Manuscripts/Mixed Material [The Boat for Olympia]
THE BOAT FOR OLYMPIA
“When I was a boy, my father and I were down on the beach at the edge of Seattle one day. He turned over some small boulders a foot or so in size each way, and showed me the tiny crabs which scuttled out from under. They were about an inch long. He told me to find an old can and gather up as many of the crabs as I could find and put them in the can. We would go fishing the next morning at Yesler's Wharf, and use the little crabs for bait.
“On the way home he told me we should have to get up early. I asked how we could wake up in time. He answered that everybody in Seattle got up by the boat whistle, the boat that left for Olympia each day. Its whistle blew at six o'clock, half past six, and a quarter to seven.
“The next morning there was a thick fog. We could see only a dozen feet ahead. As we were going down toward the wharf, we saw ahead of us two tall men wearing long coats and silk hats. We found out later they were two preachers.
“The two men came to a wide doorway barely visible in the fog. They entered and sat down on a bench near the door. There was a huge engine in the room, and a caretaker who was looking after it.
“My father went on down to the wharf. But I stood outside a window looking in and listening through the door which was open an inch or two. After about ten minutes, the two men showed signs of restlessness, and at last, one of them asked the caretaker, 'What time does this boat leave?'
“'Isn't this the boat for Olympia?'
“'Hell, no! This is Yesler's Sawmill. The boat for Olympia left ten minutes ago.'"