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November 15, 1941 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1941-11-15

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Page Eight


.Continued from Page 4,

and I was the closest thing to a nephew
he had, so he always paid a lot of at-
tention to me, especially at Christmas
time and on my birthday. His mother
lived in England, and he didn't have any
brothers or sisters now, but he was just
like part of our family, and' I never
called him anything but uncle Bob even
after I was old enough to call him Bob
the way the men did. He and the cap-
tain smoked their pipes, and didn't say
much. The captain gave all the orders
to Oley and rang back to the engine
room on the chadburn, but when we got
turned around and headed downriver
he would turn her over to uncle Bob.
He always said Bob was one man he'd
trust with the boat anyplace he'd trust
himself. From the captain that was a
real compliment.
WE WEN'' UPRIVER past the old
shipyards almost to Ecorse, and
just about opposite rum runner's row
there we started to swing out to the
channel going downriver. Archy came
in and said could he rinse doxn now,
and uncle Bob closed the windows. In
a minute the hose was thundering on
the steel deck over the pilot house, and
I could hear the boots of Archy and the
man helping him over my head. But
inside the pilot house it was very quiet.
Uncle Bob paced slowly back and forth,
" and Oley looked aft to see if she was
swinging al'T right, then ahead again,
and the revolutions indicator clicked up
and down dully. The captain turned on
the light over the chart table and wrote
in the log. When he turned the.light'
out again I couldn't see anything for
awhile. Archy was down on the focsle
deck now and had finished hosing the
cabin front and the pilot hose windows
so uncle Bob opened them again.
The captain rang full speed ahead on
the chadburn and the indicator plick-
plocked up and down faster, and the
boat shivered a little and bobbed up and
down as the screw took hold. We were
heading dow.river now, and across
Grassy Island I could see the lights of
Ecorse and the north part of Wyandotte.
The captain knocked out his pipe on
the spittoon and started to fill it again.
"Dad," I said, "What does Archy do
n the wintertime?"
He stopped filling his pipe and looked
over at me. "Archy? Archy the Indian?
Why hell Jim I don't know. That's none
of my business. Probably goes up to
Mackinac and gets a squaw and a keg
of bootleg whiskey and lives in one of
those shanties. Saves his money while
he's on here."
"Is that all?" I said.-
"All? What more does any sailor do?
You know what I do all winter. Just
loaf around until spring comes. Archy
probably does the same thing except he's
up on Mackinac."
"But that's what I mean, dad. Does
he read and go o shows and things like
that or does he hunt, and fish and live
the natural life of the redskin?"
'Natural life of the redskin,'" he
said. and stuck the pipe in his moth.
"Nowa where'd you pick that up?"
"It's in a book."
"I thought it was," he said, and lighted
his pipe. Well Jim some of these books
don't know what they're talking about.
Archy's just a sailor, he doesn't have
time to go around scalping people, and
he probably buys most of his food in
cans, there isn't much game up there
anymore. He's a good sailor, but I guess
he's a pretty tame Indian. There's not
much romance or poetry about a man-
like Archy, doesn't matter if he's In-
dian or Irish, he's just an easy going
guy, maybe a little dumb, but a good
man for his job."
I thought that over. Maybe it was just
not having anything to say made Archy
so silent. I liked, better to think that
he had keen eyes that looked right
through you, that his was the silence of

a deep thinking man, but I saw that
those were also things I had read in a
book, and then read them into Archy
when I found out he was an Indian.
So maybe he was just dumb. Anyhow
he was the kind of a guy I liked, the
kind of a guy I could talk to about the
things I thought and not feel that he
was just pretending to be interested.
"I'm going below for a minute," the
captain said. "She's all yours, Bob." He
went out and down the stairs that led
from the bridge to the foc'sle deck. I
sat and wondered why he hadn't asked
me if I wanted to turn in. I did. But
maybe he'd just gone down for some-
thing, and would chase me into my bunk
as soon as he came up again. I was tired
now, and neither Uncle Bob nor Oley

without closing the door behind him,
and seeing me there standing in front
of him he said quietly "I'm going back
for some coffee. You want to come with
me, Jim?"
I didn't wart to, but I said sure, and
we went out and down the stairs. The
bottom of the stairs was alongside the
door to the captain's room.
"I'll see if the captain wants to come,"
I said, and started to the door.
"No, you better not, Jim," Archy said,
and his voice wasn't hurried or loud at
all, but I stopped. He looked at me
not as if I were a kid, but as.if he knew
I would understand anything he said as
a man would. "He's getting drunk," he
said calmly. "If you go in he'll feel
worse. He might not get drunk on ac

A Letter To The Public
Dear Public,
You will perhaps note in this issue a certain editorial monopoly, a cer-
tain apparent combination in restraint of the writing trade. Two stories,
one essay, and the leadet review are by editors of the magazine. This, rest
you assured, oh Public, is just as embarrassing to us as it can be to you or
our contributors. We want very much to discover some writers. We want
very much to discover some editors for next year. When we find younger
writers, we usually slap them into some sort of staff job here,'in hopes
that they may also turn out to be editors. We are very anxious not to be
a clique, or if we have to be a clique, we want to be a big one, This demands
some help from some of you,
The essay is being sadly neglected these-days. If any of you has a
favorite author, either among the ancients or the moderns, whatever the
accepted critical evaluation of his work may be, how about writing an essay
on him, showing what you see in him that is good? We'd like to assign
some pieces like this, on American writers, especially people like Mark
Twain, Dreiser, O'Neill, or Harriet Beecher Stowe if you will, and if any of
you. feel you have read enough of an author to have something worthwhile
to say about him, please call one of us up and we'll talk it over. Also in the
essay field, how about something on the movies, the animated cartoons, oit
anything concerning the work being done in commercial radio? There are
hunareds of things that could be written about, that are talked about,
in bull and hen sessions, at the dinner table, over cups of coffee,
We don't like to set rules for an appeal such as this, but we do ask one
thing, that you write well, as well as you can, and that you do not kid your
material. By this we don't mean to exclude humor, but kidding the stuff
you write is not humor, it is simply waste, for it cancels out any chance of
saying something that will stick. Outside of those things, we don't dictate
what your style shall be, we don't have inhibitions editorial, and we don't
care what axe you feel like grinding. We are above all interested in good
writing. We will be delighted to print good political works, but we don't
want to compete with the Daily edit page.
Poets are scarce this year, and we are trying to dig up any of them
whom we have not yet met. We request of poets, as we do of short story
writers and unclasifieds, that they assist us in this talent hunt, come out
from under their baskets. and make themselves known to us. For the sake
of the record, and because it will bear frequent repetition, we-the staff
members-do not reject manuscripts. We read them, and discuss them
with the faculty board of the magazine, but in the last analysis it is the
vote of'the qualified judges of the board which determines a work's avail-
ability for this magazine. This by way of a sop to those who resent having
theig contemporaries pass judgmenton their work.
Take a look at the masthead of this issue, and- feel free to talk over
your ideas, and reactions to this appeal with either the student or faculty
members of the staff. Manuscripts for the next issue may be turned in
either at the Perspectives desk in the Publications Building, or at the Eng-
lish office in Angell Hall. Remember that a magazine can never possibly
be any more than its contributors, and know, readers, that we of the staff
wish to serve you and work with you, and in short, we love you.'
- The Editors

the dark of the lake. A bell buoy with
a blinker light slid by close to the ship
side, and I listened for a long time to the
sad, irregular beat of the bell until it
faded away long after the light was out
of sight. It was getting cooler, the
night breeze made my teeth chatter a
Archy said "You better run up and get
a sweater on under that jacket."
We went fo'ard again, and Archy
waited while I went up the steps. I
went to the door of the captain's room
and put my hand even on the knob, but
then I turned and went back the way I
had come. Through the screen I heard
a I walked away on my tiptoes the cap-
tain's sobs, his voice choking as he said
alone there in the dark room my mother's
name. And like the bell it died away as
I went down the steps, but I knew it
went on, that I could not hear but it
went on apart from me.
"I don't think I need a sweater," I
told Archy.
"Wait a minute," he said and went
into -the "foc'sle hallway, shutting the
screen door quietly behind him. He came
out again with a pea jacke. "Slip this
on, it'll keep you plenty warm," he said,
so I did, and then we walked back to
where we'd been sitting before. "You
want to go to bed?" he said.
"No, tell me a story, Archy."
"A story? What kind of a story?" he
"An Indian story."
"Why I don't know any Indian stories
JimY he said, "I'm half breed, my'father
was Montreal French, my mother was
Mackinac Indian, but she never told me
any stories."
I said just one, and he said well he'd
try to remember one. We sat there quiet
again, and suddenly I found myself star-
ing at the big moon, low to the west now,
and I remembered my dream, about my
Archy had started telling a story,
about an Indian princess who waited on
a high rock for her lover to come back,
but he didn't, so finally she jumped off
the rock and you can see the rock to this
day and they call it Maiden's Leap, but
Archy was no kind of a story teller, he
blurted out abunch of words fast, then
he stopped dead, then he blurted out
another bunch of words, as if he wasn't
used to talking so much and was em-
barrassed, and I had heard the story
before anyhow from two different car-
riage drivers on the Island when the
boat was unloading coal there, and most
of all, I was staring at the moon, trying
to call from it again my mother, believ-
ing with all there was in me that she
would come.
I realized that Archy had finished the
story, for he was silent, and I knew that
I should say something, yet I could not
stop looking there at the big round
moon, calling in my head to her. Sud-
denly I wanted to tell Archy about my
mother, about how she was and what
she meant, about death and the moon
and the way to make a dream. But I
knew that if I tried to tell him, to ex-
plain what these things were, it would
spoil my dream, would take my mother
away beyond the call of the noon dream,
Archy might not see.
But I turned to him. He was not look-
ing at me. He was staring silently out
across the water at the white mother
moon, and on his face was the peace I
had found myself in my dream, and I
knew without wonder that I need not
say a word. His dream was mine; mine
his. I turned my head back and looked
where he looked.
The editors wish to thank
Follett's, Wahr's, and Slater's
for the loan of books reviewed
in this issue.

said much, and it seemed as if I were all
alone in the dark quiet world again. I
began to think about my mother. We
were going down the channel where the
banks were close on both sides, and the
water was calm, the trees were black
slipping by silently, there were no lights,
and the prow cutting through the water
echoed back from the banks in a soft
continued sighing, a sighing that like
the-sigh I could not make come in my-
self, found no relief in gentle unbroken
continuance, ever sighing, never break-
ing, never the escape of after a sigh. I
could feel tears behind my eyes again,
and I wondered why the captain did not
come. I heard steps outside. and because
it had to be the captain I got up from
the chair. It was Archy. He came in

count of you. He needs to get drunk."
Then he turned and started down to
the main deck, and I went with him.
We walked along the deck, almost
staying abreact of the trees that slid by
when you stood still, and Archy said
"You can sleep in my bunk tonight if
you want. I'm on watch to six." The
shore was farther away now, and I
knew we were coming to the lake, be-
cause a little breeze had come ,up and
it moaned very softly around the cabins
and the conveyor rig, a soft whistle that
came and went and came again.
I said "Do you really want coffee,
Archy?" and he said no.
So we sat down on a hatch halfway
aft, and both of us looked out across the
water at where the land was fading into

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