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Ship's Company, Part 9.

written by "Jacobs, W. W. (William Wymark), 1863-1943"
...'H'sh.' Then I turned to 'im all of a sudden and pinched his arm so hard he nearly dropped 'is beer. "'Is Uncle Dick a nervous man?' I ses. "'Nervous is no name for it,' he ses, staring. "'Very good, then,' I ses. 'I'll send 'er husband to frighten 'im.' "The skipper looked at me very strange. 'Yes,' he ses. 'Yes. Yes.' "'Frighten 'im out of 'is boots, and make him give 'er up,' I ses. 'Or better still, get 'im to run away and go into hiding for a time. That 'ud be best, in case 'e found out.' "'Found out wot?' ses the skipper. "'Found out it wasn't 'er husband,' I ses. "'Bill,' ses the skipper, very earnest, 'this is the fust beer I've 'ad to-day, and I wish I could say the same for you.' "I didn't take 'im at fast, but when I did I gave a laugh that brought in two more customers to see wot was the matter. Then I took 'im by the arm—arter a little trouble—and, taking 'im back to the wharf, explained my meaning to 'im. "'I know the very man,' I ses. 'He comes into a public-'ouse down my way sometimes. Artful 'Arry, he's called, and, for 'arf-a-quid, say, he'd frighten Uncle Dick 'arf to death. He's big and ugly, and picks up a living by selling meerschaum pipes he's found to small men wot don't want 'em. Wonderful gift o' the gab he's got.' "We went acrost to the 'Albion' to talk it over. There's several bars there, and the landlady always keeps cotton-wool in 'er ears, not 'aving been brought up to the public line. The skipper told me all 'e knew about Mrs. Muffit, and we arranged that Artful 'Arry should come down at seven o'clock next night, if so be as I could find 'im in time. "I got up early the next arternoon, and as it 'appened, he came into the 'Duke of Edinburgh' five minutes arter I got there. Nasty temper 'e was in, too. He'd just found a meerschaum pipe, as usual, and the very fust man 'e tried to sell it to said that it was the one 'e lost last Christmas, and gave 'im a p...

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