'Well cap'en!' said the colonel.
'Well colonel,' cried the captain. 'You're looking most uncommon bright, sir. I can hardly realise its being you, and that's a fact.'
'A good passage, cap'en?' inquired the colonel, taking him aside,
'Well now! It was a pretty spanking run, sir,' said, or rather sung, the captain, who was a genuine New Englander; 'con-siderin' the weather.'
'Yes?' said the colonel.
'Well! It was, sir,' said the captain. 'I've just now sent a boy up to your office with the passenger-list, colonel.'
'You haven't got another boy to spare, p'raps, cap'en?' said the colonel, in a tone almost amounting to severity.
'I guess there air a dozen if you want 'em, colonel,' said the captain.
'One moderate big 'un could convey a dozen champagne, perhaps,' observed the colonel, musing, 'to my office. You said a spanking run, I think?'
'Well, so I did,' was the reply.
'It's very nigh, you know,' observed the colonel. 'I'm glad it was a spanking run, cap'en. Don't mind about quarts if you're short of 'em. The boy can as well bring four-and-twenty pints, and travel twice as once.--A first-rate spanker, cap'en, was it? Yes?'
'A most e--tarnal spanker,' said the skipper.
'I admire at your good fortun, cap'en. You might loan me a corkscrew at the same time, and half-a-dozen glasses if you liked. However bad the elements combine against my country's noble packet-ship, the Screw, sir,' said the colonel, turning to Martin, and drawing a flourish on the surface of the deck with his cane, 'her passage either way is almost certain to eventuate a spanker!'
The captain, who had the Sewer below at that moment, lunching expensively in one cabin, while the amiable Stabber was drinking himself into a state of blind madness in another, took a cordial leave of his friend the colonel, and hurried away to dispatch the champagne; well knowing (as it afterwards appeared) that if he failed to conciliate the editor of the Rowdy Journal, that potentate would denounce him and his ship in large capitals before he was a day older; and would probably assault the memory of his mother also, who had not been dead more than twenty years. The colonel being again left alone with Martin, checked him as he was moving away, and offered in consideration of his being an Englishman, to show him the town and to introduce him, if such were his desire, to a genteel boarding-house. But before they entered on these proceedings (he said), he would beseech the honour of his company at the office of the Rowdy Journal, to partake of a bottle of champagne of his own importation.
All this was so extremely kind and hospitable, that Martin, though it was quite early in the morning, readily acquiesced. So, instructing Mark, who was deeply engaged with his friend and her three children, that when he had done assisting them, and had cleared the baggage, he was to wait for further orders at the Rowdy Journal Office, Martin accompanied his new friend on shore.
They made their way as they best could through the melancholy crowd of emigrants upon the wharf, who, grouped about their beds and boxes, with the bare ground below them and the bare sky above, might have fallen from another planet, for anything they knew of the country; and walked for some short distance along a busy street, bounded on one side by the quays and shipping; and on the other by a long row of staring red-brick storehouses and offices, ornamented with more black boards and white letters, and more white boards and black letters, than Martin had ever seen before, in fifty times the space. Presently they turned up a narrow street, and presently into other narrow streets, until at last they stopped before a house whereon was painted in great characters, 'ROWDY JOURNAL.'
The colonel, who had walked the whole way with one hand in his breast, his head occasionally wagging from side to side, and his hat thrown back upon his ears, like a man who was oppressed to inconvenience by a sense of his own greatness, led the way up a dark and dirty flight of stairs into a room of similar character, all littered and bestrewn with odds and ends of newspapers and other crumpled fragments, both in proof and manuscript.