It Was More Than Half A
Jest That He Conducted His Existence.
'Oh, man,' he said to me
once with unusual emotion, like a man thinking of his mistress, 'I
would give up anything for a lark.'
It was in relation to his fellow-stowaway that Alick showed the
best, or perhaps I should say the only good, points of his nature.
'Mind you,' he said suddenly, changing his tone, 'mind you that's a
good boy. He wouldn't tell you a lie. A lot of them think he is a
scamp because his clothes are ragged, but he isn't; he's as good as
gold.' To hear him, you become aware that Alick himself had a
taste for virtue. He thought his own idleness and the other's
industry equally becoming. He was no more anxious to insure his
own reputation as a liar than to uphold the truthfulness of his
companion; and he seemed unaware of what was incongruous in his
attitude, and was plainly sincere in both characters.
It was not surprising that he should take an interest in the
Devonian, for the lad worshipped and served him in love and wonder.
Busy as he was, he would find time to warn Alick of an approaching
officer, or even to tell him that the coast was clear, and he might
slip off and smoke a pipe in safety. 'Tom,' he once said to him,
for that was the name which Alick ordered him to use, 'if you don't
like going to the galley, I'll go for you.
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