Click here to Download Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book by Frank Norris Language English having PDF Size 1.2 MB and No of Pages 81.
This is to be a story of a battle, at least one murder, and several sudden deaths. For that reason it begins with a pink tea and among the mingled odors of many delicate perfumes and the hale, frank smell of Caroline Testout roses. There had been a great number of debutantes “coming out” that season in San Francisco by means of afternoon teas, pink, lavender, and otherwise.
Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book by Frank Norris
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This particular tea was intended to celebrate the fact that Josie Herrick had arrived at that time of her life when she was to wear her hair high and her gowns long, and to have a “day” of her own quite distinct from that of her mother. Ross Wilbur presented himself at the Herrick house on Pacific Avenue much too early upon the afternoon of Miss Herrick’s tea.
As he made, his way up the canvased stairs he was aware of a terrifying array of millinery and a disquieting staccato chatter of feminine voices in the parlors and reception-rooms on either side of the hallway. A single high hat in the room that had been set apart for the men’s use confirmed him in his suspicions.
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“Might have known it would be a hen party till six, anyhow,” he muttered, swinging out of his overcoat. “Bet I don’t know one girl in twenty down there now—all mamma’s friends at this hour, and papa’s maiden sisters, and Jo’s school-teachers and governesses and musicteachers, and I don’t know what all.”
When he went down he found it precisely as he expected. He went up to Miss Herrick, where she stood receiving with her mother and two of the other girls, and allowed them to chaff him on his forlornness. “Maybe I seem at my ease,” said Ross Wilbur to them, “but really I am very much frightened. I’m going to run away as soon as it is decently possible, even before, unless you feed me.”
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“I believe you had luncheon not two hours ago,” said Miss Herrick. “Come along, though, and I’ll give you some chocolate, and perhaps, if you’re good, a stuffed olive. I got them just because I knew you liked them. I ought to stay here and receive, so I can’t look after you for long.”
The two fought their way through the crowded rooms to the luncheon-table, and Miss Herrick got Wilbur his chocolate and his stuffed olives. They sat down and talked in a window recess for a moment, Wilbur toeing-in in absurd fashion as he tried to make a lap for his plate. “I thought,” said Miss Herrick, “that you were going on the Ridgeways’ yachting party this afternoon.
Mrs. Ridgeway said she was counting on you. They are going out with the ‘Petrel.’” “She didn’t count above a hundred, though,” answered Wilbur. “I got your bid first, so I regretted the yachting party; and I guess I’d have regretted it anyhow,” and he grinned at her over his cup. “Nice man,” she said—adding on the instant, “I must go now, Ross.” Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book
“Wait till I eat the sugar out of my cup,” complained Wilbur. “Tell me,” he added, scraping vigorously at the bottom of the cup with the inadequate spoon; “tell me, you’re going to the hoe-down to-night?” “If you mean the Assembly, yes, I am.” “Will you give me the first and last?” “I’ll give you the first, and you can ask for the last then.”
“Let’s put it down; I know you’ll forget it.” Wilbur drew a couple of cards from his case. “Programmes are not good form any more,” said Miss Herrick. “Forgetting a dance is worse.” He made out the cards, writing on the one he kept for himself, “First waltz—Jo.” “I must go back now,” said Miss Herrick, getting up.
The jib filled. The schooner came about on the port tack; Lime Point fell away over the stern rail. The huge ground swells began to come in, and as she rose and bowed to the first of these it was precisely as though the “Bertha Millner” were making her courtesy to the great gray ocean, now for the first time in full sight on her starboard quarter. Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book
The schooner was beating out to sea through the Middle Channel. Once clear of the Golden Gate, she stood over toward the Cliff House, then on the next tack cleared Point Bonita. The sea began building up in deadly earnest—they were about to cross the bar. Everything was battened down, the scuppers were awash, and the hawse-holes spouted like fountains after every plunge.
Once the Captain ordered all men aloft, just in time to escape a gigantic dull green roller that broke like a Niagara over the schooner’s bows, smothering the decks kneedeep in a twinkling. The wind blew violent and cold, the spray was flying like icy small-shot. Without intermission the “Bertha Millner” rolled and plunged and heaved and sank.
Wilbur was drenched to the skin and sore in every joint, from being shunted from rail to mast and from mast to rail again. The cordage sang like harp-strings, the schooner’s forefoot crushed down into the heaving water with a hissing like that of steam, blocks rattled, the Captain bellowed his orders, rope-ends flogged the hollow deck till it reverberated like a drum-head. Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book
The crossing of the bar was one long half-hour of confusion and discordant sound. When they were across the bar the Captain ordered the cook to give the men their food. “Git for’rd, sonny,” he added, fixing Wilbur with his eye. “Git for’rd, this is tawble dee hote, savvy?” Wilbur crawled forward on the reeling deck, holding on now to a mast, now to a belayingpin, now to a stay.
Watching his chance and going on between the inebriated plunges of the schooner. He descended the fo’c’sle hatch. The Chinamen were already there, sitting on the edges of their bunks. On the floor, at the bottom of the ladder, punk-sticks were burning in an old tomato-can. Charlie brought in supper—stewed beef and pork in a bread-pan and a wooden kit.
And the Chinamen ate in silence with their sheath-knives and from tin plates. A liquid that bore a distant resemblance to coffee was served. Wilbur learned afterward to know the stuff as Black Jack, and to be aware that it was made from bud barley and was sweetened with molasses. Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book Download
A single reeking lamp swung with the swinging of the schooner over the centre of the group, and long after Wilbur could remember the grisly scene—the punk-sticks, the bread-pan full of hunks of meat, the horrid close and oily smell, and the circle of silent, preoccupied Chinese, each sitting on his bunk-ledge, devouring stewed pork and holding his pannikin of Black Jack between his feet against the rolling of the boat.
Wilbur looked fearfully at the mess in the pan, recalling the chocolate and stuffed olives that had been his last luncheon. “Well,” he muttered, clinching his teeth, “I’ve got to come to it sooner or later.” His penknife was in the pocket of his waist-coat, underneath his oilskin coat. He opened the big blade, harpooned a cube of pork, and deposited it on his tin plate.
He ate it slowly and with savage determination. But the Black Jack was more than he could bear. “I’m not hungry enough for that just now,” he told himself. “Say, Jim,” he said, turning to the Chinaman next him on the bunk-ledge, “say, what kind of boat is this? What you do— where you go?” Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book Download
He remembered that they were going home on the next day. Within a fortnight he would be in San Francisco again—a taxpayer, a police-protected citizen once more. It had been good fun, after all, this three weeks’ life on the “Bertha Millner,” a strange episode cut out from the normal circle of his conventional life.
He ran over the incidents of the cruise—Kitchell, the turtle hunt, the finding of the derelict, the dead captain, the squall, and the awful sight of the sinking bark, Moran at the wheel, the grewsome business of the shark-fishing, and last of all that inexplicable lifting and quivering of the schooner.
He told himself that now he would probably never know the explanation of that mystery. The day passed in preparations to put to sea again. The deck-tubs and hogsheads were stowed below and the tackle cleared away. By evening all was ready; they would be under way by daybreak the next morning. Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book Download
There was a possibility of their being forced to tow the schooner out by means of the dory, so light were the airs inside. Once beyond the heads, however, they were sure of a breeze. About ten o’clock that night, the same uncanny trembling ran through the schooner again, and about half an hour later she lifted gently once or twice.
But after that she was undisturbed. Later on in the night—or rather early in the morning—Wilbur woke suddenly in his hammock without knowing why, and got up and stood listening. The “Bertha Millner” was absolutely quiet. The night was hot and still; the new moon, canted over like a sinking galleon, was low over the horizon.
Wilbur listened intently, for now at last he heard something. Between the schooner and the shore a gentle sound of splashing came to his ears, and an occasional crack as of oars in their locks. Was it possible that a boat was there between the schooner and the land? What boat, and manned by whom? The creaking of oarlocks and the dip of paddles was unmistakable. Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book Free
Suddenly Wilbur raised his voice in a great shout: “Boat ahoy!” There was no answer; the noise of oars grew fainter. Moran came running out of her cabin, swinging into her coat as she ran. “What is it—what is it?” “A boat, I think, right off the schooner here. Hark—there—did you hear the oars?” “You’re right; call the hands, get the dory over, we’ll follow that boat right up.
Hello, forward there, Charlie, all hands, tumble out!” Then Wilbur and Moran caught themselves looking into each other’s eyes. At once something—perhaps the latent silence of the schooner—told them there was to be no answer. The two ran for-ward: Moran swung herself into the fo’castle hatch, and without using the ladder dropped to the deck below.
In an instant her voice came up the hatch: “The bunks are empty—they’re gone—abandoned us.” She came up the ladder again. “Look,” said Wilbur, as she regained the deck. “The dory’s gone; they’ve taken it. It was our only boat; we can’t get ashore.” “Cowardly, superstitious rats, I should have expected this. Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book Free
They would be chopped in bits before they would stay longer on board this boat—they and their-Feng shui.” When morning came the deserters could be made out camped on the shore, near to the beached dory. What their intentions were could not be conjectured. Ridden with all manner of nameless Oriental superstitions.
It was evident that the Chinamen preferred any hazard of fortune to remaining longer upon the schooner. “Well, can we get along without them?” said Wilbur. “Can we two work the schooner back to port ourselves?” “Hoh!” she exclaimed, her heavy voice pitched even lower than usual. “Who could understand or share any of my pleasures, or be happy when I’m happy?
And, besides, I’m happiest when I’m alone—I don’t want any one.” “But,” hesitated Wilbur, “one is not always alone. After all, you’re a girl, and men, sailormen especially, are beasts when it’s a question of a woman—an unprotected woman.” “I’m stronger than most men,” said Moran simply. “If you, for instance, had been like some men, I should have fought you. Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book Free
It wouldn’t have been the first time,” she added, smoothing one huge braid between her palms. Wilbur looked at her with intent curiosity—noted again, as if for the first time, the rough, blue overalls thrust into the shoes; the coarse flannel shirt open at the throat; the belt with its sheath-knife; her arms big and white and tattooed in sailor fashion; her thick, muscular neck; her red face.
With its pale blue eyes and almost massive jaw; and her hair, her heavy, yellow, fragrant hair, that lay over her shoulder and breast, coiling and looping in her lap. “No,” he said, with a long breath, “I don’t make it out. I knew you were out of my experience, but I begin to think now that you are out of even my imagination.
You are right, you SHOULD keep to yourself. You should be alone—your mate isn’t made yet. You are splendid just as you are,” while under his breath he added, his teeth clinching, “and God! but I love you.” It was growing late, the stars were all out, the moon riding high. Moran yawned: “Mate, I think I’ll turn in. Moran of the Lady Letty PDF Book Free
We’ll have to be at that schooner early in the morning, and I make no doubt she’ll give us plenty to do.” Wilbur hesitated to reply, waiting to take his cue from what next she should say. “It’s hot enough to sleep where we are,” she added, “without going aboard the ‘Bertha,’ though we might have a couple of blankets off to lie on.
This sand’s as hard as a plank.” Without answering, Wilbur showed her a couple of blanket-rolls he had brought off while he was unloading part of the stores that afternoon. They took one apiece and spread them on the sand by the bleached whale’s skull. Moran pulled off her boots and stretched herself upon her blanket with absolute unconcern, her hands clasped under her head.
Wilbur rolled up his coat for a pillow and settled himself for the night with an assumed self-possession. There was a long silence. Moran yawned again. “I pulled the heel off my boot this morning,” she said lazily, “and I’ve been limping all day.”