I Staid Faithfully By Him Until His Comedy Was Finished.
Then He Remarked That He Had Undertaken To 'learn' Me All About A
Steamboat, And Had Done It; But That If He Had Overlooked Anything, Just
Ask Him And He Would Supply The Lack.
'Anything about this boat that you
don't know the name of or the purpose of, you come to me and I'll tell
you.' I said I would, and took my departure; disappeared, and approached
him from another quarter, whence he could not see me.
There he sat, all
alone, doubling himself up and writhing this way and that, in the throes
of unappeasable laughter. He must have made himself sick; for he was not
publicly visible afterward for several days. Meantime, the episode
dropped out of my mind.
The thing that reminded me of it now, when I was alone at the wheel, was
the spectacle of this young fellow standing in the pilot-house door,
with the knob in his hand, silently and severely inspecting me. I don't
know when I have seen anybody look so injured as he did. He did not say
anything - simply stood there and looked; reproachfully looked and
pondered. Finally he shut the door, and started away; halted on the
texas a minute; came slowly back and stood in the door again, with that
grieved look in his face; gazed upon me awhile in meek rebuke, then
'You let me learn you all about a steamboat, didn't you?'
'Yes,' I confessed.
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