Page images
PDF
EPUB

MULHOLLAND'S CONTRACT.

The fear was on the cattle, for the gale was on the

sea,

An' the pens broke up on the lower deck an' let

the creatures freeAn' the lights went out on the lower deck, an' no

one down but me.

I had been singin' to them to keep 'em quiet

there, For the lower deck is the dangerousest, requirin'

constant care, An' give to me as the strongest man, though used

to drink and swear.

I see my chance was certain of bein' horned or

trod, For the lower deck was packed with steers thicker

'n peas in a pod, An' more pens broke at every roll-so I made a

Contract with God.

An' by the terms of the Contract, as I have read

the same, If He got me to port alive I would exalt His

name, An' praise His Holy Majesty till further orders

came.

He saved me from the cattle an' He saved me from

the sea, For they found me 'tween two drownded ones

where the roll had landed meAn' a four-inch crack on top of my head, as crazy

as could be.

But that were done by a stanchion, an' not by a

bullock at all, An' I lay still for seven weeks convalessing of the

fall, An' readin' the shiny Scripture texts in the Sea

men's Hospital.

An' I spoke to God of our Contract, an' He says

to my prayer: I never puts on My ministers no more than they

can bear. “So back you go to the cattle-boats an' preach

My Gospel there.

“For human life is chancy at any kind of trade, “But most of all, as well you know, when the

steers are mad-afraid; “So you go back to the cattle-boats an' preach

'em as I've said.

"They must quit drinkin' an' swearin', they

mustn't knife on a blow, “They must quit gamblin' their wages, and you

must preach it so; “For now those boats are more like Hell than

anything else I know."

I didn't want to do it, for I knew what I should

get, An' I wanted to preach Religion, handsome an'

out of the wet, But the Word of the Lord were lain on me, an' I

done what I was set.

I have been smit an' bruised, as warned would be

the case, An' turned my cheek to the smiter exactly as Scrip

ture says; But following that, I knocked him down an' led

him up to Gracę.

An' we have preaching on Sundays whenever the

sea is calm, An' I use no knife nor pistol an' I never take no

harm, For the Lord abideth back of me to guide my

fighting arm.

An' I sign for four pound ten a month and save the

money clear, An' I am in charge of the lower deck, an' I never

lose a steer; An' I believe in Almighty God an' I preach His

Gospel here.

The skippers say I'm crazy, but I can prove 'em

wrong, For I am in charge of the lower deck with all that

doth belongWhich they would not give to a lunatic, and the

competition so strong!

[blocks in formation]

Heh! Walk her round. Heave, ah heave her short

again! Over, snatch her over, there, and hold her on

the pawl. Loose all sail, and brace your yards aback and

fullReady jib to pay her off and heave short all!

Well, ah fare you well; we can stay no more

with you, my loveDown, set down your liquor and your girl

from off your knee;

For the wind has come to say:

You must take me while you may, If you'd go to Mother Carey,

(Walk her down to Mother Carey!) Oh, we're bound to Mother Carey where

she feeds her chicks at sea!”

« PreviousContinue »