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266              Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion
not eat for admiring it and wondering if a single kid or calf could furnish material for gloving it.
Conversation not general; drones along between couples. One catches a sentence here and there. Like this, from Bermudian of thirteen years' absence: "It is the nature of women to ask trivial, irrelevant, and pursuing questions—questions that pursue you from a beginning in nothing to a run-to-cover in no­where." Reply of Bermudian of twenty-seven years' absence: "Yes; and to think they have logical, ana­lytical minds and argumentative ability. You see 'em begin to whet up whenever they smell argument in the air." Plainly these be philosophers.
Twice since we left port our engines have stopped for a couple of minutes at a time. Now they stop again. Says the pale young man, meditatively, '' There ! — that engineer is sitting down to rest again."
Grave stare from the captain, whose mighty jaws cease to work, and whose harpooned potato stops in mid-air on its way to his open, paralyzed mouth. Presently he says ir measured tones, "Is it your idea that the engineer of this ship propels her by a crank turned by his own hands?"
The pale young man studies over this a moment, then lifts up his guileless eyes, and says, " Don't he?"
Thus gently falls the death-blow to further conversa­tion, and the dinner drags to its close in a reflective silence, disturbed by no sounds but the murmurous wash of the sea and the subdued clash of teeth.
After a smoke and a promenade on deck, where is no motion to discompose our steps, we think of a game of whist. We ask the brisk and capable stewardess from Ireland if there are any cards in the ship.
" Bless your soul, dear, indeed there is. Not a whole pack, true for ye, but not enough missing to signify."
However, I happened by accident to bethink me of a