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The Rival Beauties
by [?]

"If you hadn’t asked me," said the night watchman, "I should never havetold you; but, seeing as you’ve put the question point blank, I willtell you my experience of it. You’re the first person I’ve ever openedmy lips to upon the subject, for it was so eggstraordinary that all ourchaps swore as they’d keep it to theirselves for fear of being disbelieved and jeered at.

"It happened in ’84, on board the steamer George Washington, bound fromLiverpool to New York. The first eight days passed without anythingunusual happening, but on the ninth I was standing aft with the firstmate, hauling in the log, when we hears a yell from aloft, an’ a chapwhat we called Stuttering Sam come down as if he was possessed, andrushed up to the mate with his eyes nearly starting out of his ‘ed.

"’There’s the s-s-s-s-s-s-sis-sis-sip!’ ses he.

"’The what?’ ses the mate.

"’The s-s-sea-sea-sssssip!’

"’Look here, my lad,’ ses the mate, taking out a pocket-hankerchief an’wiping his face, ‘you just tarn your ‘ed away till you get your breath. It’s like opening a bottle o’ soda water to stand talking to you. Now,what is it?’