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Hocken and Hunken   By: (1863-1944)

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E text prepared by Lionel Sear

HOCKEN AND HUNKEN

A Tale of Troy

by

Arthur Thomas Quiller Couch ('Q')

CONTENTS.

BOOK I

CHAPTER

I. CAPTAIN CAI HAULS ASHORE.

II. THE BARBER'S CHAIR.

III. TABB'S CHILD.

IV. VOICES IN THE TWILIGHT.

V. A TESTIMONIAL.

VI. RILLA FARM.

VII. 'BIAS ARRIVES.

VIII. 'BIAS APPROVES.

BOOK II

IX. FIRST SUSPICIONS.

X. REGATTA NIGHT.

XI. MRS BOSENNA PLAYS A PARLOUR GAME.

XII. AMANTIUM IRAE .

XIII. FAIR CHALLENGE.

XIV. THE LETTERS.

XV. PALMERSTON'S GENIUS.

XVI. IS IN TWO PARTS.

XVII. APPARENTLY DIVIDES INTO THREE.

BOOK III

XVIII. THE PLOUGHING.

XIX. ROSES AND THREE PER CENTS.

XX. A NEWSPAPER PARAGRAPH.

XXI. THE AUCTION.

XXII. THE LAST CHALLENGE.

XXIII. PASSAGE REGATTA.

XXIV. FANCY BRINGS NEWS.

XXV. CAI RENOUNCES.

XXVI. 'BIAS RENOUNCES.

XXVII. MRS BOSENNA GIVES THE ROSE.

XXVIII. JUBILEE.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER I.

CAPTAIN CAI HAULS ASHORE.

"Well, that's over!"

Captain Caius Hocken, from the stern sheets of the boat bearing him shoreward, slewed himself half about for a look back at his vessel, the Hannah Hoo barquentine. This was a ticklish operation, because he wore a tall silk hat and had allowed his hair to grow during the passage home St. Michael's to Liverpool with a cargo of oranges, and from Liverpool around to Troy in charge of a tug.

"I'm wonderin' what 'twill feel like when it comes to my turn," mused his mate Mr Tregaskis, likewise pensively contemplating the Hannah Hoo . "Not to be sure, sir, as I'd compare the two cases; me bein' a married man, and you as they say with the ship for wife all these years, and children too."

"I never liked the life, notwithstandin'," confessed the Captain. "And I'll be fifty come Michaelmas. Isn' that enough?"

"Nobody likes it, sir; not at our age. But all the same I reckon there be compensations." Mr Tregaskis, shading his eyes (for the day was sunny), let his gaze travel up the spars and rigging of the Barquentine up to the truck of her maintopmast, where a gull had perched itself and stood with tail pointing like a vane. "If the truth were known, maybe your landsman on an average don't do as he chooses any more than we mariners."

"Tut, man!" The Captain, who held the tiller, had ceased to look aft. His eyes were on the quay and the small town climbing the hillside above it in tier upon tier of huddled grey houses. "Why, damme! Your landsman chooses to live ashore, to begin with. What's more, he can walk where he has a mind to, no matter where the wind sits."

Mr Tregaskis shook his head. Having no hat, he was able to do this, and it gave him some dialectical advantage over his skipper.

"In practice, sir, you'd find it depend on who's left to mind the shop."

"Home's home, all the same," said Captain Cai positively, thrusting over the tiller to round in for the landing stairs. "I was born and reared in Troy, d'ye see? and as the sayin' goes Steady on!"

A small schooner, the Pure Gem of Padstow, had warped out from the quay overnight after discharging her ballast with the usual disregard of the Harbour Commissioners' bye laws; and a number of ponderable stones, now barely covered by the tide, encumbered the foot of the landing. On one of these the boat caught her heel, with a jerk that flung the two oarsmen sprawling and toppled Captain Hocken's tall hat over his nose. Mr Tregaskis thrust out a hand to catch it, but in too great a haste. The impact of his finger tips on the edge of the crown sent the hat spinning forward over the thwart whereon sprawled Ben Price, the stroke oar, and into the lap of Nathaniel Berry, bowman.

Nathaniel Berry, recovering his balance, rescued the headgear from the grip of his knees, gave it a polite brush the wrong way of the nap, and passed it aft to Ben Price. Ben a bald headed but able seaman eyed it a moment, rubbed it the right way dubiously with his elbow, and handed it on to the mate; who in turn smoothed it with the palm of his hand, which being an alert obliging man he had dexterously wetted overside before the Captain could stop him... Continue reading book >>




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