From The Pictorial Review
Joe Doane couldn't get to sleep. On one side of him a family were
crying because their man was dead, and on the other side a man was
celebrating because he was alive.
When he couldn't any longer stand the wails of the Cadaras, Joe
moved from his bedroom to the lounge in the sitting-room. But the
lounge in the sitting-room, beside making his neck go in a way no neck
wants to go, brought him too close to Ignace Silva's rejoicings in not
having been in one of the dories that turned over when the schooner
Lillie-Bennie was caught in the squall last Tuesday afternoon and
unable to gather all her men back from the dories before the sea
gathered them. Joe Cadara was in a boat that hadn't made ithence the
wails to the left of the Doanes, for Joe Cadara left a wife and four
children and they had plenty of friends who could cry, too. But Ignace
Silvamore's the pity, for at two o'clock in the morning you like
to wish the person who is keeping you awake was deadgot back to the
vessel. So to-night his friends were there with bottles, for when a man
might be dead certainly the least you can do is to take notice of
him by getting him drunk.
People weren't sleeping in Cape's End that night. Those who were
neither mourning nor rejoicing were being kept awake by mourners or
rejoicers. All the vile, diluted whisky that could be bought on the
quiet was in use for the deadening or the heightening of emotion. Joe
Doane found himself wishing he had a drink. He'd like to stop
thinking about dead fishermenand hearing live ones. Everybody had
been all strung up for two days ever since word came from Boston that
the Lillie-Bennie was one of the boats caught.
They didn't know until the Lillie-Bennie came in that
afternoon just how many of her men she was bringing back with her. They
were all out on Long Wharf to watch her come in and to see who would
come ashoreand who wouldn't. Women were there, and lots of children.
Some of these sets of a woman and children went away with a man,
holding on to him and laughing, or perhaps looking foolish to think
they had ever supposed he could be dead. Others went away as they had
comemaybe very still, maybe crying. There were old men who came away
carrying things that had belonged to sons who weren't coming ashore. It
was all a good deal like a movieonly it didn't rest you.
So he needed sleep, he petulantly told things as he rubbed
the back of his neck, wondered why lounges were made like that, and
turned over. But instead of sleeping, he thought about Joe Cadara. They
were friendly thoughts he had about Joe Cadara; much more friendly than
the thoughts he was having about Ignace Silva. For one thing, Joe
wasn't making any noise. Even when he was alive, Joe had made little
noise. He always had his job on a vessel; he'd come up the Front street
in his oilskins, turn in at his little red house, come out after a
while and hoe in his garden or patch his wood-shed, sit out on the
wharf and listen to what Ignace Silva and other loud-mouthed Portuguese
had to sayback to his little red house. Hewell, he was a good deal
like the sea. It came in, it went out. On Joe Cadara's last trip in,
Joe Doane met him just as he was starting out. Well, Joe, says Joe
Doane, off again? Off again, said Joe Cadara, and that was about
all there seemed to be to it. He could see him going down the
streetshort, stocky, slow, dumb. By dumb he meantoh, dumb
like the sea was dumbjust going on doing it. And now
All of a sudden he couldn't stand Ignace Silva. Hell!
roared Joe Doane from the window, don't you know a man's dead
? In an instant the only thing you could hear was the sea. InOut
Then he went back to his bedroom. I'm not sleeping either, said
his wifethe way people are quick to make it plain they're as bad off
as the next one.
At first it seemed to be still at the Cadaras. The children had gone
to sleepso had the friends. Only one sound now where there had been
many before. And that seemed to come out of the sea. You got it after a
wave brokeas it was dying out. In that little let-up between an in,
an out, you knew that Mrs. Cadara had not gone to sleep, you knew that
Mrs. Cadara was crying because Joe Cadara was dead in the sea.
So Joe Doane and his wife Mary lay there and listened to Annie
Cadara crying for her husband, Joe Cadara.
Finally Mrs. Doane raised on her pillow and sighed. Well, I suppose
she wonders what she'll do nowthose four children.
He could see Joe Cadara's back going down the Front streetbroad,
slow, dumb. And I suppose, he said, as if speaking for
something that had perhaps never spoken for itself, that she feels bad
because she'll never see him again.
Why, of course she does, said his wife impatiently, as if he had
contradicted something she had said.
But after usurping his thought she went right back to her own. I
don't see how she will get along. I suppose we'll have to help them
Joe Doane lay there still. He couldn't help anybody muchmore was
the pity. He had his own three childrenand you could be a Doane
without having money to help withthough some people didn't get that
through their heads. Things used to be different with the Doanes. When
the tide's in and you awake at three in the morning it all gets a good
deal like the seaat least with Joe Doane it did now. His grandfather,
Ebenezer Doane, the whaling captainInOutSilas Doanea fleet of
vessels off the Grand BanksInOutAll the Doanes. They had helped
make the Cape, butInOutSuddenly Joe laughed.
What are you laughing at? demanded his wife.
I was just laughing, said Joe, to think what those old
Doanes would say if they could see us.
Well, it's not anything to laugh at, said Mrs. Doane.
Why, I think it is, good-humoredly insisted her husband, it's
such a joke on them.
If it's a joke, said Mrs. Doane firmly, it's not on them.
He wasn't sure just who the joke was on. He lay thinking
about it. At three in the morning, when you can't sleep and the tide's
in, you might get it mixedwho the joke was on.
But, no, the joke was on them, that they'd had their long
slow deep InOuttheir whaling and their fleets, and
that what came after was hima tinkerer with other men's boats,
a ship's carpenter who'd even work on houses. Get Joe Doane to
do it for you. And glad enough was Joe Doane to do it. And a Portagee
livin' to either side of him!
He laughed. You've got a funny idea of what's a joke, his
wife said indignantly.
That seemed to be so. Things he saw as jokes weren't jokes to
anybody else. Maybe that was why he sometimes seemed to be all by
himself. He was beginning to get lost in an InOut.
Faintly he could hear Mrs. Cadara cryingJoe Cadara was in the sea,
and faintly he heard his wife saying, I suppose Agnes Cadara could
wear Myrtie's shoes, onlythe way things are, seems Myrtie's got to
wear out her own shoes.
Next day when he came home at noonhe was at work then helping Ed.
Davis put a new coat on Still's storehe found his two boysthe boys
were younger than Myrtiepressed against the picket fence that
separated Doanes from Cadaras.
What those kids up to? he asked his wife, while he washed up for
Oh, they just want to see, she answered, speaking into the oven.
See what? he demanded; but this Mrs. Doane regarded as
either too obvious or too difficult to answer, so he went to the door
and called, Joe! Edgar!
What you kids rubberin' at? he demanded.
Young Joe dug with his toe. The Cadaras have got a lot of company,
They're crying! triumphantly announced the younger and more
Well, suppose they are? They got a right to cry in their own house,
ain't they? Let the Cadaras be. Find some fun at home.
The boys didn't seem to think this funny, nor did Mrs. Doane, but
the father was chuckling to himself as they sat down to their baked
But to let the Cadaras be and find some fun at home became harder
and harder to do. The Lillie-Bennie had lost her men in early
Summer and the town was as full of Summer folk as the harbor was of
whiting. There had never been a great deal for Summer folk to do in
Cape's End, and so the Disaster was no disaster to the Summer's
entertainment. In other words, Summer folk called upon the Cadaras. The
young Doanes spent much of their time against the picket fence;
sometimes young Cadaras would come out and graciously enlighten them.
A woman she brought my mother a black dress. Or, A lady and two
little boys came in automobile and brought me kiddie-car and white
pants. One day Joe Doane came home from work and found his youngest
child crying because Tony Cadara wouldn't lend him the kiddie-car. This
was a reversal of things; heretofore Cadaras had cried for the
belongings of the Doanes. Joe laughed about it, and told Edgar to cheer
up, and maybe he'd have a kiddie-car himself some dayand meanwhile he
had a pa.
Agnes Cadara and Myrtie Doane were about of an age. They were in the
same class in high school. One day when Joe Doane was pulling in his
dory after being out doing some repairs on the Lillie-Bennie he
saw a beautiful young lady standing on the Cadaras' bulkhead. Her back
was to him, but you were sure she was beautiful. She had the look of
some one from away, but not like the usual run of Summer folk. Myrtie
was standing looking over at this distinguished person.
Who's that? Joe asked of her.
Why, said Myrtie, in an awed whisper, it's Agnes Cadarain her
Until she turned around, he wouldn't believe it. Well, said he to
Myrtie, it's a pity more women haven't got something to mourn about.
Yes, breathed Myrtie, isn't she wonderful?
Agnes's mourning had been given her by young Mrs. MacCrea who lived
up on the hill and was herself just finishing mourning. It seemed Mrs.
MacCrea and Agnes were built a good deal alikethough you never would
have suspected it before Agnes began to mourn. Mrs. MacCrea was from
New York, and these clothes had been made by a woman Mrs. MacCrea
called by her first name. Well, maybe she was a woman you'd call by her
first name, but she certainly did have a way of making you look as if
you weren't native to the place you were born in. Before Agnes Cadara
had anything to mourn about she was simply one of those good-looking
Portuguese girls. There were too many of them in Cape's End to get
excited about any of them. One day he heard some women on the beach
talking about how these clothes had found Agnesas if she had been
Mrs. MacCrea showed Agnes how to do her hair in a way that went with
her clothes. One noon when Joe got home early because it rained and he
couldn't paint, when he went up-stairs he saw Myrtie trying to do this
to her hair. Well, it just couldn't be done to Myrtie's
hair. Myrtie didn't have hair you could do what you pleased with. She
was all red in the face with trying, and being upset because she
couldn't do it. He had to laughand that didn't help things a bit. So
Never mind, Myrtie, we can't all go into mourning.
Well, I don't care, said Myrtie, sniffling, it's not fair.
He had to laugh again and as she didn't see what there was to laugh
at, he had to try to console again. Never mind, Myrt, said he,
you've got one thing Agnes Cadara's not got.
I'd like to know what, said Myrtie, jerking at her hair.
He waited; funny she didn't think of it herself. Whya father,
Oh, said Myrtiethe way you do when you don't know what to
say. And then, Well,
Again he waitedthen laughed; waited again, then turned away.
Somebody gave Mrs. Cadara a fireless cooker. Mrs. Doane had no
fireless cooker. So she had to stand all day over her hot stoveand
this she spoke of often. My supper's in the fireless cooker, Mrs.
Cadara would say, and stay out in the cool yard, weeding her flowerbed
bed. It certainly would be nice to have one of those fireless
cookers, Mrs. Doane would say, as she put a meal on the table and
wiped her brow with her apron.
Well, why don't you kill your husband? Joe Doane would retort.
Now, if only you didn't have a husbandyou could have a
Jovially he would put the question, Which would you rather have, a
husband or a fireless cooker? He would argue it outand he would
sometimes get them all to laughing, only the argument was never a very
long one. One day it occurred to him that the debates were short
because the others didn't hold up their end. He was talking for the
fireless cookerif it was going to be a real debate, they ought to
speak up for the husband. But there seemed to be so much less to be
said for a husband than there was for a fireless cooker. This struck
him as really quite funny, but it seemed it was a joke he had to enjoy
by himself. Sometimes when he came home pretty tiredfor you could get
as tired at odd jobs as at jobs that weren't oddand heard all about
what the Cadaras were that night to eat out of their fireless cooker,
he would wish that some one else would do the joking. It was kind of
tiresome doing it all by yourselfand kind of lonesome.
One morning he woke up feeling particularly rested and lively. He
was going out to work on the Lillie-Bennie, and he always felt
in better spirits when he was working on a boat.
It was a cool, fresh, sunny morning. He began a songhe had a way
of making up songs. It was, I'd rather be alive than dead. He didn't
think of any more lines, so while he was getting into his clothes he
kept singing this one, to a tune which became more and more stirring.
He went over to the window by the looking-glass. From this window you
looked over to the Cadaras. And then he saw that from the Cadaras a new
arrival looked at him.
He stared. Then loud and long he laughed. He threw up the window and
called, Hello, there!
The new arrival made no reply, unless a slight droop of the head
could be called a reply.
Well, you cap the climax! called Joe Doane.
Young Doanes had discovered the addition to the Cadara family and
came running out of the house.
Pa! Edgar called up to him, the Cadaras have got a Goat!
Well, do you know, said his father, I kind of suspected
that was a goat.
Young Cadaras came out of the house to let young Doanes know just
what their privileges were to be with the goatand what they weren't.
They could walk around and look at her; they were not to lead her by
There's no hope now, said Joe, darkly shaking his head. No man in
his senses would buck up against a goat.
The little Doanes wouldn't come in and eat their breakfast. They'd
rather stay out and walk round the goat.
I think it's too bad, their mother sighed, the kiddie-car and the
ball-suit and the sail-boat were enough for the children to
bearwithout this goat. It seems our children haven't got any
of the things the Cadaras have got.
Except said Joe, and waited for some one to fill it in. But no
one did, so he filled it in with a laugha rather short laugh.
Look out they don't put you in the fireless cooker! he called to
the goat as he went off to work.
But he wasn't joking when he came home at noon. He turned in at the
front gate and the goat blocked his passage. The Cadaras had been
willing to let the goat call upon the Doanes and graze while calling.
Get out of my way! called Joe Doane in a surly way not like Joe
Pa! said young Joe in an awed whisper, it's a government
What do I care if it is? retorted his father. Damn the
Every one fell back, as when blasphemyas when treasonhave been
uttered. These Portuguese kids looking at him like thatas if
they were part of the government and he outside. He was so mad that
he bawled at Tony Cadara, To hell with your government goat!
From her side of the fence, Mrs. Cadara called, Tony, you bring the
goat right home, as one who calls her childand her goataway from
And keep her there! finished Joe Doane.
The Doanes ate their meal in stricken silence. Finally Doane burst
out, What's the matter with you all? Such a fuss about the orderin'
off of a goat.
It's a government goat, lisped Edgar.
It's a government goat, repeated his wife in a tense voice.
What do you meangovernment goat? There's no such animal.
But it seemed there was, the Cadaras had, not only the goat, but a
book about the goat. The book was from the government. The government
had raised the goat and had singled the Cadaras out as a family upon
whom a government goat should be conferred. The Cadaras held her in
trust for the government. Meanwhile they drank her milk.
Tony Cadara said, if I'd dig clams for him this afternoon he'd let
me help milk her to-night, said young Joe.
This was too much. Ain't you kids got no spine? Kowtowing to
them Portuguese because a few folks that's sorry for them have made
them presents. They're ginnies. You're Doanes.
I want a goat! wailed Edgar. His father got up from the table.
The children are all right, said his wife, in her patient voice
that made you impatient. It's natural for them to want a few of the
things they see other children having.
He'd get away! As he went through the shed he saw his line
and picked it up. He'd go out on the breakwatermaybe he'd get some
fish, at least have some peace.
The breakwater wasn't very far down the beach from his house. He
used to go out there every once in a while. Every once in a while he
had a feeling he had to get by himself. It was half a mile long and of
big rocks that had big gaps. You had to do some climbingyou could
imagine you were in the mountainsand that made you feel far off and
different. Only when the tide came in, the sea filled the gapsthen
you had to watch your step.
He went way out and turned his back on the town and fished. He
wasn't to finish the work on the Lillie-Bennie. They said that
morning they thought they'd have to send down the Cape for an expert.
So he would probably go to work at the new cold storageworking
with a lot of Portagee laborers. He wondered why things were this way
with him. They seemed to have just happened so. When you should have
had some money it didn't come natural to do the things of people who
have no money. The money went out of the Bank fishing about three
years before his father sold his vessels. During those last three years
Captain Silas Doane had spent all the money he had to keep things
going, refusing to believe that the way of handling fish had changed
and that the fishing between Cape's End and the Grand Banks would no
longer be what it had been. When he sold he kept one vessel, and the
next Winter she went ashore right across there on the northeast arm of
the Cape. Joe Doane was aboard her that night. Myrtie was a baby then.
It was of little Myrtie he thought when it seemed the vessel would
pound herself to pieces before they could get off. He couldn't
be lost! He had to live and work so his little girl could have
everything she wantedAfter that the Doanes were without a vesseland
Doanes without a vessel were fish out of sea. They had never been folks
to work on another man's boat. He supposed he had never started any big
new thing because it had always seemed he was just filling in between
trips. A good many years had slipped by and he was still just putting
in time. And it began to look as if there wasn't going to be another
Suddenly he had to laugh. Some joke on Joe Cadara! He could
see him going down the Front streetbroad, slow, dumb. Why, Joe
Cadara thought his family needed him. He thought they got along
because he made those trips. But had Joe Cadara ever been able to give
his wife a fireless cooker? Had the government presented a goat to the
Cadaras when Joe was there? Joe Doane sat out on the breakwater and
laughed at the joke on Joe Cadara. When Agnes Cadara was a little girl
she would run to meet her father when he came in from a trip. Joe Doane
used to like to see the dash she made. But Agnes was just tickled to
death with her mourning!
He sat there a long timesat there until he didn't know whether it
was a joke or not. But he got two haddock and more whiting than he
wanted to carry home. So he felt better. A man sometimes needed to get
off by himself.
As he was turning in at home he saw Ignace Silva about to start out
on a trip with Captain Gorspie. Silva thought he had to go. But
Silva had been savedand had his wife a fireless cooker?
Suddenly Joe Doane called.
Hey! Silva! You're the government goat!
The way Doane laughed made Silva know this was a joke; not having a
joke of his own he just turned this one around and sent it back.
Government goat yourself!
Shouldn't wonder, returned Joe jovially.
He had every Doane laughing at supper that night. Bear up! Bear up!
True, you've got a father instead of a goatbut we've all got our
cross! We all have our cross to bear!
Say! said he after supper, every woman, every kid, puts on a hat,
and up we go to see if Ed. Smith might happen to have a soda.
As they were starting out, he peered over at the Cadaras in mock
surprise. Why, what's the matter with that goat? That goat
don't seem to be takin' the Cadaras out for a soda.
Next day he started to make a kiddie-car for Edgar. He promised Joe
he'd make him a sail-boat. But it was up-hill work. The Cape's End
Summer folk gave a Streets of Bagdad and the disaster families got
the proceeds. Then when the Summer folk began to go away it was quite
natural to give what they didn't want to take with them to a family
that had had a disaster. The Doanes had had no disaster; anyway, the
Doanes weren't the kind of people you'd think of giving things to.
True, Mr. Doane would sometimes come and put on your screen-doors for
you, but it was as if a neighbor had come in to lend a hand. A man who
lives beside the sea and works on the land is not a picturesque figure.
Then, in addition to being alive, Joe Doane wasn't Portuguese. So the
Cadaras got the underwear and the bats and preserves that weren't to be
taken back to town. No one fathercertainly not a father without a
steady jobcould hope to compete with all that wouldn't go into
Anyway, he couldn't possibly make a goat. No wit or no kindness
which emanated from him could do for his boys what that goat did for
the Cadaras. Joe Doane came to throw an awful hate on the government
goat. Portagees were only Portageesyet they had the government
goat. Why, there had been Doanes on that Cape for more than a hundred
years. There had been times when everybody round there worked
for the Doanes, but now the closest his boys could come to the
government was beddin' down the Cadaras' government goat! Twenty-five
years ago Cadaras had huddled in a hut on the God-forsaken Azores! If
they knew there was a United States government, all they knew was that
there was one. And now it was these Cadara kids were putting on
airs to him about the government. He knew there was a joke
behind all this, behind his getting so wrought up about it, but he
would sit and watch that goat eat leaves in the vacant lot across from
the Cadaras until the goat wasn't just a goat. It was the turn things
had taken. One day as he was sitting watching Tony Cadara milking his
goatwistful boys standing byIgnace Silva, just in from a trip,
called out, Government goat yourself! and laughed at he knew not
By God!'t was true! A Doane without a vessel. A native who had let
himself be crowded out by ignorant upstarts from a filthy dot in the
sea! A man who hadn't got his bearings in the turn things had taken. Of
a family who had built up a place for other folks to grow fat in.
Sure he was the government goat. By just being alive he kept his
family from all the fancy things they might have if he was dead. Could
you be more of a goat than that?
Agnes Cadara and Myrtie came up the street together. He had a
feeling that Myrtie was set up because she was walking along
with Agnes Cadara. Time had been when Agnes Cadara had hung around in
order to go with Myrtie! Suddenly he thought of how his wife had said
maybe Agnes Cadara could wear Myrtie's shoes. He looked at Agnes
Cadara's feetat Myrtie's. Why, Myrtie looked like a kid from an
orphan asylum walking along with the daughter of the big man of the
He got up and started toward town. He wouldn't stand it! He'd show
'em! He'd buy MyrtieWhy, he'd buy Myrtie! He put his hand in
his pocket. Change from a dollar. The rest of the week's pay had gone
to Lou Hibbard for groceries. Well, he could hang it up at Wilkinson's.
He'd buy Myrtie!
He came to a millinery store. There was a lot of black ribbon strewn
around in the window. He stood and looked at it. Then he laughed. Just
Cheer up, Myrt, said he, when he got back home and presented it to
her. You can mourn a little. For that matter, you've got a
little to mourn about.
Myrtie took it doubtfullythen wound it round her throat. She
liked it, and this made her father laugh. He laughed a long
timeit was as if he didn't want to be left without the sound of his
There's nothing so silly as to laugh when there's nothing to laugh
at, his wife said finally.
Oh, I don't know about that, said Joe Doane.
And while it's very nice to make the children presents, in our
circumstances it would be better to give them useful presents.
But what's so useful as mourning? demanded Doane. Think of all
Myrtie has got to mourn about. Poor, poor Myrtieshe's got
You can say a thing until you think it's so. You can say a thing
until you make other people think it's so. He joked about standing
between them and a fireless cooker until he could see them thinking
about it. All the time he hated his old job at the cold storage. A
Doane had no business to be ashore freezing fish. It was the
business of a Doane to go out to sea and come home with a full vessel.
One day he broke through that old notion that Doanes didn't work on
other men's boats and half in a joke proposed to Captain Cook that he
fire a ginnie or two and give him a berth on the Elizabeth. And
Bill Cook was rattled. Finally he laughed and said, Why, Joe,
you ought to be on your own vesselwhich was a way of saying he
didn't want him on his. Why didn't he? Did they think because he
hadn't made a trip for so long that he wasn't good for one? Did they
think a Doane couldn't take orders? Well, there weren't many boats he
would go on. Most of them in the harbor now were owned by
Portuguese. He guessed it wouldn't come natural to him to take orders
from a Portageenot at sea. He was taking orders from one now at the
cold storagebut as the cold storage wasn't where he belonged it
didn't make so much difference who he took orders from.
At the close of that day Bill Cook told him he ought to be on his
own vessel, Joe Doane sat at the top of those steps which led from his
house down to the sea and his thoughts were like the sails coming round
the Pointslowly, in a procession, and from a long way off. His
father's boats used to come round that Point this same way. He was
lonesome to-night. He felt half like an old man and half like a little
Mrs. Cadara was standing over on the platform to the front of her
house. She too was looking at the sails to the far side of the
breakwatersails coming home. He wondered if she was thinking about
Joe Cadarawishing he was on one of those boats. Did she ever
think about Joe Cadara? Did she ever wish he would come home? He'd like
to ask her. He'd like to know. When you went away and didn't come back
home, was all they thought about how they'd get along? And if they were
getting along all right, was it true they'd just as soon be without
He got up. He had a sudden crazy feeling he wanted to fight
for Joe Cadara. He wanted to go over there and say to that fireless
cooker woman, Trip after trip he made, in the cold and in the storm.
He kept you warm and safe here at home. It was for you he went; it was
to you he came back. And you'll miss him yet. Think this is
going to keep up? Think you're going to interest those rich folks as
much next year as you did this? Five years from now you'll be on your
knees with a brush to keep those kids warm and fed.
He'd like to get the truth out of her! Somehow things wouldn't seem
so rotten if he could know that she sometimes lay in her bed at
night and cried for Joe Cadara.
It was quiet to-night; all the Cadara children and all the Doanes
were out looking for the government goat. The government goat was
increasing her range. She seemed to know that, being a government goat,
she was protected from harm. If a government goat comes in your yard,
you are a little slow to fire a tin can at hernot knowing just how
treasonous this may be. Nobody in Cape's End knew the exact status of a
government goat, and each one hesitated to ask for the very good reason
that the person asked might know and you would then be exposed as one
who knew less than some one else. So the government goat went about
where she pleased, and to-night she had pleased to go far. It left the
neighborhood quietthe government goat having many guardians.
Joe Doane felt like saying something to Mrs. Cadara. Not the rough,
wild thing he had wanted to say a moment before, but just say something
to her. He and she were the only people aroundchildren all away and
his wife up-stairs with a headache. He felt lonesome and he thought she
looked that waystanding there against the sea in light that was
getting dim. She and Joe Cadara used to sit out on that bulkhead. She
moved toward him, as if she were lonesome and wanted to speak. On his
side of the fence, he moved a little nearer her. She said,
My, I hope the goat's not lost!
He said nothing.
That goat, she's so tame, went on Joe Cadara's wife with pride and
affection, she'll follow anybody around like a dog.
Joe Doane got up and went in the house.
It got so he didn't talk much to anybody. He sometimes had jokes,
for he'd laugh, but they were jokes he had all to himself and his
laughing would come as a surprise and make others turn and stare at
him. It made him seem off by himself, even when they were all sitting
round the table. He laughed at things that weren't things to laugh at,
as when Myrtie said, Agnes Cadara had a letter from Mrs. MacCrea and a
mourning handkerchief. And after he'd laughed at a thing like that
which nobody else saw as a thing to laugh at, he'd sit and stare out at
the water. Do be cheerful, his wife would say. He'd laugh at
But one day he burst out and said things. It was a Sunday afternoon
and the Cadaras were all going to the cemetery. Every Sunday afternoon
they went and took flowers to the stone that said, Lost at Sea. Agnes
would call, Come, Tony! We dress now for the cemetery, in a way that
made the Doane children feel that they had nothing at all to do. They
filed out at the gate dressed in the best the Summer folk had left them
and it seemed as if there were a fair, or a circus, and all the Doanes
had to stay at home.
This afternoon he didn't know they were going until he saw Myrtie at
the window. He wondered what she could be looking at as if she wanted
it so much. When he saw, he had to laugh.
Why, Myrt, said he, you can go to the cemetery if you want
to. There are lots of Doanes there. Go on and pay them a visit.
I'm sure they'd be real glad to see you, he went on, as she stood
there doubtfully. I doubt if anybody has visited them for a long time.
You could visit your great-grandfather, Ebenezer Doane. Whales were so
afraid of that man that they'd send word around from sea to sea that he
was coming. And Lucy Doane is thereEbenezer's wife. Lucy Doane was a
woman who took what she wanted. Maybe the whales were afraid of
Ebenezerbut Lucy wasn't. There was a dispute between her and her
brother about a quilt of their mother's, and in the dead of night she
went into his house and took it off him while he slept. Spunk up! Be
like the old Doanes! Go to the cemetery and wander around
from grave to grave while the Cadaras are standin' by their one stone!
My fatherhe'd be glad to see you. Why, if he was alive nowif
Captain Silas Doane was here, he'd let the Cadaras know whether they
could walk on the sidewalk or whether they were to go in the street!
Myrtie was interested, but after a moment she turned away. You only
go for near relatives, she sighed.
He stood staring at the place where she had been. He laughed;
stopped the laugh; stood there staring. You only go for near
relatives. Slowly he turned and walked out of the house. The
government goat, left home alone, came up to him as if she thought
she'd take a walk too.
Go to hell! said Joe Doane, and his voice showed that inside he
Head down, he walked along the beach as far as the breakwater. He
started out on it, not thinking of what he was doing. So the only thing
he could do for Myrtie was give her a reason for going to the cemetery.
She wanted him in the cemeteryso she'd have some place to go
on Sunday afternoons! She could wear black thenall black, not
just a ribbon round her neck. Suddenly he stood still. Would she
have any black to wear? He had thought of a joke before which all
other jokes he had ever thought of were small and sick. Suppose he were
to take himself out of the way and then they didn't get the
things they thought they'd have in place of him? He walked on
fastfast and crafty, picking his way among the smaller stones in
between the giant stones in a fast, sure way he never could have picked
it had he been thinking of where he went. He went along like a cat who
is going to get a mouse. And in him grew this giant joke. Who'd give
them the fireless cooker? Would it come into anybody's head to give
young Joe Doane a sail-boat just because his father was dead? They'd
rather have a goat than a father. But suppose they were to lose the
father and get no goat? Myrtie'd be a mourner without any
mourning. She'd be ashamed to go to the cemetery.
He laughed so that he found himself down, sitting down on one of the
smaller rocks between the giant rocks, on the side away from town,
looking out to sea.
He forgot his joke and knew that he wanted to return to the sea.
Doanes belonged at sea. Ashore things struck you funnythen, after
they'd once got to you, hurt. He thought about how he used to come
round this Point when Myrtie was a baby. As he passed this very spot
and saw the town lying there in the sun he'd think about her, and how
he'd see her now, and how she'd kick and crow. But now Myrtie wanted to
go and visit himin the cemetery. Oh, it was a joke all right.
But he guessed he was tired of jokes. Except the one great
jokejoke that seemed to slap the whole of life right smack in the
The tide was coming in. InOutDoanes and Doanes. InOutHim
too. InOutHe was getting wet. He'd have to move up higher. But
why move? Perhaps this was as near as he could come to getting back
to sea. Caught in the breakwater. That was about itwasn't it? Rocks
were queer things. You could wedge yourself in where you couldn't get
yourself out. He hardly had to move. If he'd picked a place he couldn't
have picked a better one. Wedge himself intide almost in nowtoo
hard to get outpounded to pieces, like the last vessel Doanes had
owned. Near as he could come to getting back to sea. Near as he
deserved to comehim freezing fish with ginnies. And there'd be
no fireless cooker!
He twisted his shoulders to wedge in where it wouldn't be easy to
wedge out. Face turned up, he saw something move on the great flat rock
above the jagged rocks. He pulled himself up a little; he rose; he
swung up to the big rock above him. On one flat-topped boulder stood
Joe Doane. On the other flat-topped boulder stood the government goat.
Go to hell! said Joe Doane, and he was sobbing. Go to hell!
The government goat nodded her head a little in a way that wagged
her beard and shook her bag.
Go home! Drown yourself! Let me be! Go 'way! It was fast, and
choked, and he was shaking.
The goat would do none of these things. He sat down, his back to the
government goat, and tried to forget that she was there. But there are
moments when a goat is not easy to forget. He was willing there should
be some joke to his deathlike caught in the breakwater, but he
wasn't going to die before a goat. After all, he'd amounted to a
little more than that. He'd look around to see if perhaps she
had started home. But she was always standing right there looking at
Finally he jumped up in a fury. What'd you come for? What do you
want of me? How do you expect to get home? Between each question
he'd wait for an answer. None came.
He picked up a small rock and threw it at the government goat. She
jumped, slipped, and would have fallen from the boulder if he hadn't
caught at her hind legs. Having saved her, he yelled: You needn't
expect me to save you. Don't expect anything from me!
He'd have new gusts of fury at her. What you out here for? Think
you was a mountain goat? Don't you know the tide's comin' in?
Think you can get back easy as you got out?
He kicked at her hind legs to make her move on. She stood and looked
at the water which covered the in-between rocks on which she had picked
her way out. Course, said Joe Doane. Tide's inyou fool! You damned
goat! With the strength of a man who is full of fury he picked her
up and threw her to the next boulder. Hope you kill yourself! was his
But the government goat did not kill herself. She only looked around
for further help.
To get away from her, he had to get her ashore. He guided and
lifted, planted fore legs and shoved at hind legs, all the time telling
her he hoped she'd kill herself. Once he stood still and looked all
around and thought. After that he gave the government goat a shove that
sent her in water above her knees. Then he had to get in too and help
her to a higher rock.
It was after he had thus saved the government goat from the sea out
of which the government goat had cheated him that he looked ahead to
see there were watchers on the shore. Cadaras had returned from the
cemetery. Cadaras and Doanes were watching him bring home the
From time to time he'd look up at them. There seemed to be no little
agitation among this group. They'd hold on to each other and jump up
and down like watchers whose men are being brought in from a wreck.
There was one place where again he had to lift the government goat.
After this he heard shouts and looked ashore to see his boys dancing up
and down like little Indians.
Finally they had made it. The watchers on the shore came running out
to meet them.
Oh, Mr. Doane! cried Mrs. Cadara, hands out-stretched, I am
thankful to you! You saved my goat! I have no man myself to
save my goat. I have no man. I have no man!
Mrs. Cadara covered her face with her hands, swayed back and forth,
and sobbed because her man was dead.
Young Cadaras gathered around her. They seemed of a sudden to know
they had no father, and to realize that this was a thing to be
deplored. Agnes even wet her mourning handkerchief.
Myrtie came up and took his arm. Oh, Father, said she, I was so
'fraid you'd hurt yourself!
He looked down into his little girl's face. He realized that just a
little while before he had expected never to look into her face again.
He looked at the government goat, standing a little apart, benevolently
regarding this humankind. Suddenly Joe Doane began to laugh. He
laughedlaughedand laughed. And it was a laugh.
When I saw you lift that goat! said his wife, in the voice of a
woman who may not have a fireless cooker, but!
Young Joe Doane, too long brow-beaten not to hold the moment of his
advantage, began dancing round Tony Cadara with the taunting yell, You
ain't got no pa to save your goat! And Edgar lispingly chimed
in, Ain't got no pa to save your goat!
Here! cried their father, Stop devilin' them kids about what they
can't help. Come! Hats on! Every Doane, every Cadara, goes up to see if
Ed. Smith might happen to have a soda.
But young Joe had suffered too long to be quickly silent. You ain't
got no pa to get you soda! persisted he.
Joe! commanded his father, stop pesterin' them kids or I'll
And Joe, drunk with the joy of having what the Cadaras had not,
shrieked, You ain't got no pa to lick you! You ain't got
no pa to lick you!