“Well, does ze youngster vant to vork, eh! Eef he do, I say you pare zis potate for dinee as quick you can.” And the fellow pointed to a great bag of potatoes and a paring-knife. “Now you sit zere in da corner,” continued the cook, “and keep out uf my vay.” Archie found a stool and sat down, and, having brought an apron with him, he put it on and began work. The cook watched him closely, so that Archie soon learned to pare the potatoes very nicely, and of course he was able to get along faster and faster as he became more and more experienced. He managed, through great effort, to get the bag finished in time for dinner, or luncheon, as it was called on the bill of fare, and then he soon had to begin on other vegetables, which were to be served at the more complete evening meal. There were more potatoes, and some turnips and apples as well, to be prepared, and it kept the boy busy all the afternoon, cleaning as hard as he could, and never seeming to get done. The cook urged him always to hurry, and seemed determined to have everything ready on time. And Archie began to realise that he was working under a rather severe master.
He was again successful in getting the vegetables finished in time for the evening meal, and then he had an idea that he might be allowed to rest for awhile, but he soon realised his mistake. He was advised to begin work on the potatoes for breakfast if he didn’t want to get up at two o’clock in the morning and pare them, so once more he took up the knife and began to clean and scrape. It was ten o’clock before he had finished, and he found himself too tired to spend any time on the after-deck with the crew, but went at once down into the small, stuffy room where he was to sleep with some of the stewards. His back ached from bending over, and his hands were all sore from being scraped.
Things were not very pleasant in this bedroom, but poor Archie was glad enough to be able to lie down on the hard straw tick and go to sleep. He slept soundly until he was awakened at four o’clock in the morning by the second cook, who ordered him up-stairs to work. There was no time to wash, and no place where he could wash, so the boy was obliged to go up just as he was, much as he disliked doing so. And once up-stairs there were various chores which were waiting for him in the galley, so that he was kept running until breakfast was served. And then it was time to begin paring vegetables again. This turned out to be the invariable daily programme, and Archie became rather discouraged. Had it not been for the thought that by doing this he was saving money to send home, he would have been miserable indeed, but this idea kept him hopeful. He was seasick, too, for a time, and was obliged to keep cleaning vegetables in the galley during the whole period of his suffering. The days when he was ill in this way were the most disagreeable ones of the voyage, and Archie often described afterward his feelings as he sat peeling potatoes with a bucket standing beside him. Each night he slept like a log, and each morning he was obliged to get up at four o’clock and start work again. It was the same thing day after day, tiresome and monotonous, so that Archie wasn’t sorry when the beautiful island hove in sight, and they anchored in the picturesque bay of Honolulu.