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- Captain Brassbound's Conversion - 2/21 -
travellers here. I have something else to say--a question to ask you.
DRINKWATR (with a misgiving, which he masks by exaggerating his hearty sailor manner). An weollcome, yr honor.
RANKIN. Who is this Captain Brassbound?
DRINKWATER (guiltily). Kepn Brarsbahnd! E's-weoll, e's maw Kepn, gavner.
RANKIN. Yes. Well?
DRINKWATER (feebly). Kepn of the schooner Thenksgivin, gavner.
RANKIN (searchingly). Have ye ever haird of a bad character in these seas called Black Paquito?
DRINKWATER (with a sudden radiance of complete enlightenment). Aoh, nar aw tikes yer wiv me, yr honor. Nah sammun es bin a teolln you thet Kepn Brarsbahnd an Bleck Pakeetow is hawdentically the sime pussn. Ynt thet sow?
RANKIN. That is so. (Drinkwater slaps his knee triumphantly. The missionary proceeds determinedly) And the someone was a verra honest, straightforward man, as far as I could judge.
DRINKWATER (embracing the implication). Course a wors, gavner: Ev aw said a word agin him? Ev aw nah?
RANKIN. But is Captain Brassbound Black Paquito then?
DRINKWATER. Waw, it's the nime is blessed mather give im at er knee, bless is little awt! Ther ynt naow awm in it. She ware a Wust Hinjin--howver there agin, yer see (pointing seaward)-- leastwaws, naow she worn't: she were a Brazilian, aw think; an Pakeetow's Brazilian for a bloomin little perrit--awskin yr pawdn for the word. (Sentimentally) Lawk as a Hinglish lidy mawt call er little boy Birdie.
RANKIN (not quite convinced). But why BLACK Paquito?
DRINKWATER (artlessly). Waw, the bird in its netral stite bein green, an e evin bleck air, y' knaow--
RANKIN (cutting him short). I see. And now I will put ye another question. WHAT is Captain Brassbound, or Paquito, or whatever he calls himself?
DRINKWATER (officiously). Brarsbahnd, gavner. Awlus calls isseolf Brarsbahnd.
RANKIN. Well. Brassbound, then. What is he?
DRINKWATER (fervently). You awsks me wot e is, gavner?
RANKIN (firmly). I do.
DRINKWATFR (with rising enthusiasm). An shll aw teoll yer wot e is, yr honor?
RANKIN (not at all impressed). If ye will be so good, Mr. Drinkwotter.
DRINKWATER (with overwhelming conviction). Then awll teoll you, gavner, wot he is. Ee's a Paffick Genlmn: thet's wot e is.
RANKIN (gravely). Mr. Drinkwotter: pairfection is an attribute, not of West Coast captains, but of thr Maaker. And there are gentlemen and gentlemen in the world, espaecially in these latitudes. Which sort of gentleman is he?
DRINKWATER. Hinglish genlmn, gavner. Hinglish speakin; Hinglish fawther; West Hinjin plawnter; Hinglish true blue breed. (Reflectively) Tech o brahn from the mather, preps, she bein Brazilian.
RANKIN. Now on your faith as a Christian, Felix Drinkwotter, is Captain Brassbound a slaver or not?
DRINKWATER (surprised into his natural cockney pertness). Naow e ynt.
RANKIN. Are ye SURE?
DRINKWATER. Waw, a sliver is abaht the wanne thing in the wy of a genlmn o fortn thet e YNT.
RANKIN. I've haird that expression "gentleman of fortune" before, Mr. Drinkwotter. It means pirate. Do ye know that?
DRINKWATER. Bless y'r awt, y' cawnt be a pawrit naradys. Waw, the aw seas is wuss pleest nor Piccadilly Suckus. If aw was to do orn thet there Hetlentic Howcean the things aw did as a bwoy in the Worterleoo Rowd, awd ev maw air cat afore aw could turn maw ed. Pawrit be blaowed!--awskink yr pawdn, gavner. Nah, jest to shaow you ah little thet there striteforard man y' mide mention on knaowed wot e was atorkin abaht: oo would you spowse was the marster to wich Kepn Brarsbahnd served apprentice, as yr mawt sy?
RANKIN. I don't know.
DRINKWATER. Gawdn, gavner, Gawdn. Gawdn o Kawtoom--stetcher stends in Trifawlgr Square to this dy. Trined Bleck Pakeetow in smawshin hap the slive riders, e did. Promist Gawdn e wouldn't never smaggle slives nor gin, an (with suppressed aggravation) WOWN'T, gavner, not if we gows dahn on ahr bloomin bended knees to im to do it.
RANKIN (drily). And DO ye go down on your bended knees to him to do it?
DRINKWATER (somewhat abashed). Some of huz is hanconverted men, gavner; an they sy: You smaggles wanne thing, Kepn; waw not hanather?
RANKIN. We've come to it at last. I thought so. Captain Brassbound is a smuggler.
DRINKWATER. Weoll, waw not? Waw not, gavner? Ahrs is a Free Tride nition. It gows agin us as Hinglishmen to see these bloomin furriners settin ap their Castoms Ahses and spheres o hinfluence and sich lawk hall owver Arfricar. Daown't Harfricar belong as much to huz as to them? thet's wot we sy. Ennywys, there ynt naow awm in ahr business. All we daz is hescort, tourist HOR commercial. Cook's hexcursions to the Hatlas Mahntns: thet's hall it is. Waw, it's spreadin civlawzytion, it is. Ynt it nah?
RANKIN. You think Captain Brassbound's crew sufficiently equipped for that, do you?
DRINKWATER. Hee-quipped! Haw should think sow. Lawtnin rawfles, twelve shots in the meggezine! Oo's to storp us?
RANKIN. The most dangerous chieftain in these parts, the Sheikh Sidi el Assif, has a new American machine pistol which fires ten bullets without loadin; and his rifle has sixteen shots in the magazine.
DRINKWATER (indignantly). Yuss; an the people that sells sich things into the ends o' them eathen bleck niggers calls theirseolves Christians! It's a crool shime, sow it is.
RANKIN. If a man has the heart to pull the trigger, it matters little what color his hand is, Mr. Drinkwotter. Have ye anything else to say to me this afternoon?
DRINKWATER (rising). Nathink, gavner, cept to wishyer the bust o yolth, and a many cornverts. Awtenoon, gavner.
RANKIN. Good afternoon to ye, Mr. Drinkwotter.
As Drinkwater turns to go, a Moorish porter comes from the house with two Krooboys.
THE PORTER (at the door, addressing Rankin). Bikouros (Moroccan for Epicurus, a general Moorish name for the missionaries, who are supposed by the Moors to have chosen their calling through a love of luxurious idleness): I have brought to your house a Christian dog and his woman.
DRINKWATER. There's eathen menners fer yer! Calls Sr Ahrd Ellam an Lidy Winefleet a Christian dorg and is woman! If ee ed you in the dorck et the Centl Crimnal, you'd fawnd aht oo was the dorg and oo was is marster, pretty quick, you would.
RANKIN. Have you broat their boxes?
THE PORTER. By Allah, two camel loads!
RANKIN. Have you been paid?
THE PORTER. Only one miserable dollar, Bikouros. I have brought them to your house. They will pay you. Give me something for bringing gold to your door.
DRINKWATER. Yah! You oughter bin bawn a Christian, you ought. You knaow too mach.
RANKIN. You have broat onnly trouble and expense to my door, Hassan; and you know it. Have I ever charged your wife and children for my medicines?
HASSAN (philosophically). It is always permitted by the Prophet to ask, Bikouros. (He goes cheerfully into the house with the Krooboys.)
DRINKWATER. Jist thort eed trah it orn, a did. Hooman nitre is the sime everywheres. Them eathens is jast lawk you an' me, gavner.
A lady and gentleman, both English, come into the garden. The gentleman, more than elderly, is facing old age on compulsion, not resignedly. He is clean shaven, and has a brainy rectangular forehead, a resolute nose with strongly governed nostrils, and a tightly fastened down mouth which has evidently shut in much temper and anger in its time. He has a habit of deliberately assumed authority and dignity, but is trying to take life more genially and easily in his character of tourist, which is further borne out by his white hat and summery
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