**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Brother Hutchins
by [?]

The sight of the whisky appeared to madden him, and the skipper sat spell-bound at his eloquence, until at length, after apostrophising the bottle in a sentence which left him breathless, he snatched it up and dashed it to pieces on the floor.

For a moment the mate was struck dumb with fury, then with a roar he leaped up and rushed for the lecturer, but the table was between them, and before he could get over it the skipper sprang up and seizing him by the arm, pushed his friend into the state-room.

“Lea’ go,” foamed the mate. “Let me get at him.”

“George,” said the skipper, still striving with him, “I’m ashamed of you.”

“Ashamed be damned,” yelled the mate, struggling. “What did he chuck my whisky away for?”

“He’s a saint,” said the skipper, relaxing his hold as he heard Mr. Hutchins lock himself in. “He’s a saint, George. Seein’ ‘is beautiful words ‘ad no effect on you, he ‘ad recourse to strong measures.”

“Wait till I get hold of ‘im,” said the mate menacingly. “Only wait, I’ll saint ‘im.”

“Is he better, dear friend?” came the voice of Mr. Hutchins from beyond the door; “because I forgot the tumbler.”

“Come out,” roared the mate, “come out and upset it.”

Mr. Hutchins declined the invitation, but from behind the door pleaded tearfully with the mate to lead a better life, and even rebuked the skipper for allowing the bottle of sin to be produced in the cabin. The skipper took the rebuke humbly; and after requesting Mr. Hutchins to sleep in the state-room that night in order to frustrate the evident designs of the mate, went on deck for a final look round and then came below and turned in himself.

The crew of the schooner were early astir next morning getting under way, but Mr. Hutchins kept his bed, although the mate slipped down to the cabin several times and tapped at his door. When he did come up the mate was at the wheel and the men down below getting breakfast.

“Sleep well?” inquired Mr. Hutchins softly, as he took a seat on the hatches, a little distance from him.

“I’ll let you know when I haven’t got this wheel,” said the mate sourly.

“Do,” said Mr. Hutchins genially. “We shall see you at our meeting to-night?” he asked blandly.

The mate disdained to reply, but his wrath when at Mr. Hutchins’ request the cabin was invaded by the crew that evening, cannot be put into words.

For three nights they had what Mr. Hutchins described as love-feasts, and the mate as blamed bear-gardens. The crew were not particularly partial to hymns, considered as such, but hymns shouted out with the full force of their lungs while sharing the skipper’s hymn-book appealed to them strongly. Besides, it maddened the mate, and to know that they were defying their superior, and at the same time doing good to their own souls, was very sweet The boy, whose voice was just breaking, got off some surprising effects, and seemed to compass about five octaves without distress.

When they were exhausted with singing Mr. Hutchins would give them a short address, generally choosing as his subject a strong, violent-tempered man given to drink and coarse language. The speaker proved conclusively that a man who drank would do other things in secret, and he pictured this man going home and beating his wife because she reproached him for breaking open the children’s money-box to spend the savings on Irish whisky. At every point he made, he groaned, and the crew, as soon as they found they might groan too, did so with extraordinary gusto, the boy’s groans being weird beyond conception.

They reached Plymouth, where they had to put out a few cases of goods, just in time to save the mate’s reason, for the whole ship, owing to Mr. Hutchins’ zeal, was topsy-turvy. The ship’s cat sat up all one night cursing him and a blue ribbon he had tied round her neck, and even the battered old tea-pot came down to meals bedizened with bows of the same proselytising hue.