Monday, February 16, 2009

Captain Lash - instalment 2

"Think o' Babe; fer the land's sake, think o' Babe!" pleaded Cocky. It was an argument that had succeeded when others had failed; for of them all there was just one girl in the wide Pacific who had the power to leash the giant's reckless soul. Let him stray from the fold as he might, he hived back to Babe sooner or later; and there, after arguments, his welcome was assured.

"I'm always thinkin of her," grinned Lash. "You mightn't believe it, Cocky, but it's because I'm trying to find her equal I goes huntin' the way I do. Come along, then." Cocky was happy enough where he was. Put him in front of a frothing schooner or a newly-opened bottle and he wouldn't have owned the Empress of China as his aunt.  This was the atmosphere he loved; an atmosphere compounded of choking tobacco-smoke and liquor-fumes and exotic scents that dropped from the easy-mannered dancing girls.  There was the music of the raw jungle type that inflames men's passions; and presently Cocky would be mellowed and made massive by beer to the extent of performing a solo on his concertina and, perhaps, giving an exhibition dance, which would result in much free refreshment.  Furthermore the spotlight of public favour would be trained on Cocky; and his unfortunate inferiority complex would be lulled to rest.  Sheltered under the compelling shadow of Lash, Cocky seldom had a look-in: he was one of the crowd ambitioning to be a star.

Realizing the futility of argument, he followed his captain out into the boiling streets.  "There'll be trouble come of it; mark my words, there'll be trouble," he bewailed.

"If I can find it, yes," growled Lash. "How you does it, I can't tell - women fair go crazy if you so much as give 'em a once-over!" "It's a gift," said Lash simply; "same as music or po'try. First the wenches, then the likker, then the scrappin' - then I'm happy. Hi, pipe the lass across the street."

She was a handsome girl enough, with a winning smile. Her summer frock was dainty and to the eyes of Lash she showed a tempting morsel."

It's so bad.

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