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Mark Twain Once a pretty mean captain caught sight of Stephen in New Orleans out of work and as usual out of money He laid steady siege to Stephen who was in a very close place and finally persuaded him to hire with him at one hundred and twenty-five dollars per month just half wages the captain agreeing not to divulge the secret and so bring down the contempt of all the guild upon the poor fellow But the boat was not more than a day out of New Orleans before Stephen discovered that the captain was boasting of his exploit and that all the officers had been told Stephen winced but said nothing About the middle of the afternoon the captain stepped out on the hurricane deck cast his eye around and looked a good deal surprised He glanced inquiringly aloft at Stephen but Stephen was whistling placidly and attending to business The captain stood around awhile in evident discomfort and once or twice seemed about to make a suggestion but the etiquette of the river taught him to avoid that sort of rashness and so he managed to hold his peace He chafed and puzzled a few minutes longer then retired to his apartments But soon he was out again and apparently more perplexed than ever Presently he ventured to remark with deference-- Pretty good stage of the river now aint it sir Well I should say so Bank-full is a pretty liberal stage Seems to be a good deal of current here Good deal dont describe it Its worse than a millrace Is nt it easier in toward shore than it is out here in the middle Yes I reckon it is but body cant be too careful with a steamboat Its pretty safe out here cant strike any bottom here you can depend on that The captain departed looking rueful enough At this rate
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