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Dutch the Diver A Man's Mistake   By: (1831-1909)

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Dutch the Diver A Man's Mistake By George Manville Fenn Published by Cassell and Company Limited, London. This edition dated 1883. Dutch the Diver, by George Manville Fenn.





"I say, Rasp. Confound the man! Rasp, will you leave that fire alone? Do you want to roast me?"

"What's the good o' you saying will I leave the fire alone, Mr Pug?" said the man addressed, stoking savagely at the grate; "you know as well as I do that if I leave it half hour you never touches it, but lets it go out."

Half a scuttle of coals poured on.

"No, no. No more coals, Rasp."

"They're on now, Mr Pug," said Rasp, with a grim grin. "You know how the governor grumbles if the fire's out, and it's me as ketches it."

"The office is insufferably hot now."

"Good job, too; for it's cold enough outside, I can tell you; and there's a draught where I sits just as if you'd got yer ear up again the escape valve of the air pump."

"Get a screen, then," said the first speaker, impatiently, as he scratched his thick, curly, crisp brown hair with the point of a pair of compasses, and gazed intently at a piece of drawing paper pinned out upon the desk before him.

"Screen? Bah! What do I want wi' screens? I can stand wind and cold, and a bit o' fire, too, for the matter o' that. I ain't like some people."

"Hang it all, Rasp, I wish you'd go," said the first speaker. "You see how busy I am. What's the matter with you this morning? Really, you're about the most disagreeable old man I ever knew."

"Disagreeable? Old?" cried Rasp, seizing the poker, and inserting it in the bars for another good stoke at the office fire, when the compasses were banged down on the desk, their owner leaped off the stool, twisted the poker out of the stoker's hand, and laughingly threw it down on the fender.

"I'll get Mr Parkley to find you a post somewhere as fireman at a furnace," said the first speaker, laughing.

"I don't want no fireman's places," growled Rasp. "How'd the work go on here wi'out me? Old, eh? Disagreeable, eh! Sixty ain't so old, nayther; and just you wear diving soots for forty year, and get your head blown full o' wind till you're 'most ready to choke, and be always going down, and risking your blessed life, and see if you wouldn't soon be disagreeable."

"Well, Rasp, I've been down pretty frequently, and in as risky places as most men of my age, and it hasn't made me such an old crab."

"What, you? Bah! Nothing puts you out nothing makes you cross 'cept too much fire, and you do get waxey over that. But you try it for forty year forty year, you know, and just see what you're like then, Mr Pug."

"Confound it all, Rasp," cried the younger man, "that's the third time in the last ten minutes that you've called me Pug. My name is Pugh PUGH Pugh."

"'Taint," said the old fellow, roughly, "I ain't lived sixty year in the world, and don't know how to spell. PEW spells pew , and PUGH spells pug , with the H at the end and wi'out it, so you needn't tell me."

"You obstinate old crab," said the other, good humouredly, as he stopped him from making another dash at the poker. "There, be off, I'm very busy."

"You allus are busy," growled the old fellow; "you'll get your brains all in a muddle wi' your figuring and drawing them new dodges and plans. No one thinks the better o' you, no matter how hard you works. It's my opinion, Mr Dutch there, will that suit yer, as you don't like to be called Mr Pug?"

"There, call me what you like, Rasp, you're a good, old fellow, and I shall never forget what you have done for me."

"Bah! Don't talk stuff," cried the old fellow, snappishly.

"Stuff, eh?" said the other, laughing, as he took up his compasses, and resumed his seat. "Leave that fire alone!" he cried, seizing a heavy ruler, and shaking it menacingly as the old man made once more for the poker... Continue reading book >>

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