 
"The situation is patent. You've reversed the scale of  value.  They'll  figure 
the pennies as priceless possessions  and  the  sovereigns  as  beneath  price. 
Result: they'll hang on to the pennies and force us to  trade  for  sovereigns. 
Pankburn, I drink your health! Boy!another cup of tea for Mr. Pankburn."


    Followed a golden week. From dawn till dark a row of canoes rested on their
paddles two hundred feet away. This was the dead-line. Rapa sailors, armed with 
rifles, maintained it. But one canoe at a time was permitted alongside, and but 
one black at a time was permitted to  come  over  the  rail.  Here,  under  the 
awning, relieving one another in hourly shifts, the four white men  carried  on 
the trade. The rate of exchange was that established by Pankburn with  One-Eye. 
Five sovereigns fetched a  stick  of  tobacco;  a  hundred  sovereigns,  twenty 
sticks. Thus, a crafty-eyed cannibal would deposit  on  the  table  a  thousand 
dollars in gold, and go back over the rail, hugely satisfied, with forty cents' 
worth of tobacco in his hand.
    "Hope we've got enough tobacco to hold out," Carlsen muttered dubiously, as
another case was sawed in half.
    Albright laughed.
    "We've got fifty cases below," he said, "and as I figure  it,  three  cases 
buy a hundred thousand dollars. There was only a  million  dollars  buried,  so 
thirty cases ought to get it. Though, of course, we've got to  allow  a  margin 
for the silver and the pennies. That Ecuadoran bunch must have salted down  all 
the coin in sight.
    Very few pennies and shillings appeared, though  Pankburn  continually  and
anxiously inquired for them. Pennies were the one thing he  seemed  to  desire,
and he made his eyes flash covetously whenever one was produced.  True  to  his
theory, the savages concluded that the gold, being of  slight  value,  must  be
disposed of first. A penny, worth fifty times  as  much  as  a  sovereign,  was
something to retain and treasure. Doubtless, in their  jungle-lairs,  the  wise
old gray-beards put their heads together and  agreed  to  raise  the  price  on
pennies when the worthless gold was all worked off. Who could tell? Mayhap  the
strange white men could be made to give even  twenty  sticks  for  a  priceless
    By the end of the week the trade went slack. There was only  the  slightest
dribble of gold. An occasional  penny  was  reluctantly  disposed  of  for  ten 
sticks, while several thousand dollars of silver came in.
    On the morning of the eighth day no trading was done.  The  graybeards  had
matured their plan and were  demanding  twenty  sticks  for  a  penny.  One-Eye
delivered the new rate of exchange. The white men  appeared  to  take  it  with
great seriousness, for they stood together debating in low voices. Had  One-Eye
understood English he would have been enlightened.
    "We've got just a little over eight  hundred  thousand,  not  counting  the
silver," Grief said. "And that's about all there is.  The  bush  tribes  behind
have most probably got the other two hundred thousand. Return in three  months,
and the salt-water crowd will have traded back for it; also they will be out of 
tobacco by that time."
    "It would be a sin to buy pennies," Albright grinned. "It goes against  the
thrifty grain of my trader's soul."
    "There's a whiff of land-breeze stirring," Grief said, looking at Pankburn.
"What do you say?"
    Pankburn nodded.
    "Very well." Grief measured the faintness  and  irregularity  of  the  wind 
against his cheek. "Mr. Carlsen, heave short, and  get  off  the  gaskets.  And 
stand by with the whaleboats to tow. This breeze is not dependable."
    He picked up a part case  of  tobacco,  containing  six  or  seven  hundred 
sticks, put it in One-Eye's hands, and helped that bewildered savage  over  the 
rail. As the foresail went up the mast, a wail of consternation arose from  the 
canoes lying along  the  dead-line.  And  as  the  anchor  broke  out  and  the 
Kittiwake's head paid off in the light breeze, old One-Eye, daring  the  rifles 
levelled on him, paddled alongside  and  made  frantic  signs  of  his  tribe's 
willingness to trade pennies for ten sticks.
    "Boy! - a drinking nut," Pankburn called.
    "It's Sydney Heads for you," Grief said. "And then what?"
    "I'm coming  back  with  you  for  that  two  hundred  thousand,"  Pankburn 
    "In the meantime I'm going to build an island schooner. Also, I'm going  to
call those guardians of mine before the court to show  cause  why  my  father's
money should not be turned over to me. Show cause? I'll show them cause why  it
    He swelled his biceps proudly under the thin sleeve, reached  for  the  two 
black stewards, and put them above his head like a pair of dumbbells.
    "Come on! Swing out on that fore-boom-tackle!" Carlsen  shouted  from  aft, 
where the mainsail was being winged out.
    Pankburn dropped the stewards and raced for it, beating a  Rapa  sailor  by 
two jumps to the hauling part.