The captain, a well-built, fine-looking specimen of an
English seaman, merely laughed at this impromptu salutation.
"I say, skipper, I don't quite like that d - - d stroke of yours."
No answer; but, as if completely deaf to these remarks, as well as the
insulting tone in which they were delivered, the "skipper" continued
giving his orders to his boy, and then leisurely ascended the steps. He
walked straight up to the waterman, who was lounging against the
"So, my fine fellow, you didn't quite admire that stroke of
mine. Now, I've another stroke that I think you'll admire still less,"
and with one blow he sent him reeling against the railing on the
The waterman slowly recovered his equilibrium, muttering, "that was a
safe dodge, as the gentleman knew he was the heaviest man of the two."
"Then never let your tongue say what your fist can't defend," was the
cool retort, as another blow sent him staggering to his original place,
amidst the unrestrained laughter of his companions, whilst the captain
unconcernedly walked into Liardet's, whither we also betook ourselves,
not a little surprised and amused by this our first introduction to
colonial customs and manners.
The fact is, the watermen regard the masters of the ships in the bay as
sworn enemies to their business; many are runaway sailors, and
therefore, I suppose, have a natural antipathy that way; added to
which, besides being no customers themselves, the "skippers," by the
loan of their boats, often save their friends from the exorbitant
charges these watermen levy.