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|The Night-Born||Jack London|
Bunches Of Knuckles
|Page 1 of 10||
ARRANGEMENTS quite extensive had been made for the celebration of Christmas on the yacht Samoset. Not having been in any civilized port for months, the stock of provisions boasted few delicacies; yet Minnie Duncan had managed to devise real feasts for cabin and forecastle.
"Listen, Boyd, she told her husband. "Here are the menus. For the cabin, raw bonita native style, turtle soup, omelette a la Samoset--"
"What the dickens?" Boyd Duncan interrupted.
"Well, if you must know, I found a tin of mushrooms and a package of egg-powder which had fallen down behind the locker, and there are other things as well that will go into it. But don't interrupt. Boiled yam, fried taro, alligator pear salad--there, you've got me all mixed, Then I found a last delectable half-pound of dried squid. There will be baked beans Mexican, if I can hammer it into Toyama's head; also, baked papaia with Marquesan honey, and, lastly, a wonderful pie the secret of which Toyama refuses to divulge."
"I wonder if it is possible to concoct a punch or a cocktail out of trade rum?" Duncan muttered gloomily.
"Oh! I forgot! Come with me."
His wife caught his hand and led him through the small connecting door to her tiny stateroom. Still holding his hand, she fished in the depths of a hat-locker and brought forth a pint bottle of champagne.
"The dinner is complete!" he cried.
She fished again, and was rewarded with a silver-mounted whisky flask. She held it to the light of a port-hole, and the liquor showed a quarter of the distance from the bottom.
"I've been saving it for weeks," she explained. "And there's enough for you and Captain Dettmar."
"Two mighty small drinks," Duncan complained.
"There would have been more, but I gave a drink to Lorenzo when he was sick."
Duncan growled, "Might have given him rum," facetiously.
"The nasty stuff! For a sick man? Don't be greedy, Boyd. And I'm glad there isn't any more, for Captain Dettmar's sake. Drinking always makes him irritable. And now for the men's dinner. Soda crackers, sweet cakes, candy--"
"Substantial, I must say."
"Do hush. Rice, and curry, yam, taro, bonita, of course, a big cake Toyama is making, young pig--"
"Oh, I say," he protested.
"It is all right, Boyd. We'll be in Attu-Attu in three days. Besides, it's my pig. That old chief what-ever-his-name distinctly presented it to me. You saw him yourself. And then two tins of bullamacow. That's their dinner. And now about the presents. Shall we wait until tomorrow, or give them this evening?"
"Christmas Eve, by all means," was the man's judgment. "We'll call all hands at eight bells; I'll give them a tot of rum all around, and then you give the presents. Come on up on deck. It's stifling down here. I hope Lorenzo has better luck with the dynamo; without the fans there won't be much sleeping to-night if we're driven below."
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