Page:The Days Work (1899).djvu/327

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"BREAD UPON THE WATERS"

with a magnum and a half a piece, besides whisky?" I demanded.

McPhee looked down upon me from between his shoulders with toleration.

"Man, we were not settin' down to drink," he said. "They no more than made us wutty . To be sure, young Bannister laid his head on the table an' greeted like a bairn, an' Calder was all for callin' on Steiner at two in the morn an' painting him galley-green; but they 'd been drinkin' the afternoon. Lord, how they twa cursed the Board, an' the Grotkau, an' the tail-shaft, an' the engines, an' a'! They didna talk o' superfeecial flaws that night. I mind young Bannister an' Calder shakin' hands on a bond to be revenged on the Board at ony reasonable cost this side o' losing their certificates. Now mark ye how false economy ruins business. The Board fed them like swine (I have good reason to know it), an' I 've obsairved wi' my ain people that if ye touch his stomach ye wauken the deil in a Scot. Men will tak' a dredger across the Atlantic if they 're well fed, an' fetch her somewhere on the broadside o' the Americas; but bad food 's bad service the warld over.

"The bill went to McRimmon, an' he said no more to me till the week-end, when I was at him for more paint, for we 'd heard the Kite was chartered Liverpool-side.

"'Bide whaur ye 're put,' said the Blind Deevil. "Man, do ye wash in champagne? The Kite 's no leavin' here till I gie the order, an'—how am I to waste paint on her, wi' the Lammergeyer docked for who knows how long an' a'?'

"She was our big freighter—Mclntyre was engineer

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