Martin Carr’s dory-mate having just stepped on deck, the forec’s’le gang
began to question Martin about him. In the fast run-off to the grounds,
with everybody trying to catch up on sleep, there had been small time to
get acquainted; but the general opinion seemed to be that ’twas rather a
delicate-looking lad.

“That’s what,” summed up an unquestionably able-looking fisherman who
was overhauling a tub of trawls. “He _don’t_ look hardly rugged enough
to go winter trawlin’. D’y’ think he do, yourself, Martin?”

’Twas put in all good-nature, as Martin himself well knew; but it was
not in Martin to allow even moderate criticism of a friend pass without
retort, and so his “I never knew before ’twas looks made a man” went
flying back to the lee lockers.

The man on the lockers smoothed out a snarled ganging ere he came back
with “Now, now, Martin, we all know ’tisn’t looks alone, but leave it to
yourself–don’t looks go a great ways toward your judgment of a man?
Afore ever you _know_ what a man is, don’t the cut of his mouth or the
set of his jaw, and the way he looks out of his eyes at you, have a lot
to do with how far you’d trust him? Don’t it?”

“Sure, it does,” replied Martin. “But d’y’ mean to say this lad hasn’t
good eyes and mouth and jaw?”

“Now, Martin”–and a broken, rusted hook was snipped off and replaced
with a new shiny one–“now, Martin, nobody knows better than you what
_I_ think–you that c’n read a man’s mind ’most. The lad’s got as fine a
face in a way as ever I looked at. Man, ’tis a beautiful face. But
that’s the bother of it–’tis beauty, not strength in it. And comin’
down to facts, you know yourself, it’s no joke to be out in a dory with
a man that can’t hold his end up. ’Tis thought of you we have, Martin.
Did ever he haul a trawl or try to row a loaded dory agen a full tide
out here?”

For answer, Martin continued calmly to blow his puffs of smoke toward
the deck-beams.

“That means he never did, and I’m afraid, Martin, when it comes to it,
that maybe he won’t be able to.”

“Well, maybe he won’t,” echoed Martin placidly; “but whether he does or
no, ’tisn’t Martin Carr will be the first to tell him he’s fallin’

“But where did you pick him up, anyway, Martin?”

“I didn’t have to pick him up. His father was a dory-mate of mine, nigh
thirty year ago–as far back as the old _Aleutian_—-”

“The same _Aleutian_ that was lost with all hands afterward, Martin?”

“The same. But this was some years before she was lost. This was when
Jack Teevens, this boy’s father, was lost. And how? Tryin’ to save a
shipmate. And I was the shipmate. Maybe some of you remember now?”

“Coming across Western Bank one winter’s day, warn’t it, Martin?”

“Aye, makin’ a passage–the old _Aleutian_ runnin’ before an easterly
gale–everything on and staggerin’ under it. Jack was to the
wheel–lashed. Me on watch for’ard, was standing foolish-like between
the dories and the lee-rail. In a day-dream I must’ve been. By’n’by
comes a big sea after her. I didn’t see it, but Jack to the wheel did.
‘Watch out, Martin!’ he hollers; but I was kind of slow, and when the
sea hit her, away I went over the rail. Good as gone was I, but Jack
casts off his life-line and comes jumpin’ to the waist to heave me
something or other to keep me afloat. Comes another sea and heaves me
back toward the vessel. I grabs a draw-bucket and the end of the throat
halyards, which Jack had hove, just as a third sea comes. Well, in that
third sea, which broke clean over her–she bein’ already hove most flat
by the second sea–away goes Jack Teevens. I didn’t see him go. ’Twas
when the gang came rushin’ on deck and hauled me aboard that they told
me they could just make him out–away to looard he was–as he waved
good-by afore he went down–down to stay. Lord in heaven, what a man he
was! And to go at his age!”

“’Twas hard. But he couldn’t’ve been such a young fellow, Martin?”

“Let me see. Nineteen year ago that was. Nineteen from
forty-eight–twenty-nine year he’d be that time. We were the one age.”

“Lord, Martin, ’tisn’t possible you’re forty-eight year old?”

“That’s what–forty-eight.”

“Well, you don’t look it. Do you feel it?”

“Feel what–forty-eight? Man alive, what’s forty-eight to a man that’s
never seen a sick day in his life?”

“But you’ve taken great care o’ yourself, Martin.”

“Well, maybe. A little regular smokin’ and a drink once in a while
ashore, or maybe sittin’ up a night or two by way of bein’ sociable
after weeks on end of this work out here.”

“Could you stand to a mark and jump your ten foot six inches, toe to
heel, like I see you do one time, Martin?”

“No, I couldn’t. My joints aren’t that soople. But if I couldn’t go
without sleep as long, or stay to my neck in the water as long, or go
without grub even longer—-”

“That you could, Martin. ’Tis me ought to know that–me, that was three
days and three nights astray with you on Quero. An’ when it comes to
buckin’ agen wind and tide with a dory loaded to the gunnels—-”

“Hi-i! below there!” This from the deck. “Out dories!”

With a sigh Martin set down his pipe and prepared to get into cardigan
jacket, boots, and oilskins. “I must say I hates to leave my little
pipeful”–and to his youthful dory-mate, dropping down from deck–“Isn’t
it so with you, too, Eddie-boy?”

“I could smoke all the time I’m awake, Martin.”

“Like your father before you, boy. You’re cert’nly like your father
other ways, too. But you’re not tough like him. Sad kind of, too, like
he was at times, ’s if he could see things ahead. O Lord, but I did love
your father, boy! And you cert’nly look like him. But, come along now.
Your first trip at this work, and we must have things right.”

* * * * *

Martin’s dory, the first over the side, was dropped up to windward. To
the Skipper’s last word, “Set to the east’ard, Martin–it don’t look
none too good, but I’ll be back to you after I’ve run the string out,”
Martin waved a free arm and nodded a cheerful acquiescence.

The vessel left them astern. Martin began to heave the trawls and Eddie
to row. There was a disquieting pitch and toss to the sea. Anybody but a
trawler would have called it bad weather for a sixteen-foot dory to be
out in. It was a much heavier sea than any Eddie had ever before tried
to row a boat in, and he soon said so.

“Yes,” answered Martin, “I s’pose it do seem hard at first–a banker’s
dory in a chop–but after three or four days you won’t mind it. ’Tis the
cross-tide that puts that little kick to it and slats her around so. And
yet the safest small boat afloat is a dory–when it’s handled right.
Here we are now, away out here in this little dory.”

“And just where are we, Martin?”

“Let me see now.” Martin was a dextrous trawler, who never had to slack
his work because of any little conversational strain. He kept the air
full of hooks and line even while he figured it all out. “We were
forty-four fifty-six north and fifty-one ten west at noon, the Skipper
said. We sailed for an hour after that–east half no’the. That ought to
put us about a hundred and fifty mile from the nearest point o’
land– Newf’undland that’ll be. But how’s the rowin’? A bit heavy, isn’t
it? Tide and sea together’s a hard thing to buck out here, boy. You’d be
surprised how they carry you out the way at times. That’s the divil when
the fog or the snow comes and you drift. Or maybe the vessel isn’t
anchored–flyin’ sets maybe same as now–and away _she_ goes. And now,
Eddie-lad, try and see how you make out shootin’ a trawl, and let me
tend to the rowin’. Careful, now, comin’ for’ard–you’re not in a
bathin’-suit in Gloucester Harbor with smooth water and no more than a
hundred yards’ swim if you capsize the boat. That’s it–keep ’em
whirlin’. My, but you’re doin’ fine–’tis born in people, the fishin’
ways. If you were only a bit more rugged, now, there wouldn’t be your
better on the whole Grand Banks. But this life’ll soon put the strength
in you, Eddie-boy.”

“If it don’t kill me first,” laughed the young fellow.

“Kill you? What talk is that? Kill you? Why, the way you’ll eat–not
three, but four, and maybe five meals a day. And mug-ups? Every time
you think of it, a mug-up–and when you forget, always plenty to put you
in mind of it by their example. And _sleep_—-”

“When there’s any time to sleep.”

“Time? Wait till it comes too rough to go out in the dory.”

“Too rough?” The boy looked over the gunnel and grimaced.

“Oh, it comes plenty rough at times. Have a care, or one of those little
seas’ll wet you through.”

“H’m– I’m wet through already.”

“Oh, no, not real wet through. When you get real wet out here– But,
never mind, wet or dry, we’ll be alike, anyway, and company for each
other, however it goes. Your father, now, he was great company in a
dory. Tell stories! And sing! What’s it he used to sing, now, on the old
_Aleutian_, when we were hardly more than boys together? Oh, but your
father had the voice, boy! And to hear him roll out–

“‘Let it come from the east,
Let it come from the west’–

That’s when it would be breezin’ up. Dory-mates were we, the same as you
and me be now, lad. And he was a dory-mate. I had to fight almost to
keep him from doin’ half my work as well as all his own, at times. I
mind how he used to speak of you when we’d get a breath between
haulin’, or maybe walkin’ the deck of a night-watch together. ‘Martin,
but if you could see how he’s growin’,’ he’d say. ‘Every trip in he
looks a head taller. And the grip of him, Martin, when he winds his five
little fingers around my one finger! And the beauty of him–the spit of
his mother, Martin,’ he’d say. ‘And if you could see him of a mornin’
climb up on the bed and grab the mustache of me and twist it. Only two
year old, Martin, and talk–man, he c’n talk better than I can–the long
words of him, Martin! And I do hope he’ll never have to go fishin’!’ He
said that last many a time. ‘I do hope he’ll never have to go fishin’
for a livin’! But if he do have to go, I’d lie easy in my
grave–wherever my grave may be, Martin–if he was to have a dory-mate
like you.’ And to think now we’re dory-mates– Jack Teevens’s boy and
Jack Teevens’s old dory-mate. And he had to be lost, your father. Some
things are hard to take, believe in a Divine Providence much as we like.
And then your mother had to die, too.”

“Yes, Martin. And I often wondered if she were not glad to go. What did
she have to live for? And I think of it, what have I got to live for? If
it comes to that, what have you, Martin–no wife, no family–what have
you to live for?”

“What have I? Lad, it grieves me to hear you talk that way. What haven’t
I to live for? I’ve hundreds of things to live and be thankful for.
There’s my friends. There’s the little ones I’ve seen–not my own–my
own were taken away, please God, and their mother–but my friends’
children that I’ve seen in the bornin’ almost and now growin’ up around
me. And out here, never do I step aboard the vessel after a long day’s
haulin’ and draggin’ that I’m not glad to see the fresh faces lookin’ at
me over the rail–if it’s no more than the Skipper hangin’ to the wheel
or the cook standin’ by the painter. And at home, boy! Never a time we
breast Cape Sable goin’ home that I don’t begin to feel cheerful, no
matter how hard and rough and maybe profitless a trip we’ve had. And
when we raise Eastern Point! and goin’ into the harbor of Gloucester!
Lad, lad, but my eyes run water ’most to think of the people I’m soon to
see–to talk and shake hands with, maybe sit up a night or two with
before I go out again. Lord, boy, if there warn’t a man or woman in the
whole wide world to hail good-mornin’ to you–if it was no more than to
look at happy people’s faces when you’re ashore–or out to sea again, if
it’s no more than to look at the sky and the fine tumblin’ ocean! Even
the sea in a blow, boy, is somethin’ to soothe a troubled man’s soul.”

“To soothe? Lord, Martin, is it soothing now? Look at it. How we’re
staying gunnels up is more than I know.”

“Gunnels up? What, now? Why, Eddie, when you’ve seen it as I’ve seen it!
But _’tis_ growin’ a bit more rough–isn’t it? Have a care for some of
those seas. That oar in the becket astern, have an eye to that, and when
you notice a bad sea comin’, just give the oar a little flirt–so–and
put her head or stern to it, whichever’s handiest. It’ll save a
capsizin’ some day, maybe. And now ’tis time to begin haulin’. The
signal’s been to the peak some time now, but I like to give ’em a good
set myself. I c’n make up the time on the haulin’. But we’ll begin now,
and do you coil, boy. Here we go, four tubs of line–a mile and a half
of a trawl to haul. ’Tis the rare appetite it’ll give us; and when—-”

“Isn’t the vessel rather far away, Martin?”

“Let me see. Where is she now? Oh, yes. She is a bit away, but it must
be the lee dories have gone adrift. Let’s see who’s in the lee dory.
That’ll be–let me see, now– Jethro and Eben. Eben’s a good man, but
Jethro’s not much of a man in a dory–big enough, but not much use.”

“And I guess he’s not the only useless man out here to-day.”

“Hush, boy, hush. What kind of talk is that?”

“It’s true. Don’t I know that I could no more haul trawls in this sea
than—- Why? A mile and a half of trawl to be hauled, and don’t I know
that as your dory-mate I ought to haul half of it? And will I? Could I,
even if you’d allow me, Martin? Oh, yes–about as well as I could winch
in the vessel’s anchor alone. Don’t I know what it means–a man that
can’t do his share out here? It means that one of the crew is eating his
share of grub and by and by will get his share of the stock, and yet who
is no more use in a dory than the painter when the dory’s aboard, and no
more use aboard the vessel itself than the spare anchor with the vessel
in harbor. Don’t I know, Martin?”

“Eddie, listen to me. You talk again like that, and sure’s my name’s
Martin Carr I’ll take the privilege of your father’s friend and bat the
jaw of you. I will, boy, much as I like you. And let me tell you, ’tis
dory agen dory out here, and our dory’ll bring her share of fish aboard
this night.”

“This night? Will we get aboard this night, do you think, Martin?”

Martin looked about him–looked long about him, but said only, “Is there
a drop of water left in the bottle, Eddie?”

“About half a mugful.”

“Half a mugful? Well, keep that by you, and by’n’by you’ll have it to
drink–not now.”

“I’ll save it for you, Martin.”

“That’s your father’s own boy, Eddie, but never mind me. What’s a
mouthful of water to me that’s been without it seven days on end? It’s
nothin’–nothin’ at all. Keep it for yourself and by’n’by drink it. It
may mean a lot to you, for I know that already you’re wringin’ with the
sweat. And you’re tired, too, aren’t you, lad?”

“A little, Martin.”

“Oh, but it’s the cruel work for you, boy. But what are you at now?”

“I was going to have a smoke.”

“Well, I wish you wouldn’t yet awhile, Eddie.”

“And why, Martin?”

“I’ll tell you later.”

“Tell me now–what’s wrong, Martin?”

“Well, we’re astray, lad–astray. Did you never hear what ’tis to be
astray on the Banks? And now night’s ’most on us, and ’tis small use
rowin’. The dories, last time I looked, were all points of the compass
and the vessel standin’ after them–a strong tide and their lines
parted, no doubt. I haven’t seen her for an hour or more now. We’ll be
the last to be picked up, anyway. She’ll get to us by mornin’, no

“If she ever does get to us, Martin.”

“And why won’t she get to us? You’re not like your father there, boy.
’Twarn’t in your father ever to give up, boy. With him, the blacker it
came the brighter he’d get. You’re more like your mother’s people in
that, Eddie.”

“I think I must be, Martin–everybody says so, anyway.”

* * * * *

Throughout the long cold night they drifted. Eddie, shivering in the
stern, broke a long silence:

“It must be near morning now, Martin?”

“Gettin’ to it, boy, gettin’ to it.”

“And the water smoother, don’t you think, Martin?”

“A lot smoother, Eddie-boy”; and under his breath, “I only wish it
hadn’t moderated for a while longer.”

“And the air not quite so cold, Martin?”

“Not quite, Eddie-boy”; and again under his breath, “And that’s not for
the best, either, just now.” He looked out ahead–out and up. It was
quite a little while before Eddie noticed what Martin had foreseen–the
white flakes fluttering down. Only when they began to settle on the back
of his woollen mitts did the young fellow take note of them–resting
there for a moment and then melting under the warmth of his hand. He
regarded the first flake curiously. That he could see it at all was
proof that morning was at hand, and he felt glad. What it might mean to
them did not then dawn on him. When his brain awoke to the warning it
brought he did not obey his first impulse–to shout out his discovery.
Instead, he waited and thought it all out, and as he waited and pondered
the flakes fell faster.

When he had thought it all out he looked toward Martin, who was leaning
over the bow. Thinking he might be asleep–he felt drowsy enough
himself– Eddie feared to waken him at first. But he finally ventured to
call, “Martin!”

“Aye, boy.” Martin turned with eyes that clearly had not lately been
closed, eyes that regarded him tenderly.

“Will it last? Don’t be afraid to tell me, Martin. I think I know what
it means now.”

“And you’re not afraid?”

“Afraid? Why, no. ’Twas the work–the hardship I dreaded–not the danger
of being lost. None of my people were ever afraid to die. And yet, I’m
afraid of the sea, Martin. That must have come from my mother. She was
always afraid of it–on account of my father being on it so much, I
suppose. I hate to think of being drowned and being found floating in
it, or even lying on the bottom of it. There’s a good many lying on the
bottom hereabouts, aren’t there, Martin?”

“The sands hereaway, Eddie, are covered with the bones of lost

“Well, that’s what I dread. If I could only die ashore, or be buried
ashore–a Christian burial with a little prayer, and then the dry earth
over you. Don’t _you_ fear being buried in the sea, Martin?”

“Fear it? Not me, boy. Sea or shore, it’s all one to Martin Carr, though
maybe I do like the sea a bit the more.”

“Ugh! I don’t. And promise me, Martin–promise me, if it rests with you,
that you’ll bury me ashore.”

“Hush, boy, hush. It’s not right now to be thinkin’ such things.”

Again Martin looked out from the bow, and the young fellow huddled in
the stern. He could not stand the long silences. “What are you thinking
of, Martin?”

“I’m thinkin’, boy, that it’s small use waitin’ around here for the
vessel. It’s as thick o’ snow as I’ve seen it in a good many winters,
and no sign of it slacking. We’ve got to be doin’ somethin’, and we
might’s well be rowin’. But first, where’s your tobacco? Well, throw
that over–see now, there goes mine. That’s so that by’n’by you won’t be
tempted to smoke. Smokin’ makes you thirsty, and to be thirsty and no
water– I mean real thirsty, after two or three days, maybe, without a
drink, and you rowin’ hard all the time and the juice sweated out of
you–it’s an awful feeling lad. I know, I know, there _is_ the snow. But
snow where it touches here isn’t quite what you think it. Not a square
inch where the snow strikes here that isn’t crusted with salt, and you
know what comes of drinkin’ saltish water. We may be out for days, so
let’s get ready. Let me see, now–it oughter be twelve o’clock by this.
Yesterday at twelve I mind the tide set to the west’ard. We’ll row
across it–so. But first we’ll pitch out the fish. It’s a shame, isn’t
it, to have to heave the fine fat fish back after you’ve gone to the
trouble of baitin’ up four tubs of trawls–to have to haul a mile and a
half of trawls and then have to heave them overboard again after they’re
coiled nice in the buckets and the fish to your gunnels after them. Two
thousand pounds of good fish there, Eddie. ’Tis a shame, but over with
’em. And don’t try to save one to eat. It’s no use–raw fish. I tried it
once, and my stomach was upset by it–and my stomach’s not easy upset.
You’d throw it up, Eddie, and that would weaken you for the rowin’. And
we’re in for a row now. You’ve rowed a dory around in a harbor, boy, in
your day, but now for a real row.”

“How far, Martin?”

“To Newf’undland coast, maybe–a hundred and fifty miles–if we’re not
picked up.”


“’Tis discouragin’ to think of, but don’t let yourself think too much
about it. After twenty-four or forty-eight hours you won’t be thinkin’
so much about it. ’Twill be more mechanical-like then with you–brain
kind of hazy-like from lookin’ at nothing but the level sea over the
gunnel and your arms never stoppin’. Do you sit on the for’ard thwart,
but take it easy–’tis a long drag, boy–a hundred and fifty mile to

And so they set out. ’Twas a long, easy, regular stroke that Martin
dropped into; just such a stroke as a man might adopt who looked for a
moderately long drag to his vessel–ten or fifteen miles, say.

But this was a hundred and fifty miles. Yes, and more, with allowances
to be made for the set of wind and tide and the natural perversity of
the dory itself. Whoever has rowed a dory knows that nothing will swerve
more easily off its course–that is, if you don’t know how. Martin Carr
knew how, but the young fellow with him did not; and it was Martin
Carr’s business to make such allowances as would offset the uneven
rowing of the lad.

They rowed on. To the boy the silences were appalling. For an hour at a
time nothing would be said. Martin, with the instinct of an old trawler,
was husbanding every ounce of energy; the boy was numb, overwhelmed. A
hundred and fifty miles! The thought of it! He did not shrink from the
thought of death, but a hundred and fifty miles of this work! He began
to figure it out. Say they drove the dory ten feet a stroke. That was
more than five hundred strokes to a mile–one hundred and fifty times
five hundred–how much? How slow he was to figure now–but, yes, that
was 75,000 strokes. Good Lord! one, two, three–why, it would take
twenty-four hours just to count 75,000, without rowing at all. But to
row–to reach out with the arms and haul those two heavy blades through
a heavy sea–one–two–three–and every other stroke ineffective,
certainly for him, if not for the strong-backed Martin Carr, because of
the unevenness of the sea. Why, it would take a week, night and day.

He began to figure it up another way. Suppose they made two miles an
hour. That was forty-eight miles a day–three days in all. But allowing
for cross-tides and cross-winds, the constant heading of the dory
straight again–say four days. Four days! And nothing to eat and nothing
to drink during those four days of work and toil. And that meant that
they must never vary from their course. Naturally they would vary. Say
six days and six nights. But no man can row night and day for six days
and nights without food and drink. Not even Martin, wonderful man that
he was, could do it. Say they rested one-third of the time–eight hours
a day. Ashore, men who did practically nothing slept eight hours a day.
That surely would not be too much rest after rowing a heavy dory in a
heavy sea.

Already, though he had been rowing hardly more than two hours, he was
tired, with wrists hot and heavy, and his forearms cramping. And Martin
himself must feel it after a day or two. Much as he had heard of these
iron men, these deep-sea trawlers, they could not last it out forever.
And God! suppose they were heading out across the Atlantic–and could
even Martin say they were not, with no sun or stars to guide him? Would
it be slow starvation? And why was it, now he thought of it, he wasn’t
famished? Twenty-eight hours already without food! Ah, was that why
Martin buckled his own belt about his stomach–buckled it tight and made
him drink the last of the water? Surely, if nothing else came, that
would come–the slow starvation.

Or would it be just madness? How unreal it all was!
One–two–three–four–the chafing of the oars came to him as if from
some other dory in the distance. So certain was he that the noise was
not made by himself and Martin that he stopped and listened.

“What’s it, lad?”

“Isn’t there another dory somewhere near, Martin?”

“Maybe–there’s no tellin’, it’s so thick,” answered Martin aloud, but
to himself, “Already,” and shook his head sorrowfully.

The lad, after a moment or two of listening, came to see how he had
misled himself.

He resumed his examination of Martin’s back–the regular bend and heave
he noticed. He could not see the face, but he knew the calm set of eyes
and jaw. What a man! But even Martin would have to go, too, and when
they would be found, even Martin, the iron man, would be stiff and cold
also, as others had been found before him. But so few were found! And
why weren’t they found! Capsized and drowned. That was it–or was it
that they went crazy and jumped overboard? He pictured that–the sudden
dropping of the everlasting oars, the last wild cry, the dive over the
gunnel. He wondered would it be that way with himself.

He looked about, his first long look, and noted the sea. He certainly
never had imagined the sea as it was now–not nearly so rough as on the
day before–almost smooth, in fact, as if beaten down with the weight
of snow which lay upon it like–like what? He had seen that often, of
course–the new-fallen snow on land. But nothing like this–the cold
gray waste hidden until all was white. What was it like now, that white
covering? Oh, yes–why had he not thought of it before?–like the white
sheet they sometimes drew over dead people.

“Martin!” he called out then.


“Isn’t it awful?”

“’Tis–in a way. ’Tis solemn, boy. Here we are hid away–a vessel could
be fifty feet away and we not see her. She could be twenty feet away and
she not see us–we’re that white. But there’s a consolation–the thicker
it comes the sooner it’ll stop.”

“Then this should stop soon.”

It did stop finally; after what Martin judged to be ten or twelve hours.
It melted from the sea, then thinned above, and the sky shone through.
Not a broad sweep at first, but patches here and there. It was later
before the clear dome and the familiar stars shone out.

“There’s the Great Dipper, boy–see it? It must be three o’clock in the
mornin’ by the placin’ of it.”

“Three in the morning–and we rowing since three o’clock yesterday

“Aye, boy. And there’s the North Star and those other little stars I
don’t know the names of. We’ll keep the North Star one good point off
the starb’d bow, boy, and on that course till mornin’, and then we’ll go
by the sun.”

The morning came, and the boy noted that six inches of snow covered the
inside of the dory everywhere–gunnels, strakes, and thwarts, except
where they had been sitting, and the bottom of the dory, except where
their champing boots and the heat from within them had beaten it into a
slush; and that the snow was dazzling white under the morning sun. But
above all he felt the cold.

“The wind must have shifted, Martin, it’s so much colder.”

“Aye, boy. ’Tis no’west now.”

“A cold wind–the coldest of all, isn’t it, Martin?”

“Aye, boy, but one great comfort with it–’tis mostly a clear wind, a
no’wester. Should any vessel be about now they’ll soon see us. But rest
a while, boy. Go aft and lie in the stern–you’ll be trimmin’ ship
better there–every little tells in a long haul; or stamp up and down
and slap your arms, or take the bailer and shovel out the snow.”

Having cleared the dory of snow, the boy strove vainly to overcome his
inclination to lie down. But he did lie down at last. His legs were so
numb that he hadn’t the strength to go aft, he said, and so Martin took
him in his arms and set him in the stern. “And don’t rest too long
there, boy. There’s such a thing as freezing to death in a no’wester. A
cold wind, lad, is a no’wester.”

The boy lay there till Martin bade him rise and stamp about. But he
could not keep up the stamping for long. “I’m so tired, Martin, and
hungry–oh, so hungry!” He sucked at a bit of snow-crust.

“Aye, boy. One older and tougher than you might say it. And don’t eat
too much of that stuff, and try, boy, try a while again to keep movin’
your arms and legs.”

He tried, but could not. So Martin bade him lie down again. And the boy
lay down and began to drowse, at which Martin shook his head. But what
could he do? He had to keep rowing himself. Oh, yes–he took off his own
cardigan jacket and forced the boy into it. The boy, only half awake,
protested–a feeble protest–as Martin, with a soft “Hush, lad,
hush–weren’t me and your father dory-mates for many the long year
together?” buttoned it about him.

“My, Martin, but that’s warming!”

“Aye, boy, that it is. Many a cold winter’s day it’s helped to warm me.”

To remove his cardigan jacket, which was under his oil-coat, Martin had
to expose himself to the biting no’wester, and so cold and searching was
it that he took many minutes to button his oil-jacket again. To overcome
the numbness–“Or soon I wouldn’t be able to hold an oar at all,” he
muttered–he beat his hands against the gunnels, noticing the while that
he not only knocked off the last little films of frozen snow-crust, but
also, though this rather curiously than sympathetically, that the ends
of his fingers bled under the impact of the blows. “Man, but ’tis cold,
when it comes to that!” and bent over the boy to fix the jacket more
securely around his neck. “Forty-eight hours now without food or
drink–’tis hard on you, lad–hard on you.”

Back to his rowing, and no cessation till he heard the lad muttering in
his sleep. “What’s it now?” said Martin, and bent toward him.

“– But to be floating around in the water or lying somewhere on bottom
for the fish to eat up–” murmured the sleeping boy.

“Lad, lad, but you’re right–’tis hard.”

“– If it was no more than a Christian burial–”

“Christian burial, lad? Make your mind easy, but if I live, and you die,
’tis Christian burial you’ll get, boy. But ’tis both of us together’ll
go, I’m thinkin’ now.” He shook the lad. “Wake–wake now,
Eddie-boy–wake, boy, wake, and try and row again a bit. ’Tis cruel I
am–aye, the hard heart of me–aye, boy. But now you must row, and maybe
you’ll warm up a while yet. Lay there, and in two hours more ’tis stiff
as the oar itself you’ll be.”

And so the boy crept to his seat and resumed rowing, though his oars no
more than slid over the surface of the sea. The lad thought he was
helping–he saw the oars pass from forward to aft and back again–but it
was only the dory slipping away under the ceaseless drive of Martin’s
irresistible strength.

Throughout all that cold winter’s day they rowed. And night came, and
once more the boy sought the stern and lay there; and as he lay, Martin
took off his oil-jacket and buttoned it about the lad’s body. “There,
now, a cardigan jacket and two oilskins. You ought to keep warm now. And
now, Martin Carr”–he was back to his seat again–“’tis harder than ever
you’ll have to row or yourself freeze to an icicle.”

All through that long night Martin called to the lad. Until well into
the night, as he considered it, he could catch the responses. But
gradually Eddie’s voice became duller, and toward morning Martin got no
answer at all. “Asleep, the poor boy!” muttered Martin, himself by then
not too wide awake.

The stars dulled away, the dawn broke gray, and then the first long rays
of the winter sun glinted the white of the crested seas. The weary man
in the waist of the dory roused himself. He found himself still rowing,
but that his mind had slept he felt certain. He looked about
him–astern, ahead, to either side. No sail–nor smoke. He took note of
the dory. Iced to a depth of six inches it was, and with every fresh
slap of the sea more ice was adding. “A mile away now and we’d look like
a lump of ice to any passing vessel,” he thought aloud.

The no’wester whistled over the ridged seas. A no’west wind and
white-tipped seas that broke over them–could man invent anything more
freezing? And all night long it had been so.

“Eddie,” called Martin, “Eddie-boy!” Again, “Oh, Eddie-lad– Eddie-boy,
shake yourself now, dear.” But no answer coming from the boy, Martin
more closely regarded the figure in the stern. The rising rays of the
sun were tinting the stiffened yellow oilskins, but the low-drawn
sou’wester allowed Martin no glimpse of the features. The hands were
encased in the heavy woollen mitts, which Martin now noted were coated
with ice. Still, ice was no great matter. How he wished his own
oilskins–what was left of them–were iced up, too. Ice kept out the
biting wind.

Gradually it came into his brain, even though the yet insufficient light
revealed nothing of the boy’s face, that all was not quite natural. Once
more a call, but no answer, not even the old familiar shifting of the
legs. “Is it asleep you are, boy, and have you been asleep all night?
Lad, lad, but if you’ve been asleep–” and bent over and lifted the

The face was calm–calm as a waxen mask in a window. But the eyes–wide
open! Quickly he drew off the boy’s mitts and felt of the hands within.
The ice on the gunnels of the dory was not colder. Martin’s brain did
not grasp it, what with his body being so numb, but his heart crowded
itself inside him.

He dropped back to his seat and resumed the oars. But only for a few
strokes. He stood up, and with the bailer began to pound the ice off the
dory. “She’ll sink else,” he said–“she’ll sink else, lad, and we’ll
never get you ashore.” He broke the bailer trying to pound the ice off.
He took the handle of an oar then–one of Eddie’s oars he noted dully,
one of the oars which he had lightened by cutting down, to fit the boy’s
feebler arms.

The ice cleared away, he went back to his rowing. But again only a few
strokes, when it seemed to sweep over him what it meant–the frozen body
of the poor boy– Jack Teevens’s boy. He rubbed an iced mitt across his
eyes. “God, what a death for you, child! What a death! And such a
beautiful boy! If ’twas a tough old knotted trawler like me– And me that
was to watch out for him! Yet to watch I meant, lad, but ’twas a long
night–and a cold. And not overwarm myself was I, and I’m misdoubting,
too, I slept to the oars. O God, ’tis cruel–cruel!” and dropped his
head on his hands.

He tried to think it out; but he had such horrible thoughts that he knew
that course would never do. He lifted his body from his seat and tried
to stand up. He could not, the first time, or the second, but the third
he held his feet. The dory was again sagging under the weight of ice;
from stem to stern, gunnels, thwarts, planks inside and out, were nearly
a foot thick with it. The painter coiled in the bow was big around as a
barrel. Across the body of the dead boy it was beginning to pack solid.
Martin gouged the gob-stick from out of the frozen bottom and began to
break the ice off. He could hardly hold it with one hand, and so put
both to it.

A good part of the ice knocked loose and thrown over, he reapplied
himself to the oars. It was plain enough to him now. “However else it
comes, ’tis for you, Martin Carr, to stand to your rowin’–to stand to
it till you can push your arms out no more from your shoulders, till
your fingers will cling no longer to the handles, till–till you’re cold
and stiff, no less, Martin Carr, than the poor boy there before you. If
that comes, well and good, you’ve done your best. ’Tis to shore you must
reach, or be picked up, or die to your oars. And mind it always, Martin
Carr– Christian burial for Jack Teevens’s boy.”

So he rowed on. All that day and all that long night he rowed–all
through a snow-storm that enveloped him like ever-rolling white clouds,
and through which only his fisherman’s instinct kept him to his course.
“‘Twill be east-no’the-east this wind–if I know wind at all, and ’tis
no’the by west you’re to head, Martin. Two points for’ard of the port
beam you’ll keep that wind, and there you are, Martin, for the nearest
point of Newf’undland–if ever you get there. But, oh, ’tis mortal cold
and mortal tirin’,” he muttered, and yet rowed on, regarding his arms
not as his own, but as a mechanism directed by some inner force and
instinct that he did not recognize as part of himself.

Four full days and nights, and for the first time Martin Carr almost
admitted himself beaten. His fingers, he observed, were stiffening more
frequently; the rapping against the hard gunnel no longer brought the
blood. Certainly they would freeze up soon. And if they froze he would
be unable to row. They might freeze stiff and straight, like Eddie’s
there. And if so? He groaned–he would be unable to grasp the oars. But
hold–he would fix that. If freeze his fingers must, he would see that
they froze so as to be of some use to a man. And conscientiously he
curled them around the handles of the oars. Stubborn they were at first,
but he forced them into position and held them motionless till they were
securely frozen to the handles of the oars.

And so, the oars secured beyond accident or future weakness, Martin Carr
resumed his solemn way to the shore. How far to the shore then? He did
not know–maybe forty, maybe fifty, maybe sixty, maybe one hundred
miles. For all he knew he might have been rowing zigzag all over the
ocean, running S’s, as sometimes green hands steered a vessel over the
wide sea.

However, row he did, gray winter skies and grim slate-colored seas about
him. Lonesome? Aye, it was lonesome. In thirty years of fishing Martin
Carr had never known so lonesome a time. Consider it–no sail, no smoke,
no gull even to come screaming astern, and the boy’s frozen body ever
facing him in the stern.

Only the slap of chopping seas under the dory’s low gunnels–that and
the tumble of green-gray seas–interminable seas, curling like serpents,
rolling always toward one and spitting foam as they rolled. Always
that–that and the frozen body in the stern, and the thoughts that
_would_ come to him. Such thoughts!

Sometimes Martin Carr thought he would move the body to the bow, where
he might not have it forever before his eyes. But again he wasn’t quite
sure that he would not see it just as clearly even if behind him; and
somehow he was not quite sure that he did want it moved, even if he
could do it now, which he doubted, his own fingers frozen as they were
to the oars. Or his hands once removed, he was not sure he could reshape
them to the handles of the oars again. So perhaps it was just as well,
and he faced the dead boy anew.

For two days and two nights more, with his dead dory-mate’s face ever
staring at him from the stern–for six frosty days and six freezing
winter nights in all–through that northern wind, and sea, and snow, and
hail, Martin Carr rowed the dory. And made land at last. It did not look
much–an iron-bound shore, where the sheer rock rose straight as the
wall of a church and against which the high seas beat furiously. He
could not land there–he had to hunt a harbor. He made out one at
last–an inlet, with signs of people near by. His eyes were no more than
pin-points in his head, but he could make out the five or six low huts
set up on the rocks, and for them he headed. The way was caked in ice,
and that made hard work of it for a man who had come so far without food
or drink to force his way through. Using the oars as poles, he might
with less labor have beaten a channel through, but his fingers, frozen
to the oars, were not yet to be unsealed. He could do only one thing,
and that was row. And so he rowed, ever rowed, making a channel by
forcing the bow of the dory over the ice till of its own weight it broke
through and went on.

In that laborious fashion he advanced. Hours in that little bay alone,
but at length he reached the shore. He made sure it was the shore by a
long examination before he relinquished the oars. To free himself of the
oars, he had to knock the ends of them one over the other–had to do
that to loosen the ice from about his hands so that he could slip his
fingers free. They came away as he had frozen them, shaped in
cylindrical form to the handles. Taking note of how smoothly they came
away, he reflected that he might with safety have slid them off before
this–if for no more than to break the ice off his unshaven chin or to
wipe the hail from his eyes, or to set back on Eddie’s head the
sou’wester which had blown off in the night. But a man sees many things
when it is past the time.

However, that wasn’t getting on. There was Eddie yet to be taken care
of. Christian burial he had asked for, and Christian burial he should
have. He crawled out of the dory, and reached over the gunnel with one
leg till the toe of his boot touched the ice on solid land. Finding it
firm, he drew his other leg after the first.

He pushed away from the dory. One step, and down he went to hands and
knees, and could not get up, try as he would. He almost cried–perhaps
if he had been stronger he would have cried. He, Martin Carr, whose
strength used to be the boast of every crew that ever he sailed with,
here he was, weak as a young child.

But he must get on. If he couldn’t walk, he could creep. And so creep he
did, on hands and knees, a hundred yards, perhaps, to the door of the
nearest hut.

They opened to his knock, a bearded man and behind him a stout woman,
with a brood of fat children peering out curiously. Seeing how it must
be with him, they lifted him up, set him down on a chair, and told him
that in a minute or two the hot tea would be ready for him; or if he
would wait but ten minutes, they would run over to the store and get
him a glass of brandy–good brandy from Saint Pierre.

“I want no tea and I want no brandy,” said Martin Carr, “and yet thanks
to ye the same. I’ve a dory-mate below, and he’s waitin’ burial. Help me
with him, help me get him ashore, for I’m weak to cryin’ ’most, and
after that prayers and a burial and Martin Carr will never forget ye

Back to the dory they went with him, the man that Martin Carr had
knocked up and two of his neighbors. Under Martin’s directions they
essayed to lift the body from the dory, one being within the dory and
two ashore. They had the body among them, suspended between the dory and
shore, but it was an awkward weight, and the feet of one slipping,
through the ice and out of sight went the body.

“He’s gone!” they shouted, and stared at the hole in the ice.

“Christ in heaven!” Martin crawled to the hole, and with no further word
dropped through and after the body. They saw him disappear and shivered.

Next they saw the body handed up by a pair of frozen hands. It was just
deep enough there for Martin’s head, as he stood on bottom, to all but
show clear. They took the body from him, seeing only the half-submerged
head, the upstretched arms, and at the end of them the frozen, hooked
fingers trying to balance the frozen body.

Martin followed the body, was helped up the beach, and there lay prone.
It was some time before he could move, and his first clear speech was an
apology. “I’m fair worked out,” he said. “I’ve come a long way–days and
nights–days and nights– I don’t know how many; but it seems like years
of rowin’ I’ve had and nothin’ to eat–nor drink. Don’t mind if I
refused your drink a while ago– I’ll take it now that Eddie’s safe, and
thank ye kindly for the same.”

They buried Eddie–dug his grave through the many feet of snow, lowered
him into the warm, brown earth, and had the good father say prayers over
him. Martin was there–stayed to the last shovelful and sent his own
prayer with it.

Not till that was done did he hunt for a doctor. The doctor threw up his
hands when he saw the sight, but without delay went to work. To save the
arms and legs the entire ten fingers and toes would have to come off.
The doctor told him that. “Go ahead,” said Martin.

Bandaged up and rested, the doctor asked him his story. And he told
it–simply, with emphasis only on the fate of the poor lad, Jack
Teevens’s boy.

“But when he was gone beyond all hope, when he was actually dead,”
insisted the doctor, “why didn’t you take your cardigan jacket off him,
and your oil-jacket, and put them back on yourself? He was dead, and
much as you cared for him he would be no worse off. And you–with your
constitution–you might have saved yourself from freezing up. Why didn’t

“Take the clothes off the poor dead boy?” protested Martin. “Take them
back after I’d put them on him? Twist and toss about his poor body after
he was cold in death? I couldn’t– I couldn’t.”

“God help you,” exclaimed the doctor–“you’re ruined for life!”

“Aye,” assented Martin, “ruined I am.”

“You take it calmly enough. Do you realize what it means, man? You, who
were such a magnificent man when you were whole and sound, do you know
what it means?”

Martin regarded the doctor. “Do I know?” he gazed on his bandaged hands,
and looked down on his poor stumps of feet. “God help me, ’tis well I
know it. Ye’ll never fish again, Martin Carr; ye’ll never haul trawl or
row dory again, nor stand to a wheel, nor reef a sail. The best part of
your life’s gone. Ye’re such a creature, Martin Carr, as men throw
pennies to in the street. But the last thing ye did in your full man’s
life–maybe Jack Teevens will remember it when in another world he meets
ye, that out of love of him ye stood by his boy–were a full dory-mate
to him–and at the last gave him Christian burial.”