The Cruise Of The Snark, By Jack London


What does this red flag mean? I asked.

Socialism, of course.

Yes, yes, I know that, I went on; but - Page 170
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"What Does This Red Flag Mean?" I Asked.

"Socialism, of course."

"Yes, yes, I know that," I went on; "but what does it mean in your hands?"

"Why, that I've found my message."

"And that you are delivering it to Tahiti?" I demanded incredulously.

"Sure," he answered simply; and later on I found that he was, too.

When we dropped anchor, lowered a small boat into the water, and started ashore, the Nature Man joined us. Now, thought I, I shall be pestered to death by this crank. Waking or sleeping I shall never be quit of him until I sail away from here.

But never in my life was I more mistaken. I took a house and went to live and work in it, and the Nature Man never came near me. He was waiting for the invitation. In the meantime he went aboard the Snark and took possession of her library, delighted by the quantity of scientific books, and shocked, as I learned afterwards, by the inordinate amount of fiction. The Nature Man never wastes time on fiction.

After a week or so, my conscience smote me, and I invited him to dinner at a downtown hotel.

He arrived, looking unwontedly stiff and uncomfortable in a cotton jacket. When invited to peel it off, he beamed his gratitude and joy, and did so, revealing his sun-gold skin, from waist to shoulder, covered only by a piece of fish-net of coarse twine and large of mesh. A scarlet loin-cloth completed his costume.

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