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"We never find them praying, or shrieking, or
nothing; sometimes they have been a drinking,
and, in that case, often they won't leave the
wessel, say what you will, and swear and curse
at you."

"And what do you do," said Parkins, "m
these distressing circumstances?"

"Do?" said Coxen, indignantly, as if all pity
for anything but a family who had lost their
property through want of learning was wasted
— " do, young gentleman? why, leave 'em alone
leastwise if it is the master or capten; if it
is only a common sailor, the rest force him into
the boatgenerally."

"Do they cheer," says Parkins the enthu-
siastic, " when they see the gallant fellows
coming to their rescue?"

"Not they. What has ever put such things
into your head?" said Coxen. " I never
touches 'em either, till we have made a
regular bargain what we're to get, or our damage
wouldn't be much. Generally the leak is coming
in hot and fast on them, for a vessel gets
above its mast-head in the Goodwins, in three
tides, and they want us at the pumps, and
tremenjus hard they work us, and then sometimes
won't give us even a Schnapps over. ' What for
you English talk always so much about Schnapps?
I no Schnapps for you.' They are of all sorts:
some think nothing at all about it, others again
cut it close and niggarlythere's where it is;
and when the salvage money comes it has to be
divided among a many hands. We saved a ship
last year, a German emigrant vessel from
Bremen, and got four hundred pound for it
in the Salvage Court, and the Admiralty don't
allow money as isn't well earned, and I got
only thirty-five pound out of it. Unlucky
vessel that was, too; dang if it didn't run against
Dippington pier trying to come in! Well, all her
goods were taken out and reshipped for Bremen.
Back they went, and came here again in another
vessel, and dang if that didn't rasp the same
place and all but go down, too! There is a luck
about some things."

"Were these Germans grateful?" said I.

"They were that," said Coxen, bending
Titanically to his oar; " they hidolised me sure-ly.
Wouldn't leave nohow; and if I went into a
public-house they all came too, and stopped till
I got up to go."

I pointed to some gulls, looking like specks
of froth thrown from a wave, that were
dipping and wheeling round the sole of an old
shoe that was tied to a pole in the river to mark
the practicable current. The " leather," as it
is called, alternating with " twigs," placed in,
probably, just as they were in King Canute's

Coxen looked at the wild birds with the tender
eye of a farmer looking at his own poultry.
"Yes," said he, " they don't come much here
till the winter; in the summer they keep out at
sea. Lord! you should see them stalking about
the Goodwin Sands" (Coxen mostly spoke of
them as the Goodins) " at low water, as large as
fowls, looking out for drownded men."

"Have you ever been to London, Coxeu?"

"Yes," said Coxen. " When I goes I like
to see Hastley's and the Monyment, and the
theaytres. Lord!" (tucking the oar again
chattily under his left leg), " how the gents
as come down here do like to get out of
that suffocating place! ' Coxen,' says they to
me, ' how glad I am to get out of that filthy
London!' What with the bugs and rats, I think
they has a hard time of it; and all I wonder is,
with the jamming of houses and people, they
escape being smothered."

From this our conversation turned to rats,
about which I told Coxen the story of how, in
George the First's time, the brown rat came
from Norway, and, killing all the indigenous
black rats, conquered the country. But Coxen,
putting aside this story, would have it that
London was the centre of all rats as well as of
all evil. '' There was a craft," said he, " the
Simon Taylor, laden with sugar, as struck and
was sinking just as me and my mates was a
coming up in our lugger. One of us stuck his
crowbar in the coating of the mast, aud found
the ship was choke-full of rats all under where the
wedges of the mast was. I tell you what, sir,
those rats will get so numerous that the sailors
have to put victuals and drink for them reg'lar,
or they eat the very planks through. They'll
eat the horn buttons off the sailors' jackets,
and the thick skin off the heels of the men as
they lie in their hammocks.

A broad vein of dull purple, here spreading
through the light chrysolite green of the sea,
arrested Coxen's weather eye, who declared, as
it moved along, that it must be a " school" of
mackerel. It proved to be only the flying shadow
of a grey cloud, but it was sufficient to turn the
conversation on fishing, for, just at that moment,
row after row of floating cork, branded with the
letters of their owners' names, indicating sunk
lobster-pots, brought us on to some busy boats
of fishermen, who were drawing up the net cages,
weighted with flints, inside which hung strings
of dead plaice.

A word of mine about the fishing cormorants
of China and the chance of taming the fishing
eagle, led Coxen to curious revelations of the
fish world; about the devil-fish, the jelly-fish,
the fiddle-fish (shaped like the butt of a fiddle),
the stotter, and especially the dog-fish, the
special enemy of the fishermen of Dippiugton
and everywhere else.

"Lord!" says Coxen, " you should see how
them dog-fish tear bits out of the net, and
swallow the lobster-nets right down in their
hurry to get at the fish. I don't mean the
piggy-dogs, the fellows all over prickles ake,
but the spur-dogs, the largest ones. The
fishermen know when they are coming, they can
smell 'em a long way off, when the dogs are
coming in packs after the whitings, they are so
oily and ranky. Why, I saw one just now on
the pier as we pushed off that one could not
bear one's nose near. They're as bad as the
gannet, that the sailors declare lift up the net
for each other to get the herrings out."