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Adventure Jack London

The Logic Of Youth

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"Phew!" Sheldon leaned back from the table in mock fear.

"You needn't worry about your bread and butter," he ventured. "If you fail at planting, you would be sure to succeed as a writer-- novels with a purpose, you know."

"I didn't think there were persons in the Solomons who needed such books," she retaliated. "But you are certainly one--you and your custodians of virtue."

He winced, but Joan rattled on with the platitudinous originality of youth.

"As if anything good were worth while when it has to be guarded and put in leg-irons and handcuffs in order to keep it good. Your desire for a chaperone as much as implies that I am that sort of creature. I prefer to be good because it is good to be good, rather than because I can't be bad because some argus-eyed old frump won't let me have a chance to be bad."

"But it--it is not that," he put in. "It is what others will think."

"Let them think, the nasty-minded wretches! It is because men like you are afraid of the nasty-minded that you allow their opinions to rule you."

"I am afraid you are a female Shelley," he replied; "and as such, you really drive me to become your partner in order to protect you."

"If you take me as a partner in order to protect me . . . I . . . I shan't be your partner, that's all. You'll drive me into buying Pari-Sulay yet."

"All the more reason--" he attempted.

"Do you know what I'll do?" she demanded. "I'll find some man in the Solomons who won't want to protect me."

Sheldon could not conceal the shock her words gave him.

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"You don't mean that, you know," he pleaded.

"I do; I really do. I am sick and tired of this protection dodge. Don't forget for a moment that I am perfectly able to take care of myself. Besides, I have eight of the best protectors in the world- -my sailors."

"You should have lived a thousand years ago," he laughed, "or a thousand years hence. You are very primitive, and equally super-modern. The twentieth century is no place for you."

"But the Solomon Islands are. You were living like a savage when I came along and found you--eating nothing but tinned meat and scones that would have ruined the digestion of a camel. Anyway, I've remedied that; and since we are to be partners, it will stay remedied. You won't die of malnutrition, be sure of that."

"If we enter into partnership," he announced, "it must be thoroughly understood that you are not allowed to run the schooner. You can go down to Sydney and buy her, but a skipper we must have-- "

"At so much additional expense, and most likely a whisky-drinking, irresponsible, and incapable man to boot. Besides, I'd have the business more at heart than any man we could hire. As for capability, I tell you I can sail all around the average broken captain or promoted able seaman you find in the South Seas. And you know I am a navigator."

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