When we are all alone we look for friendship wherever it comes and in this story the boy Karl finds it in the form of a stoker who is on board the boat. When he should be happy with the introduction of his long last father he is in fact upset because in a brief moment he has fallen under the spell of the friend from the engine room.
The Stoker A Fragment
Karl has been sent to America after being seduced by the housemaid and fathering a child. His parents have sent him away without any real idea of why will happen to him. As he pulls into New York he remembers he has left his umbrella below and heads down to pick it up but gets lost and stumbles across a stoker. The stoker is angry with the way he has been treated and after getting encouraged by Karl storms off to face the captain to complain. As he berates his superior to the captain an old man is visibly agitated and finally asks Karl who he is and then declares that he is his uncle. The man turns out to be an American senator who will be able to provide Karl with a fantastic life but as he leaves the boat Karl sobs for the stoker and wonders if his uncle will ever be able to match up to him.
There are just a few stories left in the collection and if time permits I will read these over the weekend…